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A Trajan Decius antoninianus depicting the two Pannoniae


DonnaML

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As probably the most common Trajan Decius type, there always seem to be hundreds (I'm exaggerating only a little!) of these coins available at any given time. So I've always figured that there's no rush to buy one, even though I very much like to collect Roman coins depicting personifications of the different provinces (e.g., in Hadrian's Travel Series). But I recently saw an example at cgb.fr. that I thought had very well-preserved details in its depiction of the two provincial personifications on the reverse. So I finally went ahead and made the purchase. 

Warning: lengthy footnote ahead!

Trajan Decius, AR Antoninianus, AD 251, Rome Mint (traditionally attributed to Milan). Obv. Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG / Rev. Female personifications of the two Pannoniae provinces (Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior) wearing long robes, standing face to face (heads not covered by veils), clasping right hands in front of a military standard between them [bottom half of standard worn off]; PANNONIAE. RIC IV-3 41a (Milan); RSC IV Trajan Decius 82 (p. 26) (Milan) (rev. var. [Pannoniae described as veiled]); Sear RCV II 9380 (Rome). 21 mm., 3.69 g., 6 h.  Purchased from cgb.fr, 21 Sep. 2023 (coin incorrectly categorized as RIC IV-3 26(b) & RSC IV Trajan Decius 81, with Pannoniae veiled and different obverse legend [IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG]).*

image.png.72e0b8822d45d19575cf060c44f615c8.png

 

*The Two Provinces of Pannonia Pannonia “was a province of the Roman Empire bounded on the north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Pannonia was located in the territory that is now western Hungary, western Slovakia, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia. It was originally created by Augustus in AD 8 as a single province, by dividing the former province of Illyricum (itself created as an Imperial province in 11 BCE) into Dalmatia and Pannonia. (Id.) Here is a map of the single province of Pannonia:

image.png.64638556179a185bf66a46fb7756919b.png

In AD 103, the Emperor Trajan divided the province of Pannonia into two parts: Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia_Inferior. A map showing the division:

image.png.b66b00b7ee306adf1de30194760a4f69.png

Later, under Diocletian, a further division of the Pannoniae was made into four parts: Pannonia Prima, Pannonia Valeria, Pannonia Savia, and Pannonia Secunda. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia for details of the region’s later history.

Personifications of Pannoniae on Coins of Trajan Decius Out of 68 different types of antoniniani listed for Trajan Decius in Roman Silver Coins Vol. IV Gordian III - Postumus (Seaby 1971) (“RSC IV”), including variants, two depict a single personification of Pannonia on the reverse and another nine depict separate personifications of the two Pannoniae (see RSC IV pp. 25-26) -- certainly the largest number of types and variants for any of his antoniniani, without even considering the aurei and bronzes that Decius also issued depicting the Pannoniae.

The types of antoniniani depicting the two Pannoniae vary in the obverse legends, in whether or not the heads of the Pannoniae are veiled, in the number and placement of the military standard(s) depicted, and in whether the two Pannoniae face each other, in opposite directions, or in the same direction.  It appears from acsearch that a substantial majority of the “two Pannoniae” types seen on the market show the two personifications facing in opposite directions, with depictions of the two facing each other found less frequently even though they comprise 5 of the 9 variants listed in RSC IV, and with those showing the two facing in the same direction, always left, by far the least common.

The majority of the different types and variants appear to show the Pannoniae with their heads veiled, covering their hair down to their shoulders, as in these specimens (not mine) sold by NAC in 2022 and by CNG in 2019, the first showing the Pannoniae facing in opposite directions and the second showing them face to face:

image.png.b384f60d9c85e94289db1baaefc10bb3.png

image.png.a61c48c134eec595e46449e1852509e3.png

My variant (see photo above) is somewhat unusual (albeit more common among the Pannoniae shown face to face), because unlike the two previous examples, the Pannoniae are shown without veils down to their shoulders. (It’s difficult to tell whether their hair is completely uncovered on my example, or, as seems more likely, they are wearing some sort of short head covering. Opinions are welcome!)

Whichever is the case, it’s certainly quite rare to find a specimen like mine with the details of the Pannoniae’s faces so well-preserved; almost all the ones that I’ve seen on acsearch, even without long veils covering their heads, look more like these examples from CNG in 2002, Tkalec in 2010, and Bertolami in 2020:

image.png.c12be9c1f1285ec2c47f72195f258ee2.png

image.png.d49618a28a1efe3a38386a819d37683a.png

image.png.b10399db4321634701d70a3e97d65bc1.png

Most authorities seem to assume that the personifications of the Pannoniae on the coins of Trajan Decius, however depicted, are always female, as is the case with most, if not all, personifications of the various provinces (e.g., on the coins of Trajan depicting Dacia and Arabia, and on the coins of Hadrian’s Travel Series). However, RSC IV lists two types or variants (RSC IV 84 and 84a, attributed respectively to Rome and Milan) that supposedly depict “a male on l. and female on r.” facing each other (id. p. 26). I have been unable to find any illustrations of these variants (please let me know if you're aware of any). Until I do, I remain somewhat skeptical of the idea that one of the Pannoniae was sometimes depicted as male with the other remaining female. Nor do I know what clothing or other characteristics in the relevant depictions led to that conclusion -- whether by H.A. Seaby in compiling RSC itself, or by Cohen, whose underlying numbering system was used in RSC -- unless examples like this one sold by Roma in 2018 were interpreted as depicting the figure on the left as bearded. I am not sure that I would agree with such an interpretation, given that I've seen a number of Roman coins in which the faces of female figures on the reverses are rather crudely engraved and appear at first glance to be bearded.

