Pontic coins are an important part of the Romanian numismatics.
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4 assaria - Caracalla / temple
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coin from Tomis - Caracalla / temple - obverse coin from Tomis - Caracalla / temple - reverse
26 mm diameter, 10-11 grams, AE
Obverse: Caracalla wearing radiate crown, head to the right, legend AV K M AVP ANTΩNINOC
Reverse: temple with four spiral columns (tetrastyle) with deity (probably Dionysos) to the left, holding a patera? in the right hand and a long scepter in the left, amid the roof denomination value D (Δ = 4), legend MHTPOΠ ΠONT[OV] TOM[EΩC]

The ancient coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. GLV. The coin belongs to the category of provincial Roman coins, sometimes called Greek imperial. The coin corresponds to the description at number 1978 in the Moushmov catalog and is described in AMNG I at position 2920 (AMNG = Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, B. Pick, 1898).

About the legend on the obverse

The legend accompanying the portrait of Caracalla, AV K M AVP ANTΩNINOC, is the Greek translation of the Latin IMP(erator) M(arcus) AVR(elius) ANTONINVS. The word imperator was translated by autocrator (autokrates in Greek meaning governing by one's self), IMP being replaced by AV. Letter K following AV is most probably short for Kaisar, Caesar. There are several Roman coins on which titles IMP(erator), CAES(ar) and AVG(VSTUS) appear simultaneously.

About emperor Caracalla

Caracalla (188 - 217) was the eldest son of emperor Septimius Severus and empress Julia Domna. The name Caracalla is actual a nickname given by historians in order to differentiate him from Elagabalus (who was proclaimed emperor under the same official name). It seems that the nickname came from a cloak or mantle used in Gaul. Caracalla had the habit to wear such a mantle during his military campaigns.

At birth Caracalla was named Septimius Bassianus, after the name of his father and of his grandfather. In 196 AD Septimius Severus gave the title of Caesar to his son, and with this occasion the name of Caracalla was changed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. This measure was a political one: the new name claimed a kinship (inexistent in reality) with the emperors from the Antoninian dynasty. In 198 AD Caracalla has received the title of Augustus, and he ruled together with his father until 211 AD. In 211 and 212 Caracalla ruled together with his brother Geta. Geta was assassinated in the very arms of his mother as ordered by Caracalla himself.

Caracalla left the administration of the state in the hand of his mother, empress Julia Domna. To cope with the expenses a monetary reform was imposed, degrading the amount of precious metal inside the aureus from 7.266 grams to 6.54 grams and introducing the Antoninianus. Antoninianus was a 5.45 gram piece, holding 20% silver, and stated officially as being worth two silver denarii. The new coin was conventionally named antoninianus, after emperor's name. The real name used in the 3rd century is unknown.

Emperor Caracalla was killed in 217 AD by a centurion from his personal guard, instigated by Macrinus, prefect of the praetorium.


The History of Tomis
and More
The Ancient Pontic World
and Its Connection to Romanians (with Map)


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