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Author Topic: 'unique' Arles campgate  (Read 901 times)

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Offline Frans Diederik

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'unique' Arles campgate
« on: April 19, 2021, 01:56:13 pm »
I recently bought this intriguing coin: CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, laureate cuirassed bust of the caesar to the left, seen three quarters from front. / PROVIDEN-TIAE CAESS, S - F in fields and TCONST in exergue. note: look at the upper row of stones of the building and notice the dots under the arches.
The coin is not in RIC, but was duly taken up in Ferrando's book about the mint of Arles. He has a coin with a similar description which he illustrates as 868. Then on the next page he shows pictures of the first and second officina. Theze two coins DO have the arches and dots. In my opinion, my coin should be inserted there and is the illustration of 868 not correct.....
NB don't make the mistake of looking at the LDC busts as they are very common.

Frans

Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2021, 03:46:58 pm »
On the basis of your photo it is hard to be sure that the bust is only cuirassed.

It should look like this:



If you don't see clearly a right arm, bust cuirassed and draped looks very similar.



The decoration of the camp-gate (dots under arches) is irrelevant for this emission, i.e. attribution remains the same.

Lech Stępniewski
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Offline Frans Diederik

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2021, 06:57:11 pm »
Quote
The decoration of the camp-gate (dots under arches) is irrelevant for this emission, i.e. attribution remains the same.
That's true, but the dots and further decoration of the campgate is extremely rare for Arles, if not unique for this small series. The image is a little off fland, but, with the coin in hand, I am confident of cuirassed only.
Thanks Lech!

Frans

Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2021, 07:19:49 pm »
the dots and further decoration of the campgate is extremely rare for Arles, if not unique for this small series.

I agree, Frans, that this decoration is rare but not extremely rare. Few examples from the same PROVIDENTIAE issue (RIC VII ARLES 318-320):















Apparently this decoration was used in all officinae.

Lech Stępniewski
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Offline Frans Diederik

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2021, 07:56:59 am »
I studied the plates in F's catalogue and noticed examples with the T - F series of Constantine of329-330 (RIC 326) for the first and second officinae. Moreover in the Virtvs avgg series with F plate 509 (RIC 336)
Once you see one, you see all, apparently.

Frans

Offline Vincent

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2021, 11:58:56 am »
Even this is a coin of the Rome mint had to post it here from Beast Coin website...

Licinius II, AE3, RomeLICINIVS IVN NOB C  Laureate, cuirassed bust right.  VIRTV_S CAESS  Campgate with six rows, doors closed, seen in 3-d perspective, P R across fields, RP in exergue.  Photo courtesy of Keith Metzer.

Note:  This piece definitively shows the campgate series really did represent an enclosed area, but the debate still stands with respect to braziers or turrets.  Unfortunately, I have no idea who owns this incredible


Offline Heliodromus

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2021, 01:28:27 pm »
Quote
This piece definitively shows the campgate series really did represent an enclosed area, but the debate still stands with respect to braziers or turrets

Yes, but it's still not obvious what kind of enclosed area - is it really a roman army camp (hence campgate) or is it a city gate ?

Top coin below is RIC VII Trier 1 showing a similar 3-D view of the city of Trier (with a city gate).

On one of the Rome "campgates" there an architectural column detail which looks awfully like Rome's "Porta Portese" city gate.

Would an army "camp" (stone fort) have that sort of detail ? (I don't know).

Any kind of fortification protecting the people (fort or walled city) might make sense for a PROVIDENTIAE AVGG boast of the emperor's foresight / provisioning, although a fort might make more sense when paired with a legend of VIRTVS AVGG or VIRTVS MILITVM.

Ben

Offline Lech Stępniewski

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2021, 01:48:51 pm »
Yes, but it's still not obvious what kind of enclosed area - is it really a roman army camp (hence campgate) or is it a city gate ?

I think that sometimes even engravers were not sure. It was meant to be something that you can associate with providing security and prosperity. Could be army camp, could be prosperous city... Constantinian propaganda is often vague and one can easily adjust it to his expectations.
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Offline antesignanvm

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2021, 03:34:05 am »

On one of the Rome "campgates" there an architectural column detail which looks awfully like Rome's "Porta Portese" city gate.


Attention, porta portese has been built in 1644, nothing to do with the ancient gate.
---In front of the insigna---

Offline Heliodromus

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2021, 07:15:10 am »
Quote
Attention, porta portese has been built in 1644, nothing to do with the ancient gate.