image.png.06a6faa452b6372bc2c4de1713ee09f4.png

The Association of Trajan Decius with Pannonia It should not be surprising that Decius depicted the Pannoniae so frequently (as either a single personification or two) on his antoniniani. He was “a native of Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior” (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) (see the “Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors” at https://roman-emperors.sites.luc.edu/decius.htm -- or the nearby village of Budalia (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decius) -- and was the “first emperor to come from the Balkans region” (id.). He had served as governor in Moesia. (Id.) In addition, he apparently relied on the Pannonian legions as a base of support in overthrowing Philip I after Philip sent him to restore order along the Danubian frontier and suppress the rebellion of Pacatian in Moesia and Pannonia (id.); “we have epigraphic evidence . . . for support among the Pannonian Legio X, suggesting that Decius owed his accession in no small part to local troops.” (Id.) See also https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=pannoniae (“The division of this region into two parts is characterised by two female figures, on gold, silver, and brass of Trajanus Decius. . . The cause of this Emperor's attachment to these provinces is sufficiently obvious; for they were the first to proclaim his election to the purple, and it was to the fidelity and bravery of the Pannonian legions that he owed his victory over Philip. Hence it was the peculiar care and pride of Decius to rescue or defend Pannonia from the incursions of the barbarians”); https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/5953/ancient-coins/ (“Decius also celebrated the men and troops responsible for his elevation to emperor with three new reverse types; GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLVRICIANI (genius of the Illyrian army), PANNONIA (which depicts a personification of the province) and DACIA (which shows [a] personification of Dacia holding a draco standard). This probably was a wise move politically, as very recently these Balkan troops had been responsible for the rebellions of Pacatian and Decius (and would be responsible for two more in the coming years)”). 

Rome vs. Milan Mints The antoniniani of Trajan Decius bearing the obverse legend IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG have been uniformly accepted as minted in Rome. By contrast, those bearing the abbreviated obverse legends IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG (such as my coin) and IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG -- encompassing four of the nine Pannoniae types and variants listed in RSC IV -- were traditionally attributed (including by Harold Mattingly as reflected in RIC IV, as well as in RSC) to the mint in Mediolanum (Milan), struck there towards the end of Decius’s reign. Decius’s famous “Divi” series honoring 11 deified Roman emperors was also traditionally attributed to Milan at the end of Decius’s reign.

But ever since the publication of an article by K.J.J. Elks, "Reattribution of the Milan Coins of Trajan Decius to the Rome Mint," The Numismatic Chronicle, Seventh Series, Vol. 12 (1972), pp. 111-115 (available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/42666339 ), based in part on a study of die links, it has become increasingly accepted, as in Sear RCV II (see citation of this coin to Sear above), that the Trajan Decius coins with abbreviated obverse legends, as well as the Divi Series, were actually minted in Rome in AD 251, towards the end of Decius’s reign, rather than in Milan -- and, in fact, that there was no functioning mint in Milan during Decius's reign. See, e.g., @dougsmit's page at  https://www.forumancientcoins.com/dougsmith/feac51dec.html (discussing a “PANNONIAE” antoninianus with the abbreviated obverse legend IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG, and noting that the coin “was struck at Rome in the last months of Decius' reign. Earlier scholars attributed coins with this obverse legend to a branch mint at Milan but more recent die link information has shown these to be the final product of Rome.”) 

In the Elks article itself, the author explains in detail his or her conclusion, contrary to tradition (but agreeing with a position that Professor Alföldi had previously taken) that the coins at issue were the last issues of Trajan Decius minted in Rome, and were not minted in Milan. The author’s conclusion was based on considerations of cohesion and style, on the absence of evidence for the existence of a functioning mint in Milan during Decius’s reign, and, above all, on die links between the reverses of coins with abbreviated obverse legends traditionally attributed to Milan -- including Pannoniae types as well as types depicting Dacia and GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLVRICIANI -- and the reverses of earlier types unquestionably minted in Rome.  Among other things:

image.png.80c9f97d9fa9096238e029c487784a43.png

image.png.d0945bc81f35c818efc08d94c0a1c968.png

. . . .

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Regarding the die links:

image.png.5eaccff4fdd25848707d28dc04021d8d.png

image.png.1734baba537ee00d50b8849e510b29c1.png

Here is "Table I":

image.png.d3831d954c8755c6d7146fdc1e00e3ca.png

My one caveat to accepting Elks’s conclusion is that the illustrations of die links on Plate 14 include examples only of DACIA and GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLVRICIANI reverse types, and not of any PANNONIAE reverse types. So the proof in the article is not completely dispositive, although I see no reason why it wouldn’t apply to all types using the abbreviated obverse legends. I am not aware that anyone has undertaken a die link study in the 50 years since the Elks article was published, to try to compare the PANNONIAE reverses accompanied by the earlier obverse legends to those accompanied by the later legends (particularly comparing types showing the Pannoniae facing each other, without veils covering their heads down to their shoulders). And I do not have the time, the inclination, or the talent to do so myself! However, the few such specimens I found by looking at acsearch and Wildwinds all appear to me be rather similar. Thus:

My specimen again, with the late, abbreviated obverse legend IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG:

 

image.png.72e0b8822d45d19575cf060c44f615c8.png

 

Other specimens with the same obverse legend as mine or the other later, abbreviated obverse legend, IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG:

From Naumann:

image.png.d99f67daf35630dc676c37ed92f42b49.png

From CNG (repeated from above):

image.png.c12be9c1f1285ec2c47f72195f258ee2.png

From Wildwinds:

image.png.9196900d471def2ff2d27eee1b71e0f3.png

From Davissons:

image.png.98439de0918c7016171866a9c7c16553.png

From Savoca:

image.png.bf30ae7bedb78d10e568ff07bd7733ce.png

Two specimens with the earlier obverse legend IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, indisputably from the Rome Mint; both are illustrated on Wildwinds:

image.png.ddedafe4c9b81d2b45c9f06969d4916a.png

 

image.png.7d858c6a3d201462ee76e14a7dc57f0f.png

Although I haven’t compared any of these reverses closely enough to opine on whether there are any die matches among them, the reverses accompanying the later vs. the earlier obverse legends do not appear sufficiently distinct to me to conclude that they were necessarily products of different mints (especially given the die links that Elks found for other reverse types accompanying the later vs. earlier obverse legends). I would appreciate hearing anyone else’s opinion.

If anyone has gotten this far, please feel free to post your own examples of ancient coins depicting Pannonia or the Pannoniae (whether issued by Trajan Decius or any other emperor), or depicting personifications of any other province(s).

 

Edited by DonnaML
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Some wonderful examples shown @DonnaML and a really informative write up, thank you.

I have only one very worn, and with a deep green deposit on it, coin of Trajan Decius with Pannonia reverse. It was in a lot for 5 Euros per coin and they were covered in mud and dirt. After a long soak in distilled water I was quite surprised to find a number of identifiable coins, this being one of them

Trajan Decius AR Antoninianus. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right /PANNONIAE, the two Pannoniae standing front, facing away from each other, holding standards with left hands and raising right. RIC 21b, RSC 86.
Rome mint, 22mm, 3.44gr.

 

TDecius.JPG

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Excellent coin! I also like how the portrait makes it look like he just had a face lift!

I too am big on personifications of places. I myself am the personification of Ryrland🤪!

Here's a Greek place personification:1901098_1620560395.l-removebg-preview.png.828242a28d27f361b1288e758f8ba6b2.png

Scythia. Olbia circa 310-280 BC. Bronze Æ 19mm. 5,69g. Horned head of Borysthenes left / Axe and bow in bowcase; monogram to left, OΛBIO upwards to right. good very fine Frolova & Abramzon 721-30; Anokhin 297; SNG BM Black Sea 453. VF "Borysthenes is a geographical name from classical antiquity. The term usually refers to the Dnieper River and its eponymous river god, but also seems to have been an alternative name for Pontic Olbia, a town situated near the mouth of the same river on the Black Sea coast, or the earlier settlement on Berezan Island." 

And here's a personification of a season!

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Anonymous AE Quadrans (18 mm, 2.70 g). Time of Domitian to Antoninus Pius. Rome, AD 81-161. Obv. Youthful veiled head of Annius Verus (?) as the personification of Winter to right, wearing wreath of reeds. Rev. S•C within olive wreath fastened with jewel at apex. Van Heesch pl. 25, 3; RIC 35. Very rare. River patina. Fine. Purchased from Auctiones gmbh March 2021 

Here's a favorite portrait of mine, of the man of the hour TD:

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Trajan Decius, AD 249-251. Struck between July-Dec, 250 AD. Silver Antoninianus (4.12 g) minted at Rome, AD 250. Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Trajan Decius right. Reverse: Abundantia (Abundance) standing right, emptying her cornucopiae. RIC 10b, RSC 2. Meticulously detailed portrait. Ex El Iberico Collection. Saturnalia 2020 gift from @bcuda 

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trajdec.jpg.fbfb6a80df5d94f815142c52f9b4e89d.jpg
Trajan Decius (249 - 251 A.D.)
AR Antoninianus
O: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG; radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right.
R: PANNONIAE; the two Pannoniae, veiled, standing right and left facing one another, clasping right hands in front of standard between them.
Rome Mint, 251 A.D.
22mm
3.2g
RIC IV Rome 26

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Here's the sestertius version:

[IMG]
Trajan Decius AD 249-251.
Roman Æ sestertius, 15.11 g, 29.4 mm, 1 h.
Rome, AD 250.
Obv: IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: PANNONIAE S C, the two Pannoniae standing left and right; each raising right hand; the one on the right holds a standard in her left hand and there is a vertical standard behind the one on the left.
Refs: RIC 124a; Cohen 87; Sear 9407; Hunter 54.

And the more typical antoninianus:

DeciusPANNONIAEantoninianus.jpg.0a9851224abc71dc318d651ab71cd105.jpg
Trajan Decius AD 249-251.
Roman AR antoninianus, 3.78 g, 21.5 mm, 7 h.
Rome, AD 250.
Obv: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: PANNONIAE, the two Pannoniae standing left and right; each raising right hand; the one on the right holds a standard in her left hand and there is a vertical standard behind the one on the left.
Refs: RIC 21b; Cohen 86; RCV 9378; Hunter 16.

