The Pontianus and Agrippa Dies for Macrinus and Diadumenian at Nicopolis ad Istrum

Bearded Macrinus

(a provisional die study)

P. Fu. Pontianus signed most of the coins issued for Macrinus and Diadumenian at Marcianopolis, but at least three obverse dies were, it seems, made near the end of his tenure as governor of Moesia Inferior for the mint at Nicopolis.  So far, only one of these is known solely with reverse dies bearing his name.  Two continued in use with Agrippa-signed reverses, as did (more remarkably) a fine die initiated for Longinus.  We do not know whether (or for how long) Pontianus used both the Marcianopolis mint and the Nicopolis mint, but I see no hiatus; rather, some of the engravers' peculiarities that are noticeable at Marcianopolis are in evidence also at Nicopolis.  Nor do we know for how much of Macrinus's 14 months each of the three served as governor; the coins with victory processions provide at most a terminus post quem. It is true that Longinus's coinage seems the most normal and regular, that several of the most impressive issues are of Pontianus, and that Agrippa's medley of styles, including the most highly mannered, and use of pre-existing dies may (or may not) betoken stress and some breakdown of control.  There is no way of telling, and it seems best to let the pageant of these rather exceptional coins speak for itself.  Only dies used solely with Agrippa reverses show the full beard of the die chosen as a Header for this page.  To be of help, possibly, I shall provide more remarks on these dies than on those of Longinus.  I am convinced that it would be a shame to compromise what I can do with some confidence, however, by indulging in speculation and, in effect, fabricating ungrounded historical hypotheses of any kind or creating false tidiness. 

What was said already of inherited Manners (as in Italian maniere) of portraiture in the Introduction to the Longinus dies is at least equally true here.  I have tried to use simpler designations for the obverse and reverse dies, eliminating the use of 'small roman' numerals (and avoiding duplicate file names).  Again, out of consideration for servers and browsers abroad, I shall use only Times Roman and differentiate omega and eta by rendering them as Ô and Ê.  Letters and numbers that are cobalt blue and bold are links to the List of Reverses and, occasionally, to comparative illustrations.

The intention of both the Longinus and the Pontianus and Agrippa web pages is to base their die study on the obverse dies, which the limited illustrations of photogravure plates, as in Pick's AMNG I, 1, could not do.  The obverse dies, less rapidly worn in use for striking, also were privileged as bearing the imperial portraits; as obverses, usually in higher relief and more protected and ordinarily more carefully engraved, they are fewer. When one needs to consider reverse subjects as such, the List of Reverses allows clicking on the same cobalt blue links there to bring up images of the whole coins or larger ones of the obverses.

Four works are basic to my study:
• Pick, Behrendt, in Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, I, 1, Berlin, 1898.
• Varbanov, Ivan, Greek Imperial Coins (English edition), I.  Bourgas, 2005.
• Clay, Curtis L., "The Roman Coinage of Macrinus and Diadumenian", Numismatische Zeitschrift 93, Vienna, 1979, pp. 21–40, pls. 4–5.
• Stein, Arthur, Die Legaten von Moesien, Budapest, 1940.  Stein also worked on the first Prosopographia Imperii Romani, which he cites, note 8, in a paragraph that may be important here: "Now, we know of an Agrippa who, as Dio reports, was of humble origin, but after a troubled past was appointed by Macrinus first to lower Pannonia, then to Dacia. Since it is not probable that in the short span of one year he governed three provinces one after the other, there is much to be said for the assumption (in PIR) that he was concurrently in charge of Dacia and Moesia Inferior, as M. Claudius Fronto had been, c. 167-170 AD" (Legaten, p. 92). 

I have thought that, considered as a whole, the Agrippa coinage suggests no firm hand on the tiller—but I may be mistaken.

I find that, especially for the dies used only for Agrippa, I cannot at this point dare to place them in chronological order; all conceivable grounds for confusion prevail.  Obviously, the dies shared with Pontianus or Longinus could be in use first, but I cannot prove that they weren't also in use last.  The fully bearded head and bust shouldn't be earlier than their comparanda at Rome, but that might be the same as saying during Agrippa's tenure.  Neither the several City Gate reverses nor the Nymphaeum reverses nor the dies alluding to Victory can be securely anchored in a sequence—at least, not by me at this time.  Although new pairings and new dies keep cropping up (and are expected to multiply especially when we have SNG for the Bulgarian museums, which I do not expect to live to see, given my own age), I post this work with some confidence that the present material—and its being based on the obverse dies—will be of substantial use to younger students of Danubian Greek Imperials and, thanks to digital technology, available world wide.  I shall myself continue to work with them, adding essays when they seem worthwhile. 

Once again I wish to thank not only all the friends who have helped with images and with advice but, for this and other pages concerned with issues signed by the governors of Moesia Inferior, particularly Curtis Clay, to whom I always turn for questions of Imperial administration (but he is not responsible for what I may have missed). 

For all of his contributions to my study and for the many coins and images without which these studies could not have been done, I dedicate this page to my friend C. Rhodes, who also has been unstinting in discussing them.


I. Used only for coins signed by Pontianus

Obverse A (DSCN3245)       AV K OPPEL SEVÊ  |  MAKRINOS  Laureate bust in mail, seen from behind.  Used with Asklepios (Vienna, obv. ? 1681), Hermes with cock (Pick 1680), Hermes without cock, in ‘meager’ style.

Macrinus Obv A

29 (DSCN3241This die pair is Pick’s no. 1680, but the graceful Hermes with a cock at his feet, as perfect as any of the more artistic Pontianus die pairs at Marcianopolis, is different.  It is noteworthy that none of the portrait dies used by Pontainus here have letter forms and proportions that match their reverses with Pi PhiOV preceding, and phi made like •|• or o|o.
30 (DSCN3245), 30x The Hermes on this reverse not only is without a cock at his feet but completely lacks the seductive grace of 28-29 (28 being the same reverse die in combination with B)Hermes is not much slenderer, but the figure looks ‘meager’.
35y (Vienna)  The reverse die, a normal, presumably Pergamene, Asklepios, is used with our C as well as here with A, and in good condition it vies with the Hermes of 2829.  The obverse, however, cannot be the same as Pick’s no. 1681 (Gotha), since it does not divide SEVÊ, as obv. C does: S | EVÊ, the other bust in mail.

Why this exemplary portrait die is represented in such limited use is unknowable, whether it was damaged or whether the majority of its usage is unpublished or not yet discovered, or B and C were preferred for the coins signed Agrippa (since we are also ignorant as to whose preferences governed the choice of dies).

II. Used first for coins signed by Pontianus, then for coins signed by Agrippa

Obverse B (DSCN3261)        AV K OPPEL SE  |  VÊ MAKRINOS  Laureate head to r., with the kind of sharpened features noted also at Marcianopolis: see the examples at the end of the special article:
This is the obverse die of Pick’s 1682-1683 (the latter with a reverse signed by Agrippa), but its Asklepios, though like a Marcianopolis one signed by Pontianus, is not the same die as Pick 1681.  Used initially with all the reverses (including the Emperor himself pouring a libation) with the distinctive phi (like •|•) and the abbreviations for his forenames:  pi phou.   Its own letter forms are different, and matching letter forms are seen on the Moesia (as we think) personification and on the Apollo Sauroktonos (Pick 1679).  Subsequently this Head was used with numerous reverses signed by Agrippa, including the City Gate.  For Zeus with reverse signed Pontianus, 03, 03x, 03y; signed Agrippa, 02, 02x.

