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Phrygian Cybele and related imagery on local coinage


seth77
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Being that Cybele is a "native" deity of Phrygia, it is only fitting that she would be present on the Phrygian coinage in numerous instances -- some rather unusual.

Like these two here:

agrippina.jpg.ec2041a2f70e328ab2002a225a590273.jpg

Agrippina II as Augusta (49-54)
AE17 2.38g copper assarion/unit(?), minted at Eumeneia ca. 54-5AD.
ΑΓΡΙΠΠΙΝΑΝ ϹƐΒΑϹΤΗΝ; feminine bust draped to r.
ΒΑϹϹΑ ΚΛƐⲰΝΟϹ ΑΡΧΙƐΡΗΑ ƐΥΜƐΝƐWΝ; tympanon and lion's head to r., coming out of the tympanon
SNG Cop 393, RPC I Temp 3152 (7specs)

This coinage was minted under the first part of Nero's reign for Agrippina by local magistrate Bassa Kleonos, mentioned with the title of archierea -- unlike at Akmoneia, where the local elite was part of an early Roman aristocracy stemming from the late 2nd century BC, here we have a local authority with a local title, mentioned in his coinage for the Imperial family.

During this period, the Eumeneian coinage honored Cybele, but this particular iconography dedicated to the Mother Goddess -- with the lion and the tympanon -- is rather scarce and unusual.

 

2862870_1652870726.jpg.0a7b2235191b123694803910d3947746.jpg

Nero Caesar (50-54) and Augustus (54-68)
AE18 3.75g brass (orichalcum) multiple assarion(?), minted at Docimeum ca. 54-5AD.
ΝΕΡΩΝ ΚΑΙΣΑΡ; bare-headed draped bust r. -- small oval countermark with bust to r.
ΔΟΚΙ - ΜΕΩΝ; Cybele standing, facing, between two lions who flank her and have their heads turned towards her.
BMC 18, RPC I 3213 (16specs); Howgego 224(?) countermark

Another Phrygian coinage honoring Cybele, minted this time in brass (orichalcum) for a young Nero. This iconography for Cybele is quite different from other cities, it shows the Mother Goddess standing with two lions flanking her and watching her at her feet. Possibly inspired by a local cult statue at Docimeum, a plausible possibility considering the unusual pose of this representation, especially for this medium, coinage being usually a rather conservative medium.

But apart from the very interesting instances relating to the cult of Cybele as it would have been practiced locally in Phrygian communities like Eumeneia and Docimeum, I think that these coins shown side by side offer an opportunity to see possibly two distinctly Greek denominations, but in the Roman way -- by having pieces struck in two separate kinds of alloys: one redish (copper, the barely smaller spec from Eumeneia) and one yellowish (brass-orichalcum, the barely heavier specimen from Docimeum).
 

Docimeum_Phrygia_Kiepert_Map.jpg.7c4d664cd3648cb2187878c95cbd0a66.jpg

 

Taking into account that the cities were themselves relatively close-by and that the regular use of the local "provincial" coinage was confined to the province, but used throughout it, with the larger denominations moving even between provinces, and the fact that the two coinages are practically contemporaneous, it is likely that they did circulate together. The difference in the aspect of the two coins (which would have been more obvious back then, especially in the color of the alloys used) indicate the possibility of separate denominations -- which shows some insight into a complex monetary system, very similar to the Roman Imperial, at a very early stage in the "provincial" coinage.

 

 

Edited by seth77
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Very interesting thread @seth77..

Thoroughly enjoyed the write up and learnt a great deal thanks....

1605832990_normal_domitia(1).jpg.dec19fab544c4f697c01d1edca9a921c.jpg

Phrygia, Eumeneia (near Civril, Turkey). Domitia, 81-96 AD. Bronze AE 15mm (2.47 gm).
Obv.: ΔOMITIA CEBACTH, Draped bust right. Hair rolled in front and in que behind,
Rev.: ΚΛ• ΤEΡEΝΤΥΛΛΑ ΑΡΧΙE /EΥΜE-ΝE-ΩΝ, Kybele enthroned to left, Patera in extended right hand, resting left forearm and hand on Tympanum (drum) at near side
RPC II 1388. Rare. gVF.

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Posted (edited)

Wow, what a great conservation state.

The note in RPC is also interesting: "P. Weiss points out that the woman called Kl Terent Hylla is actually Kl Terentulla, the mother of a man known from an inscription, Kl. Valerianus Terentullianus, see 'Eumeneia und das Panhellenion', Chiron 30 (2000), pp. 617-39." Back in Nero's time the archierea were still koine Greek specific for the area. By Domitian's time it seems that they became at least partly latinized.

