FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board

Numism => Reading For the Advanced Collector => Topic started by: Joe Sermarini on October 14, 2003, 11:27:55 am

Post by: Joe Sermarini on October 14, 2003, 11:27:55 am
In this thread, please post your favorite or interesting historical coins.  Please include a pic, complete attribution to the best of your ability and a narrative on the historical event and its signicance.  I would like this thread to be very interesting reading.  In other words, please no chat here.  

Post by: Robert_Brenchley on October 26, 2003, 04:30:35 pm
L. Manlius Torquatus, L MANLI PROQ, helmeted head of Roma, R / Triumphator in quadriga R, Victory above. Ex L SVLLA IM. 82BC. This is one of my favourites; it was issued to mark Sulla's triumph; the moment when the Senate completely lost control for the first time, and dictatorship in a sense we'd recognise today became a reality in Rome. After Sulla, the Republic really didn't have a future.

Post by: Robert_Brenchley on November 16, 2003, 08:46:18 am
HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, RIC 286, struck in 350 by Vetranio in support of Constantius II. I posted this one before but its distinctly cleaner now.

Post by: EmpressCollector on November 16, 2003, 02:22:14 pm
Although many reference works on ancient numismatics classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, Nero's joy for his new daughter "exceeded human measure" and the infant and her mother, Poppaea, were both hailed Augusta.   Furthermore, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility, presumably to be built at Antium, the birthplace of little Claudia.  Unfortunately, the baby empress died at only four months of age.  Stricken with grief, Nero had her declared a goddess.  The temple of Fecunditas is likely the one depicted on the only coin that honors Claudia Neronis:

Æ 19mm (5.34g) of Caesarea Panias, Trachonitis, Syria, struck AD 65 under Nero. Obv: DIVA POPPAEA AVG, distyle temple of Diva Poppaea, female figure within. Rev: DIVA CLAVD NER F, round hexastyle temple of Diva Claudia, female figure within. RPC I 4846; Hendin 578; Sear 2058; Vagi 746.  (Sorry about the scan--the coin is better in hand)

The imperial couple conceived another child shortly after Claudia's death, but Poppaea died as a result of spousal abuse.  Because she chastised him for returning late from the races, Nero delivered a swift kick to Poppaea's pregnant belly that proved fatal to her and her unborn child.  In an effort that can only be seen as "too little, too late," Nero had Poppaea and the fetus deified.  The coin was issued in AD 65, shortly after Poppaea's death, and hence carries the inscription,  DIVA POPPAEA AVG.

Post by: *Alex on October 26, 2005, 06:32:24 pm
In 53 BCE Crassus and seven legions crossed the Euphrates, trying to take the most direct route to Seleucia, capital of the old Seleucian Empire. Crassus' soldiers were plagued by heat and thirst so Surenas, the Parthian general, waited until they were in open country near the town of Carrhae. He then attacked, fighting at long range using horse archers which the legions were unable to engage. Crassus tried to rally his men and withdrew to a nearby hill but his position was untenable and he and his son, Publius, were killed along with 20,000 of their men. The Parthians took the legionary standards as the spoils of war.
Augustus achieved a diplomatic victory in 20 BCE, when he recovered those standards which he installed in a small round domed temple to Mars Ultor, built specially to house them. The temple, situated on the Capitol in Rome, was dedicated on the 12th of May of that year.

The reverse of the coin below shows the triumphal arch which was awarded to Augustus on the occasion of his recovery of the standards. This was the second triumphal arch awarded to Augustus and, like the earlier arch which had been constructed in 29 BC to honour his victory over Cleopatra, this second arch stood in close proximity to the Temple of Divus Julius at the southern entrance to the Roman Forum.

AR Cistophorus (3 denarii) of Pergamum. Struck c.19 - 18 B.C.
Obv: IMP IX TR PO V. Bare head of Augustus facing right.
Rev: Triumphal arch surmounted by Augustus in facing triumphal quadriga; IMP IX TR POT V on architrave; S P R SIGNIS RECEPTIS in three lines within arch opening, standards at either side.
RIC I : 510 | BMC : 703 | RSC : 298.


Post by: Robert_Brenchley on October 27, 2005, 03:01:20 am
Crassus' bane, Orodes II (57-38 BC). Anyone got any more notable enemies of Rome?

Post by: PeterD on October 27, 2005, 12:58:07 pm
Anyone got any more notable enemies of Rome?

Surely Shapur I (240-271 AD) who used the unlucky Valerian I as a mounting block to get on his horse and had Valerian's skin hung up in a temple after he died.

Post by: Robert_Brenchley on October 27, 2005, 02:09:48 pm
Here's his unfortunate footstool. PIETAS AVGG, with the two emperors sacrificing, celebrating the joint rule of himself and Gallienus.

Post by: Marius on November 05, 2005, 06:33:29 pm
Hi Frederic,
That really is remarkable.  I had admired the coin because it is so beautiful, but I didn't know that the reverse legend was actually Commodus' re-christened Rome.  I had actually thought that Commodus renaming Romae was more of the "Hysteria Augusta" (exagerated stories).  Do you know if there are many other coins, writings, or engravings that show this amazing title?  I wonder how far from Rome this change in name made it.  I assume that within mintues of Pertinax becoming emperor the name reverted to Rome.  What a great historical coin!

Post by: curtislclay on November 06, 2005, 03:49:44 pm
      Frederic follows the traditional expansion of this legend, which snags on a very powerful objection: since Commodus still calls himself Marcus on the obverse and was not to switch his praenomen back to Lucius until 191, a year later, why, on the reverse, does he name Rome Lucia and not Marcia?
      Chantraine in 1971, following a suggestion of Renier in 1872, proposed what seems to be the solution to the problem: the legend is to be expanded COLonia LANuvina COMModiana and commemorates Commodus' elevation of his birthplace Lanuvium, which had been a municipium, to the rank of colony.
      Commodus did refound Rome too, and this deed is commemorated on very rare mediallions, sestertii, and dupondii struck late in 192, just before his assassination.  These coins have the same rev. type of emperor plowing, but the legend HERCuli ROMano CONDITORI P M TR P XVIII COS VII P P,
"To the Roman Hercules, the Founder".

Post by: frederic W on February 12, 2006, 11:36:01 am
Thank you very much for that interesting addition.

Post by: Automan on February 13, 2006, 05:23:03 am
This is the type of coin I find especially intteresting. It may not be dramatically historically important, but it has an interesting story.

It was struck in (or for) the city of Eumeneia in Phrygia around 41-40 B.C. The occasion for the issue was the city changing its name to Fulvia, after Marc Anthony's wife! Supposedly, the figure on the obverse is Fulvia depicted as Nike.

The reverse depicts Athena advancing left, holding spear and shield.

