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DonnaML's Top Roman Provincial Coins for 2022


DonnaML

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I bought a lot of Roman Provincial coins this year that I liked a lot, so it was very difficult just to get the list down to 16!

As with my other lists so far, there's no poll, but of course if there are any that anyone particularly likes, I'd be pleased to know.

I confess to being entirely arbitrary about including or omitting footnotes, except that I left out the incredibly long ones! But please feel free to ignore even the ones I included. You won't be tested.

1. (I could have classified this one as Roman Imperial, but that's going to be an even more difficult list to pare down!)

Augustus, AR Cistophoric tetradrachm [ = three denarii]*, 27-26 BCE, Province of Asia [NW Asia Minor], Mysia, Pergamon[?] Mint. Obv. Bare head right, IMP•CAESAR downwards behind, lituus before / Rev. Capricorn** swimming right with head turned back to left, cornucopiae on its back, AVGVSTVS below; all within a laurel wreath tied in bow at bottom. RIC I Augustus 488 (2nd ed. 1984) [see http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.1(2).aug.488]; RSC I Augustus 16a (3rd ed. 1978) (ill. p. 132); RPC I Online 2208 [see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/1/2208]; Sear RCV I 1585;  Sutherland Group IIIβ, nos 87–98a [see Sutherland, C.H.V., The Cistophori of Augustus (London, 1970)]; BMCRE I Augustus 698; BMCRR II (East) 287. 26 mm., 11.7 g. Purchased Feb. 2022 from Wessex Coins, UK. [Footnotes omitted.]

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2. Vespasian AR Didrachm, Caesarea, Province of Galatia-Cappadocia, Year 9 (AD 76-77). Obv. Laureate Head of Vespasian right, [ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑ] ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΟΥЄϹΠΑϹΙΑΝΟϹ Ϲ[ЄΒΑϹΤΟϹ] / Rev. Laureate Head of Titus right, [ΑΥΤ]Ο ΚΑΙ ΟΥЄϹΠΑϹΙΑΝΟϹ ϹЄΒΑϹΤ[ΟΥ ΥΙΟϹ]. 20 mm., 7.06 g., 1 hr. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. II Online 1650 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/2/1650); Sydenham 102 [E. Sydenham, The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (1933 & 1978 Supp. by A.G. Malloy)]. Purchased from Roma Numismatics Ltd E-Sale 103, 24 Nov. 2022, Lot 737.

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3. Trajan AR Drachm, AD 98/99, Koinon of Lycia. Obv. Laureate head of Trajan right, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΝΕΡ ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟϹ ϹΕΒ ΓƐΡΜ / Rev. Two lyres with owl perched on top of them, standing to right, ΔΗΜ ΕΞ ΥΠΑΤ • Β [COS II]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 2676 (2015); RPC III Online 2676 at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/2676; SNG von Aulock 4268 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia (Berlin, 1962)]; BMC 19 Lycia 9-11 at p. 39 (ill. Pl. IX No. 11) [Hill, G.F., A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia (London, 1897)]. Purchased Jan. 6, 2022 at Roma Numismatics E-Sale 93, Lot 717. 18 mm., 2.87 g., 6 h. 

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4. Hadrian, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 10 (125/126 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right wearing paladumentum and aegis, seen from rear; around from 7:00, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ - ΤΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑ ϹƐΒ [translation: Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus] / Rev. Laureate and draped bust of Zeus right, wearing himation; around, L ΔΕΚΑΤΟΥ [Year 10, spelled out]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 5598 (2015); RPC III Online 5598 at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/5598; Emmett 903.10 (R2) [Emmett, Keith, Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001)]; BMC 16 Alexandria 571 at p. 70 [Poole, Reginald Stuart, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 16, Alexandria (London, 1892)] [ill. RPC III Online 5598, Specimen 2 (primary illustration of type)] [same rev. leg.]; Milne 1100 at p. 28 [Milne, J.G., Catalogue of Alexandrian Coins in Ashmolean Museum (Oxford 1933, reprint with supplement by Colin M. Kraay, 1971)] [ill. RPC III Online 5598, Specimen 7] [same rev. leg.]; Curtis 555 at p. 22 [James W. Curtis, The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt (1969)] [same rev. leg.]; K&G 32.362 [Kampmann, Ursula & Ganschow, Thomas, Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria  (2008)] [rev. leg. var.]; SNG France 4, Alexandrie II 1474 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France Vol. 4, Alexandrie II, Hadrien – Antonin le Pieux – Nomes (Zurich 2018)] [rev. leg. var.] 26 mm., 13.30 g., 11 h. Purchased from Classical Numismatic Group, LLC [CNG] Electronic Auction 524, 28 Sep 2022, Lot 388. [Note: 5 of 7 illustrated examples at RPC show Zeus wearing taenia instead of laurel wreath.]

