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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Ruler: Septimius Severus, Emperor of Rome, A.D. 146–211, ruled 193–211
Mint: Abydos
Artist: Unknown

Coin of Septimius Severus, Emperor of Rome from Abydos



21.35 g, 12:00, 38 mm
Ruth Elizabeth White Fund

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 Sestos 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).

Made in Abydos, Troas
2nd–3rd century A.D.

CNG, Lancaster, Pa., January 10–1, 2006, Triton 9, lot 1512; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


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.