Septimius Bassianus, nicknamed Caracalla (because he wore a long Celtic cloak or caracalla) and later known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was born in Lyon in 186 or 188 A.D., the first son to the Emperor Septimius Severus and his second wife Julia Domna. In an effort to establish his own dynasty, Septimus Severus declared the very young Caracalla a Caesar in 196 and Augustus in 198.
There are five different portrait types of the Emperor Caracalla; this portrait of the young Caracalla comes from the years 196/7-204 and corresponds with the portrait on the Silversmith's Arch in Rome, which was inaugurated in the years 203-4 A.D. For close parallels, cf. F. Johansen, Roman Portraits III, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1995, pp. 30-34.