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14 hours ago, DonnaML said:

As probably the most common Trajan Decius type, there always seem to be hundreds (I'm exaggerating only a little!) of these coins available at any given time. So I've always figured that there's no rush to buy one, even though I very much like to collect Roman coins depicting personifications of the different provinces (e.g., in Hadrian's Travel Series). But I recently saw an example at cgb.fr. that I thought had very well-preserved details in its depiction of the two provincial personifications on the reverse. So I finally went ahead and made the purchase. 

Warning: lengthy footnote ahead!

Trajan Decius, AR Antoninianus, AD 251, Rome Mint (traditionally attributed to Milan). Obv. Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG / Rev. Female personifications of the two Pannoniae provinces (Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior) wearing long robes, standing face to face (heads not covered by veils), clasping right hands in front of a military standard between them [bottom half of standard worn off]; PANNONIAE. RIC IV-3 41a (Milan); RSC IV Trajan Decius 82 (p. 26) (Milan) (rev. var. [Pannoniae described as veiled]); Sear RCV II 9380 (Rome). 21 mm., 3.69 g., 6 h.  Purchased from cgb.fr, 21 Sep. 2023 (coin incorrectly categorized as RIC IV-3 26(b) & RSC IV Trajan Decius 81, with Pannoniae veiled and different obverse legend [IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG]).*

image.png.72e0b8822d45d19575cf060c44f615c8.png

 

*The Two Provinces of Pannonia Pannonia “was a province of the Roman Empire bounded on the north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Pannonia was located in the territory that is now western Hungary, western Slovakia, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia. It was originally created by Augustus in AD 8 as a single province, by dividing the former province of Illyricum (itself created as an Imperial province in 11 BCE) into Dalmatia and Pannonia. (Id.) Here is a map of the single province of Pannonia:

image.png.64638556179a185bf66a46fb7756919b.png

In AD 103, the Emperor Trajan divided the province of Pannonia into two parts: Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia_Inferior. A map showing the division:

image.png.b66b00b7ee306adf1de30194760a4f69.png

Later, under Diocletian, a further division of the Pannoniae was made into four parts: Pannonia Prima, Pannonia Valeria, Pannonia Savia, and Pannonia Secunda. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pannonia for details of the region’s later history.

Personifications of Pannoniae on Coins of Trajan Decius Out of 68 different types of antoniniani listed for Trajan Decius in Roman Silver Coins Vol. IV Gordian III - Postumus (Seaby 1971) (“RSC IV”), including variants, two depict a single personification of Pannonia on the reverse and another nine depict separate personifications of the two Pannoniae (see RSC IV pp. 25-26) -- certainly the largest number of types and variants for any of his antoniniani, without even considering the aurei and bronzes that Decius also issued depicting the Pannoniae.

The types of antoniniani depicting the two Pannoniae vary in the obverse legends, in whether or not the heads of the Pannoniae are veiled, in the number and placement of the military standard(s) depicted, and in whether the two Pannoniae face each other, in opposite directions, or in the same direction.  It appears from acsearch that a substantial majority of the “two Pannoniae” types seen on the market show the two personifications facing in opposite directions, with depictions of the two facing each other found less frequently even though they comprise 5 of the 9 variants listed in RSC IV, and with those showing the two facing in the same direction, always left, by far the least common.

The majority of the different types and variants appear to show the Pannoniae with their heads veiled, covering their hair down to their shoulders, as in these specimens (not mine) sold by NAC in 2022 and by CNG in 2019, the first showing the Pannoniae facing in opposite directions and the second showing them face to face:

image.png.b384f60d9c85e94289db1baaefc10bb3.png

image.png.a61c48c134eec595e46449e1852509e3.png

My variant (see photo above) is somewhat unusual (albeit more common among the Pannoniae shown face to face), because unlike the two previous examples, the Pannoniae are shown without veils down to their shoulders. (It’s difficult to tell whether their hair is completely uncovered on my example, or, as seems more likely, they are wearing some sort of short head covering. Opinions are welcome!)

Whichever is the case, it’s certainly quite rare to find a specimen like mine with the details of the Pannoniae’s faces so well-preserved; almost all the ones that I’ve seen on acsearch, even without long veils covering their heads, look more like these examples from CNG in 2002, Tkalec in 2010, and Bertolami in 2020:

image.png.c12be9c1f1285ec2c47f72195f258ee2.png

image.png.d49618a28a1efe3a38386a819d37683a.png

image.png.b10399db4321634701d70a3e97d65bc1.png

Most authorities seem to assume that the personifications of the Pannoniae on the coins of Trajan Decius, however depicted, are always female, as is the case with most, if not all, personifications of the various provinces (e.g., on the coins of Trajan depicting Dacia and Arabia, and on the coins of Hadrian’s Travel Series). However, RSC IV lists two types or variants (RSC IV 84 and 84a, attributed respectively to Rome and Milan) that supposedly depict “a male on l. and female on r.” facing each other (id. p. 26). I have been unable to find any illustrations of these variants (please let me know if you're aware of any). Until I do, I remain somewhat skeptical of the idea that one of the Pannoniae was sometimes depicted as male with the other remaining female. Nor do I know what clothing or other characteristics in the relevant depictions led to that conclusion -- whether by H.A. Seaby in compiling RSC itself, or by Cohen, whose underlying numbering system was used in RSC -- unless examples like this one sold by Roma in 2018 were interpreted as depicting the figure on the left as bearded. I am not sure that I would agree with such an interpretation, given that I've seen a number of Roman coins in which the faces of female figures on the reverses are rather crudely engraved and appear at first glance to be bearded.