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5. Hadrian, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 19 (134/135 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head left; around from 2:00, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑΙΑΝ - ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ [translation: Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus] / Rev. Draped bust of Serapis right, crowned with modius adorned with leaves (appearing as dots), wearing taenia and himation; around, L ƐΝ – ΝƐΑΚ•Δ [Year 19, spelled out]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 5943 (2015); RPC III Online 5943 at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/5943; Emmett 889.19 [Emmett, Keith, Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001)]; BMC 16 Alexandria 610 at p. 73 [Poole, Reginald Stuart, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 16, Alexandria (London, 1892)] [ill. RPC III Online 5943, Specimen 3 (primary illustration of type)] [same rev. leg.]; Milne 1100 at p. 28 [Milne, J.G., Catalogue of Alexandrian Coins in Ashmolean Museum (Oxford 1933, reprint with supplement by Colin M. Kraay, 1971)] [ill. RPC III Online 5943, Specimen 27] [same rev. leg.]; K&G 32.362 [Kampmann, Ursula & Ganschow, Thomas, Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria  (2008)] [ill. p. 146, rev. leg. var.]; SNG France 4, Alexandrie II 1903 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France Vol. 4, Alexandrie II, Hadrien – Antonin le Pieux – Nomes (Zurich 2018)] [rev. leg. var.]; Dattari (1901 ed.) 1465 at p. 94 [ill. Pl. XXII; rev. leg. var.] [Dattari, Giovanni, Monete imperiali greche, Numi Augg. Alexandrini, Catalogo della collezione (Cairo 1901)]. 24.5 mm., 13.50 g., 12 h. Purchased from Classical Numismatic Group, LLC [CNG] Electronic Auction 524, 28 Sep 2022, Lot 390.

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6. Hadrian, AE Drachm, Year 17 (AD 132/133), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from rear, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑΙΑΝ -  ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒ / Rev. Isis Pharia, holding billowing sail and sistrum above, sailing right in galley towards the Pharos of Alexandria, which has doorway in front and is surmounted by a statue as well as two tritons blowing seashell trumpets; [L]I – Z (Year 17) across lower fields behind and in front of Isis. 33 mm., 22.64 g., 12 h. Emmett 1002.17, K&G 32.547, RPC III Online 5838 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/5838), Milne 1373 at p. 33. Purchased Feb. 2022; ex. Classical Numismatic Group, eAuction 384, Oct. 12, 2016, Lot 482.

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7. Hadrian, AR Tridrachm, Tarsus [= Tarsos], Province of Cilicia, AD 117-138 (undated). Obv. Laureate head right with drapery on far shoulder, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ ΘΕ ΤΡΑ ΠΑΡ ΥΙ ΘΕ ΝΕΡ ΥΙ ΤΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟⳞ ⳞΕ [ = Imperator Caesar divi Traiani Parthicus filius divi Nervae nepos Traianus Hadrianus Augustus] / Rev. Hittite/Cilician god Sandan (a/k/a Sandas)* wearing towered crown, striding right on back of a horned and winged lion (with curved goat horns**); Sandan wears bow-case and sword on left side (together with additional weapons [club and dagger?] worn at waist), and holds double axe and wreath (or crown) in his left hand, with a quiver(?) worn on his right side, and his right hand raised to point forward; ΤΑΡⳞΕΩΝ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΕΩⳞ. 25.5 mm., 9.95 g.  RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 3266 (2015); RPC III Online 3266 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/3266); BMC Vol. 21 Cilicia, Tarsus 145-146 at p. 186 [Hill, G.F., A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Lycaonia, Isauria, and Cilicia (London, 1900)]; Prieur 767 [Michel and Karin Prieur, Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms (London, 2000)]. Purchased from Aegean Numismatics, Mentor OH, Nov. 20, 2022. 