What is really interesting about the coin is the countermarks it bears. After Fulvia died the city took back its old name, i.e. Eumeneia. The name "Fulvia" was therefore erased from the reverse and a countermark bearing the monogram of "EVMNO" (or sim.) was applied to the obverse.

The name of the magistrate, Zmertorigos Philopatris, was already part of the reverse legend, although apparently a countermark bearing his monogram was also applied to the obverse.

So, a piece of ancient civic history. Not terribly important today, but an interesting look at local politics 2000 years ago.


(The usual reservation applies that the coin really looks a LOT nicer in hand than indicated by the picture...)

Post by: Cleisthenes on February 21, 2006, 10:25:04 am
This is not my absolutely favorite ancient coin imbued with historical significance, but it's in my top 10:

ROMAN REPUBLIC: L. Cassius Longinus. AR denarius (4.03 gm). Rome, ca. 63 BC. Veiled head of Vesta left, cup behind, L below chin / LONGIN. III. V, togate citizen standing left, dropping ballot into voting urn. Crawford 413/1. RSC Cassia 10. RCTV 364. Extremely fine

The reverseof this Longinus denarius captures a fascinating moment when a Roman citizen casts his ballot.  The letter "U" is visible on the ballot.  Unless I'm mistaken, that letter on the ballot is an allusion to the law--requested by an ancestor of the mintmaster--which introduced the secret ballot in most proceedings of the popular court.

Post by: Cleisthenes on February 22, 2006, 04:14:14 am
Here, too, is a denarius that celebrates the privilige and responsibility that is the foundation of a democratic society.  Granted, humanity had a long road ahead toward egalitarianism when this coin was struck, but isn't it an interesting testimony to civil liberty's heritage?  "The voter on the left (reverse) receives his voting tablet from an election officer.  Horizontal lines in the background indicate the barrier separating every voting division from the others.  Both voters go across narrow raised walks (pontes); this is intended to ensure that the voter is seen to cast his vote without influence" (Meier, Christian. Caesar: A Biography. Berlin: Severin and Siedler, 1982. Plate 12).  This significant coin precedes the Longinus denarius (above) by 50 years.

ROMAN REPUBLIC: P. Licinius Nerva. AR denarius (3.93 gm). Rome, ca. 113-112 BC. Helmeted bust of Roma left, holding spear over right shoulder and shield on left arm, crescent above, * before, ROMA behind / P. NERVA, voting scene showing two citizens casting their ballots in the Comitium, one receiving a ballot from an attendant, the other dropping his ballot into a vessel at right. Crawford 292/1. RSC Licinia 7. RCTV 169. Nearly very fine.

Post by: Jochen on February 22, 2006, 03:23:03 pm
Hi Cleisthenes!

You are right, this coin is historical very important. Thanks for sharing it!

Best regards

Post by: Cleisthenes on February 25, 2006, 03:02:30 am
Brutus Ides of March Denarius. 43-42 BC. BRVT IMP L PLAET CEST, head of Brutus right / EID MAR, liberty cap and two daggers. Cr508/3, Junia 52, Syd 1301.

For me, this coin represents one of the most intriguing "what if" stories in history.  What if Brutus and his co-assassins had not succeeded?  What if Caesar had lived?  All beautiful coins make me smile and shake my head in wonder (wow).  Some, as this coin does, also make me wonder (why . . . what if?).

"Obv:Marcus Junius Brustus: 'It depends much on what he wants; but what he wants, he wants utterly,' Caesar.  Coin struck by Lucius Plaetorius Cestius from the army of Caesar's assassins, commanded by Brutus:  Brut[us] Imp[perator]. Rev: To Caesar's assassins the Ides of March meant the day on which Rome was freed from the tyrant.  On this coin stuck in 43 or 42 BC in Brutus' army, the date (Eid[us] Mart[iae]) acquires the chararcter of a symbolic watchword: in the middle of the image is the pilleus, symbolizing liberty regained, and to left and right are the daggers used in the murder" (Meier, Christian. Caesar, A Biography. Berlin:Severin and Siedler, 1982. Plates 25, 26).

Post by: Robert_Brenchley on February 25, 2006, 09:51:47 am
Or again, what if they'd planned the thing properly, siezed Rome, killed Caesar's supporters like Octavian and Mark Anthony, and formed a government? They probably wouldn't have had the level of political skill needed to establish a stable dictatorship, the Republic was dead, what would have emerged?

Post by: Cleisthenes on March 01, 2006, 02:08:14 am
D•SILANVS, Silver denarius
Rome mint, 91 B.C.
Although the coin itself does not commemorate the event, the date this coin was struck is historically significant.

MARCUS Livius DRUSUS (his father was the colleague of Gaius Gracchus in the tribuneship, 122 B.C.), became tribune of the people in 91 B.C. He was a thoroughgoing conservative, wealthy and generous, and a man of high integrity. With some of the more intelligent members of his party (such as Marcus Scaurus and L. Licinius Crassus the orator) he recognized the need of reform. At that time an agitation was going on for the transfer of the judicial functions from the equites to the senate; Drusus proposed as a compromise a measure which restored to the senate the office of judices, while its numbers were doubled by the admission of 300 equites. Further, a special commission was to be appointed to try and sentence all judices guilty of taking bribes. But the senate was lukewarm, and the equites, whose occupation was threatened, offered the most violent opposition. In order, therefore, to catch the popular votes, Drusus proposed the establishment of colonies in Italy and Sicily, and an increased distribution of corn at a reduced rate. By help of these riders the bill was carried. Drusus now sought a closer alliance with the Italians, promising them the long coveted boon of the Roman franchise. The senate broke out into open opposition. His laws were abrogated as informal, and each party armed its adherents for the civil struggle which was now inevitable. Drusus was stabbed one evening as he was returning home. His assassin was never discovered.

See Rome: History, ii. The Republic (Period C); also Appian, Bell. Civ. i. 35; Florus iii. 17; Diod. Sic. xxxvii. 10; Livy, Epil. 70; VeIl. Pat. ii. 13.

The ensuing "Social War" (91-88 B.C.) would set the stage for the "Civil Wars" (88-87 & 82-81 B.C.) between, notably, Marius & Sulla, two men who would make significant impressions upon the mind of a young Julius Caesar.  Caesar would cross his Rubicon thirty years later.

Post by: Cleisthenes on May 20, 2006, 07:05:00 am
Ionia, Smyrna. Circa 125-115 B.C. AE; Homereum
AE 23mm; 7.95 gm. Eymelos and Ippyroy, Magistrate.  Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo right; Reverse: The poet Homer seated left, holding staff and scroll. Milne 221. VF.

In many ways, the poems of Homer have influenced most of us. Our notions of heroes (Odysseus, Achilles, Hector, etc.); faithfulness (Penelope); deception or cleverness (the Trojan horse); temptation (the Sirens)--the list goes on--have been shaped by The Illiad and The Odyssey. The cultural and literary significance of these two epic poems is difficult to exagerate.

