Elagabalus, 218-222. Denarius (Silver, 20 mm, 2.99 g, 11 h), Rome, 218-219. IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Elagabalus to right, seen from behind. Rev. FIDES MILITVM Elagabalus, laureate and in military attire, standing front, head to right, holding transverse spear in his right hand; before him, a soldier standing front, head to left, holding signum in his right hand and oval shield in his left; behind to left, another soldier, standing front, head to right, holding signum in his right hand. BMC 16 and pl. 85, 9 (same dies) = Cohen 41 corr. = RIC 75 corr. (reverse misdescribed). Lanz 32 (1985), 699 (same dies). Leu 75 (1999), 1565 (same dies). Cf. Calicó 2994 (aureus). Of the highest rarity, perhaps the fourth known example. A beautifully toned coin with a very impressive reverse. Good very fine.
Ex Münzen und Medaillen FPL 191, 1959, 77.
This extremely rare denarius, which corresponds to Calicó 2994, was struck early in Elagabalus' reign: it shows the juvenile emperor in a martial fashion amidst two soldiers and praises the loyalty of the army, which had formed the backbone of the Severan countercoup against Macrinus. Julia Maesa, who by and large ran the imperial administration during the four year rule of her grandson Elagabalus, had obviously not forgotten the famous dictum of her brother-in-law Septimius Severus, who on his deathbed had advised his sons Caracalla and Geta to 'be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men'. However, the behavior of her grandson would later turn out to be so outrageous that he and his mother Julia Soaemias were killed by soldiers riled up by Julia Mamaea, Maesa's second daughter and mother of the designated successor to the throne, Severus Alexander.