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Author Topic: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa  (Read 7846 times)

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Offline slokind

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MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« on: March 25, 2006, 06:39:53 pm »
Those of you who are interested in these coins may be interested in what the following assemblage is meant to illustrate.  Those who own AMNG already know that Pontianus is not QUITE alone at Marcianopolis for Macrinus and Diadumenian, but may not know that the single reverse, Apollo-Bonus Eventus, listed there (no. 785) is not quite alone.  I'll add them two at a time, each with my accession squib (which I do not call a formal listing, since I feel free to add what I wish).

20 03 06 Æ27 11.8lg axis 6h  Marcianopolis.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, r. and Diadumenian to l., confronted heads.  AVT K OPEL SEV MAKREINOS K M O[PEL ANTÔ]NEINOS.  Rev., Nemesis-Dikaiosyne, bareheaded, with scales and wheel, cornucopiae in her l., stg to l.  VP PONTIANOV MARKIANOP[OLEIT]ÔN (AR ligate directly above her head).  Pick AMNG I, 1, no. 762, both dies.  This is a very well attested type pair; Pick's specimens 3 and 7 have the AR ligature; mine doesn't preserve the omega-nu ligature at the end.

23 02 04 AE 27  12.74g  axis 12:00  Marcianopolis.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r. &Diadumenian head to l.  AVT K OPEL SEV MADREINO[S K] M OPEL ANTONINOS (both heads = no. 758: Pick, but this specimen, like Pick's 8 and 9, lacks the EI in Antoninos).  Rev. Nemesis-Dikaiosyne with scales (and wheel, but cornucopiae rather than goad) stg. facing l.  VP PONTIAN[OV]MAR    KIANOPOLEITON and E in field at r.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 245, no. 762 (without the ligatures of Pick's 5).

02 XI 99  Marcianopolis (Moesia Inferior).  Macrinus and Diadoumenian, confrontedRev., Nemesis (wheel) or Dikaiosyne, Latin Justitia (scales).  With magistrate's name (VP AGRIPPOV) and MARKIANOPOLEITON.
This Agrippa reverse not in AMNG I, 1

02 12 02 AE 26 Marcianopolis.  Issued by AgrippaConfronted heads of Macrinus to r., laureate, and Diadumenian, bareheaded, to l.  Obv. legend evidently (though worn) AV K OPEL SEV MAKREINOS K M OPEL ANTONEINOS (no K at 6:00).  Rev., Hermes with money bags in his r., with chlamys (as Hermes Belvedere, et al.) around his l. forearm, holding kerykeion, facing l.  VP AGRI[PPOV MARK]IANOPOLEITON (the omega-nu ligate); below the money bag, E (not lunate).  Not in AMNG I, 1, but cf. p. 249, no. 785.

27 03 03 AE 28  Marcianopolis   Issued by AgrippaMacrinus, laureate, and Diadumenian, confronted heads.  AVT K OPEL SEVE MAKREINOS (?) K M OPEL ANTONEINOS' (trace of wedge mark).  Rev., Hermes, nude, stg. to l., holding purse in his r. and kerykeion over his chlamys-wrapped left arm.  VP AGRIPPOV MAR    KIANOPOLEITON (the omega-nu ligate); in field at l., below the purse, E.  See Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 249, no. 785, but (though Varbanov lists none) several reverses are now known).

Offline Bacchus

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2006, 01:07:48 am »
A very interesting die run.  Agrippa issued coins from Marcianopolis do seem to be much rarer than those of Pontianus but I did not know just how much rarer they are.  To have only two attested reverses suggests a very short term in office at the end of Macrinus' rulership, but why is that true here and not at N. ad Istrum (which is just 'over the hill') and would have been part of his same domain, i.e., contemporaneously ensconced into office - local politics of the time? 

Speculation!
I wonder which was the first reverse type he issued, presumably the Nemesis-Dikaiosyne one if that is the more common and got a 'good run' and there really are only the two types.  Is he saying here that 'I'll be judge and jury to you lot for delaying accepting me as governor... etc.  Perhaps this is just too speculative?

