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Roman silver from Caesarea, Cappadocia


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Roman silver coins are mostly denarii, but there are some silver coins minted at provincial mints. Of course, there are many tetradrachms from Antioch and other Syrian mints, but this coin is different for being a drachm minted at Caesarea in Cappadocia (see the google map).

CaesareaCappadociaMapGoogleSm.jpg.7b7ac1ad880ce542d1890debcb959cab.jpg 

It was a prosperous trading town. Caesarea minted coins which are discussed in books by William Metcalf The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian to Commodus (only through Commodus) and Sydenham The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (all of of its coins, including AE, through Gordian III and Tranquillina, but this book is older and not as up-to-date for silver coins up to Commodus). 

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18 mm. 2.81 grams. Silver drachm.
AV K M AVPH ANTΩNINOC   Autokrater, Caesar, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (for Caracalla)
MHTP KAIS   Metropolis Caesarea
Mt. Argaeus, on summit, star. The volcano is 16 miles south of the city.

ЄT IΔ   in exergue. Year 14 = 205/6.

Tetradrachms of Antioch and other Syro-Phoenician cities belong in a different thread. Show us some other provincial silver. 

 

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These Cappadocian drachmas were so close in appearance and fabric to the denarius that I have to wonder if they circulated as the equivalent of the denarii, especially among the large illiterate population.

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Good topic, I'm looking forward to seeing some others. This is one where I've got the book but none of the coins inside... Here's my copy of The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia by E.A. Sydenham. It's the original 1933 edition without the later intro by Alex G Malloy.

It has bookplates from the ANS Library and David Bullowa (1912-1953), also with his embossed stamp. (It's originally softcover, but someone gave it a hard cover, but don't know if it was Bullowa or ANS. I've bought a number of these deaccessioned duplicates from ANS now; they sell them on ebay every so often.)

Now I need to get some of the coins to go with it!

image.jpeg.4841ae2cd8bccf45eff32627ca606245.jpeg  image.jpeg.d345652484cc642f1efbb65276e9552f.jpeg  image.jpeg.f4caa3da3b98d6149793fae233ceb572.jpeg

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Attractive specimen!

More  recent reference: Thomas Ganschow, Münzen von Kappadokien, Sammlung Henseler, Istanbul 2018. vol. II, 561a, citing a specimen in Milan.

This catalogue publishes a German private collection of 1600 coins, all of which are illustrated, and to which are added descriptions of many other Cappadocian coins in a few museums and many sale catalogues, none of these additional coins however being illustrated.

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Septimius Severus * Silber Drachme Caesarea 209/210 n.Chr. Sydenham 400 var. * Av: AY KAI Λ CЄΠ CЄOYHPOC * Rv: MHTPO KAICAP NЄΩ ЄT IZ * Berg Argaeus

Thats an relative rare date version from Septimius Severus.

F127EB8A-84F5-4F93-8323-46E299F00B5C.png
 

Obverse: 

You can see the draped bust of Septimius Severus with laurel wreath facing right. The inscription reads: AY KAI Λ CЄΠ CЄOYHPOC.

The inscription can be translated as follows:
ΑΥ = AV = Avtokrator = Emperor
KAI = Caesar = Caesar
Λ = L = Lucius
CЄΠ = SEP = Septimius
CЄOYHPOC = SEVROS = Severus
Emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus

 

Reverse:

You can see the holy mountain Argaeus (Argaios), flanked by pointed volcanic rock formations (rock needles) or steam and fire-breathing lateral volcanic cones. A grotto or cave could be shown in the middle, but this could also represent a religious symbol. A star is depicted above the mountain. Below the mountain is the dating of the embossing: ЄT IZ. The inscription reads: MHTPO KAICAP NЄΩ.

The dating can be translated as follows:
ЄT = ETOVC = year
I = iota = 10
Z = zeta = 7
In the 17th (10+7) year of the reign of Septimius Severus (209/210 AD)

The inscription can be translated as follows:
MHTPO = METRO = metropolis = metropolitans
KAICAP = KAISAR = Kaisareia = Caesarea
NЄΩ = NEO = Neokoros
By the metropolitans of Caesarea, who have the honor of an imperial cult temple

Mount Argaeus (Greek Argaios, Turkish Erciyes Dağı) is a dormant volcano, which with a total height of 3916 meters is also the highest mountain in Asia Minor. Its summit, often above the clouds, is covered with snow even in summer. He is truly giant and king of the mountains at the same time. Ancient climbers reported that when visibility was good from the summit, both the Black Sea (Pontus) and the eastern Mediterranean (Issikos, Gulf of Iskenderun) could be seen. At its feet, some 25km to the north, lies the present-day city of Kayseri in Cappadocia. In ancient times, the city was known under the names of Kaisareia, Caesarea or Eusebia. The mountain has been a symbol of the region since ancient times. It towers 2,900 meters above the city, which is about 1,000 meters above sea level. It is a very impressive mountain simply because of its towering height, prominent position and volcanic activity. In the year 253 BC a great eruption is said to have occurred, which is also said to have been mentioned on coins of the Roman Republic. In his descriptions of the region near Caesarea, the geographer Strabo reported plains dotted with fire pits, where flames broke out of the ground at night. According to Strabo, in his time (54 BC to 19 AD) there was hot sulphurous water vapor on the volcano. But the Latin poet Claudius Claudianus (370 to 404 AD) also reported in late antiquity about the volcanic activities of the Argaeus that were still existing in his time. The tufa landscapes with their typical rock cones, called „fairy chimneys“ by the locals, which were created by the eruptions of the Argaeus, are still famous today.

