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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Provincial Coins (Moderator: slokind)  |  Topic: Nicaea standards: Eagles, rams, goats and such 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Nicaea standards: Eagles, rams, goats and such  (Read 4767 times)
Steve Minnoch
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« on: March 22, 2008, 05:25:23 am »

Until very recently I was under the impression that the ubiquitous "standards" coins of Nicaea (not to mention Juliopolis and Nicomedia) were topped, where applicable, only by eagles.

However this coin was shown to me today, and those standards are clearly not tipped by eagles.  It's hard to be certain what sort of animal is on top... it's owner, William Peters (aka Aeratvs) thinks they are rams, I am not sure, I couldn't rule out goats or even capricorns.  (I know the latter were used as the symbol of some legions). 

Have these been noticed before, if so, what is the general view on what they are, and what evidence backs that up?

I haven't checked Rec Gen, as I haven't been able to work out the system of the listings yet, which means I'm likely as not to miss anything relevant.

Steve

P.S.

Here is another coin for Severus Alexander, with the same creatures.
http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/severus_alexander/_nicaea_AE23_SGI_3287v2.jpg

And the default coin (and I think the last in the list also) on this wildwinds page is clearly out of place, as again we have not eagles, but another animal on top.  I haven't told Dave yet but I'll attract his attention to this thread, hopefully once any mystery has been solved.
http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/sear/s2523.html
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Will Hooton
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2008, 06:07:12 am »

Very interesting. It would certainly help to know which legions were based in Bithynia around the time of Severus Alexanders reign. After a quick look at wikipedia, the closest I could get with the present data was the IIII Scythia/Parthica. The legion was certainly based in Zeguma, some distance from Nicaea, but apparently continued its existence in Syria up to the 5th cent. The legionary standard was indeed a capricorn.
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2008, 10:25:38 am »

Hi!

I think indeed that these are capricornes. The capricorn was the well-known symbol of Augustus and several of his legions got these signs in honour. Severus was the commander of the legio XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix in Pannonia decorated with capricornes too. By this legio he was proclaimed emperor and this legio fought with him against Pescennius Niger. Therefore a not confirmed source suggests that these standards topped by capricornes on coins of Nicaea could be the standards of the legio XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix and so would represent a link from Alexander to Severus.

Best regards 
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2008, 11:06:21 am »

This taken from A Description of the Trajan Column by John Hungerford Pollen

http://tinyurl.com/2n2vyk

"The eagle is not the only animal seen on a standard. In No. XXXIV will be seen a staff and bracket of the same form as those of the aquilae but surmounted by an 'aries' a ram. It was emblematic of siege operations and many sieges were carried out in the course of the first, and more during the second war. Till the time of the second consulship of Marius, B.C. 104, eagles, wolves, minotaurs, horses and boars had been used as insignia of the cohorts. He decided that in future eagles only should be retained and that only one should be taken into action."

William Peters
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2008, 06:24:52 pm »

There is an example in SNG Copenhagen with two capricorns above, it is Elagabalus, SNG Cop 512.  However, the capricorns are on the outside two standards, the center standard
has a square banner atop and it is a three standard type, not four.  Von
Aulock does not list this typeSNG Cop describes it as:

Obv: M AVPH ANTWNINOC AVG - Bust laureate
Rev: NIKAIEWN - Vexillum between two military standards, surmounted by
capricorns.
AE 0 degrees, 6.81.  v.Lennep 1910.  Rec.--, cf.p. 471,571

I've done an online search and cannot find an image of the Elagabalus
coin.  I guess one of us will have to tackle to Rec Gen online plates.   If anyone has a photo of the Elagabalus coin, I'd love to see a pic for comparison.

Tom
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2008, 09:43:20 am »

I have a similar coin of Severus Alexander in my collection:

Bithynia, Nikaia, Severus Alexander, AD 222-235
AE 22, 5.31g
obv. M AVR CEVH ALEZANDROC AVG (VG ligate)
bare head laureate r.
rev. NI-K-A-I separated by three standards, outer standards topped with
capricorn; in ex., EWN.
SGI 3287 var. (different rev. legend breaks), scarce variant with EWN below and
capricorn signa
VF, medium brown patina, well-centered with a solid strike

Best regards
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2008, 11:22:11 am »

I decided to do a quick search of online for Nicaea and found that the capricorn type is not as rare as we might think.  There are 10 coins of Gordian III listed that have capricorns, all misattributed.  All are radiate obverse with four standards on the reverse (capricorns atop the center two, wreathes on the outer two).  So this is clearly an unlisted variant, and not unique.