image.png.06a6faa452b6372bc2c4de1713ee09f4.png

The Association of Trajan Decius with Pannonia It should not be surprising that Decius depicted the Pannoniae so frequently (as either a single personification or two) on his antoniniani. He was “a native of Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior” (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) (see the “Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors” at https://roman-emperors.sites.luc.edu/decius.htm -- or the nearby village of Budalia (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decius) -- and was the “first emperor to come from the Balkans region” (id.). He had served as governor in Moesia. (Id.) In addition, he apparently relied on the Pannonian legions as a base of support in overthrowing Philip I after Philip sent him to restore order along the Danubian frontier and suppress the rebellion of Pacatian in Moesia and Pannonia (id.); “we have epigraphic evidence . . . for support among the Pannonian Legio X, suggesting that Decius owed his accession in no small part to local troops.” (Id.) See also https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=pannoniae (“The division of this region into two parts is characterised by two female figures, on gold, silver, and brass of Trajanus Decius. . . The cause of this Emperor's attachment to these provinces is sufficiently obvious; for they were the first to proclaim his election to the purple, and it was to the fidelity and bravery of the Pannonian legions that he owed his victory over Philip. Hence it was the peculiar care and pride of Decius to rescue or defend Pannonia from the incursions of the barbarians”); https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/5953/ancient-coins/ (“Decius also celebrated the men and troops responsible for his elevation to emperor with three new reverse types; GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLVRICIANI (genius of the Illyrian army), PANNONIA (which depicts a personification of the province) and DACIA (which shows [a] personification of Dacia holding a draco standard). This probably was a wise move politically, as very recently these Balkan troops had been responsible for the rebellions of Pacatian and Decius (and would be responsible for two more in the coming years)”). 

Rome vs. Milan Mints The antoniniani of Trajan Decius bearing the obverse legend IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG have been uniformly accepted as minted in Rome. By contrast, those bearing the abbreviated obverse legends IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG (such as my coin) and IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG -- encompassing four of the nine Pannoniae types and variants listed in RSC IV -- were traditionally attributed (including by Harold Mattingly as reflected in RIC IV, as well as in RSC) to the mint in Mediolanum (Milan), struck there towards the end of Decius’s reign. Decius’s famous “Divi” series honoring 11 deified Roman emperors was also traditionally attributed to Milan at the end of Decius’s reign.

But ever since the publication of an article by K.J.J. Elks, "Reattribution of the Milan Coins of Trajan Decius to the Rome Mint," The Numismatic Chronicle, Seventh Series, Vol. 12 (1972), pp. 111-115 (available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/42666339 ), based in part on a study of die links, it has become increasingly accepted, as in Sear RCV II (see citation of this coin to Sear above), that the Trajan Decius coins with abbreviated obverse legends, as well as the Divi Series, were actually minted in Rome in AD 251, towards the end of Decius’s reign, rather than in Milan -- and, in fact, that there was no functioning mint in Milan during Decius's reign. See, e.g., @dougsmit's page at  https://www.forumancientcoins.com/dougsmith/feac51dec.html (discussing a “PANNONIAE” antoninianus with the abbreviated obverse legend IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG, and noting that the coin “was struck at Rome in the last months of Decius' reign. Earlier scholars attributed coins with this obverse legend to a branch mint at Milan but more recent die link information has shown these to be the final product of Rome.”) 

In the Elks article itself, the author explains in detail his or her conclusion, contrary to tradition (but agreeing with a position that Professor Alföldi had previously taken) that the coins at issue were the last issues of Trajan Decius minted in Rome, and were not minted in Milan. The author’s conclusion was based on considerations of cohesion and style, on the absence of evidence for the existence of a functioning mint in Milan during Decius’s reign, and, above all, on die links between the reverses of coins with abbreviated obverse legends traditionally attributed to Milan -- including Pannoniae types as well as types depicting Dacia and GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLVRICIANI -- and the reverses of earlier types unquestionably minted in Rome.  Among other things:

image.png.80c9f97d9fa9096238e029c487784a43.png

image.png.d0945bc81f35c818efc08d94c0a1c968.png

. . . .

image.png.0bbc7eafa5a523c99912f1e2d7147954.png

Regarding the die links:

image.png.5eaccff4fdd25848707d28dc04021d8d.png

image.png.1734baba537ee00d50b8849e510b29c1.png

Here is "Table I":

image.png.d3831d954c8755c6d7146fdc1e00e3ca.png

My one caveat to accepting Elks’s conclusion is that the illustrations of die links on Plate 14 include examples only of DACIA and GENIVS EXERCITVS ILLVRICIANI reverse types, and not of any PANNONIAE reverse types. So the proof in the article is not completely dispositive, although I see no reason why it wouldn’t apply to all types using the abbreviated obverse legends. I am not aware that anyone has undertaken a die link study in the 50 years since the Elks article was published, to try to compare the PANNONIAE reverses accompanied by the earlier obverse legends to those accompanied by the later legends (particularly comparing types showing the Pannoniae facing each other, without veils covering their heads down to their shoulders). And I do not have the time, the inclination, or the talent to do so myself! However, the few such specimens I found by looking at acsearch and Wildwinds all appear to me be rather similar. Thus:

My specimen again, with the late, abbreviated obverse legend IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG:

 

image.png.72e0b8822d45d19575cf060c44f615c8.png

 

Other specimens with the same obverse legend as mine or the other later, abbreviated obverse legend, IMP CAE TRA DECIVS AVG:

From Naumann:

image.png.d99f67daf35630dc676c37ed92f42b49.png

From CNG (repeated from above):

image.png.c12be9c1f1285ec2c47f72195f258ee2.png

From Wildwinds:

image.png.9196900d471def2ff2d27eee1b71e0f3.png

From Davissons:

image.png.98439de0918c7016171866a9c7c16553.png

From Savoca:

image.png.bf30ae7bedb78d10e568ff07bd7733ce.png

Two specimens with the earlier obverse legend IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, indisputably from the Rome Mint; both are illustrated on Wildwinds:

image.png.ddedafe4c9b81d2b45c9f06969d4916a.png

 

image.png.7d858c6a3d201462ee76e14a7dc57f0f.png

Although I haven’t compared any of these reverses closely enough to opine on whether there are any die matches among them, the reverses accompanying the later vs. the earlier obverse legends do not appear sufficiently distinct to me to conclude that they were necessarily products of different mints (especially given the die links that Elks found for other reverse types accompanying the later vs. earlier obverse legends). I would appreciate hearing anyone else’s opinion.

If anyone has gotten this far, please feel free to post your own examples of ancient coins depicting Pannonia or the Pannoniae (whether issued by Trajan Decius or any other emperor), or depicting personifications of any other province(s).

 

Impressive writeup ☺️!

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Two Pannoniae facing each other...

 

TDECRIC26.jpg.e095d49282d50bf27f32c7dedcd5a362.jpg

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius; Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 249/251 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 22mm; Weight: 4.09g; Mint: Rome; Reference: RIC IV Trajan Decius 26; Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection; Obverse: Bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right. The Inscription reads: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG for Imperator Caesar Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Augustus; Reverse: The two Pannoniae, both veiled, draped, standing right and left, facing each other, clasping right hands before standard in centre. The Inscription reads: PANNONIAE for Pannoniae (Of Pannonia)

  

 

Two Pannoniae facing each other from Mediolanum...

 

TDECRIC41a.jpg.27bdb1416e175e7f15d16bc00013568e.jpg

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius; Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 250/251 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 22mm; Weight: 3.45g; Mint: Mediolanum; Reference: RIC IV Trajan Decius 41a; Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection; Obverse: Bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right. The Inscription reads: IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG for Imperator Caesar Traianus Decius Augustus; Reverse: The two Pannoniae, both veiled, draped, standing right and left, facing each other, clasping right hands before standard in centre. The Inscription reads: PANNONIAE for Pannoniae (Of Pannonia).

  

 

Two Pannoniae booth to left

 

TDECRIC23II.jpg.b02cca67626ca04b9d539875e4d6eabb.jpg

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius; Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 249/251 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 22mm; Weight: 3.77g; Mint: Rome; Reference: RIC IV Trajan Decius 23; Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection; Obverse: Bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right. The Inscription reads: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG for Imperator Caesar Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Augustus; Reverse: The two Pannoniae, both veiled, draped, standing front, head left; each holds standard in outside hand; the one on the right raises right hand. The Inscription reads: PANNONIAE for Pannoniae (Of Pannonia).

 

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Beautiful coin, with an exceptionally sharp reverse. Thanks for the interesting write-up!

I have four Trajan Decius coins with the Pannoniae reverse. The one below is my favourite and by far the rarest of the type. The portrait is fantastic and the coin is quite heavy too.

Trajanus Decius, AD 249-251

Obv: IMP TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG
Rev: PANNONIAE.
Mint: Rome

Measurements: 5.10g, 23mm

RIC 5.

10.PNG

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22 hours ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Two Pannoniae facing each other...

 

TDECRIC26.jpg.e095d49282d50bf27f32c7dedcd5a362.jpg

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius; Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 249/251 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 22mm; Weight: 4.09g; Mint: Rome; Reference: RIC IV Trajan Decius 26; Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection; Obverse: Bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right. The Inscription reads: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG for Imperator Caesar Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Augustus; Reverse: The two Pannoniae, both veiled, draped, standing right and left, facing each other, clasping right hands before standard in centre. The Inscription reads: PANNONIAE for Pannoniae (Of Pannonia)

  

 

Two Pannoniae facing each other from Mediolanum...

 

TDECRIC41a.jpg.27bdb1416e175e7f15d16bc00013568e.jpg

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius; Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 250/251 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 22mm; Weight: 3.45g; Mint: Mediolanum; Reference: RIC IV Trajan Decius 41a; Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection; Obverse: Bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right. The Inscription reads: IMP CAE TRA DEC AVG for Imperator Caesar Traianus Decius Augustus; Reverse: The two Pannoniae, both veiled, draped, standing right and left, facing each other, clasping right hands before standard in centre. The Inscription reads: PANNONIAE for Pannoniae (Of Pannonia).

