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Roman Empire

Ruler: Caracalla as Augustus
Reigned: Caesar 196-198 AD: Augustus 198- 217
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 210 AD
Obverse: Man's laureate head, bearded, right. "ANTONINVS PIVS AVG. BRIT."[1]
Reverse: Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm. "VICTORIAE BRIT."[2]
Reference: RSC 632 RCV 1961, RCVM 6901, RIC 231
Weight: 2.7 gms
Diameter: 18.4 mm
Comment: [1] = "ANTONINVS PIVS AVGVSTVS BRITANNICVS"
[2] = "VICTORIAE BRITANNAE"
Celebrates Caracalla's military successes in Britain with his father Septimius Severus.

CARACALLA (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus)

  • Caracalla was the son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna and was originally named Bassianus, later re-named Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. He was born in Lugdunum, Gaul (now Lyon, France), and earned his nickname because he introduced into Roman fashion a short close-fitting cloak called the caracallus.
  • He was made Augustus in 198, at the age of 10.
  • He accompanied his Father and Brother, Geta, on an expedition to England in 208.
  • When his father, Septimius Severus, died in at York 211, Caracalla became joint emperor with his younger brother, Publius Septimius Geta.
  • There had always been rivalry between Caracalla and Geta and one of them had to go. Both tried poison. Splitting the Empire in two was discussed.
  • In late December in 211, Caracalla managed to find a moment when he was alone with his brother and mother and seized the opportunity to murder Geta. when they were both together with Julia Domna. Geta expired on his mother's breast.
  • Caracalla fought off opposition to this foul deed by buying off the praetorian guard. He also found it neccessary to massacre some 20,000 of Geta's supporters. This made him unpopular!
  • In 213 he set off for the German frontier where his victories won him the title of 'Germanicus Maximus'.
  • In May 215 Caracalla had reached Antioch in Syria, later travelling on to Alexandria. There for reasons unknown, thousands of Alexandrians were slaughtered.
  • In 216, with 8 legions, Caracalla attacked the Parthian Empire. Since 213 the Parthian Empire had been between two rival claimants, Vologaeses V, who held lower Mesopotamia and the capital city of Ctesiphon, and Artabanus V, controlled the Iranian plateau beyond. Caracalla sided with Artabanus, but in an act of treachery, attacked him instead.
  • He withdrew to Edessa in northern Mesopotamia. Meanwhile a plot was being hatched against him, the suspected ringleader being Marcus Opellius Macrinus, commander of the Praetorian Guard.
  • Julius Martialis, an officer in the imperial bodyguard, who was chosen to carry out the deed. While travelling from Edessa to Carrhae, Caracalla had to stop to relieve himself. While the rest of his entourage politely looked away, Martialis killed him with a thrust of his sword. (217 AD)
  • Macrinus became emperor.

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