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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive EmperorsView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Coins of the Adoptive Emperors

Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Wife of Hadrian

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Concordia Augusta ("Majestic Harmony") was honored for her role promoting understanding and marital harmony in the imperial household, but she did not serve Sabina well. Sabina is said to have remarked that she had taken steps to see she never had children by Hadrian because they would "harm the human race."
RS86662. Silver denarius, RIC II Hadrian 391, RSC II 24, BMCRE III Hadrian 932, Hunter II 13, SRCV II -, VF, light rose toning, well centered and struck, flan flaws obverse center, tiny edge crack, weight 3.333 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 134 - 136 A.D.; obverse SABINA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right, hair in a plait down back of her neck; reverse CONCORDIA AVG (harmony of the Emperor), Concordia seated left, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, cornucopia under seat; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Harlan J. Berk; $165.00 (€140.25)

Crispina, Wife of Commodus, Augusta 178 - 182 A.D.

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Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.
RS86693. Silver denarius, RIC III Commodus 288 (S), RSC II 39a, BMCRE IV 50, MIR 21, Hunter II 15, SRCV II 6003, Choice gVF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, attractive toning, flan edge a bit ragged with many small cracks, weight 2.716 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 180 - 182 A.D.; obverse CRISPINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in round coil low at back; reverse VENVS FELIX, Venus seated left on throne without back, Victory in right hand, long grounded scepter vertical in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Ancient Coin Art; scarce; $350.00 (€297.50)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Cyrene, Cyrenaica

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In 74 B.C., Cyrene was made a Roman province. Previously under the Ptolemies the Jewish inhabitants had enjoyed equal rights. Under, Rome they were increasingly oppressed by the now autonomous and much larger Greek population. Tensions came to a head in the insurrection of the Jews of Cyrene under Vespasian in 73 A.D. and especially during Kitos War, under Trajan, in 117. The later revolt was quelled by Marcius Turbo, but not before huge numbers of civilians had been brutally massacred by the Jewish rebels. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, the Jewish rebellion left Libya so depopulated that a few years later Hadrian had to establish new colonies there just to maintain the viability of the settlement.
RP86686. Silver hemidrachm, RPC III 3 (76 spec.); SNG Cop 203 (Caesarea); Sydenham Caesarea 178 (Caesarea), BMC Galatia p. 53, 56 (Caesarea), gVF, attractive style, toned, minor porosity, light bumps and marks, light encrustations, weight 1.618 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 195o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 100 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIς NEP TPAIAN ΣEB ΓEPM, laureate head right; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠAT Γ (Consul for the 3rd time), head of Zeus-Ammon right, bearded and horned; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 73 (13 Sep 2006), lot 762; very rare; $320.00 (€272.00)

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Apamea, Phrygia

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While playing the flute Athena saw her reflection in the water and disturbed by how her cheeks looked, puffed up while playing, threw away the instrument in disgust. The satyr Marsyas picked up the flute and since it had once been inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully on its own accord. Elated by his success, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. For the prize, the victor could do what he pleased with the vanquished. The Muses were the umpires. Apollo played the cithara and Marsyas the flute. Only after Apollo added his voice to the music of his lyre was the contest decided in his favor. As a just punishment for the presumption of Marsyas, Apollo bound him to a tree and flayed him alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and Apollo hung up his skin, like a wine bag, in the cave out of which that river flows.
RP87110. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 212 corr. (KAI CEB, same dies); BMC Phrygia p. 96, 155 & pl. XI, 10 (same rev. die); Weber 7036; RPC III 2586; SNGvA 3492; SNG Mün 155, gVF, tight flan, rough etched porous surfaces, weight 3.927 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Apameia (Dinar, Turkey) mint, obverse A∆PIANOC KAIC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust of Hadrian right, with aegis; reverse AΠAMEΩN MAPCYAC KIBΩTOI, Marsyas, naked but for chlamys over lower limbs, reclining left in rocky cave, above which are two or five chests, holding cornucopia in his raised right hand, double flute in left hand; beneath him, inverted vase from which water flows; $110.00 (€93.50)

Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

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Mt. Erciyes (Argaeus to the Romans) a massive stratovolcano located 25 km south of Kayseri, Turkey, is the highest mountain in central Anatolia (3,916 meters,12,848 ft). It may have last erupted in 253 B.C. Strabo wrote that the summit was never free from snow and those few who ascended it reported seeing both the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south on clear days.
RS87145. Silver didrachm, BMC Galatia p. 66, 172; RPC Online IV 7019; Metcalf Cappadocia 130a; Sydenham Cappadocia 327; SNG Righetti 1777; SNG Cop 242 corr. (laur.), VF, well centered, light toning, porous, tiny edge cracks, light scratches, part of obverse legend weak, weight 6.628 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 161 - 166 A.D.; obverse AVTOKP ANTWNEINOC CEB, bare head right; reverse YΠA−TOC•Γ, Mount Argaeus surmounted by star, trees on slopes; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 39 (26 Aug 2017), lot 444; $120.00 (€102.00)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Parion, Mysia

