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Faustina Friday – A Provincial of Faustina the Younger from Cibyra in Phrygia


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! Today we'll examine a little bronze from the Phrygian town of Cibyra. Cibyra, in the district watered by the upper Indus River and its tributaries in southern Phrygia, was the chief city of a confederation of four towns bordering Lycia: Cibyra, Balbura, Bubon, and Oenoanda.[1] In pre-Roman times, these cities and their environs formed an independent state known as Cibyratis, in a region known as the Pamphylian Cabalia,[2] outside the north-western limits of the province of Lycia. Because the city was located on the crossroads of Phrygian, Carian, Lycian and Pisidian cultures, and of commercial routes running east-west and north-south directions,[3] it was an important center for trade in the region.
 

220240129_Cibyramap.jpg.2b52dbb0af4d8b3fa208686553b1d1c4.jpg

This map depicts Cibyratis as lying in the Pamphylian Cabala. From "Asia citerior," Auctore Henrico Kiepert Berolinensi. Geographische Verlagshandlung Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen) Berlin, Wilhemlstr. 29. (1903). David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.


The ancient city, just west of the township of Gölhisar, has been excavated and is on the tentative list of UNESCO heritage sites.[3] Its ruins include an odeon, a stadium, an agora on a columnaded street, and a communal bath.[4]

1076155686_CibyraOdeon.jpg.c86197aa7d6ec74bf7f37e38e76835ed.jpg

Cibyra Odeon, photographed by Dosseman, used by permission.


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Cibyra Stadium, photographed by Dosseman, used by permission.

 

939013312_cibyraAgora.jpg.79232376aaadece8738997051cbdb0ed.jpg

Cibyra, agora and columned street, photographed by Dosseman, used by permission.

 

243783609_Cibyrabath.jpg.ad5db1f1622bf7396c5cc0f1962ccf6a.jpg

Cibyra East Roman bath, photographed by Dosseman, used by permission.


The emblem of the city was a wicker basket, a play on words. The name of the town calls to mind the Greek words κίβισις, κιβωτός, κιβώριον, and so on, all of which refer to containers of various sorts. The city struck silver and bronze issues under a series of dynasts who ruled the city until its incorporation into the Roman province of Asia in 84 BC. The city again struck coinage under Roman rule from the reign of Augustus to that of Gallienus.[5]

This coin depicts a wicker basket on its reverse.


489805209_FaustinaJrCibyra.jpg.721998c915c019977384440092c88258.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman provincial Æ 19.3 mm, 5.30 g, 7 h.
Phrygia, Cibyra, AD 147-155.
Obv: ΦΑVСΤ
ЄINΑ ΝЄΑ, draped bust, right, with single strand of pearls (Beckmann Type 1 hairstyle).
Rev: ΚΙΒVΡΑ-ΤΩΝ, wicker basket.
Refs: RPC IV.2,
1950 (temporary); SNG Cop 289; BMC –.


The coin is undoubtedly early. The obverse bears the unusual inscription, ΦΑVСΤЄΙΝΑ ΝЄΑ. The Greek word, ΝЄΑ, means "Junior" or "Young," and suggests it was added so as to inform the citizens of Cibyra that the woman on this coin was not the elder Faustina with whom they were familiar, but the younger Faustina with whom they were NOT familiar. This suggests an early date. Moreover, the empress is depicted in her earliest hairstyle, used on the imperial coinage from AD 147-149.[6] Dating provincial coins based on hairstyle is problematic, because it may have taken some time for news of a change in hairstyle to reach remote provincial mints. I therefore allow for such portraiture to extend for a few years beyond that seen on the imperial portraits. A date of AD 147-155 is more than reasonable.

The city issued only one other reverse type for Faustina the Younger (RPC IV.2,
1949), a commemorative bronze issued to celebrate the alliance of the city with Hierapolis in Phrygia. I have previously written about Hierapolis elsewhere. It is to be dated later. The obverse inscription reads the more typical ΦΑVϹΤЄΙΝΑ ϹЄΒΑϹΤΗ, the equivalent of FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, used on the imperial coinage from AD 156 until her death in AD 175. Moreover, the empress is depicted with the Beckmann Type 5 hairstyle, in use from AD 154 until after the birth of her twins in AD 161.[7]

Do you have any coins of Cibyra in Phrygia? Please post comments and anything you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes


1. Head, Barclay Vincent. Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Phrygia in the British Museum. Printed by Order of the Trustees, 1906, p. xlv.