Almost nothing is known about the cult and rites surrounding Mount Argaeus or the mountain god depicted here. However, the holy mountain is only one in a whole series of mountain gods. The Argaeus has always been known to numismatists, and the depictions of the mountains have also been discussed here on various occasions. The disciplines of classical studies have so far only marginally dealt with this prominent holy mountain or mountain god. Although the mountain already played a cultic role in the time of the Hittites, there is hardly any historical evidence from the early period. Argaeus is mostly mentioned in ancient literature in connection with Mazaka-Kaisareia and is often only mentioned in stereotypes. The knowledge of the ancient authors about Argaeus and a real interest in him is generally low. It essentially coincides with an interest, also limited, in backward Cappadocia itself.

According to one assumption, the Argaeus is probably identical with the holy mountain or mountain god Hargaia (or Harga), the white, shiny shimmering mountain mentioned in Hittite cuneiform documents. During the Hittite festival of purulliya, Harki, among other mountains, was asked to remain in place. So the story of Argaeus remains largely in the dark until shortly before the turning point of time. From before the 1st century BC no writings or definitely dated mountain depictions are known. Only when there was an alliance with Rome, in the short period between 101 BC and 17 AD Greek coinage mentioning the mountain. After a pause then appear from the 1st century AD increased the so-called Argaeus coins under Roman rule. A possible explanation is that the cult was reintroduced by the Romans to introduce the Cappadocians to the Roman triad Jupiter-Helios-Serapis and to get them to accept a Summus Deus faith. (Peter Weiss). It is known that an agon (contest) took place in his name. In his commentary on cult images of the gods, Maximus of Tire wrote in the 2nd century AD. from a mountain which the Cappadocians regarded as deity (theos), oath (horkos) and holy image (agalma).

The representation of the Argaeus images on the coins is correspondingly difficult to interpret due to the lack of historical records. With few exceptions, the mountain is depicted as a triangular outline. Two secondary peaks are often shown clearly or rudimentarily. Conical to cone-shaped elements are located at the top and at the edges, usually becoming smaller. Here it could be the cooled rock needles in the volcanic landscape – or, as described by Strabo, the fire and water vapor spitting conical rock formations, which were located on the slopes of the volcano. Depicted in the center of the depiction of the mountain is said to be a cult image itself or a grotto or cave. I believe (my subjective impression) to recognize such a grotto on other coins and on the coin presented here, to which a winding path is indicated. In fact, two caves have been discovered on the mountain, at least one of which has been expanded by human hands. A star looms over the mountain. Here, too, there are several different interpretations. The solar traits of a found figure with a halo and globe identify Argaeus as a heavenly deity. The astral symbols that appear very frequently, a star, two stars, three stars, but also a star and a crescent or just a crescent, would point in the same direction. However, there is also a theory of a sacred stone, similar to the sacred stone of Emesa, which the volcano is said to have spewed out and which was then worshiped. However, the astral symbols just mentioned speak against this theory of the one revered stone (a star).

Another unanswered question arises in relation to the depiction of Mount Argaeus, as on this drachma presented here. Do we see the mountain itself represented here or a cult image of it? I think it is very likely that there was a cult image of the holy mountain. On the reverse of a bronze below Commodus (SNG Cop. 254) is an altar with Mount Argaeus. His image is also clearly elevated on an altar on a silver drachma from the Iulia Domna (SNG Cop. 267). On another bronze by Commodus we see the cult image of Mount Argaeus on a two-pillared altar, beneath which is an eagle. And on a bronze of Severus Alexander we see a temple with a cult image of Argaeus in the middle between the pillars of the sanctuary. So is the image on the coins presented here – and other coins of a similar type – a relatively lifelike image of the mountain with its secondary peaks and rock needles together with a grotto or cave – or do we see a stylized sacred cult image of the mountain, which perhaps stood in a temple or was taken in a procession through the streets of the city? However, the uniformity of the representations suggests that it was probably a representation of an actually existing cult image, a so-called Agalma (cult image, consecration image).

A neocorate was a rank or dignity bestowed by the Roman Senate and Emperor on certain cities that had built temples for the emperor or established cults of members of the imperial family. The city itself was referred to as Neokoros. A temple dedicated to the emperor was also called Neokorat. These titles came from the Greek word νεωκόρος, literally a temple sweeper (νεώς, temple, κορεῖν, to sweep), and were also used for a temple guardian and for a high-ranking priest in charge of a temple. From the 2nd century AD the title appeared on many coins. The city of Ephesus was allowed to use the title for the first time for its Temple of Sebastoi. There were about 37 cities holding the Neocorate, mostly in the province of Asia but also in neighboring provinces. More than one neokoros could be granted to a city, and the number of neokoroi was often given in the reverse legend of the coins (B = 2, Γ = 3, ∆ = 4).

