An extremely rare aureus of Macrinus pedigreed to 1888
Lot 327
Macrinus, 217-218. Aureus (Gold, 22 mm, 6.27 g, 7 h), Rome, summer 217-early 218. IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Macrinus to right. Rev. SALVS PVBLICA Salus seated left on high-backed throne, feeding serpent, rising from altar, out of patera with her right hand. BMC 24 var. (differing bust type). Calicó 2975. Cohen 113. RIC 83. Extremely rare. A lightly toned and attractive piece struck on a particularly broad flan. A few marks, otherwise, good very fine.

From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl and from the Property of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sotheby, 10 November 1972, 155, and from the collection of A. de Belfort, Hoffmann, 20-25 February 1888, 1350.

Born in 164 or 166 in Caesarea in Mauretania, today's Cherchell in Algeria, Macrinus was one of the many North Africans to pursue a career in Rome under Septimius Severus. We do not know if he was the first of his family to become an eques, but it is evident from the vehement rejection of his reign by the senatorial historiography that his origins must have been rather humble. In Rome, Macrinus pursued a civil career as a lawyer and administrator and eventually became one of the two Praetorian Prefects of Caracalla in 212. As such, he accompanied the emperor on his Parthian campaign during which he developed a plot that led to the assassination of Caracalla in early 217.

Macrinus' accession to the throne was met with opposition among the military, and when the new emperor agreed to a humiliating peace treaty following a defeat against the Parthians in 218, Julia Maesa sparked off a rebellion in Emesa. The few forces that remained loyal to Macrinus - most notably the Praetorian Guard - were defeated by Severan troops near Antioch on 8 June 218. Macrinus subsequently sent his son Diadumenian east to seek refuge in the Parthian Empire. The prince was, however, captured in Zeugma before being able to cross the border, whereas his father, who had hoped to find support from the Senate in the West, surrendered near Kalchedon. Both of them were eventually executed and their heads presented to the new emperor Elagabalus.
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