Online shops did not have any capricorn types for Severus Alexander.

Tom
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2008, 07:19:30 pm »

I just discovered that Dane (Helvetica) has a spreadsheet of the types.  Only two are listed with capricorns and are cited as variations.

http://www.catbikes.ch/coinstuff/coins-ric.htm

Tom
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2008, 10:12:47 am »

Let me show this coin to you, which has, I think, wreaths at top of the standards, besides, it hat got a very unusual legend.

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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2008, 12:35:30 pm »

I am in the process of cleaning a Gordian III coin with clear and fairly detailed capricorns. This was the first time I had sen such as well, and found this thread by researching the topic. So I'll post the pic as soon as I am finished cleaning.
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 03:30:31 pm »

Dane´s fine list is just scratching the surface of the total existing variations.
Here are two Gordian assaria wich are not in the list:

Æ Assarion (18-19 mm / 2,56 g),
Obv.: M ANT Γ-OPΔIANOC AV , radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian right, seen from behind.
Rev.: N-IK-AI-E / ΩN , legionary eagle between two standards.

Æ Assarion (18-20 mm / 2,53 g),
Obv.: M ANT Γ-OPΔIA[NOC AV] , radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian right, seen from behind.
Rev.: N-IK-AI-E / ΩN , three standards.

A professional numismatist and expert on Nicaean coins once tried to find two Nicaea-standards-assaria from the same dies - he failed.

regards

A.
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2008, 10:24:01 pm »

I've recently had a chance to view Recuiel General by Waddington, and the capricorn tops are listed in that reference.  They are found from Commodus thru Tranquillina.  However, Rec Gen is not at all thorough in it's listings of the type.  I've found that the capricorn types are most common on Gordian III and Severus Alexander...Rec Gen does not list any for Severus Alexander.

Tom
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2008, 11:04:42 pm »

For what its worth, here's my Gordian III with Capricorns...





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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2008, 07:24:12 am »

Good job on cleaning Scott, I am now gonna have to pull out the couple I have to see what is topping the standards. Thanks, Steve, for this topic, I have never really found these coins to be all that interesting, but now I ahve somthing to look for.


Chris
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« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2008, 01:32:57 pm »

Thanks, Steve, for this topic, I have never really found these coins to be all that interesting, but now I ahve somthing to look for.

Chris

Chris,

Yes, I generally not been too inspired by these coins, but now I think they have a certain charm if only because there are so many of them with so many slight differences.
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 12:33:31 pm »

Dane´s fine list is just scratching the surface of the total existing variations.

A professional numismatist and expert on Nicaean coins once tried to find two Nicaea-standards-assaria from the same dies - he failed.

regards

A.

I have collected some images of these, and found 3 coins with
same obverse die and 2 with same reverse die (not suprise they
are from same source).

Pekka K
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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2012, 12:59:23 am »

Severus Alexander's are more difficult.
Here two sets of most similar types:

Edit: best reference for these is Mionnet supplement:
Sev. Alexander #794 - 802, Gordian II #869 - 872.
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 08:08:03 am »


I think I found also Severus Alexander coins
from same dies, of less common type:

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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2012, 10:04:41 am »

Here's an example I have of Gordian III with capricorns:

Bithynia, Nicaea, Gordian III 
Obv.: M ANT GOPDIANOC AVG; draped and radiate bust right
Rev.: N /I /K /A /I /EWN; four military standards, two capricorns above

4.2 gm; 16 mm
Zwicker Z1073; cf Rec Gen 711 
 
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2012, 10:12:05 am »


Also Mionnet S. 870.

Pekka K
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2012, 10:50:48 am »

What is "zwicker"?

Tom
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Tom Mullally

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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2012, 11:16:56 am »


I found this:

Zwicker, Ulrich: Keltische und griechische Münzen sowie römische Provinzialprägungen aus den Sammlungen Will und Gerlach (Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg 22), Erlangen 1992, v-viii [general description of the collection and its history].

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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2012, 11:55:17 am »

Is it a catalogue?  How thorough is it for Bithynian provincials?  I've never heard of it.

Tom
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