|Roman Imperial. Septimius Severus (193-211). Denarius, February to August 194, Alexandria mint.|
|Obverse:||IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG.
Laureate head right.
|Reverse:||LEG III IT AVI / TR P COS.
Aquila between two standards.
|Dimensions:||AR, 3.25 g, 19 mm, 12h.|
RSC 262 (illustrated but misdescribed);
Bickford-Smith „The Imperial Mints in the East for Septimius Severus“ Rivista Italiana (1994/1995) 3.
|Condition:||Scratch on the obverse, encrustations on the reverse. Very fine.|
|Provenance:||From a western German collection, built up over the last 30 years.|
|Comment:||After Septimius Severus became emperor, he issued a series of denarii honoring specific legions that supported him. Some of them were struck in Rome in 193, others in Eastern mints in 194. The legionary denarii from Rome are scarce, but the Eastern ones are even more rare. The legionary denarii struck in Alexandria are all dedicated to Legion III Augusta which was stationed in north Africa and secured the city for Septimius in early 194 AD.
Strangely, all coins show the letters „IT“ (Italica) as used in Rome mint to honor legion III Italica. The Alexandrian die cutters must have seen a Rome coin but knew that the local legion was named „Augusta“. They combined both names and created a legend honoring a nonexistent legion „III Italica Augusta“.