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SAECVLVM NOVVM -- The Dawn of a New Age

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In honor of our new forum, which represents a new age in the online discussion of ancient, medieval, and world coins, and because it's T-Bone Tuesday, I thought I'd post this one. Its reverse reads SAECVLVM NOVVM, which means "a new age" (in this case spelled saecullum) and depicts a temple (Jupiter Capitolinus? Roma Aeterna?). Coins of this reverse type were first issued by Philip I in honor of the secular games held to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the city. The "new age" thus referred to the second millennium of Rome.

I don't have one of these issued by Philip I, though I know many of you do. Fortunately for me, the design was subsequently used on coins of Herennius Etruscus, Hostilian, Trebonianus Gallus, and Volusian, even though the secular games were not held during the reigns of Decius or Trebonianus.

Gallus's coins of the Antioch mint average only 18.9% silver, so they aren't exactly the most lustrous coins in the history of Roman numismatics.

Post your SAECVLVM NOVVM coins, coins fit to celebrate the establishment of something new, or anything you feel is relevant!

Trebonianus Gallus SAECVLLVM NOVVM Antioch antoninianus.jpg
Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
Roman AR antoninianus, 3.49 g, 20.3 mm, 7 h.
Antioch, AD 251-252, second officina.
Obv: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust (viewed from back) of Trebonianus Gallus, right; •• below bust.
Rev: SAECVLLVM NOVVM, hexastyle temple, with figure (of Roma?) in center; •• in exergue.
Refs: RIC 91; Cohen 111; RCV 9648; Hunter 54.

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I wonder if this would also fit:


AE3 18mm 2.65g "centenionalis" minted at Arelate ca. 375.
DN GRATIANVS AVGG AVG, pearl-diademed, draped & cuirassed, bust r. (unusually elongated to the right), possibly die flaw or consular bust r.
GLORIA NO - VI SAECVLI, emperor standing facing, head left, holding labarum in right hand and resting left hand on shield.
TCON in exe.
RIC IX Arelate 15var. xiv (c)

If the unique obverse legend AVGG AVG has been interpreted as "Augustus Gener Augusti" in honor of his wedding to Constantia in 375, the reverse legend GLORIA NOVI SAECVLI seems to also be a nod to the Constantius II era with its FEL TEMP REPARATIO.

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I have one of these that looks to be nearly all bronze… including the bronze disease. 

Anyway, what makes this one special is the eagle in the pediment… making it rare and cool (or so I believe). 😁

I also have on of those Gratians, but it is way too ugly to show here.


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Quite an appropriate selection of coins! Unfortunately I can only contribute another antoninianus of Gallus, though, like the one @Orange Julius posted, it's a rarer variation with a special detail, which in this case is the fact that the temple is tetrastyle rather than hexastyle.


Roman Empire, Trebonianus Gallus (251-253), Antoninianus, Antioch mint.

Obverse: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind, VII (?) below;

Reverse: SAECVLLVM NOVVM (sic), tetrastyle temple with seated figure in centre, IV below;

RIC IV - (c.f. RIC IV 91); 

As for the temple on the reverse, I'm convinced that the one shown on the antoniniani issued at Rome by Philip is the temple of Roma, while the one that appears on the Antiochene issues is certainly a different one and, judging by the eagle as well as the distinctive shape of the seated figure, probably belongs to Jupiter. It's interesting to wonder whether there's a reason the engraver depicted a temple with four columns rather than six, on this coin: maybe he was portraying a local building?

Edited by Claudius_Gothicus
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How about this Provincial Phoenix from Antoninus Pius to celebrate our new Great Sothic Cycle?

Antoninus Pius, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 6 (142-143 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑΝΤΝΙΝΟϹ - ϹƐΒƐVϹƐΒ around (beginning at 1:00) / Rev. Phoenix standing right, crowned with circular nimbus [halo], ΑΙ - Ν [= Aion, Greek equivalent of Roman Aeternitas, also symbolizing the cyclical nature of “time, the orb or circle encompassing the universe, and the zodiac” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aion_(deity))]; across lower fields, L - Ϛ [Year 6]. 23.5 mm., 12.7 g.  Dattari (1901 ed.) 2431 at p. 153 (this coin) [Dattari, Giovanni, Monete imperiali greche, Numi Augg. Alexandrini, Catalogo della collezione (Cairo 1901)]; Dattari (Savio) 2429 & Pl. 117 (this coin) [Savio, A. ed., Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini (Trieste, 2007)] [numbering different because of error: illustrations of 2431 and 2429 switched on Pl. 117]; RPC IV.4 Online 13506 (temporary) (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/13506); Emmett 1419.6; Milne 1734 at p. 42; BMC 16 Alexandria 1004 at p. 117 (rev. ill at Pl. XXVI) [“Phoenix (Numidian crane)”], K&G 35.180 (obv. var., draped), SNG Fr. Alexandrie II 2267 (obv. var., draped). Purchased from Naville Numismatics Auction 72 (27 Mar 2022), Lot 341; ex. Dattari Collection.*


*The phoenix on the reverse of this coin, accompanied by the legend “ΑΙΝ,” clearly relate to the beginning of a new Great Sothic Cycle early in the reign of Antoninus Pius, as most famously reflected in the Zodiac coinage issued in his eighth year. See Classical Numismatic Group, Triton XXI Catalog (“The Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection of the Coins of Roman Alexandria,” Jan 9. 2018), Lot 124, p. 68 (available at https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=349280😞

 “The Great Sothic Cycle was a calendrical cycle based on the heliacal rising in July of the star Sirius (known to the Greeks as Sothis) and lasting approximately 1460 years. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, in a Golden Age, the beginning of the flooding of the Nile coincided exactly with the rising of Sirius, which was reckoned as the New Year. Only once every 1460 years did Sirius rise at exactly the same time. Thus, the coincidence of this along with the concurrent beginning of the flooding of the Nile gave the event major cosmological significance by heralding not just the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new eon. This event also was thought to herald the appearance of the phoenix, a mythological bird which was reborn every 500 to 1000 years out of its own ashes. According to one version of the myth, each new phoenix embalmed its old ashes in an egg of myrrh, which it then deposited in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis. So important was the advent of the new Great Sothic Cycle, both to the realignment of the heavens and its signaling of the annual flooding of the Nile, that the Egyptians celebrated it in a five-day festival, which emphasized the important cosmological significance.

 In the third year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD 139/40), a new Great Sothic Cycle began. To mark this event, the mint of Alexandria struck an extensive series of coinage . . ., each related in some astrological way to the reordering of the heavens during the advent of the new Great Sothic Cycle. This celebration would continue throughout Pius’ reign.”

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