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*See CNG’s discussion of Sandan at https://www.cngcoins.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=376: “The cult of Sandan, or Sandas, is a remnant of the 17th century BC Hittite occupation of Cilicia. In his Luwian form he was Teshub, the god of mountain storms. Within the Hittite sanctuary at Yazilikaya he is depicted as a bearded god with conical headdress, holding a club and plant, probably related to the Mesopotamian Tree of Life. Like the rest of the Hittite High Gods, Teshub's feet never touch earth; he either rides the back of mythological beasts, is borne on the shoulders of lesser gods, or strides above the mountain tops. The mountain tops recall the lofty Hittite homeland, as does the high-peaked cap, and the pyramidal shape of Sandan's altar. While Sandan's cult in Tarsos became assimilated with that of Herakles, in his origins as a nature god he is more similar to the Greek king of the gods, Zeus.” 

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandas: “Sandas (more commonly spelt as "Sandan") was the Anatolian (Hittite) lion god during the Classical period. He used to be represented in association with a horned lion, and often resided inside a pyre surmounted by an eagle. Sandan was often associated to the Greek god Herakles, and sometimes to Marduk. In ceremonies, an image of the god was placed inside a pyre and was set on fire. Sandan appears in the coins of the Seleucids, as well as on other coins of Tarsus (Cilicia) during the time of the Roman emperors. In Tarsus, Sandon (sometimes spelled Sandes, Sandan, or Sanda) was visually represented as a mitre-wearing human form carrying a sword, a flower, or (commonly) an axe who stands on the back of a horned and winged lion.[1][2] Associated primarily with war and weather,[3] Sandon was the chief god in the Cilician pantheon from at least the beginning of the second millennium BC.[4] The ancient Greeks and Romans equated Sandon with Herakles.[5] A large monument to Sandon existed at Tarsus at least until the third century AD.” [Footnotes omitted.]

** For references to the idea of the horned lion on top of which Sandan stands being a goat-lion amalgamation, related to the Chimaera, see Attilio Mastrocinque, “Chimaera: Features of Near Eastern and Greek Mythology Concerning the Plague,” Journal of Ancient and Near Eastern Religions, Vol. 7 No. 2 at pp. 198-217 (2007), available at https://www.academia.edu/21694825/The_Cilician_God_Sandas_and_the_Greek_Chimaera.  Also regarding the author's comparison to the mythological Chimaera, note the long, sinuous, snake-like tail on this coin's goat-horned lion.

8. Hadrian, AR Tridrachm, Tarsus [= Tarsos], Province of Cilicia (SE Anatolia, now in Turkey), AD 117-138 (undated). Obv. Laureate head right, [ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙ ΘΕ Τ]ΡA ΠΑΡ ΥΙ ΘΕ ΝΕΡ ΥΙ ΤΡΑI ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹEB / Rev. City-goddess Tyche, turreted and veiled, seated left on diphros [backless stool with four turned legs] (front leg & seat decorated as foreleg and wing of sphinx or griffin), holding palm branch in right hand and touching back corner of seat with left hand [type without cornucopiae in left hand]; at her feet to left, river-God Kydnos,* crowned with wreath of sedge-plant, swimming left with right arm upraised, [ΤΑ]Ρ-CΕΩΝ-ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΕΩC. 23 mm., 9.39 g., 1 h. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 3262 (2015); RPC III Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/3262; Prieur 761 [Michel and Karin Prieur, Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms (London, 2000)]; BMC Vol. 21 Cilicia, Tarsus 148 at p. 187 [Hill, G.F., A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Lycaonia, Isauria, and Cilicia (London, 1900)]; SNG France Cilicia 1401-1403 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France Vol. 2, Cilicia (Paris 1993)]. Purchased from Leu Numismatik AG, Winterthur, Switzerland, Web Auction 20, 16-18 Jul 2022, Lot 2065.