Macrinus Obv B

Signed by Pontianus; on almost all of these you already see the nub (a ding in the die surface) also visible on those with Agrippa’s name on the reverse:
03, 03x, 03y  The standard Hellenistic model of Zeus std. l., here with patera and scepter, without eagle.  It is interesting to compare the die made for Agrippa that takes its place.  The Pontianus die is less exactly engraved, but the figure turns and leans slightly and, because of the softer definition of form, too, seems likelier to stand up and pour his libation; because his throne is a little shorter, too, he raises his left arm further and seems to lean more heavily on the scepter.  The secondary specimens show the die overlain with thick patina and differently worn.
08  (Vienna).  Pick no. 1679.  Although the reverse is not well preserved, this still unique coin is certainly an Apollo Sauroktonos, more nearly resembling the Longinus issue for Macrinus MBd/R7xbis than the last Sauroktonoi of Septimius and Caracalla, and the obverse is an excellent B.  The Sauroktonos reverse and the Moesia,  49, have the same kind of lettering, more like that of this obverse die.
28  The same die as 29, in my opinion the most purely Late Classical Greek Imperial Hermes, elegant in its contours, yet without slackness (exact in its contrapposto); the profile head of Hermes resembles some young profiles at Marcianopolis (Ex. 01); the cock looks capable of crowing.
36, 36x  Young Asklepios, head to l., feeding his snake a ‘bun’.  This is the kind of Asklepios noted at no. 23 and at the end of the essay at  He recurs here for Diadumenian’s obv. N, in the same Type but a different die.
49, 49x  For this reverse Type, both at Marcianopolis and here at Nicopolis ad Istrum, Pick’s no. 1682, and for the combined forces of Behrendt Pick’s observations and ours, especially Curtis Clay’s (introducing the Hadrianic Hispania, conclusively in my opinion, see the thread   I post here both my specimens to confirm the complete legend and because they are differently preserved (the Marcianopolis pentassarion that heads the thread linked here is nearly perfect, and it also shows the close relationship of some Pontianus dies at the two mints).  I take what she supports her left elbow on, which resembles very ancient conventions for ‘mountains’, to be the Haimos and her bunch of flowers to allude to the lush vegetation fed by all its rivulets.
66  Macrinus himself, his stance resembling the Hermes of 28 and  29, standing with a scepter (not a spear) to l., in breastplate and boots but bareheaded, pouring a libation from a patera onto a garlanded burning altar; generically, it resembles the Longinus issue, Varbanov I (E), no. 3495, which has no PR | OS across field, besides bearing Longinus’s longer (STATI) name-legend, but this coin, so far as I know is heretofore unknown.
f50  The f  stands for ‘false’.  The obverse may have been aggressively tooled, from a B, but if so the entire left-hand legend must have been re-cut, if for no other reason than that SEVÊ is all to the left of noon.  The laurel leaves, in my opinion, are practically Dark Age in their kind of linearity.  One of Macrinus’s laurel ribbon-ends is false, and even the profile is made to look as much as possible like a Brillcreem advertisement from the 1930s or a matinee idol of the same era.  But the Dikaiosyne on the reverse is a fabrication, possibly devised to hide the traces of some other type, adding a Pontianus legend, most fully spelled out, entirely alien to this fantasy figure with her pump-handle right arm, unparalleled even in LRBC.  That is my opinion, based on more than five years’ study of these coins.  I would not even include this, except that not all opinions jibe with mine.

Signed by Agrippa:
02, 02x  Zeus, corresponding to Pontianus’s 03.  Every possible vertical axis in the composition is quite deliberately vertical.  Compensating for what might seem rigid, the foreshortening of the chest and torso is extremely skillful for this period.
27, 27x  Hermes standing to l., cock at his feet, obviously replacing 28, 29.  In this die, the slanting shoulders and looser pelvic structure suggest swaying more than contrapposto.  27x, despite the pitting in many places, shows the features of the profile face.
40, 40x  Hygieia standing to r., holding muscular-seeming snake in her r. and patera, to feed it, in her l. hand at shoulder height.  Not only well preserved, 40 must be based on a very decent statuary type of Hygieia.
68, 68x  (Pick 1713).  Based faithfully on Gallus’s Procession with Captives Flanking a Trophy for Septimius (Pick no. 1327) and Caracalla (see in  Replies 6-9) as Pick already had noticed.  On some of the specimens in Coin Archives, the legends are more complete.   What Triumph?  We must admit that the hard facts for Macrinus come to no more than are succinctly stated by Curtis Clay in the first paragraph of his essential article, “The Roman Coinage of Macrinus and Diadumenian”, Numismatische Zeitschrift 93, 1979, pp. 21-40, pls. 4-5.  So far as the coinage itself permits these to be expanded, he summarizes on pp. 34-35 and in Table 2.  In my opinion, further attempts by others amount to creative number crunching.  Macrinus had no Triumph: see Clay's remarks in Table 2 for January and February of AD 218: it was not he who inflated his peace settlement with the Parthians.  The Nicopolis Processions (also cf. 67, 67x and the Nike types), since this is not Rome, where Triumphs were most strictly official, cannot be earlier than the Parthian settlement and are unlikely to date from the very end of his reign; their obverse dies, too, are not those that certainly are subsequent to those initiated by Pontianus.
71, 71x = and Varbanov 3345.  The best known city gate die, Pick's no. 1826.

Obverse C (DSCN3243)       AV K OPPEL S  |  EVÊ MAKRINOS  Laureate bust in mail, seen from behind (stylistically as if the engraver of the last had tried to make a replacement for the first).  For Pontianus, used with a pi phou reverse with two lines across the field, a truly remarkable ¾ front view Asklepios, evidently the reverse of Pick’s no. 1681.  Afterwards used with several reverses signed by Agrippa, eventually as the Bust reverse with the Nymphaeum reverse (its Head reverse is a Longinus die), 69–70.

Signed by Pontianus
35, 35x  This is the same frontal, bearded stg. Asklepios die as used with A.  The portrait is sharper on 35x.

Signed by Agrippa
23  This Nike with raised wings is one of the reverse dies giving MARK as a praenomen (on others we have KLAV).  With wear,  the folds of her narrow peplos on the breasts. 
70, 70x  The Nymphaeum of Pick’s no. 1719, pl. III, 23.  The first, ex Garth Drewry, was CNG Triton VIII, 2005, no. 740: 70x is Ray Wilk’s:   See also Obverse E.
Pick did not know the die-pairs issued by Aurelius Gallus: Price and Trell, Coins and their Cities, the reverse their Fig. 50 = Lanz Auct. 121, no. 448; the Nymphaeum, therefore, was strictly Severan, like the Septizodium in Rome, Ex. 2
77, 77x, 77y  (Pick 1714).  On a garlanded altar, eagle with raised wings to l., looking r. (nothing in beak), flanked by military standards.  The best preserved obverse busts are on 77y and Varbanov (E) I, no. 3360.  Like the Procession coins and the Nikai, this should be a flattering allusion to a presumed victory.

III.  Used only by Agrippa, but possibly best understood in terms of its use as the Parade Armor obverse for the Quadriga coins, Pic,k 1712-1713, and the curious fourth-possible division of SEVÊ in otherwise identical legends, here with the eta to right of the laurel leaves.

Obverse D (DSCN4181)       AV K OPPEL SEV  |  Ê MAKRINOS  Laureate, bust in breastplate with gorgoneion (seldom plain) in relief and with aegis over left shoulder.  This die is to be distinguished from the extremely elegant one, H,  that is linked with the heavily bearded obverse dies, I and J, but also by the standing Nike,  24, with this one.

67, 67x  (Pick 1712).  This is the Procession in Quadriga, just like Pick 1713 except that it has a much fuller legend and behind the emperor there is no Nike in the chariot.  This portrait die seems to me related to the Pontianus dies as die H is, perhaps, to the ‘etiolated’ head, M, but only because those that seem to be the successors make Macrinus look delicate.  In hand, closely examined,  67x, scabrous as it is, best preserves the features of the head.
24x  (CNG on-line 56, Jan. 2003, now in Wildwinds).  This well preserved specimen shows that  24 did NOT have MARK in its reverse legend and was not the same die as 23It is most noteworthy, however, for being used with both D and H, and it is not in Pick, who does not list a Nike with ISTRÔ in one line in the exergue, either for Macrinus or for Diadumenian.
82  Snake climbing a naked stake.  Diadumenian’s is 81

IV. Die initiated by Longinus and used with at least one of his own signed reverses: see MHj in

Obverse E  (DSCN3968)       AV K OPPEL SEOV  |  ÊROS MAKRINOS  Laureate, head to r., evidently an antecedent for the best known, almost scrawny, Head obverse of Macrinus, M.  This is the only Macrinus die at Nicopolis that spells ‘Severus’ not only full-length but with the ou for Latin v.  For Agrippa this distinguished die, besides being that listed by Pick for no. 1719, the Nymphaeum, served also several less splendid reverse types, such as Hygieia and especially Homonoia.

