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Lot 4173

Caracalla and (Geta), 198-217 AD. AE 35 Medallion (19.47g) minted at Stratoniceia in Caria. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla right, confronting erased bust of Geta; between, two countermarks: a helmeted head of Athena, and a stamp with four letters. Reverse: Hekate standing facing, head left, holding patera in right hand, torch in her left; dog at her feet. SNG v. Aulock 2686 (this coin); cf. BMC 69; cf Lindgren 668. Sharp types with attractive deep chestnut patina. Rare and of historical importance. Choice Very Fine.

With the death of Septimius Severus on February 4, AD 211, brothers Caracalla and Geta became locked in a deadly struggle for supremacy. The growing popularity of Geta hastened Caracalla's hand. He set a trap for his brother, and had him murdered in late December AD 211. Caracalla then immediately slaughtered Geta's supporters, some 20,000 in all, and subjected Geta to damnatio memoriae (damnation of his memory).

These events are echoed here in this medallion. The great majority of Stratoniceian Caracalla-Geta bronze medallions have Geta's portrait chiseled away. These medallions were recalled, quite possibly by temple authorities, and two countermarks were applied before the defacement was done. From the evidence of these medallions, we see that even in the East, news of Geta's murder traveled quickly, and the new political landscape, one in which Caracalla's wish was the erasure of his brother's memory, was acted upon with the same alacrity.
Estimated Value $2,500 - 3,000.
The Hunter Collection; Ex Superior Stamp & Coin NYINC Auction, December 10-11, 1993, lot 1944.

Realized $1,898

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