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Document Details :
Title: An African Emperor in Egypt
Subtitle: The Representation of Septimius Severus and his Family on the Egyptian Coinage
Author(s): VANEERDEWEGH, Nick , VAN BOUWEL, Leen
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 50 Date: 2020
This article aims to study the public representation of Septimius Severus and his family on the coins struck in Alexandria during his reign (193-211 CE). More specifically, we investigate the impact of political events (such as wars or imperial elevations) on the coinage, and the relationship between the Egyptian coinage and the imperial coinage. Former studies of the Severans’ public image on coins have mainly been based on the imperial coinage, while the Egyptian coinage has rarely been taken into account. However, not only was Egypt of vital importance to the empire’s grain supply, emperors feared its potential as a springing board for usurpers, while Septimius Severus personally visited the province with his family in 199/200 CE. Our research is based on Emmett’s catalogue of Alexandrian coins, and we have further categorised the reverse types found there according to Manders’ classification of third-century coin types. Our analysis shows that political events directly influenced the choice of coin types in Alexandria, especially military victories. Another important political theme on the Egyptian coins was Severus’ dynastic representation, which included linking his family to the Antonines, and presenting his sons Caracalla and Geta as heirs to the throne. Finally, the strong ties between the emperor’s public image on the imperial coinage and the Alexandrian coinage point to a common source for the typology of both coinages.