Coins of Septimius Severus

Roman Emperor (AD 193-211)

Lucius Septimius Severus was born around 145 of an equestrian family from Lepcis Magna in North Africa. He became emperor in 193 after the death of Pertinax, who was killed for his excessive reforms and strict discipline in the Praetorian Guard. Upon becoming emperor, Severus dismissed the Praetorian Guard and replaced it with a new one that included legionary soldiers. He then set out for the East to eliminate a rival claimant, Pescennius Niger. Upon defeating Niger in 195, Severus now focused on the establishment of a vast dynasty in his name which meant destroying all possible rivals such as Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain. He defeated Albinus at Lugdunum in 197.

Severus replaced many positions in the administration of Roman government with equestrians, which depleted Senatorial power. He confiscated numerous properties in order to cover his pay increase for the soldiers and his campaigns to the East, in which he gained control of Parthia and Mesopotamia. Severus strongly believed in the military basis of imperial power and therefore enriched the military in order to ensure its support. Severus had two sons, Caracalla and Geta. He promoted Caracalla to the rank of Caesar, and Caracalla accompanied his father on many campaigns. Severus, worn out by sickness and the unending rivalry of Caracalla and Geta, died at York in 211.

AE Sestertius, Rome
AD 195-196

Obverse:
Laureate head Severus facing r. encircled by L SEPT SEV PERT <AVG IMP VII>

Reverse:
Felicitas standing l. foot on prow, holding caduceus and cornucopia.  S C. in field to l. and r. <DIVI M PII F P M TR P III COS II P P>

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AR Denarius, Rome
AD 196-197

Obverse:
Bust of Severus laureate r. encircled by L SEPT SEV PER<T> AVG IMP VIIII

Reverse:
Hercules standing r. resting on club and holding bow in l. hand with lion skin over l. shoulder; HERCVLI upwards l. DEFENS downwards r.