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*The river-God Kydnos was the personification of the River Kydnos, which “had its headwaters in the Tarsos (Tarsus) Mountains on the Kilikian border with Syria and flowed into the Mediterranean near the city of Tarsos.” See https://www.theoi.com/Potamos/PotamosKydnos.html.

9.  Antoninus Pius, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 5 (AD 141/142), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind, ΑVΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤⲰΝΙΝΟϹ / Rev. Artemis advancing right, wearing diplois (cloak) and boots, with short chiton and short peplos which flies behind, right breast bare, raising right hand to pluck arrow from quiver and holding out bow in left hand; in left field, L beneath E (Year 5). 23 mm., 13.52 g., 12 h. Emmett 1362.5, RPC IV.4 Online 14247 (temporary) (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/14247); Milne 1693 at p. 41 (detailed description of Artemis at p. 134); BMC 16 Alexandria 938 (at p. 109 & Pl. III) (rev. var. in placement of year). Purchased at CNG [Classical Numismatic Group, LLC] E-Auction 512, 23 March 2022, Lot 454.

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10. Antoninus Pius, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 6 (142-143 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑΝΤⲰΝΙΝΟϹ - ϹƐΒƐVϹƐΒ around (beginning at 1:00) / Rev. Phoenix standing right, crowned with circular nimbus [halo], ΑΙ - ⲰΝ [= 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.*

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*The phoenix on the reverse of this coin, accompanied by the legend “ΑΙⲰΝ,” 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.”

11. Septimius Severus, Billon Tetradrachm, AD 209-211, Phoenicia, Tyre. Obv. Laureate head right, AYT KAI CEΠ CEOYHPOC CE / Rev. Eagle standing facing upon club right, with spread wings and head to left, holding wreath in his beak; between legs, murex shell, ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΥΠΤΟC ΤΟ Γ.  27 mm., 13.83 g, 11 h.  Prieur 1533. Purchased at Nomos Obolos Auction 22, 6 March 2022, Lot 576.  Obverse die match to example of Prieur 1533 sold at CNG E-Auction 443, Jan. 5, 2019, Lot 422, ex. Freeman & Sear FPL [fixed price list] 1, 1994, A261. Reverse of this coin, including dots in legend, is die match to Prieur 1534 [obverse of 1534 differs from 1533 in that bust on 1534 is draped and cuirassed]. This coin is one of only three known examples of Prieur 1533: this coin, the coin sold by CNG in 2019 (ex Freeman & Sear), and Prieur 1533 itself (ex. M&M FPL 250, Dec. 1964/Jan. 1965, # 95).

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12. Caracalla Billon Tetradrachm, COS. IV, AD 213-217 [McAlee pp. 6, 270: probably ca. 216-217; see third fn. below], Antioch ad Orontem, Seleucis and Pieria,* Syria Province. Obv. Laureate head right, [ΑΥΤ]•Κ•Μ•Α• •ΑΝΤΩΝЄΙΝΟC [CЄΒ] / Rev. Eagle with wreath in beak, head right, and wings spread, standing facing on leg and thigh of sacrificial animal,** ΔΗΜΑΡX•ЄΞ• ΥΠΑ• ΤΟ• Δ• [equivalent of TR P COS IV (fourth consulship)] around, •Δ•-• Є • [Delta – Epsilon***] across upper fields. McAlee 681 (ill. p. 271), Prieur 224, Bellinger 19 [Alfred R. Bellinger, The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus, American Numismatic Society (Numismatic Studies No. 3, New York, 1940)]. 13.49 g., 25 mm., 12 h. Purchased from Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Auction 96, 5 May 2022, Lot 739. [Footnotes, re meaning of ΔЄ, etc., omitted.]

