Coins and Medals
Ruler: Septimius Severus, emperor of Rome A.D. 193–211
Mint: Abydos

Uncertain denomination of Septimius Severus

193–211

Bronze

21.35 gm, 12:00, 38 mm
Ruth Elizabeth White Fund
2006.23.1

The portrait on this coin of Septimius Severus (ruled A.D. 193–211) is exceptional on its own, but the reverse type is what sets the coin apart. Abydus, on the Asian side of the Hellespont, was the point of departure for Leander, as he swam across to Abydus and his beloved Hero, who guides his way from her tower with a torch. In the myth, Leander drowned in the attempt, and Hero threw herself off the tower to join him in death. The myth is also the subject of a painting by Peter Paul Rubens in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery (1962.25).

Geography: 
Made in Abydus
Culture: 
Roman
Period: 
2nd–3rd century
Classification: 
Coins and medals
Status: 
Not on view
Bibliography: 

Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Roman in the Provinces: Art on the Periphery of Empire (Chestnut Hill, Mass.: McMullen Museum of Art, 2014), 217, fig. 14.5.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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