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Coins of Rome about Parthia:
Macrinus (A.D. 217-218)

Marcus Opellius Macrinus helped to murder Caracalla. He became emperor and set up his 10 year old son, Diadumenian, as Caesar. He continued to fight the Parthians, but lost two important battles in a row and was pushed out of Mesopotamia. He was forced to make peace with the Parthians in late A.D. 217 on unfavorable terms, and thus lost the support of his Syrian troops. In A.D. 218 they rallied to Elagabalus, the son of Caracalla's cousin, and only a puppet of his grandmother, Julia Maesa. Despite this, Elagabalus came from the Severan family, and this counted for a lot with the army. The Syrian troops attacked Macrinus as he was heading back to Rome and killed him near Antioch in A.D. 218. Macrinus' reign lasted 14 months.

Upon hearing the news of his "victory," the Senate ordered victory sacrifices and voted the title PARTHICUS to the emperor, and the mint of Rome began striking the Parthian Victory types for him in all metals. Perhaps Macrinus ordered that the VICTORIA PARTHICA type be discontinued, because he didn't think the "victory" deserving of commemoration. The emperor, Dio tells us, turned down the title and the Parthian victory types soon ended, all being rare and none of them appearing with the final titles of Macrinus' reign, TR P II COS P P. The use of TR P II COS II on the Parthian victory types preceded rather than followed the use of TR P II COS because Macrinus refused to call himself COS II in 218 on the basis of the consular ornaments he had been awarded as praetorian prefect, but the mint did not hear of this decision (Macrinus still being in Syria) until sometime after the beginning of the year. TR P II COS II was the mint's mistake, struck c. January 218, before being corrected to TR P II COS for the rest of Macrinus' reign.1

See the biography of Macrinus at De Imperatoribus Romanis, an online encyclopedia of Roman emperors.

_______________
Notes:
1. Personal correspondence from Curtis Clay, Mar 2006. This major discovery on the coinage sequence of Macrinus was reported by Curtis Clay in Num. Zeitschrift 93, 1979.
2. TR P refers to the tribune power of the emperor, and indicates the year. It may appear on the obverse or reverse. Dating can also be done from consulships (COS) and imperatorial acclamations (IMP):
          TR P II = A.D. 218


Coins in the Name of Macrinus

Click on coin catalog links to view images:

Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

Macrinus  A.D. 217-218

RIC4 50 aureus / VICT PART PM TR P II COS II PP Victory flying L
RIC4 98 aureus / VICTORIA PARTHICA "
BMC 81+ aureus IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG / VICTORIA PARTHICA Victory advancing L holding long ribbon over two shields flanking
RIC4 49 denarius IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINUS AVG / VICT PART PM TR P II COS II PP Victory advancing right with wreath and palm
RIC4 96 denarius / VICTORIA PARTHICA "
RIC4 97 denarius / VICTORIA PARTHICA " (very rare, only one included in Reka-Devina hoard that had 330 Macrinus pieces; by permission Warren Esty)
RIC4 164 sestertius / VICT PART PM TR P II COS II PP S C Victory seated R
RIC4 209 sestertius / VICTORIA PARTHICA S C Victory seated R holding shield and stylus
ANS
1949.98.337
sestertius
forgery
IMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG / VICT PART P M TR P II COS II P P Victory seated R; S C
RIC4 165 dupondius IMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG / VICT PART P M TR P II COS II P P Victory seated R holding shield and stylus
BMC 135 as IMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG / VICT PART P M TR P II COS II P P Victory seated R holding shield and stylus
RIC4 166 as IMP CAES M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG / VICT PART P M TR P II COS II P P Victory seated R holding shield and stylus
Image     details in work
Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

The images are used by permission of their copyright owners. See the Coins of Rome about Parthia index page for a listing of these generous individuals, dealers and institutions.


This page last updated 24 Sep 2012

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