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Babba




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Babba (Mauritaniae) colonia - The city of Babba in Mauritania Tingitana (now Fez and Morocco, North Africa), situate on the river Lixus (El Haratel), was made a colony by Julius Caesar, as its name Julia imports. It was also called Campestris. The decuriones of Babba caused coins to be minted in middle and small brass, under Claudius, Nero, and Galba. Pellerin regards the short suite struck in this colony as commencing under Augustus; but Mionnet shews this to be a mistake. "It is, says Bimard (ad Jobert, ii p 230), to M. Vaillant, that the honour belongs of having first pointed out the method of reading the [desinative legend on the] coins of Babba." Viz. CC I B DD PVBL Colonia Campestris Julia Babba - Decreto Decurionum Publico: or, EX CONS D (Ex Consensu Decurionum). They types are as follows:

1. Bull swimming, represented on a coin of Nero.



By this device the colonists of Babba exhibit Jupiter, as under the figure of a Bull he carried away Europa, daughter of Agenor, King of the Phoenicians. Hence they indicated that the swimming Bull was an object of their idolatry, in like manner as the bull of Apis was worshipped by the Egyptians (the above wood cut is after a small brass in the British Museum). On another coin of Nero, the type of reverse is a bull butting with his horns. (Vaill. in Col. i 106).

2. Bearded head with a serpent before it, on a coin of Nero. [This is a representation of Aesculapins, as shewn by the serpent, the symbol of health. And his effigy, placed on this coin, shews that divine honours were paid him at Babba - Engraved in Vaill. Col. i 115].

3. Livia Augusti - COL I BA DD, Livia represented under the image of a goddess, seated, with head veiled, holding in her right hand a patera, and supporting her left hand on a hasta. Engraved in Pellerin, Melange, i pl xvi fig 2.

4. Oaken crown, with the abbreviated names of the colony within it.

5. Palm tree. [The Roman colonists of Babba struck this and the preceeding coin under Claudius, in congradulation of his victory over the revolted Mauritanians, a revolt against Roman cruelty and oppresion, as exemplified in their ing Ptolemy, son of Juba, having been put to death by order of the ececrable Caligula. The palm tree here denotes that the people of Jabba derived their origin from the Phoenicians, who took their name, it is dais, from the Greek word for a palm (phoinix), with which species of tree that country abounds. Vailant, Col. i]

6. Victory, marching with crown and palm branch, struck under Galba. [The death of Nero, welcomed by all, excited the feelings of various minds in favour of Galba, especially among the legions. It was, indeed, an event which revealed a great state secret, namely, that an emperor might be made elsewhere than at Rome, thus furnishing an important principle for a new state of affairs. In Africa, Clodius Macer; in Germany, Fonteius Capito; had made some attmpts to acquire the supreme power. At length both the Mauritanian provinces gave in their adhesion to the election of Galba. The colonists of Babba soon adopted the same course; and in testimony of their approval, they struck on coins dedicated to his honour, the figure of Victory, bearing the laurel crown, to commemorate the fall of Clodius Macer, slain in battle by the Procutator Garnsianus. Vaill. Col. i p 227]

The remaining types are, a figure seated on a rock, holding an anchor and cornucopiae, on a coin of Claudius. And a bridge of three arches, on coins struch by Nero.

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