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Provincial Domitian?

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Marjan E:
Hello :)  I am really feeling the lack of a reference book now :(  got to remedy this soon.  When I first looked at the reverse of this coin, I couldn't make out what kind of design it had on it.  It was only when I backed off a little that I realized it was a face! LOL  I've looked through all Forum's provincials for something with this strange crown but found nothing exactly the same.  The coin is from Syria.  I found crowns that looked a little similar on a Domitian and on a Phillip coin.

The real plus to this for me was the introduction to the provincial coins.  I'm in love!

Many thanks for your help

Mark Farrell:
I don't know who the emperor is yet, but the coin is not from Syria, but is from Carrhae in Mesopotamia. The reverse legend should be something similar to: COL MET ANTO NINIANA AVR ALEX. The reverse is a turreted bust of Tyche (city goddess). The "turreted" means she is wearing a crown that is composed of city walls.

I will try to identify the emperor when I can, but I don't think it is Domitian, more likely a much later emperor. MORE I'd think it is Caracalla, but cannot completely confirm this. Perhaps someone else can provide more info?

I tried to find the coin on wildwinds and coinarchives, but no matches. I don't have very good references for Carrhae, perhaps someone with the BMC volume for this region can match up the coin.


PS Be sure to look up Carrhae in -- a very interesting history! This is where Crassus was defeated and captured by the Parthians in 64 BC and where Caracalla was murdered at the instigation of Macrinus.

Marjan E:
Thank you very much Mark :).  I did indeed find the history of the battle interesting.  I belong to the SCA, so I am very much into history and historical crafts.  The information about the crown is fascinating.  I thought it looked a little weird, but put this down to the fact that it was a provincial coin.

I would like to buy some books myself and would appreciate some suggestions.  I know that everyone seems to like the Sears (though I understand they now comprise five volumes?)  Pretty expensive to buy all five since they seem to run about $140 each.  I have bought the program that uses the line drawings and have found it quite helpful, though not in depth at all.  My second line of inquiry is usually to check out the catalogues on Forum and other sites.

This coin did not cost me very much, but I am finding it very interesting.


Hi Marjan
He is caracalla and you can find it listed at Lindgren I #2565
 BMC16; and  SGI 2702

You can also find it at wildwinds:


Mark Farrell:
Bakkar -- thanks for the backup! I couldn't confirm Caracalla -- glad you entered the thread.

Marjan -- I think the best single book for starting with Provincials, across the entire range of Roman provinces, is probably Sear's Greek Imperial Coins. It is by no means complete -- I heard that there are something like 100,000 (give or take) different Roman provincial coins, so no one book, or even series of books (like BMC) contains them all.

The other Sears books are very good, just not focused on provincials. I know there are two on Greek coins (I have them) and then a series on Roman imperial coins (don't have those), and any of them are worth having.

Another very basic book -- not a catalogue -- on Roman provincials is by Kevin Butcher, Roman Provincial Coins: An Introduction to the Greek Imperials. It is a decent, general introduction. Not enough detail for anything serious, but I think it helps people appreciate the coins a bit more. Most people I know who are more experienced collectors were a little let down by this book because it is so general. Even so, Kevin Butcher also published what I believe is the single best book ever on the Roman coinage of northern Syria. This is a big, expensive book, so start with the simple stuff first.

Finally, Wayne Sayles did a series of books on ancient coin collecting. I think there are six of them. One of them, Ancient Coin Collecting IV: Roman Provincial Coins, is also a good introduction to this topic and has a decent bibliography at the end of each geographic section, which is helpful for drilling into something that interested you. Everytime I think I have grown past one of these books, I find something new to learn by simply browsing the pages.

If you become interested in provincial coins, try to pick up representative coins from the various provinces and major mints. They can be wildly different from each other, even for the same emperor. You may then discover that a specific type or location especially interests you, which is really helpful when collecting Roman provincials -- there are simply so many of the them that no one can ever collect them all.

Good luck,



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