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Author Topic: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa  (Read 14025 times)

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Offline slokind

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Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« on: May 18, 2007, 06:07:38 pm »
So now we take for granted that good obverse dies may be handed around Asia Minor for Demos, around Thrace in the time of Barbarus, and from Auspex to Gentianus at both Marcianopolis and Nicopolis ad Istrum.  The most 'spectacular' is the career of several dies of Pontianus in use for a number of issues by Agrippa (and even of at least one of Longinus used by Agrippa).
The present posting shows the two Seated Zeus, manifestly one replacing, updating the other, of Pontianus and Agrippa at Nicopolis.
I just got a decent specimen of the Pontianus.  It is my favorite obverse die, and though the new coin has had a slightly rough life it mercifully has not been 'cosmeticized' (and so ruined).  On the whole, it is as nicely preserved as its counterpart of Agrippa.
Pontianus precedes Agrippa, and his is the new coin, which I'll post first.
• 18 05 07 Æ26 11.96g axis 7h  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Pontianus.  Cf. s obv die with s subject Agrippa rev.
replacing:
26 09 03 AE 26 10.26g  axis 7:00.  Probably issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r.  --] OPEL SE    VE MAKRINOS.  Rev., Zeus, half draped, seated to l., proffering patera.   The rev. legend is largely illegible but with the whole ethnic at r. leaves room for Pontianus' forenames as on 1680; across field PR  / OS  and in exergue ISTROmega.  This is the shared obverse die of Pontianus and Agrippa at Nicopolis, with the SE    VE split, the beaked nose, and the jutting chin.  Not listed AMNG I, 1, by Pick with this reverse: with the telltale PR / OS and in exergue ISTROmega, which characterizes Pontianus's long-legend Hermes & Cock reverse, Pick 1680.   May be Varbanov 2826 (listing w/o illus or data).     
• 04 06 04 AE 28  14.44g  axis 6:30.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Issued by Agrippa, using obverse die = Pick 1682 with Pontianus reverse: this is litteratim Pick 1683.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r., with incipient beard.  AV K OPPEL SE VE MAKRINOS.  Rev., Zeus on backless throne, half draped, seated l., holding patera and leaning on his scepter.  VP AGRIPPA NI K OPOLITON PR and in exergue OS ISTR.  All sigmas on both dies squared.
The time between them need not have been long!  Note that both show raised mark from a ding in the obverse die that most uses of it show (unless some 'cleaner' removes it!).
Pat L.
One curiosity: the letter forms and the general technique of the Agrippa reverse is more akin to the sharp-chinned obverse than the Pontianus Zeus reverse is.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2007, 02:27:00 am »
PAt,
A very interesting conclusion and well observed.  I think that the ethnic on the reverse of the Pontianus example is another interesting thing though.  That appears to be VP "P FOV" PON.....  I understand that that is P. Furius or similar, but I wonder why it is only Macrinus examples that seem to elaborate on this.


Malcolm

Offline curtislclay

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2007, 02:58:28 am »
The Pontianus rev. is in cruder and sloppier style than the Agrippa reverse.  It seems apparent that they were by different engravers.
Curtis Clay

Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2007, 02:31:51 pm »
Malcolm: Ethnic?  I thought that was Nikopolitôn.  Anyhow, P. Fou...  Not only is it only with Macrinus, it is only given on some of the few coins that Pontianus issued at the Nicopolis mint before Agrippa took over.  You get Diadumenian alone, on Æ25-28, only issued by Longinus and Agrippa.  As you know, Pontianus usually used the Marcianopolis mint, and for the single-head coins, he issued none for Diadumenian (the  :Greek_Gamma: -size coins are without governor's name), and on the two-headed E coins, he always just writes Pontianou.  But for these few coins, we wouldn't know who he was (see Birley for other Pontiani).  Pat L.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2007, 03:13:46 pm »
Pat,

Sorry I meant to type "before it" after the PON.  Yes, I realise that  Pontianus didn't issue much at Nicopolis and none named for Diadumenian - I was just wondering why -  when there was so much die sharing going on.  Perhaps an example of this reverse coupled with a Diadumenian obverse will surface in time - but I suspect not.

Malcolm

Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2007, 06:00:08 pm »
Well, what we know is merely a scruple in a ton.  I have fancied that it was not quite settled whether every child caesar would get large coins in his own name.  Even Caracalla hadn't had tetrassaria of his own as Caesar and, for that matter, neither did Julia Domna herself have her own large obverse die till Tertullus, perhaps when Caracalla became AugustusGeta only got large coins issued by Gallus, unless you count the one he shares with his brother issued by Tertullus.
As Caesar, Caracalla has coppers, plus that Eros Asleep, which Julia Domna shares; in the same status, Diadumenian has the  :Greek_Gamma: coin and a couple more without the  :Greek_Gamma: at Marcianopolis.  Also medium size and of brass, see the Æ23 of Harpokrates for Diadumenian that I like so much (I can only suspect that it was issued by Longinus, but Pontianus is a possibility).  Note that I didn't assert either of those possibilities.
But I did understand that you meant that the P Phou came before Pontianus; I ought to have been clearer.
Pat L.
Sorry!  I did mis-understand "it".  Anyway, I took the word 'ethnic' for the sort of thing I do when my mind is running ahead of my keyboarding.

