ROMAN EMPIRE, Caracalla, Caesar, 196-198 AD, denarius


ROMAN EMPIRE, Caracalla, Caesar, 196-198 AD, denarius, no date (197 AD), Rome mint, Obverse: bare headed bust R, M AVR ANTONINVS CAES, Reverse: Minerva standing L with spear and shield, SECVRITAS PERPETVA, silver, 17-19mm, 3.14g, SR6678, crude edge, nice portrait, aVF

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Caracalla was a nickname for Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, for a kind of cloak he liked to wear. His reign was troubled from the beginning by the unfortunate antipathy between him and his brother Geta, who he eventually murdered. He did a bunch of civil building, and granted citizenship to all of the inhabitants of the Empire. He also liked war perhaps a bit more than he should have, picking unnecessary fights. Eventually he was assassinated on his way to a war with Parthia.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.