Geta caesar, 198 – 209
Aureus March-July 218, AV 7.47 g. IMP C M OPEL SEV – MACRINVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. AEQVITAS AVG Aequitas standing l., holding scales and cornucopiae. C 3. BMC 58 note. RIC 52. Biaggi 1262 (this coin). Calicó 2933 (this coin).
Very rare. A bold portrait of excellent style well struck in high relief, a perfect Fdc
Ex NAC sale 52, 2009, 525. From the Biaggi collection and privately purchased from Ratto in December 1954.
A trusted administrator under the Severans, Macrinus roseto become one of two praetorian prefects under the emperor Caracalla. He took a leading role in the plot to murder his benefactor, having himself enlisted the assassin. Three days after Caracalla's assassination, Macrinus was nominated Augustus by the soldiers after pretending to show sorrow for his master's death. For a time he continued the war against the Parthians, but soon tired of it and sued for peace, offering the enemy large payments in exchange for a non-aggression pact. This did not bode well with the soldiers, who perhaps wanted to pursue the campaign and have an opportunity to claim their share of the legendary wealth of the East. Thus, many soldiers soon deserted to the cause of a new rival, the 14-year-old grandnephew of Julia Domna, Elagabalus, who was alleged to be an illegitimate son of Caracalla. When the opponents finally clashed near a small Syrian village outside Antioch, the forces of Elagabalus got the upper hand and Macrinus fled the field. He made his way in disguise as far as Calchedon before he was captured and executed.
Ex CNG sale 88, 2011, 1363.
Hill places this dual-portrait aureus in the final issue of 200, thus predating by a few weeks the inauguration of the more familiar dynastic series of 201. The combination of an unusual inscription and an ambiguous type has solicited many opinions about the interpretation of this coin. Due to the saluting pose of the young man on the reverse, his radiate crown, and likely also the inclusion of INVICTI in the inscription, there is no reason to doubt that this imperial figure is being equated with Sol Invictus, the 'unconquered' or 'invincible' sun-god. The question remains, though, is it Caracalla or Geta? Alföldi, van Heesch, and Carson all consider it to be Geta, with Carson suggesting that it celebrates the appointment of Geta as Caesar and Caracalla as Augustus, which had occurred at Ctesiphon on January 28, 198. Mattingly, Hill, and Calicó all favour Caracalla, though when Mattingly and Sydenham penned the fourth volume of RIC, they made no firm decision.