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13. Macrinus Æ26, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior, AD 217-218. Under Marcus Claudius Agrippa, consular legate. Obv. Laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from front,  with aegis on left shoulder (snake protruding, representing Medusa’s hair) and head of Medusa on breastplate of cuirass, AV K OΠΠEΛ CEV - H MAKΡINOC / Rev. the emperor driving triumphal quadriga (decorated with image of Victory) to right, holding reins and transverse sceptre in left hand, raising right hand in salute; Virtus or soldier preceding, stepping right before the horses with head reverted to left and holding vexillum over shoulder; above, trophy of arms between two seated captives; VΠ AΓΡIΠΠA NIKOΠOΛ around from 8:00; in exergue in two lines, ITΩN ΠΡ OC | ICTΡΩ. 10.38g, 26mm, 6h. Pick, AMNG I/I 1712 (at p. 440) & Pl. XIX nr. 16 [rev. die match] [Pick, Behrendt, Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I (Berlin, 1898) (6 specimens)]; Corpus Nummorum Online 26655 [see https://www.corpus-nummorum.eu/CN_26655]; Varbanov I 3405 (var. obv. legend) [Ivan Varbanov, Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior (English Edition) (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005)];   Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov 8.23.34.2 [Hristova, H., H.-J. Hoeft, & G. Jekov, The Coins of Moesia Inferior 1st - 3rd c. AD: Nicopolis ad Istrum (Blagoevgrad, 2015)]. “Near Extremely Fine; beautiful olive green patina. Very Rare.” [39 examples on ACSearch, inclusive of duplicates.] Purchased from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 220th Buy or Bid Sale, June 2022, Lot 334; ex Roma Numismatics Ltd., Auction XX, 29 Oct. 2020, Lot 384 (acquired from Leu Numismatik AG); ex Helios Numismatik, Auction 8, 13 October 2012, lot 337 (ex European collection, formed before 2005). [Video of coin at https://www.hjbltd.com/#!/inventory/item-detail/ancient-coins/100313?fromBbs=220th Buy Or Bid Sale.]

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14. Philip I, AE 23 (Dupondius), Viminacium, Moesia Superior (Provincial capital) [nr. Kostolac, Serbia], Mar-Jul 244 AD [City Year 5].* Obv. Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, IMP IVL PHILIPPVS PIVS FEL AVG PM [PM = Persicus Maximus] [= Emperor Iulius Philippus dutiful and fortunate Augustus, greatest conquerer of the Persians] / Rev. Moesia standing facing, head left; to left, bull standing right; to right, lion standing left; P M S C – OL VIM [Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium] around; in exergue, AN V [Year 5]. 23 mm., 8.11 g., 1 h. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. VIII Online 2383 [temporary ID number] (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/type/2383) ; AMNG I/I 97 (p. 39) [Pick, Behrendt, Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I  (Berlin, 1898)]; Varbanov 131 Varbanov 5781 [Varbanov, Ivan, Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior (English Edition) (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005)]; H & J 25 [Hristova, Nina and Gospodin Jekov, The Local Coinage of the Roman Empire - Moesia Superior, VIMINACIUM (Blagoevgrad, 2004)]. Purchased from Nomos AG Obolos Auction 23, 12 Jun 2022, Lot 576.

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*See http://www.viminacium.nl/English Philippus I.html (“AN V, used from february/march 244 until july 244”). See also https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Viminacium: “Viminacium, a Roman Colony founded by Gordian III in 239 A.D. and the capital of the Roman province of Moesia Superior, was located about 20 km to the east of modern Kostolac, Serbia. Coins are known of the emperors from Gordian III with dates AN I, Anno Primo, (year 1, autumn 239 - autumn 240 A.D.) to Valerian and Gallienus AN XVI, Anno Sexto Decimo, (year 16, autumn 254 - autumn 255 A.D.). The usual reverse legend on the colonial coinage is P. M. S. COL. VIM., abbreviating Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium. The usual reverse type is a female personification of Moesia standing between a lion and a bull, and sometimes holding standards inscribed VII and IIII. The bull and the lion were symbols of the Legions VII Claudia and IV Flavia Felix, which were quartered in the province.”