Ah - thanks!

I was just doing a google search for Rome's city gates that might have been copied on that coin, and that was the first I found.

Of course, the architectural detail on the coin doesn't have to be copying a real building, but presumably (to the engraver at least) it needs to look realistic.

Ben

Offline Vincent

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2021, 12:08:19 pm »
I visited the Roman Capital of Gaul some time ago and saw the Porta Nigra up close on Trier.
It kinda had the same structure blocks depicted in the issues posted. Thanks for the wonderful other examples pictured. With the limited space fancy examples are very well done.
The type was obviously very easy to execute in mass production and lucky that a few creative attempts were made to depict some realism to the format.
Of course, the Provincial bronzes also are fascinating to behold.
Seems Security was held high in the public eye, since the times were so unsettled.


Here is a link to this paper


"A Note on Late Roman Art: The Provincial Origins of Camp Gate and Baldachin Iconography on the Late Imperial Coinage," American Journal of Numismatics (Second Series) 25 (2013): 283-302

Nathan T. Elkins
2013, American Journal of Numismatics (Second Series) 25

https://www.academia.edu/4322673/_A_Note_on_Late_Roman_Art_The_Provincial_Origins_of_Camp_Gate_and_Baldachin_Iconography_on_the_Late_Imperial_Coinage_American_Journal_of_Numismatics_Second_Series_25_2013_283_302

Not sure if it will come up but available at academia.edu website!

Offline Heliodromus

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2021, 10:27:26 pm »
Thanks - I read the article.

By design he doesn't address the issue of what the "campgate" coins depict, but rather the origin of the iconography being provincial city gate/wall types. However, if this is the origin of this type of depiction, and given how widespread these types were, maybe it does suggest that the "campgate" type designs might in fact either be depicting city gates and/or interpreted that way regardless.

Incidentally, there's a website dedicated to these citygate type provincials here:

https://citygate.ancients.info/

The article gives a pretty comprehensive listing of all the imperial campgates types, starting with the tetrarchic argentei, but he does seem to have missed one unusual one - the VIRTVS MILITVM type from Cyzicus which features a portcullis as part of the design (see example below).

The Rome P-R specimen above, with colums (fancy ones - spirally fluted), and the Cyzicus type with portcullis might both support the idea that these citygate-inspired designs are in fact citygates, rather than campgates. From what I've been reading, columns like that would seem very much out of place on a fort, as would a portcullis (given the rather proscribed layout of a typical fort), whereas portcullis's are known to have been used as part of some Roman cities (e.g. Pompeii's) defenses.

Given that the purpose of coin designs was basically propaganda, it stands to reason that the public might be more impressed and concerned about their own safety than that of the army, which would be another reason to assume it a city's defences being depicted. Of course the overall message was of public security, so pairing the design with a legend giving a nod to the army (VIRTVS AVGG, VIRTVS MILITVM) was just as appropriate as giving the credit to the emperor (PROVIDENTIAE AVGG).

Unlike the provincial citygate types which acurately depicted a specific city, the campgates are for the most part generic -  a simple cookie-cutter design issued from all mints, and therefore depict a generic gate/wall rather than a specific one. The Rome one above, with it's columns, might be an exception, or just as likely a generic depiction of any fancy city gate rather than one in particular. Below is a slightly better researched picture of an original Roman city gate with columns - this one from the city of Jerash in modern Jordan.

Ben

Offline otlichnik

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2021, 09:07:28 am »
I cover this issue in my book.  I don't land on any definitive solution, as there obviously isn't one.

My view is that they represent city gates and/or camp gates, but when you take into account the "foresight" of the legend it is most likely that they represent a generic symbol of security granted through the Emperor's building programs.  (Slightly ironic as most walls were likely built or gained in reaction to threats, not out of long-term strategic planning.)  The coins could be interpreted by the viewer - soldier or civilian - in a way that was relevant to them.

It is interesting to consider the state of the city in the 4th century.  Almost all cities, at least in the West, had shrunk significantly from their earlier size.  Some to as little as 10%.  This was not reflective of population decrease but of a change in the nature of cities.  They went from sprawling, unwalled, low density suburban conurbations to compact walled high density towns. 

Cities like Rome were the exception in that they had always had a large dense core.  Most towns in Gaul, and other Western provinces, did not look very "urban" before the fourth century.