 

Background:

Caesarea (originally Mazaka or Eusebeia, Greek Kaisareia, today Kayseri), named in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, was the capital of the Roman province of Cappadocia. The location of today’s city was interspersed with salt lakes and swamps until the 4th century, some of which were only drained in the last century. Since Hittite times the place was called Mazaka. In Hellenistic times, the kings of Cappadocia resided here and Eusebeia, as Mazaka was also called at the time, formed one of the two national centers in addition to Tyana in the south. According to Strabo, the city was still unfortified in his day and surrounded by thieving tribes. The surrounding land was barren, sandy and rocky, the city itself „waterless“.

From the volcanic activity around the Erciyes, numerous „fire pits“ seem to have been preserved at that time. The supply of wood over the slopes of the volcanic mountain was therefore difficult. In the plain around the city flowed the swampy river Melas, today’s Karasu Çayı (both names mean „black river“), a tributary of the Delice Çayı, called Cappadox in ancient times, and in turn a tributary of the Kızılırmak or Halys. By damming the Melas at its mouth, the Cappadocian king Ariarathes created a „sea-like lake“ with a few islands. But the rupture of the dam caused a flood of mud along the entire lower reaches of the Halys, especially among the Galatians of Phrygia, who then demanded compensation.

Around 77 BC the city was conquered for the second time by the Armenian Great King Tigranes II, whereby the ruler again had numerous residents deported to his new capital Tigranokerta in northern Mesopotamia. Only after the Romans conquered this place under Pompeius (69 BC) was the resettled population able to return. With the death of its last king, Archelaus, Cappadocia lost 17 AD its independence and was transformed into the Roman province of Cappadocia under Emperor Tiberius. Mazaka-Eusebeia now served as the provincial capital and was given the name Caesarea (Greek Kaisareia). After the division of Cappadocia under Emperor Valens, Caesarea was the capital of Cappadocia prima.

According to Christian tradition, Christianity found favor with the townspeople early on (1 Pet 1.1 EU). At the beginning of the 3rd century, Caesarea was a center of Christian theological education. Caesarea experienced its heyday in the 4th century. The social services (hospitals, old people’s homes, feeding the poor) that Basil of Caesarea set up there in the second half of the fourth century were famous in antiquity. The new settlement grew rapidly while the old quarters gradually fell into disrepair (remnants can still be found today).

Silver coins were minted in Caesarea for Septimius Severus in his reigns 2nd, 5th and 12th to 20th. But since Severus had de facto only 18 years of reign, the years 19 and 20 were spent under Caracalla and Iulia Domna. The most traditional type of coin was the drachm, occasionally supplemented by the so-called tridrachm – more rarely the didrachm and tetradrachm. The drachma weighed about 3 grams and was issued throughout the period (2, 5 and 12 to 20 regnal years). The tridrachm, in turn, had a weight of about 9 grams and appeared in the reign years 5 and 13 to 18. The didrachm with its weight of about 5 grams and the tetradrachm with the weight of about 10 grams, was only in the „government years“ 19 and 20 embossed.

A closer look at the design of the rear view under the severer reveals a few things. Mount Argaeus has been a common reverse type since Flavian times and came in two forms. Once surmounted by a standing figure, sometimes holding a patera and sceptre, commonly identified as Helios. And as a second form, Mount Argaeus, which is simply surmounted by a star, which could serve as a symbol of the god. Both symbols can even be seen side by side on editions of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Under Septimius Severus, however, the standing figure only appears on tridrachms. Iulia Domna is the first woman to have her own coinage with issues in the 5th and 12th year of her reign, and coins are also issued for Plautilla, but only with the conventional reverse side. Otherwise, there are two new types of severers. A figure seated on a cairn, which must represent Argaeus himself, and a sort of ‚coronation scene‘, which represents a group of figures on the flattened Argaeus. I would like to come back to this coronation scene in a moment.

The obverse and reverse legend inscriptions show a wide variety of variations and abbreviations used, and do not seem to follow any particular intended pattern. Only the status as „Neokoros“ causes some confusion. Until the 13th year of his reign, Caesarea was never referred to as „Neokoros“. In the reign years 14 and 15, coins are known which mention the status, but also coins on which the status is not visible. From the 16th year of the reign, the status „Neokoros“ is mentioned exclusively on all issues. Caesarea should therefore have received the title in the 14th year of the reign of Septimius Severus. William E. Metcalf explains that the status in the first two years is sometimes apparent and sometimes not by referring to the sometimes prevailing indifference of correct legends of provincial coinage.