37y (shared with Diadumenian, P).  Willowy Hygieia to l.; it is clear on Diadumenian’s 37x that she had no patera.
56  Homonoia, no altar, kalathos, with trapezoidal ‘sash’
57  Fine Homonoia and the obverse used for this die, E.  Note the nub, possibly from a pit made in the die, above her hand holding the patera, and note the emphasis on the thumb hooked over the ‘patera’ (plainly a phiale mesomphalos).  It is much more careful and graceful than 58, the Homonoia that Pick cited for this obverse die and the Nymphaeum.
58, 58x  Very similar to 56; it is possibly the same die.  This is the coin that Pick lists at no. 1704.
69  This is the die-pair actually listed by Pick as no. 1719, the Nymphaeum with the Seou | êros obverse and with a real break after AGRIPPA in the reverse legend.  For the obv. die, the best is

V. Two dies, poorly represented, but rather retrospective than anything else, though of good quality.

Obverse F  (DSCN3267)       AV K OPPEL SE  |  VÊ MAKRINOS  Laureate, head to r., with the heavier nose of the Pontianus busts.  Its reverse-die Homonoia is quite possibly that of Pick no.1705.

59, 59x  Homonoia, probably with her thumb hooked onto the phiale, as on 57, but not the same die.  This one probably corresponds to Pick no. 1705.

Obverse G  (DSCN3327)      AVT K OPPEL S  |  EVÊ MAKRINOS (completed from Pick-Mionnet, but see ex Gorny-M.). 
Laureate, head to r., with simplified drapery folds .  Used with Artemis Huntress for Pick 1689.  An extremely well preserved specimen, shows all the details that Pick could not be sure of.

14, 14x  Artemis Huntress with hound.  14x, the coin sold by Gorny & M., Auct. 133, no. 306, shows the same die pair in excellent condition (see link above)

Obverse Gbis    AV K OPPEL S  |  EVÊ MAKRINOS.  Laureate, bust in  armor with cloak, from behind, to r.  Although the legend is the same as for the last, the drapery folds and the shape of the bow on the laurel ties are obviously different.  This die is used with Homonoia but (more in keeping with its quality) with the river (?) with a prow, which, in Pick’s specimen (AMNG I, 1, 1698, Taf. XVIII, 3), was the same die as for 1697 (44).  The specimen illustrated and listed by Varbanov, Engl., no. 3366, citing “A101” = Antike Münzen, Auct. 106, no. 585, has this obv. die instead of the Head, M, of mine.

58y, 58z, 58w, all with the same Homonoia reverse die, 58, 58x (see above E) that should correspond to Pick no. 1704.  All three with Gbis are in private collections.

VI. The principal Agrippa die in Parade Armor, wondrously interlinked—to everything but the ‘parade’ (the Procession, with quadriga, which has the heartier version of this icon)  At no. 1702, from which I take the Specimen obverse, Pick notes the links to no. 1694, an Hygieia, and to no. 1716, a snake on tripod.

Obverse H  (DSCN4344)      AV K OPPEL SE  |  VÊ MAKRINOS.   Used with Hygiea, Hygieia & Asklepios, Snake on tripod, the quasi-‘Medici’ Aphrodite, and a nearly-frontal Nike.

16 The Aphrodite, quasi-Medici type, recently seen more commonly with Diadumenian than with Macrinus (Pick 1690).  The pose and the turn of the head match the statuary type, probably a 2nd c BC creation, but Agrippa’s die engraver has given the figure (with the unmistakably feminine ‘pudica’ gestures) a cloak and, on some of the best preserved for Diadumenian, boots.  Quite obviously, he didn’t know what he was representing but worked by rote, then added a couple of flourishes.  This specimen (the arc to r. of the proper l. shoulder) may be partially double struck.
24  Nike stg., facing l.  Like 24x (above, with D), with ISTRÔ in the exergue, it is not listed by Pick.
33, 33x  Hygieia to r. and Asklepios, head facing l., each with proper Pergamene attributes; not listed by Pick or illus. by Varbanov (E) I.
39, 39x, 39y  Hygieia to r., her snake at waist height, feeding her snake from a patera.  Pick no. 1694.  Among them these specimens show that the Hygieia was as refined as the obverse die.
60, 60x  A sturdy, nearly frontal, un-Hellenistic Homonoia with kalathos, garlanded altar, cornucopiae, and patera, hightly distinctive die; 60x (thanks for its use to its owner) shows details of the bust and the omega in the rev. exergue that are lacking in 60.
85  Tripod with snake.  This is the die-link mate to Pick no. 1717, 86, used with I (see next).

VII. The round-headed, bearded Head and Bust obverse dies.  The most noble Macrinus dies, one might say.  The Head, a little fresher and less formal than the Bust (admirable though that one is), is die-linked to the Snake-on-tripod die of the last.  The Bust has a reverse closely related to Diadumenian’s nimbate cult snake; this and other links tie it to an equally dignified Diadumenian with a similar range of reverse types.

Obverse I (DSCN3285)   AVT K M OPEL SEV  |  ÊR MAKRINOS.  Surely related to Rome heads such as posted in for comparison with this die.  Besides that resemblance, the engraving does resemble at least one of the Longinus busts, MBd.  One of Longinus’s best engravers could have met this challenge.
Note the exceptional use of rounded epsilons and sigmas in I (only for the obverse of J)


19  Athena stg. l., leaning on shield in her r. and inverted spear in her left.  Note the initial K for KLAV before AGRIPPA, as on Pick’s 1695-6.
41  Hygieia stg. r., feeding her snake at shoulder height.  Pick no. 1695.  The rev. legend ends in ISTRON rather than ISTRÔ.
42, 42x  (the latter better in some respects).  Herakles stg. nearly frontal, looking r., the Nemean Lion’s pelt over his l. forearm and a bow in his l. hand; he leans on his club in his r. hand.  Pick no. 1696.  All three of these have ISTRON and the K of KLAV.
80  Cult snake in four coils, without nimbus.  Better specimen needed, but this one does have the reverse legend ending in -TRON. 
86  Tripod with snake, Pick 1717; the rev. die is the same as Pick 1716, 85, to which it is related by its square sigma and legend ending in omega.

Obverse J  (DSCN3902)   AVT K M OPEL SEV  |  Ê MAKRINOS.  This  ambitious and imperial but in mail armor also has the rounded sigmas and epsilons and a comparably related technique, to Longinus MBd and MBg. The armor even shows the links of chain mail.  Later, when scale armor was most in vogue, the overlapping disks could be attached to the mail.  The reverse dies used with the bearded bust have the usual Agrippan squared sigmas and epsilons and the ethnic, when spelled out, ends in omega.

06  Demeter stg. l., with grain in her r. hand, leaning on tall torch (?) in her l.  Pick 1685.
07  Demeter stg. l., with grain in her r. hand, leaning of tall torch or scepter.   Pick 1685
Both of these are like no. 1685 (neither holds a patera like 1684
64, 64x  Tyche stg. l. with kalathos, rudder, and cornucopiae.  Pick no. 1710.
79  Cult snake, with beard and snout, radiate and nimbate, with fish tail.  Pick no. 1715.  For Diadumenian’s obverse P, see 78, 78x.

VIII.   Bony Bust and Bony Head: the two busts may be related to g, above; the head manifestly is in the tradition of the Longinus die, E, even with respect to the ruffled edge and points on the termination of the neck.

Obverse K  (DSCN3325)      AV K OPPEL SEV  |  Ê MAKREINOS.  Note the double pi and the ei diphthong, conspicuously differing from the foregoing.  This die may be related to the Longinus die, MBe.  For a superior specimen, especially of the cult snake, see  

65, 65x  Distinctive Tyche.
83  Maned and snouted four-coil cult snake (Varbanov I (E) no. 3367; not in Pick’s list)
76  The Macrinus Tropaion, Pick 1711, which shares its reverse with Diadumenian T/75, also (Varbanov I (E) no. 3402) has this obverse die.  Varbanov I, no. 3402.

Obverse L  (DSCN3315)       AV K OPPEL SE  |  VÊ MAKRINOS.  Laureate, bust from behind, in mantle (at least).  So far as I know, used only with the Helios-Sol reverse.

17  This die-pair is unique in my experience; the obverse looks like something in the Pontinian tradition; the reverse die is shared with Diadumenian, U/18.