Strabo mentions specifically this issue of bronze coinage from Smyrna when, discussing the city, he says ". . . there is also a library; and the 'Homereum', a quadrangular portico containing a shrine and wooden statue of Homer; for the Smyrnaeans also lay especial claim to the poet and indeed a bronze coin of theirs is called a Homereum" (Strabo, Geographica XIV, I.37, transl. by H.C. Jones, The Geography of Strabo, VI [Loeb, 1960], pp. 245-247).

Post by: Rupert on May 20, 2006, 11:31:25 am
One of the things that are so fascinating about Homer's epics is the fact that they are the oldest surviving European literature, which thus starts off not with primitive attempts but with a BIG BANG hardly ever equalled since (Shakespeare?).


Post by: Cleisthenes on May 22, 2006, 07:26:25 am

Your comparison to Shakespeare is interesting, and one with which I agree.  I am inclined to include Dante (late 13th--early 14th century).  In The Inferno, he does a masterful job of combining Christian and Pagan mythological figures.  I'd bring the work of these gents with me to the proverbial desert island if I were forced to choose.

Cheers, Jim

Post by: Rupert on May 22, 2006, 09:09:36 am
Homer (early Iron Age!) archetypically characterizes humans in a way that these figures were known to educated people through millennia and still fascinate us 3,000 years later in the Internet Age, like Odysseus, Achilles, Helena, Penelope etc. Same goes for Shakespeare (ok, half a millennium...) with characters like Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and many more (I'm not educated enough to know them all ;)).


Post by: Cleisthenes on May 23, 2006, 06:35:03 am
Here is a coin that reflects the current 'subject' of the thread.  It seems that Q. Pomponius Musa was 'up' for having pun with his name (pun intended).  The reverse device pictures Calliope; she is the muse (hence Musa's choice) of epic poetry.  She must have sung especially sweetly to Homer.  Musa has a series of reverse types that list many of the muses--i.e. Terpsichore, the muse of dancing (I am not sure if he covers them all).

Denarius, 66 BC, 4.08g. Cr-410/2a, Syd-811, Pomponia 2a. Obv: Head of Apollo r., lyre-key behind. Rx: Calliope standing r., playing lyre set on column, Q POMPONI before, MVSA behind.

Cleisthenes (Jim)

Post by: Cleisthenes on December 20, 2006, 03:04:24 am

The Battle of Actium was a naval battle of the Roman Civil War between Mark Antony and Octavian (Caesar Augustus). It was fought on September 2, 31 BC, near the Roman colony of Actium in Greece (near the modern-day city of Preveza), on the Ionian Sea. Octavian's fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Antony's fleet was supported by the fleet of his lover, Cleopatra, queen of Ptolemaic Egypt. The battle was won by the forces of Octavian, whose victory led him to be titled the Princeps Augustus, and eventually to be considered the first Roman Emperor; for this reason the date of the battle is often used to mark the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire. (
Following the Battle of Actium, Octavian invaded Egypt. As he approached Alexandria, Antony's armies deserted to Octavian on August 12, 30 BC.  Learning that her lover had taken his own life, Cleopatra does the same.  Cleopatra's death is used by numismatists to mark the end of the “Hellenistic Period” of Greek coinage that begins with the accession of Alexander the Great as King of Macedon in 336 BC (Sayles, Wayne G. Ancient Coin Collecting, 2nd Edition. Iola: Krause Publications, 19).

Augustus & Agrippa AE Dupondius. Nemausus mint, 10 BC - 10 AD. IMP DIVI F, laureate heads of Avgustus and Tiberius facing out / COL-NEM, Crocodile chained to palm. Cohen 7.  The the reverse shows a defeated Egypt sybolically depicted as the nile crocodile chained to a palm tree, and the obverse portrays the two victors of Actium, Octavianus Augustus and Agrippa.

The Battle of Actium, by Lorenzo A. Castro, 1672.

Post by: Jochen on December 23, 2006, 05:26:19 pm
A wonderful coin! I hope it is yours!

Here  I want to present one of my favourite historical coins. Not only because of its colour but of its historical importance too!

Roman Republic, C. Clovius, gens Clovia
AE Dupondius 27mm, 14.87 g
North Italian mint, 45 BC
obv. Draped and winged bust of Victory r., wearing hair up; star behind
        CAESAR. DIC. TER
rev. Minerva walking l., holding trophy over shoulder, spear and shield, decorated with Medusa;
       erect serpent at feet l.
       [C.] CLOVI before, PRAEF behind
Crawford 476/1a; RPC I 601/1; CRI 62; Sydenham 1025; C.7
Scarce to rare with excellent provenance, qabout VF, attractive yellow-olive river-patina
Ex Glendining’s (25 June 1997), lot 45.

Caesar's victory over the Pompeians at Munda on 17 March 45 BC resulted in a total victory for the dictator, thus bringing to an end the Pompeian opposition to his supremacy in the Roman world. The remarkable Caesarian aes issue represented by this well-preserved specimen would appear to be closely associated with the gold aurei and quinarii of L. Plancus struck in Rome in the autumn of 45 BC for the purpose of distribution at Caesar's Spanish triumph. The issue of Roman aes at this time was a great novelty as regular production had ceased four decades before and was not destined to be resumed until the Augustan reform of circa 19-18 BC. The idea probably originated with the Pompeian coinage of bronze asses issued in Spain prior to the battle of Munda. Caesar's issue would have served the purpose of low value donation pieces for distribution to the populace during the triumphal procession through the streets of Rome. The bust of Victory and the warlike figure of Minerva convey a clear message that this was a special coinage issued for the celebration of a military success. Not a great deal is known of C. Clovius (or Cluvius), the prefect entrusted with the production of this most unusual coinage. We are not even sure of the precise nature of his prefectship, though it is tempting to assume that he was one of the six praefecti Urbi appointed by Caesar before he set out for Spain. In 44 BC he was governor of Cisalpine Gaul and there appear to be later references to him during Augustus' rule.

This example represents the first time that orichalchum ("mountain copper"), or brass was used to strike coins and commemorates Caesar's victory in Spain. For the first time in almost forty years, aes coinage was reintroduced, and one may suspect that, as in the case of contemporary Pompeian issues from Spain, the reason was to recall traditional republican ideas. The style of those coins draws its inspiration from the traditional Janus types. Caesar, however, was completely new, not only in the material, but also the theme. Here, the bust of Victory for the obverse and Minerva for the reverse, sends a clear message about Caesar's military abilities. Who the prefect Clovius is, what prefecture he held, or from what mint these coins originate remain matters still open to debate, though hoard finds suggest a northern Italian origin, possibly Milan.
(from CNG)

Best regards

Post by: Cleisthenes on December 30, 2006, 12:12:23 am
I have previously offered this coin, but it deserves repeating.

