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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Greek Imperial| ▸ |Decapolis, Arabia & Syria||View Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Provincial Coins from the Decapolis, Syria and Arabia

The Decapolis means "the ten cities" in Greek, yet we don't really know how many cities there were, or where they were. In 106 A.D., under the Roman emperor Trajan, the Nabataean Kingdom and the cities of the Decapolis were incorporated into the newly established Provinces of Syria and Arabia.

Click here to read "The Decapolis of Jordan" by Rami G. Khouri


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Antioch, Syria

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Possibly struck in the year of Christ's birth! Most biblical scholars believe Jesus was born between 6 and 4 B.C.
SL91533. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 182; Prieur 52; RPC I 4153; BMC Galatia p. 167, 137; Cohen DCA 400, NGC F, strike 4/5, surface 2/5 (2490384-005), weight 13.664 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 4 - 3 B.C.; obverse KAIΣAPOΣ ΣE−BAΣTOY, laureate head right; reverse ETOYΣ HK NIKHΣ (year 28 Actian Era), Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, holding palm branch, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, YΠA monogram and IB (12th consulship) over ANT (Antioch) monogram in the right field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $350.00 (€315.00) ON RESERVE


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

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Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RY94450. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG München 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), VF/F, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porous, scratches, slightly off center, weight 8.671 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $250.00 (€225.00)
 


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $225.00 (€202.50)
 


Gadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.

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This type and another similar anonymous year one of Rome type, have traditionally been attributed to Gadara. In 64/3 BC Roman troops under Pompey "liberated" the Greek cities conquered by the Judaean king Alexander Jannaeus. Pompey personally supervised reconstruction in Gadara. Commemorating these events, Gadara established the year 64/3 B.C. as the beginning of a new Pompeian era, replacing the previous Seleukid era. Hoover says the attribution to Gadara is in error; that the fabric and style suggest a mint in southern Syria. For now, at least, we retain the traditional attribution.
RP91034. Bronze AE 23, Meshorer City-Coins 217, Spijkerman 1, Rosenberg IV 1, HGC 10 381 (S), RPC I -, aVF, weight 11.043 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Gadara (Um Qais, Jordan) mint, 64 - 63 B.C.; obverse bust of Herakles left, draped with lion's skin, club on left shoulder, anepigraphic; reverse galley ram right, L A / PΩMHS (year 1 of Rome [Pompeian Era]) in two lines above, all within wreath; rare; $225.00 (€202.50)
 


Lot of 5 Roman Provincial Bronze Coins, Nero (2), Titus (1), and Nerva (2), 54 - 98 A.D.

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LT88498. Bronze Lot, 5 Roman provincial coins, Nero (2, Antioch, Syria and Hierocaesaraea, Lydia), Titus (1, Antioch, Syria), Nerva (2 Antioch, Syria), 19.3mm - 25.4mm, F or better, nice coins, Nero with countermark, no tags or flips, the lot is the actual coins in the photograph; $180.00 (€162.00)
 


16 Roman Provincial Coins of Antioch

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LT87182. 16 Roman provincial coins, mostly or all of Antioch, 20.7mm - 25.9mm, F or better, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, the actual coins in the photograph, no tags or flips, as-is, no returns; $155.00 (€139.50)
 


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis

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Abila in the Decapolis, also known for a time as Seleucia, and ancient Raphana, is now called Quwaylibah, a site occupied by two tells (Tell al-Abila and Tell Umm al-Amad). Tell in Arabic means only "hill." The archaeological connotation of "hill of accumulated debris" in this case does not apply. The city was built over two natural hills on the left bank of Wadi ("valley") Qweilibeh, which is, in fact, delineated by hills and escarpments. The largest site is located amidst verdant agricultural fields near the modern Ain Quweilbeh spring. Roman temples, Byzantine churches and early mosques lie amidst olive groves and wheat fields.
RP91008. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6512 (3 spec.), Sofaer 10, Rosenberger IV 9, Spijkerman 9, SNG ANS -, VF, well centered, tight flan, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 9.675 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 45o, Abila in Decapolis (Quwaylibah, Jordan) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse AYT KAICAP Λ AYPOYHPΩC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse CE ABIΛHNW-N I A A I KOI CY (of the people of Seleucia Abila in Coele-Syria), nude Herakles seated left on rocks, right hand resting on grounded club, left hand on rocks behind, ϖKC (year 226) in exergue; rare; $150.00 (€135.00)
 


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Abila, Decapolis

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Abila in the Decapolis, also known for a time as Seleucia, and ancient Raphana, is now called Quwaylibah, a site occupied by two tells (Tell al-Abila and Tell Umm al-Amad). Tell in Arabic means only "hill." The archaeological connotation of "hill of accumulated debris" in this case does not apply. The city was built over two natural hills on the left bank of Wadi ("valley") Qweilibeh, which is, in fact, delineated by hills and escarpments. The largest site is located amidst verdant agricultural fields near the modern Ain Quweilbeh spring. Roman temples, Byzantine churches and early mosques lie amidst olive groves and wheat fields.
RP91009. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6512 (3 spec.), Sofaer 10, Rosenberger IV 9, Spijkerman 9, SNG ANS -, VF, well centered on tight flan, sage green patina, earthen deposits, weight 11.291 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Abila in Decapolis (Quwaylibah, Jordan) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse AYT KAICAP Λ AYPOYHPΩC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse CE ABIΛHNW-N I A A I KOI CY (of the people of Seleucia Abila in Coele-Syria), nude Herakles seated left on rocks, right hand resting on grounded club, left hand on rocks behind, ϖKC (year 226) in exergue; rare; $150.00 (€135.00)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Bostra, Arabia

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Bostra was the northern Nabataean capital, until Trajan annexed the kingdom. It was then capital of Provincia Arabia, where the Third Legio Cyrenaica was garrisoned. The emperor Philip was born in Bostra and designated it a metropolis. This type was almost certainly struck with silver from the Nabatean treasury. Some specimens appear to have been overstruck on Nabatean drachms.
RP92423. Silver drachm, cf. Metcalf Tell Kalak 15 - 17; Sydenham Cappadocia 184, 185, 189 (Caesarea); BMC Galatia p. 54, 62 var. (Caesarea, no drapery); SNG Cop, VF, fantastic bold "caricature" portrait, dark old cabinet tone, slightly off center, light marks, edge crack, weight 3.082 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 210o, Bostra (Bosra, Syria) mint, Jan 112 - Aug 114 A.D.; obverse AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIAN CEB ΓEPM ∆AK, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ Iς (or Z, or H) YΠAT ς (holder of Tribunitian power for 16 (or 17, or 18) years, consul for the 6th time), Arabia standing facing, head left, branch in right, bundle of cinnamon sticks in left, camel left in background on left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $150.00 (€135.00)
 


Lot of 5 Roman Provincial Bronze Coins of Antioch Syria, c. 200 - 250 A.D.

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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. Antioch was renamed Theoupolis after it was nearly destroyed by an earthquake on 29 November 528. 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
LT88499. Bronze Lot, 5 Roman provincial coins of Antioch, Syria, 17.1mm - 23.0mm, Nice VF, desert patinas with highlighting earthen deposits, no additional identification, no tags or flips, the lot is the actual coins in the photograph; $140.00 (€126.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Sunday, February 16, 2020.
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Roman Decapolis, Syria and Arabia