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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: A new Macrinus for Pat Lawrence 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: A new Macrinus for Pat Lawrence  (Read 3118 times)
Jochen
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« on: July 04, 2009, 12:29:40 pm »

Hi!

I think this portrait of Macrinus is not listed in Pat Lawrence's work:

Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Macrinus, AD 217-218
AE 25, 13.13g
struck under Marcus Claudius Agrippa
obv. AV K OPPEL [CEV] - MAKRINOC
        Bust, bearded, cuirassed with scale armor, laureate, r.
rev. VP AGRIPPA NIKOPOLITWN P[OC ICTRW]
       Apollo, nude, chlamys over l. shoulder, stg. r., seen from back, holding laurel-branch in lowered r. hand
ref. a) not in AMNG
          obv. AMNG I/1, 1796 (for Diadumenian, same die as ex. from Pat Lawrence)
       b) Varbanov (engl.) 3375 (same dies)
about VF

The rev. is known for Diadumenian, but the obv. is new for Macrinus.

Best regards
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slokind
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 07:20:53 pm »

That is (thank you for posting it!) the most beautiful Macrinus I ever saw (and my favorite reverse from a purely artistic point of view).  And it is a beautiful specimen.
Though I'll go and check to see whether I have some horribly worn specimen of the obverse die, I think that it must be new, though also I think I know which ones it resembles.
I'll get back to this thread after study, but maybe someone else knows that obverse die.
The Macrinus coinage is full of wonderful enigmas, such as the die that Longinus initiated and that the NadI mint working later for Agrippa finished using up (wearing out).
Pat L.
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slokind
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2009, 10:28:49 pm »

Context: In the 14 months of Macrinus’ reign, at Nicopolis the use of the mint by Longinus may have been the longest, judging tentatively by the range of portraits and reverse dies.  Its use by Pontianus may have coincided with some of the issues by Pontianus at Marcianopolis.  Tentatively, as a proportion to play with while working on the coins, I was thinking in terms of about 8 months for Longinus and 6 for Agrippa (not that new issues were in production continually).

Your obverse is very close to my Obv. C for Pontianus, continued in use for Agrippa, but the eye is different, some of the locks on the crown of the head are different, the bow tying the laurel is a bit different, the coincidence of the final sigma of MAKRINOS with the tip of the bust is different, and the structure of the formula for the ‘bust as from behind in scale armor, with cloak” needs analysis.  One detail, like the hair, is easy to name: the armor elsewhere shows either links (chain mail) or the disks attached (I think) to chain mail to make scale armor.  Your coin seems to show an alternative to the second.

As for Agrippa coins at this mint: When we see not only Pontianus dies in continued use but even one (at least) Longinus obverse, we shall not be surprised at some makeshift at the Nicopolis mint in the Spring of AD 218.

I notice that, evidently, you have the very same specimen as is illustrated by Varbanov.  Only you have the specimen in hand.  I say this, because I am going to mention a possibility that we don’t usually see on ancient Danubian bronzes: a re-freshed or re-furbished die, possibly worked on by the original engraver.

I am going to post for convenience the four best specimens of the four "bust as from behind in mail with cloak" that I already have.  Two from Longinus.  One from Pontianus (in its use by Agrippa, with eagle & legionary standards), and the masterpiece with full beard made expressly for Agrippa (it has a bare bust mate in the same style).  I can post the Diadumenian later, if wanted. 

As usual notice the apparent significance at the mint of the division of “SEVE” at the top: SEV – MAKREINOS on the Longinus with Nike, OPELL – SEV MAKRINOS on the Longinus with Demeter, S–EVÊ on the Pontianus (my obv. C for Macrinus), and uncertain on Jochen’s coin, but perhaps SEV to right of laurel tips.

I’m going to leave you all to compare these dies, which clearly are related, while I go off to try to find sculpture where I can see scale armor, etc., from behind.  While the elements are not random, neither should they be illogical.
Pat L.
All CLICKABLE of course.
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Jochen
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 09:06:15 am »

Thanks for all your information. The suggestion with the re-freshed or re-furbished die is very interesting. The coin I have not yet in hand. But I not even know where to look at to prove or refuse that.

Best regards
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slokind
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 03:18:44 pm »

Everyone: stay alert for "from behind" busts where the scale armor not only looks a bit like fur, but appearing as over the subject's left shoulder we see what could be a furry edge.  Perhaps I only had not seen such before: there is no reason why little flame-shaped things could not be fastened to mail just as easily as discs to make a scale pattern--but over the shoulder?
When the coin is in hand, check for re-patinating.  The coin looks clean to me, and it has none of the scars on the field that are so apparent on my coiled-snake reverse (which I posted for the obverse, but the snake of course has been grossly over-treated in conservation).
Therefore, if the coin is perfectly clean and shows no signs of mistaken cleaning up of details (which can only be told in good light and in hand), one would have to consider the unusual possibility of a die refreshed by Agrippa's mint men.  If a microscope is at hand, some of the other details mentioned last night could be checked, too.
The mint men that made the aberrant Apollo Sauroktonos and Medici Aphrodite (with cloak and boots) surely were capables de tout, even furry armor.
The type of eye on Macrinus is paralleled on the Diadumenian obverse used with my R11, though the boy, of course, does not wear mail, either plain or fancy. (attached)
Pat L.
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Jochen
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2009, 05:03:25 am »

Dear Pat!

