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Faustina Friday – a Provincial Bronze from Sala in Lydia


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! Today we're going to talk about Lydia.
 

No, no, no! Not Lydia, the tattooed lady! I'm talking about Lydia, the province in Asia Minor.

2015545056_FaustinaJrSalaHermes.jpg.d523f2ad49b0ee43c011639984309884.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman provincial Æ 17.4 mm, 3.99 g, 6 h.
Lydia, Sala, AD 154-163 (possibly under Damas, First Archon, AD 161-165).
Obv: ΦΑV
ΤΙ-ΝΑ Ε, bare-headed and draped bust, right, with Beckmann Type 5 hairstyle.
Rev:
ΑΛΗ-ΝΩΝ, nude Hermes standing, l., holding purse, caduceus and chlamys.
Refs: RPC IV.2,
1415 (temporary); SNG von Aulock 3117; GRPC Sala 64; Mionnet Suppl. 7.614,569; Düsseldorf 11346.

This little provincial bronze is a recent acquisition. It was minted in Sala, the modern Kepecik,[1] a small town in southeast Lydia about which little is known.[2] We may infer from its coins' iconography that its wealth seems to have depended upon agriculture.[3]
 

917024107_Sala(Lydia)map.jpg.73b14f7c698ec2336bb2a2847e8c60b6.jpg

Map (original source not cited) from Ancientmoney.org.[4]


It appears the city first struck coinage under Domitian and its last coins were struck under Severus Alexander. During the Flavian period, the city was named Domitianopolis. The various Archons under whose authority the issues were minted are frequently, though not universally, named on the coins of this city. The city struck semi-autonomous issues featuring such figures as Athena, Synkletos, Demos, and bearded Heracles, in addition to imperial issues depicting the Roman emperor or members of his family. The reverse types are few and frequently repeated from reign to reign.[5] These include Zeus Lydios,[6] Dionysus standing beside a column, Cybele enthroned, a bunch of grapes, and Hermes standing.[7] My coin features the Hermes design.

This appears to be the only coin issued for Faustina the Younger by the mint in Sala.
A search of RPC for "Faustina Sala" yields only this coin, and Mionnet includes only this coin in his extensive catalog.[8] As such, it makes dating the coin problematic. The editors of RPC conjecture that it may have been issued under Damas, the First Archon of the city, in AD 161-165.[9] Since the empress appears to have adopted the Beckmann Type 5 hairstyle in autumn, AD 154,[10], a terminus post quem for this coin of AD 154 is solid, but what about a terminus ante quem? What's a reasonable latest date for the coin? That's impossible to say, because it does not bear the name of the First Archon of the city and no other coins were issued for the empress to which it can be compared. Using hairstyle is imprecise at best, even for imperial issues. As Paul Dinsdale reminds us, not only do many coin-types appear with multiple hairstyles, indicating continuous or repeated issue, but the hairstyles on many specimens cannot be neatly fitted into one of Beckmann's types.[11] Indeed, Beckmann's die-linkage study of the aurei of Faustina the Younger[12] demonstrate that the use of various bust types often persisted despite the introduction of new bust types with different hairstyles, and numerous reverse types are known with two or even three different hairstyles on the obverse bust. When we're dealing with provincial issues, use of hairstyle becomes even more problematic, because news of the empress's current hairstyle may not have reached the mint in a small hamlet remote from Rome until years later. Faustina changed her hairstyle after the birth of her twins in August, AD 161.[13] Allowing for the possibility that the mint in Sala didn't receive notice of this, AD 163 seems reasonable as the latest date of issue, but this is just conjecture. As noted in RPC IV.2, the coin may have been issued contemporaneously with coins issued for Marcus Aurelius under the First Archon of the city, Damas, featuring the emperor with a long beard, paludamentum and cuirass dated AD 161-165.

Lastly, there's the issue of reverse iconography. As I noted above, Hermes appears on numerous coins of the city of Sala over the course of many decades. Therefore, there is probably little-to-no significance of this reverse design being chosen for Faustina. The coin depicts Hermes standing there in the nude – as he is wont to do on coins – with his chlamys draped over his elbow. I have no idea why Hermes always stands around naked, holding his clothes draped on his arm. There's probably some mythological basis for this iconography, but that's a topic for me to research later.

