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Faustina Friday – Syedra in Cilicia and Side in Pamphylia Shared a Die-Engraver!

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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! Today we're going to discuss an arrangement between the cities of Side in Pamphylia and Syedra in Cilicia to share minting duties. Both were port cities on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey.


Map of Pamphilia and western Cilicia depicting the locations of Side (west) and Syedra (east). From "Asia citerior," Auctore Henrico Kiepert Berolinensi. Geographische Verlagshandlung Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen) Berlin, Wilhemlstr. 29. (1903). David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Hill remarks that the coinage of Syedra "shows the influence of the neighboring Side," and notes several reverse types shared between the two cities.[1] I recently acquired a coin of Faustina the Younger issued for Syedra with a reverse type that has only recently been described, Tyche standing left, holding a rudder and cornucopiae.


Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman provincial Æ 17.2 mm, 5.27 g, 7 h.
Cilicia, Syedra, c. AD 157-165.
Obv: ΦΑVϹΤΙΝΑ ϹЄΒΑϹΤΗ; bare-headed and draped bust of Faustina II, right.
Rev: ϹΥЄΔ-ΡЄΩΝ, Tyche standing, left, wearing kalathos, holding rudder and cornucopiae.
Refs: RPC IV.3,
17254 (temporary; this coin); SNG Pfälzer Kilikien 1186-87.

Side also struck a coin of this reverse type for Faustina the Younger.


Roman provincial Æ 24 mm, 9.19 g, 12 h. of Side in Pamphylia, RPC IV.3, 17288 (temporary). Numismatik Naumann Auction 50, lot 367, 5 February 2017.

Even though the two coins are of two different modules, the coin of Side being 5 mm larger in diameter, their styles are so similar that the only reasonable explanation is that they were engraved by the same artist. Thus, it seems we are not dealing with mere "influence" of one city on another in numismatic design, but a more formal arrangement between the cities to share minting duties.

Such an arrangement is not at all without precedent. The discovery of mules combining an obverse die intended for one city with the reverse die intended for another demonstrates the practice of sharing coin production between several cities in the Black Sea region during the third century AD. I have
discussed this previously elsewhere. Similarly, the cities of Dalisandus, Ilistra, Barata and Laranda in Lycaonia appear to have shared die engravers, if not entire mints.[2]

Three possible arrangements come to mind to explain this finding. The coins of Side and Syedra may have been struck at a central mint, likely Side,[2] and then the coins minted for Syedra may have been transported to Syedra for local use. Alternatively, the dies for coins of both cities may have been engraved at a central location (again, likely Side) and those dies intended for Syedra were transported to that city and were used to strike coins at a local mint there. Lastly, Konrad Kraft proposed a system of traveling workshops of die engravers and minting equipment that would travel from city to city striking coins.[4]

Kraft's theory has been refined and somewhat refuted by George Watson, who compiled a die catalog listing all known specimens of twenty-seven cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia and Cilicia ordered according to their dies. He concludes that no one practice was universally followed by all cities in southern Asia Minor. Rather, some cities were likely served by traveling die-engravers, whereas other cities – those with many shared dies – used a shared mint approach.[5]

Do you have any Roman provincial coins of Side or Syedra? Please post anything you feel is relevant!



Hill, G.F. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Lycaonia, Isauria, and Cilicia. British Museum, London, 1900, p. xxxvi.

2. Johnston, Ann. "The Intermittent Imperials: the Coinages of Lycia, Lycaonia, and Pisidia." The Numismatic Chronicle, vol. 20, no. 140, ser. 7, 1980, pp. 205–206.

3. Side had been striking coins since the early fifth century BC, whereas the coinage of Syedra is all of Imperial date (Tiberius to Gallienus). See Hill, George Francis. Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia. Gilbert and Rivington, 1897, p. lxxxi; Hill, G.F. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Lycaonia, Isauria, and Cilicia. British Museum, London, 1900, p. xxxvi.

4. Kraft, Konrad. Das System Der Kaiserzeitlichen Münzprägung in Kleinasien: Materialen Und Entwürfe. Gebr. Mann, 1972.

5. Watson, George C. Connections, Communities, and Coinage: The System of Coin Production in Southern Asia Minor, AD 218–276 (Numismatic studies 39). New York: American Numismatic Society, 2019.

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Travelling mints, or shared mints are an intersting topic.


I have  a coin from Kyme which appears to be very similar to coins from Smyrna, and I suspect that there is a similar background. The problem is, that they are usually dated to reigns from different times. 


My coin:


Aiolis, Kyme
AE 14
Pseudo-autonomous. Time of Gallienus (253-268)
Obv.: Draped bust of Serapis right, wearing calathus.
Rev.: KYMA-I-ΩN dot, Prow right.
AE, 14 mm, 1.29g
Ref.: BMC p. 117, 125 var. (no dot)


Smyrna (not my coin / picture Numismatik Naumann)


Roman Provincial Coins
IONIA. Smyrna. Pseudo-autonomous. Time of Elagabalus to Severus Alexander (218-235). Ae.
Draped bust of Serapis right, wearing calathus.
Prow right.
RPC VI online 4689.
Condition: Good very fine.
Weight: 1.47 g.
Diameter: 13 mm.

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Cilicia, Syedra. Gallienus, AD 253-268. Æ Assaria (26mm, 15.02g, 6h). Obv: ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ ΠO ΛIK ΓAΛ[ΛIHNOC CE-B]; Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, IA (mark of value) to right. Rev: CVE-ΔΡEΩN; Mars standing right, holding spear and resting hand upon shield. Ref: SNG Levante 436. Very Fine/Good Fine, brown patina with some flan flaws. Ex-Colosseum Coin Exchange. Note: See SNG France 2, 669, SNG Levante 445, SNG Cop 256 and SNG von Aulock 5906 for Salonina examples.


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