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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


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"
SH76981. Bronze two chalkoi, Kovacs AJN 20 6, Nercessian ACV 158 (Tigranes IV), Bedoukian CCA 153 (same), VF, superb portrait, nice green patina, old scratch on obverse, weight 5.606 g, maximum diameter 21.7 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, Herakles-Vahagn standing slightly left, nude, right hand resting on grounded club, Nemean lion skin draped over left arm; ex Pecunem Numismatik Naumann auction 34 (2 Aug 2015), lot 496 (price realized €522.50 including fees); rare; $670.00 (€596.30)
 


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Otho ruled for only three months. The imperial mint at Rome did not issue bronze in his name, but two provincial mints did. Alexandria issued bronzes with Greek legends, and Antioch issued bronzes with Latin legends.
RP84747. Bronze semis, McAlee 322c (rare); RPC I 4319; Butcher 151; BMC Galatia p. 177, 213, VF, excellent portrait, attractive green patina, centered on a tight flan, obverse legend weak and partially off flan, some marks and scratches, red earthen deposits, weight 6.253 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP M OTHO CAES AVG, laureate head right; reverse S•C (senatus consulto), all within a laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves, no dot (control mark); from the Jyrki Muona Collection; rare; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Chalcis ad Belum, Chalcidice, Syria

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The Chalcis ad Belum lie north of the modern Syrian village of Al-Iss near Al-Hadir, 25 km southwest of Aleppo on the west bank of the Queiq River (the ancient Belus River). Chalcis was distinguished from its namesake in Macedonia by its river. The river, but not the city, was named for the Semitic god Bel or Ba?al.
RY84646. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online 3461 (8 spec.), Butcher 4a; SNG Munchen 511, SNG Milan 3, BMC Galatia -; SNG Cop -, VF, green patina with red earthen highlighting, well centered on a tight flan, some flatness bust high point, weight 14.003 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Chalcis ad Belum (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC APICT CE ΓEPM ∆AK ΠAPΘ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ΦΛ XAΛ/KI∆EWN in two lines, ∆ below, all within laurel wreath of eight bunches of leaves tied at the bottom; rare; $335.00 (€298.15)
 


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.
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, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (quaestor) below; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $310.00 (€275.90)
 


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.
RB71004. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, green patina, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, 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; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $300.00 (€267.00)
 


Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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Hostilian was the younger son of Trajan Decius. After the latter's death, Hostilian was elevated to Augustus by his father's successor Trebonianus Gallus. He died of plague shortly after. McAlee notes, "Hostilian's Antiochene provincial coins are the rarest of the emperors of the 3rd century."
RY84647. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1159d (V. Rare); Prieur 651 (3 spec.); BMC Galatia, p. 226, 627 var. (no officina indicated); Dura 573 var. (Z, 7th officina), VF, centered, edge crack, weight 10.321 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - summer 251 A.D.; obverse Γ OYAL OCTΛIAN ME KYINTOC KECAB, bareheaded and draped bust right, from the front, S below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (tribune of the people), eagle standing right on palm branch, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; $280.00 (€249.20)
 


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, 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.
GB90942. Bronze AE 19, Herman 11.g, RPC I 4769, HGC 9 145 corr., Lindgren III 1243, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 3.505 g, maximum diameter 18.6 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; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


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); $270.00 (€240.30)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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In 248, overwhelmed by the number of invasions and usurpers, Philip offered to resign. The Senate decided to support the Emperor, with Gaius Messius Quintus Decius most vocal of all the senators. Philip was so impressed that he dispatched Decius with a special command of the Pannonian and Moesian provinces. His loyal supporter, Decius, was, however, proclaimed Emperor by the Danubian armies in the spring of 249 and defeated and killed Philip in September.
SH60141. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 907a, Prieur 357, SNG Righetti 2027, SNG Cop -, EF, weight 10.949 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 247 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, radiate and cuirassed bust left, Gorgon's head on cuirass; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠATO Γ (tribune of the people, consul for the 3rd time), eagle standing right, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, ANTIOXIA over S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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MON VRB stands for MONETA VRBIS. According to H. R. Baldus this initial issue of coins was minted in Rome. Indeed the portrait style is unmistakably that of the mint of Rome, and even if the coins were actually minted in Antioch, the dies were surely engraved by the Rome mint.
SH60149. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 899, Prieur 304, BMC Galatia 507, EF, weight 13.825 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome or Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 244 or 246 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛ ΦIΛIΠΠOY CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (tribune of the people), eagle standing facing on ground line, wings open, head and tail left, wreath in beak, S - C (senatus consulto) below wings, MON VRB in exergue; double strike evident in obverse legend, minor flan crack, small encrustations, very sharp, handsome portrait and eagle; $250.00 (€222.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, March 26, 2017.
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Roman Decapolis, Syria and Arabia