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Off the Beaten Path: Cotiaeum (Phrygia) Zeus

David Atherton

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Admittedly, not the sexiest of coins, but it's decently rare and sports a stylish portrait. Also, it's my first coin from Cotiaeum.


Æ19, 6.57g
Cotiaeum (Phrygia) mint, Tiberius Claudius Varus magistrate
Obv: ΚΟΤΙΑΕΙΣ ΟΥΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΝ ΚΑΙΣΑΡΑ; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
Rev: ΕΠΙ ΤΙ ΚΛΑ ΟΥΑΡΟΥ; Zeus (?) stg. l., with hand raised
RPC 1406 (1 spec.).
Acquired from Ken Dorney, December 2023.

Cotiaeum fleetingly produced brass coins during the Flavian period under Vespasian and Domitian. Most varieties are fairly rare, known only from one or two specimens. This undated Zeus standing type was struck by the magistrate Tiberius Claudius Varus. Only one specimen of this Zeus type with left portrait is cited by RPC in the core collections.

In hand.


It wasn't until I researched this coin that I realised how rare it really is. Possibly third known!

As always, thank you for looking!

Edited by David Atherton
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Nice addition! Did you notice that there are a couple of other left-facing Vespasian variants in addition to 1402? Also 1405A & 1406. It looks like they may vary only in one or two letters on the legends -- unfortunately, I suspect it may be the part where your obverse legend is off-flan. (This is the problem with RPC's extremely fine differentiation between types for some of the volumes!) Might be possible to match the obv. die to one of the specimens shown. 

I've got only one coin of Cotiaeum -- but struck about 180 years later, under the reign of Valerian. When RPC X came out, I was surprised to learn how common this type is. They had 40 specimens as soon as it went live (18 from core collections).

On the plus side, it does have a tiny little Telesphorus on the reverse standing there wearing his trademark hoodie between Asclepius & Hygeia.


Phrygia, Cotiaeum. Valerian AE (24mm, 7.75g, 2h), c. 253-260.
Obv: ΑΥΤ Κ Π ΛΙΚ ΟΥΑΛΕΡΙΑΝΟΝ. Radiate, draped, cuirassed bust from rear.
Rev: ΕΠΙ Π ΑΙΛ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΑΝΟΥ ΙΠΠ(Ι)(Κ) / ΑΡ/Χ / ΚΟΤΙΑΕΩΝ. Asclepius & Hygeia, with Telesphorus between.

Ref: For type, see: RPC X (Temp) 63217; Plant 37.
Prov: CNG EA 548 (18 Oct 2023) lot 1115 (part of), ex M. Slavin coll., ex H.C. Lindgren (1914-2005) coll. (unpublished) w/ his envelope.


Just for fun, here's how Rev. Richard J. Plant illustrated this particular type in his 1979 Greek Coin Types book. (His model was very likely Weber 7078 = RPC spec. 39, since he usually Weber when he didn't have a specimen of his own.)


Edited by Curtis JJ
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My only coin from the city is the same issue posted by @Curtis JJ but with a left-facing bust. I did a write-up on it here. I like it because it depicts Asklepios and his entire family.

Valerian I, 253-260 CE.
Roman provincial Æ 23.5 mm, 7.57 g, 7 h.
Phrygia, Cotyaëum; P. Ael. Demetrianos, archon 253-260 CE.
Obv: AVT K Π ΛIK OYAΛEPIANO, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, holding spear and shield.
Rev: EΠ Π AIΛ ΔHMHTPIANOY IΠ, AP/X in upper field, KOTIAEΩN in exergue, Hygieia and Asklepios standing face-to-face, left and right respectively, with their usual attributes; Telesphoros stands, facing, between them.
Refs: BMC 25.177,94; SNG von Aulock 3790.

Edited by Roman Collector
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Thanks for posting this David. You inspired me to investigate other coinage of this pretty obscure city; I think I've encountered it maybe once or twice ever. I found this absolutely astonishing and wonderful coin, Nomos 24, 22 May 2022, lot 213:


Nomos' description and Alan Walker's comments:

PHRYGIA. Cotiaeum. Pseudo-autonomous issue, circa 200-230s. Diassarion (Bronze, 22 mm, 6.43 g, 7 h). ΔΗ - ΜΟC Bearded head of Demos to right, with light drapery over his far shoulder. Rev. Β / ΚΟΤ - ΙΑ/ΕΩ - Ν Ganymede, borne away by a large eagle (= Zeus) with spread wings who clasps him from behind, standing left, nude but for his Phrygian cap, holding a lagobolon in his left hand and raising his right above him to stroke the eagle's beak. Martin, Demos et al. Kotiaion 4.1 = SNG Copenhagen 315 (same dies, but B omitted or misread as K). Very rare and with a most interesting mythological scene on the reverse. Dark brown patina. About extremely fine.
From an English collection, originally acquired prior to circa 2000.

The tale of Zeus's infatuation with the Trojan shepherd Ganymede is well known: seeing him, and being transfixed by his beauty, Zeus transformed himself into an eagle and carried the youth off from his flocks on Mt. Ida to Mt. Olympus. The scene is found on a number of Roman Provincial issues, primarily from Ilium and Dardanos in the Troad, but none of them show precisely this version: here Ganymede is standing straightly at attention with his legs together, still holding his hunter's lagobolon and wearing his Phyrgian cap, but rather affectionally stroking the eagle's beak. Presumably Ganymede must have realized that his fate was not to be the same as that of the usual member of his flock when carried off by an eagle!

Not my coin of course. Very seldom do I regret, even for a moment, my exclusive RR focus, but I absolutely adore this coin. 3000 CHF hammer seems like a bargain really. Note especially Ganymede's brazen blandishing of his bunny-basher (=lagobolon ), not that it'll do him much good where he's headed!

Edited by Phil Davis
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Any coin with Vespasian is a cool one David!


Philip I and an autonomous.


Phrygia, Cotiaeum. Philip I AE26 Kyble. C. Julius Ponticus, Archiereus

Phrigia, Cotiaeum. Between 244 and 249
Kyble on stool being pulled by biga of lions. Polos / Tympanon
SNG AUL 3787(1). BMC 17 S174,78(2)



Phrygia, Cotiaeum. Magistrate Diogenes, son of Dionysios AE24. AD 253-268.

Obv: ΔHMOC KOTIAEΩN, unbearded, diademed, draped bust of Demos right.
Rev: EΠI ΔIOΓENOY-ΔIONYCIOY, AΡ-C (in field right), KOTIAEΩN below, Zeus Aetophorus seated left, holding eagle and sceptre.

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