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Plotina was Trajan's wife, married to him before he became emperor. She was renowned for her virtue and simplicity. Marciana was Trajan's eldest sister and the mother of Matidia. She was an accomplished woman who lost her husband before her brother's succession. Matidia lived as a widow with Plotina and they were united by the tenderest and most uninterrupted friendship. Both were awarded the title Augusta at the same time in 105. Marciana died c. 112 - 114. Plotina died in 129 A.D.
RP87105. Bronze AE 19, RPC III 1543 (17 spec.), SNG BnF 1468, Weber 5151; countermark: Howgego 304 (11 or 17 of this type in RIC have this countermark), VF, rough and porous, off center, area on reverse flattened by counter marking, area of corrosion on reverse, weight 2.772 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 105- 114 A.D.; obverse TRAIAN AVG, laureate bust right slight drapery on far shoulder; countermark: capricorn right in an oval punch; reverse MARCIANA ET PLOTINA AVG, confronting draped busts of Plotina and Marciana; rare; $450.00 (€382.50)

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Nakrasa, Lydia

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The site of Nakrasa has been identified on a hill overseeing the Bakirchay Valley about two miles southeast of Kirkagach, Turkey. Nakrasa was a Seleukid stronghold garrisoned by a Macedonian guard. It was an important fortress for the Kingdom of Pergamon securing an important road. It appears the city first struck coinage under Domitian and its last coins were struck under Marcus Aurelius. The coins chiefly refer to the cults of Artemis Ephesia, Kybele, and Asklepios.
RP86885. Bronze AE 19, RPC III 1805 (9 spec.); BMC Lydia p. 167, 17 - 18; Winterthur 3838; Waddington 5116; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, F, encrustations, light corrosion, scratches, weight 3.854 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Nakrasa (near Kirkagach, Turkey) mint, obverse AYTO TPAIANOC A∆PIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse NAKPACITΩN, Tyche standing left, kalathos on head, grounded rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $30.00 (€25.50)

Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Uncertain Provincial Mint

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Only the 3rd specimen of this type known to Forum. RIC III lists seven similar eagle / cornucopia provincial quadrans(?) types with Latin legends, each type differentiated by legend and other minor variations. The mint and even the province where these types were struck are unknown. RPC III does not mention the wreath on the reverse but it is present on all the two specimens of this type.
RP87084. Bronze quadrans, RPC III 6541 (2 spec.; 1. Kovacs coll.; 2. CNG e-auction 224, 16 Dec 2009, lot 498, ex Wagner coll.); otherwise unpublished, F, tight flan, struck with worn cracked dies, edge crack, rough, weight 3.833 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 15o, uncertain provincial mint, 102 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse eagle standing facing, wings open, head left, tail left, standing on thunderbolt, IMP upward on left, TRA downward on right, [CAE] (? in exergue); reverse cornucopia, AVG upward on left, DAC downward on right, all within wreath; extremely rare; $80.00 (€68.00)

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

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A gilded 2nd century B.C. slightly over-lifesize bronze statue, Hercules of the Forum Boarium, has Hercules in a similar pose. This statue is probably the one mentioned by Pliny, which originally stood in the Temple of Hercules Victor, by the Tiber. It lacks the lion skin. Perhaps a actual lion skin was once draped on it. The sculpture is now in the Musei Capitolini, Rome. Another similar sculpture, from the 2nd Century A.D., the Hercules of the Theatre of Pompey, was discovered in 1864, carefully buried under protective tiles. It was incised FCS (fulgor conditum summanium), indicating that it had been struck by lightning, and had been carefully interred on the spot. The figure lightly supports himself on his grounded vertical club, the skin of the Nemean Lion is draped over his left forearm. This sculpture is now in the round room area of Museo Pio-Clementino, in the Vatican.Hercules_Sculptures

RS86635. Silver denarius, Woytek 100a, RIC II 49, RSC II 234, BMCRE III 86, BnF IV 108, Hunter II 41, Strack I 40, SRCV II -, Choice VF, well centered, toned, light marks, weight 3.393 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 101 - Oct 102 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P COS IIII P P, statue of Hercules standing facing on low base, nude except for lion skin draped over head, shoulders and left arm, club downward in right hand, apples of Hesperides in his left hand; $275.00 (€233.75)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D. Pautalia, Thrace

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The Three Graces (Charities), named Euphrosyne (Joy), Aglaia (Splendor) and Thalia (Good Cheer), were the attendants of Venus (Aphrodite). They are shown on Roman provincial coins as a statuary group, sometimes nude or partially nude, and sometimes holding apples. In Pautalia, they were tutelary goddesses of the local mineral springs. On this coin, the outer Graces hold a long thin object, probably a snake, indicating the healing properties of the springs.
RP79716. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online IV temp 8758 (1 spec.), Ruzicka Pautalia 20 (same coin), Imhoof-Blumer Nymphen 498 (same), Varbanov II 4400 (R5), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, Fair, rough (usual for this type), weight 5.611 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, Pautalia (Kyustendil, Bulgaria) mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse AY KAI ANTΩNEINOC, laureate head right; reverse ΠAYTAΛIΩTΩN, the Three Graces (Charites), each with a kalathos on her head and draped in a chiton, outer ones each holding a long thin object (snake or staff?), middle one holding uncertain object; ex FORVM (2006); rare; $40.00 (€34.00)

Catalog current as of Saturday, March 17, 2018.
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Adoptive Emperors