Coming back to the coronation scene mentioned above on one of the coinages. I would like to quote Peter Weiss:

„Argaios, on it four small standing figures: on the right on a footbridge-like platform a group of three facing the summit, each with their right hand raised; the figures are of different sizes, the largest is in the middle; on the left a figure facing the group with a long scepter. — Representation of an expedition based on Imhoof-Blumer. It is striking that the distribution of the four figures seems to break the symmetrical pattern and only the single figure has a long scepter, while the figures in the group of three are almost identical but of different sizes. The single figure is certainly the deity who is also otherwise standing on the mountain, the group of three most likely the imperial triad, who greets the god in veneration. In terms of content, the presentation is therefore completely symmetrical. An actual mountain ascent by the emperors (to the summit) can hardly be deduced from the coin image. However, the conspicuous representation can be understood if the main sanctuary of the Argaeus cult was not in the city of Kaisareia itself, but outside in the area of the mountains. Peter Weiss: Argaios, Erciyas Dagi – Heiliger Berg Kappadokiens Monumente und Ikonographie.“

William E. Metcalf derives the appointment of „Neokoroi“ from this coinage and representation from the 14th year of Septimius Severus‘ reign. The figure on the left would thus almost certainly be the divine figure normally seen on the mount – the three figures on the right thus represent the imperial triad with Septimius Severus, Caracalla and Geta. If this interpretation is correct, the guess is there suggests that the temple of the mountain deity Argaeus was rededicated for the imperial cult and the imperial trio. With this, the mountain god, Helios and the Emperor merged. The coin type of the coronation scene was issued again in Caesarea when Geta was proclaimed Augustus – and thus gains even more power.

It is still unclear why silver coins were minted, initially in the 2nd year of Severus‘ reign, and then only again in the 5th year of his reign – and then, for whatever reason, from the 12th year of his reign, a long period of continuous coinage in Cappadocia up to the 20th year of his reign into began. Based on previous emperors and their occasional irregular coinage, a special commemorative coinage after the dedication of the temple for the imperial cult would have been sufficient. Pure speculation on my part is the steadily increasing „enthusiasm“ for the Severan imperial house in the 12th year of the reign – perhaps also through donations from Septimius Severus for the city of Caesarea. The whole thing then probably culminated in the rededication of the popular local Argaeus temple to an imperial cult temple in the 14th year of Severus‘ reign, in which the mountain and sky god merged with the emperor. This would also explain the continued unusual continuous minting of silver coins until the death of Severus. Another plausible explanation could be the supply of the eastern provinces with imperial currency for the troop pay – since Caesarea was responsible for this task here. When the conquest of Mesopotamia and the pacification of the east by Septimius Severus was completed, people probably began around 205 AD (12th year of government) on a large scale with the payment of the troop contingents involved, as well as the expansion of the border fortifications. Both required a large amount of silver currency.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Prieure de Sion
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Posted (edited)

I have two Roman silver coins from Caesarea, both didrachms -- each about twice the weight of a denarius. In effect, what antoniniani were supposed to be!

Hadrian, AR Didrachm, 128-138 AD, Caesarea, Cappadocia Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ - ϹΕΒΑϹΤΟϹ/ Rev. Club, handle at top, ΥΠΑΤΟϹ Γ ΠΑ-ΤΗΡ ΠΑΤΡΙΔΟϹ [ΥΠΑΤΟϹ Γ = COS III, 128-138 AD; ΠΑΤΗΡ ΠΑΤΡΙΔΟϹ = Pater Patriae]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 3109 (2015); RPC III Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/3109 ; Sydenham 280 [E. Sydenham, The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (1933)]; Metcalf, Caesarea 280 [Metcalf, W.E., The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian-Commodus. ANSNNM (American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Notes & Monographs) No. 166 (New York 1996)]; SNG Von Aulock 6422 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 3: Pisidia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Cyprus, Imperial Cistophori, Posthumous Lysimachus, Alexander tetradrachms (Berlin, 1964)]; Ganschow 178d [Ganschow, T., Münzen von Kappadokien, Band 1 Konigreich und Kaisareia bis 192 n. Chr. (Istanbul 2018)]. 21 mm., 6.02 g. Double die match to CNG E-Auction 110, 16 Mar 2005, Lot 134. See https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coin/70825.

image.jpeg.34e6b96546c2119121c2fb724d0d136c.jpeg

 

Lucius Verus AR Didrachm 161-166 AD, Caesarea, Cappadocia. Obv. Bare head right, ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΟΥΗΡΟϹ ϹƐΒΑϹΤΟϹ / Rev. Mt. Argaeus (or cult image of same), surmounted by statue of Helios standing three-quarters left with long scepter in left hand and globe in right; flames to left and right on sides of mountain; animal [deer?] bounding left at bottom far left of mountain in front of large rock; tree in front of large rock at bottom far right; smaller rock dotted with trees[?] at bottom center; ΥΠΑ-ΤΟϹ Β [= COS II].  RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Online Vol. IV.3 7027 (temp.) [rev. var.] (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/7027);  Sydenham 352 [rev. var.] [Sydenham, E., The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (London 1933)]; Metcalf, Caesarea 131a [rev. var.] [Metcalf, W.E., The Silver Coinage of Cappadocia, Vespasian-Commodus. ANSNNM (American Numismatic Society, Numismatic Notes & Monographs) No. 166 (New York 1996)]; Metcalf Hoard 694-718 & PL 39-40 [rev. var.] [see id.]; SNG von Aulock 6438 [rev. var.] [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia (Berlin 1962)]. 20 mm., 6.70 g., 6 h.

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I also have some Provincial silver drachms (some of which are believed to have been minted in Rome for use in those Provinces); all do very much resemble denarii.

