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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ Philip IView Options:  |  |  | 

Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

Marcus Julius Verus Philippus, known as Philip I "The Arab" was the Praetorian Prefect and the successor to Gordian III, whom he possibly had murdered. After signing a treaty with the Persians, he returned home. During his reign, the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated and magnificent games were held on a scale rarely seen. In 249 A.D., a series of rebellions occurred, both Philip and his son were killed after their army was defeated near Verona by the forces of Trajan Decius.


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In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.
RS84955. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, grainy surfaces, edge cracks, weight 3.666 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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"Peace founded with Persis" - after murdering young Gordian III, Philip needed a quick return Rome to secure his spot, so he made peace with Shapur and ended the campaign. The "P M" on the obverse possibly means "Persicus Maximus" boasting total victory, rather than the traditional "Pontifex Maximus".
RS84988. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 69 (S), RSC IV 113, Hunter III 120, SRCV III 8941, VF, broad flan, light toning, a few light marks, edge cracks, mild porosity, weight 3.849 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, Feb 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP C M IVL PHILIPPVS P F AVG P M, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX FVNDATA CVM PERSIS, Pax advancing left, branch in right hand, scepter in left; scarce; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Nice gift for a lawyer or a judge. In Roman mythology, Aequitas was the minor goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Aequitas was also the personification of the virtues equity and fairness of the emperor (Aequitas Augusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and Aequitas Augusti.
RS84993. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 27b, RSC IV 9, Hunter III 25, SRCV III 8918, Choice EF, mint luster in recesses, light toning, well centered on a broad flan, some reverse die wear, weight 3.638 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG (equity of the two emperors), Aequitas standing facing, head left, scales in right, cornucopia in left; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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Eternal peace was just wishful thinking during the reign of Philip I (just as it has always been).
SL84533. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 41, RSC IV 102, Bland 23, SRCV III 8939 var. (pax standing left), Hunter III 12 var. (AETERNA), NGC AU, strike 3/5, surface 4/5, weight 5.03 g, maximum diameter 23 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX AETERN (eternal peace), Pax advancing left, branch in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand; certified (slabbed) by NGC, from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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In 244 A.D., Philip negotiated peace with the Persia in order to deal with the troubles on the Rhine and Danube border. In 245 A.D., he campaigned against and made peace with several Germanic tribes.
RS84984. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 49b, RSC IV 227, Hunter III 16, SRCV III 8969, Choice EF, well centered, mint luster in recesses, light toning, light deposits, edge cracks, weight 3.732 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory advancing right, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Thessalonica, Macedonia

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The god Kabeiros is similar in appearance to Dionysos and the rites of his cult were likely similar to those of the Dionysian mysteries. The attributes of Kabeiros are a rhyton and hammer.
RP59998. Bronze AE 25, Varbanov III 4709, BMC Macedonia p. 127, 133, SNG Cop -, VF, nice green patina, light scratches, weight 8.831 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse AYK K M IOY ΦIΛIΠΠOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΘECCAΛONIKEΩN ΠYΘIA, Apollo standing left, small Kabeiros in right, laurel branch in left, at his feet, agonistic urn containing a palm branch rests on a table; scarce; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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Mars holds both the implements of war and the olive branch of peace. "Peace through strength" is an ancient phrase and concept implying that strength of arms is a necessary component of peace. The phrase has famously been used by many leaders from Roman Emperor Hadrian in the first century A.D., to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
RB78076. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 152, Cohen V 146, Banti 37, SRCV III, VF, centered on a flan crowding off the top half of the obverse legend and most of the reverse legend, reverse double struck, light marks and corrosion, weight 10.207 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 8th emission, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS III P P, Mars standing left in military garb, raising olive branch in right hand, right hand on grounded shield, inverted spear leaning on left shoulder, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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This coin is dedicated to the goddess Fides for her good quality of preserving the public peace by keeping the army true to its allegiance.
RS79558. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 32b, RSC IV 55, Hunter III 7, SRCV III 8932, VF, nice portrait, excellent centering and strike, frosty surfaces, edge cracks, weight 3.982 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse FIDES MILIT (the loyalty of the soldiers), Fides standing facing, head left, standard in each hand; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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When Philip visited Antioch, Saint Babylas refused to let him enter the gathering of Christians at the Easter vigil (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, VI, 34). Later legend elaborates, stating that Babylas demanded that he do penance for his part in the murder of the young Gordian III before he would allow Philip to celebrate Easter. Saint Babylas died in prison in 253 during the Decian persecution. He asked to be buried in his chains.
RP71451. Bronze 8 assaria, McAlee 971; BMC Galatia, p 219, 524; SNG Cop 270 var. (bust from side), F, centered, green patina, porous, some legend unstruck, weight 18.154 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse AVTOK K MA IOVLI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ANTIOXEΩN MHTPO KOΛΩ, turreted, veiled and draped bust of Tyche of Antioch right, ram above, ∆- E over S - C in two lines divided across field; big 32.5 mm bronze!; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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Liberality is personified by the image of a woman, holding in one hand a counting board, or square tablet with a handle on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. It appears they were held over a container, covered with coins and the excess swept away back into the container. The proper number of coins would fill the holes and then would be dumped out to the recipient. On coins this symbol indicated the prince had given to the people money, grain, or other articles of consumption. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia, to indicate the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RS72573. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 38b, RSC IV 87, Hunter III 21, SRCV III 8937, VF, well centered, rose gold toning, weight 4.364 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGG II, Liberalitas standing left, counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. According to Strack III, p. 129, the idea behind the type is that the safety of the state is dependent on the health of the emperor. "For that reason Salus holds the rudder of Fortuna in some of these types, as an indication that the fate of the empire rests in her hands."
RB73723. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV III 9016, Hunter III 76, Cohen V 206, RIC IV 187(a) var. (scepter vice rudder), VF/F, excellent portrait, grainy surfaces, light corrosion, weight 18.695 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing facing, head left, feeding snake coiled around altar, rudder vertical vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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Annona was worshiped in Rome for providing the annual supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the state, then imported and put into storage, reserved, and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RB65254. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 168a, Cohen V 26, Hunter III 91, SRCV III 8990, VF/F, grainy with some marks and encrustations, weight 15.635 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANNONA AVGG, Annona standing left, grain in right hand held over modius overflowing with grain, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $55.00 (€46.75)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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In 248, Trajan Decius put down the revolts of Pacatianus in Moesia and Iotapianus in Syria, by order of Emperor Philip. In 249, after his legionaries proclaimed him emperor, Trajan Decius marched them to Verona, where he defeated and killed Philip.
RY74170. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 934; Prieur 445; Dura Coins 427; BMC Galatia p. 214, 518; SNG Cop 269, VF, corrosion, weight 11.847 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠATO ∆ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 4th time), eagle standing right, wings open, head right, wreath in beak, ANTIOXIA over S C (senatus consulto) in two lines in exergue; $55.00 (€46.75)
 


