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Otacilia Severa. Augusta, AD 244-249. Æ Sestertius (29.5mm, 18.67 g, 12h). Rome mint, 4th officina. 3rd emission of Philip I, AD 246-247. MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane / CONCORDIA AVGG, S C in exergue, Concordia enthroned left, holding patera with her right hand, cradling double cornucopia with her left arm. RIC IV 203a (Philip I); Banti 4. Attractive olive green patina with traces of red. EF.

Ex Jack A. Frazer Collection; CNG Inventory 52413 (February 1995).

Marcia Otacilia Severa was born into a senatorial family early in the third century AD. In about AD 234 she married Marcus Julius Philippus, a Praetorian officer of Arabic descent. Philip rose through the ranks and by AD 244 had become Praetorian Prefect, whereupon, during an arduous campaign against the Persians, he orchestrated a coup against the weak boy Emperor Gordian III and seized the throne for himself. Upon returning to Rome, Philip raised Otacilia to the title of Augusta and appointed their eldest son, Philip II, as Caesar. Tradition holds that Otacilia favored the Christians, or was a Christian herself, based on the relative toleration enjoyed by the new faith during their five-year reign, but her coinage honors the traditional Roman deities.