Trajan AR Drachm, AD 98/99, Koinon of Lycia. Obv. Laureate head of Trajan right, ΑΥΤ ΚΑΙϹ ΝΕΡ ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟϹ ϹΕΒ ΓƐΡΜ / Rev. Two lyres with owl perched on top of them, standing to right, ΔΗΜ ΕΞ ΥΠΑΤ • Β [COS II]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 2676 (2015); RPC III Online 2676 at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/2676; SNG von Aulock 4268 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia (Berlin, 1962)]; BMC 19 Lycia 9-11 at p. 39 (ill. Pl. IX No. 11) [Hill, G.F., A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia (London, 1897)]. Purchased Jan. 6, 2022 at Roma Numismatics E-Sale 93, Lot 717. 18 mm., 2.87 g., 6 h.

image.jpeg.a02f502e9ef6602d021f841af004e760.jpeg

 

Trajan AR Drachm, AD 112 AD, Arabia Bostra (or Rome) Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, with slight drapery over left shoulder, AYTOKP KAIC NЄP TPAIAN CƐB ΓƐPM ΔAK [equivalent of IMP CAES NER TRAIANO AVG GERM DAC] / Rev. Arabia standing facing, head left, wearing chiton, peplos, and stephane, holding out branch of myrrh or frankincense with extended right hand and bundle of cinnamon sticks or canes with left hand; at her feet to left, an Arabian (one-humped) camel walking left, all four legs showing, ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΙϚ ΥΠΑΤ Ϛ [equivalent of TR POT XVI Cos VI = AD 112]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] III 4073 (2015); RPC III Online 4073 at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/4073; Sydenham 184 [E. Sydenham, The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (1933 & 1978 Supp. by A.G. Malloy)]; BMC 20 Cappadocia 62-64 at p. 54 & Pl. IX No. 15 [Wroth, Warwick, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Syria (London, 1899)].  20 mm., 3.65 g. Purchased from Aeternitas Numismatics, Spain, Dec. 2021.

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Trajan AR Drachm, 115-Feb. 116 AD [before granting of Parthia title], Arabia Bostra (or Rome*) Mint. Obv. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Trajan right, with paludamentum, seen from rear, AYTOKP KAIC NЄP TPAIANѠ APICTѠ CƐB ΓƐPM ΔAK [equivalent of IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GERM DAC] / Rev. Bactrian (two-humped) camel, walking left, ΔHMAPX ЄΞ YΠATO ς [equivalent of TR P COS VI (sixth consulship)]. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 4076 (2015); RPC III Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/4076, SNG ANS VI 1158; Sydenham 205 [E. Sydenham, The Coinage of Caesarea in Cappadocia (1933 & 1978 Supp. by A.G. Malloy)]; BMC 20 Cappadocia 65-66 at p. 54 & Pl. IX No. 16 [Wroth, Warwick, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Syria (London, 1899)]. 19 mm., 3.10 g.  Purchased from Kenneth W. Dorney. (Coin is double die match to Roma Numismatics Auction, May 21, 2013, Lot 767 [https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=474&lot=767]; image of that coin is reproduced as Plate 14, No. 7 in Woytek & Butcher article cited in note below.)image.jpeg.7782bfa24100f041c5b7fb676cf89b77.jpeg

* See Bernhard E. Woytek and Kevin Butcher, The Camel Drachms of Trajan in Context:     Old Problems and a New Overstrike, The Numismatic Chronicle Vol. 175 (2015), pp. 117-136 (https://www.jstor.org/stable/43859784).

Edited by DonnaML
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Cappadocian coins are among my favorite provincials, the main reason is that the portraits are well executed and the engravers were skilled.

Indeed. except for tetradrachms issued in various cities, I don't think any other cities minted provincial silver coins. (edit - I knew about Lycian superb coin and the Arabia Bostra but simply had a case of amnesia)

I have a few:

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Vespasian AR Hemidrachm of Caesarea, Cappadocia. AD 69-79. 1.65 g, 17 mm
ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΟΥƐϹΠΑϹΙΑΝΟϹ ϹƐΒΑ. Laureate head right. Rev: Victory advancing right, holding wreath and palm.  RPC II, 1659.

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Hemidrachm AR
Cappadocia, Hadrianus 117-138 AD, Caesarea Mint, year 5, ca. 120/121 AD
13 mm, 1,7 g
Obv: ΑΥΤΟ ΚΑΙϹ ΤΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟϹ ϹΕΒΑϹΤ, Laureate bust right, slight drapery / Rev: Club; ET-Δ (date) across field. RPC III 3072; Metcalf, Conspectus 85; Sydenham, Caesarea 257; SNG Copenhagen 223, Ganschow 193a

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(1.56g 14mm Silver) CAPPADOCIA, Caesaraea-Eusebia. Nero, 54-68. Hemidrachm 59-60.
Obv: (NERO CLAVD DIVI) CLAVD F CAESAR AVG (GERMANI), laureate head of Nero to right Rev: Victory seated right on globe, holding wreath in both hands.
BMC 409; RIC I Nero 617; RPC 3645

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(Silver, 6.60g 21mm) CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea. Trajan. 98-117 AD. AR Didrachm
112-114 AD. AYTOKΡ KAIC NEΡ TΡAIANO CEB ΓEΡM ΔAK, laureate and draped bust of Trajan, r., seen from rear, globe beneath / ΔHMAΡX EX YΠATO ς, female bust (Artemis ?) in chiton, holding spear in r. hand and patera in l.
RPC III, 3006;  Sydenham 196a, Metcalf Hoard 335–351 and Pl. 18–19, Metcalf Conspectus 64e, Ganschow 131d

