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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Crisis and Decline ▸ Philip IView Options:  |  |  |   

Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

Marcus Julius Verus Philippus, known as Philip I "The Arab" was the Praetorian Prefect and the successor to Gordian III, whom he possibly had murdered. After signing a treaty with the Persians, he returned home. During his reign, the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated and magnificent games were held on a scale rarely seen. In 249 A.D., a series of rebellions occurred, both Philip and his son were killed after their army was defeated near Verona by the forces of Trajan Decius.


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, 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 cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for four years, consul, father of the country), Felicitas standing left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $315.00 (€267.75)
 


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

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On 11 February 244, Emperor Gordian III was murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus) declared himself emperor and made a disgraceful peace with the Sasanian Empire, withdrawing from their territory and giving Shapur 500,000 gold pieces. The Sasanians occupied Armenia. Philip was recognized by the Roman Senate as Emperor and he nominated his son Philippus, age 6, as Caesar and heir to the throne. He gave his brother Priscus supreme power (rector Orientis) in the Eastern provinces; and began construction of the city of Shahba, Syria in the province of his birth.
RY85323. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 321 (1 spec.); McAlee 889 (v. rare); BMC Galatia p. 212, 505, EF, sharp attractive portrait, attractive iridescent toning, parts of legends weak, areas of some porosity, weight 13.256 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M IOV Λ ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust left, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing slightly left on palm frond, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; $310.00 (€263.50)
 


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, very sharp, handsome portrait and eagle, double strike evident in obverse legend, minor flan crack, small encrustations,, 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 (holder of Tribunitian power), 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; FORVM paid $225 for this coin!; $225.00 (€191.25)
 


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, 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.
RB84935. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 169a, Hunter III 61, Cohen V 44, SRCV III 8992, VF, well centered, nice green patina, scratches, slightly rough, weight 18.348 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS TEMP (happy times), Felicitas standing facing, head left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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In April 248, Philip combined the 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.
RS84955. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, grainy surfaces, edge cracks, weight 3.666 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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In April 248, Philip combined the 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.
RS84967. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, centered on a broad oval flan, a few legend letters weak, deposits, light corrosion, weight 3.136 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Click for a larger photo
Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, 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.
RB83480. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 150a, Cohen V 138, Hunter III - (p. lxxxvii), SRCV III 9005, gVF, superb portrait, centered on a tight squared flan, green encrustations, weight 17.859 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS II P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 4 years, consul 2 times, father of the country), Felicitas standing half left, long caduceus in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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"Peace founded with Persis" - after murdering young Gordian III, Philip needed a quick return Rome to secure his spot, so he made peace with Shapur and ended the campaign. The "P M" on the obverse possibly means "Persicus Maximus" boasting total victory, rather than the traditional "Pontifex Maximus".
RS84988. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 69 (S), RSC IV 113, Hunter III 120, SRCV III 8941, VF, broad flan, light toning, a few light marks, edge cracks, mild porosity, weight 3.849 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, Feb 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP C M IVL PHILIPPVS P F AVG P M, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX FVNDATA CVM PERSIS, Pax advancing left, branch in right hand, scepter in left; scarce; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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Eternal peace was just wishful thinking during the reign of Philip I (just as it has always been).
SL84533. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 41, RSC IV 102, Bland 23, SRCV III 8939 var. (pax standing left), Hunter III 12 var. (AETERNA), NGC AU, strike 3/5, surface 4/5, weight 5.03 g, maximum diameter 23 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PAX AETERN (eternal peace), Pax advancing left, branch in right hand, transverse scepter in left hand; certified (slabbed) by NGC, from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Nice gift for a lawyer or a judge. 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 (Aequitas Augusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and Aequitas Augusti.
RS84993. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 27b, RSC IV 9, Hunter III 25, SRCV III 8918, Choice EF, mint luster in recesses, light toning, well centered on a broad flan, some reverse die wear, weight 3.638 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG (equity of the two emperors), Aequitas standing facing, head left, scales in right, cornucopia in left; $120.00 (€102.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPCMIVLPHILLIPVSPFAVGPM
IMPCMIVLPHILIPPVSPFAVGPM
IMPIVLPHILIPPVSPIVSFELAVGPM
IMPMIVLPHILIPPVSAVG
IMPPHILIPPVSAVG
MIVLPHILIPPVSAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bland, R. "Dr. Bland's List for Philip I and Family" - http://ettuantiquities.com/Philip_1/Philip1-Bland-list.htm
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, vol. 2: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Göbl, R. "Römischer Münzhort Tulln 1966 (Septimius Severus - Gallienus)" in NZ 83 (1969). pp. 7-57, pl. 1-48.
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Muona, J. "The Antoniniani of Philip the Arab" in The Celator, Feb. 2002, p. 10.
Muona, J. "The Imperial mints of Philip the Arab" - https://www.forumancientcoins.com/Articles/Philip_Arab/index.html
Óvári, F. "Philippus antiochiai veretu antoninianusairól" in Numizmatikai Közlöny 88/89 (1989/90), pp. 41 - 48.
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Thibaut, M. Antoniniani from the Mint of Antioch Under the Reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 AD) - http://marchal.thibaut.free.fr/e_index.htm
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, April 21, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Philip I