Edited by seth77
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ten years later, ca. 65AD, Akmoneia, another Phrygian city, this time one under a Roman elite (rather than local as it was the case with Eumeneia) minted these, also in orichalcum.

2610165_1645833016.jpg.82c3eb23591f2db69e3e4446e42fb197.jpg

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This little provincial bronze of the city of Docimeum in Phrygia illustrates a more traditionally Phrygian depiction of the goddess: standing, wearing a veil-draped polos and flanked by lions on either side.

Faustina Jr Docimeum Cybele and lions.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman provincial Æ 18 mm, 4.40 g, 6 h.
Phrygia, Docimeum, c. AD 150-154.
Obv: ΦΑVСΤЄΙΝΑ СЄΒΑС, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: ΔΟΚΙ-ΜЄΩΝ, cultus-statue of Cybele standing facing, flanked by lions.
Refs: RPC IV.2 1976 (temp); BMC 25.187,23; SNG Copenhagen 358; SNG von Aulock 3550.


Note that the goddess is portrayed in a garment featuring multiple ovoid objects on it. Compare this statue of Cybele found in Pergamon from Hellenistic times now in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna.

Cybele Pergamon Vienna Ephesos Museum.jpg

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The Romans portrayed Cybele on their coinage since Republican times. It’s interesting that a foreign goddess was depicted on a Republican coin rather than an Italic deity:

ggVLR26vTwuvA4s8UNwa_YdtpFeF.jpg

C. Fabius C.f. Hadrianus. 102 BC. AR Denarius (21.5mm, 4.00 g, 4h). Rome mint. Veiled and turreted bust of Cybele right; K/• behind / Victory driving galloping biga right, holding reins and goad; below, stork standing right. Crawford 322/1a; Sydenham 589; Fabia 15. Good VF, a couple verdigris spots.

From the Fay Beth Wedig Collection.

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On 6/27/2022 at 2:15 AM, Roman Collector said:

This little provincial bronze of the city of Docimeum in Phrygia illustrates a more traditionally Phrygian depiction of the goddess: standing, wearing a veil-draped polos and flanked by lions on either side.

Faustina Jr Docimeum Cybele and lions.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman provincial Æ 18 mm, 4.40 g, 6 h.
Phrygia, Docimeum, c. AD 150-154.
Obv: ΦΑVСΤЄΙΝΑ СЄΒΑС, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: ΔΟΚΙ-ΜЄΩΝ, cultus-statue of Cybele standing facing, flanked by lions.
Refs: RPC IV.2 1976 (temp); BMC 25.187,23; SNG Copenhagen 358; SNG von Aulock 3550.


Note that the goddess is portrayed in a garment featuring multiple ovoid objects on it. Compare this statue of Cybele found in Pergamon from Hellenistic times now in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna.

Cybele Pergamon Vienna Ephesos Museum.jpg

That is the same representation from the second coin in OP, and the Cybele statue from Pergamon is a good hint towards the fact that these reverses did actually represent actual local cult statues.

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  • 1 month later...

To the similar style of coinage and the possible common denomination system, we can now add a more practical connection: a die sharing between the two cities -- which goes to hint at a situation also noticed in Thracia and Moesia inferior: was one mint issuing for a number of cities, like an informal Koinon, or were itinerant mint operators and die cutters employed by different but neighboring cities to mint new series of coinage when the need arose or an event had to be celebrated and/or commemorated? 

Check out this thread on CT, unfortunately I have lost my third party authenticator and cannot log in there to comment on the thread.

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Interesting! So far I coins from four Phrygian mints, struck under the reign of four Roman emperors. None have Cybele -- but I like the first for its depiction of "Mên holding pine cone"!

 

Here's one from the scarce mint of Phygia, Grimenothyrai (7.36g). Draped bust of Senate / Mên holding pine cone. Struck temp. Trajan.

image.jpeg.4fcc017806798600da7eda5c6f20b867.jpeg

Ref: This coin = Von Aulock, Phrygiens II 340  = Lindgren & Kovacs 955 = AsiaMinorCoins 3158 = RPC III 2482 Ex. 17 (cited). Ex Henry Clay Lindgren, Marcel Burstein, and Garth Drewry Collections.

