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Eikonion - Klaudeikonion - Iconium


seth77
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Posted (edited)

Lately there have been a number of coins from Iconium offered at several auction venues, both on ebay and biddr, mostly under-attributed, which gave me an opportunity to cheaply add the three phases that this very important Lycaonian city -- that would go on to become a very important Byzantine and then Seljuk capital in the middle ages -- went through during Roman rule:

1. The pseudo-autonomous Greek city, using the Hellenistic coinage tradition in both module (smaller diameter but thicker flan, thus high weight) and iconography, in the late 1st century BC to early 1st century AD:

2905018_1653760208.jpg.a8b2c07c2e4345df68b83cfe57363e8e.jpg

AE15mm 3.55g copper unit
Head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy leaves wreath, with thyrsos  behind
EIKONIEΩN; Gorgoneion
von Aulock Lykaoniens 200

Was rather surprised that there was no competition for this one, mine being the only bid. With these specifications, this one seems like the special instance where the earlier Hellenistic coinage style meets (a still discreet) Roman rule while following one of the many twists of the story of the beheading of Medusa, Perseus and his exploits, with a hint to a local story (recalled by Pausanias and Nonnus) regarding the rivalry and clash between Perseus (the slayer of Medusa) and Dionysos, in which Ariadne (Dionysos wife at that time) is turned into stone at Argos by being made to face the Gorgoneion. All from a city that was presumably named after the εικόν (the Gorgoneion) that Perseus used in his war with the ancient Lycaonians to defeat them. Also, as a bonus, this was possibly (still) circulating at Iconium when Paul the Apostle went there in the late 40s.

 

2. The second one is a coinage from, at earliest, the 120s minted for Hadrian, during the period when the city -- or at least the Roman colony that grew (and was still growing) since the time of Augustus, as part of the Hellenistic city of Eikonion -- was called Klaudeikonion, in honor of the late emperor Claudius.

hadrian.jpg.7e82718904143469e468c20f453eb210.jpg

AE16mm 3.11g copper unit
ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ; heroic bust in truncation of the emperor wearing lion skin knotted around neck
ΚΛΑΥΔΕΙΚΟΝΙΕⲰΝ; Perseus standing facing, head r., holding head of Medusa in his r. hand, harpa in l.
von Aulock Lykaoniens 290-2, RPC III 2825

This is a very interesting and puzzling effigy style for Hadrian, also paired with Perseus and the Gorgoneion -- unfortunately the harpa is not easily visible in the hero's left hand. This is a proper 'provincial' coinage or a 'Greek imperial' which is both traditional in the sense of following an iconographic theme specific to the city and its local legends and novel, pairing Perseus with a rather unusual Hadrian depiction.

 

3. And finally the mid 2nd century Iconium, a city that by now has fully embraced its colonial identity, thus minting a rather conventional Roman coinage in Latin legend, obviously inspired by the Roman as:

989308079_piusiconium.jpg.9a6a62b5d831d6584faa20d9a4a547fc.jpg

Antoninus Pius (138-161)
AE20mm 4.54g copper unit (as?)
[IMP C T] A H ANTONINVS, bearded laureate head right
COL ICO, Athena standing facing, head left, holding Nike presenting wreath, and spear; shield leaning against spear at her feet; in left field, serpent
RPC IV.3 7258

 

These are all interesting issues and I think they tell a rather distinct story for Roman Asia, especially when it comes to the denominations and how they evolved, towards a Roman model, rather than a 'provincial' model, seen normally in the Eastern part of the Empire. It also shows a glimpse into the urban evolution of the city and how a Hellenistic urban center gets associated with a Roman colonial (veteran) project, that ends up ultimately becoming the city itself by the 2nd century AD. Another interesting note: these are all copper(y) coins, no brass (orichalcum) alloy as in other parts of the East.

Edited by seth77
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One of Claudius from Claudiconium.

[IMG]
Claudius, AD 41-54, and Agrippina II, AD 50-59.
Roman provincial Æ 19.6 mm, 4.19 g, 12 h.
Lycaonia, Iconia (as Claudiconium), magistrate M. Annius Afrinus, AD 50-54.
Obv: ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹЄΒΑ, laureate head of Claudius, right.
Rev: ϹЄΒΑϹΤΗ ЄΠΙ ΑΦΡЄΙΝΟΥ ΚΛΑΥΔЄΙΚΟΝΙЄⲰΝ, bare-headed and draped bust of Agrippina II, right.
Refs: RPC I 3542; von Aulock Lyk. 258–62.

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17 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

One of Claudius from Claudiconium.

[IMG]
Claudius, AD 41-54, and Agrippina II, AD 50-59.
Roman provincial Æ 19.6 mm, 4.19 g, 12 h.
Lycaonia, Iconia (as Claudiconium), magistrate M. Annius Afrinus, AD 50-54.
Obv: ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹЄΒΑ, laureate head of Claudius, right.
Rev: ϹЄΒΑϹΤΗ ЄΠΙ ΑΦΡЄΙΝΟΥ ΚΛΑΥΔЄΙΚΟΝΙЄⲰΝ, bare-headed and draped bust of Agrippina II, right.
Refs: RPC I 3542; von Aulock Lyk. 258–62.