Post any coins you have of Sala, of Hermes standing around naked, or anything else you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes


1. "Sala (Lydia)." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Dec. 2020,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sala_(Lydia).

2. Note the paucity of information in online sites, such as Wikipedia (op. cit.), and in Head's relevant volume of BMC Greek. It is not listed in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. See: Head, Barclay Vincent. A Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum: Lydia. Printed by Order of the Trustees, 1901, p. xciv; Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. Vol. 2, Little, Brown & Co., 1865.

3. Head, op. cit., p. xcvi.

4. Ancientmoney.org, Map of Ancient Lydia,
https://www.ancientmoney.org/non_greek_kingdoms/lydia_map.html.

5. Head, op cit., pp. xciv-xcvi.

6. Zeus Lydios (Zeus of the Lydians) is a term used by art historians to describe the iconography depicting the god as standing, holding an eagle and vertical scepter. I have discussed this in a previous post
here at CT.

7. Head, op cit., p. xcvi.

8. Mionnet Théodore-Edme. Description De médailles Antiques, Grecques Et Romaines: Supplément 7 (Lycia). L'imprimerie Royale, 1835, p. 614.

9. RPC IV, 1415, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/1415.

10. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September, 2021.

11. Dinsdale, Paul H. The Imperial Coinage of the Middle Antonines: Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus and Commodus. Leeds, Paul H Dinsdale, 2020, p. 50.

12. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021.

13. See the SALVTI AVGVSTAE die sequence in Beckmann, op cit., Fig. 4.4, Group 14, p. 54.; also "Portraitbüste Der Faustina Minor." Arachne, University of Cologne Archaeological Institute,
https://arachne.dainst.org/entity/148770.

Edited by Roman Collector
Update photo and measurements of coin
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@Roman Collector: Nice little coin

 

28 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

Post any coins you have of Sala, of Hermes standing around naked,

OK, here is  Hermes standing around naked from Sala:

 

normal_Sala_01.jpg.f0e46332134cd13a34f03d5a5b353faf.jpg

pseudo-autonomous issue
Reign of Trajan
Obv.: ΔHMOC CAΛHNΩN, laureate and draped bust of bearded Demos right.
Rev.: ЄΠI AΛЄΞANΔPOV IЄPЄ, Hermes standing left with kerykeion and purse.
AE, 3.3g, 18mm
Ref.: RPC III 2436, SNG Cop. 416; SNG von Aulock 3107

 

Edited by shanxi
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13 minutes ago, shanxi said:

 

@Roman Collector: Nice little coin

 

OK, here is  Hermes standing around naked from Sala:

 

normal_Sala_01.jpg.f0e46332134cd13a34f03d5a5b353faf.jpg

pseudo-autonomous issue
Reign of Trajan
Obv.: ΔHMOC CAΛHNΩN, laureate and draped bust of bearded Demos right.
Rev.: ЄΠI AΛЄΞANΔPOV IЄPЄ, Hermes standing left with kerykeion and purse.
AE, 3.3g, 18mm
Ref.: RPC III 2436, SNG Cop. 416; SNG von Aulock 3107

 

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Posted · Supporter

Awesome coin! 

I can't believe I don't have a single Roman coin with Hermes!?!

Best I can do is these ladies if Trajan from Lydia:

1953272_1622215716.l-removebg-preview.png.0829f7f10d3bdf8c319a95ffd5ee610b.png

Lydia. Gordos-Iulia . Plotina AD 105-123.
Bronze Æ
13mm., 1,36g.
ΠΛΩΤЄΙΝΑ СЄΒΑСΤΗ, draped bust right / ΓΟΡΔΗΝΩΝ ЄΠΙ ΠΟΠΛΙΟΥ, Zeus seated left on throne, holding patera and sceptre.
very fine
RPC III 2550.7. P
urchased from Savoca June 2021

 

1953220_1622215680.l-removebg-preview.png.860725bd70c73315a405bdc7b7cc42bb.png

Lydia. Gordos-Iulia . Plotina AD 105-123.
Bronze Æ
13mm., 1,36g.
ΠΛΩΤЄΙΝΑ СЄΒΑСΤΗ, draped bust right / ΓΟΡΔΗΝΩΝ ЄΠΙ ΠΟΠΛΙΟΥ, Zeus seated left on throne, holding patera and sceptre.
very fine
RPC III 2550.7. P
urchased from Savoca June 2021

Edited by Ryro
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