 

Phrygia, Sebaste (8.07g). Senate on obverse, Zeus on reverse. Struck c. temp. Severus Alexader. (This one's not that unusual.)

image.jpeg.11c15cfa2d508314445de4051e7a84f3.jpeg

Ref: RPC VI 5681 for type (not cited). Ex Cornelius Vermeule (1925-2008) (Triton III, for the BMFA), Richard Cyril Lockett (1873-1950) (Glendining's 23 February 1961, Lot 2922, part), and Pierre Strauss (1922-1995) Collections.

 

Two coins below, Phrygia, Aezani (Claudius, 4.84g) and Acmoneia (Nero), both with Zeus on the reverse.

545160778_PhrygiaAezaniClaudiusExEEClain-StefanelliNaville64cf-RPC3095(Differentmagistrate(-maybeunpublished-)).jpg.d675673734956ea64b3078620d5fdc71.jpg

RPC Type 3905. Ex- Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Collection (1914-2001).

1777562181_PhrygiaAcmoneiaNeroExEEClain-StefanelliExNaville64.jpg.853e7eb25f4217d5691d290eb5ac77e9.jpg
RPC Type 3174. Ex- Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Collection (1914-2001).

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Men is a Phrygian deity and the temple of Zeus of Aezani is still around today. Likely the Zeus types of Aezani are directly inspired by representations there and Zeus itself is probably the most widespread deity in the figurative art of the Greco-Roman world. I wonder if the Zeus representations weren't supposed to represent a 'local' Zeus, perhaps Zeus Alsenos?

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This might be Cybele from neighboring Lycaonia:

iconium.jpg.76e85917d1d488884b5073fb889b6103.jpg

Lycaonia, Iconium, 41-138 AD (time of Claudius-Hadrian), AE 14. 2.24g
Obv: Winged gorgoneion, snake ties below chin, within border of large beads.
Rev: ΚΛΑΥΔΕΙΚΟΝΙΕΩΝ; Seated Cybele left, holding patera in right hand, left arm resting on tympanum (drum), wearing mural crown (or kalathos?), lion at feet, within beaded boarder.
RPC Supplement IV 1608B; Hans Christoph von Mosch, “perseus und andromeda (vormals) in ikonion. die bilder der „bilderstadt“ und ein besuch Gordians iii. im Jahre 239/40”, Festschrift Johannes Nollé (2019), #28d (this coin).

I wonder how the figure on the reverse was identified as Cybele.  (I believe von Aulock identified her).  I have sometimes wondered if the figure is instead Tyche or Hades (given that there seems to be a dog).  Perhaps a Cybele fan here can enlighten me?

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18 minutes ago, Ed Snible said:

This might be Cybele from neighboring Lycaonia:

iconium.jpg.76e85917d1d488884b5073fb889b6103.jpg

Lycaonia, Iconium, 41-138 AD (time of Claudius-Hadrian), AE 14. 2.24g
Obv: Winged gorgoneion, snake ties below chin, within border of large beads.
Rev: ΚΛΑΥΔΕΙΚΟΝΙΕΩΝ; Seated Cybele left, holding patera in right hand, left arm resting on tympanum (drum), wearing mural crown (or kalathos?), lion at feet, within beaded boarder.
RPC Supplement IV 1608B; Hans Christoph von Mosch, “perseus und andromeda (vormals) in ikonion. die bilder der „bilderstadt“ und ein besuch Gordians iii. im Jahre 239/40”, Festschrift Johannes Nollé (2019), #28d (this coin).

I wonder how the figure on the reverse was identified as Cybele.  (I believe von Aulock identified her).  I have sometimes wondered if the figure is instead Tyche or Hades (given that there seems to be a dog).  Perhaps a Cybele fan here can enlighten me?

Ed, I think von Aulock is right on this coin. The coin is so small that the details are hard to discern. What appears to be a dog may be just a tiny lion that accompanies her.

1977330159_cybelegettymuseumLA.jpg.84ce4b987b6c8fe6d6c1b26ecc9f6f20.jpg

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I also see the lion as a lion, but I have a hard time discerning the tympanum. It's likely that it was supposed to be a tympanum but from the engraving it could be even part of the throne.

@Ed Snible, could you please add your coin to the Eikonion - Klaudeikonion - Iconium thread here?

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When Rome was in trouble, they borrowed the "Great Mother"  and paraded her  down the Tiber in republican times.  Rome survived.  The famous and mysterious "In Cart"  denarii of the Severans  commonly portraits a thunderbolt, far less common a drum  of Kybele!

What are those ovoid things?  I guess us chaps ought to check if anything is missing!

 

NSK=John

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