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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 2, Lot: 212. Estimate CHF400. 
Closing Date: Monday, 17 May 2010. 
Sold For CHF625. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Otacilia Severa. Augusta, AD 244-249. Antoninianus (Silver, 4.28 g 6), Rome, 248. OTACIL SEVERA AVG Diademed and draped bust of Otacilia Severa on crescent to right. Rev. SAECVLARES AVGG / IIII Hippopotamus walking to right. Cohen 63. RIC 116b. A fine piece with a particularly amusing looking hippopotamus. Good extremely fine.

This coin was struck in honor of the Secular Games, held to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Rome. During these games a wide variety of exotic animals were brought to Rome to be displayed and, usually, killed in the arena. Modern bull fighting is but a pale imitation of the extensive destruction of animals that took place during Roman festivals. Not only were beasts killed in imitation of hunts, but others were used for the public execution of criminals who were thrown to them: presumably those unfortunates who were not immediately felled by the wild beasts were dispatched by their keepers.