  

 

Two Pannoniae booth to left

 

TDECRIC23II.jpg.b02cca67626ca04b9d539875e4d6eabb.jpg

Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius; Antoninianus of the Roman Imperial Period 249/251 AD; Material: Silver; Diameter: 22mm; Weight: 3.77g; Mint: Rome; Reference: RIC IV Trajan Decius 23; Provenance: Ex Dr. Gernot Heinrich Collection; Obverse: Bust of Trajan Decius, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right. The Inscription reads: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG for Imperator Caesar Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Augustus; Reverse: The two Pannoniae, both veiled, draped, standing front, head left; each holds standard in outside hand; the one on the right raises right hand. The Inscription reads: PANNONIAE for Pannoniae (Of Pannonia).

 

Beautiful coins, but in light of what I wrote about the Elks article, etc., do you still accept the Mediolanum attribution for the specimen with the abbreviated legend?

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I really don't know abou the mints, but my personal theory according to which I used to attribute Trajan Decius coins to either Rome or Milan was based on the portrait style. My theory is probably untenable, but I thought that portrait variants of the first coin below belong to Rome, while portrait variants of the second coin below belong to Mediolanum. I just couldn't really explain, why the same mint would produce two completely different portraits for the same emperor. But again, this theory is just a hunch really, and it is not backed up by any numismatic research.

10.PNG

Sep1.PNG

Edited by Tejas
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5 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Beautiful coins, but in light of what I wrote about the Elks article, etc., do you still accept the Mediolanum attribution for the specimen with the abbreviated legend?

I see it the same way as Tejas: 

4 hours ago, Tejas said:

I really don't know abou the mints, but my personal theory according to which I used to attribute Trajan Decius coins to either Rome or Milan was based on the portrait style. My theory is probably untenable, but I thought that portrait variants of the first coin below belong to Rome, while portrait variants of the second coin below belong to Mediolanum. I just couldn't really explain, why the same mint would produce two completely different portraits for the same emperor. But again, this theory is just a hunch really, and it is not backed up by any numismatic research.

I am not an expert on Trajanus Decius, Rome and Milan. But I have listened to several experts and each of them had logical and conclusive explanations for the "Rome alone" but also for the "Rome and Milan" theory. And I'm not deep enough into the matter to really refute or agree with one or the other expert. 

For me, however, the same logic that Tejas puts forward applies. 

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That is an attractive coin and an informative write-up.

My example is the type without the central standard. I bought it from @Valentinian a while ago. According to the listing from the sale in 1982, it was formerly in the Dorset County Museum and had been deacquisitioned:

RomTrajanDeciusAntoninianPannoniae.png.dba9d2f40f57bb76afe94a6e13e39b84.pngTrajan Decius, Roman Empire, AR antoninianus, 249–251 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, bust of Trajan Decius, draped and radiate, r. Rev: PANNONIAE, the two Pannoniae standing, holding standards. 23mm, 4.14g. Ref: RIC IV,3 Trajan Decius 21b. Ex Warren Esty; ex PMV Inc., "Late Summer List" 1982, lot 94; ex Dorset County Museum.

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27 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

I see it the same way as Tejas: 

I am not an expert on Trajanus Decius, Rome and Milan. But I have listened to several experts and each of them had logical and conclusive explanations for the "Rome alone" but also for the "Rome and Milan" theory. And I'm not deep enough into the matter to really refute or agree with one or the other expert. 

For me, however, the same logic that Tejas puts forward applies. 

5 hours ago, Tejas said:

I really don't know abou the mints, but my personal theory according to which I used to attribute Trajan Decius coins to either Rome or Milan was based on the portrait style. My theory is probably untenable, but I thought that portrait variants of the first coin below belong to Rome, while portrait variants of the second coin below belong to Mediolanum. I just couldn't really explain, why the same mint would produce two completely different portraits for the same emperor. But again, this theory is just a hunch really, and it is not backed up by any numismatic research.

Different officinae might explain it, perhaps? Which we know existed under his predecessor Philip I?

@Tejas, the issue I have with your theory is that both your examples appear to have the same obverse legend, which every authority has agreed is the earlier legend used in Rome. Nobody, so far as I know, has attributed coins bearing that legend to Mediolanum.

 

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13 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Different officinae might explain it, perhaps? Which we know existed under his predecessor Philip I?

@Tejas, the issue I have with your theory is that both your examples appear to have the same obverse legend, which every authority has agreed is the earlier legend used in Rome. Nobody, so far as I know, has attributed coins bearing that legend to Mediolanum.

 

I wonder if different officinae in the same city would have produced completely different portraits of the ruling emperor. The coins of Milan and Rome may not have circulated together a lot, so the difference in the portraits would not have been very apparent to the users of these coins. Howver,  coins from two Roman workshops would have circulated side by side. Would people not have found it odd if one workshop produced portraits that looked like the emperor and the other produced portraits that looked nothing like the emperor?

