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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ ArchitectureView Options:  |  |  |   

Architecture on Ancient Coins

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4000.00 (3400.00)


Sextus Pompey, Imperator and Prefect of the Fleet, Executed 35 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily, opposite her counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other - so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass dangerously close to Scylla and vice versa. Scylla made her first appearance in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus and his crew encounter her and Charybdis on their travels. Later myth gave her an origin story as a beautiful nymph who gets turned into a monster. The idiom "between Scylla and Charybdis" has come to mean being forced to choose between two similarly dangerous situations.
SH87414. Silver denarius, RSC I Pompeia 3a (same ligatures), Crawford 511/4d, Sydenham 1348, BMCRR Sicily 20, Sear CRI 335b, SRCV I 1393, gVF, beautifully toned, edge cracks, legends not fully struck, weight 3.566 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain Sicilian mint, 40 - 39 B.C.; obverse MAGPIVSIMPITER, pharos (lighthouse) of Messana, topped with stature of Neptune standing right holding trident and rudder, his left foot on a galley ram; quinquereme (war galley) sailing left in foreground below adorned with aquila on prow and scepter at the stern; reverse PRAEF ORAEMARITETCLAS SC (AEs and MAR ligate), the sea monster Skylla, her upper body a nude human female torso, lower body of two fish tails and three dog foreparts, attacking to left with a rudder wielded as a club in both hands raised overhead; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 349; rare; $2100.00 (1785.00)


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

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The cistophorus was first struck by the Pergamene Kingdom was a tetradrachm (four-drachms coin) struck on a reduced Asian standard of about 3 grams per drachm. Its name was derived from the cista, a Dionysian cult snake basket that frequently appeared on the obverse. After the Pergamene Kingdom was bequeathed to Rome in 133 B.C., the Romans continued to strike cistophori for the Asia province, with a value equal to three denarii. The portrait of Augustus and later emperors replaced the cista on the obverse.
SH85434. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Sutherland Group VI, RPC I 2215, RIC I 479, RSC I 33, BnF I 922, BMCRE I 694, BMCRR East 262, SRCV I 1587, VF, full circles strike on a broad flan, light uneven toning, light encrustations, small closed edge crack, weight 11.660 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, c. 24 - 20 B.C.; obverse IMP CAE-SAR (counterclockwise below), bare head right, linear border; reverse garlanded and filleted altar of Diana (artemis, ornamented on the front with two hinds standing confronted, AVGVSTVS above; $1080.00 (918.00)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Augusta Traiana, Thrace

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Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria today) was founded by Trajan, c. 106 A.D. During 2nd - 3rd century A.D., it was the second largest city in Roman Thrace, after Philippopolis, and was fortified by strong walls. The city struck bronze coins from the time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
RP83509. Brass AE 31, Schnert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 163, Varbanov II 1009 (R7), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, centration dimples, weight 15.997 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠTI - CEVHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse AVΓOVCT-HC TRAIAN-HC, tetrastyle temple on raised platform, flanked on each side by a tree and a stag leaping outward, Artemis standing right within the temple, holding bow in left hand and drawing arrow from quiver on shoulder with right hand; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $215.00 (182.75)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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In 278, Probus defeated the Alamanni, expelled the Franks from Gaul, reorganized the Roman defenses on the Rhine and resettled the Germanic tribes in the devastated provinces. He adopted the titles Gothicus Maximus and Germanicus Maximus.
RA76944. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice EF, near full silvering, superb portrait, light marks, weight 4.097 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; $160.00 (136.00)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 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.
RY86830. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online IV 8532 (52 spec.); SNG Hunterian 2628 (same c/m); BMC Galatia p. 125, 8 (same); SNG Cop 28; countermark: Howgego 453 (32 pcs.), aF, c/m VF, tight flan, earthen deposits, corrosion, edge cracks , weight 10.192 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma mint, 138 - 161 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAI TIT AIΛ A∆P ANTWNEINOC CEB EY (or similar), laureate head right, countermark: 5-pointed star in same shaped 5 mm punch; reverse ZEYΓMTEWN, tetrastyle temple, a rectangular walled and colonnaded peribolos before the temple containing sacred grove, crescent with horns up above, obscure officina letter upper left; ex Beast Coins; $125.00 (106.25)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Perinthus, Thrace

