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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Thrace & Moesia| ▸ |Nikopolis||View Options:  |  |  | 

Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, the Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

Click for a larger photo
A star or stars within a crescent with horns up probably represents a solar eclipse.
RP92884. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.22.48.4 (R2), Varbanov I 3214 (R4), AMNG I/I 1646, Moushmov 1195, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, green patina, edge crack, reverse slightly off center, edge a little ragged, weight 3.056 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 198 - 209 A.D.; obverse Λ AYP KAI ΓETAC, draped bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, five stars and crescent with horns up, three stars above, one star within, one star below; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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There are peculiarities about these Roman crescent and star reverse types that are difficult to understand. First, the crescents are almost always depicted with the horns up. The moon is never seen this way in the sky. Also, in the sky stars are never visible within the horns of the crescent moon because there they would be behind the shadowed yet solid and opaque orb.
RP92067. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.48.15, AMNG I/I 1440, Varbanov I 2312 var. (obv. legend), VF, attractive portrait, light marks, weight 3.231 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 270o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AY KAI - CEYHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC ICTPΩ, crescent with horns up, star within and above; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum

Click for a larger photo
There are peculiarities about these Roman crescent and star reverse types that are difficult to understand. First, the crescents are almost always depicted with the horns up. The moon is never seen this way in the sky. Also, in the sky stars are never visible within the horns of the crescent moon because there they would be behind the shadowed yet solid and opaque orb. The crescent with horns up may represent a solar eclipse.
RP92881. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.48.37 (R2), Varbanov I 2474 var. (obv. leg.), AMNG I/I 1432, Moushmov 986, gVF, green patina, slightly off center, scratches, spot of corrosion on reverse, weight 2.928 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AY K Λ CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, five stars above and within crescent with horns upward; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

Click for a larger photo
A star or stars within a crescent with horns up probably represents a solar eclipse.
RP92022. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.22.48.4 (R2), Varbanov I 3218 (R3) var. (obv. leg.), AMNG I/I 1646 var. (another star below the crescent), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, tight oval flan, small edge splits, weight 3.018 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 198 - 209 A.D.; obverse Λ AYP KAI ΓETAC, draped bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, four stars and crescent with horns up, three stars above, one within, no star below; ex FORVM (2010); $32.00 (€28.16)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

Click for a larger photo
A star or stars within a crescent with horns up probably represent a solar eclipse.
RP89583. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.18.48.1 (R2), Varbanov I 2999 (R3), AMNG I/I 1513.2, Moushmov 1118, aF, edge cracks, weight 2.055 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 195 - 28 Jan 198; obverse M AV KA ANTΩNIN, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, six-pointed star above and within crescent with horns up; $16.00 (€14.08)
 







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REFERENCES|

Hristova, H., H.-J. Hoeft, & G. Jekov. The Coins of Moesia Inferior 1st - 3rd c. AD: Nicopolis ad Istrum. (Blagoevgrad, 2014).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Moushmov, N. Ancient Coins of the Balkan Peninsula. (1912).
Pick, B. & K. Regling. Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien. AMNG I/I. (Berlin, 1898).
Poole, R.S. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thrace, etc. (London, 1877).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 7: Taurische Chersones. Sarmatien. Dacia. Moesia superior. Moesia inferior. (Berlin, 1985).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. (London, 1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. (Oxford, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 1: Roman Provincial Coins: Spain - Kingdoms of Asia Minor. (Oxford, 2004).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Hungary, Budapest, Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, III: Moesia inferior. (Milan, 2000).
Varbanov, Ivan. Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior. (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
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Nikopolis ad Istrum