 

 

 

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A very interesting coin and one I hope to add to my collection. Oftentimes, the reverse die is quite worn to the point that the word PANNONIAE is hard to make out and you can't see much apart from two people standing there. Converesely, your example is very beautiful, to the extent that I thought you'd started your post with the best example of the reverse you could find pictured, rather than your own. Your specimen is also very artistic, with the left figure leaning forward towards the one on the right as they join hands. Probably the best example of this type I've ever seen using my main criteria of Beautiful/Historical reverses.

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5 minutes ago, Tejas said:

I wonder if different officinae in the same city would have produced completely different portraits of the ruling emperor. The coins of Milan and Rome may not have circulated together a lot, so the difference in the portraits would not have been very apparent to the users of these coins. Howver,  coins from two Roman workshops would have circulated side by side. Would people not have found it odd if one workshop produced portraits that looked like the emperor and the other produced portraits that looked nothing like the emperor?

All I can say, apart from the fact that there's no actual evidence of a mint operating in Mediolanum yet during Decius's reign (other than the rather circular stylistic argument), is that if you look solely at the obverse portraits on all the different examples I posted, without regard to the differing obverse legends, I see quite a few portraits that look decidedly different, with no particular pattern I can detect separating the portraits traditionally attributed to Rome from those traditionally attributed to Mediolanum.

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10 minutes ago, Steppenfool said:

A very interesting coin and one I hope to add to my collection. Oftentimes, the reverse die is quite worn to the point that the word PANNONIAE is hard to make out and you can't see much apart from two people standing there. Converesely, your example is very beautiful, to the extent that I thought you'd started your post with the best example of the reverse you could find pictured, rather than your own. Your specimen is also very artistic, with the left figure leaning forward towards the one on the right as they join hands. Probably the best example of this type I've ever seen using my main criteria of Beautiful/Historical reverses.

Thank you. When I decided recently that it was finally time to buy a PANNONIAE coin, and scrolled through every single example for sale on both VCoins and MA-Shops, the one I chose stood out to me immediately as having the best reverse of all of them. (Regardless of the fact that you can't see the bottom half of the military standard.) So I bought it!

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Terrific write-up and coin, @DonnaML.  This one is going in my reference files for this type.  I've yet to get one of these in silver, but I do have a sestertius:

TrajanDeciusSestPannoniaJan18(0).jpg.6fa34f915457b1b1b6b48891bb4eeadf.jpg

Trajan Decius Æ Sestertius (249-251 A.D.) Rome Mint 3rd Officina; 6th emission. [IMP C M Q] TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate, cuirass. bust right / PANNO[NI]AE, S-C, two Pannoniae standing facing, each raising hand; right figure holds standard; left figure has vertical standard behind (14.77 grams / 26 x 24 mm) eBay Jan. 2018 $21.00 BO 

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Socrates once pointed out that he was smarter than other people because he knew that he knew nothing and they thought they knew everything and were wrong.  Astrophysicists who hold PhD's based on their studies of the pre Webb telescopes are currently scrambling for position in light of the new discoveries that prove they were not as smart as Socrates.  In coins of this period, I will remain Socratic and point out that I do not know.  Die links can  be skewed, for example, if dies or die cutters were transferred from one mint to another and Milan is close enough to Rome that this has to be considered.  This thread has included a lot of information and at least part of it is correct.  Which part???  Of the coins in the group in question my favorite has been The PANNONIAE overstruck on a denarius of Geta.  There are quite a few late Decian period overstrikes but this is the only one I own. 

ro1290bb1659.jpg.69efd96e6f73a08ced4387895ac8860f.jpg

Decius portraits vary a lot ranging from generic and boring to just a mite strange.  I place my Victory in that later group and have no strong opinion on its status.  Have you seen a die match to it?  I have not.  

ro1230b00112lg.jpg.3f7c0021a15703d410677a6fba9aa899.jpg

Perhaps stranger and, IMHO, more attractive in a Decian sort of way is my Uberitas fourree.  It seems a shame that its maker could not find honest employment.  Perhaps he did fakes as a side hustle???  I'll never know.  

ro1240b01312lg.jpg.1dc48a62d89e5909b5cd529e32f06f8b.jpg

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Good to see you here again, @dougsmit -- I was hoping you would see your name and would comment. On the issue of  personnel and (already-used) dies being "freely transferred" between mints, note that in the quoted portions of the Elks article above, he accepts that evidence exists for the former but says that there's nothing to suggest the latter. I have no idea one way or the other if that assertion remains accurate, given that it's now been 50 years since the article was published.  (Certainly there's evidence that new dies were sent from Rome to provincial mints for coins to be struck from them, for instance the dies used for Trajan's Arabia Bostra camel drachms.) Nor do I know if there's been any  scholarship since Elks (based on die links or other evidence) reaching a different conclusion from his on the specific question of whether the Decius Pannoniae issues with abbreviated obverse legends were minted in Milan (the traditional view), or, as Elks concluded -- a conclusion adopted by Sear and others -- are part of the final issues of the Rome mint during Decius's reign. I did see a reference to the issue being addressed slightly more recently -- to the same effect as Elks -- in a chapter by R.A.G. Carson entitled "Mints in the mid-third century" in Scripta Nummaria Romana - Essays Presented to Humphrey Sutherland (ed. by R. A. G. Carson and Colin Kraay, Spink 1978). However, I haven't found the piece online, and even though used copies of the book seem to be available for 10 GBP or less, I'm not sufficiently interested to pay for shipping from the UK!

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