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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.


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; $270.00 (€229.50)
 


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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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)
 


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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.
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)
 


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

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In 248, Trajan Decius put down the revolts of Pacatianus in Moesia and Iotapianus in Syria. In 249, after his legionaries proclaimed him emperor, Trajan Decius marched to Verona, where his forces defeated and killed Philip the Arab.
RS86809. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 7, RSC IV 145, Hunter III 40, SRCV III 8949, EF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, toned, reverse die wear and minor damage, edge slightly ragged, weight 4.279 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 30o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS III P P, Marti Pacifero (Mars the Pacifier) standing left, wearing helmet and military garb, raising olive branch in right hand, supporting grounded shield with left hand, grounded inverted spear leaning on left arm, A (1st officina) left; ex Beast Coins; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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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In 244 A.D., Philip negotiated peace with the Persia in order to deal with the troubles on the Rhine and Danube border. In 245 A.D., he campaigned against and made peace with several Germanic tribes.
RS84984. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 49b, RSC IV 227, Hunter III 16, SRCV III 8969, Choice EF, well centered, mint luster in recesses, light toning, light deposits, edge cracks, weight 3.732 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory advancing right, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left; $105.00 (€89.25)
 


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

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The god Kabeiros is similar in appearance to Dionysos and the rites of his cult were likely similar to those of the Dionysian mysteries. The attributes of Kabeiros are a rhyton and hammer.
RP59998. Bronze AE 25, Varbanov III 4709, BMC Macedonia p. 127, 133, SNG Cop -, VF, nice green patina, light scratches, weight 8.831 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse AYK K M IOY ΦIΛIΠΠOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΘECCAΛONIKEΩN ΠYΘIA, Apollo standing left, small Kabeiros in right, laurel branch in left, at his feet, agonistic urn containing a palm branch rests on a table; scarce; $95.00 (€80.75)
 




  



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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 Tuesday, June 19, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Philip I