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Valerian I was proclaimed emperor after the death of Trajan Decius. He successfully repulsed many barbarian incursions but the standard of living declined and would never recover. In 260 A.D., after four years of war during which Roman forces suffered great losses in battle and to a plague, he arranged for peace talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian emperor Sapor and was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown, but in Rome, it was rumored that he had been murdered and that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool.
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia
Dido, the founder and first queen of Carthage, is primarily known from Virgil's Aeneid. Upon succeeding their father as king of Tyre, Dido's brother Pygmalion had her husband Sichaeus killed in a plot to seize his immense wealth. Dido, with a large group of friends and followers, escaped Tyre, carrying with them all of Sichaeus' treasure. As depicted on the reverse of this coin, Dido made a sacrifice at the temple of Melqart-Hercules before leaving. The reverse on some other Valerian types, we know of one example struck with this same obverse die, depict Dido in Carthage beginning construction.RP75357. Bronze dichalkon, Unpublished in the many references examined by Forum, cf. SNG Righetti 2354 (radiate and cuirassedbust), Rouvier 2503 (same), VF, well centered, porous, flan adjustment marks, weight 11.064 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassedbust right; reverse COL TVRO MET, Dido standing right, kalathos on head, extending both hands toward a distyle temple of Melqart-Hercules in perspective to upper right, club within the temple, flaming column altar at her feet, murex shell on right below temple; from the J. BerlinCaesarea Collection; the best of the few examples of the type known to Forum; extremely rare; $640.00 SALE PRICE $576.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Parium, Mysia
Located near Lampsacus, Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period, it was in the domain of Lysimachus and then the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia within the province of Asia. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, it was in the province of Hellespontus.RP70938. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 304; SNGvA 1343; BMC Mysia p. 108, 116, VF, perfect centering, struck with a damaged obverse die, weight 4.774 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, obverse IMP VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate,draped and cuirassedbust right; reverse Capricorn swimming right, holding celestial globe between legs, cornucopia on back, C G I H P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) below; ex Russian Coins; $360.00 SALE PRICE $324.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tarsos, Cilicia
Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games, similar to modern trophies. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor. The crowns on this coin and the inscription under the table refer to the Severia Olympia Games celebrated by Tarsos and other cities near the Syrian border at a site called "the Quadrigae" where Septimius Severus defeated Pescennius Niger in 194 A.D.
The inscription A M K Γ Γ is a boast of Tarsos: Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (adjoining) provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final Γ indicates a third neokoria, which was received under Valerian.RP83549. Bronze AE 33, SNG Levante 1185 (same dies), SNG BnF 1820 (same), Klose-Stumpf 262, SNGvA 6077 var. (rev.inscription arrangement), SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, aF, porous, weak center on reverse, reverse a little off-center, weight 16.511 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 255 - 260 A.D.; obverse AV KAI ΠOVΛI OVAΛEPIANOC CE, Radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right, Π - Π flanking at sides; reverse TAPCO-V MHTPOPOLEWC, three agonistic prize crowns set on table, CEVHPI OΛV / A∆PIA EKI/XIPIAI / AVΓOVCTI-A / AKTIA , A M K Γ Γ in exergue; ex Alex G. Malloy; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia
Astarte, called "Ashtroth" in Scripture, was the favorite goddess of the Sidonians, Tyrians, Philistines, and Syro-Phoenicians generally. She was associated with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman VenusGenetrix, being believed by the ancients to be the goddess of generation, as well as of beauty. Astarte was chiefly worshiped and appears on the coins of Berytus, Bostra, Sidon, and Tyre. Her image is of a young woman, wearing a tall headdress; and clothed in a tunic, high in the neck- sometimes, not reaching lower than the knees, or sometimes with a longer dress, but with one knee exposed, and one foot planted on a galley's prow.RP77850. Bronze AE 29, Baramki AUB 283; BMC Phoenicia p. 287, 453 corr. (rev. leg.); SNG Hunterian 3431 var. (palm and murex reversed, etc.); Lingren-Kovacs 2396; SNG Cop -, F, green patina with lighter highlighting fields, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.794 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right, from the front; reverse COL - TY-RO - MET, hexastyle temple, Tyche-Astarte standing facing within under central arch, wearing tall headdress and short tunic, right hand on trophy standing to her left, transverse long scepter in left hand, left foot on galley, being crowned by Nike on short column to her right; tree, altar, and murex shell from left to right in exergue; rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00
