The Age of Gallienus
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Class A Folles
Armenian Numismatics Page
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Denarii of Otho
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Maps of the Ancient World
Museum Collections Available Online
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Excellence Award
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Blum, G. "Numismatique D’Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Curtis, J.W. The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt. (Chicago, 1957).
Dattari, G. Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Cairo, 1901).
Dattari, G. Various articles in Riv. Ital. di Num., 1900, and following years.
Emmett, K. Alexandrian Coins. (Lodi, WI, 2001).
Geissen, A. Katalog alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen, Köln. (Cologne, 1974-1983).
Kampmann, U. & T. Ganschow. Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria. (Regenstauf, 2008).
Macdonald, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection, vol. III. (Glascow, 1899). pp. 402-566.
Milne, J. G. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933).
Pool, R. S. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Alexandria. (London, 1892).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Savio, A. ed. Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Trieste, 2007).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values. (London, 1978 - ).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (New Jersey, 1994).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 4: Alexandria I, Augustus - Trajan. (Zurich, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus (Egypt), Part 2: Octavianus Augustus - Lucius Verus. (Milan, 1991).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus (Egypt), Part 3. Commodus - Galerius Caesar. (Milan, 1992).
‘Augustus inter alia dominationis arcana ... seposuit Aegyptum,'
says Tacitus (Annal. ii. 59). And down to the days of Diocletian the status
of the province remained exceptional. It was in a peculiar sense the property
of the emperor, and was controlled by a praefectus responsible to him alone.
Its unique position is reflected in the fact that it had a special currency of
its own. Roman gold is found in Egypt; but prior to circa A.D. 260 neither Roman
denarii nor Roman bronze coins appear to have been imported (N. C., 1908, p. 300).
The long series of Egyptian imperial money extends down to the brief reign of
the pretender Domitius Domitianus, A.D. 296-7, and includes coins struck in the
name of the Palmyrene Queen Zenobia and of Vabalathus. It begins with Augustus,
whose earliest pieces betray a desire to be regarded, not as a foreign ruler,
but as the direct heir of the Ptolemies. Except for the name and portrait, they
exactly resemble the Æ with Π and Μ described above as having been
minted by Cleopatra VII. The use of value-marks was soon abandoned. Simultaneously
novel types were introduced. It is, however, extremely improbable that any great
significance attaches to these changes. It was left to Tiberius to carry through
a radical reform.
In A.D. 19 the last-named emperor revived the Ptolemaic tetradrachm, the issue
of which had been in abeyance since Cleopatra’s death. It was now struck not in
debased AR, but in the mixture of AR and Æ known as billon. Regimental pay-sheets
of the first century A.D. show that it was tariffed as roughly equivalent to
the Roman denarius, but that for purposes of exchange a distinct advantage rested
with the denarius, which was held to be worth 28 or 29 obols as against the normal
24 (Mommsen, Archiv für Papyrusforschung, i, pp. 273 ff., and A. von
Prernerstein, Beiträge zür alten Geschichte (Klio), iii,
pp. 8 ff.). The general effect of the reform was to facilitate commercial intercourse
between Egypt and the rest of the Empire. At first the billon tetradrachm weighed
over 200 grains and contained a fair proportion of AR. Deterioration rapidly set
in. One of the most notable debasements took place in the reign of Commodus, when
the percentage of AR was reduced to 10. The next great shrinkage began under Trebonianus
Gallus, and continued till the time of Diocletian under whom the tetradrachm weighed
little more than one-half of what it had originally done, while the proportion
of AR sank as low as 2 per cent. An indirect effect of this process should be
noted. The earlier emperors had all struck coins in Æ, pieces of very large
module being introduced by Nero and minted in enormous quantities by Trajan, Hadrian,
and Pius. Under Commodus the flow was suddenly checked, while under the later
emperors Æ is hardly known at all. There was no longer any room for it even
as a token-coinage. On the other hand, it is almost certainly to this period that
the numerous small leaden pieces that have come to light on various Egyptian sites
are to be attributed. They are in general badly executed and poorly preserved.
But there can be no doubt that they represent local issues intended to meet the
everyday wants of the ordinary population. The emperor’s head is not placed on
the obverse. Otherwise the types are reminiscent of those of the imperial coins
proper. The few legends that do occur appear to have a local reference (Memphis,
Oxyrhynchus, Arsinoite Nome, Athribis, etc.). For the best account of these
difficult pieces see J. G. Milne, ‘Egypto-Roman Leaden Token Coinage’ (N. C.,
1908, pp. 287 ff.).