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Annona was worshiped in Rome for providing the annual supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capital. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the state, then imported and put into storage, reserved, and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RB85871. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 168a, Cohen V 26, Hunter III 91, SRCV III 8990, aVF, nice portrait, centered on an oval flan that cuts of parts of the legends, some corrosion, weight 12.075 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANNONA AVGG, Annona standing left, grain in right hand held over modius overflowing with grain, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $50.00 (€42.50)
 


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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign or on his return from a distance. They may also refer to his arrival in some other city or province of the empire. At their accession, emperors were not conveyed in a chariot nor in any other vehicle, but went on horseback or on foot when they made their first public entry into the capital of the Roman world.
RB73628. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV III 8986, Cohen V 6, Hunter III 87, RIC IV 165 (R) var. (pacing right), F, weight 19.206 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 247 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ADVENTVS AVGG (arrival of the two emperors), emperor on horseback pacing left, raising right hand, scepter in left; ex True North Coins and Bullion (Colorado Springs, CO); rare; $45.00 (€38.25)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Viminacium, Moesia Superior

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Viminacium was a Roman Colony founded by Gordian III in 239 A.D. The usual legend is P.M.S. COL. VIM., abbreviating Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium. The usual type is a female personification of Moesia standing between a lion and a bull. The bull and the lion were symbols of the Legions VII and IV, which were quartered in the province.
RP71499. Bronze AE 28, H-J Viminacium 32 (R2); Varbanov I 138 (R3); AMNG I/I 105; BMC Thrace p. 17, 25, aF, well centered, rough, encrusted, weight 15.422 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 45o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 247 - 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M S COL VIM, Moesia standing facing, head left, extending hands over bull on left standing right and lion on right standing left, AN VIIII (year 9 of the Viminacium colonial era) in exergue; $22.00 (€18.70)
 







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPCMIVLPHILLIPVSPFAVGPM
IMPCMIVLPHILIPPVSPFAVGPM
IMPIVLPHILIPPVSPIVSFELAVGPM
IMPMIVLPHILIPPVSAVG
IMPPHILIPPVSAVG
MIVLPHILIPPVSAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bland, R. "Dr. Bland's List for Philip I and Family" - http://ettuantiquities.com/Philip_1/Philip1-Bland-list.htm
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, vol. 2: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Göbl, R. "Römischer Münzhort Tulln 1966 (Septimius Severus - Gallienus)" in NZ 83 (1969). pp. 7-57, pl. 1-48.
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Muona, J. "The Antoniniani of Philip the Arab" in The Celator, Feb. 2002, p. 10.
Muona, J. "The Imperial mints of Philip the Arab" - https://www.forumancientcoins.com/Articles/Philip_Arab/index.html
Óvári, F. "Philippus antiochiai veretu antoninianusairól" in Numizmatikai Közlöny 88/89 (1989/90), pp. 41 - 48.
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Thibaut, M. Antoniniani from the Mint of Antioch Under the Reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 AD) - http://marchal.thibaut.free.fr/e_index.htm
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 14, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Philip I