15. Philip I AE Octassarion (8 Assaria), Second Issue, AD 247-249, Syria, Seleucis & Pieria, Antioch Mint. Obv. Radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right, ΑΥΤΟΚ Κ Μ ΙΟΥΛΙ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟϹ ϹƐΒ / Rev. Turreted and draped bust of Tyche right; above, ram leaping right with head turned back left; star below bust; ΑΝΤΙΟΧƐΩΝ - ΜΗΤΡΟ ΚΟΛΩΝ around; Δ – Ɛ [Delta – Epsilon] across upper fields; S - C across lower fields. 30 mm., 15.68 g. McAlee 990 (ill. p. 345) [Richard McAlee, The Coins of Roman Antioch (2007)]; RPC VIII Online (unassigned, ID 7493) (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/type/7493); BMC 20 Syria 526 [Warwick Wroth, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 20, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Syria (London, 1899) at p. 215]. Purchased from Kenneth W. Dorney, Feb. 2022.*

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*Second Issue, Star below Tyche; Octassarion: See McAlee at p. 327:

“The aes coinage of Philip I and his family can be divided into two issues. The first issue, struck from 244 to c.247, is characterized by an obverse legend for Philip I which includes ‘MA.IOVΛ.’ (or, rarely, ‘MA. IOVΛI.’), a reverse legend ending ‘ΚΟΛΩ.’, and the absence of a star below the bust of Tyche on the largest denomination. The second issue, struck from c. 247 to 249, is characterized by an obverse legend for Philip I which includes ‘M. IOVΛI.’, a reverse legend ending ‘ΚΟΛΩΝ.’, and the presence of a star below the bust of Tyche on the largest denomination. The coins of the first issue are larger and heavier than those of the second issue, and are not as common as those of the second issue. It is apparent that Philip reformed the bronze coinage by reducing its weight, and that the mint marked the reformed coins with a star below the bust of Tyche.

The large denomination (eight assaria) consistently employs a bust of Tyche as the reverse type. . . . A scarce medium denomination (four assaria) was struck with reverse Apollo standing, and a very rare type with reverse Tyche standing. Both reverse types appear on the medium denomination aes of later emperors.”

Ram: See Butcher, Kevin, Coinage in Roman Syria: 64 BC-AD 253 (PhD Thesis, University of London, 1991) (available at https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121055/1/Butcher_10121055_thesis.pdf) at p. 369:

“The ram which appears as a type or subsidiary device on Antiochene coinage is thought to 
represent Aries, perhaps the zodiacal sign under which the city was founded (or subsequently refounded). On the reverses of civic bronzes it is usually accompanied by a star, or a star and crescent, strongly suggesting that it is indeed an astral symbol. Although the type is not known on Antiochene coinage before the reign of Augustus, this does not necessarily mean that it is late in date; the Tyche of Antioch, set up in the early third century BC, does not occur on coins until the first century BC.”

See also McAlee at p. 8: “Another symbol seen on both silver and bronze coins, and as a primary type on the reverse of some civic coins, is a ram, usually depicted as a leaping or running figure looking backwards. It is likely that the ram is a zodiacal symbol (Aries), perhaps referring to the time of year at which the city was founded.”

Δ – Ɛ (Delta-Epsilon): [Reference to relevant portion of omitted fn to Caracalla tetradrachm]

S – C (Senatus Consulto): See the extensive discussion at McAlee pp. 3-5, arguing that “the letters SC on the coins of Antioch . . . mean[], in effect, ‘Roman currency” (as opposed to their meaning on earlier Imperial coins, signifying Senatorial authorization of a particular issue). His summary and conclusion can be found at McAlee p. 5:

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16. Philip II, as Caesar, AE Pentassarion [5 Assaria], 247-249 AD, Moesia Inferior, Marcianopolis [now Devnya, Bulgaria] Mint. Obv. Confronted busts of Philip II, bareheaded, draped and cuirassed, right, seen from behind, and Serapis, crowned with modius, draped, left; Μ ΙΟΥΛΙΟϹ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟϹ ΚΑΙ - ϹΑΡ ΑΥΓ around,  with “ϹΑΡ ΑΥΓ” in exergue [ = “Marcus Iulius Philippus Caesar Augusti filius”]* / Rev. Bearded, crowned[?] serpent [often identified as the Oracle Serpent Glykon or possibly the Serpent Agathodaemon]* standing erect left in multiple coils; ΜΑΡ-ΚΙΑΝΟΠΟΛΕΙ-ΤΩΝ around, with “ΤΩΝ” in exergue; “E” [ = 5 Assaria] in right field. 27 mm., 14.70 g. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] VIII Online 27865 [temporary ID number] (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/type/27865);  AMNG I/I 1216 [Pick, Behrendt, Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I  (Berlin, 1898) at p. 327]; Varbanov 2101 [Varbanov, Ivan, Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior (English Edition) (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005)]. Purchased Sep 2022 from Numidas (Lukas Kalchhauser), Vienna Austria; ex Numismatik Lanz München, Auction 120, 18 May 2004, Lot 494.

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*Translation taken from RPC VIII Online 27865. Note that the same type also exists with the slightly different obverse legend Μ ΙΟΥΛΙΟ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟ ΚΑΙΑΡ [ = “Marcus Iulius Philippus Caesar”], i.e., without the “ΑΥΓ” for “AVG.” See RPC VIII Online 27863 at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/type/27873. Query whether the addition of the “ΑΥΓ” to the obverse legend on my type could possibly indicate that it was issued after the elevation of Philip II to Augustus by his father ca. AD 248, or whether that would have resulted in the Greek equivalent of AVGG, and the elimination of the “Caesar” altogether? 

**Dealers (such as the dealer who sold me this coin) often identify the coiled, bearded serpent on the reverse of this and similar Roman Provincial types as the bearded, human-headed, and/or fish-tailed Serpent God Glykon, for whom a popular cult was invented in the 2nd Century AD by the Greek prophet Alexander of Abonoteichos, who claimed that Glykon (apparently manifested by a hand puppet) was an incarnation of Asklepios. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycon (with the illustrations including a photo of RPC VIII Online 27863; see first fn.). See also the discussions of Glykon and coins portraying him at, e.g., https://www.cointalk.com/threads/an-interesting-representation-of-glykon.383315/; https://www.cointalk.com/threads/new-coins-featuring-glycon-the-sock-puppet-god.396206/#post-8331188; https://www.cointalk.com/threads/glykon-the-snake-cult-of-alexander-of-abounoteichos.333661/.  However, neither RPC nor Pick identifies the serpent on this and similar types as being Glykon (I don’t have access to Varbanov). Moreover, the serpent on my coin has neither a humanoid head nor a fish tail (unlike some other numismatic representations of Glykon), nor any depiction of or reference to Asklepios. Therefore, the possibility remains that the serpent on this type could have been intended or perceived as the Serpent Agathodaemon, particularly given the association of the Agathodaemon with Serapis. See my thread discussing the Agathodaemon at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/finally-an-agathodaemon.383883/#post-7780217, including the following quotation from an article entitled “The Agathos Daimon in Greco-Egyptian Religion,” by João Pedro Feliciano, at https://www.academia.edu/27115429/The_Agathos_Daimon_in_Greco-Egyptian_religion: 

“[T]he Agathos Daimon (Greek: agathos daimôn; also agathodaimôn), the ‘good spirit,’ [was] a typically serpentine deity who originated as a genius loci in traditional Greek religion, and was also invoked during banquets. A variant of this deity was Zeus Meilichios (invoked in Orphic Hymn 73, to Zeus as the Daimon), an old serpentine aspect of Zeus associated with fortune. Roman religion had a cognate genius figure as well, evidenced by the traditional snakes found on Roman domestic shrines and lararia. The origins of the guardian serpent archetype may be traced to the fact that snakes could protect a house from vermin, such as rodents, and consequently became associated with guardian spirits early on; this notion of the beneficent ‘house snake’ is found in several different cultures.. . . . [Lengthy discussion of development of surrounding mythology omitted.] 