The tetradrachms and the imperial Æ always have the imperial portrait on
the obv. They were doubtless minted at Alexandreia, which was at once the seat
of the government and the busiest commercial center in the whole of the Roman
world. But the name of the city never appears except on certain alliance-coins
struck at Ephesus under Gordian III. Like the Æ of Cleopatra on which it
was modeled, the earliest Æ of Augustus was undated. Some time before the
close of his reign there was a resumption of the Ptolemaic fashion of placing
upon the coins the regnal year of the monarch in whose name they were issued.
This practice continued to be observed till the very close of the series, and,
since the Alexandrian year commenced on August 29, the dates and corresponding
inscriptions are often useful in elucidating obscure points of Roman imperial
chronology. As a rule, the year is indicated by a numeral letter or letters preceded
by the symbol L (see supra, p. 847). Occasionally, however, the symbol L is replaced
by ΕΤΟVΣ (Hunter Cat., iii, pp. 424 ff., 459, 474, 543
ff., 547 ff., and 551). Sometimes, too, the actual numeral is written as a word.
This happens much more frequently in the case of ΕΝΑΤΟV
than in the case of any other numbers. There appears to have been a superstitious
reluctance to employ the letter Θ in such a connection (Riv. Ital., 1901, p.
380). At the same time it is noteworthy that under Hadrian and Pius L ΕΝΑΤΟV
ushers in a series that runs as far as L ΤΡΙΣΚ(αιδεκατου).
Very rarely we find, instead of LΙ, the words ΠΕΡΙΟΔ
· ΔΕΚΑΕΤ (Commodus), ΠΕΡΙΟΔΟC
ΔΕΚΑΤΗ (Severus Alexander), or ΔΕΚΑΕΤΗΡΙC
ΚVΡΙΟV (Gallienus)—obvious allusions to the
vota decenalia, a festival which was also commemorated by the placing of a palm
in the field of the rev. in the years that followed its celebration (Hunter
Cat., iii, p. 499 and p. 531).
Besides these variations, more or less marked modifications in the form of the
obv. inscription or in the treatment of the imperial head, as well as changes in the
general character of the types of the rev., often occur at irregular intervals
in the course of a single reign; for details see Hunter Cat. iii, where they are
made the basis of classification. A good example is furnished by the billon coinage
of Nero. It falls into three quite distinct groups, corresponding to three successive
periods of time, and differentiated partly by the characteristics of the obv.
and partly by the use of three well-marked varieties of rev. type, to each of
which a special set of family portraits is attached. The first group is distinguished
by the frequent choice of personified qualities such as are common on Roman coins. The
second exhibits a preference for subjects drawn from Egyptian mythology and religion.
The chief feature of the third is the number of heads of Greek gods and goddesses.
Modifications of the nature described usually take place in the middle of a year.
As the year used for dating is the Alexandrian year, the inference is that they coincide with the beginning
of the Roman year, that is, with the date at which a new official would
naturally enter on his duties. Apparently, then, the moneyers at Alexandreia had considerable latitude in the selection of designs. Until about
A.D. 200 the types are most interesting. Thereafter there is much less variety,
and in the end the reverses are almost monopolized by figures of Victory and by
eagles. The eagle is, of course, no longer a Ptolemaic emblem. It is a compliment
to the garrison, being often shown standing between vexilla, while on coins of
Carinus and Numerian it is accompanied by the legend ΛΕΓ Β
The more important of the types are discussed in detail by Poole in his Introduction
to B. M. Cat., Alexandria, &c. (q. v.). Here space forbids
anything beyond a simple enumeration:—
