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A Persian Artemis in Asia Minor. The coins of Hieracome/Hierocaesarea in Lydia


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Hieracome or Hierocaesarea was a medium-sized town in Lydia near the city of Thyateira. Today there is nothing left of the place.  Originally named Hieracome it was renamed Hierocaesarea in gratitude for the five-year tax rebate granted by Tiberius after the 17 A.D. earthquake[1]

The position of the city is marked on the map [2]. 



Hieracome or Hierocaesarea was  famous  for its cult of Artemis Persica and had a remaining Persian connection since the  settlement  of  the Persians  in Achaemenid  times. This is evident in the following coin, which shows a Persian priest wearing a Persian cap resembling Pontic coins from the time of Mithridates VI.  On the reverse the Hieracome monogram is shown and Artemis attacking  a stag, a representation as one knows it rather from Chersonesos. Other coins from this period show Artemis with a stag or quiver on the reverse side


Lydia, Hieracome 
First half of the second century
Obv: Male head right, wearing tiara. (Persian priest)
Rev.: ΙΕΡ monogram, Artemis kneeling on stag
AE, 4.94g, 18mm
Ref.: Klein 568; SNG Copenhagen 172.


Lydia, Hierakome - Hierokaisareia
Obv.: draped bust of Artemis Persica r., with bow and quiver at l. shoulder, ΠΕΡCΙΚΗ below (only partially visible)
Rev.: ΙΕP monogram, forepart of stag kneeling right, ring of pearls with big pearls
AE, 5.80g, 18mm
Ref.: SNG v. Aul. 2951

In Roman times, mainly small pseudo-autonomous coins were minted. They show Artemis, a stag and often an altar with flame, showing a fire sanctuary, which was located in the temple of Artemis. A part of these coins is very interesting, because on them Artemis Persica is mentioned by name [ΠΕΡCΙΚΗ], allowing a definite attribution as Artemis Persica.


Lydia, Hierokaisareia
Pseudo-autonomous issue
Obv: ΠΕΡCΙΚΗ, Draped bust of Artemis, bow and quiver over shoulder.
Rev.: ΙΕΡΟΚΑΙCΑΡΕ-ΩN, Stag standing right.
AE, 2.38g, 15.3x16mm
Ref.: Imhoof-Blumer, LS p. 16, no. 23.

However, there are also coins with portraits of emperors. The earliest are small coins with the image of Nero or Agrippina, The coinage then slowly becomes more elaborate, reaching a peak under Marcus Aurelius and Commodus with large, finely minted coins. The coin quality then decreases under the Severans and then the minting stopps completely.


Lydia. Hierocaesaraea
Agrippina Junior (Augusta, 50-59)
Bronze, AE 19
Obv.: AΓPIΠΠINAN ΘЄAN CЄBACTHN, draped bust right, hair in long plait down back of neck and looped at end, long loosely curled lock down side of neck;
Rev.: IЄPOKAICAPЄΩN ЄΠI KAΠITΩNOC, Artemis Persica standing facing, wearing long chiton, with right hand
drawing arrow from quiver on right shoulder, left hand on hip, stag at her side on left
AE, 5.93g, maximum diameter 18.8mm, die axis 0o
Ref.: RPC I 2387; BMC Lydia p. 106, 22


Lydia, Hierocaesareia
Pseudo-autonomous. Time of Nero (54-68). Capito, high priest.
Dated between AD 54 and 59
Obv: ΝƐΡWΝ ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹƐΒΑϹΤΟϹ, draped bust of Nero, r.
Rev: ΙƐΡΟΚƐϹΑΡƐWΝ ƐΠΙ ΚΑΠΙΤWΝΟϹ, Artemis Persica standing facing, drawing arrow; stag on either side
AE, 4.95g 19mm
Ref.: RPC I, 2384



Lydia, Hierocaesarea
Faustina II
Mènodôros the Second, strategos
Obv.: ΦAVCTEINA CEBACTH, draped bust of Faustina left.
Rev.: [EΠI CTPA M]HNOΔ[ΩPOY B.], [IЄ]POKAI[CAPЄΩN] in exerque; nude hero (Perseus) standing right, seen from the back, Artemis standing left, holding bow, having quiver at shoulder; both clasping hands over lighted altar
AE, 38.14g, 36mm
Ref.: RPC IV.2 11395 (temporary) - This Coin cited



YDIA. Hierocaesaraea. Commodus, 177-192. Tetrassarion
A. Io. Artemidoros, first archon, circa 179-180
Obv: ΑYΤ ΚΑΙ Λ ΑYΡ ΚΟΜΜΟΔΟϹ, laureate-headed bust of Commodus (lightly bearded) wearing cuirass and paludamentum, r., seen from front
Rev. ЄΠ ΙΟ ΑΡΤЄΜΙΔΩΡΟV ΑΡΧ ΙЄΡΟΚΑΙϹΑΡЄΩΝ Tetrastyle temple set on base with three steps; within, statue of Artemis hurrying to right and shooting bow.
AE, 28 mm, 12.01 g, 6 h
Ref.: RPC IV.2 online 11399 (same dies). Apparently the second known example.