ROMAN REPUBLIC: L. Cassius Longinus. AR denarius (4.03 gm). Rome, ca. 63 BC. Veiled head of Vesta left, cup behind, L below chin / LONGIN. III. V, togate citizen standing left, dropping ballot into voting urn. Crawford 413/1. RSC Cassia 10. RCTV 364. EF

The reverse of this Longinus denarius captures a fascinating moment when a Roman citizen casts his ballot.  The letter "U" is visible on the ballot.  Unless I'm mistaken, that letter on the ballot is an allusion to the law--requested by an ancestor of the mintmaster--which introduced the secret ballot in most proceedings of the popular court.

What marks this coin as especially significant is the date in which it is struck.  This is a turbulent time in Rome.  Pompey, on his return from his successful campaign in the East, casts an engrossing shadow over many in the senate.  Will Pompey march on Rome as Sulla did?  This is the year that Cicero is elected one of the consuls, and in important ways it establsihes his destiny.  This year marks the growing Catilinarian rebellion.  By 62 BC Catiline is dead.  And this year marks an important turning point in the career of Julius Caesar.

Until this time Caesar has been unable to really distinguish himself.  Of course there are those moments of boldly raising an army to face forces of Mithridates and his famous prosecutions and his oratories at the deaths of his mother and aunt and the splendid games he held in the memory of his father.  But they amount to little political power.  In this year we see the emergence of Caesar as a serious, high-stakes gambler.  He places his name forth in the election for Pontifex Maximus--against formidable opponents: two powerful optimates, the former consuls Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus.  "There were accusations of bribery by all sides. Caesar is said to have told his mother on the morning of the election that he would return as Pontifex Maximus or not at all, expecting to be forced into exile by the enormous debts he had run up to fund his campaign.  In the event, he won comfortably; despite his opponents' greater experience and standing" (Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.43; Plutarch, Caesar 7; Suetonius, Julius 13).

In a moment, Julius Caesar has arrived.  In one bold, albeit almost reckless, move he has achieved political prominence.  At the age of 37 Caesar assumes the power and prestige of the office of Pontifex Maximus--an office he holds, of course, until his death.

Caesar speaks-out eloquently against the death penalty that Cicero proposes for the Catilinarian conspirators, reminding his fellow senators of the Roman tradition of clemency.  (It is more than ironic to remember that many senators are suspicious of Caesar's complicity in the Catilinarian revolt.)  Cicero (or, more precisely, Cato) "wins the day," and the conspirators are executed.  This act comes to haunt Cicero.  Within a few years, Cicero himself would be exiled, with his actions during the conspiracy playing a prominent part (

During this year Caesar will distance but not sever himself from Crassus (by 60 BC Caesar, Crassus and Pompey have joined forces).  The year 63 BC is the year we see a Caesar completely dedicated to forging his destiny.  The stage "is set" for the drama that is to unfold fourteen years later: when Caesar crosses the Rubicon.  In the mean time, Caesar has Gaul to conquer.

Jim (Cleisthenes)

Post by: Potator II on September 30, 2007, 03:45:36 am
Hi all,

Some of you have already seen this one, but I don’t resist, as this thread has been « bumped » to show it again, under the angle of it’s historical interest. It is a plate coin in Emmet’s « Alexandrian coins ».
The only octadrachms in Roman provincial coinage are those of Domitius Domitianus
They are the last provincial coinage minted in Alaxandria

Octadrachm struck in Alexandria AD 297.
Obv : DOMTI - ANOCCEB, radiate head of Domitianus right
Rev : LB (regnal year 2), Serapis walking right, palm behind
12.79 gr, 22 mm, die axis 0°
Ref : Sear #4801, Alexandrian coins # 4241/2 (this coin)
Ex CGB monnaies XIII, # 1042

Domitius Domitianus, stationed in Egypt, rebelled against Diocletianus in july 296 AD and was proclaimed emperor. He was defeated during spring 297 AD. Diocletian decided to close the alexandrian mint, so the coins of Domitianus are the last provincial coins from Alexandria. Also, Domitianus was the only ruler to strike octadrachms (in parallel with didrachms, tetradrachms and hexadrachms)

The comment below is taken from « Lucius Domitius Domitianus : Egypt’s Roman Savior », article By Kenneth R. Kline Jr in the numismatics resources from Forumancientcoins.
« Of dire importance in maintaining his base of power, Domitianus comprehended the necessity for coinage reforms in Egypt.  Allowed basically only the tetradrachm as a common form of exchange, there was an absolute breakdown in Egypt’s monetary system.  To simplify the problem to its basic root, Egypt literally had no system for “making change.”  All matters of monetary importance had to be waged with the tetradrachm, a denomination far too large for most small, daily transactions. Noting this inadequacy, Domitianus commissioned the creation of several new denominations in the Egyptian economy.
By late 296, the new octadrachm and didrachm were introduced to the Alexandrian public. The octadrachm, set upon a value standard similar to the early Roman antoninianus, averaged approximately 23-24 millimeters in diameter; the tetradrachm remained its well-known 19-20 millimeter size; and the didrachm was slightly smaller at a 17-18 millimeter diameter. Designs for each of the coins were kept at a portrait obverse, but, ingeniously used as another attempt to keep the people and legions happy, reverses featuring Serapis and Nike were utilized. A final coinage reform would take place in the production of a gold aureus featuring Victory and a bronze follis featuring the Roman Genius. These two highly known Roman denominations were most likely used as a source of payment for external trade, thus supporting the argument that Domitianus had very long term plans in mind for Egypt.  In the end, these monetary reforms must have struck a chord with the populace because Domitianus’ popularity was solidified even more resoundingly
. »

Best regards

Post by: *Alex on April 15, 2008, 08:48:57 am
I am sure many members have missed this thread and have coins of their own that could be added to it. That being the case I just thought I would give the thread a little bump by way of the following coin.

This coin commemorates the Roman advance into Scotland which saw the beginning of construction of the Antonine Wall, running across the central belt from the Clyde Estuary in the west to the Forth Estuary in the east. Since Antoninus had already taken the title “Imperator” on his adoption by Hadrian, he was hailed Imperator for the second time after this victory in Britain which may have been engineered simply in order to give the new emperor military prestige.

ANTONINUS PIUS. AR Denarius of Rome. Struck c.A.D.143.
Obverse: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III. Laureate head of Antoninus Pius facing right.
Reverse: IMPERATOR II. Victory standing facing left, holding wreath in her right hand and palm branch in her left.
RIC III : 111b.


Post by: Cleisthenes on April 16, 2008, 12:20:07 am

Beautiful coin, congratulations. 