(α) Greek Types. Bust or full length figure of Kronos holding sickle. Bust of Zeus (ΔΙΟΣ ΟΛΥΜΠΙΟΥ, ΖΕΥΣ ΝΕΜΕΙΟΣ) or full-length figure enthroned (ΖΕΥΣ ΚΑΠΙΤΩΛΙΟΣ), or recumbent on eagle. Bust of Zeus Ammon, or full-length figure in biga drawn by rams. Bust of Hera (ΗΡΑ ΑΡΓΕΙΑ), or standing figure. Bust of Poseidon (ΠΟΣΕΙΔΩΝ ΙΣΘΜΙΟΣ), or figure in biga of hippocamps or standing holding dolphin. Bust of Apollo (ΑΚΤΙΟΣ or ΠΥΘΙΟΣ ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ), or figure standing or seated; Apollo Didymeus, with stag and bow, sometimes between Nemeses; Apollo and Artemis; etc. Artemis Huntress. Bust of Athena, or figure enthroned, or standing (ΑΘΗΝΑ ΣΕΒΑΣΤ), holding Nike, owl or ears of corn, sometimes before altar; Athena Stathmia; Athena Archegetis of Sais; Athena and Demeter; Athena and Ares. Bust of Ares, or figure standing. Bust of Demeter, or figure standing alone (ΔΕΜΗΤΗΡ), or between the Dioskuri, or with Euthenia or Harpocrates. Persephone carried off by Hades. Bust of Helios, alone or with Selene, or figure standing or on horseback; see also Sarapis infra. Bust of Selene, alone or with Helios, or figure in biga. Kybele enthroned. Bust of Dionysos, or figure in panther-car. Triptolemos in serpent-car. Bust of Asklepios, or figure standing alone or with Hygieia. Bust of Hygieia, or figure standing alone or with Asklepios. Bust of Hermes, or figure seated or standing. Pan. Busts of the Dioskuri, or figures on horseback or standing. ΗΩΣ holding prancing horse. Nike, frequently and variously represented; rarely with inscription, ΝΕΙΚΗ CΕΒΑCΤ, ΝΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΩΝ (Domitian), ΚΑΙΣΑΡΙ ΝΙΚΗ (Trajan), ΝΕΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΑ ΒΡΕΤΑΝ (Severus and family). Tyche standing (ΤVΧΗ CΕΒΑCΤ), or seated, or recumbent on couch. Exploits of Herakles (Æ of Pius)—Nemean lion; Hydra; Keryneian stag; Erymanthian boar; Augean stables; Stymphalian birds; Cretan bull; Mares of Diomedes; Oxen of Geryon; Gardens of the Hesperides; Kerberos; Antaeos; Herakles entertained by the Centaur Pholos; Destroying vines of Syleus; Slaying the Amazon Hippolyte, the monster Echidna, etc. Perseus and Andromeda. Orpheus charming the wild beasts. Judgment of Paris. ΟΚΕΑΝΟΣ as river-god.
(β) Egyptian and Graeco-Egyptian Types. Bust of ΖΕΥΣ ΣΑΡΑΠΙΣ wearing modius. ΖΕΥΣ ΣΑΡΑΠΙΣ or ΗΛΙΟΣ ΣΑΡΑΠΙΣ standing or enthroned. Pantheistic bust of Sarapis, Zeus Ammon, Poseidon, etc. Sarapis standing or seated, alone or with Demeter, Agathodaemon, Homonoia, etc., or between the Dioskuri. Bust of Isis, alone or with Sarapis, or figure standing or seated, sometimes in temple or suckling infant Horus; Isis Pharia holding inflated sail before Pharos lighthouse; Isis Sothis on dog. Hathor-Isis (?) (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXVI. 15). Bust of Harpokrates, or figure as infant or youth, standing or seated on flower, finger at mouth. Bust of Hermanubis with palm-branch and caduceus, or figure standing with jackal at feet. Bull Apis. Bust of ΝΙΛΟΣ, or figure with cornucopia and reed, recumbent or seated, accompanied by crocodile or hippopotamus, with Nilometer, or riding on hippopotamus or in biga of hippopotami; sometimes associated with Alexandreia, often with Euthenia (Abundantia),
(γamma) Astronomical Types. Summer (Dattari, Nos. 2986-9). Autumn (Dattari, No. 2985). Phoenix, inscription ΑΙWΝ, referring to commencement of Sothic cycle (Year 2 of Pius = A.D. 139). Zodiac in circle round busts of Helios and Selene. Two zodiacs in double circle round busts of Sarapis and Isis. Zodiac in circle, with inner ring containing Sun, Moon, and major planets, round bust of Sarapis. Head of Helios over lion, indicating the Sun in Leo; and similar representations of the Moon in Cancer, Mercury in Gemini and in Virgo, Venus in Taurus and in Libra, Mars in Aries and in Scorpio Jupiter in Aries in Sagittarius and in Pisces, Saturn in Capricorn and in Aquarius. The zodiacal types all belong to the year 8 of Pius (cf. Riv. Ital., 1901, pp. 157 ff.).
(δ) Graeco-Roman Types. Bust of Roma, or ΡΩΜΑ seated or standing. ΔΗΜΟΣ ΡΩΜΑΙΩΝ standing. Trophy between captives, sometimes with ΑΡΜΕΝΙΑ (Verus). Wolf and twins. Right hands clasped, sometimes with ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑ (Verus). ΤΙΒΕΡΙΣ (see supra under ΝΙΛΟΣ).
(ε) Personifications of abstract conceptions. These are mostly copies of familiar Roman types—ΑΦΙΕΡCΙC (Consecratio), ΔΙΚΑΟΣΥΝΗ, ΔΥΝΑΜΙΣ (Venus Victrix), ΕΙΡΗΝΗ, ΕΙΡΗΝΗ ΚΑΙ ЄVΘΗΝΑ, ЄΙΡΗΝΗ ΚΑΙ ΟΜΟΝΟΙΑ, ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ, ΕΛΠΙC, ЄΥΘΗΝΙΑ (Abundantia), usually associated with Nilus, Eutycheia (Felicitas), ΚΡΑΤΗΣΙΣ (Virtus), ΜΟΝΕΤΑ, ΟΜΑΝΟΙΑ, Eusebeia (Pietas), ΠΡΟΝΟΙΑ, ΣΗΜΑΣΙΑ (Female figure on galloping horse, brandishing sword), &c.
