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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.
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.
Felicitas was the goddess or personification of good luck and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.RS75697. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 75A (R); RSC IV 130, SRCV III 8945, Hunter III -, EF, superb strike with sharp dies, nice metal, weight 4.966 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 247 - 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseP M TR P IIII COS P P (high priest, tribune of the people for four years, consul, father of the country), Felicitas standing left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $360.00 SALE PRICE $324.00
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
MON VRB stands for MONETAVRBIS. 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. Billontetradrachm, 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 cuirassedbust 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 obverselegend, minor flan crack, small encrustations, very sharp, handsome portrait and eagle; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.
In April 248, Philip combined celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.RS77602. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 5, RIC IV 246A(a) (S) corr. (elephant right), Mazzini 5, Hunter III -, SRCV III -, Choice VF, well centered, porous, light scratches, weight 2.066 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from front; reverseAETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; scarce; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00
Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.
Annona was worshiped in Rome as the goddess who prospered the year's supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capitol. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the Roman state, then imported and put into storage, reserved and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.SH72366. Silver denarius, RIC IV 26a (S), RSC III 47a; BMCRE V p. 501, 41; Hunter III 20; SRCV II 7340 var. (also cuirassed), NGC XF, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (4160837-004), removed from plastic case; excellent portrait, weight 2.383 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 225o, Rome or Antioch mint, Dec 217 - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseP M TR P II COS P P (high priest, tribune of the people for two years, consul, father of the country), Annona standing left, holding two ears of grain downward in right hand over modius overflowing with ears of grain at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand; NGC graded but removed from plastic case (slab) but comes with NGC tag; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D., Antioch, Syria, Civic Christian Persecution Issue
In 311, after the death of Galerius in late April or May, representatives from Nicomedia presented themselves before Maximinus, bringing images of their gods and requested that Christians not be allowed to live in their city. Late in 311, an embassy from Antioch, led by their curator Theotecnus, also requested permission to banish Christians from their city and its territory. Other cities followed with the same request. Maximinus support for Antioch's requests is advertised by this coin type. Fearing his co-emperors, however, Maximinus changed his mind. His edict in May 313 restored privileges and property to Christians. Later in 313, Licinius captured Antioch and executed Theotecnus.RY77124. Billon quarter follis, McAlee 170(c), Van Heesch 3(a), Vagi 2954, SRCV IV 14927, Choice VF, black desert patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 1.508 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 312 A.D.; obverse GENIO ANTIOCHENI, Tyche of Antioch seated facing on rocks, turreted and veiled, stalks of grain in right; upper body of river-god Orontes below, standing facing in waist deep water, arms outstretched; reverseAPOLLONI SANCTO, Apollo standing facing, head left, pouring libations from patera in right hand, kithara in left hand, Γ right, SMA in exergue; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.
In Roman mythology, Aequitas was the minor goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Aequitas was also the personification of the virtues equity and fairness of the emperor (AequitasAugusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and AequitasAugusti.RS83526. Silver denarius, RIC IV 274; RSC III 11; BMCRE VI p. 215, 1033; SRCV 7856; Hunter III -, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, coppery areas, small edge cracks, weight 2.967 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 222 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverseAEQVITAS AVG (equity of the emperor), Aequitas standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star upper left; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.
The same types with the same legends may have been minted for Macrinus at both Rome and Antioch. Some examples with a short beard and younger face are clearly of the style of Rome (and probably look little like Macrinus who was in the east). Some, but probably not all, examples with a longer beard and older features were probably minted at Antioch. RIC does not attempt to distinguish between the products of the two mints.RS73902. Silver denarius, RIC IV 24b; RSC III 62; BMCRE V p. 501, 40; Hunter III 19; SRCV II 7347, VF, well centered, very dark thick toning, perhaps debased silver, weight 2.495 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (or Rome?) mint, Jan 217 A.D.; obverse IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate cuirassedbust right; reversePONTIF MAX TR P COS P P (high priest, tribune of the people, consul, father of the country), Securitas standing facing, head left, legs crossed, long scepter vertical in right, resting left arm on column; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
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 (the health of the Emperor), 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; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00
Carinus, First Half of 283 - Spring 285 A.D.
A sum of Greek numerals E (5) and ∆ (4) is used to indicate the 9th officina in order to avoid using Θ (9). Because they sound alike, theta (Θ) was associated with Thanatos, the daemon personification of death. Theta used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times. It survives on potsherds used by Athenians voting for the death penalty. Also, after a funeral "Nine Days of Sorrow," were solemnly observed by the family. Romans avoided the use of theta, as we avoid the use of the number 13 today. RL84211. Billonantoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 325; Cohen VI 184; SRCV III 12362; Pink VI/2, p. 52; Hunter IV -, gVF, much silvering, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 3.684 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 4th emission, May - June 284 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR CARINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverseVIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Emperor standing right, short scepter in left hand, facing Jupiter (or Numerian) on right, standing left, with right hand offering Victory on globe, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, E∆ in lower center, XXI in exergue; $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 (to Jove the protector of the two Emperors), 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; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00
Huvelin, H. "L'atelier d'Antioche sous Claude II" in NAC XIX (1990), pp. 251-271.
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Van Heesch, J. "The last civic coinages and the religious policy of Maximinus Daza (AD 312)" in Numismatic Chronicle 1993, pp. 65 - 75, pl. 11.
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