March 25th, 2011

“Rome on the Danube” Series Continues

On April 13, the Austrian Mint will issue the third coin of the six-coin silver series “Rome on the Danube.” The series recalls the days when Rome ruled the known western world and today’s Austria was part of its northern provinces.

The new silver coin is struck in proof quality only and has a maximum mintage of 50,000 pieces. The coins are struck in 900 fine silver and contain 18 grams of pure silver.  Each encapsulated coin has a diameter of 34 mm and comes in box with an individually numbered certificate of authenticity.

Collectors in the United States and Canada may purchase the Carnuntum coin for $69.50 USD each by calling Euro Collections International toll-free at 1-877-897-7696.  The coin may also be ordered on-line at www.eurocollections.com

The obverse of the new 20 euro silver coin depicts the profile of the Emperor Septimius Severus, the governor of Pannonia, who was declared emperor by his troops in Carnuntum  in 193.  Behind him is the massive arch of the “Heathen Gate,” which stood at a crossroads outside the city.  The remnants of this massive gate can still be admired today. Mint Engraver Helmut Andexlinger designed this side of the coin.

Designed by Mint Engraver Herbert Waehner, the reverse shows the Villa Urbana, one of the reconstructed buildings in the archaeological park at Carnuntum.  The figures of legionaries and prosperous citizens noted in the foreground indicate Carnuntum’s importance as a commercial centre and a defensive base along the Danube border.

Carnuntum, located on the southern bank of the River Danube, close to today’s borders of Slovakia and Hungary, began life in 6 as winter quarters for troops under Tiberius (later Emperor), who was fighting a preventative war against the Germanic tribes of the Marcomanni.  Eventually, a civilian settlement grew up to the west of the fort, and soon Carnuntum became the administrative capital of the province of Pannonia superior.

Carnuntum also played a significant role in imperial history.  The Emperor Hadrian (117-138) raised Carnuntum to the rank of a city (Municipium Aelium Carnuntum). Marcus Aurelius spent three years there during his wars against the Marcomanni and the Quadi, and wrote the second book of his philosophical work “Meditations” there.  In 193 Septimius Severus was hailed as emperor by the troops at Carnuntum.  He in turn rewarded them by raising Carnuntum to the highest rank, that of a colonia.  Again in 260, the troops there raised Regalianus to the purple (an expression of Roman majesty) in opposition to the Emperor Gallienus (260-268), but as Gallienus’s army approached, they decided it was safer to murder him.  Regalianus survived long enough, however, to mint coins with his own countenance in Carnuntum.

Blog . Issues . News and Notes . World coins