Offline archivum

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2007, 06:34:01 am »
Perhaps also worth noting (based on ten or so specimens) that the long-jawed Macrinus appears to accompany just one of two listed reverse dies for Agrippa's scarce triumphal-quadriga issue from Nikopolis, Varbanov Bulg. 2675-76 corresponding to  Moushmov 1254-55, which themselves appear based on a Gallus template, Varbanov Bulg. 2139 / 2431.  Though I prefer both sides of the long-jawed Macrinus version, the other version is arguably the more refined edit, since its simpler reverse leaves out details that may earn their keep for Septimius' family but seem pretty irrelevant for Macrinus'. 
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline archivum

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2007, 06:36:12 am »
Sorry, those scans again:
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2007, 05:24:37 pm »
Yes, indeed.  I do have both of them.  A good friend just yesterday sent me an excellent photograph of a really good specimen with the bust in breastplate with aegis and the simpler triumphal reverse, with only the emperor in the chariot.  Note that this is not the highly elegant final version of such a bust obverse (what I think of as parade armor) but one related to the dies shared by Pontianus and Agrippa.  This die is in a soberer style.
This 'parade armor' obverse and the long-chinned head are the only dies that I know associated with the two triumphal procession reverses, and if this is true it may remove them from the very end of Macrinus's reign (and of Agrippa's term in office).
It is very difficult to collect these, because conservators in trying to make them attractive to non-specialist collectors often deface them.  The new photo that my friend just sent me has the die used with the simpler reverse (emperor alone in chariot) and shows that scarcest of obverse dies undamaged and undefaced, so I post it here (mine with the sharp-chinned Head is no different from the one in Varbanov, only a bit more worn, and both are undefaced, so no need to post another).
Pat L.
For verification I post my wholly 'unconserved' but patchy looking specimen; many would want to clean it further, but it is very valuable just as it is--only impossible to photograph!

Offline archivum

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2007, 08:22:07 pm »
Thanks for those handsome scans; do you think the Coinarchives V. 2675 that  I posted above has been tampered with?  Speaking of manifest continuity, I'm intrigued by what seems like a two-stage Agrippa reworking of that ten-year-old Gallus triumphal reverse, first transforming a togatus to a Nike and then losing the extra participants, Nike included.  The first-stage reworking (V. 2676)  overall shows an almost fastidious regard for the Gallus coin's layout right down to the ethnic, which makes it stranger still that the second stage alters so much, shedding triumphal Nike, the city's own namesake -- mistake or  political hedge of sorts?  Here are the Gallus reverse and a better V.
2676, neither one of them mine alas:
 
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Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2007, 09:40:25 pm »
I think that's the most enviable Caracalla Gallus coin that I ever saw, and certainly the best triumphal chariot.  If only there were a heaven from which numismatists could look down and see what was unknown in their lifetime, how Pick would love it.  It was not known to Pick, but AMNG I, 1, no. 1327, for Septimius was, known to him from a single specimen in St. Petersburg, schlecht erhalten, so that he can't be sure whether Nike is behind the emperor or not: you see, he already had noticed the correspondence to the Macrinus Procession reverses: pp. 344–345 and at no. 1327 on p. 369; Varebanov's no. 2675 (Bulg.) is AMNG I, 1, no. 1712 (obv. in Parade Armor with aegis / rev. without Nike and ill. Taf. XIX, 26, while Varbanov's no. 2676 (Bulg.) is AMNG I, 1, no. 1713 ("ebenso, aber im Viergespann noch Nike").  He knew only two specimens for the latter.  Now, if only Agrippa had issued one for Diadumenian, too!  I do not believe, however, that he did so, partly because even now it hasn't appeared, partly because Diadumenian was not co-Augustus, especially if I am right in suspecting that the use of these two obverse dies puts the Processional issue before the very end of Macrinus's reign.
Again, from my friend's files, I attach that very elegant, almost mannered version of the Parade Armor bust, which has die-links with the long-bearded naturalistic obverse.  These must be the ones towards the very end of his reign.  Pat L.
The Bust/Hygieia coin is again from my friend's photo files; the Head/Tripod is my accession scan.  The head on no. 1713, of course, is one of those known to have originated with Pontianus.
P.S. I don't think the one from CoinArchives was falsified, but I do think the conservator did not know which die he was trying to liberate from the crust, or whatever was on it; the die for Pick 1712 is not widely known, and obviously it was a difficult job.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2007, 02:54:04 am »
Pat,

