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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


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); $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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!).
RY86399. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG Munchen 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), gF, well centered, green patina, porous, weight 7.683 g, maximum diameter 20.4 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; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


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.; countermark: c. 36 - 30 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; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C., Cleopatra Countermark

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When Aristobulus II was murdered by Pompey's party in Judaea (49 B.C.), his sons and daughters found protection with Ptolemaios (Ant. xiv. 7, § 4; B. J. i. 9, § 2). It may be that the national Jewish party at that time depended for support on the Itureans in Chalcis, and perhaps the following statement has reference to that fact: "On the 17th of Adar danger threatened the rest of the Soferim in the city of Chalcis, and it was salvation for Israel" (Meg. Ta'an. xii.).
CM85831. Bronze AE 19, Herman 7.c (same inscription var. & countermark); HGC 9 1441 (S) var. (inscription); BMC Galatia p. 279, 2 var. (same); Lindgren III 2130 var. (same), VF, centered on a tight flan; c/m: VF, weight 6.715 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; countermark: c. 36 - 30 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; countermark: bust of Cleopatra VII right in oval punch; reverse eagle flying right, NE monogram between wing and tail, ΠTOΛEMAIO / TETPAPXH / AXP (AX ligate) in three lines below; ex Sayles & Lavender; scarce; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


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 Munchen 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; $170.00 (€144.50)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Struck at Rome for Use in Syria

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In 115 A.D., while Trajan was in Antioch, during his war against Parthia, the city was convulsed by a huge earthquake. The emperor was forced to take shelter in the circus for several days. Trajan and his successor restored the city, but the population was reduced to less than 400,000 inhabitants and many sections of the city were abandoned.
RY85366. Bronze chalkous, half-quadrans, RPC online III 3682; McAlee 527; Woytek 939f; BMCRE III 1075A corr. (no cuirass), Choice VF, highlighting desert patina, weight 1.098 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 116 A.D.; obverse no legend, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse large S C in wreath; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 35, lot 470; very rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


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; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Petra, Arabia

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UNESCO describes Petra as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage." The BBC selected Petra as one of "the 40 places you have to see before you die."
RP84854. Bronze AE 25, Spijkerman 32, Rosenberger 19, SGICV 2281, SNG ANS -, VF, attractive earthen fill, weight 10.019 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Petra mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠT CEOYHPOC IN ΠEP CEB (or similar), laureate bust right; reverse METPOΠOΛIC A∆PIAN ΠETRA, Tyche seated left on rock, turreted and veiled, right hand extended and open, trophy over shoulder in left; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, c. 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.
RP86409. Bronze AE 18, Herman 12; RPC I 4770; SNG Cop 415; BMC Galatia p. 280, 6; Lindgren III 1244; HGC 9 1449 (R1), VF, uneven strike, flan adjustment marks on weak areas, small edge split, weight 3.706 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, c. 40 - 36 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Lysanias right, ΠTO monogram behind; reverse ΛYΣANIOY TETPAPXOY KAI APXIEPEΩΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike offering wreath in right hand, left hand on grounded shield behind, ΦΛ monogram in right field; rare; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Antioch, Syria

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In 115 A.D., while Trajan was in Antioch, during his war against Parthia, the city was convulsed by a huge earthquake. The emperor was forced to take shelter in the circus for several days. Trajan and his successor restored the city, but the population was reduced to less than 400,000 inhabitants and many sections of the city were abandoned.
RY84893. Bronze as, McAlee 487(k); Dura 1643; cf. BMC Galatia p. 184, 270 (A); SNG Cop 203 (IΓ), gVF, green patina, tight flan, adjustment marks, bumps and scratches, light corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 14.746 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 102 - 114 A.D.; obverse AVTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIA-NOC CEB ΓEPM ∆AK, laureate head right; reverse large S C, AI below, all within laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 28, lot 256; scarce; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


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 8.736 g, maximum diameter 22.4 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; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


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; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Apamea, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 21 - 20 B.C.

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Apamea Syria is believed to be the Biblical city Shepham (Num. xxxiv. 11). Previously known as Pharmake, it was fortified and enlarged by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 B.C., who renamed it after his Bactrian wife, Apama. Pompey razed the fortress and annexed the city to Rome in 64 B.C. In the revolt of Syria under Q. Caecilius Bassus, it held out against Julius Caesar for three years until the arrival of Cassius in 46 B.C.
GY86414. Bronze AE 23, RPC 4350; McClean 9429; Cohen DCA 416; HGC 9 1425 (S); cf. BMC Galatia p. 234, 12 (year 94); SNG Cop 301 (same), VF, centered on a tight flan, dark patina with highlighting red earthen deposits, bumps and marks, porosity, weight 9.644 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Syria, Apamea (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 21 - 20 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right wreathed with ivy; reverse thyrsos (staff of Dionysos), date BꟼΣ (year 292 of the Seleucid Era) downward inner left, AΠAMEΩN / THΣ IEPAΣ / KAI AΣUΛOY in three downward lines starting outer right; scarce; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


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; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


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 Syrian 85; cf. BMC Galatia p. 132, 19 - 20 (bust); SNG Righetti 1861 (same); SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -; 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 ∆ (holder of Tribunitian power, 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; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Cyrrhus, Cyrrhestica, Syria

