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XXI

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THE ANTIOCH HOARD OF GALLIENUS

Camden W. Percival          David W. Sorenson, Ph.D.          Alex G. Malloy

            

Originally printed in Alex G. Malloy's sales catalog The Antioch Hoard of Gallienus in 1992.
Used with permission.


The Age of Gallienus

(on a separate page, click the title to read)

 

The Antioch Hoard of Gallienus

Hoard Analysis Part 1

by David W. Sorenson, Ph.D.

The hoard itself exhibits a few peculiarities which are worth noting. When considering these peculiarities, one ought to keep in mind the motivation behind such a hoard. A hoard was always intended as a means of saving money, whether as a sort of savings account in lieu of a bank, or as an emergency stash during hard times (particularly during wartime). Coins would be selected on the basis of their real or apparent quality; the most apparently valuable ones would be kept, and others spent.

All of the coins, from the earliest issues present up to the single coin of Aurelian, were either silver, billon, or silver-washed. They were evidently selected as coins which at least looked as if they had significant bullion content. Many of them may have had no silver other than the wash, but at least they had that.

The coins themselves date between the reigns of Elagabalus (218-222) and that of Aurelian (270-275). Both of these are represented by a single coin apiece. The earliest emperor represented by more than one coin is Trebonianus Gallus (251-253), of whose mint output 21 coins are present. At that time the antoniniani still had some silver content; it was only toward the end of the reign of Valerian (in c. 258) that the coins became silver-washed bronze. During this time Valerian and his son Gallienus reigned jointly, so that coins of Gallienus follow the same pattern of issue.

The condition of the coins is of interest. With few exceptions, notably the earliest pieces, all of the coins in this hoard are virtually as struck. It would have been necessary for the fiction of silver content to have been kept up in the case of the washed coins; even a little wear on a coin with a thin wash would have worn the wash through somewhere and given the game away. Even the coins of Gallus are virtually unworn, however. This indicates that two things are likely: first, that the owner lived near a mint town, and second, that the hoard was built up over a significant period of time, of fifteen years or so. The hoard was probably begun in the joint reign, sometime before 258, and ended (for whatever reason) during thee reign of Aurelian, probably in 274. The most probably reason for the cessation of hoarding would have been the death of the owner, whether from natural causes or otherwise.

Many of the coin types can be precisely dated, and dateable issues show up in significant quantities in this hoard. The distribution of dates is of interest, since it is strange. There is a notable gap in the dates, covering the period 260-262. The only coins found in the hoard which definitely correspond to this period are two coins, one each of Macrianus and Quietus, usurpers in the East. Their mint was located at Antioch, and it may be more than a coincidence that, despite the large number of coins from Antioch and other Asian mints (over 80% of the hoard), no coins of Gallienus are known from this hoard from any mints between 260 and 262.

The predominance of corns from Asian mints is interesting. Even the coins of Treb. Gallus are mainly from the East; all but one are from there. The find-site of the hoard is unknown, unfortunately, but the predominance of Antioch/Asia coins indicates that the site is somewhere in the East, and that it is not too far from the mint where the coins were struck. A good guess might be in the northern part of Syria or Lebanon; a site in Turkey would most probably have meant a hoard containing more coins from Cyzicus and allied cities, whereas only one coin (of Claudius Gothicus) can be assigned to that mint, and nothing at all can be ascertained from a single coin like that. An area along the seacoast in likely as well; coins from Rome are reasonably common. What is odd is that coins from Viminacium are common as well in this hoard; in Dacia, the latter city is a long way away from any reasonable trade route which would have caused its coins to appear in this hoard, without significant accompaniment from nearer mints such as Cyzicus. It might be, however, that the coins were obtained in trade from a merchant from Dacia, as they are all of the 250's; it might even be that the owner of the hoard had journeyed there about 255 on business. The coins from Rome are more widely distributed by date, from the coin of Elagabalus to the sole reign of Gallienus.