 

 

 

Edited by ambr0zie
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This is an image of the refence cited by @curtislclay It is a very extensive corpus of the coinage however the book is also very expensive. However if one is serious in studying this coinage I would recommend it. 3580_ganschow_slg._henseler_iplii.jpg.65756546458de06e9e0612a088d6eea4.jpg

In response to @kevikens I can only speak of the didrachms struck at Caesarea in Cappadocia during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and denarii minted by Marcus Aurelius 161-165 AD. According to Walker The Metrology of the Roman Silver Coinage Vol II the mean weight of silver in a Roman denarius was between 2.66 (161 AD) an 2.35 (165 AD) The contemporary silver drachm had a mean weight of 2.11 grms. (or 4.22 for the didrachm). It is likely that while it may be possible for the Cappadocian coinage minted at this time to circulate as double denarii. (This is because at this point the drachm was not struck ). However it is more likely that because of their reduced silver content their circulation would have been restricted to Asia Minor. 

In response to @Curtis JJ while I do not have a coin plated in Edward A Sydenham's book I do have one of his coins. Earlier this year I was searching through the R Numis site, Which is a site I cannot recommend enough when I spotted this auction being held by the firm Adolph Hess who was at that time located in Luzern Switzerland

.490404044_download(15).png.df54e1fc6c769cd8741a16c14766fc67.png 

I saw this notation

1753840441_download(16).png.a1b29cd0110697ec2a52fd932847f1f7.png

And then I saw This image 

955599993_hessluz.jpg.b8d2815cf18418ce874c74c7396029c9.jpg

Which turned out to be my coin 

Didrachm of Marcus Aurelius Minted at Caesarea in Cappadocia 161-165 AD Obv Head right laureate  Rv Mt Argaeus with star above.  Sydenham 328 RPC on line 7020 /2 This coin illustrated.  5.90 grms 20 mm Photo by W. Hansenccapmaurelius5.jpg.2ec67fa4191bc3a495975dc6705980c5.jpg

As noted this coin is NOT illustrated in his book but it is in his collection I cannot say that this is the actual coin cited as Sydenham 328 but it stands a good chance of being the one.

Edited by kapphnwn
cosmetic
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I didn't even know this particular type existed until I saw this one in a recent auction. I guess they're pretty much the first Cappadocian drachms?  @ambr0zie, I fully agree! The portrait style, reverse design, and Greek legends really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I was outbid.

*NOT MY COIN*

3035728_1656241753.jpg.e4791f1faaeae0c14647f1ec23b32d9c.jpg

 

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@Prieure de Sion, thank you very much indeed for your long and interesting discussion of Caesarea and its coins. I read it closely and bookmarked it so I can return to it. 
  I have a tridrachm of Gordian III:


GordianIII4Caesarea1382.jpg.7aa02cb4c6b8c9a586ea06f1db81ecbc.jpg

Gordian III, 238-244.
23-22 mm. 9.64 grams. 12:00 die axis.
AV KAI M ANT ΓOPΔIANOC C
Є
Bust right, laureate, draped, cuirassed
B NЄ across field    (twice Necorate)

MHTPOΠ KAICAPIA  (the city name fully spelled out)
ЄTOVC Δ   (Year four is 241/2)
Weak countermark at 3:00-5:00 on the reverse. 
Sydenham CCC --, design of 602A but denomination of 599, page 129.
Sear Greek Imperial --
SNG Danish -- (denomination of 304)
SNG von Aulock 6525 with the same c/m in the same place, plate 223.
c/m is expected to be Howgego 848 (plate 32) "Tyche head" but this is too weak to confirm.
Weber --, McClean --, cf 9239 with this design as a drachm.

Ex Triskeles auction 5 (June 2013) lot 73. 

 

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I can add my Marcus Aurelius:

 

Marcus_Aurelius_1.jpg.fffb3e0bf0b21eb3642681e7a34554bd.jpg

Marcus Aurelius
CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea
AR didrachm
Obv.: AYTOKP ANTωNEINOC CEB, laureate head of Marcus Aurelius right
Rev.: ΥΠΑTOC Γ, Mt. Argaeus, star above
Ar, 19,7mm, 6.6g
Ref.: Metcalf 130b. Sydenham 328

Edited by shanxi
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2 hours ago, Valentinian said:

@Prieure de Sion, thank you very much indeed for your long and interesting discussion of Caesarea and its coins. I read it closely and bookmarked it so I can return to it. 
  I have a tridrachm of Gordian III:


GordianIII4Caesarea1382.jpg.7aa02cb4c6b8c9a586ea06f1db81ecbc.jpg

Gordian III, 238-244.
23-22 mm. 9.64 grams. 12:00 die axis.
AV KAI M ANT ΓOPΔIANOC C
Є
Bust right, laureate, draped, cuirassed
B NЄ across field    (twice Necorate)

MHTPOΠ KAICAPIA  (the city name fully spelled out)
ЄTOVC Δ   (Year four is 241/2)
Weak countermark at 3:00-5:00 on the reverse. 
Sydenham CCC --, design of 602A but denomination of 599, page 129.
Sear Greek Imperial --
SNG Danish -- (denomination of 304)
SNG von Aulock 6525 with the same c/m in the same place, plate 223.
c/m is expected to be Howgego 848 (plate 32) "Tyche head" but this is too weak to confirm.
Weber --, McClean --, cf 9239 with this design as a drachm.

