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HOME : Roman Coins : Empress Severina : Bronze Antoninianus of Empress Severina
Bronze Antoninianus of Empress Severina - C.7014
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 270 AD to 275 AD

Collection: Roman Coins
Style: Roman
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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Obverse: SEVERINA AVG; Diademed and Draped Bust of the Empress Facing Right on a Crescent

Reverse: CONCORDIAE MILITVM; Concordia Standing to the Left, Holding Two Military Standards, XXI (in exergue)

Empress Severina was the wife of Aurelian, a well liked and well respected emperor. Little is known about the emperors of the chaotic Third Century, and even less is known about the women, as is the case with Empress Severina, unfortunately. This coin portrait of Severina shows us a determined face topped with an elegantly coiffed hairdo. She looks strikingly similar to Aurelian, suggesting that she might in fact have been his sister and not his wife. It is known that she accompanied the Emperor on military excursions and slept in the same type of beds used by common soldiers. From the inscriptions on the reverse of her coinage, it is possible that she was the only woman ever to rule the Roman Empire, although only for the short duration between Aurelian’s assassination and the Senate’s appointment of Tacitus to the throne.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine- made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial to an emperor’s wife passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.
- (C.7014)


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