Without more data than this, it is impossible to determine too much about the owner and his or her circumstances. The coins indicate someone of some means; that many coins would have been a substantial sum of money even in those inflationary times. It would have been a sum equal to at least several month's wages for a labourer. The distribution of the coins by date indicates that, if the hoarding had been connected with any sort of invasion, the distribution of dates fits the Persian invasions, the usurpation of Macrianus, and the Palmyrene incursions of Syria and Lebanon much better than it does the Gothic attacks of Asia Minor, where the area was quiet except for short periods in the 260's. The Palmyrene invasion of c. 269-270 might explain the second gap; the owner may have been unable to save, or may have not have considered the low-quality Palmyrene issues worth saving. After the addition of one Aurelian of the first post-reform issue, the hoard abruptly ends.

This hoard is interesting in many ways. As the find site is unknown, many questions must remain unanswered. It can be localized to some extent, however. It can be said that the site was probably in north Lebanon, or possibly Syria, along the Mediterranean coast. It can also be said that the hoard was assembled over a period of years, from c. 255 to c. 274, and that collection ceased abruptly at the latter time. The owner was a person of some means, who was very choosy about the coins' appearance. This person lived very near a mint town, or conducted a lot of business there, and therefore had the pick of the new issues, and was able to collect coins before they had much chance to circulate. More than that cannot be determined with any probability of accuracy.

The Antioch Hoard of Gallienus

Hoard Analysis Part 2

by Camden W. Percival

The hoard consists of 583 silver and silver-wash antoniniani. While the location of discovery is not known, the contents of the hoard strongly suggest a site near Antioch. The coins date from Elagabalus (218-222 AD.) to Aurelian (270-275). As is illustrated below, the vast majority (89%) - come from the period of Gallienus (253-268), with slightly over half dating from that emperor's joint reign with his father Valerian. Only two coins, one each of Elagabalus and Philip II, date from before 250; only the one coin of Aurelian was minted after 270.

Figure 2 illustrates the heavy preponderance of coins dating from the reign of Gallienus.

The most immediately noticeable physical aspect of this hoard is the coins' extremely good condition. With the exception of the earliest coins, they show little or no wear (although there is corrosion in some cases). This quality is unusual for coins of this period during which the antoninianus became increasingly debased; many seen today appear to be bronze, the wash which had originally been applied having long since worn off. The consistently high level of the hoard would indicate that they were chosen for at least the appearance of high silver content. Even those coins of the reign of Claudius Gothicus, when the silver level of antoniniani had sunk to about 2Vl%, the collector of this hoard managed to find unusually good coins.

While a complete analysis of the weights of coins was not done, those coins which were weighed are on the high end of the normal spectrum for these types. This probably does not suggest that the collector selected for weight, but simply reflects the coins' lack of wear.

The low level of wear indicates that the coins were generally collected soon after minting, and would suggest that they were collected somewhere near the mint. As described by Dr. Sorenson, collection of the hoard appears to have been begun during the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus with some older coins, some more recent slightly worn coinage of Gallus from circulation, along with the newer coins of the family of Valerian. New coins were then added to the hoard as they were minted. It is, of course, also possible that the collector added good coins of previous issue whenever he found them in circulation after the initial setup. This factor cannot be controlled for, but the condition of the coins suggests that few spent much time in circulation.

Figure 3 shows the mint dates of the coins in this hoard. Where mint issues span more than one year, the assignment of dates to individual coins cannot of course be certain; those coins have been averaged over the years of issue. (This involves a small number of coins and does not alter the tendencies of the graph.)

Since we must assume from the condition of the coins that, with the exception of the earliest, the date of collection shortly follows mint date, it becomes immediately obvious that the amassing of the hoard was far from consistent.

