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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Greek Imperial ▸ Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaView Options:  |  |  |     

Roman Provincial Coins from the Decapolis, Syria and Arabia

The Decapolis means "the ten cities" in Greek, yet we don't really know how many cities there were, or where they were. In 106 A.D., under the Roman emperor Trajan, the Nabataean Kingdom and the cities of the Decapolis were incorporated into the newly established Provinces of Syria and Arabia.

Click here to read "The Decapolis of Jordan" by Rami G. Khouri


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, 40 - 36 B.C.

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Lysanias is called Tetrarch of Abila by Josephus. Lysanias' father Ptolemaios was married to Alexandra, Mattathias Antigonus' sister. Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to depose Hyrcanus and put his uncle (or step-uncle) Antigonus on the throne of Judaea (Josephus B.J. 1.248). When Lysanias continued to support Antigonus against the Roman nominee Herod the Great, Mark Antony had him executed, and gave his territory to Cleopatra VII.
GB90942. Bronze AE 19, Herman 11.g, RPC I 4769, HGC 9 145 corr., Lindgren III 1243, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 3.505 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse veiled female bust right, no inscription; reverse double cornucopia, flanked by four ligatures ΛYCA, TETP, APX, IΦ (Lysanias tetrarch and high priest); very rare; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


Northern Syria, 3rd Century A.D.

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This type has long been attributed to Pharaoh Nektanebo II. Butcher, however, notes it is quite common in the vicinity of Antioch and in Northern Syria and the obverse style is similar to third century Antiochene zodiacal type coins. He suggests they may have been struck under Hadrian.
RY77448. Bronze AE 16, Butcher p. 405, 11; Weiser p. 16, 1 (Nektanebo II, Memphis, Egypt), aVF, scratches and marks, weight 3.396 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, 3rd century A.D.; obverse ram (Ares) leaping left, head turned back right; reverse balance scale (Libra); $270.00 (€240.30)
 


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

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In 248, overwhelmed by the number of invasions and usurpers, Philip offered to resign. The Senate decided to support the Emperor, with Gaius Messius Quintus Decius most vocal of all the senators. Philip was so impressed that he dispatched Decius with a special command of the Pannonian and Moesian provinces. His loyal supporter, Decius, was, however, proclaimed Emperor by the Danubian armies in the spring of 249 and defeated and killed Philip in September.
SH60141. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 907a, Prieur 357, SNG Righetti 2027, SNG Cop -, EF, weight 10.949 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 247 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, radiate and cuirassed bust left, Gorgon's head on cuirass; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠATO Γ (tribune of the people, consul for the 3rd time), eagle standing right, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, ANTIOXIA over S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


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

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MON VRB stands for MONETA VRBIS. According to H. R. Baldus this initial issue of coins was minted in Rome. Indeed the portrait style is unmistakably that of the mint of Rome, and even if the coins were actually minted in Antioch, the dies were surely engraved by the Rome mint.
SH60149. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 899, Prieur 304, BMC Galatia 507, EF, weight 13.825 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome or Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 244 or 246 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛ ΦIΛIΠΠOY CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (tribune of the people), eagle standing facing on ground line, wings open, head and tail left, wreath in beak, S - C (senatus consulto) below wings, MON VRB in exergue; double strike evident in obverse legend, minor flan crack, small encrustations, very sharp, handsome portrait and eagle; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

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Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77849. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, earthen deposit highlighting, tight flan, corrosion, weight 7.701 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Antioch, Roman Provincial Syria, Municipal Coinage, Fall 48 - Spring 47 B.C.

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The countermark is similar to a group of countermarks from Antioch, Chalkis, Laodicaea, Seleukia, and Damascus, all cities controlled by Cleopatra (except for Antioch, which nevertheless appears to have issued coins for Antony and Cleopatra). Richard McAlee notes, "it now seems likely that the countermark portrays Cleopatra, and was used to mark coins circulating in the Syro-Phoenician territories which were given to her by Mark Antony." Older references identified the head as Apollo.
RY84165. Bronze AE 23, McAlee 43; RPC I 4216; BMC Galatia p. 155, 35; SNG Cop -; countermark: McAlee p. 74, note 25, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, tight flan, weight 11.436 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 48 - 47 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right, countermark: head right (Cleopatra?) in an oval punch; reverse ANTIOXEΩN THΣ MHTPOΠOΛΩΣ, Zeus seated left holding Nike and scepter, date IΘ below; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Antioch, Roman Provincial Syria, Autumn 48 - Autumn 47 B.C., Cleopatra Countermark

