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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Thrace & Moesia ▸ NikopolisView Options:  |  |  |   

Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, the Nicoplis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, the Nicoplis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RP77447. Bronze AE 29, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.10.32.1 (R5), AMNG I/I 1235, Moushmov 897, Varbanov I 2146 (R4), VF, nice green patina, marks, uneven strike, centration dimples, weight 11.978 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 135o, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior mint, consular legate Caecilius Servilianus, 189 - 190; obverse AV-T KAI MAP AVPH KOMO∆OC, laureate, bearded head right; reverse HΓ EMOKAIKI CEPBEIΛIA NEIKOΠO ΠPOC ICT, river god reclining left, reeds in right hand, resting left arm on urn from which water flows; $300.00 (€267.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by King Eurystheus (his cousin), was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt, but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.
RP77125. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.14.7 (R4), AMNG I/I 1308, Moushmov 1009, Varbanov -, SNG Cop -, VF, nice style, some marks and corrosion, weight 12.9 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 225o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Aurelius Gallus, 201 - 203 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CE CEVHPOC Π, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VΠ AVP ΓAΛΛOV NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I (OV ligate), Herakles standing slightly right, nude, leaning on grounded club in right hand, patera in left hand, Nemean lion draped over left arm; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.
RP76995. Bronze AE 17, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.25.5.10 (R3), AMNG I/I 1881, Moushmov 1341, Varbanov I 3595 (R3) var. (cuirassed), VF, well centered and struck, nice dark green patina, weight 2.867 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, Middle May - 8 June 218 A.D.; obverse K M OΠ3595ΠEΛ ∆IA∆OVMENIANOC, bare head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN, snake emerging left from cista mystica with raised lid; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Artemis, Diana to the Romans, was one of the most venerated Ancient Greek deities. The name, and the goddess herself, may have been pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals. The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter. In the classical period, Artemis was described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.
RP77042. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.6.13.3 (R5), AMNG I/I 1222, Moushmov 873, Varbanov I 2118 (R6) var. (laureate), VF, green patina, porous, weight 5.358 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 210o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse AVT AI A∆PIA ANTΩNEIN, bare head right; reverse NEIKOΠOΛEITΩN, Artemis standing right, bow in left hand, drawing arrow from quiver on shoulder with right hand; rare; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101 - 106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town reached its peak during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty.
RP65521. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.26.54.24, AMNG I/I 2039, Varbanov I 3849, cf. BMC Thrace p. 51, 68 ff. (larger, bust, inscription arrangement), SNG Cop -, aEF, weight 2.273 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AY K M AYΠ ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse NI/KOΠ/OΛITΩN / ΠPOC IC/TPON, inscription in five lines within laurel wreath; ex Helios Numismatik auction 7, lot 464; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Diadumenian, Mid May - 8 June 218 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RB73701. Bronze tetrassarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.25.32.5 (R5), AMNG I/I 1806, Varbanov 3633 (R4), Moushmov 1349, SNG Cop -, VF, nice style, green patina, weight 8.672 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 45o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Marcus Agrippa, 217 - 218 A.D.; obverse K M OΠΠEΛ ANTΩNI ∆IAOYMENIANOC, bare head right; reverse YΠ AΓPIΠΠA NIKOΠOΛITΩN Π,POCICTΠ/Ω (ending in two lines in exergue), river-god seated left, nude but for cloak on his back and under him appearing like flowing water, right hand on right knee, resting left hand on toppled urn behind, from which water flows; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle, the senate brought her worship to Rome in 204 B.C. as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. After approval they were dismayed to learn that the priesthood required voluntary self-castration, which was abhorrent to the Romans. Romans were barred from entering the priesthood or even entering the priest's sanctuary. The eunuch priests, recruited from outside Rome, were confined to their sanctuary, leaving only to parade in the streets during festivals in April. Claudius removed the bans on Roman participation, making worship of Cybele and her consort Attis part of the state religion.
RP75133. Bronze AE 26, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.26.31.9 (R7), AMNG I/I 1955, Moushmov 1418, Varbanov I 3992 (R6), SNG Cop -, VF, glossy green patina with some flaking, weight 12.732 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AVPH ANΩNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VΠ NOBIOV POVΦOV NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPO,C ICTPON, Cybele seated facing astride lion leaping right, head right, wearing turreted crown, tympanum in right hand, scepter in left hand; rare; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101 - 106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town reached its peak during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty.
RP77044. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.18.46.12 (R3), Moushmov 1124, Varbanov I -, AMNG I/I -, aVF, centered, green patina, light corrosion, left side of flan ragged, weight 2.476 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse AY K M A− ANTΩNIN, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, tetrastyle temple of Asklepios, cult statue within, pellet in pediment; scarce; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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The figure on the reverse is sometimes identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP69742. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.16.15/16 (unlisted die combination), cf. Varbanov I 2568 (legends), AMNG I/I 1367 (same), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, unusual style, weight 2.374 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 45o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AV KAI CEVPO, laureate bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, winged Thanatos standing right, legs crossed legs, leaning on reversed torch on right; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare variant; $85.00 (€75.65)
 


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RP90337. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.17.48.1 (this coin, R4), AMNG I/I 1487, Varbanov I 2849 var. (CEBATH), Moushmov 1040, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, weight 3.421 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 45o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 194 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse IOYΛIA ∆OMNA CEBA, draped bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛIT ΠPOC ICTPON, star with central pellet and eight rays each ending with a pellet; ex Nemesis Ancients & Antiquities, the H-H-J Nikopolis plate coin; $75.00 (€66.75)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Hristova, H., H.-J. Hoeft, & G. Jekov. The Coins of Moesia Inferior 1st - 3rd c. AD: Nicopolis ad Istrum. (Blagoevgrad, 2014).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Moushmov, N. Ancient Coins of the Balkan Peninsula. (1912).
Pick, B. & K. Regling. Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien. AMNG I/I. (Berlin, 1898).
Poole, R.S. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thrace, etc. (London, 1877).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 7: Taurische Chersones. Sarmatien. Dacia. Moesia superior. Moesia inferior. (Berlin, 1985).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. (London, 1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. (Oxford, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 1: Roman Provincial Coins: Spain - Kingdoms of Asia Minor. (Oxford, 2004).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Hungary, Budapest, Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, III: Moesia inferior. (Milan, 2000).
Varbanov, Ivan. Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior. (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005).

Catalog current as of Thursday, June 30, 2016.
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Nikopolis ad Istrum