Obverse M  (DSCN3762)      AV K OPPEL SE  |  VÊ MAKRINOS          Laureate, head to r.  Best known as the die of the Apollo Sauroktonos, AMNG I, 1, Taf. XV, 35 (and elsewhere), Pick 1687, but it was used as a principal obverse die, perhaps replacing the Pontianus die, B above, though, in my opinion, it is technically and stylistically indebted rather to the Longinus die, E

10, 10x, 10y, 10z  Apollo Sauroktonos, so labeled by Pick (and Taf. XV, 35) and earlier, though Postolakas at Athens: Achilles Postolakas, Catalogue of the Ancient Coins of Regions, Nations, Cities, and Kingdoms, Athens, National Numismatic Museum, 1872,  no. 847, is at pains to describe what he sees: “…to one side and the other of Apollo, naked, stg. r., bending his l. knee, having his head laureate and holding (men) with his right hand a twig (or branch: kladon) slanting downwards, placing (de) his raised left hand on the little tree, stripped of its branches, standing in front of him.”  He, too, doubted whether we may read the elements between Apollo’s torso and the tree trunk as a leaping lizard.  Here 10 is as good a specimen as I ever have seen.  Just as the “Medici” Aphrodite of Agrippa’s engraver (U/15, H/16) is comically misconstrued, so is his Apollo Sauroktonos.
13  Apollo, leaning on a tripod before a burning altar.  Diadumenian’s may be the better die (T/12)—see note below—and certainly is represented by a finer specimen.
31, 31x, 31y  Hermes with a cock at his feet.  Compared with the Hermes, 29, used with A and B, this one seems astonishingly stiff, but he is obviously the direct successor to A/30, though the latter has no cock at his feet.
44  River (?) god with prow at left.  A battered specimen, but it corresponds to AMNG I, 1, Taf. XVIII, 3 and to Diadumenian’s P/43.  These coins (ibid., Taf. XVIII, 1–4) with prows that look like those of transport ships have puzzled me, since they surely have to do with water but show no flowing source vessels, and the personification sits up.  Could they personify Nicopolis’ port, whether on the Ister himself or on the town’s tributary stream?
50  This is a true Nemesis with Dikaiosyne’s scales, corresponding to Longinus’s R23.  For Agrippa, however, it is the only one that I can show.
61, 61x  A superior Homonoia, with a good fire on her altar, a nicely garlanded one; her figure has short proportions but the thumb hooked into the phiale mesomphalos begs comparisons.  Although reverses in other styles are seen with this obverse, this Homonoia has sturdy letter forms that seem to match it (and note the small subscript o added to PROS).  Compare the Demeter for Diadumenian P/04x.
72.  This unlisted City Gate reverse is a sad one for Nicopolis, with crooked and inflated towers.  The question is whether it was a poor alternate or a later replacement for 71 (used in all the books) which has Obverse B.  (It is 71, too, that was used for Diadumenian as listed by Pick at no. 1826; see below under V/71y, Ray Wilk's specimen).



Pontianus issued no signed coins for Diadumenian, but one obverse is unique in two respects: its reverse is a perfectly Pontianan one, the idiosyncratic Asplepios with head turned to l. and it also is the only one with both of his names spelled out in full.

Obverse N (DSCN3375).      K M OPPEL ANTÔNINOS DIADOVMENIANOS (as on Vienna specimen, no.1 under Pick 1805, the listing with Asklepios facing l.).  Head to r.

34  Youthful Asklepios with pronounced déhanchement.  Cf. Varbanov I (E) no. 3670, although he lists his as “Fa”, and “F” does not spell out both Antoninos and Diadoumenianos.

The remaining dies for Diadumenian are not obviously related to earlier ones.

Obverse O  (DSCN3670).     --]OPPEL ANTÔNI DIADDOVM[---    .  Head to r., the specimen coin being the obverse of Pick 1815—the obverse with -OS uninterrupted and to the r. of 6h.  This die is very hard to distinguish from that of Pick 1813 and 1826, V, where we have Diadoumenian | os, with OS upside down and below the hollow (for the shoulder) of the neck termination, as recorded on Pick's 1813, 1825, and 1826.   Pick 1813 and 1815 are both identically described Homonoias.  The alignment of letters to parts of the head seems perfectly alike; die wear is one cause for uncertainty, together with imperfect centering, because, given wear, only the OS (still clockwise) under the scallop where a shoulder would be, or its absence, proves which is which (if, in fact, they are two).

54  With -TRÔ in the exergue, and NIKO  |  to the left of Homonoia’s kalathos, this coin is Pick’s reverse 1815, and if the Sofia specimen that Pick cites were published we might be able to ascertain that both dies belong to that number.
46  (Pick’s no. 1806, the most unusual topographic youth that I know of.  In this case, the pattern of the hair shows that it is the same obverse die as O/54.
47  (probably Pick’s 1809 with reverse of same type as Pick 1810).  With waves below the figure (note that W/48, Pick’s 1810 on Taf. XVIII, has none), if they are meant for water, this figure is not impossibly a river).  Note that 47, unlike 48, has a fully formed rho in the exergue.  The drawing of the eye and hair again seem to match the specimen for O, although this coin is worn.

The ‘classic’, standard head for Diadumenian on coins signed by Agrippa.  The specimen is again from a conventional Homonoia, but the range of reverse types and their links with Macrinus show the ‘status’ of this die.

Obverse P  (DSCN3381)       K M OPPEL ANTÔNI DIADOVMENIANO | S.  Besides the standard personifications (one the Homonoia paired with it on Pick 1817), used with a Young River (prow at left), a Demeter (or Hestia), an Hygieia to l., a Nike walking (barely) to r., a nimbate cult snake (his own die), one of Diadumenian’s snake on tripod.  In this and the next, the very round eye recall DBf among the Longinus dies. 

04, 04w, 04x, 04y  One of the reverse dies showing a thumb wrapped around the rim of a phiale mesomphalos and a “fringed” (perhaps originally a blanket-stitched) edge on the himation, the burning tall torch whose staff looks like a newly trimmed banana plant (and may have been staged bundles of pine needles with pitch) shows that this is Demeter or possibly Kore.  Unless somewhere called ‘Hera’, this die is not in Pick’s list nor in Varbanov (unless at no. 3640, perhaps this die pair, in the English edition).  Photo of 04w, courtesy V. Chichkov.
37, 37x  Hygieia stg. l., as paired with Macrinus  E.
20, 20x  Nike walking to r. (Pick 1803) with raised wings, holding palm in her r.  and wreath in her l.
43  (known to Pick, no. 1809, which Varbanov I, E, identifies as his no. 3644) , only from a cast (in the market) and Sestini.  Letter for letter, and trait for trait, this is Pick’s no. 1809 (Varbanov has no illustration).  Whether this represents a River or a Port, it certainly is not one of the ‘mountain’ kind.  The apparently corresponding coin for Macrinus is M/44.
51, 51x (photo courtesy V. Chichkov).  Without an altar but wearing a kalathos, with the exergue void but the reverse legend complete as far as ISTR, this must be Pick’s reverse no. 1815, which the obverse, with the tip of the neck separating O and S, matches his 1817.
52, 52x (photo courtesy V. Chichkov).  Pick’s obv. die of 1817 again, our P, but  here with the reverse that he had for no. 1817, with TRÔ in its exergue and Homonoia bareheaded. 
78, 78x  (probably the same reverse die as 79 for Macrinus), not listed for Diadumenian, since Pick 1823 has a different snake (with dots around its nimbus and asymmetrical coils and uses the obverse, listed here as T, of the Trophy coin.
84, 84x  Snake climbing a tripod, matching die-pairs.  This is the die for Diadumenian, with STRÔ in the exergue, that is not listed by Pick (or distinguished by Varbanov).  That with obverse V, a bust, also cannot be the one Pick saw for no. 1825, a head with a common legend, and the reverse has still more in the exergue: ROS ISTR.  Taken together, the observations on all the links show, I think, that it will want another generation’s industrious publication and compilation to enable any exhaustive die study.  See also, s.v. Glycon, no. 4.27, for two more with this obverse as well as two further with V.

Deviation from the formal but natural heads in the foregoing.

Obverse Q  (DSCN3349)  K M OPPEL ANTÔNI • DIADOVMENIANOS.  Draped bust to r., seen from behind.  The Hygieia reverse, such as it is, helps (with Pick) to complete the obv. legend.

11, 11x  This probably is Pick no. 1796, though he could not make out the attribute (here surely laurel) in his hand, but the hairdo is Apollo’s, as he noted.  The engravers, ever economical, used the same pose also not only for Hermes but for one of a pair of two males joining hands, variably identifiable, on the coins of several cities.
38  Hygieia stg. to l..

Obverse R  (DSCN3401).     K M OPPEL ANTÔNI • DIADOVMENIANO | S.  Head to r.  The Tyche reverse is one of those with KLAV included in Agrippa’s  name.