Thanks for sharing that die run

EDIT.  Yes, sorry, three types (I forgot Picks B/E)

Malcolm

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2006, 01:52:58 am »
The most basic lesson Curtis had to teach me when I began studying these five years ago was that there is only one governor at a time; any one governor, however, can use any or all of the working or workable mints in his province.  Nicopolis, with its transition obverses used with reverse dies of Pontianus and Agrippa (and it is Pontianus who uses only three obverses that I know of so far here, though at least two of those are also used with Agrippa reverses) gives us the sequence: first Longinus who used only Nicopolis, then Pontianus, who used almost always Marcianopolis, then Agrippa, who used almost only Nicopolis.  I think there was a brief period when Pontianus reopened the Nicopolis mint for brass issues while Marcianopolis was still in full operation, and that when Agrippa was coming onto the 'job' he very briefly kept Marcianopolis open while he was gearing up in Nicopolis, from which he would issue all the rest of his (and Macrinus's) signed coins.  The coins just posted might be part of what is consistent with such a scenario.
Now, why might I think so, you all?  I want to test, in a small way, the ability of the coins to speak for themselves.
I've said nothing about the smaller coins, including the triassaria (some of them with a  :Greek_Gamma: in the field) for Diadumenian or the smaller coppers.  Unless very compelling technical or stylistic evidence is present, I assume that they were issued by the governor dominant at each mint, first Longinus then Agrippa for Nicopolis and for Marcianopolis Pontianus.
You see, even though I had a summer seminar at the ANS ages ago, no one taught us a thing about the Greek Imperials in 1958.  I only saw some reverses in art history books!  So I was a perfect newbie myself.  In 1999, when I got the third coin shown above, I had never seen a copy of AMNG; I got me an unlisted Agrippa at Marcianopolis without even suspecting that it was such!  It would be at least a year, as I recall, before I ever corresponded with Curtis.
If you are old enough to value time, you can learn very fast.
Pat L.
P.S. To answer Malcolm, we have so far three reverse types for Agrippa at Marcianopolis: the Apollo-Bonus Eventus that Pick listed, the Nemesis-Dikaiosyne that I got in 1999, and the Hermes of the fourth and fifth coins shown above.

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2006, 02:05:00 am »
Ah Ha!  So it is reasonable to assume that both mints were not actually producing coins all of the time (because that is how the governor wanted it, or was advised that that would be the best economic or politicial situation of the time).  That scenario though, does possibly allow for engravors (or other technical staff) to travel between the mints as and when they were operating.  I know Macrinus was only ruler for about a year or so but the distance between them was not that great.  Hence a similarity of ideas or skills or manerisms?
Malcolm

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2006, 05:53:29 pm »
Well, the logic is, so far, for the one-headed, presumed tetrassaria at Marcianopolis (not mentioned above), which in some cases very closely resemble some of those issued by Longinus at Nicopolis, that they cannot be concurrent, because they were issued by different governors, and we have seen that Pontianus immediately preceded Agrippa; therefore the Marcianopolis Macrinus tetrassaria directly follow those issued by Longinus at Nicopolis and precede, plausibly, the introduction of the pentassaria, the E coins marked on the obverse by the confronted heads.  The subgroup of confronted heads, with two or three lines of legend below confronted HEADS, some of which have Diadumenian to r. (of which some even put his name first), many of which look hasty or even crude compared with the other pentassaria, cannot continue into the period when obverse dies initiated by Pontianus at Nicopolis were used as long as they lasted, paired with reverse dies signed by Agrippa, because all of that subgroup of E coins of Marcianopolis with lines of legend below the confronted heads are signed by Pontianus.
Needless to say, we have no sources that directly address questions of this kind, especially in a region where, in the early 3rd century, we have no sources at all written from firsthand knowledge, unless you count the laconic monumental inscriptions gathered by Boteva.
I would add to the first sentence, above, that there is the greatest variety of both styles and physiognomy among the Longinus obverse dies, more remarkable because they are also, on the whole, the least mannered.
Patricia Lawrence

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 02:03:03 am »
Thank you for that.  One thing this does substantiate however, is that the conjoined busts where Diad. is on the right – even where he is named first, cannot be said to represent him in his ‘elevated to Augustus status’ as these examples occur too early in the timeframe. 