Now, browsing through my Macrinus coins, I have found another coin with the newly detected type:

Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Macrinus, AD 217-218
AE 27, 11.48g
struck under legate Marcus Claudius Agrippa
obv. AV K OPPEL CE - VE MAKRINOC
Bust, cuirassed with scale armour, laureate, r.
rev. VP AGRIPPA.NIKOPOLITWN / PROC ICT
Eagle with spread wings, stg. l., head r., on girlanded altar between two standards
ref. AMNG I/1, 1714 var. (like no.4 from Copenhagen; the usual 1714 has bust draped and cuirassed, laureate r.!); Varbanov (engl.) 3360 (cites in error AMNG 1715 and decribes the eagle with wreath in beak!)
rare, about VF

Here we have the same furry looking edge over the l. shoulder. And it is identical with my 1st coin with the Apollo from back. Wether it is scale armour, I don't know. I could be chain armour as well.

The type with eagle on altar, flanked by standards are listed in your work as #77, 77x and 77y. The obv. is always type C. I think this new type is a close variant of your obverse C (and can there be too a small furry edge, f.e. #77?). The legend starts a bit earlier so that the break is one letter later. On the bust the back edge of the left flaps are seen on the back of the l. shoulder, and we have the furry edge on front side of the l. shoulder.

On this coin I couldn't find any clue for a re-cutting.

Best regards
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leemjvd
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2009, 08:20:11 am »

Sorry,

I can only sit here and gape. They are all so beautiful !

Thanks for sharing

Michael van der lee - NL
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slokind
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2009, 11:48:50 am »

I think Jochen's second coin is decisive.  I was trying to be careful, so noted everything I could discern.  The coin with the eagle between standards permits our reading, I think, on the far shoulder the fringe of the Severan military cloak.  As for the armor, one wouldn't want to say "Schuppenpanzer" where we cannot read overlain discs forming a scale pattern, so it must be variant, slightly fancier treatment of mail as such.  I do believe that there were basically three kinds of armor current in the 3rd century: the hammered and often adorned with relief breastplate (perhaps 'parade armor', whether on the Primaporta Augustus or on the Macrinus obverses with a gorgoneion on the breast), mail armor, made of wire mesh (on which additional elements could be attached: these also could be ornamental, to glitter in sunlight, as when brass and silver gilt 'scales' alternated in patterns), and slat armor (not yet common, I think, in the Roman army, which I was taught was adopted from the Parthians—but there may be later literature).  That is why I thought of flame-shaped elements on mail, which would be showy but not difficult to make; imagine the effect of brass alternating with copper.
If so, my first impression, simply to admire the die, would be true.  But it also is right to examine what is new.  It is like the second opinion in medicine or the refereeing of scholarly articles.
If I had to imagine a 'scenario' for this new die, considering its use with an eagle and standards reverse (I used spec. 11y as the best preserved I had), I should regard this one as its replacement for the very military-looking portrait that I called Macrinus obv. C, used by Agrippa's minting after Pontianus's.  Notice, too, if I was right, the replacement of the breastplate with gorgoneion (parade armor) obverse (obv. D by H).  And the scrawny portrait (used with the Sauroktonos and other types) may be seen as successor to the delicate-faced die initiated by Longinus (Obv. E).  These assertions cannot be proved.  It's not as if we had mintmasters' diaries.  But the Agrippa issues are uncommonly interesting and tempting in this way; notice, for instance, the flattened bow to the laurel ties on Jochen's coins.
Pat L.
P.S. Can we not read the armor on the new die as the same as that on Agrippa's bearded portrait, bust from behind with mail?  Above I illustrate that obv. die J with Revs. 07 and 79.  I have trouble seeing this as Schuppenpanzer; it seems to be some more elaborate kind of chain-linking to make mail.
BTW, your new coin is a reverse die match to my R77y (and perhaps the less well preserved specimens, too).  The two obv. dies used with the eagle-and-standards reverse die 77 do seem to account for Pick's Abweichungen.
P.P.S. And Jochen's eagle-reverse coin nails the separation of SE – VÊ (missing on the Apollo-reverse coin).
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Jochen
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 03:36:38 pm »

Thanks, Pat for your detailed excursion. Now I have to read it word for word.

Best regards
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slokind
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 11:44:17 pm »

I am truly sorry for the awkward English in my last post.  I know it is bad, because it's like reading German in Roscher's Lexikon.  Actually, it is worse.
This is the Severan general with the fringe on his cloak that falls over his left shoulder: my favorite Roman portrait in Munich.  I certainly agree with their Severan date for him.  I'd love to know who he is.  I guess we might recognize his name if we had it.
Pat L.
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leemjvd
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2009, 02:12:22 am »

Hi Slokind


Don't worry about yr English, you should read mine !

But how do we now this wonderfully intellectual looking gentleman is a general ? Because the use of the cloak ? Is it certain it is a general's cape ?

I agree it is a incredibilly sensitive portrait !
Thanks & Greetz

Michael - NL

Afterthought : Is known which coin looked the most like him ?
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