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From McAlee, The Coins of Roman Antioch, p. 74, note 25: "The coins of this year (Pompeian Era 19 = 48/7 BC) and of Year 3 of the Caesarean Era are frequently seen with a countermark on the obverse, which was previously described as "head of Apollo r." in an oval. As discussed in the text, it now seems likely that the countermark portrays Cleopatra, and was used to mark coins circulating in the Syro-Phoenician territories, which were given to her by Mark Antony."
RP84649. Bronze tetrachalkon, McAlee 43; RPC I 4216; BMC Galatia p. 155, 35; Cohen DCA 384; HGC 9 1366; SNG Cop -; countermark: McAlee p. 74, note 25, F, countermark: aVF, weight 11.895 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Autumn 48 - Autumn 47 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; countermark: bust of Cleopatra right in an incuse oval; reverse ANTIOXEΩN THΣ MHTPOΠOΛΩΣ, Zeus Nicephorus enthroned left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs, Nike offering wreath in his extended right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, fulmen (thunderbolt) above, cornucopia (control symbol) inner left, IΘ (Pompeian Era year 19) below, all within laurel wreath; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

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Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RP84651. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG München 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), F, centered on a tight flan, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, porosity, light corrosion, weight 5.501 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $220.00 (€195.80)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

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Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77847. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, uneven strike, tight flan, porous, corrosion, weight 8.737 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Philip I the Arab and Philip II, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Damascus, Coele-Syria

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Hadrian promoted Damascus to the Metropolis of Coele-Syria about 125 A.D. Septimius Severus upgraded it to a colonia in 222 A.D. Damascus was an important caravan city with trade routes from southern Arabia, Palmyra, Petra, and silk routes from China all converging on it delivering eastern luxuries to Rome. The inscriptions on the jewel and within the wreath refer to the sacred Olympia Sebasmia games, celebrated at Damascus as part of the local imperial cult.
RP83628. Bronze AE 29, Klose-Stumpf -, SNG Cop -, SNG München -, BMC Syria -, Rosenberger -, De Saulcy -, et. al. - (unpublished in refs but several known from auctions), aF, centered on a tight flan, weak legends, some corrosion, weight 16.099 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Philip I right (on left), confronted with radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Philip II left (on right); reverse COL DAMAS METROPO, CEBA/CMIA in two lines within wreath, tied at the bottom, closed at the top by a large jewel inscribed IEPA (sacred), head of ram right between ties below; extremely rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, 40 - 36 B.C.

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Lysanias is called Tetrarch of Abila by Josephus. Lysanias' father Ptolemaios was married to Alexandra, one of the sisters of Mattathias Antigonus. Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to depose Hyrcanus and put his uncle (or step-uncle) Antigonus on the throne of Judaea (Josephus B.J. 1.248). When Lysanias continued to support Antigonus against the Roman nominee Herod the Great, Mark Antony had him executed, and gave his territory to Cleopatra VII.
GB67917. Bronze AE 21, Herman 11.g, RPC I 4769, HGC 9 145 corr., Lindgren III 1243, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 5.480 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse veiled female bust right, no inscription; reverse double cornucopia, flanked by four ligatures ΛYCA, TETP, APX, IΦ (Lysanias tetrarch and high priest); very rare; $170.00 (€151.30)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Laodikea ad Mar (Latakia, Syria) has been inhabited since the second millennium B.C. It was on the Via Maris, a coastal road that ran south from Antioch to Damascus and Beirut. The city was renamed by Seleucus I Nicator in honor of his mother, Laodice and was a major port for the Seleukid Kingdom. Laodikea flourished under Rome and was second only to Antioch in the region. Herod the Great, king of Judaea, furnished Laodikea with an aqueduct, the remains of which stand to the east of the town. The Legio VI Ferrata was probably based in Laodicea.
RP83520. Bronze AE 25, RPC Online IV 8589 (7 specs., none published); BMC Galatia p. 256, 70 var. (bust right), VF, fantastic style, dark patina with highlighting earthen fill, both sides off-center, weight 10.834 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 142 - 143 A.D.; obverse AVTO KA TI AI A∆P - ANTΩNEINON CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, from behind; reverse IOYΛIEΩN TΩN KAI ΛAO∆IKEΩN, draped bust of Tyche left, wearing fantastic crown of the city gate, walls and towers, bunches of grapes hanging below ear, KPA before neck, ϘP (year 190) behind; rare; $170.00 (€151.30)
 


