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Julia Mamaea - Mother Of Severus Alexander

 
 
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Pillar of the Community
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 Posted 05/24/2017  3:02 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add lrbguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
issue 15
FECVND AVGVSTAE
Fecunditas seated left, stretching out hand to child before her, left elbow rests on back of chair.
RSC 6; BMCRE 913-915; RIC 332





Julia Avita Mamaea was the second daughter of Julia Maesa (q.v.), sister of Julia Soaemias Bassiana, and niece of empress Julia Domna. She was born and raised in Emesa (modern Homs, Syria). She was the mother of Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus Alexianus, the given name of Roman Emperor Severus Alexander, and she served as regent of Rome during his minority, yet held the title de facto throughout his reign. Severus Alexander was the exact opposite of his degenerate cousin, Elagabalus, and gave all the signs of turning out to be a responsible emperor. Both he and his mother were under the control of the powerful Maesa until she died in A. D. 226. At this time Mamaea, last of the strong Severan women, took over the role of dominating and directing the man who occupied the throne. Unlike her sister Soaemias, Julia Mamaea was described as virtuous and reportedly never involved in scandals. She was attentive to the education of her son, Alexander, whom she prepared adequately for becoming emperor of Rome after his elevation to the purple in 222. Alexander thought much of his mother's advice and followed what she told him to do.

Severus Alexander never managed to escape her maternal domination, though at first Julia ruled very effectively. She reversed all Elagabalus' scandalous policies, chose 16 distinguished senators as advisers and relied heavily on the famous Lawyer Ulpian, who was also from Syria. During this interval she also called on Origen, the Alexandrian Christian leader, to provide her with instruction in Christian doctrine. However, things began to change in 225 when Alexander married, for soon Mamaea became madly jealous of her son's wife, Barbia Orbiana, whose father had been made Caesar or co-ruler with Alexander. Julia had Barbia exiled to North Africa after two years of marriage, and had her father executed, all without objection from Alexander. Instead, upon the advent of later adulthood, Alexander confirmed his esteem for his mother and named her consors imperii (imperial consort). It was in this arrangement that she accompanied her son in his campaigns: a custom that had started with Julia Domna. However, after an inconclusive expedition to repel a Persian invasion in 232, mother and son were sent north to deal with a German attack. Here Alexander so alienated the Rhine legions by his lack of military prowess (and his inflexibility towards pay) that the troops proclaimed Maximinus Thrax as emperor in 235. Troops which had been dispatched to kill Alexander found him clinging to his mother in a tent. Mother and son were butchered together, thus bringing the Severan dynasty to a bloody end.

The coinage of Julia Mamaea was produced in several series alongside that of Severus Alexander. Six of his reverse types were shared by her. Here is a list of the main series for denarii:

all from the mint at Rome

222 issue 1 - IVNO CONSERVATRIX (43-48)

223 issue 3 - VENVS GENETRIX (152-153)

224 issue 4 - VENER-I-FELICI (189)

225 Special marriage issue - (Medallion only for Mamaea)

226 issue 6 - VESTA (w/Palladium) (381-387)

227 issue 7 - VESTA (scepter) (440-443)

228 issue 9 - FELICI-TAS PVBLICA (stg) (#483-485)
(also medallions series)

228 - special issue - AEQUITAS PVBLICA (Medallion only)

229 issue 10 (#483ff continued)

230 issue 11 - FELICI-TAS PVBLICA (std) (658-659)

231 issue 12 - VENVS VICTRIX (713-717)

231 issue 13A&B - IVNO AV-GVSTAE (755-758)

231 issue 14 - PIETAS-AVGVSTAE (821-822)

232 issue 15 - FECVND-AVGVSTAE (std) (913-915)
(stg) (917-919)
{I have added the BMCRE numerical listings for the denarii in these listings to give a sense of scale to the varieties. Not sure how to distinguish issue 9 from issue 10, except possibly by inscription (cf BMCRE VI p.68)}

Obverse inscriptions on silver:
denarii and quinarii - IVLIA MAMAEA AVG
medallions (doub den) - IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA
Though many issues of medallions took place very few of any type survived, and they are regarded as extremely rare. They feature her bust wearing a stephane and positioned on a crescent (after the fashion of an antoninianus).

