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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Philip I||View Options:  |  |  |   

Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

Marcus Julius Verus Philippus, known as Philip I "The Arab" was the Praetorian Prefect and the successor to Gordian III, whom he possibly had murdered. After signing a treaty with the Persians, he returned home. During his reign, the 1000th anniversary of the foundation of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated and magnificent games were held on a scale rarely seen. In 249 A.D., a series of rebellions occurred, both Philip and his son were killed after their army was defeated near Verona by the forces of Trajan Decius.


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Liberalitas coin types attest to occasions when the emperor has displayed his generosity towards the people by a distribution to them of money, provisions, or both. The first mention of Liberalitas was on coins of Hadrian. It was a type frequently repeated by the succeeding emperors. Indeed these instances of imperial generosity are more carefully recorded on coins than they are by history. Liberality is personified by the image of a woman, holding in one hand a counting board, or square tablet with a handle on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia, to indicate the prosperity of the state and the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RB91023. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 180a, Cohen V 88, Hunter III 88, SRCV III 8999, VF, green patina, well centered, excellent portrait, light corrosion, porosity, weight 21.816 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGG II, Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Eric J. Engstrom Collection; scarce; $170.00 (€149.60)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Antiocheia, Pisidia

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Pisidia's geographic and strategic position made it difficult to maintain peace. To strengthen control, Rome colonized the area with military veterans, who were attracted to the area by the fertile soil. An important Roman colony, Antiocheia was, like Rome, divided into seven quarters called "vici" on seven hills. The formal language was Latin until the end of the 3rd century A.D.
RP91512. Bronze AE 26, Krzyzanowska p.188, IV/4; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG PfPs -; SNG Leypold -; BMC Lycia -, gF, well centered, light marks, scattered porosity, weight 10.902 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, c. 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CAES AN-TIOCHI - COLO (clockwise from lower left), vexillum flanked by two standards, all surmounted by eagles, S - R in inner fields; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $40.00 (€35.20)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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The abbreviated Greek inscription A M K Γ B is a boast of this city, Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek number one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (Γ is the Greek number three) adjoining provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final B (B is the Greek number two) indicates the city held two neokorie, temples dedicated to the imperial cult.
RP88856. Bronze AE 36, SNG BnF 1737 (same dies), SNG Levante -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, ANS Mantis -, F, dark green patina, full boarders centering, earthen deposits, scattered porosity, weight 17.154 g, maximum diameter 36.4 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 245 - 246 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI IOV ΦIΛIΠΠON EVT EVC CE, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, Π − Π across field; reverse TAPCOV MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, Athena standing half left, wearing crested helmet, inverted spear in right hand, left hand resting on grounded shield behind, A / M / K on left, Γ / B on right; very rare; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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This coin is from the issue celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Rome.
RS89477. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 15, RSC IV 178, Hunter III 46, SRCV III 8957, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered, flow lines, reverse struck with a worn die, weight 3.884 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), she-wolf standing left, head turned back right, suckling infant twins Romulus and Remus, I I in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00 ON RESERVE


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In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus.
RS89482. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 10, RSC IV 241, Hunter III 43, SRCV III 8916, VF, well centered, frosty surfaces, light bumps and marks, die wear, weight 4.107 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Rome mint, 248 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate and draped, seen from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (courage of the two emperors), Philip I and II on horseback galloping right, E in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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During Philip's reign the 1000th anniversary of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated, and magnificent games were held. This coin was issued as part of that celebration and the reverse undoubted depicts one of the animal types displayed and hunted in the Colosseum during the games.
RB87835. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 160a; Cohen V 183, Hunter III 107, SRCV III 9012, VF, nice portrait, well centered, some bumps and scratches, a little rough and porous, edge cracks, traces of shellac(?), weight 16.917 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, from behind; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), stag standing right, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Otacilia Severa, Augusta February or March 244 - September or October 249 A.D.

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In Roman religion, Concordia was the goddess of agreement, understanding, and marital harmony. The cult of Concordia Augusta ("Majestic Harmony") was of special importance to the imperial household. She is usually depicted wearing a long cloak and holding a patera (sacrificial bowl), a cornucopia (symbol of prosperity), or a caduceus (symbol of peace).
RB87842. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 203a, Cohen V 10, Hunter III 14, SRCV III 9164, VF/F, nice portrait, partly squared flan, marks, scratches, corrosion, weight 17.715 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG, diademed draped bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG (harmony between the Emperor and Empress), Concordia seated left, patera in right hand, double cornucopia in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


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In 248, Trajan Decius put down the revolts of Pacatianus in Moesia and Iotapianus in Syria. In 249, after his legionaries proclaimed him emperor, Trajan Decius marched to Verona, where his forces defeated and killed Philip the Arab.
RS87885. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 98, Hunter III 41, SRCV III 8938, RIC IV 8 corr. (officina mark), EF, excellent portrait, well centered on a broad flan, iridescent toning, a few tiny encrustations, uneven reverse strike, weight 4.341 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse NOBILITAS AVGG, Nobilitas standing facing, head right, long scepter vertical in right hand, globe in left hand, ς (6th officina) left; ex Beast Coins, ex Harlan Berk CICF show April 2018; rare; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Ptolemy Soter integrated Egyptian religion with that of the Hellenic rulers by creating Serapis, a deity that would win the reverence of both groups. This was despite the curses of the Egyptian priests against the gods of previous foreign rulers (i.e Set who was lauded by the Hyksos). Alexander the Great had attempted to use Amun for this purpose, but Amum was more prominent in Upper Egypt, and not as popular in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. The Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so an anthropomorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.
RX87837. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2713; Dattari-Savio 4910; SNG Cop 709; Milne 3553; BMC Alexandria p. 256, 1980; Kampmann-Ganschow 74.29; Emmett 3506.2 , VF, mild porosity, edge a little ragged, weight 12.265 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 247 - 28 Aug 248 A.D.; obverse A K M IOV ΦIΛIΠΠOC EVCEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse Serapis standing facing, head right, wearing kalathos, chiton, and himation, long scepter vertical in right hand, L - B (year 2) across the field; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


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Elephants are represented on coins as an emblem of Eternity, because the ancients believed elephants lived two or even three hundred years. In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.
RS87526. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, full-circle centering on a broad flan, attractive golden toning, some die wear, weight 3.950 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $75.00 (€66.00)
 




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCMIVLPHILLIPVSPFAVGPM
IMPCMIVLPHILIPPVSPFAVGPM
IMPIVLPHILIPPVSPIVSFELAVGPM
IMPMIVLPHILIPPVSAVG
IMPPHILIPPVSAVG
MIVLPHILIPPVSAVG


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bland, R. "Dr. Bland's List for Philip I and Family" - http://ettuantiquities.com/Philip_1/Philip1-Bland-list.htm
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, vol. 2: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Göbl, R. "Römischer Münzhort Tulln 1966 (Septimius Severus - Gallienus)" in NZ 83 (1969). pp. 7-57, pl. 1-48.
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Muona, J. "The Antoniniani of Philip the Arab" in The Celator, Feb. 2002, p. 10.
Muona, J. "The Imperial mints of Philip the Arab" - https://www.forumancientcoins.com/Articles/Philip_Arab/index.html
Óvári, F. "Philippus antiochiai veretu antoninianusairól" in Numizmatikai Közlöny 88/89 (1989/90), pp. 41 - 48.
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Thibaut, M. Antoniniani from the Mint of Antioch Under the Reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 AD) - http://marchal.thibaut.free.fr/e_index.htm
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, December 8, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Philip I