Ex Triskeles auction 5 (June 2013) lot 73. 

 

Let me know, if you want sell it any time ❤️😂

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I have very little to say about this series as I know next to nothing about them. I have only bought four coins from Caesarea over the years and none have stayed with me. I have owned one that is somewhat relevant to the thread though. It relates to the Septimius Severus drachm illustrated by @Prieure de Sion. It appears to be from the same obverse die. It is another variety in the depiction of Mount Argaeus.

Septimius Severus Ar Drachm

Obv:– AY KAI L CEPT CEOVHPOC, Laureate head right
Rev:– MHTPO KAICAPIACW, Male figure (Argaios(?)), laureate, draped seated left on Mount Argaeus, holding branch
Minted in Caesarea, Cappadocia. Year 17, ETIZ in exe. A.D. 209

Apparently unlisted in Sydenham, cf. Syd. #403, which is a matching didrachm of this type.

GI_064m_img.jpg

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13 hours ago, CPK said:

I didn't even know this particular type existed until I saw this one in a recent auction. I guess they're pretty much the first Cappadocian drachms?  @ambr0zie, I fully agree! The portrait style, reverse design, and Greek legends really appealed to me. Unfortunately, I was outbid.

*NOT MY COIN*

3035728_1656241753.jpg.e4791f1faaeae0c14647f1ec23b32d9c.jpg

 

Your coin so much resembles the traditional "Tribute Penny" of the New Testament that I wonder if it might have been the other kind of coin "whose image and inscription  are upon it" that Jesus of Nazareth used to make his point about taxes to Caesar, especially as it came from an Eastern mint. Do you know if the weight and fineness of fabric was equivalent to the Tiberian denarius out of Rome?

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34 minutes ago, kevikens said:

Your coin so much resembles the traditional "Tribute Penny" of the New Testament that I wonder if it might have been the other kind of coin "whose image and inscription  are upon it" that Jesus of Nazareth used to make his point about taxes to Caesar, especially as it came from an Eastern mint. Do you know if the weight and fineness of fabric was equivalent to the Tiberian denarius out of Rome?

That's a great point. The coin does seem to be virtually identical to the denarius - this particular specimen was listed as 19mm and 3.58g, and RPC states that the silver content is 86%. 

I need to stop thinking about this or I'll start regretting that I didn't up my bid more...😞 😜

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The weight is certainly within the denarius range, especially as this specimen shows some wear and probable weight loss. If the RPC is correct, (I have reservations about accurately assessing the fineness of Roman coinage) the fineness is about 10% less than that of a Tiberius denarius so it may or may not have circulated at a discount in the market place but I am certain the money changers would have been careful to have taken into account any differential between the silver of Caesarea and Rome.

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23 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Trajan AR Drachm, AD 98/99, Koinon of Lycia.

It is nice to see silver from a different city. 

image.jpeg.49f2bd9ae453a39b9d444edef6096d4e.jpeg

19-18 mm. 3.29 grams.
Trajan, struck 98/99 (year B)
RPC page 337 says, "made for Lycia ... (probably minted in Rome)"  and "it circulated widely in the western provinces of the empire alongside denarii in the second century."

Sear Greek Imperial 1046.
SNG von Aulock 4267
RPC III 2676, page 338 and plate 121.
Ex Peus 369 (Oct. 2001) lot 528. 

 

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Posted (edited)

@Prieure de Sion, thanks for your impressively thorough discussion of the Mt. Argaeus coins from Caesarea. One question regarding the "is it an actual mountain or is it an altar" issue. You reach the following conclusion:

"So is the image on the coins presented here – and other coins of a similar type – a relatively lifelike image of the mountain with its secondary peaks and rock needles together with a grotto or cave – or do we see a stylized sacred cult image of the mountain, which perhaps stood in a temple or was taken in a procession through the streets of the city? However, the uniformity of the representations suggests that it was probably a representation of an actually existing cult image, a so-called Agalma (cult image, consecration image)."

But I'm not sure that this could always have been the case, given the fact that at least on my example from Lucius Verus, posted above, there's clearly a deer or some other kind of live animal bounding across the base of the mountain at the bottom left:

image.jpeg.3c191d0486bd541af9198e7a1d8dafcd.jpeg

Unless one posits that the makers of the "altar" included figurines of animals as part of the object, it seems to me that the simplest explanation (good old Occam's Razor, etc.) is that the viewer of the coin is supposed to perceive a depiction of an actual mountain, complete with rocks, trees, flames or volcanic needles, mountain paths, and at least one live animal, rather than merely a depiction of a depiction of a mountain.  Especially because there's nothing specifically indicating an altar or model on my example, such as a table with something underneath it. Also, I'm not sure that the supposed uniformity of the representations would logically favor one interpretation over the other -- even apart from the fact that most of the representations I've seen differ from each other in various details. 