09  Apollo, Apollo Sauroktonos (the “Laurel-Switch Variant”, which first appears on the unsigned coin for Septimius, , no. 6b, then twice for Caracalla (once on a reverse signed by Ulpianus, within a decade of AD 218).  When I realized that the boy slaying the lizard (or switching it!) was associated with heirs to the throne, I expected a Diadumenian to appear, and thanks to my friend C. Rhodes, who saw it when I didn’t, here it is.  Now I know of another that will appear in Hristova & Jekov’s Nikopolis.
45  Topographical youth, of the kind not identifiable as a river (no jar, no water, no prow) nor yet as mighty Haimos itself.  Pick no. 1811.
62  Tyche stg. l.  One of the reverse dies with KLAV in the signature.  For this reason, though they are not really published, Pick’s two specimens of no. 1709, probably can be expected to be this die.

Obverse S  (DSCN3876).      K M OPPEL ANTÔNI DIADOVMENIAN | OS.  Head to r.  Its Zeus may be wooden, its Hermes somewhat slack, but this is also one of the dies used with the City Gate reverse.  With nude standing Zeus, R01.

01, 01x  An unusual standing Zeus, a little stolid, no Hellenistic panache.  My coin is worn, but Malcolm Megaw,, Nicopolis, s.v. Zeus, has an excellent one, ex Rauch MailBid 10, no. 224.
25 The same fine obverse benefited from the re-use of Agrippa’s Hermes stg. l., with cock at his feet, which replaced Pontianus’s 28
55, 55x  Homonoia stg. l., bareheaded, before an altar.  Malcolm Megaw’s specimen in, s.v. Homonia, guarantees the identity of my specimen as S/55
72  The City Gate with the shortest exergue legend, ROS IST: , now, Nicopolis, s.v. City Gate.  Another: Künker, Auct. 71, 2002, no. 1114 (same dies)

The obverse with the Noose-like Cloak.

Obverse T  (DSCN3353).      Draped bust to r.  ---]NTÔNIN • DIADOVMENIANOS (the point is faint, but present).  This die was used with Nike and Macrinus (whose own coin also used it) erecting a trophy, with a Seleucid sort of Apollo leaning on a large tripod, with a snake climbing a stake or tree-trunk.

12  Both Macrinus and Diadumenian have this subject, but use two dies.  Pick discusses its relationship to tetradrachms of Magnesia (Ionia) and adduces a statuary prototype; the composition occurs, of course, also on Seleucid coins.  Malcolm Megaw has the same rev. die but with a head of Diadumenian.
75, 75x  Nike and Macrinus, adorning a Trophy with bound captives back to back at its base.  Malcolm Megaw,, s.v. Two captives, has one like with this shorthand drapery and one with a head, rather like O and V.  The composition (see Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 344-5) originated with Septimius Severus, so originally pertained to another Parthian event, when the type was shared by Septimius and Caracalla…
81  Snake on staff, head to r.  Pick no. 1822.  Probably with same obverse as the last two.  Malcolm Megaw has a variant of the cult snake, asymmetrical and with dots around its nimbus,, s.v. Glykon, that certainly has the ‘noose’ cloak (Pick 1823).

V. The perfected mannered head.  For Diadumenian this is the obverse die for the Helios-Sol.

Obverse U  (DSCN3622)      K M OPPEL ANTÔNI DIADOVMENIANOS.  This remarkable die, most popularly used for the shared Aphrodite reverse die, combines the gravitas of the last, T, with the mannerisms of Q to S.  It also is used with a long-legged Dionysos.
Persons familiar with 16th-century Italian painting ineluctably think of Bronzino (pure coincidence, of course).

15, 15x, 15y  Aphrodite, quasi-“Medici” (die shared with Macrinus), see above, H.  That, though other dies in this manner may look as if the rho in ISTRÔ were an iota, on all the specimens of this die it quite unmistakably is an iota.  Aphrodite in this elongated sub-type—head turned sharply over her left shoulder— of a basic “pudica” type nowhere else wears a cloak, and one the length of a chlamys, let alone boots.  Understandably, she even has been taken for an Apollo, but males, however embarrassed, never hold their hands this way.  It is unlikely that the engraver new or even cared what he was executing, just as he (very probably the same) did not know what the elements between the boy’s torso and the tree trunk ought to be.
18 Helios / Sol, rampant, sheared with Macrinus (L, q.v.):
32  Dionysos stg. l., leaning on a beribboned thrysos, holding in his r. hand a bunch of grapes; his panther at his feet looks back up at him.  Varbanov I (E), no. 3652, shows the reverse in much better condition

Stylistically milder portraits.

Obverse V  (DSCN4040)      M OPPEL ANTÔNI DIADOVM[ENIAN | OS].  Head to r.   This is the obverse die so difficult to distinguish from O, above, q.v..  The eye in the portrait does seem more wide open, the hair (where not worn smooth) slightly more tousled, the face more characterful.  The decisive difference, however, where it is preserved (or properly recorded, as by Pick at no. 1813, of which I have no image), has the last two letters of Diadumenian’s name,  -OS, broken by the tip of the neck but continuing clockwise, so upside down, under the scallop where the shoulder is implied, at 6–7h.  Thus, Ray Wilk’s rare die-pair, V/71y, is extremely important , since it is the one listed by Pick, no. 1826, and recorded with an obverse the same as no. 1813.

84y  (Pick 1825)  It is this die-pair that is listed by Pick, so this snake tripod that is linked by its obverse die with Pick’s listing of Diadumenian’s City Gate.  Therefore, this die should be the type specimen for V. since this specimen preserves the tell-tale –OS.  The same tripod, with snake’s head to r., and –ROS ISTR in the exergue, is preserved in two specimens at, s. v. Glycon, though the obverses are more worn, are with V, rather than P.
71y ( ) Ray Wilk’s Diadumenian City Gate, which is Pick’s AMNG I, 1, no. 1826, the finest of the city gate dies for Macrinus and Diadumenian.

Obverse W  (DSCN3343)     M OPELLI DI  |  ADOVMENIAN | OS K.  Bust to r., with cloak over armor, seen from behind.  A singularly beautiful portrait die, when well preserved, possibly more conventionally handsome than Macrinus’s son in real life.  In poor condition, hard to identify but for the three letters between 5h and 6h at the end of the legend.  Note die link with the last.

05  Goddess, Hera or Demeter (but it looks like a scepter) or Hestia, stg. l., pouring a libation from a patera onto a flaming altar, looking rather like the Homonoia of 51, but without her cornucopiae.
21  Nike stg. to r. in profile, her raised wings at left, her palm visible behind her body, raising a wreath in her r. hand.  Pick no. 1800 (the legends are decisive, but no. 1801, also, is striding rather than standing.
22  An alternate die, in rather homespun style and with PR | OS across the field just below her knees.
26, 26x  Hermes (without a cock) standing l.
48  This Topographic Youth, seated upright without any signs for water, looks back over his l. shoulder to our right; this must be Pick 1811, both dies, as the obv. legend (with only DI- before 12h) and the spelling in the exergue of the reverse (S ISTIÔ—just as the Aphrodite, 15 and 16, has TIÔ.  This is one of those that Pick says must be a mountain deity: “see the notes on nos. 1701 and 1765”

Obverse X  (DSCN3738)      K M OPPEL ANTÔN DIADOVMENIANO | S.  Head to r.  Generically similar to W, but note the different spelling and the usual inclusion, here, of part of Antoninus.  Used with Homonoia (Pick 1817) and, here, with Tyche (Pick 1819, one of the reverse dies including KLAV in Agrippa’s name.

63  Possibly the same Tyche reverse as 62 used with R.  The rev. legend includes KLAV for Agrippa’s praenomen and terminates with R | ON across the field at the level of her ankles.  Pick records the same obverse for no. 1817 as for this one, no. 1819



Here clicking on the letter for the obverse will bring up a larger image of the specimen chosen for the relevant obverse, and clicking on the numeral for the reverse will bring up a good-sized image of the paired dies for a particular specimen.   It isn't pretty, but I'm sure it will be useful that I marked the Pick references red.


01  Diadumenian (with obv. S). Zeus stg. l., eagle at his feet. DSCN3397 (Pick no.1793).
VP AGRIPPA  |  NIKOPOLITÔN (Pick notes short ethnic and void exergue)
01x (a finer specimen), , ex. Rauch, MailBid 10, no. 224.

02  Macrinus (with obv.B).  Zeus std. l., holding patera. DSCN3265 (Pick no.1683)
VP AGRIPPA NI  | K | OPOLITÔN PR and in exergue OS ISTR.
02x Macrinus, as last.  DSCN3263, this one very worn.

