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Ancient Coins of Syria
Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D., Antioch, Syria

|Nerva|, |Nerva,| |18| |September| |96| |-| |25| |January| |98| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Syria||AE| |27|NEW
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
RY94883. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online III 3481(8 spec.); McAlee 421c; Butcher 186; Wruck 128; SNG Hunter 2906, BMC Galatia -, aF, thick earthen deposits, some corrosion, weight 12.786 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR NER-VA AVG III COS, laureate head right; reverse large S C (senatus consulto), Γ> below, all within laurel wreath closed at the top with an annulet; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $80.00 (€65.60)


Antioch, Roman Provincial Syria, Fall 48 - Spring 47 B.C., Cleopatra Countermark

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Syria,| |Fall| |48| |-| |Spring| |47| |B.C.,| |Cleopatra| |Countermark||AE| |24|
From McAlee, The Coins of Roman Antioch, p. 74, note 25: "The coins of this year (Pompeian Era 19 = 48/7 BC) and of Year 3 of the Caesarean Era are frequently seen with a countermark on the obverse, which was previously described as "head of Apollo r." in an oval. As discussed in the text, it now seems likely that the countermark portrays Cleopatra, and was used to mark coins circulating in the Syro-Phoenician territories, which were given to her by Mark Antony."
RP98209. Bronze AE 24, McAlee 43; RPC I 4216; BMC Galatia p. 155, 35; Cohen DCA 384; HGC 9 1366; SNG Cop -; countermark: McAlee p. 74, note 25, gF, dark brown patina with highlighting red earthen deposits, tight flan, obverse a little off center, flattened opposite of countermark, weight 11.987 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, fall 48 - spring 47 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; countermark: bust of Cleopatra right in an incuse oval; reverse ANTIOXEΩN THΣ MHTPOΠOΛEΩΣ, Zeus Nicephorus enthroned left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs, Nike offering wreath in his extended right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, fulmen (thunderbolt) above, cornucopia (control symbol) inner left, IΘ (Pompeian Era year 19) below, all within laurel wreath; $140.00 (€114.80)


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Antioch, Syria

|Antioch|, |Trebonianus| |Gallus,| |June| |or| |July| |251| |-| |July| |or| |August| |253| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Syria||tetradrachm|
The last regular tetradrachms minted at Antioch were struck during Gallus' second consulate. Prieur notes, "It is highly likely that the debasement of these issues made them so unreliable in the eyes of the public that a new system had to be developed. Since a system based on the antoninianus already existed in the western part of the empire, it naturally replaced the tetradrachm in the East."
RY97234. Billon tetradrachm, RPC IX Online 1822 (9 spec.); McAlee 1176(a) (scarce); Prieur 671; BMC Galatia p. 228, 649; SNG Munich 103; Dura Coins 590, gVF, nice portrait, flow lines, debased coppery surfaces with only traces of silver, part of obverse legend unstruck, scattered porosity, weight 11.543 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 135o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, second issue, 252 - 253 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K Γ OYIB TPEB ΓAΛΛOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind, • below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠATO B (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 2nd time), eagle standing slightly right, head and tail left, wings open, wreath in beak, A between legs, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $140.00 (€114.80)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Chalcis ad Belum, Chalcidice, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.,| |Chalcis| |ad| |Belum,| |Chalcidice,| |Syria||AE| |21|
Trajan's last coinage struck at Chalcis ad Belum used the same reverse, dated KE. Year 25 of the local era must have been Autumn 116 - Autumn 117 A.D.; thus the era of the city began in Autumn 92 A.D. The KE reverse was used for Hadrian's coinage only for the short time after the mint learned he was the new emperor until the local New Year's day (perhaps 29 August). When the New Year began the date was changed to B referring to Hadrian's second regnal year (a new regnal year began on New Year's day, not the one year anniversary of rule).
RP97251. Bronze AE 21, RPC III 3471A (1 spec., added post publication); Butcher CRS p. 437, 15 var. (obv. leg.); SNG Hunterian II 2711 var. (same, slight drapery), VF, near black patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, marks, edge a little ragged, weight 9.023 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Chalcis ad Belum (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, Autumn 119 - Autumn 120 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC Θ TPA YI Θ NEP YI - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse ΦΛ XAΛ/KI∆EWN / ∆ (Flavius Chalkis [year] 4) in three lines, all within laurel wreath of eight bunches of leaves, closed at the top with a jewel; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 12 (31 May, 2020), part of lot 2018; very rare; $120.00 (€98.40)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Elagabalus,| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||tetradrachm|
From the Ray Nouri Collection.