 

This also one of the types I am after for Iconium. Great conservation also.

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I didn't see that Dionysos example offered -- and I regularly search for coins of this city.  Yours has more detail than this example sold by Lanz in 2008:

iconium-dionysos-both.jpg.122741a54e7846808b0c35e272942dae.jpg

Lycaonia, Iconium, 100 BC - 54 AD, AE16, 3.90g.
O: Beardless head of Dionysos right, crowned with ivy, thyrsos behind shoulder, within beaded border.
R: Winged gorgon, facing, two snakes above, snake ties below chin, ЄΙΚΟΝΙЄΩΝ around, within beaded border.
Ref: Lindgren & Kovacs A1376A, von Aulock Lycaonians 200
 

The pairing of Dionysos with a gorgon is surprising.  Perseus battled Dionysos in mythology but the story is not well known.  Dinarchus of Delos, writing in the 4th century BC, claimed  that Perseus killed Dionysos and buried him in a tomb at Delphi.  In the third century Euphorion, a poet, wrote that Dionysos destroyed Perseus’ city.  Pausanias claimed Dionysos fought Perseus but later made peace.  Pausanias actually saw the tomb of one of Dionysos’s intoxicated female soldiers.  Dionysos also appears on the obverse of an another coin of Iconium depicting Perseus on the reverse.

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Those are all excellent additions Seth!  I was able to catch a few in recent auctions.

 

Clipboard7_6.jpg.40ff81e725845586005e5b13b096941a.jpg

Lycaonia, Iconium. Titus AE18

Obv: T CAES IM PONT / laureate head of Titus, r.
Rev: COL - ICO-NIEN, E - Q / two standards; between them, star.
Struck during the reign of Vespasian.

 

 

iconium.jpg.0f5f5466accb1f22bad8df6346d4215f.jpg

Lycaonia, Iconium. Antoninus Pius AE18.

Obv. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev. COL ICO, helmeted head of Athena right.

 

 

Clipboard4_11.jpg.f053a9a89372c61c06d68344e4343cbf.jpg

Lycaonia, Iconium. Nero Æ20. Head of Perseus

Nero Æ20 of Iconium, Lycaonia. 54-68.
Obv: NEPWN KAICAP CEBACTOC Laureate head r.
Rev: KLAYDEIKONIEWN Head of Perseus r., harpa over shoulder.
RPC 3545. 4.3g, 20mm

 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Slowly adding to this very interesting city and coinage -- again an early Greek 'pseudo-autonomous' issue for Klaudeikonion:

 
 

klaudiconion.jpg.146ee8ddb794781ebd65438edd68da04.jpg

AE15mm 2.57g copper unit, minted at Iconium, ca. second half of the 1st century AD.
Gorgoneion
ΚΛΑΥΔƐΙΚΟΝΙƐWΝ in 3 lines
RPC II 1608C, von Aulock Lykaoniens 250-1


This issue is certainly related to the one above, possibly being chronologically ulterior it. RPC dates it to the reign of Vespasian but since the 'pseudo-autonomous' coinage does not seem to be tied to the coinage with Imperial effigies and names, this could have been issued earlier, perhaps starting with the reign of Claudius and/or later, considering that the city already shows its new name. It keeps the planchet diameter of the earlier series but the weight is decreased.

Edited by seth77
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Posted (edited)

This summer I managed to follow some really interesting auctions and add a great start to a few of my niche interests -- one being the city of Iconium with its interesting history as both Greek-tradition polis and Roman colonia. Here is another, this time completing the coinage of the 120s for Hadrian:

 

3076469_1658131851.jpg.658e3c431a79fdc3ceb2a9119223fc3d.jpg

AE20mm 5.50g copper multiple, minted at Iconium, ca. 120s.
ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ; laureate and cuirassed bust of Hadrian, r., with paludamentum
ΚΛΑΥΔΕΙΚΟΝΙΕⲰΝ; bust of Athena with Corinthian helmet and aegis
RPC III 2824; von Aulock Lycaoniens 293-6

 

This is clearly the multiple to the spec above (Hadrian with lion's sin in the OP), the style is very similar and the weight and diameter would fit for a unit and its double. This is a Greek 'local/provincial' coinage, so the unit might be the assarion, making this spec a diassaria. With 14 'doubles' and 15 units recorded in RPC, this was likely a robust issue, probably the last Greek issue before the coinage shifts to a Latin 'colonial' coinage, perhaps sometime at the end of Hadrian's reign or early into Antoninus Pius reign, see above for the main Antoninus Pius issue for Colonia Iconium.

Edited by seth77
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