For most silver there are two bust types differentiated by the presence or absence of a stephane at the top of her head. This feature gives rise to the use of two break patterns for the inscription, which runs without a break when she is bareheaded, and with a MA - MA break when she wears the stephane. So far I have only observed the bareheaded, unbroken legend on the first issue, as illustrated by the three coins here:

Juno diademed and veiled, stg. half-left, holding patera and scepter; at feet, peacock stg half-left turning head back to catch drops out of patera.
issue 1
RSC 35; BMCRE 43-48, RIC 343
These three are differentiated by reverse break pattern

den1
IVNO CONSER - VATRIX




den3
IVNO CONS-ERVATRIX



den5
IVNO CONS-E-RVATRIX





All the remaining issues seem to have the stephane and broken obverse legend. Here is another example from the 12th issue:

issue 12
VENVS V - I - CTRIX
Venus stg half-left or front hd. l. holding helmet and sceptre, at feet l. shield.
RSC 76; BMCRE 713-7; RIC 358




More to come.
Edited by lrbguy
05/25/2017 11:04 am
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 Posted 05/24/2017  3:13 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Are these all your coins? Beautiful examples and a really excellent write up.
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 Posted 05/24/2017  3:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add EFLargeCents to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fantastic write up Irbugy!

Here is my contribution:
IVNO CONS-ERVATRIX

The peacock is rather crude and poorly created in the dies.



Edited by EFLargeCents
05/24/2017 3:47 pm
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 Posted 05/24/2017  9:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add lrbguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Are these all your coins?


Thanks for asking, Ron. Everything I show in the threads for this project is in my collection. The idea is to encourage everyone to show THEIR coins and not museum pieces from online.

I expect to add a few more for Mamaea over the next couple of weeks.

EFLC,
I take it this is the peacock item you mentioned in the earlier thread on Maesa. I can see the backbones of the bird.
Edited by lrbguy
05/24/2017 9:21 pm
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 Posted 05/24/2017  9:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What an impressive set of coins, and great presentation - both the write-up and the photography. Nicely done!
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 Posted 05/25/2017  08:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add EFLargeCents to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
EFLC,
I take it this is the peacock item you mentioned in the earlier thread on Maesa. I can see the backbones of the bird.


Yes, this is the one. Pretty poor execution by the die engraver.
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 Posted 05/25/2017  11:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add lrbguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the kind words, Bob.

To everyone: you can see that the coins of Mamaea are readily accessible and come in good variety. I hope everyone here is able to add an example or two to their collection and will show us what they have. I have a few more denarii coming and will add them when they arrive, but don't wait. I also want to point out that for every example of a denarius, the varieties in imperial bronze will out number it about 1 and 1/2 to one. I am sure there are some nice looking sesterci and dupondii out there.
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 Posted 05/09/2018  04:13 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nuggethill to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
VESTA on this reverse





cheers
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 Posted 09/01/2018  12:21 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add coffeyce to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
this is my example

Julia Mamaea (mother of S. Alexander) AR Denarius. Rome, AD 222-235. IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right / IVNO CONSERVATRIX, Diademed and veiled figure of Juno standing left, holding patera and sceptre; at her feet, peacock standing left. RIC 343 (Alexander); BMCRE 43 (same); RSC 35. 2.10g, 20mm, 6h.

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 Posted 09/16/2018  08:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add AlRashid to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice writeup @irbguy alexander and his mother had a very sad end but they go down as one of the nicest emperor of rome. here is my examples of son and mother.



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 Posted 10/05/2019  07:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
New pick up....
Julia Mamaea. Augusta, 222-235 AD. AR Denarius (2,81 gm, 19mm). Rome mint. Struck 222 AD.
Obverse: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, bare headed, draped bust right.
Reverse: IVNO CONS-E-RVATRIX, Juno standing slightly left, holding patera and scepter; to left, peacock standing left.
RIC IV 343 (Severus Alexander); BMCRRE 43-5 (Severus Alexander); RSC 35. gVF.
Looking at lrb's excellent breakdown this is 222 issue 1. den 5 (reverse legend break)...
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