Lydia. Hierocaesaraea
Ail. Artemidoros, archon
Bronze, Æ 30
Obv: ΑVΤ ΚΑΙ Λ ΑVΡΗ ΚΟΜΜΟΔΟС, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: ЄΠ ΑΙO ΑΡΤЄΜΙΔΩΡΟV ΑΡΧ ΙЄΡΟΚΑΙСΑΡЄ, Artemis driving biga of stags right, holding bow and drawing arrow from quiver on back. This example has a shorter reverse legend.
Æ, 30mm, 16.47g
RPC IV.2 online 1272-8 (this coin)



Lydia. Hierocaesaraea
Time of Commodus
Bronze, Æ 27
Obv: ΔΗΜΟС, Head of youthful Demos right
Rev: IEPOKAICAPEΩN, Artemis driving biga of stags right, holding bow and drawing arrow from quiver on back.
Æ, 27.4mm, 8.67g
RPC IV.2, 11794 (temporary), Martin 1, SNG Hunterian 1377



Lydia, Hierocaesarea
Laureate and cuirassed bust right.
Perseus advancing right, holding harpa and severed head of Medusa
Æ, 35mm, 20.53g
Ref.: RPC IV.2 online 11397


1: Tac. ann. 2,47,3; ILS 156
2: map: https://www.academia.edu/9176810/Map_of_the_conventus_assize_districts_of_the_Roman_province_of_Asia



An of course post your coins from Hierocaesareia and anything relevant


Edited by shanxi
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Nice coins, especially the two with Perseus reverses!  These are very scarce, and I see in your album that you have more including duplicates!


Lydia, Hierocaesareia, time of Trajan (98 to 117 AD). 23mm; 9.2 g
Obv: ΙƐΡΟΚΑΙС[ΑΡ]ƐΙΑ; turreted and draped bust of Tyche, r.
Rev: ΑΝΘΥΠΑΤΩ ΦΕΡΟΚΙ; Perseus nude standing facing, head l., holding harpa in r. hand, head of Gorgon in l.
Ref: RPC vol. 3 #1848 (two specimens known to RPC), BMC 19.

Finally, a true monster, at 41mm diameter.  "Perseus, meet Artemis.  Artemis, meet Perseus."



LYDIA, Hierocaesarea. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Time of Marcus Aurelius or Commodus, Æ 41mm, 33.15 g. P. Sex. Philippos, archon for the second time. Struck circa AD 179-180.

Obv: ΙƐΡΑ ϹΥΝΚΛ[ΗΤοϹ]; Draped bust of youthful Senate right; c/m: female head left within circular incuse.

Rev: [ƐΠΙ ΑΡΧ Π ϹƐ]Ξ? [ΦΙΛ]ΙΠΠΟΥ Τ [Β ΙƐΡΟΚΑΙϹ]/ΑΡƐΩΝ; On left; Perseus standing nude to right, holding harpa; on right, Aremis standing left, quiver over shoulder, holding bow; both clasp hands over lighted altar between them.

Ref: Kurth 58; RPC IV.2 Online #1276 (one specimen known), BMC 20; for c/m: Cf. Howgego 224.

Note that that ΑΡƐΩΝ in the exergue seems to be upside-down....


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@Ed Snible Beautiful Coins, especially the monster coin. WOW.

Your Tyche/Perseus example is not from the same dies as mine. So there are at least two die sets. This is unusual for such a rare coin.


Lydia, Hierokaisareia
Pseudo-autonomous issue
Magistrate: Ti. Iulius Ferox
AD 116/17
Obv: IЄPOKAICAPЄIA, Turreted and draped bust of Tyche right.
Rev: ΑΝΘΥΠΑΤΩ ΦΕΡΟΚΙ, Perseus nude standing facing, head l., holding harpa in r. hand, head of Gorgon in l.
AE, 8.10g, 22mm
Ref.: RPC Online, Vol 3, 1848

Edited by shanxi
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Outstanding collection of Hierocaesarea @shanxi!


I have a few but nowhere near the quality of yours.


Lydia, Hierocaesarea. AE14. 54-138 AD.

Obv: ΠEΡCIKH, draped bust of Artemis Persica left, quiver over shoulder.
Rev: IEΡOKAICAΡEΩN, lighted, garlanded altar.



Hierocaesareia, Lydia, AE14.

EΠI KΛ KAΠITΩNOC, head of Artemis right.                                                                                                                                                                                                        IEΡOKAICAΡEΩN, Artemis standing right, left knee on the back of a stag, grasping it by its antlers.

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