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Uncertain Caesarea, Syria

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RPC attributes this rare type to an uncertain mint named Caesarea. See RPC I p. 599 for a discussion of its attribution.
RP83686. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 4084; SNG Cop 177 (Caesarea in Cappadocia); BMC Lycaonia p. 32, 5 (Anazarbus, Cilicia), VF, well centered, nice portrait, attractive olive green patina, light marks and scratches, weight 4.58 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Caesarea mint, 25 Jan 41 - 13 Oct 54 A.D.; obverse KΛAY∆IOC KAICAP, laureate head right; reverse ETOYC KAICAPEΩN Γ (year 3), turreted, veiled and draped bust of Tyche right; rare; $165.00 (€146.85)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Struck at Rome for Use in Syria

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The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. A symbol of Apollo, credited with inventing it, the Kithara's origins were likely Asiatic. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."
RY76699. Orichalcum as, McAlee 546, RIC II 684 (S), BMCRE III 1354, Cohen II 442, Hunter II -, VF, attractive dark patina with red earthen highlighting, nice style, tight flan, weight 8.031 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 119 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse COS III, kithara (lyre), S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across the field; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

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The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RP77502. Bronze AE 28, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, porous, scratches, weight 19.349 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; ex H.D. Rauch e-auction 15 (16 Jun 2014), lot 145; $155.00 (€137.95)
 


Julia Mamaea, Augusta, 13 Mar 222 - Feb/Mar 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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The Tyche of Antioch was a cult statue of the city goddess (fortune) of Antioch, venerated in a temple called the Tychaion. The statue was made by Eutychides of Sicyon (c. 335 - c. 275), a pupil of the great Lysippus. It was the best-known piece of Seleucid art, remarkable because it was sculpted to be viewed from all directions, unlike many statues from the period. Although the original has been lost, many copies exist, including the one in the photograph right, now at the Vatican. The goddess is seated on a rock (Mount Sipylus), has her right foot on a swimming figure (the river Orontes), wears a mural crown (the city's walls), and has grain in her right hand (the city's fertility).Tyche of Antioch
RY84567. Bronze 8 assaria, cf. McAlee 857(a) (scarce); Waage 665; BMC Galatia p. 209, 491; SNG Hunterian 3044; SNG Cop 257; Butcher 491b (all rev. leg. variants), aVF, broad flan, corrosion, weight 13.501 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse IVΛ MAMAEA CEBACTH, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse ANTIOXE-WN MH KO, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, chiton and peplos, grain ears in right hand, left hand resting on rock; ram above leaping left with head right; star inner right; river-god Orontes swimming left below; ∆ - E over S - C in two lines divided flanking across field above center; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Commagene, Syria

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Commagene is in southwestern Anatolia (modern Turkey) bordered on the east by the Euphrates river, on the west by the Taurus mountains, and on the south by the plains of northern Syria. In 17 A.D. when King Antiochus III of Commagene died, Tiberius annexed Commagene to the province of Syria. According to Josephus, this move was supported by the local nobility but opposed by the mass of the common people; Tacitus, on the other hand, states that "most preferred Roman, but others royal rule."
RY76217. Orichalcum dupondius, RPC I 3869, RIC I 90 (R2), Cohen I 8, BMCRE I 175, SNG München -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Syria -, F, nice dark patina with earthen deposit highlighting, reverse double struck, weight 17.303 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Commagene mint, 20 - 21 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVGVSTI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONT MAXIM COS III IMP VII TR POT XXII (high priest, consul the 3rd time, imperator the 7th time, tribune of the people for 22 years), caduceus flanked by branch at each side, between two crossed cornucopias; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Philip II, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Damascus, Coele Syria

