Roman Empire, Septimius Severus - 'Son' of Marcus Aurelius

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The death of Commodus marked the beginning of a turbulent year for the Empire, with five individuals claiming the throne in quick succession. Pertinax was immediately instated as emperor, but after just three months he was assasinated by the Praetorian Guard and succeeded by Didius Julianus. Three simultaneous challengers arose; Pescennius Niger in Syria, Clodius Albinus in Britain and Septimius Severus in Pannonia.

Severus made an ally of Albinus and appointed him as Caesar having entered Rome without opposition in AD 193. With Albinus placated and defending the west, he marched east and defeated Pescennius Niger, in so doing finally securing rule of the empire. Having removed the most serious threat to his power, Severus now sought to establish the legitimacy of his succession and in 195 styled himself son of the deified Marcus Aurelius (Dio, LXXVI.7), to which the reverse legend of this type refers (DIVI MARCVS PII FILIVS). In addition, Septimius renamed Bassianus, his eldest son, as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Thus did Severus hope to legitimise his rule by portraying it as a natural succession and continuation of the Antonine adoptive emperors. Seeing that Severus had no intention of sharing power, Albinus proclaimed himself emperor but was defeated at the Battle of Lugdunum in 197, paving the way for a Severan dynasty that spanned the next four decades.

Septimius Severus AV Aureus. Rome, AD 195. L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VII, laureate head right / DIVI M P II F PM TR P III COS II P P, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and trophy. RIC 66; C. -; Calicó 2448. 7.27g, 20mm, 12h.

Good Extremely Fine, almost as struck. Very Rare.

Ex Gemini 1, 11 January 2005, lot 395.