Garrisons also shrank in many towns as troops spread out along frontiers.  So, for example, in Vienna, the 4th century town occupied what was once the legionary fortress.  The original town had been unwalled, surrounding the fortress.  It became walled not by a brand new building program, but by snuggling into the walls of the legionary fortress.  The legion itself only occupied a quarter of its old camp.  Interestingly this means that the camp gates became the city gates!

The only interpretation I strongly disagree with is the "watchtower" hypothesis.  To sum up a longer argument, it simply makes no sense to portray rural watchtowers as buildings with open ground floor doorways.  Archaeological evidence to date indicates Roman watchtowers generally had no ground floor opening but upper floor doors reached by stairway - as we associate with medieval towers.

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Offline Vincent

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2021, 10:05:55 am »
Think Victor Tory Failmezger discusses this in his book, but fire signaling could have been used in the turrets as this author proposes

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316256366_Campgate_Bronzes_and_Roman_Fire_Signalling



Interesting topic and we'll researched by the author

Very diverse for one simple design common ancient coin type

Offline Heliodromus

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2021, 11:27:56 am »
The overly stylized turrets on the imperial "campgates" are hard to decipher by themselves, but we can get a better idea by looking at the more realistic & detailed city gates, if we assume that this is what is being depicted.

Here's a selection from the citygate site I linked above.

These campgate-like turrets do seem a common feature.

The soldiers sometimes shown atop the city walls seem to be a clue, as well as the less abstract depiction of the turrets themselves.

What these suggest to me is that the city walls, or at least gates, were often topped with ramparts where soldiers might patrol, and roofed turrets where they might normally be stationed.

I doubt the fire signalling theory - the primary purpose of these turrets would be purely defensive - part of the ramparts used for soldiers to watch for intruders.

The stylized turrets we see on the imperial campgates, typically some sort of blob with three supports, may either be the entire turret or perhaps just the roof structure which would have been most visible from the ground.

It's hard to be definitive about this, but that's what they look like to me.

Ben

Offline otlichnik

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2021, 12:36:57 pm »
I agree completely.  Failmezger's signaling theory was not really backed up and doesn't hold water. 

While the Roman military is recorded historically as using signaling from watchtowers, as noted, archaeological evidence places major doubt on the idea the buildings portrayed are watch towers.  Signal fires on a city gate or camp gate are not attested historically and make little sense.

Then as Ben points out when you look through this history of "campgate" designs it is clear that these objects that Failmezger guessed were braziers are actually small turrets - whether the top of stairs or for guard shelter is uncertain but they were clearly man-height stone objects. 

It is far more plausible that the ones portrayed on the Providentia series are just a simplified version of the previous design than to believe that the early ones were stone turrets and then they became signaling braziers.

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Offline PeterD

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2021, 01:18:26 pm »
The Latin word for camp, 'castra' has continued in English town names in the form of 'chester' or 'caster'. For example, Chester itself, Chichester, Cirencester, Manchester and Doncaster.

To the west of London, near the village of Silchester is the remains of the Roman town of Caleva. The walls are still mainly standing. The interior was excavated in Victorian times. The town was originally the HQ of the Atrebates, a local tribe allied to the Romans. The town, of course, had gates and a reconstruction of the North gate (which still exists but is in ruins) is shown below.

Given that early numismatists were probably British, is is perhaps not surprising that they chose the name campgate rather than towngate or city gate.
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Offline lawrence c

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2021, 09:32:28 pm »
If I could pile in on this, I suspect that German archeologists probably played somewhat of a role in the flourishing of the camp gate label. One example would be the reconstructed Roman fort of Saalburg. For those not familiar with it, its website (complete with a shot of the camp gate) is at https://www.saalburgmuseum.de/  [Parenthetically, I have some fondness for the site because as a high schooler 50+ years ago, I did some scut work as a class project for the digs around the area.]. The fort was reconstructed during the Kaiser era, and I've always had the sneaking suspicion that the design of the entrance was what a fort 'should' look like rather than necessarily completely accurate. In any event, it is a very interesting site and well worth visiting. I do think that it would fit into the modern standard descriptions of the camp gate reverses.
Best,
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Offline Frans Diederik

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2021, 02:42:37 pm »
One of the nicest cities of France is Autun (Augustodunum) where a lot of ancient buildings are still intact. I knew I had a picture somewhere, but it was taken in the Pre Digital Era and has discolored quite a bit. This is the Porte Saint Andre one of the two existing original city gates.

