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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Mints ▸ CyzicusView Options:  |  |  |   

Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey)

Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. According to tradition, it was founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly and later received many colonies from Miletus. Like the other Greek cities in Asia, it fell under the rule of the Persia Empire until Alexander the Great captured it in 334 B.C. In 74 B.C. the city, allied with Rome, withstood a siege by 300,000 men led by King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, Cyzicus was made the capital of Mysia, and afterwards of Hellespontus. Dates of operation: The Cyzicus mint was opened by Gallienus (253 - 268 A.D.) and continued to strike coins well into the Byzantine era. Mintmarks: C, CM, CVZ (sometimes with the Z reversed), CVZIC, K, KVZ, MC, MK, MKV, SMK.


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign or on his return from a distance. They may also refer to his arrival in some other city or province of the empire. At their accession, emperors were not conveyed in a chariot nor in any other vehicle, but went on horseback or on foot when they made their first public entry into the capital of the Roman world.
RA76334. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 904 (S); Cohen VI 69; Pink VI-1, p. 43; Hunter IV 311 var. (1st officina); cf. SRCV III 11195 (Rome mint, etc.), gVF, green patina with some silvering remaining, weight 4.393 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 2nd emission, end 276 - beginning 277 A.D.; obverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), radiate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over right shoulder, oval shield decorated with charging horseman on left arm; reverse ADVENTVS PROBI AVG (the arrival of Emperor Probus), Probus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left hand, horses' right foreleg raised over bound captive seated left, B in exergue; scarce; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Florianus, June or July - August or September 276 A.D.

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Florian's military harmony, advertised on this coin, was soon betrayed. After a reign of less than three months, Florian was murdered by his own soldiers.
RA87677. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 4535, RIC V-1 116, Venèra 2957 - 2963, BnF XII 1987, Amasya 2404, Gloucester 825, Hunter IV 20, Cohen VI 15, SRCV III 11853, Choice VF, well centered, dark patina, light marks, weight 4.829 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, July - August 276; obverse IMP FLORIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Victory on left, standing right, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, Florian, on right, standing left, extending right hand to receive wreath, long scepter vertical in left hand, V in exergue; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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In 271, the Juthungi invaded Italy and sacked the city of Piacenza. A Roman army of 15,000 men under Aurelian was ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Placentia. The Juthungi then moved towards a defenseless Rome. Aurelian rallied his men and defeated the Germanic tribes on the Metauro River, just inland of Fano. After this near disaster, Aurelian began construction of a new defensive wall to protect Rome. The Aurelian Walls, 19 kilometers, enclosed the city with fortifications.
RA88938. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2931 (13 spec), BnF XII 1151, Venèra 10109, Gloucester 500, RIC V 355 var., Cohen 259 (20f.) var., VF, well centered, glossy near black patina, small edge splits, weight 3.343 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus mint, 3rd issue, end 271 A.D.; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, one globules behind shoulder; reverse VICTORIA GERN (sic), Victory walking left, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand; ex CNG e-auction 411 (13 Dec 2017), lot 451 (misattributed); rare; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Licinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D.

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Very unusual mint error! Poor letter spacing on the reverse forced the engraver to make the final two letters extraordinarily small and curve back up to the exergue line. On many examples of this type the last two letters extend into the exergue to the mintmark. This engraver had his own idea of how to handle the problem.
RL89684. Billon follis, Hunter V 170 (also 2nd officina), RIC VII Cyzicus 9, SRCV IV 15237, Cohen VII 114, Choice gVF, bold well centered strike, some silvering, weight 3.196 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 317 - 320 A.D.; obverse IMP LICINVS P F AVG, consular bust left, mappa in right hand, globe and scepter in left hand; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG (to Jove the protector of the two Emperors), Jupiter standing left, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, long scepter in left hand, wreath lower left, B right, SMK in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Marcian, 24 August 450 - 31 January 457 A.D.

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At the beginning of Marcian's reign, the Eastern Roman treasury was almost bankrupt, due to the huge tributes paid to Attila by Theodosius. Marcian reversed this near bankruptcy not by levying new taxes, but rather by cutting expenditures. Upon his accession, he declared a remission of all debts owed to the state. Marcian attempted to improve the efficiency of the state in multiple ways, such as mandating that the praetorship must be given to senators residing in Constantinople, attempted to curb the practice of selling administrative offices, and decreed that consuls would be responsible for the maintenance of Constantinople's aqueducts. He repealed the Follis, a tax on senators' property which amounted to seven pounds of gold per year. Marcian removed the financial responsibilities of the consuls and praetors, who had since the time of the Roman Republic been responsible for funding the public sports games or giving wealth to the citizens of Constantinople, respectively; additionally, he made it such that only the Vir illustris could hold either office. By the time of his death, Marcian's shrewd cutting of expenditures and avoidance of large-scale wars left the Eastern Roman treasury with a surplus of 100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) of gold.
RL87909. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC X Marcian 561 (R), LRBC II 2609, SRCV V 21398, Hahn MIB 33, DOCLR -, Hunter V -, VF, tight flan, obverse off center, edge crack, small pit on obverse, weight 1.354 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 453 - 457 A.D.; obverse D N MARCINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Marcian's monogram (RIC monogram 1) , in wreath, CVZ in exergue; ex Beast Coins; rare; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Marcian, 24 August 450 - 31 January 457 A.D.