Twenty-seven coins date from before the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus, all but two of these from the 250's. Fifty-odd coins represent the first two years of the joint reign; suddenly the next two leap to 175. This is followed by a drop, then by the virtual lack of coins from 260 to 262. Only two coins of the Eastern usurpers Macrianus and Quietus occur, and none of Gallienus. This is followed by another large accumulation of coins from 263 and 264, a dip in 265 and 266, and another smaller peak in 267 and 268. No coins appear from the Palmyrene period. After a four-year hiatus, we find the one coin of Aurelian dated to the first post-reform issue of Antioch in 274.

Table I: Mint Distribution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rome

Lugdunum

Mediolanum

Viminacium

Antioch

Total

%     

Cyzicus

Elagabalus

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

0.2

Philip II

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0.2

Hostilian

1

0

0

0

0

 0

1

0.2

Treb. Gallus

1

0

0

0

0

20

21

3.6

Volusian

1

0

0

0

0

 2

3

0.5

Valerian

3

0

0

32

0

79

114

19.6

Gallienus J.

4

2

0

10

0

104

120

20.6

Salonina J.

3

0

0

0

0

34

37

6.3

Valerian II

0

0

0

0

0

9

9

1.5

Saloninus

0

0

0

0

0

18

18

3.1

Macrianus

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0.2

Quietus

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0.2

Gallienus S.

5

0

5

0

0

192

202

34.6

Salonina S.

0

0

0

0

0

17

17

2.9

Claudius II

0

0

0

0

1

35

36

6.2

Aurelian

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0.2

Total by Mint

19

2

5

42

1

514

583

 

% by mint

3.3

0.3

0.9

7.2

0.2

88.2

 

 

<253

 

4

0

0

0

0

23

27

 

253-260

10

2

0

42

0

244

298

 

260-268

5

0

5

0

0

209

219

 

>268

 

0

0

0

0

1

36

37

 

As Table I indicates, the coins are overwhelmingly (88%) from the Asian mint. Since we established earlier that the coins were collected soon after minting and close to the mint, the timing of additions to the hoard has major significance in establishing the location of the Eastern mint during the sole reign of Gallienus. The coins have been attributed by various authors to Antioch, Cyzicus, or simply Asian mint. We feel that the contents of this hoard strongly suggest that these coins should be attributed to Antioch. Looking back at Figure 3, we see that the years when coinage is practically missing - 260 to 262 - correlate with the period of Shapur's second attack on Antioch, and with the city's falling under the control of Macrianus and Quietus. The only coins which unquestionably date from that period are one each of Macrianus and Quietus, probably from Antioch or possibly from Emesa. One undocumented transitional issue of Salonina (a CONCORDIA AVG, of the type of an earlier CONCORDIA AVGG, which looks as if the second G has been struck from the mold) is possibly a hastily-done attempt to update the coinage when it was learned that Valerian had fallen into Shapur's hands, during the short period between the emperor's defeat and the Persian's capture of Antioch.

Figure 4 further illustrates the distribution of coins to the various mints.

(Note that AHG numbers below refer to "Antioch Hoard of Gallienus," and indicate the identification assigned to the 583 coins of the entire hoard. 339 of the coins have been included in the catalogue; thus AHG and catalogue numbers do not correspond. While the catalogue number is also listed below, only the AHG number should be used in scholarly reference.)

The hoard contains several previously undocumented coins:

AHG 7: Trebonianus Gallus of 251. O: IMPCC VIR TREB GALL VS PF AVG, rad. bust. dr. R: FELICITAS AVG, Felicitas. (cat#7) AHG 304: Valerian II. O: PC LIC COR V ALERIANVS CAES, rad. bust dr. R: PRINCIPIIVBENTVTIS, Valerian stg.l. holding spear and baton. (cat#165)

AHG 367: Gallienus sole reign. O: GALLIENVS A VG, rad. bust dr. R: AETERNITATI AVG, Sol, crescent mintmark in field 1. (cat#205)

AHG 442: Gallienus sole reign. O: GALLIENVS AVG, rad. bust dr. R: VENER VICTRICI, Venus. (cat#254)

AHG 533: Salonina, early sole reign. O: CORN SALONINA A VG, diad. bust r. on crescent. R: CONCORDIA A VG, Gallienus and Salonina holding hands. (cat#310) Additionally, a number of minor variants (inclusion or lack of mintmark, obverse cuirassed or draped, etc.) are mentioned in the catalogue.

