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

Serdica, Thrace

Serdica was originally a Thracian settlement, probably named after the Celtic Serdi tribe. For a short time in the 4th century B.C., the city was possessed by Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great. Around 29 B.C., Sofia was conquered by the Romans and renamed Ulpia Serdica. It became a municipium (the center of an administrative region) during the reign of Trajan. The city expanded, as turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided the province of Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city expanded for the next century and a half, which caused Constantine the Great to call it "my Rome." Serdica was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

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Asklepios was the son of Apollo and a mortal woman named Coronis. Apollo killed Coronis for being unfaithful but rescued the unborn Asklepios from her womb. Apollo carried the baby to the centaur Chiron who raised Asclepius and instructed him in the art of medicine. In return for some kindness, a snake taught him secret knowledge of healing. Asclepius became so proficient as a healer that he surpassed both Chiron and his father, Apollo. Asclepius was even able to evade death and to bring the dead back to life. Zeus killed him to restore balance to the human population but later resurrected Asclepios as a god to prevent a feud with Apollo. Zeus instructed Asclepios to never revive the dead without his approval.
RP84488. Bronze AE 30, H-J Serdica 12.18.20.13 (R5), Varbanov III 2204 var. (obv. leg.), Moushmov 154 var. (same), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, nice green patina, smoothing, some light corrosion, centration dimples, weight 14.349 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AVK M AVPH ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEP∆IKHC, Asclepius seated left on throne without back, torso bare, himation around hips and leges and over left shoulder, patera in right hand, snake-coiled staff in left hand; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection, ex CNG e-auction 320 (12 Feb 2014), lot 281; this coin is the only example of the type on Coin Archives; very rare; $285.00 SALE PRICE $257.00
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

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The reverse appears to be related to Aesop's fable about a shepherd who pulled a thorn from a lion's paw. After he was condemned to death on a false charge, in the arena where he was to be eaten alive, the shepherd instead received a warm greeting from his lion friend. Upon hearing the tale, the king was so impressed he freed both the shepherd and the lion. An older CNG catalog description for the type speculated that the type might have been intended as a message to the emperor that Serdica had provided him some service and should be rewarded.
SH69190. Bronze assarion, H-J Serdica 12.18.16.19 (R6), Varbanov 2079 (R6), Ruzicka Serdica 383, Moushmov 4851, Mouchmov Serdica 222, BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, F, holed, weight 3.992 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 45o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYP CEY ANTΩEINOC, laureate bearded mature head right, seen from behind, bare shoulder and back; reverse CEP∆ΩN, Eros standing left, nude, removing thorn from raised right paw of lion standing right; rare; SOLD


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

Click for a larger photo
Serdica prospered under Rome. Turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
RP39124. Bronze AE 31, Varbanov III 2295, VF, weight 17.976 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 198 - 217 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AVP CEV ANTΩNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEP∆IKHC, Caracalla on horseback right, raising hand and holding spear; attractive large bronze; rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (London, 1992 - ).
Hristova, N. & G. Jekov. The Local Coinage of the Roman Empire - Thrace, I - III c. A.D., Serdica. (Blagoevgrad, 2007).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Mionnet, T.E. Description de Médailles antiques grecques et romaines. (Paris, 1807-1837).
Moushmov, N. Ancient Coins of the Balkan Peninsula. (1912).
Poole, R.S. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thrace, etc. (London, 1877).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Ruzicka, L. Die Münzen von Serdica, Numismatische Zeitschrift Bd. VIII. (Vienna, 1915).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, SNG Grèce, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis, Part 1: Italie. Sicile - Thrace. (Athens, 1970).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II. Münzen derAntike. Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (1993).
Varbanov, I. Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Vol. III: Thrace (Perinthus to Trajanopolis), Chersonesos Thraciae, Insula Thraciae, Macedonia. (Bourgas, 2007).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 17, 2017.
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Serdica