The PAX AVGGtype with this obverselegend is missing from the major references, except one. It is a die match to Göbl MIR 835c. We were unable to find another example online. Perhaps all examples of this very rare variant were struck with this single die pair.RS90027. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 835c (same dies), RIC V -, RSC IV -, Hunter IV -, SRCV III -, F, irregular flan shape, small edge cracks, porous, weight 2.363 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 3rd emission, c. 257 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reversePAX AVGG (the peace of the two emperors), Pax standing half left, raising olive branch in right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand; very rare; $75.00 SALE PRICE $67.50
Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia was celebrated on 23 August each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries at the greatest risk of burning. The Romans identified Vulcan with the Greek smith-god Hephaestus, and he became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking. RS64696. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 884d, RIC V 5, Hunter IV 56, SRCV V 9934, RSC IV 50d var. (no cuirass), VF, toned, irregular oval flan, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 2.606 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, ColoniaAgrippina (Cologne) mint, 2nd emission, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseDEO VOLKANO, Vulcan standing left within hexastyle temple, hammer raised in right hand, tongs downward in left, anvil on ground at feet left; scarce; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00
Oriens is Latin for "east." Literally, it means "rising" from orior, "rise." The use of the word for "rising" to refer to the east (where the sun rises) has analogs from many languages: compare the terms "Levant" (French levant "rising"), "Anatolia" (Greek anatole), "mizrahi" in Hebrew (from "zriha" meaning sunrise), "sharq" in Arabic, and others. The Chinese pictograph for east is based on the sun rising behind a tree and "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refers to Japan. Also, many ancient temples, including the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, were built with their main entrances facing the East. To situate them in such a manner was to "orient" them in the proper direction. When something is facing the correct direction, it is said to have the proper "orientation."RS64718. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 868h, RIC V 12, RSC IV 143a, Hunter IV 53, SRCV III 9952, VF, excellent portrait, toned, well centered on a tight, slightly oval flan, deposits, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.908 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 257 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseORIENS AVGG (the rising sun of the two emperors), Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00
Vulcan is the Roman god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes. Vulcan is often depicted with a blacksmith's hammer. The festival of Vulcan, the Vulcanalia was celebrated on 23 August each year, when the summer heat placed crops and granaries at the greatest risk of burning. The Romans identified Vulcan with the Greek smith-god Hephaestus, and he became associated like his Greek counterpart with the constructive use of fire in metalworking. RS64707. Silver antoninianus, Göbl MIR 884d, RIC V 5, Hunter IV 56, SRCV V 9934, RSC IV 50d var. (no cuirass), VF, excellent centering, struck with worn dies, weight 3.562 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, ColoniaAgrippina (Cologne) mint, 2nd emission, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseDEO VOLKANO, Vulcan standing left within hexastyle temple, hammer raised in right hand, tongs downward in left, anvil on ground at feet left; scarce; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
In 256 A.D., the cities in the Roman Empire begin to build walls as the defense of the frontiers collapsed. The Goths invaded Asia Minor, Dacia was lost, and they appeared at the walls of Thessalonica. The Franks crossed the Rhine. The Alamanni penetrated to Milan. In Africa, the Berbers massacred Roman colonists. King Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia and Syria and plundered Antioch, Zeugma, and Dura-Europos.RA72577. Billonantoninianus, Göbl MIR 1687e (Samosata), SRCV III 9995, RIC V 293 (Antioch), RSC IV 276 (Antioch), Hunter IV 76, Choice EF, light corrosion, flan crack, weight 3.129 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syria mint, 255 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseVIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing facing; Valerian on left, scepter in right, globe in left; Gallienus on right offering Victory to Valerian, transverse spear in left; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
This ironic reverse utterly failed to foresee Valerian's fate. In 260 A.D., after four years of great losses in battle and to plague, Valerian arranged for talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sasanian (Parthian) Emperor Shapur but was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown. In Rome, it was rumored that Shapur used his stuffed body as a footstool. RS64742. Billonantoninianus, Göbl MIR 1685l (Samosata), RSC IV 189 (Antioch), RIC V 287 (Antioch), SRCV III 9967 (uncertain Syrian mint), Choice gVF, excellent centering, good metal, weight 4.307 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 315o, uncertain Syrian mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right; reverseRESTITVT ORIENTIS (to the restorer of the East), turreted female (Oriens) standing right, presenting wreath to Valerian, standing left, wearing military attire, spear vertical in left hand; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00
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