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Object Description
Title/Object Name
Ob: IMP(erator) C(aesar) M(arcus) AVR(elius) SEV(erus) ALEXAND(er) AVG(ustus) | Re: MARTI PACIFERO [Mars the Peace Bringer]
222 - 235 CE
3rd century
Portfolio / Series Title
Roman Rarities in Gold
Diameter, 0.8661 In, 2.2 Cm
Weight, 0.0135 Pounds, 6.137 Grams
Severus Alexander Ob: Bust of Severus Alexander, laureate, draped, and cuirassed right. Re: Mars standing left, holding olive-branch and reversed spear.
Credit Line
Gift of Wilton Jaffee to the University of Colorado Classics Department (2003), Transfer, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder
The reverse of this aureus is a telling representation: Mars the Peace-Bringer. It offers a significant insight into Roman ideologies pertaining to military exploits -- battles must be fought to bring absence of war. Though not without irony, the method in practice proved fairly effective. This concept is also especially apt for the reign of Severus Alexander himself, for it was only after the Praetorians’ murderous overthrow of his foppish cousin, the emperor Elagabalus, that order was restored to some degree. Though his grandmother, Julia Maesa, and after her death his mother, Julia Mamaea, were the true political power of his rule, it was far more functional than that of his predecessor, with a focus on economic, social, and educational concerns. His productive relationship with the senate contrasted with the disapproval of the army. When Alexander began peace negotiations with German invaders rather than endure an unwinnable war, his soldiers revolted and killed him, naming a new emperor – very much a military man -- instead. This would begin the Third Century Crisis, and mark the end of the peace that Mars had brought through Alexander’s violent ascent. KHK.
Object ID
RIC IV, 83, Part II; no. 159



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