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Roman Provincial Coins from Mesopotamia and Babylonia
Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia
Carrhae is the Haran of the Bible. Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians near Carrhae in 53 B.C. Emperor Galerius was defeated on the same site in 296 A.D.RY93158. Bronze AE 13, cf. RPC Online IV-3 T9917 - T9918; BMC Arabia p. 82, 2; SNG Cop 175, VF, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan cutting off much of legend, weight 2.173 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 180o, Carrhae (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AVT K KOMO∆OC CEB (or similar), laureate head right; reverse AVP KAPPHNWN (or similar), six pointed star in filleted crescent with horns upward, small globe below on base; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $80.00 (€65.60)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Nisibis, Mesopotamia
Nisibis is the city of Netzivin in the Talmud. The Jews of Nisibis resisted the Roman conqueror, Trajan, to maintain Parthian rule. The city was taken only after a lengthy siege. After the it fell, Nisibis was laid waste and the massacre was so great that the houses, streets, and roads were strewn with corpses.RY93159. Bronze AE 25, RPC Online VIII U2787; SNG Cop 242; SNG Hunterian 2446; BMC Arabia p. 122, 17; Lindgren-Kovacs 2603; McClean 9557, aVF, full legends, light earthen deposits, cleaning scratches, tiny flan flaw above head on obv., weight 8.360 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, Nisibis (Nusaybin, Turkey) mint, A.D. 247 - 249; obverse AYTOK K M IOUΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse IOY CEΠ KOΛΩ NECIBI MHT, tetrastyle temple with twisted columns; within arched central bay: statue of Tyche seated facing, ram (sign of Ares) leaping right with head turned back left above, river-god swimming right below; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 (€90.20)
Gordian III and Tranquillina, May 241 - 25 February 244 A.D., Singara, Mesopotamia
In 242 A.D., Gordian III, along with his praetorian prefect and father-in-law Timesitheus, began a campaign against the Sasanian king, Shahpur I. After freeing Syria, a decisive battle secured all of Mesopotamia, including Singara and Nisibis. But after Timesitheus died in 243 the Roman advance stalled and they suffered a major defeat. In February 244, Gordian died and Philip was proclaimed emperor. Philip negotiated a truce in order to return to Rome for his Senate confirmation.RY93161. Bronze AE 33, SNG Cop 257; SNG Righetti 2646; BMC Arabia p. 135, 8 - 13; Lindgren-Kovacs 2627, VF, well centered, porous, deposits on reverse, weight 24.340 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 0o, Singara (Sinjar, Iraq) mint, 243 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANON CAB TPANKVΛΛINA CEB, confronted busts of Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed, and Tranquillina on right, draped and wearing stephane; reverse AVP CEΠ KOΛ CINΓAPA (Aurelia Septimia Colonia Singara), Tyche seated left on rock, wearing turreted crown, veil, mantle, and chiton, branch in right hand, left hand on rocks behind, half-length figure of river-god Mygdonius swimming left at her feet, Centaur Sagittarius shooting arrow left above; from the Errett Bishop Collection, big 33mm bronze!; $130.00 (€106.60)
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Edessa, Mesopotamia
In 230, the Persian King Ardashir I invaded Mesopotamia. Ancient historians disagree about the success or failure of Alexander's counterattack against Persia in 232, but there is no doubt that Alexander had enough success to recover Edessa and make the town the "Metropolis Colony of the Edessans." No documents mention this event but it is clearly attested on the coins, including this one. Both sides suffered heavy losses and agreed to a truce. In 233, Severus Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory."RY92578. Bronze AE 25, SNG Cop 215; SNG Hunterian II 2548; BMC Arabia p. 104, 82; Lindgren I 2578 var. (head bare, etc.), VF, black patina with light earthen highlights, weight 9.755 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 150o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 221 - 222 A.D.; obverse M A AΛEΞN∆EPOC KA, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse M A K AVP E∆ECC, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, veil, and mantle, sacrificing at flaming altar before her, river-god swimming at her feet; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $160.00 (€131.20)
Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes II, Early - Mid 2nd Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93629. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 13.1.1-1b; BMC Arabia p. 267, 64; Sunrise -, aVF, dark green patina, earthen highlighting, some porosity, edge crack, weight 3.777 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, Early - Mid 2nd Century A.D.; obverse bearded diademed bust facing, bunches of hair at sides and on top; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with double crossbar; reverse Aramaic legend: King Orodes, Son of Orodes, horned facing bust of Belos, large tufts of hair on each side of head, hair tied on top of head; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $65.00 (€53.30)
Kingdom of Elymais, Orodes III, 2nd Century A.D.
Elymais was the biblical Elam and home of the magi. With its capitol at Susa, it was a small kingdom in what is now Iran and Kuwait. The Kingdom of Elymais struck coins from the middle of the 2nd century B.C. until their defeat by the Sasanians in 227 A.D.WA93626. Bronze drachm, vant Haaff 16.4.2-1B(a); BMC Arabia p. 276, 39; De Morgan 28; Alram IP -, Sunrise -, VF/F, crowded on a tight oval flan, porosity, earthen deposits, weight 2.714 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, 2nd century A.D.; obverse long bearded bust left wearing tiara ornamented with anchor; to right, pellet inside crescent above anchor with one crossbar; reverse field of parallel V shaped marks; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $35.00 (€28.70)
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Singara, Mesopotamia
In 242 A.D., Gordian III, along with his praetorian prefect and father-in-law Timesitheus, began a campaign against the Sasanian king, Shahpur I. After freeing Syria, a decisive battle secured all of Mesopotamia, including Singara and Nisibis. But after Timesitheus died in 243 the Roman advance stalled and they suffered a major defeat. In February 244, Gordian died and Philip was proclaimed emperor. Philip negotiated a truce in order to return to Rome for his Senate confirmation.RY93160. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online VII-2 U2186; SNG Cop 254; BMC Arabia p. 134, 1 - 2; Falghera 2235, aVF, earthen deposits, weight 11.921 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Singara (Sinjar, Iraq) mint, 243 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, radiate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse AYP CEΠ KOΛCINΓAPA, draped, veiled, and turreted bust of Tyche right, Centaur Sagittarius above; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 (€73.80)
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