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Cyrrhus was founded by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, shortly after 300 B.C., and named for Cyrrhus in Macedonia. It was taken by the Armenian Empire in the 1st century B.C., then became Roman when Pompey took Syria in 64 B.C. By the 1st century A.D., it had become a Roman administrative, military, and commercial center on the trade route between Antioch and the Euphrates River crossing at Zeugma and minted its own coinage. It was the base of the Roman legion Legio X Fretensis. The Sassanid Persian Empire took it several times during the 3rd century. In the 6th century, the city was embellished and fortified by Justinian. It was taken by the Muslims in 637, the Crusaders in the 11th century, and Nur ad-Din Zangi recaptured it in 1150. Muslim travelers of the 13th and 14th century reported it as a large city and largely in ruins. Its ruins are located in northern Syria, near the Turkish border, about 70 km northwest of Aleppo and 24 km west of Kilis, Turkey.
RY84847. Bronze AE 29, Butcher 21c; BMC Galatia p. 137, 34; SNG Munchen 505; Price-Trell 673; SNG Cop 49 corr. (Philip I); SGICV 4143, aVF, porous, reverse a little off center, weight 15.867 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cyrrhus mint, Jul/Aug 247 - late 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOY IYΛ ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, cuirassed and draped bust to right, from behind; reverse ∆IOC - KA-TEB-ATOY, KYPHCTΩN, hexastyle temple Zeus Kataibates, in which statue of the god is seated facing with thunderbolt in right hand, scepter in left hand, eagle at his feet on left, bull leaping right above temple; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, c. 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.
GB86410. Bronze AE 18, Herman 12.a (same countermark); Lindgren III 1244 (same); RPC I 4770; HGC 9 1449 (R1); SNG Cop 415; BMC Galatia p. 280, 6, aVF, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, marks, scratches, corrosion; c/m: Fair, weight 5.120 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, c. 36 - 23 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Lysanias right, ΠTO monogram behind, countermark before below chin; reverse ΛYΣANIOY TETPAPXOY KAI APXIEPEΩΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike offering wreath in right hand, left hand on grounded shield behind, ΦΛ monogram in right field; rare; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


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; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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 Munchen 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; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Canata, Decapolis

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Catana, Qanawat Syria today, is probably the city called Kenath in the Bible (Numbers 32:42, 1 Chronicles 2:23). The Hellenistic-Roman city of Kanatha, is mentioned for the first time in the reign of Herod the Great, when Nabataean forces defeated a Jewish army. It remained an issue of contention between the two powers. From Pompey's time until Trajan's, it was a city of the Decapolis, a loose federation of cities allowed by the Romans to enjoy a degree of autonomy. Under Trajan, it was annexed to the Roman province of Syria. Septimius Severus refounded it as the Roman colony Septimia Canatha and transferred it to the province of Arabia.
GB85805. Bronze AE 13, RPC II 2092; Spijkerman 4; Rosenberger 3; SNG ANS 1259; BMC Galatia p. 302, 2; SGICV 877, aVF, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 2.162 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Canata (Qanawat, Syria) mint, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse ∆OMITI KAIΣAP, laureate head left; reverse towered and draped bust of Tyche left, hair in chignon, KANATA downward behind, ZNP (year 157 of Pompeian era) upward on left; ex Tom Cederlind with his tag; rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
RB86129. Bronze semis, McAlee 209(c); RPC I 4248; SNG Fitzwilliam 5859; BMC Galatia p. 166, 130; SNG Cop 140, F, tight flan, earthen deposits, porous, weight 9.736 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 5 B.C. - 14 A.D.; obverse AVGVST TR POT, laureate head right; reverse large S C within circle, laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves around, linear border; scarce; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Laodikea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 45 B.C. - 26 A.D.

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The epithet IOYΛIEΩN was assumed by the Laodiceans in connection with the visit of Julius Caesar to Syria in 47 B.C., when he bestowed various privileges and honors on the principal cities. His visit also heralded a new Caesarian era, which was to date coins. Although the date on this coin appears to read year three (46/45 B.C.), this Helios / Artemis type was introduced in year four (45/44 B.C.) and was struck sporadically until year 73 (25/26 A.D.). If it is year three, it is unpublished. The date is more likely the published year 33 with the Λ (30) unstruck.
GY86413. Bronze AE 21, cf. RPC I 4401 (year 33, 1 spec.), SNG München 868 (year obscure), SNG Cop 334 (year 73), HGC 9 1408 (S), BMC Galatia -, VF, attractive black patina with some brassy high-points and highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, weight 4.949 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 16 - 15 B.C.(?); obverse draped and radiate bust of Helios right, star before below chin; reverse Artemis standing left, wearing short chiton, quiver on shoulder, spear vertical in right hand, bow at side in left, Γ[Λ](?) (year 33(?) of the Caesarian Era) inner left, IOYΛIEΩN / TΩN KAI in two lines downward on right, ΛAO∆IKEΩN downward on left, monogram (magistrate or control) in exergue; rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Laodikea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, c. 47 - 20 B.C.

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Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Most biblical scholars believe Jesus was born between 6 and 4 B.C.
GY86415. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 4392; BMC Galatia p. 249, 18 (APX in ex.); SNG Cop 332 (same); Weber 7982 (same); SNG München 874 (ZM in ex.), VF/aVF, tight flan, light corrosion/porosity, weight 7.924 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse turreted and veiled head of Tyche right; reverse Tyche standing left, kalathos on head, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, ∆M (year 44) downward inner left field, IOYΛIEΩN/TΩN KAI in two downward lines on the left, ΛAO∆IKEΩN, downward on the right, uncertain control letters in exergue; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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; $80.00 (€68.00)
 




    



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Roman Decapolis, Syria and Arabia