MESOPOTAMIA. Rhasaena. Caracalla & Geta, 209-211. AE (Bronze, 14 mm, 2.74 g, 1 h). ANTI[...] Laureate bust of Caracalla, on the left, facing laureate bust of Geta, on the right. Rev. PHC[...] Uncertain female deity seated to right on dolphin, holding aphlaston in her left hand and placing her right on the dolphin's tail. BMC -. Lindgren I -, cf. 2612 (similar deity seated to left). SNG Copenhagen -. SNG Righetti -. Of the highest rarity, perhaps unpublished. Very fine.
The early Severan Provincial coinage from the Mesopotamian mints of Carrhae, Edessa and Rhasaena is notoriously poorly published. This piece is particularly enigmatic: it was struck for Caracalla and Geta as Augusti (209-211) and shows, on the reverse, a female deity seated to the right on what appears to be a dolphin while holding an aphlaston. Finding such maritime themes on a coin from inland Mesopotamia is certainly surprising: perhaps the die cutter intended to show the nymph of the Chaboras with a freshwater fish rather than a dolphin (see Lindgren 2612), whereas the aphlaston may refer to activities by Roman naval forces on the river. It is worth noting that like many early Severan issues from Mesopotamia, this coin is also very crude: it was undoubtedly cut by the same artist who also worked on the dies of the piece in Leu Web Auction 5 (2018), 610, and who tended to confuse the direction in which to cut the types and legends, as shown by the retrograde legends.