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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.
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria
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.RP83708. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), gF, centered on tight flan, dark green patina, scratches, corrosion, weight 7.018 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obversebare head right; reversehasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (quaestor) below; previously a raretype but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00
Antioch, Roman Provincial Syria, Municipal Coinage, Fall 48 - Spring 47 B.C.
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 SALE PRICE $203.00
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; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00
Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus
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; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00
Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
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 cuirassedbust 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; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Philip I the Arab and Philip II, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Damascus, Coele-Syria
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 Munchen -, 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 cuirassedbust of Philip I right (on left), confronted with radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust 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; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, 40 - 36 B.C.
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 SALE PRICE $135.00
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Petra, Arabia
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; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00
Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Struck at Rome for Use in Syria
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; reverseCOS III, kithara (lyre), S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across the field; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00
Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Uncertain Caesarea, Syria
RPC attributes this raretype 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; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00
Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria
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, obversebare head right; reversehasta (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; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes V (Herodian Tigranes I), c. 6 - 12 A.D.
"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; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00
Philip II, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Damascus, Coele Syria
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 Munchen -, 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 cuirassedbust 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; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
Julia Mamaea, Augusta, 13 Mar 222 - Feb/Mar 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria
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).
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 SALE PRICE $108.00
Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria
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; reversehexastyle 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; $115.00 SALE PRICE $104.00
Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes II the Great, 95 - 55 B.C.
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.; obversehead 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; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Cyrrhus, Cyrrhestica, Syria
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; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria
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; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria
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 cuirassedbust 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!; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D., Beroea, Cyrrhestica, Syria
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 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 cuirassedbust 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; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50
Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes V (Herodian Tigranes I), c. 6 - 12 A.D.
"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 SALE PRICE $81.00
Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
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. Billontetradrachm, McAlee 1128(a) (ex. rare); Prieur 569; BMC Galatia p. 220, 579; SNG Cop -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Munchen -, 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 cuirassedbust 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 SALE PRICE $81.00
Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Hierapolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria
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 AyyubidSultan 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 Munchen -; 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 obverselegend), laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust 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 SALE PRICE $81.00
Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Heliopolis, Coele Syria
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.; obverseM 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; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Kanatha, Decapolis, Provincia Arabia
Kanatha (or Canatha), 16 miles North of Bostra, is today Qanawat, Syria. It was the Biblical Kenath, which was captured by Nobah from the Amorites (Numbers 32:42 and Judges 8:11) and taken back by Geshur and Aram. The epithet Gabinia (ΓABI in the reverselegend) was probably derived from Gabinius the Proconsul of Syria.RP83599. Bronze AE 17, SNG ANS 1268 (same dies); Sofaer p. 154 & pl. 132, 6 ff.; Spijkerman p. 92, 8; Rosenberger IV p. 18, 8, F, well centered on a tight flan, toned bronze surfaces, weight 2.54 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Kanatha (Qanawat, Syria) mint, obverse KOMO ANTONOC (A unbarred), laureate, draped, and cuirassed right, from behind; reverse ΓABI KANAΘ (A's unbarred, Θ appearing as O), bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; ex Alex G. Malloy; rare coin and city; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Rabbathmoba-Areopolis, Provincia Arabia
Rabbathmoba, probably the Biblical Ir-Moab, was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. Its ruins are 18 kilometers north of Kerak in Jordan.RP84127. Bronze AE 27, Sofaer 5; Spijkerman p. 264, 8; cf. Rosenberger IV 1-3 (bust and legend variations, etc.); SNG ANS 1414 (same), VF, no patina, weight 6.492 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rabbathmoba-Areopolis mint, obverse AVT KAIC Λ CEΠ - CEOVHPOC ΠEB, laureate bust right; reverse RABBAΘM-WBHNWN APHC, cult statue of Ares standing facing in military dress, sword erect in right hand, spear and round shield in left hand, on platform with four legs set on base; rare; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nysa Scythopolis, Decapolis
Nysa Scythopolis (Beth Shean) was the center of Egyptian rule in the northern part of Canaan during the Late Bronze Period. Click here to see Beth Shean at BiblePlaces.com.RP73078. Bronze AE 24, Barkay 85, Spijkerman 59, Sofaer 59, aF, weight 9.195 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Nysa-Scythopolis mint, 240 - 241 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANT GOP∆IANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse NVC CKVΘOΠO IEPAC V, Dionysus advancing right, chlamys flying behind, thyrsos in right, placing left hand on head of small figure standing at feet before him, panther left but looking back right behind him, grape bunch upper right, ∆−T (year 304) divided across field; rare; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria
When Philip visited Antioch, Saint Babylas refused to let him enter the gathering of Christians at the Easter vigil (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica, VI, 34). Legend says Babylas demanded he do penance for the murder of Gordian III before joining the celebration. Saint Babylas died in prison in 253 during the Decian persecution. He asked to be buried in his chains.RP69864. Bronze 8 assaria, McAlee 977; BMC Galatia p. 215, 527, F/VF, weight 12.175 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 2nd issue; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse ANTIOXEΩN MHTPO KOΛΩN, towered, veiled, and draped bust of Tyche right, ∆ - E / S - C across fields, ram leaping right with head turned back above, star below; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
In 256 A.D., about six years after this coin was struck, the Persian King Shapur conquered and plundered Antioch.RY72860. Billontetradrachm, McAlee 1135(e); Prieur 598; Dura Coins 523; BMC Galatia p. 221, 587, VF, full circle centering, corrosion, minor flan crack and edge irregularities, weight 11.374 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 225o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 250 - 251 A.D.; obverse AYT K Γ ME KY ∆EKIOC TPAIANOC CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind, five pellets below bust; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (tribune of the people), eagle standing left on a palm frond, head left, wings spread, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
Heliopolis, Coele-Syria, c. 198 A.D.
Septimius Severus conferred the Jus Italicum upon Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) in 193, for supporting him against Pescennius Niger. Prior to that Heliopolis had been part of the territory of Berytus (Beirut) on the Phoenician coast since 15 B.C. This obverse of this coin is copied from a coin of Berytus.
Marsyas found Athena's flute. Inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully. Foolishly he challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Apollo won by singing to the music of his lyre. As a just punishment for his presumption, Apollo flayed Marsyas alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and his skin was hung like a wine bag in the cave out of which that river flows.RP73451. Bronze AE 13, Sawaya 261 (D48/R100), Lindgren-Kovacs 2156, SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 1.988 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Heliopolis mint, c. 198 A.D.; obverseMarsyas right, wineskin over shoulder, C - HE (ColoniaHeliopolis), border of dots; reverse COL / HEL in two lines at center within wreath, border of dots; scarce; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
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