Is Pontianus the only Governor to have issued ‘tetrassaria’ at Marcianopolis?  I wonder why there seem to be only Macrinus examples of this type

Malcolm

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 01:55:49 pm »
The Caesar conventionally might have brass triassaria; in fact, at Marcianopolis Diadumenian has the only ones so marked, Pick AMNG I, 1, nos. 786-788, with  :Greek_Gamma:, though nos. 789-795 must be triassaria, too: brass and too large to go with the Æ15-17mm coppers. The  :Greek_Gamma: Artemis-reverse coins, to be sure, are large as such, but there are no others at Marcianopolis to compare.  These are among the coins that I assume were issued by Pontianus, perhaps corresponding to the single-head coins for Macrinus, interesting because they are isolated; with the E issues, apparently his occupying the place of an empress or Caesar facing the emperor replaced them, as it were.
There being no empress, and Diadumenian being Caesar and having the intermediate size, Pontianus issued only the Macrinus series Pick 708-714 as tetrassaria--i.e., not E coins.  It is interesting that at Nicopolis Longinus issued tetrassaria for both of them, evidently from the very beginning, judging from shared reverse dies, though Diadumenian does have a few triassarion-size brass issues there, too (nos. 1873-1874; my Diadumenian / Harpokrates goes with them, re-posted below).  Note the similarity of the obverse dies.  Pat L.
I don't have a nicer  :Greek_Gamma: Artemis Huntress; perhaps Bacchus has.

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 02:45:37 pm »
Very interesting info!

The only   :Greek_Gamma: Artemis I have is this one which is probably more worn than yours on the reverse but the obverse seems better preserved and is of a different die- the reverse appears to be the same.

I wonder at the need for five different denominations at these two mints. 1,2,3,4 and 5 tetrassarion (There were even 4 1/2 assaria at others).  Doug Smith has reasoned that an assarion was roughly equivalent to 1/12 drachm which is 3/4 of a denarius (or a similar steady ratio to an eastern silver).  Therefore approx. 16 assaria in the denarius.  I can see the logic in this as it is approx. similar to the sestertius /denarius relationship of the imperial series.  i.e. four big (tetrassarion) bronzes to the denarius.  Why the need to create a pentassarion at all - unless the 'exchange rate' somehow fluctuated or was tarriffed differently at the two cities.  The creation of 4 1/2 assarion at Tomis, I think, leads me to believe there was some sort of tarriffing setup in operation in these provincial cities.  I can see the need for loose change (1 and 2 assari) but both 4 and 5?  Is this the result of more than simple 'fuel' for the economic process?
All the best
MAlcolm

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 05:30:24 pm »
Quote from: Bacchus on March 27, 2006, 02:45:37 pm

I wonder at the need for five different denominations at these two mints. 1,2,3,4 and 5 tetrassarion (There were even 4 1/2 assaria at others).  Doug Smith has reasoned that an assarion was roughly equivalent to 1/12 drachm which is 3/4 of a denarius (or a similar steady ratio to an eastern silver).  Therefore approx. 16 assaria in the denarius.  I can see the logic in this as it is approx. similar to the sestertius /denarius relationship of the imperial series.  i.e. four big (tetrassarion) bronzes to the denarius.  Why the need to create a pentassarion at all - unless the 'exchange rate' somehow fluctuated or was tarriffed differently at the two cities.  The creation of 4 1/2 assarion at Tomis, I think, leads me to believe there was some sort of tarriffing setup in operation in these provincial cities.  I can see the need for loose change (1 and 2 assari) but both 4 and 5?  Is this the result of more than simple 'fuel' for the economic process?
All the best
MAlcolm
(1) We may never know more than Pick and Regling knew (for example, why Marcianopolis and Nicopolis are different).
(2) The system at Tomis evidently is connected with her pre-Imperial coinage; Count Soutzo had an intricate system, and even the rigorous Regling concedes that there is something in it, though Count Soutzo took exact weights of preserved coins too seriously and tried to erect too systematic and rigid a system on them.  But N ad I and Marc are new towns, and old mints such as Istros and Kallatis and Tomis might not be strictly relevant unless correlations are broad and deep and obvious.
(3) Whether we try to deduce reasonably as Doug did or try to do it by observation of types, all we are doing is trying to make sense of what we have.  The assarion may have varied regionally and chronologically.  We do not know that the word was always used for a unit (there may have been others).  I have thought that the diameter of the beaded / linear border might differentiate the 1 from the 2, or else the 1 might have Things (grapes, baskets, crescents, clubs, etc.) and 2 might have deities and divinities and personifications (yes, I know Serapis and Helios and Herakles BUSTS...).  Both, at these two mints, are always copper.
(4) I once had a notion about the pentassaria.  It arose from the idea of making change.  Thinking of real buying power and assuming that the Ister cities were involved in provisioning and other service industries for the legions and in trade between Pontos and Macedonia and Rome, it occurred to me that issuing 5s did roughly correspond to issuing of antoniniani, and they might be useful, practically if not arithmetically in theory, in making change for antoniniani instead of denarii.  A little more thought produced reasons for very serious reservations, not only about how it would work (and the absence of any evidence at all, beyond our desire to make sense of things), but what about the reign of Severus Alexander?
It would be, I think, extremely unwise to promulgate any theories.  I shall satisfy myself with what I can see and link with the coins themselves.
P.S. Weights are not determinative in the period and place in question.
Pat L.