Several previously undocumented misstrikes occur:

AHG 10: Treb. Gallus FELICITAS PUDL. (cat#8)

AHG 344: Gallienus sole reign, AEQVITATS A VG. (cat#191)

AHG 374, 375: Gallienus of 267, IOVI CONSEREVT. (cat#209, #210).

The reverse types are listed, with distributions, below.

In conclusion, in analyzing the hoard we should of course remember that there must remain many uncertainties. The coins which we see do not necessarily constitute all the money which passed through the collector's hands. He or she may have had possession of other coins not considered worth saving, may have been unable to save during some years, and may have been forced to spend some of the good coins as well as poorer ones. He or she may have been separated from the hoard at some points. We can only make assumptions based on the information still available to us from the hoard.

ADVENTVS AVG: Trebonianus Gallus (1)
AEQVITAS AVG: Trebonianus Gallus (2), Gallienus S (18:7=263,  11=264), Salonina S (4:267), Claudius II (7)
AEQVITATS AVG: Gallienus S (1: 264)
AEQVITAS AVGG: Gallienus J (1: 253-4)
AETERNITAS AVG: Gallienus J (5: 267)
AETERNITATI AVG: Gallienus S (18: 263= 11, 264=7)
AETERNITATI AVGG: Valerian I (4: 254-5), Gallienus J (1: 255-6)
APOLINI PROPVG: Valerian I (4: 252-5). Gallienus J (1: 255-60
APOLINI PROPVG: Valerian I (1: 253)
CERERI AVG: Salonina S (1: 265)  
CONCORDIA AVG: Salonina S (1: 260)
CONCORDIA AVGG: Salonina J (19: 255-8)
CONSER AVG: Claudius II (1)
DIANA LVCIFERA: Valerian I (1: 254-5)
DII NVTRITORES: Saloninus (5)
FELICITAS AVG: Trebonianus Gallus (1)
FELICITAS AVGG: Valerian I (3: 254-5)
FELICITAS PVBL: Trebonianus Gallus (2)
FELICITAS PVDL: Trebonianus Gallus (1)
FELICITAS SAECVLI: Valerian I (3: 254-5)
FIDES AVG: Gallienus S (1: 267), Salonina J (1:267), Claudius II (3)
FIDES EXERCITVS: Elagabalus (1)
FORTVNA REDVX: Valerian I (4: 254-5), Gallienus S (5: 256-8)
IOVI CONSERVT: Gallienus S (2: 267)
IOVI CONSERVAT: Gallienus S (5: 267)
IOVI CONSERVATORI: Gallienus J (12: 255-6), Gallienus S (1: 266)
IOVI PROPVG: Gallienus S (1: 266)
IOVI STATORI: Gallienus S (15: 8=263, 7=264)
IOVI VLTORI: Gallienus S (2: 260-8)
IVBENTVS AVG: Gallienus S (1: 266-8)
IVNO MARTIALIS: Trebonianus Gallus (1)
IVNO REGINA: Salonina J (7: 3=257-8, 4=258-9), Salonina S (8: 264), Claudius II (4)
IVVENTVS AVG: Claudius II (2)
LAETITIA AVG: Gallienus S (1: 266-8)
LAETITIA AVGG: Gallienus J (2: 256-7)
LIBERALITAS AVGG: Gallienus J (3: 256-7)
LVNA LVCIF: Gallienus S (3: 267)
MARS VICTOR: Gallienus S (1: 265)