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Hadrian promoted Damascus to the Metropolis of Coele-Syria about 125 A.D. Septimius Severus upgraded it to a colonia in 222 A.D. Damascus was an important caravan city with trade routes from southern Arabia, Palmyra, Petra, and silk routes from China all converging on it delivering eastern luxuries to Rome.
RY77846. Bronze AE 24, cf. BMC Galatia p. 287, 37 (ram head r. in ex.); Rosenberger IV p. 30, 50 (same); SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; SNG Hunter -; SNG München -, aF, porous, corrosion, weight 11.707 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 180o, Damascus mint, Feb 244 - End of Sep 249 A.D.; obverse IMP C M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, from the front; reverse COL - DAM - MET-RO (or similar), turreted and draped bust of Tyche of Antioch right within tetrastyle portable shrine, base below shrine with carry-bars and ornamented at center (below Tyche) with ram leaping right with its head turned back left; apparently unpublished, extremely rare, and the only example of this variant known to Forum; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes V (Herodian Tigranes I), c. 6 - 12 A.D.

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"The reign of Tigranes V has generally been described as uneventful; his coins are similarly unremarkable. They do not commemorate any historical or military events but merely copy designs common to the Seleucid and autonomous city coinage of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Phoenicia. The standing Herakles/Vahagn, which was employed extensively by Tigranes the Great (CCA, 99-103), would have had particular appeal for the Phoenician population, as well as the Armenian." -- Frank L. Kovacs in "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions"
SH66377. Bronze chalkous, Kovacs AJN 20 10, Bedoukian CCA 156 (Tigranes IV), Nercessian ACV 166 (same, half chalkous), VF, weight 2.467 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus(?) mint, c. 6 - 12 A.D.; obverse heavily bearded head of Tigranes IV right, wearing Armenian tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩC TIΓPANOY MEΓAΛOY, eagle standing left, wings closed; rare; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

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The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77844. Bronze AE 24, Sofaer 3, Spijkerman 3, Rosenberger IV 3, SNG ANS 1280, Meshorer City-Coins 245 (year 268), aF, highlighting earthen deposit, some corrosion and encrustation, weight 10.924 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Dium mint, 208 - 209 A.D.; obverse AV K M AV ANTWNEI, laureate, draped, and cuirassed youthful bust right, from behind; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, eagle in pediment, AOC (year 271) downward on left, KOI - CVP (Coele Syria) above roof, ∆EIHN-WN starting in exergue and last two letters upward on right; scarce; $130.00 (€115.70)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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Butcher notes coins of Elagabalus from Zeugma share obverse dies with his coins from Antioch and were probably struck at the Antioch mint.

Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
RY90698. Bronze AE 32, BMC Galatia p. 127, 28; Butcher 29; SNG Cop 31 var. (AVT K M AV -..., and slight drapery), F, weight 18.971 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 315o, Antioch(?) mint, obverse AVT KAI MAP AVP - ANTΩNEINOC CE, laureate head right; reverse ZEYΓM−ATEΩN (Z reversed), tetrastyle temple of Zeus(?) with peribolos containing grove of trees, capricorn right in exergue; big 32 mm bronze!; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


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!; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Antioch, Syria, 41 - 40 B.C., Time of Marc Antony, Labienus and Pacorus

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About the time this coin was minted, the Parthians led by Quintus Labienus and Pacorus I attacked Syria, which was under Marc Antony's authority. Quintus Labienus was the son of Caesar's general Titus Labienus. He served under Brutus and Cassius, and after the battle at Philipi fled to Parthia, where he had visited before as an ambassador. After several battles against Antony's governor, Saxa, they occupied the entire province and later Asia Minor and Palestine. In Judea, Pacorus deposed King John Hyrcanus II and appointed his nephew Antigonus as king in his place. Labienus was killed during a Roman counter attack in 39 B.C. The territory was recovered for Rome. Pacorus retreated to Parthia but died one year later in an attack on a Roman camp.
RY84128. Bronze AE 24, McAlee 56 (R2); SNG Cop 81; BMC Galatia p. 154, 25; Cohen DCA 382; HGC 9 1369; RPC I 4223 corr.; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Righetti -, aVF, well centered on a tight flan, weight 12.042 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 41 - 40 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right, palm branch behind neck, fillet border; reverse ANTIOXEΩN / THΣ MHTPOΠOΛ in two lines downward on right, EΩΣ THΣ IEPAΣ AΣYΛOY in two li, Zeus seated left on high back throne, Nike offering wreath in his right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, pilei each surmounted by a star flanking throne, date BOΣ (Seleucid Era year 272) in exergue (off flan), all within laurel wreath closed at the top with a thunderbolt; rare; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes II the Great, 95 - 55 B.C.