Post by: Cleisthenes on April 17, 2008, 12:25:04 am
It must have been amazing to have been able to participate in the celebrations that took place during the year this coin was struck:

Philip I. 244-249 AD. AE Sestertius (33mm, 17.09 gm). Struck 248 AD. Obv.: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. Rev.: Octastyle temple with statue of Roma. RIC IV 164; Banti 52; Cohen 201. This issue commemorates the millennial anniversary of Rome.

"Although Philip reigned from 244 to 249 according to the Christian system developed several centuries after his death, according to Roman practice he came to power in 997 AUC (ab urbe condita, "from the founding of the city"). The starting date in the Roman calendar was the legendary raising of the "eternal city" of Rome, by the hands of the hero Romulus, from the banks of the Tiber River on April 21 in the year that today would be referred to as 753 BC.

Thus, the Roman millennium happened to fall during the reign of Philip, and in a state that zealously observed anniversaries of every kind, from military victories to Nero's first shave, this escaped no one's attention. To mark the occasion, Philip staged Ludi Saeculares (Centennial Games) in April, 1001 AUC (AD 248), when Rome had actually completed its first millennium and embarked upon its second. Of all the many series of games that were staged in Rome, these Ludi were the greatest. . .

But the Ludi Saeculares were different, for, in the Circus Maximus, according to the Historia Augusta, there were "exhibited or slain" a rhinoceros, six hippos, 10 each of giraffes, hyenas, tigers and elk; 20 wild asses, 30 leopards, 32 elephants, 40 wild horses, 70 lions and "innumerable" other animals, all in addition to some 2000 gladiators.

Some of the more exotic members of this doomed millennial menagerie can be seen today on Philip's imperial coinage, which was unusually voluminous and diverse. The issues spilled into eager hands from six busy workshops of the Roman mint, and Philip kept track of each operation by a notable innovation: Every workshop had its identifying number (I through VI) stamped on the coins it produced. Never had the world witnessed such a well-coordinated show of pomp, power and monetary patronage" (Frank L. Holt, "The Roman Millennium,"

Sorry the coin photo is so small.


Post by: Vitruvius on May 08, 2008, 08:35:52 pm
The Punic Wars: A Clash of the Titans

In the mid third century B.C. Rome and Carthage were two of the Ancient Mediterrranean's "super powers".  Carthage was well established, having a great maritime trade throughout the Mediterranean along with a formidable Navy.  Rome was on the rise in this era and dominated much of the Italian mainland. 

The Mamertines of Messana in Sicily would initially call on the Carthaginians to support them in a local skirmish with King Hiero II of Syracuse.  The Mamertines would soon revolt against their African allies and call on Rome to ally with them instead.  When Rome entered Sicily and Carthage then supported Syracuse, the result was a pressure cooker environment which would ultimately explode into the First Punic War.  Rome would win several battles in this war and quickly build a navy comparable with Carthage.  Rome eventually won the conflict, and all of Sicily as part of a treaty drawn up with Cathage in 241 B.C.

After several years of tolerable trade agreements the two powers would soon bath again in each other's blood.  Hannibal quickly became the premier general of Carthage, sworn to hate Rome for eternity by his father, Hamilcar Barca.  In 218 B.C. Hannibal would invade Saguntum, a Roman ally, sparking the beginning of the Second Punic War.  Hannibal was determined to destroy the Roman Republic, and he knew the only way was to strike the Republic's heart: sack Rome itself.  Hannibal would cross the Alps and battle Rome in their own back yard.  He defeated the Roman legions in several engagements, including the Battle of the Trebia, Lake Trasimene and most famously at the Battle of Cannae.  Despite these victories, Hannibal would be left short for the siege of Rome which he so longed for.

This gold stater marks the first time Rome struck gold, both as an economic necessity and also as a rally cry.  Rome was shaken to the core during the Second War, which put a tremendous strain on the treasury.  The Republic was forced to take loans to support their war effort. They also realized they could not endure without their allies.  The reverse here clearly depicts a Roman and an Italian ally standing, facing each other, holding spears and touching with their swords a pig held by a figure kneeling between them.  This oath taking scene was perhaps meant to rally the troops of both Rome and it's allies.  Rome wanted to convey to their allies that they were in this war together, which ultimately helped swing the momentum in their favor.  The allies remained strong throughout the campaign and Hannibal's troops were soon outnumbered and exhausted by the time they neared Rome.  This would allow Rome to go on the offensive, led by the powerful general Scipio, who would attack Carthage and force Hannibal to return home.  Hannibal would lose at the final Battle of Zama in 202 BC where the Romans at last defeated him in open battle. Carthage pushed for and obtained a peace agreement, but only after receiving harsh terms. Carthage was stripped of its foreign colonies, forced to pay a huge war indemnity, and prevented from ever building a sizable army or navy in the future.

The Third Punic War would become a siege of Carthage and prove to be their demise.  A powerful light was snuffed out in Northern Africa, and the spread of western civilization as we know it would be greatly influenced from a new beacon hailing from Rome, the newest superpower who would dominate the Ancient Mediterranean for the next 500 years.  One can only ponder how different culture and society would be if the western world was influenced from the Phoenicians in Africa as opposed to the Romans from mainland Europe.

Stater circa 218-216,  AV 6.82 g. 
Obv: Laureate Janiform head of the Dioscuri.
Rev: Oath taking scene with two warriors, one Roman and the other representing the Italian allies, standing facing each other, holding spears and touching with their swords a pig held by a figure kneeling between them. In exergue, ROMA.  Sydenham 69.  Bahrfeldt 1 and pl. I, 8 (these dies).  Crawford 28/1.  Kent-Hirmer pl. 7, 14.

Photo courtesy of Numismatica Ars Classica

Post by: Robert_Brenchley on May 10, 2008, 03:39:17 pm
 Marcus Aemilus Scaurus & Publius Plautius Hypsaeus, marking the submission of Aretas III of Nabataea, and A Plautius, 55 BC marking that of 'Bacchius Judaeus'. Scaurus was a quaestor under Pompeius Magnus, who was sent to take control of Nabataea. He withdrew after Aretas paid 300 talents. they were never actually conquered by Rome, but submitted peaceably, and became indistinuishable from any other client state. 'Bacchius' is unknown to history, but is probably Aristobulus II, who was a captive in Rome when the coin was issued.

Pompeius became involved in Jewish affairs when two brothers, Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, appealed to him to settle the succession. After a considerable period of dithering, Augustus eventually appointed Herod I to be king, and left him to seize control, which he eventually did after a civil war against the Parthians' claimant, Mattathias Antigonos, the last Hasmonean ruler. Aretas became involved in the succession controversy betwen the two brothers, giving Pompeius an excuse to intervene in Nabataea.

It's interesting that the camel is placed on the obverse of one, and the reverse of the other. I don't know whether there's any similar case of a device changing faces from one issue to another.