MARTEM PROPVGNATOREM: Volusian (1)
MARTI PACIFERO: Gallus (4)
MINERVA AVG: Gallienus S(3:2=265, 1=266-8)
NEPTVN AVG: Claudius (2)
ORIENS AVG: Gallienus J (16: 259)
PACATORI ORBIS: Valerian I (3: 254-5), Gallienus J (1:256)
PAX AVGG: Valerian (1: 256-7), Gallienus J (2: 1=253, 1_257-8)
PAX AVGVS: Trebonianus Gallus (1)
PAX FVNDATA: Gallienus S (1: 265)
PIETAS AVGG: Trebonianus Gallus (1), Volusian (1), Valerian I (21: 5=253, 16=255-6), Gallienus J (11: 255-6)
P M TR P II COS P P: Valerian I (2: 254)
P M TR P V COS IIII PP: Valerian I (9: 257)
P M TR P XII COS V P P: Gallienus S (12: 264)
PRINCIPI IVBENTVTIS: Hostilian (1), Valerian II (1)
PRINC IVVENTVTIS: Valerian II (5)
REGI ARTIS: Claudius (1)
RESTITVT GENER HVMANI: Valerian I (3: 254-5)
RESTITVT ORBIS: Aurelian (1)
RESTITVT ORIENTS: Valerian I (37: 4=253, 33=255-6), Macrianus (1)
ROMAE AETERNAE: Philip II (1), Gallus (1), Gallienus J (4: 2=258-9, 2=259), Gallienus S (14: 6=263, 8=264, Salonina J (10:255-6), Macrianus (1)
ROMAE AETERNAE AVG: Volusian (1)
SAECVLVM NOVVM: Trebonianus Gallus (2)
SALVS AVG: Gallienus S (3: 2=267, 1=267-8), Salonina S (1:268), Claudius II (8)
SOL INVICTO: Quietus (1)
SOLI INVICTO: Gallienus S (7: 3=266, 3=267, 1=264-8)
SPES PVBLICA: Valerian II (1), Saloninus (12)
VBERITAS AVG: Trebonianus Gallus (2)
VENER VICTRICI: Gallienus (1: 264-8)
VENER VICTRIX: Gallienus S (1: 268)
VESTA AETERNA: Salonina S (2: 258)
VICTORIA AVG: Trebonianus Gallus (2), Gallienus J (12: 255-6), Gallienus S (24: 12=263, 12=264)
VICTORIA AVGG: Valerian I (4: 255), Gallienus J (3: 1=253, 2=253-4)
VICTORIA GERMAN: Gallienus J (16: 256-7), Claudius II (1)
VICTORIA PART: Valerian II (2)
VICTORIAE AVGG: Valerian I (4: 254), Gallienus J (5: 254-5)
VIRTVS AVG: Valerian I (2: 1=254, 1=254-5), Gallienus J (5: 259), Gallienus S (41: 11=263, 13=264, 4=265, 3=266, 3=267, 4=266-8, 3=260-8), Claudius II (6)
VIRTVS AVGG: Valerian I (7: 4=253-4, 3=255-6), Gallienus J (17:3=253-4, 14=255-6)
VIRTVS AVGVSTI: Gallienus S (20: 14-263, 6=264) 
VOTA ORBIS: Valerian I (2:253), Gallienus J (1:253-4)

Selections from the AHG

Forum Ancient Coins Selection of coins for sale from The Antioch Hoard of Gallienus.

1992 Alex G. Malloy Sale

PDF Version of the Catalog - Right Click and Save to Download (19.6 MB)

Elagabalus - Philip II - Hostilian - Trebonianus Gallus

Volusian - Valerian I

Gallienus joint reign

Salonina joint reign

Valerian II

Saloninus

Gallienus sole reign

Salonina sole reign - Macrianus - Quietus - Claudius Gothicus

Aurelian