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2006, 01:49:12 am »
Before I forget, when I started this I thought everyone would notice that the first two have the same Pick number, descriptively differing only in small Abweichungen in the reverse legend--and in AMNG, description was almost everything.
Above, I said that the tetrassaria issued by Longinus at Nicopolis and those issued by Pontianus at Marcianopolis are remarkably alike--but evidently I hadn't looked at them closely for a long while!  They aren't really very much alike at all.  What do you all think?  I could use more divergent ones than the very fine (IMO) dies posted below.  And, are we deluding ourselves, or do the Longinus ones really look more 'fat and sassy' than the Pontianus?  Pat

29 12 04 AE26  10.96g  axis 12:00.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Longinus.  Macrinus, laureate, bust with scale armor and cloak.  [AVT K M] OPEL SEV    MAKREI[NOS].  Rev., Tyche stg. l, with kalathos, rudder, and cornucopiae.  [VP STA LONGIN[OV     NIKOPOLI-- PROS I]I?  (but contrary to Pick's expectation, the exergue, fully preserved here, is empty.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, no. 1780.  The legends supplied thence and from 29 10 01, with a different reverse die (and on neither is the kalathos mentioned by Pick apparent).

22 10 03 AE 26 9.38g  axis 1:00  Marcianopolis.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, draped bust to r.  AVT K  OPELLI . SEVE MAKREINOS .  Rev., Tyche with kalathos stg. with head to l., cornucopiae in her l. and holding rudder in her r., its tip resting on a globe.  VP PONTIANOV MAR (AR ligate)      KIANOPOLEITON.  The ligate AR is a slight deviation, but this corresponds to Pick 711, a common reverse.  The obverse is exactly, down to the point between  the I and the S and the omission of M before Opelli, that of Pick 709, which was (and perhaps still is) a rare obverse die, quite uncommonly fine.

[Answer to rhetorical question: we may well be deluding ourselves, since the Pontianus portrait is in a different kind of portrait style.]


Offline Bacchus

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2006, 03:35:39 am »

[Answer to rhetorical question: we may well be deluding ourselves, since the Pontianus portrait is in a different kind of portrait style.]


Perhaps the reason may be a very prosaic one in that the master engravers have different images to work from in the two cities?  Or perhaps one of them actually seen him in the flesh and felt compelled to be more realistic?  But, yes, the Longinus ones do look more 'chubby' or 'less the warrior'.

"P.S. Weights are not determinative in the period and place in question."

You are certainly correct with this!  My attached example weighs in at 18.24g (playing with my new scales :)) which is really "off-kilter" (local expression for not usual) from the normal 12g-13g type range.  Yet it is clearly a pentassarion.

All the best
Malcolm


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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2006, 03:00:36 pm »
I don't want to go off on a tangent, from the question of the Marcianopolis one-head dies, but to illustrate the difference between a different kind of portrait style and a different kind of die style, I prepared a drastically compressed die-link pair of Macrinus and of Diadumenian, issued by Longinus, which illustrate the same kind of die style.  These two coins really go together.  In the first phrase, I would have said "genre of Greco-Roman portrait" but I feared it might be too specialized to use in a numismatic context. 
When I am prepared to do it properly, I shall present in full the place where the same kind of die style does occur at both Nicopolis and Marcianopolis.  Even the smallest mistake made in public now might make a headache for the future.  I know that sounds self-important, but I mean it quite seriously.  Pat L.