Edited by DonnaML
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1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

@Prieure de Sion, thanks for your impressively thorough discussion of the Mt. Argaeus coins from Caesarea. One question regarding the "is it an actual mountain or is it an altar" issue. You reach the following conclusion:

"So is the image on the coins presented here – and other coins of a similar type – a relatively lifelike image of the mountain with its secondary peaks and rock needles together with a grotto or cave – or do we see a stylized sacred cult image of the mountain, which perhaps stood in a temple or was taken in a procession through the streets of the city? However, the uniformity of the representations suggests that it was probably a representation of an actually existing cult image, a so-called Agalma (cult image, consecration image)."

But I'm not sure that this could always have been the case, given the fact that at least on my example from Lucius Verus, posted above, there's clearly a deer or some other kind of live animal bounding across the base of the mountain at the bottom left:

Uimage.jpeg.3c191d0486bd541af9198e7a1d8dafcd.jpeg

Unless one posits that the makers of the "altar" included figurines of animals as part of the object, it seems to me that the simplest explanation (good old Occam's Razor, etc.) is that the viewer of the coin is supposed to perceive a depiction of an actual mountain, complete with rocks, trees, flames or volcanic needles, mountain paths, and at least one live animal, rather than merely a depiction of a depiction of a mountain.  Especially because there's nothing specifically indicating an altar or model on my example, such as a table with something underneath it. Also, I'm not sure that the supposed uniformity of the representations would logically favor one interpretation over the other -- even apart from the fact that most of the representations I've seen differ from each other in various details. 

I think it is quite possible that it can be both a real image, as on your coin probably - but also perhaps an image of a cult image.

Our coins' reverse sides are nothing else. An image of the mountain. And whether the image of the mountain is on an altar or on the back of a coin. An image is an image. One is 3D, the other 2D.

I think it all existed. Images of the mountain directly on coins. A cult image on altars. And also the representation on coins of altars and sanctuaries. 

With you, I also think more of the real mountain. I don't believe in an image of an altar sanctuary. Then there would also have been a small deer on the altar. I don't believe that. Therefore, I also think that your coin represents the real mountain. 
 

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Here are a couple of Cappadocian silver coins from my collection:

42usKKd.jpeg

Cappadocia, Caesarea, Hadrian AR didrachm

117-138 AD
Struck 128-138 AD
Obverse: ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟC CEBACTOC; Laureate head right.
Reverse: Rev.ΥΠΑΤΟC Γ ΠΑΤΗΡ ΠΑΤ; Club flanked by star and crescent.

mE9ZS9Y.jpeg

Cappadocia, Caesarea, Vespasian, AR hemidrachm 

69-79 AD
Obverse: AYTOKP KAICAP OYЄCΠACIANOC CЄBA; Laureate head of Vespasian right.
Reverse: Victory seated right on globe with wreath in hands.

 

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14 hours ago, DonnaML said:

@Prieure de Sion, thanks for your impressively thorough discussion of the Mt. Argaeus coins from Caesarea. One question regarding the "is it an actual mountain or is it an altar" issue. You reach the following conclusion:

"So is the image on the coins presented here – and other coins of a similar type – a relatively lifelike image of the mountain with its secondary peaks and rock needles together with a grotto or cave – or do we see a stylized sacred cult image of the mountain, which perhaps stood in a temple or was taken in a procession through the streets of the city? However, the uniformity of the representations suggests that it was probably a representation of an actually existing cult image, a so-called Agalma (cult image, consecration image)."

But I'm not sure that this could always have been the case, given the fact that at least on my example from Lucius Verus, posted above, there's clearly a deer or some other kind of live animal bounding across the base of the mountain at the bottom left:

image.jpeg.3c191d0486bd541af9198e7a1d8dafcd.jpeg

Unless one posits that the makers of the "altar" included figurines of animals as part of the object, it seems to me that the simplest explanation (good old Occam's Razor, etc.) is that the viewer of the coin is supposed to perceive a depiction of an actual mountain, complete with rocks, trees, flames or volcanic needles, mountain paths, and at least one live animal, rather than merely a depiction of a depiction of a mountain.  Especially because there's nothing specifically indicating an altar or model on my example, such as a table with something underneath it. Also, I'm not sure that the supposed uniformity of the representations would logically favor one interpretation over the other -- even apart from the fact that most of the representations I've seen differ from each other in various details. 

I agree with DonnaML, though this discussion reminded me of the sacrificial animals depicted on the 8th century BCE Geometric Dipylon vase painting at the Met.

a-coins-trip_24.jpg

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38 minutes ago, Etcherdude said:

I agree with DonnaML, though this discussion reminded me of the sacrificial animals depicted on the 8th century BCE Geometric Dipylon vase painting at the Met.

a-coins-trip_24.jpg

Very interesting. What do you think those animals in the middle are supposed to be? At least later on, weren't sacrificial animals usually domesticated or semi-domesticated, such as roosters and chickens, goats, bulls, cows, heifers, and steers? Rather than wild animals like the deer shown on the reverse of my coin? See these two sacrificial scenes on Roman Republican coins of mine, depicting a goat and a heifer, respectively.

image.jpeg.cce51cb7ad4d60ad19f2151c39ff2ed7.jpeg

image.jpeg.dd68030a9f9c3cf8bb6c805952f323b6.jpeg

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