03   Macrinus (with obv.B).  Zeus std. l., holding patera.  DSCN4139.
VP P PhOV PONTIANOV NIKOPOLIT and in field PR | OS and in exergue ISTRÔ.
03x  Macrinus, as last.  DSCN3357.
03y  Macrinus, as last.  DSCN3257.  With very thick natural patina.


04  Diadumenian (with obv. P).  Demeter stg. l., with tall torch.  DSCN3209.
VP AGRIPPA NI  |  KOPOLITÔN PR and in exergue OS IST[R?]
04w Diadumenian, as last.  Photo courtesy VCh.
04x Diadumenian, as last.  DSCN3363.
04y Diadumenian, as last.  DSCN3387.

05  Diadumenian (with obv. W).  Hera stg. l., with scepter, holding patera over burning altar.  DSCN3347.
V K (?) AGRIPPA N | I | KOPOLITÔ[N PR and in exergue, probably, OS] IS[TRON?]

06 Macrinus (with obverse J).  Demeter stg. l., with tall torch, holding grain ears. DSCN3305. (Pick no.1684)
VP AGRIPPA NIKOP  |  O  |  LITÔN PROS I and in exergue STRÔ.

07 Macrinus (with obverse J).  Demeter stg. l., with tall torch, holding grain ears. DSCN3313.  (Pick no. 1685)
VP AGRIPPA NIK  |  O  |  POLITÔN PROS I and in exergue STRÔ.


08 Macrinus (with obverse B).  Apollo Sauroktonos, stg. with his arm drawn back, to aim at a lizard on a tree-trunk. As preserved, neither the dart nor the lizard is quite certain. (Pick no. 1679, Vienna).
VP PONTIANO | V  |  NIKOPOLIT and in exergue ÔN and across field in two lines PR | OS / IS | TR.

09 Diadumenian (with obverse R).  Apollo Sauroktonos, in the variant with a laurel twig.  DSCN3401.
VP AGRIPPA NIKO  |  P  |[OLITÔN PRO] and in exergue S ISTR (uncertain).  A specimen in a private collection,

10 Macrinus (all with obverse M).  Apollo Sauroktonos, with peculiarities (see at M). DSCN 2543 (Pick 1687)
VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOL  |  ITÔN PROS IS and across lower field TR | Ô
10x Macrinus, as last.  DSCN3409
10y Macrinus, as last.  DSCN3407
10z Macrinus, as last, but stripped to the brass.  DSCN3411

11 Diadumenian (with obverse Q).  Apollo with laurel twig, seen from behind.  DSCN3349  (Pick 1796)
11x Diadumenian, as last, but nearly illegible.  DSCN3337.

12  Diadumenian (with obverse T).  Apollo stg. l., leaning on a large tripod.  DSCN3353.
[---]A  |  NIKOPOLITÔN PRO and in exergue [S] ISTR[Ô].  This reverse, different from Macrinus's, seems not to have included MARK.  The specimen , though with a different obverse die, seems to have this reverse die.

13 Macrinus (with obverse M).  Apollo stg. l., leaning on a large tripod.  DSCN3323  (Pick 1688, with essay on the statuary type)
[VP MARK] AGRI NI  |  KOPOLITÔN PROS I and in exergue STRÔ.  It was Macrinus's die that Pick knew.


14 Macrinus (with obverse G).  Artemis Huntress with hound. NadIMacAgripArtH.jpg. (Pick 1689)
14x Macrinus, as last, in better condition, Gorny & Mosch, Auct. 133, no. 306.


15 Diadumenian (with obverse U).  Aphrodite, Medici type, with peculiarities. DSCN 3622 (Pick 1799)
15x Diadumenian, as last.  DSCN3391
15y Diadumenian, as last.  DSCN 4177

16 Macrinus (with obverse H).  Aphrodite, as last, same die as last.  DSCN4095 (Pick 1690)


17 Macrinus (with obverse L).  Helios (acting like Sol), rampant to l.  DSCN3314 (Pick 1686)

18 Diadumenian (with obverse U). Helios, same reverse die as for Macrinus.


19 Macrinus (with obverse I)   Athena stg. l., with inverted spear in her left and shield supported by her r. hand.
[VP] K AGRIPPA NIKO | POLITÔN P[--- Since it is unlisted, the preservation of the K for KLAV is useful.


20 Diadumenian (with obverse P).  Nike walking r., palm on r. arm, wreath in raised l. hand. DSCN3383 (Pick 1803)
20x Diadumenian, as last.  DSCN3395

21 Diadumenian (with obverse W).  Nike in profile stg. r., wreath in raised r., palm in left.  DSCN 3343 (Pick 1800)

22 Diadumenian (with obverse W).  Nike as on last, but for legend.  DSCN 3345 (Pick 1801)
VP AGRIPPA NI  |  K  | OPOLITÔN and across lower field PR | OS and in exergue ISTR.

23 Macrinus (with obverse C).  Nike with spread wings, facing l., palm on her l. arm, wreath in her r. hand.  DSCN 2813 (Pick 1691)
VP MARK AGRIPP  |  A  NIKOPOLITÔN and in exergue PROS IS / TRÔ, one of two known to Pick with the praenomen MARK.

24 Macrinus (with obverse H).  Nike of same type as last, Pick 1691, with different legend.  DSCN3321.
VP [surely Agrippa NI]  | KOPOLITÔN PROS and in exergue ISTRÔ.
24x Macrinus (as last, but with D instead of the more elegant parade armor obverse).  This was CNG online list 56, Jan. 2003, now in Wildwinds,


25 Diadumenian (with obverse S).  Hermes stg. l., with purse and kerykeion, cock at feet.  DSCN3876.
[VP AG]RIPPA NIKOPOLITÔ[N PR----] The reverse die is the same as Macrinus B/27 from which the reverse legend may be completed.  Pick did not know this pairing, but an excellent one and another somewhat worn can be seen at

26 Diadumenian (with obverse W).  Standard Hermes, with purse and kerykeion.  DSCN3339 (Pick 1803)
V K AGRIPPA NIK  |  OPOLITÔN PROS I and in exergue STRON.  The initial K (not unique here) and the ending -STRON are noteworthy.
26x Diadumenian, as the last.  DSCN3714

27 Macrinus (with obverse B).  Hermes, as on 25, and same reverse die, better preserved.  DSCN3359 (Pick 1693)
27x Macrinus, as last; damaged but with the facial features well preserved.

28 Macrinus (with obverse B)  Hermes stg. l., with purse and kerykeion, cock at feet.  DSCN3259.  Same reverse die asA/29The reverse die is Pick 1680.
VP P Ph PONTIAN•  |  OV NEIKOPOLITÔN and across center field PR | OS and in exergue ISTRÔ.  The phi and rho are not only most distinctive on this reverse, but at this time at this mint the NEIK- speilling is noteworthy, too; see also on the reverse of R36.

29 Macrinus (with obverse A).  Hermes, same reverse die as the last. DSCN3241 (Pick 1680).  With SEVÊ to the left of noon on the obverse, and scale armor, this is the same die pair as Berlin cat. 81, 48, which Pick cites.

30 Macrinus (with obverse A). Standard Hermes, with purse and kerykeion, and entirely different in stylistic character from the last.  DSCN3245.
VP P Ph PONTIA  | [NOV N(?)I]K[OPOLI]TÔN and across field by lower legs PR | OS and in exergue ISTRÔ
30x Macrinus (as the last).  DSCN 3247.

31 Macrinus (all three with obverse M).  Hermes with purse and kerykeion, stg. l., cock at his feet, but rather like 30.DSCN 3279 (Pick 1692).
VP AGRIPPA NI  |  KOPOLITÔN PROS and in exergue IST (full legend among them)
Macrinus, as the last.
Macrinus, as the last two.


32 Diadumenian (with obverse U).  Dionysos stg.l., holding grapes over panther at his feet, leaning on beribboned thyrsos.  DSCN3393


33 Macrinus (with obverse H).  Hygieia stg. r. facing Asklepios.  DSCN4060.
[VP AGRIPPA N, traces]|  IKOP |  OLITÔN PRO and in exergue S ISTRÔ (using both specimens).
33x Macrinus (as the last).  DSCN3333.


34 Diadumenian (with obverse N).  Young Asklepios, stg. frontal, head facing l. DSCN3375 (Pick 1805)

35 Macrinus (with obverse C).  Asklepios, stg. frontal, face 3/4 to l.  DSCN3243 (Pick 1681)
VP P PhOV PONTIAN  |  OV NEIKOPOLITÔN and in field PR | OS above IST | RÔ.  For the spelling with NEIK, cf. 28/29.
35x Macrinus (with obverse C).  As the last.  DSCN3249 (Pick 1681)
35y Macrinus (with obverse A). Reverse as the last.  Scan from photo, Vienna.