2. Smith, William. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, Illustrated by Numerous Engravings on Wood. Walton and Maberly, 1854, s.v. Cabalis, p. 461.

3. "Ancient City of Kibyra." UNESCO World Heritage Centre,
https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/6123/.

4. "Cibyra." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Oct. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cibyra.


5. Head, op. cit., pp. xlvi-xlvii.

6. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, p. 40.

7. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September 2021.

Edited by Roman Collector
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Here is a coin depicting Helios or Medusa:

kibyra.jpg.05cee50653188a8dbe50935a97f9da95.jpg

Phrygia, Kibyra, 133-84 BC, AE 15.7 mm, 2.56 g

I’ve assigned the coin to the date range 133-84 BC. Other sources date the coinage of Kibyra to 166-84 BC. I suspect “166” is a typo for 133 BC that originated in Barclay Head’s BMC catalog. In his introduction Head says “some of the autonomous bronzes coins are apparently dated from the era of Asia 134-3 BC” (page xlvii) but in the catalog the unexplained year 166 BC is used. Nothing of note happened in Phrygia in 166 BC, did it? The coinage of many cities are arranged by numismatists with 133 BC as the beginning or end of a period based on the Roman takeover at the end of the Pergamene kingdom.

Mionnet described the facing head as Helios.  The wings suggest a late-style gorgoneion.  I think Babelon called it Medusa.  There are coins of Kibyra showing a warrior holding a pelta (shield) with the same head, with snake ties around the neck.  However there are also coins with side-facing Helios on the obverse, perhaps borrowed from the types of Rhodes.

The basket is a punning type for the city.  William Henry Waddington suggested the basket was the kibisis where Perseus kept the gorgon's head.

 

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9 minutes ago, Ed Snible said:

Here is a coin depicting Helios or Medusa:

kibyra.jpg.05cee50653188a8dbe50935a97f9da95.jpg

Phrygia, Kibyra, 133-84 BC, AE 15.7 mm, 2.56 g

I’ve assigned the coin to the date range 133-84 BC. Other sources date the coinage of Kibyra to 166-84 BC. I suspect “166” is a typo for 133 BC that originated in Barclay Head’s BMC catalog. In his introduction Head says “some of the autonomous bronzes coins are apparently dated from the era of Asia 134-3 BC” (page xlvii) but in the catalog the unexplained year 166 BC is used. Nothing of note happened in Phrygia in 166 BC, did it? The coinage of many cities are arranged by numismatists with 133 BC as the beginning or end of a period based on the Roman takeover at the end of the Pergamene kingdom.

Mionnet described the facing head as Helios.  The wings suggest a late-style gorgoneion.  I think Babelon called it Medusa.  There are coins of Kibyra showing a warrior holding a pelta (shield) with the same head, with snake ties around the neck.  However there are also coins with side-facing Helios on the obverse, perhaps borrowed from the types of Rhodes.

The basket is a punning type for the city.  William Henry Waddington suggested the basket was the kibisis where Perseus kept the gorgon's head.

 

Very interesting, @Ed Snible! Waddington's suggestion is all the more reason to take the obverse figure on your coin as Medusa.

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A wicker basket...

ace-ventura-sarcastic-laugh.gif.e6a5b5b440c6290abf3c4a89b2956ce8.gif

I know an orgy pit when I see one!

I'll have to invite you sometime😘

Annnnd gatdamn that patina is hypnotic. 

Here's some of mine with similar green with highlights:

IMG_0239.PNG.8ff757015ca1b08aa26f9fffc8780f1c.PNGIMG_0242(1).PNG.5d34fd67e25496986824b57697165f59.PNGshare950334218696341135.png.f1d8ce4abda6463a5c1e51c70fd52c27.png

And to keep it legal, and share what an ancient orgy booth looked like (it was always a tight squeeze in there), a coin of Faustina and her booth:

Screenshot_20210109-114440_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.ed8e0a5e235ce267843efdadca407921.png

Edited by Ryro
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