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Tigranes was called "Tigranes the Great" by Plutarch. The "King of Kings" never appeared in public without having four kings attending him. At its height, Tigranes' empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. In 83 B.C., the Syrians offered him the crown and after conquering Phoenicia and Cilicia, he effectively ended the Seleucid Empire. His southern border reached as far as Akko-Ptolemais. The first Armenian ruler to issue coins, he adopted the Seleucid tradition and struck coins at Antioch and Damascus during his occupation of Syria from 83 to 69 B.C. In 66 B.C., Pompey advanced into Armenia with Tigranes' own son as an ally. Tigranes, now almost 75 years old, surrendered. Pompey treated him generously and returned part of his kingdom in return for 6,000 talents of silver. His unfaithful son was sent back to Rome as a prisoner. Tigranes continued to rule Armenia as an ally of Rome until his death in 55 B.C.
SH66375. Bronze four chalci, cf. Nercessian 84; Bedoukian CCA 119; BMC Seleucid p. 104, 12 (half chalkous); SNG Cop -, aF, weight 9.332 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus(?) mint, c. 83 - 69 B.C.; obverse head of Tigranes I right wearing five-pointed Armenian tiara, A behind; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ TIΓPANOY, Nike advancing left, wreath in extended right, left hand on hip, uncertain letters outer left; ex Gianni Aiello Collection; rare; $115.00 (€102.35)
 


Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes V (Herodian Tigranes I), c. 6 - 12 A.D.

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"The reign of Tigranes V has generally been described as uneventful; his coins are similarly unremarkable. They do not commemorate any historical or military events but merely copy designs common to the Seleucid and autonomous city coinage of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Phoenicia. The standing Herakles/Vahagn, which was employed extensively by Tigranes the Great (CCA, 99-103), would have had particular appeal for the Phoenician population, as well as the Armenian." -- Frank L. Kovacs in "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions"
SH66376. Bronze two chalkoi, Kovacs AJN 20 6, Nercessian ACV 159 (Tigranes IV), Bedoukian CCA 154 (same), aF, weight 4.718 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 45o, Damascus(?) mint, 8 - 5 B.C.; obverse heavily bearded head of Tigranes IV right, wearing Armenian tiara with five points, surrounded by dotted pearls, adorned with star; reverse BAΣIΛEΩC TIΓPANOY MEΓAΛOY, Herakles standing slightly left, nude, right hand resting on grounded club, Nemean lion skin draped on left arm; rare; $115.00 (€102.35)
 


Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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A tetrastyle temple is a temple with four columns. A peribolos is a court enclosed by a wall, especially one surrounding an ancient Greek or Roman temple.
GB90700. Bronze AE 29, BMC Galatia p. 128, 34; Butcher 31b; SNG München 435 var. (capricorn right); SGICV 4056 var. (same); SNG Cop -, Choice VF, perfect centering, weight 18.168 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 180o, Zeugma mint, Feb 244 - end Sep 249 A.D.; obverse MAP ΩTAKIΛ CEOYHPAN CEB, draped bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind shoulders; reverse ZEYΓM−ATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, statue of seated Zeus within temple, capricorn left in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D., Beroea, Cyrrhestica, Syria

