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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.
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.RS73522. Silver denarius, RIC IV 190, RSC III 54, BMCRE V 281, Hunter III 116, SRCV II 7517, VF, exotic eastern style, weight 2.751 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseHILARITAS 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; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00
Claudius IIGothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.
This coin, dedicated by the reverselegend to the health of the emperor, indicates Claudius was ill and vows had been made to Apollo, the god of medicine, for his recovery. Apollo and Diana were fraternal twins, and had a good sibling relationship. Perhaps she was also asked to help the emperor. Unfortunately, Apollo and Diane could not helpClaudius. He died of the plague soon after this coin was struck.RA77133. Billonantoninianus, MER-RIC 1088 (7 spec.), Huvelin NAC XIX 62, RIC V 219, Cohen VI 260, SRCV III 11369 var., F, well centered, highlighting earthen fill, cleaning scratches, weight 3.915 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, issue 4, c. mid 270; obverse IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, radiatehead left; reverseSALVS AVG, Diana on left, standing right, drawing arrow from quiver with right hand, bow in left hand, facing Apollo, on right, standing left, olive branch in right hand, lyre resting on rock behind in left hand; rare; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 May 305 A.D.
In 293, Diocletian's Palace was built at a small bay on the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, today's Split, Croatia.RA71999. Billonantoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 322; SRCV IV 12637; Cohen VI 34; Hunter IV 67 var. (also 10th officina, but no pellet in exergue), aEF, well centered, good strike, some silvering, a few light marks, light deposits and porosity, weight 3.741 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 315o, 10th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 293 - 295 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right, from the front; reverseCONCORDIA MILITVM, Diocletian (on left) standing right, holding parazonium in his left hand, receiving Victory holding wreath on globe from Jupiter, who is standing left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, holding a long scepter vertically behind in his left hand, I in center, ēXXI in exergue; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.
In 231, Severus Alexander led a formidable army into the east. In a great battle Alexander defeated Artaxerxes and drove him back from the frontiers of Rome. He returned to Rome, where he received a triumph for his victory over the Persians.RS73592. Silver denarius, RSC III 561, RIC IV 302, BMCRE VI 1020, Hunter III 190 var. (no cuirass), cf. SRCV II 7930 (obv legend, star right on rev, etc.), VF, well centered, interesting eastern style, weight 2.643 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 228 - 231 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverseVICTORIA AVG, Victory advancing right, wreath raised in right hand, palm frond in left over shoulder; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Licinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D.
On 8 October 314, at the Battle of Cibalae, Constantine defeated Licinius near ColoniaAurelia Cibalae (modern Vinkovci, Croatia). Licinius was forced to flee to Sirmium, and lost all of the Balkans except for Thrace. The two Augusti initiated peace negotiations, but they failed and they would not make peace until 1 March 317.RB71428. Billonfollis, RIC VII Antioch 8 (R4), SRCV IV I5244, Cohen VII 108, gVF, nice portrait, well centered on a crowded flan, weight 4.105 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 313 - 314 A.D.; obverse IMP C VAL LICIN LICINIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverseIOVI CONSERVATORIAVGG, Jupiter standing left, nude but for cloak over shoulders, Victory on globe in right offering wreath, long scepter vertical behind in left, eagle at feet with wreath in beak, wreath over H over III in right field, ANT in exergue; $105.00 SALE PRICE $95.00