This type is traditionally assigned to Antioch but McAlee identifies Laodicea as the most likely mint. McAlee notes, "After Septimius stripped Antioch of its privileges and conferred them on Laodicea-ad-Mare, some coins of Laodicea bear the legend 'Metropolis of the Four Provinces,' and others have a representation of four Tyches. The letters ∆ - E also regularly appear on the coins of Laodicea from the time of Elagabalus to that of Trebonianus Gallus." We attribute the type to Antioch, but clearly that is not certain.
RY94937. Billon tetradrachm, Bellinger Syria 42, SNG Cop 236, McAlee 758, Prieur 249 var. (both ties behind neck), Dura Coins -, F, toned, tight flan cutting off part of legends, reverse legend weak, weight 12.920 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 219 A.D.; obverse AVT K M A ANTWNEINOC CEB, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder, one wreath tie on neck; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠ B (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the second time), eagle standing facing, wings spread, head left, wreath in beak, ∆ - E (∆ EΠAPCEIΩN - of the four eparchies) flanking eagle's head, star between legs; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 (€98.40)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria

|Antioch|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleukis| |and| |Pieria||8| |assaria|
The Tyche of Antioch was a cult statue of the city goddess (fortune) of Antioch, venerated in a temple called the Tychaion. The statue was made by Eutychides of Sicyon (c. 335 - c. 275), a pupil of the great Lysippus. It was the best-known piece of Seleucid art, remarkable because it was sculpted to be viewed from all directions, unlike many statues from the period. Although the original has been lost, many copies exist, including the one in the photograph right, now at the Vatican. The goddess is seated on a rock (Mount Sipylus), has her right foot on a swimming figure (the river Orontes), wears a mural crown (the city's walls), and has grain in her right hand (the city's fertility).Tyche of Antioch
RY94894. Bronze 8 assaria, SNG Hunt 3042 (same obv. die); McAlee 832/2 (same); Butcher 488a; SNG Cop 256 var. (SHC in ex.); BMC Galatia, p. 209, 479 var. (same), aF, attractive for the grade, dark brown toning with green and red earthen highlighting deposits, porosity, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI MAP AVP CE AΛEΞAN∆POC CEB, laureate head right; reverse ANTIOXEΩN MHTPO KOΛΩNIAC, Tyche seated left on rocks between standing Tyche, on left, holding rudder and cornucopia, and figure in military dress, on right, crowning the seated Tyche, tiny ∆-E (∆ EΠAPXEIΩN - of the four eparchies) high across field, river god Orontes swimming left between S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $90.00 (€73.80)


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 83 or 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |83| |or| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Philip I Philadelphus was the fourth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus. He took the diadem in 94 B.C. together with his twin brother Antiochus XI Epiphanes, after the eldest son Seleucus VI Epiphanes was killed by their cousin Antiochus X Eusebes. The next year Antiochus X killed Antiochus XI. Antiochus X was probably killed in 88 B.C. Philip's younger brother Demetrius III turned on Philip I and took the capital, but the Philip I prevailed and took Antioch. Their youngest brother Antiochus XII took Damascus. Philip I tried to take Damascus, after which he disappears from the historical record, which does not tell us how or when he died. His death is traditionally dated 83 B.C. but Numismatic evidence and clues in ancient literature indicate that Philip I might have died in 75 B.C. His coins remained in circulation when the Romans conquered Syria in 64 B.C. Roman authorities in Syria continued to issue coins modeled on Philip I's coins, including his portrait, until 13 B.C.
GY97646. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2464(a), HGC 9 1320 (R1), SNG Spaer 2805, BMC Seleucid -, VF, light toning, light marks, slight porosity, weight 13.546 g, maximum diameter 51.4 mm, die axis 45o, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, c. 88/7 - 83/75 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Philip I Philadelphos right, bulging eye, pouting lips, pronounced aquiline nose, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΦIΛIΠΠOY EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, no controls left, (frozen control monogram) below throne, N (control) in exergue, all within laurel wreath; rare; $225.00 (€184.50)