Offline Ron C2

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2021, 08:37:30 pm »
Quote
This piece definitively shows the campgate series really did represent an enclosed area, but the debate still stands with respect to braziers or turrets

Yes, but it's still not obvious what kind of enclosed area - is it really a roman army camp (hence campgate) or is it a city gate ?

Top coin below is RIC VII Trier 1 showing a similar 3-D view of the city of Trier (with a city gate).

On one of the Rome "campgates" there an architectural column detail which looks awfully like Rome's "Porta Portese" city gate.

Would an army "camp" (stone fort) have that sort of detail ? (I don't know).

Any kind of fortification protecting the people (fort or walled city) might make sense for a PROVIDENTIAE AVGG boast of the emperor's foresight / provisioning, although a fort might make more sense when paired with a legend of VIRTVS AVGG or VIRTVS MILITVM.

Ben


Pretty sure the Via Portuense was built in 1644 by Vincenzo Maculani under the commission of Pope Urban VIII.

Whatever earlier Roman gate was in the area likely looked quite different - and definitely not baroque.
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Offline Heliodromus

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2021, 07:43:07 am »
Quote
Pretty sure the Via Portuense was built in 1644 by Vincenzo Maculani

Pretty sure it wasn't !  ;)

We already discussed the Porta Portese's modern origins, above. The design doesn't appear to have been faithful to the original which apparently had a double entrance (like Trier's Porta Nigra, Autun's Porte Saint Andre, or that reimagined "castra-gate"). However, I'm not sure I'd describe the architecture as Baroque .. compare it to the Jerash gate. About the only extra flourish, if you can call it that, on Maculani's design is the balustrade

Ben

Offline Vincent

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2021, 10:29:27 am »
Posting this article I came across regarding the Camp Gate type and may be of interest..
"A Note on Late Roman Art: The Provincial Origins of Camp Gate and Baldachin Iconography on the Late Imperial Coinage," American Journal of Numismatics (Second Series) 25 (2013): 283-302


https://www.academia.edu/4322673/_A_Note_on_Late_Roman_Art_The_Provincial_Origins_of_Camp_Gate_and_Baldachin_Iconography_on_the_Late_Imperial_Coinage_American_Journal_of_Numismatics_Second_Series_25_2013_283_302?email_work_card=reading-history

 
󰀲󰀸􀀳
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 Second Series 󰀲􀀵 (󰀲󰀰󰀱􀀳) pp. 󰀲󰀸􀀳–􀀳󰀰󰀲
© 󰀲󰀰󰀱􀀳 Te American Numismatic Society
 A Note on Late Roman Art: Te Provincial Origins of Camp Gate and BaldachinIconography on the Late Imperial Coinage
P󰁬󰁡󰁴󰁥󰁳 󰀳󰀳–󰀳󰀵 N󰁡󰁴󰁨󰁡󰁮 . E󰁬󰁫󰁩󰁮󰁳*
Some o the most common images on late Roman imperial coins are the so-called camp gate types that first appeared under Diocletian and which wererepeated throughout the ourth and fifh centuries 󰁡󰁤. Tis late imperial ico-nography also served as the inspiration or coin designs in early medievalEurope. Scholarship on the camp gate images has ocused on the places thatthe gates make reerence to. Did they signiy a specific ortress, a city, a ge-neric camp, the
Castra Praetoria
? Instead, this article addresses the originso the camp gate iconography through the lens o theories on late Roman art.Scholars have remarked on the increased influence o provincial and plebe-ian orms and styles in late Roman art. As the chronologies and productioncontexts or coins are well understood, it is possible to trace the introductiono the iconography and its spread. Practical application o theory suggests thatimperial die engravers were influenced by regional traditions o city gates thatappeared on the coins o the Balkans and northwestern Asia Minor in preced-ing decades. Practical conditions were responsible or local images becominglate imperial art. Te provincial origin o baldachin types with spirally-flutedcolumns on late imperial coins is also explored

Offline Heliodromus

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2021, 08:47:27 am »
Slow news day, so I bring you the evolution of city gate turret style.

From turrets to ... pretty much anything you care to imagine.  ;D

Click to enlarge.

Ben

Offline otlichnik

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Re: 'unique' Arles campgate
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2021, 04:54:44 pm »
Nice.  I dare you to list those last three on Ebay.....

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