GALATIA. Tavium. Julia Domna, Augusta, 193-217. Tetrassarion (Orichalcum, 26 mm, 12.11 g, 7 h), 197/8. IOYΛIA ΔOMNA CЄBACTH Draped bust of Julia Domna to right. Rev. ЄIC ЄΩNA TOYC KYPIOC / TAOYIA Septimius Severus, radiate and in military attire, standing front, head to left, holding scepter in his left hand and clasping his right hand with Caracalla, on the left, standing right in miltary attire and holding scepter in his left; on the right, Geta, togate, standing front, head to left, holding patera in his right hand and scroll (?) in his left. BMC -. Imhoof-Blumer, KM -. SNG Copenhagen -. SNG Leypold -. SNG Paris -. SNG von Aulock -. Winterthur -. Unpublished and of great historical interest. A beautiful coin with a lovely portrait of Julia Domna and an exceptional reverse type. Good very fine.
This emergence of this beautiful dynastic issue from Tavion showing Septimius Severus, Caracalla and Geta is very exciting. The reverse legend ЄIC ЄΩNA TOYC KYPIOC translates as 'eternal rulers' and is a praise on the Severan dynasty, which is celebrated for bringing peace and stability to the empire after the civil wars in 192-196. It is interesting to note that both the reverse legend and type are copied from an extremely rare issue from Nicaea, which was misdescribed in the von Aulock Sylloge as showing Septimius Severus, Caracalla and Homonoia (SNG von Aulock 590). However, the present coin clearly shows that the figure on the right is a togate juvenile male and thus in all likelyhood the emperor's younger son Geta. But why, then, are Septimius and Caracalla shown in military attire, whereas Geta is togate? The answer lies in the date of the coin, which through an obverse die match to dated issues from Tavium (SNG Paris 2659-2660) can be determined to be 197/8, the year in which Caracalla became Augustus and Geta Caesar. This very important event was, as this coin shows, celebrated throughout the empire before the imperial family set out for the East to fight the Parthians. As the titular co-ruler of his father Septimius Severus, Caracalla appears in military attire, whereas Geta wears the toga virlis, which was given to Romans when they reached adulthood. In actual fact, both of Septimius' sons were way too young to be considered adults in 197/8, but the interests of the imperial family always took precedence over Roman traditions.