A rich number of statues and bas-reliefs of Agathodaimon have survived, through which we can obtain a fairly accurate picture of his attributes. In the available corpus of material, Agathodaimon is primarily depicted as a serpent (bearded in most instances), or as a snake with a human head, that of Serapis with whom he was associated (as a result of either of their common solar aspects, or the fact that Serapis was a form of Zeus, and thus as Meilichios, was an aspect or variant of Agathos Daimon). His serpentine form is occasionally depicted as that of a cobra, but most of the time it is a viper-like animal.” (Emphasis added.)

 

Edited by DonnaML
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Darn it! It's really 17, not 16. I completely forgot to include what was supposed to be No. 2. My apologies for messing up the list:

Nero AR Drachm, AD 56/57 (Year 3), Syria, Seleucis & Pieria, Antioch Mint. Obv. Laureate head of young Nero right, ΝΕΡΩΝΟΣ ΚΑΙΣΑΡΟΣ ΣΕΒΑ (beginning at upper right) / Rev. Tripod altar (supporting cauldron or lebes) with serpent entwined around center leg; ΔΡΑ-ΧΜΗ to sides (ΔΡΑ upwards on left; ΧΜΗ downwards on right), forming single word ΔΡΑΧΜΗ (“drachma”); above tripod, EP [for Year 105 of Caesarean Era) and Γ [for Nero’s Regnal Year 3]. McAlee 278(a) at p. 140 & n. 214 (ill. p. 141); Prieur 78; RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. I 4179 (1992); RPC Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/1/4179.  18 mm., 3.65 g., 1 h. Purchased at CNG [Classical Numismatic Group, LLC] E-Auction 512, 23 March 2022, Lot 399.* [Footnote omitted.]

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Edited by DonnaML
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# 1, 2, 4 and 13 are the ones I would choose, should I be asked to.

The only criticism one could make about your collection, Donna, is that you have too many beautiful coins !

I understand your trouble at narrowing down to a top 10 😄 

By the way, here are some of the provincials I added in 2022 that didn't fit the bill in my top 10

 

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Q

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Although it probably won't garner as many mentions as some of the more detailed and interesting coins, the portrait of Titus on the Flavian really jumped out at me. He actually looks like Vespasian's son (i.e. only half a Vespasian with likeness from half of another female person too!) rather than simply a younger Vespasian which is how he appears on Imperial issues. I would bet that it's a very realistic portrait.

I absolutely love the Macrinus, the detail and spectacle of that coin seems more appropriate for a gold medallion than a provincial bronze. Strange too because he fought an inconclusive battle at Nisibis and had to pay tribute to the Parthians. Given the portrait looks fairly like Caracalla, I'm wondering if this issue was engraved in preparation of his triumphant return from Persia?

I'll also stick a mention in for being educated about how that particular serpent probably isn't Glycon. It's a bittersweet learning moment, as I do love Lucian's work where he dismantles the puppet and its master, and this information will make acquiring a coin of Glycon harder! I will  have to make sure to be extra careful that I actually get one that is indeed Glycon.

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4 hours ago, Steppenfool said:

I absolutely love the Macrinus, the detail and spectacle of that coin seems more appropriate for a gold medallion than a provincial bronze. Strange too because he fought an inconclusive battle at Nisibis and had to pay tribute to the Parthians. Given the portrait looks fairly like Caracalla, I'm wondering if this issue was engraved in preparation of his triumphant return from Persia?

 

I am intrigued by this suggestion. The portrait certainly doesn't look much like Macrinus's portraits on Imperial coins, and I see nothing in the design that's unique to him.

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Wow…amazing group Donna!  

Very hard to pick a favorite, but I’d have to go with the Macrinus (#13).  The reverse is spectacular, and I agree with the suggestion that the portrait strongly resembles Caracalla (must be an early issue of Macrinus).  And how cool is that snake coming out of his armor? That is a special coin. 

I also love #7…the reverse with the Hittite god riding the winged is so interesting (and well-designed), don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it.  

I immediately recognized the left-facing Hadrian Alexandria tet (#5)…I had put in a very strong bid on that, but not quite strong enough 😃.  Happy to see it ended up in a good home.

 

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