Roman Empire

Macrinus, Emperor AD 217-218

RIC 79; BMC 71; Calicó 2947, Mint State

Rome, AD 218. IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Macrinus right. Reverse: LIBERALITAS AVG Macrinus and Diadumenian, both togate, seated left on platform, extending arms and holding rolls; behind to right, officer standing left; to left, Liberalitas standing left, holding abacus and cornucopiae; at foot of platform, citizen standing right, raising both hands.

Ex LHS 97 (10 May 2006), 52; Vinchon (28 February 1972), 129

In AD 217, Caracalla was assassinated by his Praetorian Prefect, M. Opellius Macrinus, supposedly due to a prophecy that foretold that Macrinus would depose him and reign in his place. Fearing that Caracalla would learn of the prophecy and kill him, Macrinus acted first and killed Caracalla, thereby fulfilling the prophecy. The circularity of the logic here is dizzying. In any case, with Caracalla dead, Macrinus was proclaimed Emperor and immediately negotiated a shameful end to the Parthian war. However, his failure to pay the army and in a timely fashion and his retention of European legions in Syria led to revolt in AD 218. The soldiers declared for Elagabalus, a pretended son of Caracalla, and killed Macrinus in a battle near Antioch.