Post by: *Alex on April 06, 2009, 10:19:35 am
Time for the annual bump. If anyone has any coin which they think is of particular historical interest please share it with us here.

The following coin, often called a quarter nummus or twelfth follis, the exact denomination being uncertain, is assigned to the time of the great persecution of Christians under Galerius and Maximinus II.
The obverse of the coin shows the famous Tyche of Antioch which was made by Eutychides of Sikyon in the second half of the 4th century B.C. The reverse probably represents the statue of Apollo of Antioch which was made my Bryaxis around 400-350 B.C.

CITY COMMEMORATIVE AE3/4 of Antioch.  Struck A.D.310 - 313 under Maximinus II.
Obverse: GENIO ANTIOCHENI. The Tyche of Antioch seated facing with the river-god Orontes swimming facing below.
Reverse: APOLLONI SANCTO. Apollo standing facing left, holding lyre in his left hand and patera in his right; in right field, A; in exergue, SMA.
Vagi 2954.


Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 06, 2009, 11:48:14 am
I think you mean Galerius. Those two were very strong pagans and the main political force behind the persecution.

Post by: Potator II on April 06, 2009, 01:53:38 pm
Thanks *Alex for reminding this interesting and informative post.

If I may add my two cents...

Wolf and twins republican didrachm

Historical context (from Encyclopedia Britannica ( :

Numitor had been deposed by his younger brother Amulius, who forced Rhea to become one of the Vestal Virgins (and thereby vow chastity) in order to prevent her from giving birth to potential claimants to the throne. Nevertheless, Rhea bore the twins Romulus and Remus, fathered by the war god Mars. Amulius ordered the infants drowned in the Tiber River, but the trough in which they were placed floated down the river and came to rest at the site of the future Rome, near the Ficus ruminalis, a sacred fig tree of historical times. There a she-wolf and a woodpecker—both sacred to Mars—suckled and fed them until they were found by the herdsman Faustulus.
Reared by Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, the twins became leaders of a band of adventurous youths, eventually killing Amulius and restoring their grandfather to the throne. They subsequently founded a town on the site where they had been saved. When Romulus built a city wall, Remus jumped over it and was killed by his brother.
 Romulus consolidated his power, and the city was named for him. He increased its population by offering asylum to fugitives and exiles. He invited the neighbouring Sabines to a festival and abducted their women. The women married their captors and intervened to prevent the Sabines from seizing the city. In accordance with a treaty drawn up between the two peoples, Romulus accepted the Sabine king Titus Tatius as his coruler. Titus Tatius’s early death left Romulus sole king again, and after a long rule he mysteriously disappeared in a storm. Believing that he had been changed into a god, the Romans worshiped him as the deity Quirinus.
The legend of Romulus and Remus probably originated in the 4th century bc and was set down in coherent form at the end of the 3rd century bc. It contains a mixture of Greek and Roman elements. The Greeks customarily created mythical eponymous heroes to explain the origins of place-names. The story of the rape of the Sabine women was perhaps invented to explain the custom of simulated capture in the Roman marriage ceremony. By including Mars in the legend, the Romans were attempting to connect their origins with that important deity. In the early 21st century archaeologists discovered remains from the 8th century bc of a cave, possible boundary walls, and a palace that demonstrated parallels between history and legend.
The famous bronze statue of a she-wolf now in the Capitoline Museums in Rome is believed to date to the early years of the Roman Republic (late 6th to early 5th century bc); the suckling twins were added in the 16th century ad. Some scholars, however, have claimed that the statue is from the medieval period.

Begining of silver struck coinage (from British Museum (

The Romans first started to make and use silver coins around the middle of the third century BC. The idea of producing precious metal coins by the method of striking had reached Rome from the Greek cities of southern Italy such as Neapolis (modern Naples). But compared to their neighbours, the Romans were slow to adopt coinage - Italian Greeks had been making coins since the late sixth century BC. Perhaps the Romans resisted it as a foreign invention. Certainly they began to use coins at the same time as they accepted other Greek cultural influences, such as the production of fine ceramics.
This example shows the head of the Greek hero Herakles (Hercules in Latin), whose cult had also been popular at Rome from a very early period. On the other side of the coin are depicted the founding twins of Rome: Romulus and Remus. According to legend the infants were suckled by a wolf. The design may have been inspired by a statue in Rome that we know from historical sources was set up in 296 BC, shortly before this coin was made.

The coin :

Didrachm minted in Rome c. 269-266 BC
No legend, Diademed head of young Hercules right, with club and lion's skin over shoulder
ROMANO, She wolf right, suckling Romulus and Remus
7.29 gr
Ref : RCV # 24

Post by: *Alex on April 06, 2009, 04:09:48 pm
I think you mean Galerius. Those two were very strong pagans and the main political force behind the persecution.

Oops! Thanks Robert, well spotted. I cut and pasted the description from my gallery so the typo has been evident for all to see for quite some time.  :-[

And that is a really great coin Potator. Thanks for posting it.


Post by: Jochen on April 07, 2009, 04:14:30 am
Cato Uticensis

I want to share this coin which is connected with one of the most upright but one of the most disputed Roman Republicans too, Cato Uticensis, a Roman who I have admired already during my schooltime, and about whom we have hotly debated.

Roman Republic, M. Cato Porcius, gens Porcia
AR - quinar, 1.94g, 13.8mm
        Utica/North Africa, 47/46 BC
       Head of youthful Bacchus, wrethed with ivy, r.
rev. Victoria Virgo std. r., holding patera in r. hand an palmbranch over l. shoulder
      in ex. VICTRIX (TR as monogram)
ref. Crawford 462/2; Sydenham 1054a; Porcia 1
rare, good VF
This coin has been struck in Utica by permission of the Roman Senate. The rev. is a copy of the denar (Crawford 343) of another M. Cato from the year 89 BC. It may depict Victoria Virgo, because we know, that Cato the Elder has erected a temple in Rome near the temple of Victoria.

Marcus Porcius Cato was the great-grandson of Cato the Elder, known by his perpetual 'Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam!'. His very name was Marcus Porcius Priscus and to distinguish him from his great-grandfather he was named Cato the Younger. The name Cato Uticensis he got not until his death in Utica.

During a military stay in Macedonia he travelled to Pergamon to meet the Stoic philosopher Athenodoros Kordylion. The philosopher was so impressed by the young Roman that he followed him to Rome and lived until his end in Cato's house. By him Cato became a convinced Stoic who was living this philosophy as well.

Politically he was an exponent of the optimates and therefore an emphatic adversary of the populares like Julius Caesar. He claimed the exact abidence of laws and demanded f.e. 65 BC when he was quaestor the repayment of the head-moneys which Sulla has payed during his proscriptiones. It's clear that this didn't make friends. Together with Cicero he fight against the Catilinarians - for whom Caesar definitely has had sympathies - and cares for their execution. He became opponent of Pompeius when Pompeius wants to get the a posteriori agreement of the Senate for his activities against Mithridates. Cato won and could establish again the Roman constitution. His understanding of duty often was seen as excessive correct. He was a man without compromises. But his dignitas however has been respected by all.