36 Macrinus (with obverse B).  Young Asklepios, stg. frontal, head facing l. DSCN3261.  This is the type, related to some at Marcianopolis, but not the same die as Diadumenian's N/34, one reason for placing the latter early in Agrippa's tenure.
VP P PhOV PONTIA  |  NOV NEIKOPOLITÔN and across field PR | OS and in exergue ISTRÔ.  Notice the NEIK- spelling, which here is exceptional, matching 35 and 28/29.
36x Macrinus (as the last, but very worn).


37 Diadumenian (with obverse P)  Hygieia stg. l., holding snake diagonally to feed it at shoulder height.  DSCN3365 (Pick 1805)
VP AGRIPPA NIKO  |  POL[ITÔ]N PROS IST and in exergue RÔ (cf. Macrinus 37y)
37x Diadumenian (as the last)  DSCN3367.
37y Macrinus (with obverse E).  Same reverse die as the last two. DSCN3361 or 1735 (Pick 1704, where he noted that this obverse die links the Hygieia to the Nymphaeum, 69.
[VP AGRIP]PA NIKO |   POLITÔN PROS IST and in exergue RÔ (cf. Diadumenian 37)

38 Diadumenian (with obverse Q)  Hygieia stg. l., holding snake diagonally to feed it at waist height.  DSCN3389

39 Macrinus (all three with obverse H)  Hygieia stg. r., holding snake across her body to feed it at waist height.  DSCN3311 (Pick 1694)
39x Macrinus (as the last)  DSCN 3331.
39y Macrinus (as the last)  DSCN 4171

40 Macrinus (with obverse B)  Hygieia stg. r., holding snake diagonally to feed it at shoulder height.  DSCN3269 (though this Hygieia die and that of 39 have the same legend, the snake and the stronger and more intelligent style of this die distinguish it, and it is the other one that is associated with obverse H; see Pick's essay also at no. 1695, calling attention to the obverse that here is I and the Hygieia, with a very different legend, that goes with it).
40x Macrinus (as the last)  DSCN3299

41 Macrinus (with obverse I)  Hygieia stg. r., holding snake diagonally to feed it at shoulder height.  DSCN3271 (Pick 1695, with his note calling attention to the unique OPEL, and that extra rho, making SEV  |  ÊR, together with rounded sigmas and epsilons, not only on the obverses but also on most of the reverses of the bearded head die, where the ethnic ends in -STRON and initial K for KLAV appears, too).  A 'family' of dies.  I/86 is the exception among those presented here.


42 Macrinus (with obverse I, both specimens)  Herakles stg. to r., resting his club in his r. hand on the ground; on his l. forearm, the Nemean Lion's pelt and in his r. hand a bow. DSCN 3291 (Pick 1696, Taf. XVII, 17)
VP K AGRIPPA NI | KOPOL]ITÔN PROS and in exergue ISTRON. I/19 also has the K.
42y Macrinus (as the last).  DSCN3289.  This is the better specimen.

RIVER GOD (with source vessel or prow: river or port)

43 Diadumenian (with obverse P)  Young river god, vel sim., half draped, seated to l., holding a plant in his r. hand, his l. elbow leaning on something rounded; at the l. behind him is a prow. DSCN 3958 (Pick 1809, based on a cast and Sestini).
VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOLITÔN and in exergue PROS IST (verifying Pick's completion)

44 Macrinus (with obverse M)  Type as the last, but the specimen is too rough to permit close comparisons with that or with Pick, Taf. XVIII, 3, reverse of nos. 1697 and 1698).  DSCN3239
[VP (starting at prow) --- (traces) TÔN and in exergue PROS[---
Judging from general shapes, especially at the elbow of the personification, it may be the same die as 43.

TOPOGRAPHIC MALE (no source vessel or prow)

45 Diadumenian (with obverse R).  Half-draped youth, without attributes of a river, seated to l., head turned to face r., holding a plant in his r. hand, with his l. leaning on a 'rock'. DSCN3373 (Pick 1811, where he encourages our regarded this as topographic but not a river; I would add, though, that it has none of the attributes that distinguish the Haimos, and it may personify a local toponym not recorded for us.
VP AGRIPPA [NIKOPOLITÔN PRO] and in exergue S ISTIÔ (the style of the Youth also resembles that of the Aphrodite, 15, another -TIÔ reverse).

46 Diadumenian (with obverse O).  Wholly nude youth, seated on a slope, his r. resting on his r. knee, his l. leaning on a 'rock.  One of the most memorable reverse dies that I know.  DSCN3379 (probably Pick 1806: I cannot read it as a 'flowing source vessel', Pick's auf dem strömmenden Quellgefäss, but since he knew only a single specimen in St. Petersburg, and the reverse legend matches perfectly, I venture the identification).

47 Diadumenian (with obverse W).  Half-draped youth, without attributes of a river, seated to l., head turned to face r., holding a plant in his r. hand, with is l. leaning on a (?) rock.  Note the absence of little quasi-gouge marks just above the exergHalf-draped youth, without attributes of a river, seated to l., head turned to face r., holding a plant in his r. hand, with is l. leaning on a (?) rock.  Note the curved gouges above the exergue, which distinguish 48).  DSCN3355 (the reverse is Pick 1810, Taf. XVIII, 5)
VP AGRIPPA | NIKOPOLITÔN PRO and in exergue S ISTIÔ (see above 45; this reverse die may be, or must be, the same, with a different obverse and differently preserved).

48 Diadumenian (with obverse O).  Half-draped youth, without attributes of a river, seated to l., head turned to face r., holding a plant in his r. hand, with is l. leaning on a (?) rock.  DSCN2922 (this is too like folk art to match Pick 1810 on Taf. XVIII, 5, but the type is the same, so that what we call one we should call the other; see 47).
VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOLITÔN PRO and in exergue S ISTRÔ (the rho, at least, is canonical).


49 Macrinus (with obverse B, both specimens).  Female personification seated to l., holding flowering plants in her r.; see notes and link to discussion under the obverse die, above.  DSCN3255 (Pick 1682, Taf. XVIII, 7).
49x Macrinus (as the last, preserving different details)

NEMESIS-DIKAIOSYNE (combined attributes)

f50 Macrinus (with obverse fB).  See note under the obverse die, B.
VP P PhOV PONTIANOV NEIKOPOLITÔN and across lower field PR | OS / IS | TRÔ.  Note the incorporation of the NEIK- spelling.

50 Macrinus (with obverse M).  Nemesis stg. to l., with her goad and wheel and Dikaiosyne's scales.  DSCN3900 (cf. Pick's 1812, the right type but the wrong legend, such as Pick's evidence permitted; it is the nearest one that he lists for Agrippa, and it is for Diadumenian; he has none, pp. 438–9, for Agrippa, and Varbanov I (E), has only a pure Dikaiosyne with obverse die E, no. 3385).
VP AGRIPP(ligate)A NI  |  KOPOLITÔN PR and in exergue OS ISTR

Another Dikaiosyne, without any attributes of Nemesis, is illustrated in Varbanov I (E), no. 3385.  This is with obverse die E.


51 Diadumenian (with obverse P)  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with kalathos. DSCN3385.
51x Diadumenian (as the last).

52 Diadumenian (with obverse P)  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., without kalathos.  DSCN3381 (Pick 1817)
52x Diadumenian (as the last).

53 Diadumenian (? with obverse P)  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l.  DSCN3702.
VP AGRIPPA NIK  |  [-----]  Too ill preserved to determine whether distinct.

54 Diadumenian (with obverse O).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with kalathos.  DSCN3670 (like Pick 1815, but not exactly any of those on p. 462 in Pick's lists.)
VP AGRIPPA NIK  |  OPOL[ITÔN PROS I] and in exergue STRÔ (so differing from Pick's in one particular or another)

55 Diadumenian (with obverse S).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with altar.  DSCN3371 (Pick 1814)
See, s.v. Homonoia.

56 Macrinus (with obverse E, the die initiated for Longinus).   Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with small kalathos.  DSCN 3855

57 Macrinus (with obverse E, as the last).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l.  DSCN3968 (Pick 1704, the die-pair that Pick noticed as linked to the Nymphaeum, 69, Pick 1719.
VP AGRIPPA NIK  |  OPOLITÔN PROS IST, with void exergue (so not exactly any of the reverse legends that Pick records).