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Aleppo is called Halab in Hittite documents of the second millennium B.C. The city opened its gates to Alexander after the Battle of Issus. Seleucus built a new city nearby and named it Beroea. Saint Paul records that his preaching at Beroea was a great success. The city was sacked by the Persians in 540, and captured by the Muslims without a fight in 637.
RY75674. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 892; Bellinger 85; cf. BMC Galatia p. 132, 19 - 20 (bust from front); SNG Righetti 1861 (same); SNG Cop -; SNG München -; SNG Hunterian -, aVF, weight 12.848 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Cyrrhestica, Beroea (Allepo, Syria) mint, 11 Apr 217 - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse AYT K MA OΠ CE MAKPINOC CE, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠATOC ∆ (tribune of the people, consul for the 4th time), eagle standing front, wings spread, head and tail left, wreath in beak, B - E divided by winged and horned lion-like animal standing facing below; ex Alex G. Malloy; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Heliopolis, Coele Syria

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Baalbek, a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, east of the Litani River, was known as Heliopolis during Roman rule. It was one of the largest sanctuaries in the empire and contains some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon. The gods worshiped at the temple, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.
SH79780. Bronze AE 16, Sawaya 383 ff. var. (D74/R152) unlisted die combination, SNG Cop 430, Lindgren-Kovacs A2162A, BMC Galatia -, VF/F, green patina, tight flan, weight 3.400 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 45o, Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) mint, 211 - 212 A.D.; obverse M AVR ANTONI, laureate head right, from behind; reverse COL HEL, Hermes standing slightly left, head left, nude but for cloak over shoulder, purse in right hand, caduceus in left hand; $95.00 (€84.55)
 


Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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His troops forced Decius to assume the imperial dignity and although he still protested his loyalty, Philip advanced against him. Decius was victorious and Philip was killed. The Senate then recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus as a reference to that good emperor. As the Byzantine historian Zosimus later noted: "Decius was therefore clothed in purple and forced to undertake the government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness."
RY76704. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1128(a) (ex. rare); Prieur 569; BMC Galatia p. 220, 579; SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG München -, VF, well centered, toned, earthen encrustations, marks and scratches, porosity, flan crack, weight 8.768 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 249 - 250 A.D.; obverse AYT K Γ ME KY TPAIANOC ∆EKIOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, one dot below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (tribune of the people), eagle standing left on palm branch, wings spread, head left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; extremely rare; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Hierapolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria

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The modern name Manbij is very similar to the original Aramean name, Mnbg. It was part of the kingdom of Bit Adini before it was annexed by the Assyrians in 856 B.C. It fell to Alexander and later prospered under the Seleucids who made it the chief station between Antioch and Seleucia on the Tigris. It was refounded as Hieropolis by Eumenes II of Pergamon in 190 B.C. Crassus sacked the temple on his way to meet the Parthians in 53 B.C. In the 3rd century, the city was the capital of Euphratensis province and one of the great cities of Syria. It was, however, in a ruinous state when Julian gathered his troops there before marching to his defeat and death in Mesopotamia. Sassanid Emperor Khosrau I held it to ransom after Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had failed to defend it. The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid restored it at the end of the 8th century, making it the capital of al-Awasim province. Afterward, the city became a point of contention between the Byzantines, Arabs, and Turks. The crusaders captured it from the Seljuks in the 12th century, but Ayyubid Sultan Saladin retook it in 1175. Manbij later became the headquarters of Hulagu and his Mongols, who destroyed it. The remains of ancient Manbij are extensive, but almost wholly of late date, as is to be expected in the case of a city which survived into Muslim times. The walls were built by the Arabs, and no ruins of the great temple survive.
RY78043. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online IV 6978 (4 spec.); BMC Arabia p. 132, 21 corr.; Lindgren-Kovacs 1919; SNG Cop -; SNG München -; SNG Hunterian -, aVF, attractive black patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, scratches, light corrosion, weight 8.775 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Hierapolis-Bambyce (Membij, Syria) mint, undated, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse [AYTO KAI TI AIΛ A∆PI] ANTWNEINOC CEB[...] (or similar - none known with full obverse legend), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left; reverse ΘEAC CYPI/AC IEPOΠO (to the Syrian goddess of Hierapolis) in two lines, E (control) below, all within laurel wreath, tied at the bottom, closed at the top with a pellet in annulet; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; extremely rare; $90.00 (€80.10)
 




    



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, March 26, 2017.
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Roman Decapolis, Syria and Arabia