When Caesar on Januar 11th 49 BC crossed the Rubicon this was actually the begin of the Civil War. Concerned about the Republic Cato now took the side of Pompeius. Because of the superior forces of Caesar they left Italy and could defeat him at Dyrrhachium. But soon after they were beaten thoroughly by Caesar at Pharsalos and Pompeius killed in Egypt. Cato succeeded in leading his army to North Africa to Metellus Scipio and the Numidian king Juba. They conquered Utica whose razing Cato could prevent. When Caesar in 46 BC crossed over to Africa he could defeat the discordant army leaders definetely at Thapsus. Now there was no hope at all particularly because the inhabitants of Utica were adherents of Caesar.

Caesar has offered Cato safe conduct but Cato refused it and committed suicid as provided by the Stoic philosophy in such cases. Cato preferred to die with the Republic rather than outlive it. According to Plutarch he has read Platon's Phaidon before dying.

The historical assessment of Cato the Younger is controversial. He is accused of having been legalistic, having set the law over all. He is said to have been pig-headed, someone who today we would eventually call a fundamentalist. Even of hypocrisy he has been charged because of his alliance with Pompeius. But I think - like others do as well - he was the last upright Republican. Ok, you can say that from the beginning he stood for a lost case, that he has fought for a matter which he couldn't win nat all. But I think that just this makes him adorable even if this term cannot match such a correct and obstinate man. In this sense there are some similarities with the much later Don Quichote. He failed because of the viciousness, corruptness and power-madness which characterized his time. Lukan (Parsalia I, 128) said about Cato: "Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni (The victorious matter pleased the gods, the defeated Cato)".  

Despite all of his contradictions his attitude and particularly his death in Utica have made him a bright example of the libera res publica.

[1] Der kleine Pauly
[2] Plutarch, Cato Minor
[3] Wikipedia - Cato the Younger (

Best regards

Post by: slokind on April 22, 2009, 01:32:48 pm
He may not have been any angel, but he chose a wonderful architect for the Basilica Nova and he certainly chose, or the best Romans chose for him, a wonderful die engraver, and he had no chance against the Constantinian, one might say the Balkan, machine.  And then there are these Roma coins; perhaps he was quite serious about meaning to be Conservator Urbis Suae, yet he even behaved decently with the Church.  Anyway, this is my favorite coin of this period.  We have had a thread elsewhere about the temple.
I try not to be tempted by 'what-if' history, but. . .
Pat L.

Post by: Jochen on April 22, 2009, 01:49:07 pm
Here is a link to the Maxentius pediments: Discussion topic 40117 (

Best regards

Post by: wandigeaux (1940 - 2010) on April 22, 2009, 01:55:26 pm
Here is an answer to "what if" questions (apologies for my atrocious scanner).  Quite a nice smooth dark green patina in person.  George Spradling

Constantine I follis of Rome; RIC VI 303 (per seller), 4.19g

Cuirassed bust right

Roma in hexastyle temple

Post by: dougsmit on April 22, 2009, 06:14:42 pm
Often we hear about how bad a guy Nero was and how terribly he treated the province of Judea.  To commemorate Rome's oppression we usually think of Vespasian's Judea Capta series but I consider this coin equally to the point.  The doors of the Temple of Janus were open when Rome was at war and closed when there was peace everywhere.  Nero commemorated the rare closing of the doors with a coin series showing the temple with closed doors and explanatory legend.  Wikipedia reports, "The closing of the temple was a very rare event. It is said to have happened for the first time under Numa Pompilius, for the second time under Titus Manlius in 235 BC, a third time by Augustus in 29 BC, a fourth time by Nero in 66 AD and only a fifth time under Vespasian in AD 70."  The Judean problem was the reason for Nero having to open the doors.  Other references suggest Augustus closed them on three occasions but it was still rare enough that a province causing them to be opened would be unpopular at best and could expect to be dealt with severely.

Shown below are two asses of the type with slightly different legends.  

Just in case you did not know where 'everywhere' is 'land and sea' should clear it up.
Which version came first?  The shorter VBIQ is more common on asses.

Post by: slokind on April 22, 2009, 09:42:48 pm
That is a very nice panel of asses.  I guess you did it in Photoshop, OK.  Pat

Post by: dougsmit on April 23, 2009, 08:15:23 pm
The picture was made for my school program for Latin students to see if they can point out the difference.  Since the image is projected and needs to be that format to match the others, overlapping coins keeps image size up.  It also hides the part of the back coin that is less pretty.  It was done with Elements 6.0 but almost any image editor program that can do this. 

Post by: Robert_Brenchley on April 24, 2009, 02:36:42 pm
Often we hear about how bad a guy Nero was and how terribly he treated the province of Judea. 

I don't think Nero treated Judea worse than other provinces. There was a major economic crisis, and one way they tried to handle it was by squeezing the provinces. That provoked major rebellions in Britain, Germany and Judea. He became a late emperor three or four months after Vespasian's initial invasion of Galilee, so we can't really judge his policy towards the defeated Jews.

Post by: ecoli on June 26, 2009, 02:17:53 pm
Hadrian, 117-138 AD,

Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem) in Judaea.
Laureate bust of Hadrian to right
Veiled Emperor plows right with cow and bull, legionary standard behind; issued after his defeat of Bar Kochba's troops at Beitar in 135 AD.

From wiki...

In 130, Hadrian visited the ruins of Jerusalem, in Judaea, left after the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73. He rebuilt the city, renaming it Aelia Capitolina after himself and Jupiter Capitolinus, the chief Roman deity. A new temple dedicated to the worship of Jupiter was built on the ruins of the old Jewish Second Temple, which had been destroyed in 70. In addition, Hadrian abolished circumcision, which was considered by Romans and Greeks as a form of bodily mutilation and hence "barbaric". These anti-Jewish policies of Hadrian triggered in Judaea a massive Jewish uprising, led by Simon bar Kokhba and Akiba ben Joseph. Following the outbreak of the revolt, Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. Roman losses were very heavy, and it is believed that an entire legion, the XXII Deiotariana was destroyed. Indeed, Roman losses were so heavy that Hadrian's report to the Roman Senate omitted the customary salutation "I and the legions are well". However, Hadrian's army eventually put down the rebellion in 135, after three years of fighting. According to Cassius Dio, during the war 580,000 Jews were killed, 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed. The final battle took place in Beitar, a fortified city 10 km. southwest of Jerusalem. The city only fell after a lengthy siege, and Hadrian did not allow the Jews to bury their dead. According to the Babylonian Talmud, after the war Hadrian continued the persecution of Jews. He attempted to root out Judaism, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions, prohibited the Torah law, the Hebrew calendar and executed Judaic scholars (see Ten Martyrs). The sacred scroll was ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount. In an attempt to erase the memory of Judaea, he renamed the province Syria Palaestina (after the Philistines), and Jews were forbidden from entering its rededicated capital. When Jewish sources mention Hadrian it is always with the epitaph "may his bones be crushed" (שחיק עצמות), an expression never used even with respect to Vespasian or Titus who destroyed the Second Temple.

