Coin Jewelry :
Roman Coin Pendants : Silver Denarius of Emperor Geta this Coin is Mounted in an 18 Karat Gold Pendant
Silver Denarius of Emperor Geta this Coin is Mounted in an 18 Karat Gold Pendant - MT.200
Collection: Coin Jewelry
Condition: Extra Fine
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Publius Septimius Geta was the younger son of
the emperor Septimius Severus. Geta's rivalry
with his older brother, Caracalla, culminated in
Geta's murder less than a year after Severus'
death. Tradition soon idealized this victim of
fratricide as a gentle prince taken by treachery
far too soon.
Geta was born 7 March 189 in Rome, where his
family was resident in between provincial
governorships held by Severus under the
emperor Commodus. The boy was named after
Severus' father and was only 11 months younger
than his brother, Caracalla.
In the course of the civil wars that established
Severus as emperor, Severus used the young
Caracalla to solidify popular support by changing
the older son's name to connect the boy to the
Antonine dynasty and by giving Caracalla the
titles first of Caesar, then Augustus. As Caracalla
was increasingly being treated as the "heir," Geta
was being treated as the "spare." Geta was given
the title Caesar and publicly promoted as part of
a close-knit, imperial family.
The propaganda, however, was unable to hide
completely the family's dysfunctional
relationships, especially the increasingly bitter
rivalry developing between the now teenagers,
Caracalla and Geta. Severus decided to take his
family out of Rome and on campaign in Britain to
keep his sons busy. While Caracalla commanded
troops, Geta was given civilian authority on the
island. Geta was also given the title Augustus
(more than a decade after his brother received
it), which meant that Geta theoretically was co-
emperor along with Severus and Caracalla. Geta's
increased authority did nothing to improve his
relationship with Caracalla.
Soon Severus' health began to deteriorate, and
ever more desperate pleas were made for his
sons to get along. Severus died 4 February 211
in York. Caracalla was 22 years old, Geta 21.
The Roman world now had two brothers as joint
emperors, a situation that recalled events of half
a century earlier, when adopted brothers Marcus
Aurelius and Lucius Verus officially shared the
empire. Caracalla might well have been satisfied
had Geta behaved like Verus, whose authority
was more official than real and who deferred to
his older sibling in political matters. Geta,
however, saw his authority as being truly equal
with that of his brother, and the two were barely
on speaking terms during the long trip back to
Rome. Once in the city, the situation did not
improve. Government ground to a halt as the two
bickered on appointments and policy decisions.
A later story even claimed the brothers were
considering dividing the empire into two.
By the end of the year Caracalla was being
advised to have Geta murdered, and after at least
one unsuccessful attempt at the start of the
Saturnalia festival, Geta was killed in late
December 211. One version of events claimed
Geta was lured to come without his bodyguards
to a meeting with Caracalla and their mother,
Julia Domna, to discuss a possible reconciliation.
When Geta arrived, he was attacked by
centurions. Wounded and bleeding, Geta ran to
his mother and clinging to her, died.
Caracalla said the murder came in response to
his brother's plottings, and the death started a
bloody and violent purge of Caracalla's suspected
enemies. Geta's memory was condemned, his
name removed from inscriptions, his face
removed from sculptures and paintings. Critics
of Caracalla looked back wistfully at the
murdered prince, who came to be described as a
lamb devoured by his ferocious, lion-like
brother. Official restoration of Geta's reputation
came with the arrival of the emperor Elagabalus
to Rome in 219, when Geta's remains were
translated into the Mausoleum of Hadrian to join
those of his father and brother.
The little reliable evidence about Geta's
personality does not seem to support the
idealized picture of a gentle prince, but the
shocking nature of his death at the instigation of
his brother transformed Geta's life into legend.