Is it likely therefore, that the 'triumphal chariot' reverse type above was also commissioned to reflect Macrinus's forthcoming victory over the Parthians (which never happened) similar to that one issued for Marcianopolis with the Emperor holding Nike reverse?

many thanks

Malcolm

Offline archivum

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2007, 09:23:57 am »
If the absence of Nike from the second of these quadriga-issues has anything to do with Macrinus' defeat by the Parthians at Nisibis in 217, that would be an additional reason for dating either one or both issues before the very end of his reign.
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline curtislclay

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2007, 10:23:24 am »
Macrinus was defeated by the Parthians in battle soon after his accession, but he then negotiated with them and after several months reached a settlement, which he reported to the Senate as a victory.  The Senate ordered victory sacrifices and voted Macrinus the title Parthicus, which he however declined; Victoria Parthica appeared on Macrinus' Roman coins early in 218.  See my article on the coinage of Macrinus.

So Macrinus did have a Parthian victory in c. November/December 217; whether the Nicopolis triumph type reflects that victory is another question.
Curtis Clay

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2007, 03:06:50 pm »
There's a very weatherbeaten long-jawed Macrinus-Agrippa-Hermes now on auction if anyone's interested:
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2007, 03:35:37 pm »
I want to compare the one, also weatherbeaten, in Reply #2 of this thread:
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=26838.0
Pat L.
P.S. Yes, the same die-pair.  This one a little clearer.

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2007, 04:25:11 pm »
Interesting; this one must be your Second Edition, but I'm puzzled at what look like differences in the head-presentation of Hermes -- a trick of the light or someone trying to do a reedit?
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2007, 05:42:05 pm »
The head and shoulders, yes, are puzzling, not helped by corroded areas.  But the letters align, V to the cock's breast,  PI to the follis that Hermes holds, O :Greek_Pi: to Hermes head, and probably P :Greek_Omega: in the exergue.  There are other Hermes reverses, of course, but this one seems right.  Pat L.

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2007, 11:34:44 pm »
archivum:
That is actually...ah.....mmm....my long-jawed, weatherbeaten Macrinus for sale. ::)

Offline archivum

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2007, 07:45:29 am »
Weatherbeaten and long-jawed?  Sounds like some action-hero; Macrinus could surely do worse.  Anyway, hope the buzz here helps sales, though I couldn't link straight to the auction; you are selling an interesting item, particularly if there really is a slight hint that your Hermes is wearing a petasos.
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline whitetd49

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2007, 04:34:23 pm »
It appears that the original obverse die (see above) of Macrinus issued by Pontianus and also used by Agrippa also appears on the latter's city gate issue, Varbanov (Eng) 3344 (illistrated).
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Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2007, 09:06:45 pm »
Yes, I've just been working on these (at the same time trying, for methodology's sake--and I take that seriously--not to let them overshadow all the other Pontianus and Agrippa coins).  The Agrippa 'composite picture' (let me repeat, based on no evidence but the coins themselves apart from that Parthian victory/settlement that Curtis describes) is very interesting: it gives us very interesting questions, and I think that getting true questions is the most important quest of all.  Give me a couple of weeks...  At least, now I know how to post the pages.
Pat L.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2008, 02:48:56 pm »
To resurect this thread, and in a radical departure from my usual area, I eventually picked up one of these Macrinus busts with aegis.  I think it should be Varbanov Vol.1 No. 3397 pp286, ( the same as the coin displayed) but that one references a plain laureate bust.  I think this may be a small error and the reference should read Obverse bust type "Ud"

Malcolm

Offline slokind

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2008, 03:50:38 pm »
Yes, Varbanov's Ud, with the aegis, would correspond.  Of course, there's another with an aegis, the one with the quadriga reverse, a different die, and another that may have a gorgoneion issued by Longinus.
Your obverse has exceptionally clear facial features and snakes, though.  Don't I have a double die match?  Pat
Yes, my obverse H with reverse 60, 60x.  It took me a long time, too, to get one with certain traces of the gorgoneion as well as the snakes.
Varbanov's list just isn't specific enough; it's more like the RIC classification, but not so good applied to Greek Imperials where there aren't dozens and dozens of dies per type on denarii and antoniniani.

Offline Bamba123

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Re: Manifest continuity: Pontianus to Agrippa
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2008, 05:07:13 pm »
Well here I am a year late.  Have a Marcrinus coin and I am trying to ID the obverse die, I have been looking at the dies on the Pontianus Agrippa Dies website and have done nothing but fuel my confusion.  Can you ID the die on this coin?  thank you very much Jim
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