Herennius Etruscus, Early 251 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Herennius| |Etruscus,| |Early| |251| |-| |First| |Half| |of| |June| |251| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||tetradrachm|
In 250 the Plague of Cyprian, a pandemic probably smallpox, began. It was still raging in 270 when it claimed the life of emperor Claudius II Gothicus. At the height of the outbreak, 5,000 people a day were said to be dying in Rome. The plague caused widespread manpower shortages in agriculture and the Roman army.
RY97763. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1153b (scarce), RPC Online IX 1715 (11 spec.), Prieur 630, Dura Coins 552, BMC Galatia 614 var. (5th officina), VF, slightly rough, weight 12.615 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - early 251; obverse EPENN ETPOV ME KV ∆EKIOC KECAP, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind, two dots (2nd officina) below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing left on palm frond, wings open, head right, tail left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $110.00 (€90.20)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Syria, Julia Domna Reverse

|Decapolis,| |Arabia| |&| |Syria|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Laodicea| |ad| |Mare,| |Syria,| |Julia| |Domna| |Reverse||diassarion|
During the reign of Commodus, in 179 A.D., Lucius Septimius Severus was put in command of Legio IV Scythica stationed at Antioch. In Syria, he was introduced to a little girl, Julia Domna, aged nine, the daughter of the high priest of Emesa, Julius Bassianus. Whoever marries this child, the astrologers had predicted, she will make into a king. Severus was devoted to astrology, and both the girl and the fable fascinated him. They married in 187 A.D., when she was 17.
RY93391. Bronze diassarion, BMC Galatia, p. 258, 81 - 82; SNG Hunterian 3211 - 3212; Meyer 23 – 34; c/m: Howgego 586 (COL) and 581 (CAΓ), aF, well centered, rough, weight 10.553 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 45o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 194 - 197 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI CEPT CEOYHPOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Septimius Severus right, countermarks: COL in a rectangular punch, and probably CAΓ (AΓ ligate) in a rectangular punch; reverse AYΓ ∆OMNA TYXH MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, draped bust of Julia Domna right within distyle shrine; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $70.00 (€57.40)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||AE| |28|
The obverse legend abbreviates AYTOKPATΩP KAICAP ΘEOY TPAIANOY ΠAPQIKOY YIOC ΘEOY NEPOYA YIΩNOC TRAIANOC A∆PIANOC CEBACTOC - The Emperor Caesar, son of the divine Trajan Parthicus, grandson of the divine Nerva, Hadrian Augustus.

The countermark with laurel-branch with four leaves in a rectangular punch, 4.5 x 6 mm, is Howgego 378 (69 pcs). The countermark was applied before 132 - 135 A.D.
RY93148. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 536b (scarce); RPC Online III 3694 (13 specs.); BMC Galatia p. 186, 299; SNG Fitz 5890; Butcher 231; c/m: Howgego 378, F, oval flan, clear countermark, legend weak/off flan, rev. flattened opposite c/m, green and red encrustations, weight 14.595 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 11 Aug 117 - c. 132 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC Θ TP Π YI Θ NEP YIW TP A∆PIANOC CEBAC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; countermark: laurel branch with four leaves within rectangular incuse punch; reverse S C (senatus consulto), Γ∆ below, all within laurel wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $80.00 (€65.60)










REFERENCES|

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