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Coins of Rome about Parthia:
Antoninus (Caracalla, A.D. 211-217)

M. Aurelius, originally named Bassianus, was the elder son of Severus. In A.D. 196, he was given the rank of Caesar and in A.D. 198 was created Augustus at ten years of age. He accompanied his father to Britain in A.D. 208 and led the campaign of A.D. 210 in person. On the death of Severus, Caracalla reigned jointly with his brother Geta. However, Geta was assassinated on the orders of Caracalla. His reign was marked by extravagance and cruelty and his wars he achieved more by treachery than force of arms. He was murdered on the orders of Macrinus. The one notable action attributed to Caracalla was giving all free inhabitants of the Empire Roman citizenship.

Caracalla looked to Parthia as the scene for new conquests, and following his defeat of the Germans, headed for the East. After first putting down a revolt in Alexandria in A.D. 215, he marched to Armenia where he deposed the king and converted the Armenia to a Roman province. Next he marched against Parthia; in early 216, Caracalla assembled a substantial force (at least eight legions) along the Syrian frontier, for what would prove to be his final triumph. The Parthians had engaged in civil war since A.D. 213 with Vologases VI controlling half the empire and Artabanus IV the other. Caracalla leveraged this division by allying with Artabanus, even proposing marriage with Artabanus' daughter. However, the duplicitous Caracalla marched against an unprepared Artabanus. After ravaging the countryside east of the Tigris unhindered, Caracalla wintered in Edessa. It is this "Parthian victory" that is celebrated on his coins. Caracalla no doubt would also have assumed the title Parthicus and celebrated a 4th acclamation of imperator had his life not been suddenly cut short on April 8, 217, when he was assassinated and replaced by his Praetorian commander, Marcus Opellius Macrinus, who continued these empty "victory" issues, despite severe military reverses.

See the biography of Antoninus (Caracalla) at De Imperatoribus Romanis, an online encyclopedia of Roman emperors.

TR P refers to the tribune power of the emperor, and indicates the year. It may appear on the obverse or reverse. Dating can also be done from consulships (COS) and imperatorial acclamations (IMP):

TR P IIII = A.D. 201
TR P V = A.D. 202
TR P VIIII =
TR P XX = A.D. 217

Coins in the Name of Caracalla

Click on coin catalog links to view images:

Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

Caracalla  A.D. 211- 217

RIC4 49A aureus VICTORIAE PARTHICAE Victory advancing L
RIC4 55 aureus ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT TR P IIII COS trophy & captives
RIC4 78 aureus ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / VICT PART MAX Victory advancing L holding wreath and palm
RIC4 79 aureus / VICTORIA PARTHICA MAXIMA "
RIC4 144a aureus ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / VICT PART MAX "
RIC4 297a aureus PM TR P XX COS IIII PP VIC PART Victory seated R
RIC4 297b aureus " "
RIC4 298 aureus PM TR P XX COS IIII PP VICT PART "
RIC4 299a aureus VIC PART PM TR P XX COS IIII PP Caracalla stand. L
RIC4 299b aureus " "
RIC4 299c aureus " "
RIC4 353 aureus VICTORIAE PARTHICAE Victory stand. L
RIC4 54
Image
Image
denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT TR P IIII trophy of arms with two captives beneath
RIC4 55 denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT TR P IIII COS "
BMC 233.391 denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT R P V "
BMC 233.392n denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT R P V COS "
RIC4 63 denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT TR P V "
RIC4 64
RSC 179
denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PONT TR P V COS "
  denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PON TR P V "
RIC4 65 denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / PART MAX PON TR P V COS "
RIC4 144b denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / VICT PART MAX Victory advancing L
RIC 145 denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / VICTORIA PARTH MAX "
RIC4 168A denarius " Victory running L
RIC4 297c?
BMC 465.195
anton PM TR P XX COS III PP VIC PART Victory standing R holding shield inscribed VOT/XX; in front of her, trophy with captives facing outwardly on either side
RIC4 297c anton PM TR P XX COS IIII PP VIC PART Victory seated R
RIC4 297d anton " "
RIC4 297e denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM / PM TR P XX COS IIII PP Victory seated L of cuirass, inscribing shield VO XX; to R, trophy with captives; in exergue VIC PART
RIC4 299d anton ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM / VIC PART PM TR P XX COS IIII PP Caracalla stand. L
RIC4 299e denarius " Caracalla stand. L being crowned by Victory, captive at feet left
BMC 466.200v anton ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM / VICT PART PM TR P XX COS IIII P P Caracalla stand. L
BMC 466.200v denarius " "
RIC4 314a
  BMC 447.89
denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM / VICT PARTHICA Victory seated R inscribing VOT XX on shield, in exergue SMS XXI
RIC4 314b anton " "
RIC4 315a denarius " Caracalla stand. L
RIC4 315b anton " "
RIC4 321 denarius PART MAX PM TR P VIIII trophy consisting of helmet, cuirass, spears and shields flanked by two captives
RIC4 322 denarius PART MAX PM TR P X "
RIC4 328 denarius PART MAX TR P VIIII "
RIC4 346 denarius ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS / PART MAX PONT TR P IIII COS "
Image denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG / VICT PART MAX Victory advancing L
Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

The images are used by permission of their copyright owners. See the Coins of Rome about Parthia index page for a listing of these generous individuals, dealers and institutions.


This page last updated 22 Apr 2008

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Online since 28 March 1998
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