58 Macrinus (with obverse E, as the last).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with kalathos.  DSCN3275.
58x Macrinus (with obverse E). As the last.
58y Macrinus (with obverse Gbis).  As the last, but the reverse legend is VP AGRIPPA, with both pi.
58z Macrinus (both dies as the last)
58w Macrinus (with Gbis, as the last two, but in a different collection)

59 Macrinus (with obverse F).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l.  DSCN3267 (Pick 1705).
59x Macrinus (as the last).  DSCN3827

60 Macrinus (with obverse H).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with kalathos and altar.  A remarkable die-pair with an excellent but homespun-manner Homonoia and a super-elegant obverse portrait.  DSCN4344 (Pick 1702, both dies)
60x Macrinus, as the last, but with the exergue clearer and better detail, e.g., on the altar.

61 Macrinus (with obverse M).  Homonoia (standard) with cornucopiae and patera, stg. l., with altar.  Lively.  DSCN3283 (Pick 1703, as evidence the small subscript o in PROS)
61x Macrinus (as the last).  DSCN3762.


62 Diadumenian (with obverse R). Standard Tyche, stg. l, with rudder; with kalathos. DSCN3867 (Obverse evidently Pick 1817; reverse evidently 1819; Pick says that the reverse is the same die as Macrinus 1709—this is one of those with KLAV as praenomen).
VP KLAV AGRIPPA | NIKOPOLITÔN PROS IST• and across lower field in small letters R | ON. For a better specimen see

63 Diadumenian (with obverse X).  Standard Tyche, stg. l, with rudder, with kalathos: as the same reverse die as 62, it could be numbered 62x.  DSCN3738.

64 Macrinus (with obverse J).  Standard Tyche, stg. l, with rudder; with kalathos.  DSCN3329 (Pick 1710)
64x Macrinus (as last).  DSCN4183.

65 Macrinus (with obverse K). Standard Tyche, stg. l, with rudder; with kalathos; but style is distinctive.  DSCN3740 (Pick, probably not one of the variants of 1710: to many deviations).
Possibly: [VP AGRI]PPA NI  |  KOPOLITÔN PROS and in exergue ISTRÔ (relying also on next):
65x Macrinus (as the last)


66 Macrinus (with obverse B). The Emperor, stg. l., in breastplate but no helmet and leaning on scepter in his l. rather than a spear, making a libation over a burning, garlanded altar.  The type is like Varbanov I (E), 3495, issued by Longinus, but this die has the sort of elegance that is remarked on B/28.  DSCN3831 (so far as I know, unlisted).
VP P PhOV PONTIANOV NIKOPOLITÔN and across field PR | OS and in exergue ISTR


67 Macrinus (with obverse D).  Procession (see the Forvm thread linked above under B), without Nike behind the emperor in the chariot.  DSCN4181 (Pick 1712)
VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOL and in exergue, in two lines, ITÔN PROS / ISTRÔ
67x Macrinus (as the last) DSCN3309.

68 Macrinus (with obverse B).  Procession (similar to the last, adding Nike behind the Emperor in the chariot.  DSCN3273 (Pick 1713).
VP | AG | RI | PP (ligate) | A and in exergue, in two lines, NIKOPOLITÔN / PROS IS
68x Macrinus (as the last) DSCN3293.


69 Macrinus (with obverse E). Nymphaeum, monumental fountain façade, like the Severan Septizodium in Rome, Ex. 2.  (on the example of coins for Septimius issued by Gallus, as Lanz Auct 121, no. 448, Price and Trell, Coins and their Cities, fig. 70 for the reverse).  There are two reverse dies, used with two obverse dies, consistently so far as I know.  (Pick 1719,  Taf. III, 23, Pick's Gotha specimen with the ex-Longinus reverse, E.  There are other specimens, such as:

70 Macrinus (with obverse C).  Similar to the last, but it differs in significant details, more convincingly architectural, in my opinion, as if by an engraver who really liked architecture.  Not known to Pick, who at no. 1719 says that the Naples and Paris specimens that he knew were from the same die as Gotha's.
ex Garth Drewry,
70x Macrinus (as the last).
Ray Wilk's website: s.v. Nymphaeum, (also with the die C bust wonderfully well preserved, beard and all)


The dies and combinations are probably more numerous and complicated, and not necessarily a single issue even within a short period, than I know.  Some specimens have been resold repeatedly.

71 Macrinus (with obverse B).  City gate, similar to that of Augusta Traiana in showing three towers, the central one presumably in the distance, rather than perched on top of the bay for the entrance.
71x or
71y Ray Wilk's website, s.v. Nicopolis,, the sixth and seventh in his list.  See both Macrinus's and Diadumenian's, the reverse die (I venture, the primary die) that Pick listed at no. 1826.  Diadumenian's is obverse die V, and not the same reverse die as Macrinus's, and the reverse legend is like 72.

72 Macrinus (with obverse M).  The same gate, different engraving.  Bulging towers, and different ending in the legend, which has OS ISTR[Ô?] in the exergue.  It possibly is the same reverse as 71y.

73 Diadumenian (with obverse dies Sand V).  The same gate with different ending in the legend.
VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOLITÔN P and in exergue ROS IS[T?] and, s.v. City Gate
73x Künker Auct. 71, March 2002, no. 1114.  Here, as frequently, this coin is cited as Pick 1826, but the legend shows that it is not.


75 Diadumenian (with obverse bust T)  Trophy crowned by Nike at l. and the Emperor at r.; bound captives at base of trophy.  DSCN3742 (Pick 1822, Taf. XIX, 28, citing one specimen in Basel)
75x Diadumenian (with obverse bustT), s.v. Trophy
75z Diadumenian (with uncertain obverse head), s.v. Trophy

76 Macrinus (with obverse K)  Varbanov (E) I, no. 3402.  Pick 1711; as he says, same reverse die as Diadumenian's.

EAGLE ON ALTAR (with standards)

77 Macrinus (with obverse C)  Eagle to l., head to r., perched on garlanded altar between two standards. DSCN3317 (Pick 1714)
77x Macrinus (as the last). DSCN3307
77y Macrinus (as the last). DSCN3600 (best of the three specimens)


78 Diadumenian (with obverse P).  Radiate, nimbate, maned and snouted, fish-tailed cult snake, almost surely Glykon. DSCN4179 (cf. Pick 1822-1823 which are not, however, these dies)
78x Diadumenian (as last)  DSCN3872

79 Macrinus (with obverse J).  Cult snake like the last. DSCN3902 (Pick 1715, with variant legend)

80 Macrinus (with obverse I).  Cult snake in four coils, with snout and fish tail, but not radiate.  DSCN4364.
[VP K? AGRIPPA NIK]OPOLITÔN PROS and in exergue [IS]TRON.  Others with the obverses and ending thus do have 'K'.

81 Diadumenian (with obverse T).  Cult snake climbing a staff or stake, ending with its head to r. DSCN3351

82 Macrinus (with obverse D).  Like the last, but more sharply cut, and with continuous legend.  DSCN3319 (Pick 1712)

83 Macrinus (with obverse K).  Cult snake similar to 80, but with a truly wolf-lion head, with a mane, very like the Tomis sculpute in Costantza Museum.  DSCN3335
VP AGRIPPA NI | KOPOLITÔN and in exergue, in two lines, PROS IST / RÔ


84 Diadumenian (with obverse P). Snake climbing up center of tripod, its head to l.  DSCN3734 (cf. Pick 1825)
VP AGRIPPA  |  NIKOPOL[ITÔN PROS I] and in exergue STRÔ (longer ending)
Diadumenian (as the last)  DSCN3369
Diadumenian (with obverse V, and, in fact, a different reverse die).  Subject as last.  DSCN4040 (Pick 1825)   For another two, see, s.v. Glykon.
VP AGRIPPA NI  |  [KO]POLITÔN P and in exergue ROS ISTR (as Pick 1825, spec. 1: shortened ending)

85 Macrinus (with obverse H). Snake climbing up center of tripod, its head to r.  DSCN3065 (Pick 1716)
VP AGRIPPA N | I | KOPOLITÔN and in exergue, in two lines, PROS I / STRÔ

86 Macrinus (with obverse I). Snake climbing up tripod, same reverse die as the last.  DSCN 3285 (Pick 1717)
Legend as the last (yet Pick, himself interested in this family of coins, gave this a separate number).

(and, as it happens we end with the same coin as I used at the top for a 'header')