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Marcian laid out many legal reforms in his five novels, or codes of law, many of which were targeted at reducing the corruption and abuses of office that existed during the reign of Theodosius. Marcian decreed that anyone who performed pagan rites would lose their property and be condemned to death, and that no pagan temples, which had previously been closed, could be re-opened. He repealed a marriage law enacted by Constantine I, which decreed that a man of senatorial status could not marry a slave, freedwoman, actress, or woman of no social status (humilis), in an attempt to preserve the purity of the senatorial class. Marcian adjusted this law by declaring that the law should not exclude a woman of good character, regardless of her social status or wealth. He banned the export of weapons, and tools used to manufacture them, to barbarian tribes. In order to ensure his laws were implemented, he set a penalty of 50 pounds (23 kg) of gold for any judge, governor, or official who did not enforce the law.
RL87911. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC X Marcian 561 (R), LRBC II 2609, SRCV V 21398, Hahn MIB 33, DOCLR -, Hunter V -, VF, typical tight flan, earthen deposits, light marks, weight 1.192 g, maximum diameter 11.0 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 453 - 457 A.D.; obverse D N MARCINIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Marcian's monogram (RIC monogram 1) , in wreath, CVZ in exergue; better in hand than the photos suggest, ex Beast Coins; rare; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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The cross was rarely used in early Christian iconography, perhaps because it symbolized a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution that most early Christians would have personally witnessed. In 315, Constantine abolished crucifixion as punishment in the Roman Empire. The Ichthys, or fish symbol, was used by early Christians. Constantine adopted the Chi-Rho Christ monogram (Christogram) as his banner (labarum). The use of a cross as the most prevalent symbol of Christianity probably gained momentum after Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, traveled to the Holy Land, c. 326 - 328, and recovered the True Cross.
RL89481. Billon light maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 75, LRBC II 2478, Voetter 34, SRCV V 18233, Cohen VII 41, Hunter V -, Choice aEF, excellent centering, dark patina, scratches, earthen deposits, weight 3.168 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 348 - 351 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust left, holding globe in right hand; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), emperor standing left, labarum in right hand, resting left on grounded shield behind, two kneeling bound captives at feet before him, *SMK∆ exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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In 359, Shapur II the Great of the Persian Empire invaded southern Armenia. The Romans implemented a scorched earth policy and placed strong guards at the Euphrates crossings. Shapur II besieged the Roman fortress of Amida (modern Diyarbakir). After seventy-three days the city was conquered and the population massacred. In the winter of 359, Shapur II halted his campaign, due to heavy casualties. In 360, Shapur II continued his campaign against the Roman fortresses; capturing Singara, Bezabde and Nisibis.
RL88062. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 117, LRBC II 2504, Voetter 47, SRCV V 18320, Cohen VII 188, Choice VF, nice green patina, well centered, light earthen deposits, edge a little ragged, weight 1.298 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 358 - 3 Nov 361; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES REIPVBLICE (the hope of the Republic), emperor standing left, wearing helmet and military dress, globe in right hand, spear in left hand, SMKA exergue; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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Aurelian probably joined the army in 235, a year that began an era of crisis, imperial assassinations, invasions, civil wars, plagues, and economic depression, which severely damaged the army. He distinguished himself in battle and successes as a cavalry commander eventually made him a member of emperor Gallienus' entourage. Claudius gave him command of the elite Dalmatian cavalry, and then promoted him to Master of Horse (second in command of the army after the Emperor). As emperor, Aurelian's successful restoration of the Army enabled him to defeat the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and the Palmyrene Empire effectively ending the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century.
RB88412. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3085 (36 spec.), RIC V-1 366, BnF XII 1220, Venèra 10728 - 10732, Hunter IV 105, Cohen VI 206, Choice gVF, well centered, areas of porosity, small green encrustations, weight 4.114 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, issue 10, phase 2, early - summer 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVTOR EXERCITI (restorer of the army), Aurelian standing left holding scepter and presenting globe to Mars, also holding scepter, helmeted, standing right, A in center, XXI in exergue; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Constans, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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The reverse legend translates, "Happy Times Restored." Happy times would not last for Constans. This coinage was among his last issues before his general Magnentius rebelled and had him killed.
RL76207. Billon light maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 77 (S), LRBC II 2479, Voetter 20, SRCV V 18699, Cohen VII 18, Hunter V -, aEF, well centered, nice green patina, some encrustation, small edge cracks, weight 4.253 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust left, holding globe in right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), Constans walking right, looking back left, leading barbarian from hut under tree, holding spear, star above, SMKΓ in exergue; scarce; $65.00 (€57.20)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Bastien, P. "Coins with a Double Effigy Issued by Licinius at Nicomedia, Cyzicus, and Antioch" in NC 1973.


Catalog current as of Sunday, July 21, 2019.
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Cyzicus