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533817. SOLD $450

Julia Mamaea. Augusta, AD 222-235. Æ Sestertius (26mm, 17.38 g, 12h). Rome mint. 4th emission of Severus Alexander, AD 224. Draped bust right, wearing stephane / Venus seated left on throne, holding statuette of Cupid and scepter. RIC IV 701 (Alexander); BMCRE 197-8, 201 (Alexander); Banti 18. Dark emerald green patina with traces of red, light smoothing. Good VF.

Ex Jack A. Frazer Collection; Stack’s (9 December 1992), lot 3328.

After murdering Elagabalus and his mother, the Praetorians acclaimed his cousin Severus Alexander as emperor. Handsome, affable, and far more traditional than his freewheeling cousin, Alexander was really never more than a figurehead ruler, first for his grandmother Julia Maesa and then, after her death in AD 225/6, for his mother Julia Mamaea. Thus de facto female rule continued in Rome. Mamaea appears to have learned much from serving as her grandmother’s apprentice, although contemporary writers condemn her avarice and jealousy. The latter charge has some corroboration as she did derail her son’s marriage to Salustia Orbiana when it appeared to threaten her power as Augusta. But as long as the empire remained at peace, the arrangement worked well and Rome remained on an even keel.