Roman Empire

Septimius Severus, with Julia Domna, Emperor AD 193-211

SNG BN 2208-9 (same dies); SNG von Aulock -; c/m: Howgego 480, Superb Extremely Fine

Pergamum in Mysia. Claudianus Terpander, strategos . AVT KAI ? C?? C?OVHPO-C ??P around, IOV ?OMNA/C?BACTH in two lines in exergue, confronted busts of Septimius Severus laureate, draped, and cuirassed, right, and Julia Domna draped, left; c/m: wreath within circular incuse. Reverse: ??I CTPA K?AV-?IANOV T?P?AN/?POV around, ??P?AMHN?N/B N?OKOP?N in two lines in exergue, victimarius standing left, wielding mallet with which he is about to strike bull standing to right before him; in background, statue of the emperor standing facing on cippus, head left, holding patera and scepter.

This remarkable bronze issue celebrates the second neocorate of Pergamon, the provincial capital of Asia. The reverse type depicts an act of worship in the imperial cult: the high priest wields an axe to slaughter a bull who seems to calmly accept his fate while a statue of the emperor in military garb stands on a pedestal behind. The priestly figure should probably be identified with the Stra.. Klaudianos Terpandros named in the surrounding legend. The obverse type, featuring the confronted busts of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, reflects the typological influence of imperial Severan coinage and the image of dynastic harmony that the Emperor wished to disseminate.