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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Mints ▸ AntiochView Options:  |  |  |     

Antioch, Syria (Antakiyah, Turkey)

Because of Egypt's isolated position, Antioch was a more suitable capital for the eastern empire than Alexandria, and to some extent the Roman emperors tried to make the city an eastern Rome. They built a great temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, a forum, a theater, a circus, baths and aqueducts. The city was, however, repeatedly damaged by earthquakes. Edward Gibbon wrote of Antioch: "Fashion was the only law, pleasure the only pursuit, and the splendour of dress and furniture was the only distinction of the citizens of Antioch. The arts of luxury were honoured, the serious and manly virtues were the subject of ridicule, and the contempt for female modesty and reverent age announced the universal corruption of the capital of the East." Antioch was, paradoxically, also an important hub of early Christianity. The city had a large population of Jews and so attracted the earliest missionaries; including Peter, Barnabas, and also Paul during his first missionary journey. Antioch's converts were the first to be called Christians. Late in 311, an embassy from Antioch presented themselves before Maximinus and requested permission to banish Christians from their city. Maximinus initially agreed, but in May 313 restored privileges and property to Christians. Antioch struck coins for provincial Syria before becoming and imperial mint. Imperial mint dates of operation: 217 - 611 A.D. Mintmarks: AN, ANT, ANTOB, SMAN.


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

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The Battle of Antioch. After Macrinus foolishly cut legionary pay, Legio III Gallica hailed Elagabalus as emperor on 16 May 218. Macrinus sent cavalry but they too joined Elagabalus. Macrinus finally abandoned his pay cut and paid a bonus, but it was too late. Legion II Parthica defected. General Gannys, the commander of Elagabalus' forces, decisively defeated Macrinus was just outside Antioch on 8 June 218. Macrinus shaved off his hair and beard and fled, disguised as a member of the military police. He was recognized by a centurion at Chalcedon on the Bosporus, taken back to Antioch and executed.
RS84623. Silver denarius, RIC IV 187, BMCRE V 275, RSC III 15, Hunter III 111, SRCV II 7505, VF, lustrous fields, excellent portrait, toned, tight flan, weight 2.093 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 16 May 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONCORDIA MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), two military standards between two legionary eagles; ex Numismatik Naumman (Vienna), auction 47, part of lot 873; scarce; $165.00 (146.85)


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

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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RS84945. Silver denarius, RIC IV 190, RSC III 54, BMCRE V 281, Hunter III 116, SRCV II 7517, EF, light bumps and marks, dark spots, weight 3.090 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse HILARITAS AVG, Hilaritas standing front, looking left, patera in right, long grounded palm frond in left, flanked by two nude children standing at her feet reaching up to her, the child on the right touching the palm frond; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 2377 (Mar 2016), lot 1972; $160.00 (142.40)


Palmyrene Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, 270 - 275 A.D.

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Vabalathus, son of the Palmyran king Odenathus and Zenobia, was declared Augustus but Aurelian defeated his forces. He and Zenobia were then taken to Rome where they lived in great comfort. The abbreviated titles of Vabalathus most likely were, Vir Clarissimus Romanorum (or Rex) Imperator Dux Romanorum. The portraits of Vabalathus are interesting because they display both the Roman laurel and the Hellenistic royal diadem.
RA85174. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3105, BnF XII 1244, Gbl MIR 353a3, RIC V 381, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, coppery surfaces, slightest porosity, weight 3.146 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust of Aurelian right, from the front, Γ below; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Vabalathus right, from behind; $160.00 (142.40)


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

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RIC and RSC list this type with the reverse legend ending AVGG and note that Cohen describes it as ending AVG in error. Cohen does list this reverse from Antioch, but with a bust left. While the AVG ending is rare, we do know of other examples.
RA75211. Silver antoninianus, SRCV III 8917, Tulln Hoard 894, vri 7A, Bland 16 (29 spec.), Cohen V 9, RIC IV 82 var. (bust l.); RSC IV 8 var. (same), Hunter III -, Choice EF, some light marks, small edge cracks, weight 3.863 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, mid - end 247 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AEQVITAS AVG (equity of the emperor), Aequitas standing half left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rare; $155.00 (137.95)


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

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The same types with the same legends may have been minted for Macrinus at both Rome and Antioch. Some examples with a short beard and younger face are clearly of the style of Rome (and probably look little like Macrinus who was in the east). Some, but probably not all, examples with a longer beard and older features were probably minted at Antioch. RIC does not attempt to distinguish between the products of the two mints.
RS73902. Silver denarius, RIC IV 24b; RSC III 62; BMCRE V p. 501, 40; Hunter III 19; SRCV II 7347, VF, well centered, very dark thick toning, perhaps debased silver, weight 2.495 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (or Rome?) mint, Jan 217 A.D.; obverse IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate cuirassed bust right; reverse PONTIF MAX TR P COS P P (high priest, tribune of the people, consul, father of the country), Securitas standing facing, head left, legs crossed, long scepter vertical in right, resting left arm on column; $140.00 (124.60)




    



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REFERENCES

Huvelin, H. "L'atelier d'Antioche sous Claude II" in NAC XIX (1990), pp. 251-271.
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Van Heesch, J. "The last civic coinages and the religious policy of Maximinus Daza (AD 312)" in Numismatic Chronicle 1993, pp. 65 - 75, pl. 11.

Catalog current as of Sunday, July 23, 2017.
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Antioch