(ζ) Personal Types. Emperor seated, standing, on horseback; in biga of centaurs, of elephants, of Tritons; in quadriga of horses, of elephants; beside prisoners, once with ΒΡΕΤΑΝΝΙ (Commodus of A.D. 185-6); with Alexandreia, Ares, Demeter, Nike, Pronoia, Roma, Sarapis, &c. Hadrian welcomed by Alexandreia. Bust of Antinous (ΑΝΤΙΝΟΟΥ ΗΡΩΣ) or Antinous on horseback as Hermes. Commodus as ΡWΜΑΙWΝ ΗΡΑΚΛΕΑ. And many others.
There still remain to be mentioned the curious series of Æ pieces which bear on the rev. the names of the various νομοι or administrative districts into which ancient Egypt was divided. These Coins of the Nomes were not issued locally. They were struck at Alexandreia, a circumstance which robs them of the interest they would otherwise have possessed as calculated to throw light on local cults. It is significant that the issues usually coincide with specially abundant Alexandrian issues. We may infer that their purpose was primarily commemorative. The emperors whose heads and names they bear are as follows:— Domitian (Year 11), Trajan (chiefly Years 12-16), Hadrian (chiefly Year 11), Pius (Year 8), and Marcus as Caesar (Year 8 of Pius). Generally speaking each set comprises coins of one denomination only. The issue of Hadrian’s Year 11 is exceptional. It has usually two denominations, one of which is less than half the weight of the other, while both are much smaller than was customary; the rev. type of the lower is normally, but not invariably, an animal or other object which appears on the rev. type of the higher as an adjunct of the standing figure of a divinity, being, as a rule, held in the hand. The great majority of the subjects are taken from the Egyptian pantheon. For detailed descriptions see B. M. C. and Dattari’s Numi Augg. Alexandrini. There were between sixty and seventy nomes in all, and the names of about three-fourths of these occur on existing specimens, often considerably abbreviated:—
ΑΘΡΙΒΙΤΗC, ΑΛΕΞανδρεων Χωρα, ΑΜΜΟΝΙΑΚΗΤΗC (?), ΑΝΤΑΙΟΠΟΛΙΤΗC, ΑΠΟΛΛWΝΟΠΟΛΙΤΗC, ΑΡΑΒΙΑ, ΑΡCΙΝΟЄΙΤΗC, ΑΦΡΟΔЄΙΤΟΠΟΛΙΤΗC, ΒΟVΒΑCτιτης, ΒΟVCΙΡΙΤης, ΓVΝΑΙΚοπολιτης, ΔΙΟΠΟΛΙτης ΜЄγας, ΔΙΟΠολιτης Κατω τοπον, ЄΡΜΟΠΟΛΙΤΗC, ΕΡΜWΝΘιτης, ΗΛΙΟΠΟΛЄΙΤης, ΗΡΑΚΛЄWΠΟΛΙΤΗC ΝΟΜΟC, ΘΙΝΙτης, ΚΑΒΑCΙτης, ΛΑΤΟΠΟΛιτης, ΛЄΟΝΤΟΠΟΛΙΤΗC, ΛΗΤΟΠολιτης, ΛΙΒVΗ, ΛVΚΟπολιτης, ΜΑΡΕWΤΗC, ΝΟΜΟC ΜΕΜΦЄΙΤΗC, ΜЄΝΔΗCΙΟC ΝΟΜΟC, ΜЄΝЄΛΑЄΙΤΗC, ΜЄΤΗΛΙτης, ΝΑVΚΡΑΤΙC, ΝЄCVΤης, ΝΟΜΟC ΞΟΙΤΗC, ΟΑCЄΙτης, ΟΜΒΙΤΗC, ΟΝΟVΦιτης, ΝΟΜΟC ΟΞVΡVΝΧΙΤΗC, ΠΑΝΟΠολιτης, ΠΛΟVCΙΟV (?), ΠΡΟCWΠΙΤΗC, CΑЄΙΤΗC ΝΟΜΟC, ΝΟΜΟC CЄΒЄΝΝΥΤΗC, CЄΒЄννυτης Κατο τοπον, CΕΘΡWΕΙΤΗC ΝΟΜΟC, ΤΑΝΙΤΗC, ΤЄΝΤVΡιτης, VΨΗΛΙτης, ΦΑΡΒΑΙτιτης, ΦΘΕΜΘονθις (?), ΦΘΕΝΕΟVτης.