Post by: *Alex on August 31, 2010, 08:16:03 am
 This coin, an AE Follis (Nummus) of Thessalonika, was struck A.D.308 - 309 and shows MAXIMINUS II as Filius Augustorum.
Obverse: MAXIMINVS FIL AVGG. Laureate head of Maximinus II facing right.
Reverse: GENIO CAESARIS. Genius standing facing left, holding patera in right hand and cornucopiae in left; in left field, star; in right field, delta; in exergue, pellet SM pellet TS pellet.
RIC VI : 32a.

Maximinus Daia was the nephew of Galerius, who made him Caesar in A.D.305. He then changed his name to Galerius Valerius Maximinus and ruled over the East and Egypt from his headquarters at Antioch. When Licinius was made Augustus in A.D.308, Maximinus demanded the title also, especially since it had been usurped by Constantine in the West. Instead, both he and Constantine received the novel rank of Filius Augustorum in late A.D.308 or early 309, though Galerius finally acceded to Maximinus' demands and he was promoted to Augustus in May, A.D.310.
This coin bears this new and short lived title which appears on some coins struck for Maximinus in the West, however the issues of Antioch, his capital, continued to stress his position as Caesar and member of the imperial Jovian family.


Post by: Aarmale on September 01, 2010, 12:35:19 pm
My favorite historical coin is the Gamla coin, Hendin 673

Minted By: First Revolt
Coin type: ?
Metal: AE
Reference: Hendin 673, TJC 217
Obverse description: Crude Omer cup/chalice surrounded by very crude Ancient-Hebrew and Aramaic box-type text “In Gamla(?)”, “For Gamla(?)” or “Gamla, [year] 2(?)”
Obverse legend: B'Gamla, M'Gamla, Gamla Bet ? (BGMLA, MGMLA, GMLA-B ? , בגמלא, מגמלא, גמלא-ב ?)
Reverse description: Very crude Ancient Hebrew text, meaning unknown.
Reverse legend: ?
Year: February to August 67 CE (?)
Notes: These very rare crude bronze coins were only found in Gamla (Gamala), and obviously used the regular Shekels as a prototype for this, perhaps only from memory. It was agreed that this is the first and only Jewish city coin, with the name of the city “Gamla”, and the style is similar to Greek city coins. This coin was probably minted as propaganda during the Roman siege on Gamla (roughly between February to August 67 CE), a city sometimes called the "Masada of the North".  Filing marks (sometimes heavy) on the coins edges were noted. These marks may indicate that they were overstruck on other coins, and were filed for re-striking. These coins match size and weight of the largest denomination of Herod Antipas from Tiberias (TJC 227, No. 83) and the "year 13" (53 CE) coins of the Roman Administration (TJC 261, No. 347). The lead content of the coins are similar, but the fabrics are different - The Antipas coins are shiny and are prone to Bronze Disease, but the Gamla coins are more stable and have a grittier feel to them. See the articles by Danny Syon and Yoav Farhi from the Israel Numismatic Journal for more info on this interesting coin.


Post by: Frans Diederik on September 03, 2010, 08:17:36 am
In the republican series there are numerous interesting coins, as it was the custom for many years to celebrate the good works and victories of one's illustrious ancestors.
Of the imperial series the first real historical coin is Augustus 'comet', depicted on silver from Emerita in Spain.
AVGVSTVS - CAESAR , Augustus' laureate head left.
DIVVS IVLIVS left and right of a comet with its tail in the wrong direction.
It is listed in RIC as 37b.
The comet appeared shortly after the death of Julius Caesar and was proclaimed to be Caesar going to the heavens. This coin celebrates the occasion after about 25 years.


Post by: Tracy Aiello on June 11, 2019, 11:35:17 am
Alex, I like your idea of starting this thread up again.

This coin has been in my gallery since late May but I figure that it’s worth posting here (in an abbreviated version vis-a-vis my gallery).

Obv: MAG or MA (ligatured) G⦁PIVS⦁IMP⦁ITER; Portrait of Neptune facing r., diademed and bearded, trident over l. shoulder. Border of dots.

Rev: PRAE (AE ligatured) F⦁CLAS⦁ET⦁ORAE (AE ligatured)⦁MAR (ligatured) IT⦁EX⦁S⦁C⦁; Naval trophy with trident on top and anchor on bottom, prow stem on l. and aplustre on r., at base two representations of Charybdis and two dog heads of Scylla. Border of dots.

Denomination: silver denarius; Mint: Sicily, uncertain location; Date: summer 42 - summer 39 BC; Weight: 3.89g; Diameter: 17mm; Die axis: 30º; References, for example: Sear CRI 333; BMCRR v. II Sicily 15, 16, and 17 variant; Sydenham 1347 variant; Crawford RRC 511/2a or 2b.

Crawford states that the entire 511 series belongs to 43 - 40 BC, “...more precisely perhaps to the period after his [Sextus’] defeat of Q. Salvidienus Rufus in 42….” (Crawford, p. 521). Sear CRI is more concrete, stating that this coin is one of two coins (Sear CRI 332 being the other) that “...appear to be commemorative of Sextus’ defeat of Salvidienus in 42 BC.” (p. 203). So, if one follows Sear’s interpretation of this coin, then it is tied to a particular historical event in 42 BC, namely, the naval battle at Rhegium between Sextus Pompey and Caesar’s (Octavian’s) general Q. Salvidienus Rufus.

I assume that this defeat irked Caesar to no end. For the real significance of this event, however, I turn to Kathryn Welch’s Magnus Pius: Sextus Pompeius and the Transformation of the Roman Republic (Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2012). As a result of the defeat of Q. Salvidienus Rufus by Sextus Pompey in 42 BC Caesar was denied the use of the straits of Messina, thereby forcing him to sail around Sicily in order to get the few ships that he had from the west coast of Italy to Brundisium on the east coast of Italy, so that he could rendevouz with Marcus Antonius (Welch, p. 179). Eventually Caesar and Antonius would make their way to Philippi for the confrontation with Brutus and Cassius, although Caesar was so ill that he did not participate in the famous battle.

In the grand scheme of things the significance of the historical event commemorated by this coin (according to Sear) might not be very, well, significant. Nonetheless there you have it.