Otacilia Severa, Augusta and wife of Philip the Arab. 244-249 AD. PHRYGIA. Laodicea ad Lycum.

Otacilia Severa, Augusta and wife of Philip the Arab. 244-249 AD. PHRYGIA. Laodicea ad Lycum.


Orichalcum Tetrassarion, 15.51g (30mm, 7h). •M•ΩTAKIΛ• •CЄBHPA•CЄ Diademed and draped bust of Otacilia Severa to right / ΛAOΔIKЄΩN NЄΩKOPΩ-N Hekate triformis: the left one holding torch in her right hand and serpent in her left; the right one whip in her right hand and knife in her left; the middle one torches in each hand; at feet to right, a dog.

References: BMC 255 var. (differing obverse legend). SNG Copenhagen 602 (same dies). SNG Leypold -. SNG von Aulock -

Grade: Very rare. A lovely coin with a very detailed rendering of Hekate triformis. Light doubling on the reverse, otherwise, Good VF . (re1105)

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Marcia Otacilia Severa was the wife of the emperor Marcus Julius Phillipus, or more commonly known as Philip the Arab. Otacilia Severa came from a politically involved family with her father and brother being both governors. Philip was likely in the Praetorian Guard under Severus Alexander when she married him in 234 AD. They had three children together, two sons and a daughter. After the emperor Gordian III was killed in 244 AD in Mesopotamia, Philip became the new ruler. Philip and Otacilia Severa were considered the first Christian couple in power as the persecution of those in the Christian faith were diminished during their short reign. When Philip died in battle near Verona, the guard named Trajan Decius as their new emperor. In order to have a seamless transfer of power, the guard murdered the oldest son of Otacilia and Philip, killing the child in her arms. She lived the rest of her life in relative obscurity. 

This coin is struck in Laodicea on the Lycus which was an ancient city built on the river Lycus. It was located in the Hellenistic regions of Caria and Lydia, which later became the Roman Province of Phrygia Pacatiana. It is now situated near the modern city of Denizli, Turkey.

The reverse of this coin shows the Hekate triformis, which was a goddess of witchcraft, magic, crossroads, ghosts, and necromancy (magic involving communication with the dead). Dogs are often associated with Hekate and were sacred to the goddess. They were routinely sacrificed in her honor.