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A neocorate was a rank or dignity granted by the Roman Senate and the Emperor to certain cities which had built temples to the Emperor or had established cults of members of the Imperial family. The city itself was referred to as neokoros (pl. neokoroi). A temple dedicated to the emperor was also called neocorate. Starting in the 2nd century CE, the title appeared on many coins. There were approximately 37 cities holding the neocorate, concentrated in the province of Asia, but also in neighboring provinces. Severus rewarded Perinthus with the title Neokoros for the first time for their support against Pescennius Niger. The city received a second neocorate under Elagabalus.
RP83931. Bronze tetrassarion, CNT_2626, Schnert Perinthos 466, Varbanov III 193 (R5), Moushmov 4524, SNG Cop 741 var. (draped and cuirassed), BMC Thrace -, F, nice portrait, green patina, scratches, small edge crack, central dimples, weight 15.690 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 225o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 196 - 211 A.D.; obverse AY KΛ CEΠ CEYHPOC ΠE, laureate head right; reverse facade of a octastyle temple on double crepidoma with eight Corinthian columns, shield with umbo on pediment and acroteria on roof, ΠE−PIN/ΘI−ΩN flanking across field in two divided lines, NEΩKOPΩC in exergue; $125.00 (106.25)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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In 327, attempting to resolve a labor shortage, Constantine the Great decreed that rural slaves can only be sold in the province where they reside.
RL86835. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Arles 313 (S), LRBC I 321, SRCV IV 16309, Cohen VII 665, Hunter V -, gVF, nice portrait, green patina, some silvering, areas of slight porosity, weight 2.630 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, 327 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), campgate with four turrets, open gates and star above, S - F in flanking across field, ARLS in exergue; ex Beast Coins, the Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates; scarce; $120.00 (102.00)


Constantius II as Caesar, 324-337 A.D.

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In 328 Arelatum was renamed Constantia in honor of Constantine II. After Constantine II was killed in 340, the name reverted to Arelate, only to be changed again in 354 to Constantia by Constantius II. It retained that name, although the mintmark 'AR' appeared on some of its coins even in the fifth century.
RL86836. Billon follis, RIC VII Arles 323, LRBC I 333, SRCV V 17665, Cohen VIII 314, Hunter V -, gVF, brown patina, weight 3.213 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, as caesar, 328 A.D.; obverse FL IVL CONSTANTIVS NOB C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left; reverse VIRTVS CAESS (the valor of the two princes), campgate with four turrets, star above, gates open, each door with two panels, each panel ornamented with two dots, S - F flanking at sides, QCONST in exergue; Vauctions sale 250 (5 Aug 2010), lot 167; ex Zachary "Beast" Beasley Collection of Camp Gates; $120.00 (102.00)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Commemorative Struck by Marcus Aurelius

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In 162, Lucius Verus began war with the Parthians after Vologases IV invaded Syria and Armenia. The Romans would be victorious but the returning army would bring back a pandemic known as the Antonine Plague. The plague would significantly depopulate the entire Roman Empire.
RS87323. Silver denarius, RIC III MA441, RSC II 357, BMCRE IV MA71, Szaivert MIR 47, SRCV II 5196, VF, excellent portrait, well centered, radiating flow lines, bumps, cleaning marks, weight 3.141 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 162 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse DIVO PIO, rectangular altar with closed double panelled doors; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 46, part of lot 1033; $120.00 (102.00)




  



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REFERENCES

Price, M.J. & B. Trell. Coins and Their Cities: Architecture on the Ancient Coins of Greece, Rome, and Palestine. (London, 1977).

Catalog current as of Friday, September 21, 2018.
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Architecture