AE provincial, Saitta, Lydia (Sidas Kaleh, Turkey), Senate/River-God (mid-2nd to early 3d century AD)
IЄΡA - [CYNKΛHTOC], bare-headed youthful draped bust of Senate right / CAIT[THNΩN] + [ЄPMOC] in exergue, River-God Hermos reclining left, holding reed and cornucopiae, resting arm on urn (hydria) from which waters flow.
Ӕ (base metal yellow, orichalcum?), 22 mm, 5.68 g, die axis 6.5h (coin alignment)
It is difficult to read the name of the river. I think that ЄPMOC is more likely, but VΛΛΟС is also possible, representing the other important local river, Hyllos.
Possible catalog references are BMC Lydia 25 (or 26-27?), SNG Copenhagen 398, SNG München 439.
For the Hyllos reverse, Leypold 1153.
To emphasize the autonomy of certain Hellenistic polises, even under the Roman rule they sometimes used allegorical figures of Senate or Demos on obverses of their coins instead of imperial portraits. Saitta was issuing similar-looking coins with busts of emperors and their family as well, but in this issue the town Senate is honoured as the ruler. IЄΡA CYNKΛHTOC = Holy Senate. CAITTHNΩN = Saitta, ЄPMOC = Hermos, the name of the river and its god.
River-Gods or Potamoi (Ποταμοί) were the gods of the rivers and streams of the earth, all sons of the great earth-encirling river Okeanos (Oceanus) and his wife Tethys. Their sisters were the Okeanides (Oceanids), goddesses of small streams, clouds and rain, and their daughters were the Naiades, nymphs of springs and fountains. A River-God was depicted in one of three forms: as a man-headed bull; a bull-horned man with the tail of a serpentine-fish in place of legs; or as a reclining man with an arm resting upon a pitcher pouring water, which we see in this case. The addition of cornucopia symbolizes the blessings that a particular river bestows on those who live near it.
Saitta or Saittae (Σαίτται, Ptolemy 5.2.21: Σέτται, Σάετται) was a polis in eastern Lydia (aka Maeonia), in the rivers' triangle between the upper Hyllus (modern Demirci Çayı, c. 12 km to the west) and the Hermus or Hermos (modern Gediz Nehri, c. 20 km to the south). In Roman imperial times it belonged to the "conventus" of Sardis in the Roman province of Asia (conventus was a territorial unit of a Roman province, mostly for judicial purposes).
Now its ruins are known now as Sidas Kaleh or Sidaskale in Turkey, near the village of İçikler (İcikler Mahallesi, 45900 Demirci/Manisa). They were never excavated, so are little known or cared for. Ruins of a stadium and a theatre survive, together with remains of some temples and tombs.
Not much is known about it. It was a regional centre for the production of textiles. In 124 AD the town was probably visited by emperor Hadrianus. During the Roman period the cult of the moon god Mēn Axiottenus was very popular in the city. Because of its reference to "angels" (both literally as the Greek word and by their function as god's messengers) it was possibly close to the more general Asia Minor cult of Theos Hypsistos, Θεος ὕψιστος, "the highest god" (200 BC 400 AD), which in turn was perhaps related to the gentile following of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Known Roman provincial coins issued by this city feature portraits of emperors from Hadrian to Gallienus, thus covering the period from 117 to 268 AD, with the peak around the Severan dynasty. The semi-autonomous issues are usually dated from mid-2nd to mid-3d century AD.
Later Saittae was the seat of a Byzantine bishopric. Bishop Limenius signed the Chalcedon Creed, while Bishop Amachius spoke at the Council of Chalcedon. Although an Islamic area now, Saittae remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.