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2006, 02:06:25 am »
I think that your last Diadumenian may have an obverse die link with this one, with a Fortuna reverse (Note that OV dipthong character at the back of his head) and yes, they are certainly of a similar style.


I appreciate that there are different styles of die employed at the two mints.  Also that there are different styles of portrait promulgated (or broadcast) under different governors at a single mint but there are also some differences in portrait styles within these categories as well. I have attached another Longinus one just to contrast, though on reflection this one is really quite similar in style, just better executed - face wise though the shoulder is odd.  The third example (Aeskepios) shows more of a difference - almost a fluffy haired youth.  Admittedly, the changing imagery of Diadumenian may be viewed differently to that of Macrinus as there may have been a desire to show him ‘growing-up’ in order to bolster the reassurance of stable succession.

One thing I don't know - but would very much like to - is how much interest either the Governor or the Emperor took in what the coins looked like.  I can envisage them paying particular attention to, say presentational pieces, or gold (important people would handle these) - but it is more difficult to see an Emperor paying much attention to how he was portrayed in a single city's local bronze currency many miles from where he was usually situated - unless samples were sometimes sent to him for approval.   The local governor would probably take a much greater interest and want to ensure the Emperor was not offended by an unflattering portrait, should an example find his way into the Emperors hand.  I'm sure ambitious underlings would have no scruples in highlighting this.  Perhaps, as the Pontianus examples were issued after the Longinus ones (as in your two nice examples above) it was a case of the new governor wanting to do better than the old one and issue more flattering portraits?

I presume that there are a lot of factors in the mix.  Local culture, local tradition, politics, rivalry with other cities, whims of the elite, supply of skilled craftsmen, economics, effect of trade, etc.  I can see that within these ever-changing conditions picking out the factors directly influencing the what's and the why's of numismatic subtleties is extremely difficult.

All the best
Malcolm

Addendum – I notice that some engravers favour the OV diphthong and some don’t.   I must do a survey of my examples and see if there is a pattern here.

PPS Just how essential is a copy of Pick in really understanding this series? (many thanks)

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2006, 01:04:00 pm »
(1) Related issue, I’d say, but can’t be same die, because yours is of the ‘seen from back’ formula, and mine isn’t (I had a hard time finding a father & son alike in that regard, and when I did they agreed in other respects, too).
(2) Yes, I’d call your second a portrait that presents the boy formally, qua heir to throne.  I haven’t really got into studying these yet.  Different genres of portraiture may have been chosen because of impressions that they tended to convey.
(3) That is exactly what I would like to know: all about those consular legates who were governors of Moesia Inf. and Thrace.  These are important men and doubtless interesting.  The coins themselves show differences from one to the next that cannot be uninteresting.  There is no way to ‘proceed’ from the last coinage of Caracalla to the first coinage for Macrinus.  I do suspect that some governors were eager to produce distinguished coins, coins that other governors and cities might admire, and some governors may have encouraged die engravers and mint masters to vie with one another and with their counterparts elsewhere, not only to flatter (though that was done, doubtless) but simply to excel.  Some of these men probably had a taste for fine coins as well as engraved gems and tableware and what not.  But in some cases we wouldn’t even know their names, but for the coins; in some cases PIR and Beamtennamen come down to the same evidence: coins.  When we do get a name, say, in Herodian, it is not in a connection that really helps us in our work.
(4) Yes, indeed.  But those are subjects without predicates, as with so much Social Studies writing.
There are indeed die links a-plenty for the obverse dies, but I don’t like to mix images taken with varying lighting, or scans with photographs, in presenting them.  You can go nuts with ou diphthongs and the ei/i variable.  I'll present them as soon as I can.
For me Pick is essential, partly because his introductory chapters are so good, partly because I learned from him why painstaking recording of legends is so important, partly because his care and restraint are so exemplary.  Pick is my teacher, in other words, not to say that others aren’t.  But you can’t get just the first three tomes (vols. I, 1, I, 2, and II)—and you’d regret not having the other two if you did—so it’s not cheap.  At least, I’ve never seen it cheap.
Pat

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Re: MacDia, Nem-Dikaiosyne, Pontianus, Agrippa
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2006, 02:27:02 pm »
Of course - different dies  :-[ (seen from behind and not)  Amazing how when you think you see the linking factor you become oblivious to all else.  I will pass on the 'going nuts' for a while, I think, though  :D

Thank you
Malcolm

 

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