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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Architecture||View Options:  |  |  |   

Architecture on Ancient Coins

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Nicomedia, Bithynia

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SH25882. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Metcalf Type B1, 3 (dies 2/3); BMCRE III 1099 note; RSC II 240b, VF, weight 10.410 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse IMP CAES TRA HADRIANO AVG P P, laureate bust right; reverse COM - BIT, octastyle temple on podium of three steps, ROM S P AVG in entablature in pediment; Forum purchased from Harlan Berk for $1680; SOLD


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

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"At the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Ostia means mouth in Latin. This coin was issued to commemorate the completion of an artificial harbor at Ostia, begun under Claudius in 42 A.D. and completed under Nero in 64 A.D.

The earliest known post-diaspora house-synagogue was at Ostia. In 387, St. Augustine stayed in Ostia with his mother, who died there.

Ostia began to decline in the Severan period. By the Constantine Dynasty, Portus was the main port for Rome. Earthquake damage at Ostia was left uncleared. At the end of the fifth century the aqueduct stopped functioning. In 537 with the area under attack from the Goths, the remaining inhabitants retreated to the theater, which they turned into a little fortress. Early in the ninth century Ostia was captured by the Saracens and abandoned.

Ostian marble was reused in the cathedrals of Pisa, Florence, Amalfi and Orvieto. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was entirely built of material from Ostia. Despite all this, Ostia today is known for its well preserved ruins and magnificent frescos.
SH32118. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 440, Choice VF, pourous surfaces, weight 24.599 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon) mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate head right, globe at point of bust; reverse PORT AVG S C, bird's eye view of the Port of Ostia, eight ships in the harbor, statue of neptune on lighthouse at top, river-god Tiber reclining holding rudder and dolphin below, all flanked by colonnade ending in temple on left and boat slips on right; nice portrait, ex Stack's Coin Galleries; rare and historic; SOLD


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; an attractive example of a highly desired type!; SOLD


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

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"The Roman Emperor Trajan, being of an impetuous and active temperament, seemed to be filled with resentment that his realm was not unlimited, but was bounded by the Ister River [Danube]. So he was eager to span it with a bridge that he might be able to cross it and that there might be no obstacle to his going against the barbarians beyond it.." Procopius of Caesarea, Buildings (IV.6.12).

The bridge, depicted on Trajan's Column, was constructed by the master-builder, Apollodorus of Damascus, with wooden arches set on twenty masonry pillars, about 1135 meters long where the river about 800 meters wide. Each gateway was protected by a castrum. Procopius tells us that during construction the river was diverted and about half of the pillars were built on dry land. Cassius Dio tells us that Hadrian removed the wooden arches to protect Moesia from northern invasions. Since Dacia continued to be a province for about the next 150 years, the bridge must have been rebuilt. Aurelian likely demolished it when he abandoned Dacia. In 1856, when the Danube was at a record low, all twenty pillars were seen out of the water. In 1906 two were demolished to ease navigation. In 1982 archaeologists could only find the remains of twelve pillars. Both end pillars are still standing on the Serbian and Romanian shores.
SH32823. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV II 3207, RIC II 569, Cohen II 542, Choice VF, weight 25.790 g, maximum diameter 35.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 105 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust right, from behind, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI, arched single-span bridge over river, covered walkway separated by vertical bars and middle curved line, each gateway surmounted by statuary, right one with flight of steps; boat over S C (senatus consulto) below; SOLD


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

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The "Lost Arch of Nero" was decreed by the Senate in 58 A.D. to commemorate the eastern victory of Cn. Domitius Corduba. It was located on Capitoline Hill. It was demolished shortly after Nero's downfall. No trace remains today.
SH58656. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 147, BMCRE I 187, BnF II 287, Cohen I 308, SRCV I 1962, Choice gVF, very attractive coin, struck with fine style dies, weight 27.180 g, maximum diameter 35.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, Laureate bust right, aegis on neck; reverse S C, triumphal arch; surmounted by statue of Nero in a facing quadriga, led by Pax on left and Victory on right, and flanked below by two soldiers; front ornamented with statue of Mars in a niche and bas-reliefs of small figures; garland hanging in arch; ex Empire Coins 12/87, ex Arnold Saslow; SOLD


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

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Augustus built the temple of Mars the Avenger on the Capitol to house the recovered legionary eagles, which had been lost by Crassus and Antony to the Parthians.
RR34983. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1623, RIC I 105a, BMCRE I 373, BMCRR Rome 4419-4420, BnF I 1202, RSC I 190, EF, beautiful coin, glossy even gray tone, weight 3.800 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, 18 B.C.; obverse CAESARI AVGVSTO, laureate head right; reverse Temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger), domed round hexastyle shrine with acroteria, set on podium of three steps, containing aquila between two signa militaria, MAR - VLT divided across the field; SOLD


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

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The reverse legend translates, "The gates of Janus' temple are closed because peace of the Roman people is set on both land and sea." On the rare occasions when Rome was not at war the doors of the 'Twin Janus' were ceremonially closed, an event Nero commemorated extensively on the coinage of 65 - 67 A.D. -- Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1 by David R. Sear
SH45882. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 354, BnF I 429, Mac Dowall WCN 171, Cohen I 139, BMCRE I -, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, VF, exceptional style, scratches in fields, weight 25.185 g, maximum diameter 35.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 67 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P XIII PP, laureate head right; reverse PACE P R TERRA MARIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, lateral view of the Temple of Janus with garland over closed doors within arch, temple front on the left, the right side of the temple with long latticed window to the right, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking at sides; ex A H Baldwin & Sons (Fixed Price List Winter 2008, £1600), ex Münzhandlung Ritter; SOLD


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 MAG•PIVS•IMP•ITER, 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 ORAE•MARIT•ET•CLAS• S•C• (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; SOLD


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

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The Lost Arch of Nero. This arch is undoubtedly the one that Tacitus says was voted to Nero for Corbulo's victory in Armenia in 58, and that he further reports was being constructed "in the middle of the Capitoline Hill" in 62, despite a successful invasion of Armenia by the Parthians in that year. No traces of the arch have ever been found. The arch was completely destroyed either shortly after Nero's death with the damnatio memoriae Nero received when the senate proclaimed him an enemy of the state, or in one of the two fires that consumed the Capitoline hill in 69 and 80
SH65417. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 143, BMCRE I 183, Cohen I 307, SRCV I 1962, VF, Tiber patina, evenly struck on a broad flan, weight 25.858 g, maximum diameter 37.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER PM TR P IMP P P, laureate head right, wearing aegis; reverse S - C, triumphal arch; on top statue of Nero in quadriga, Victory on left, Pax on right; wreath in arch, nude helmeted statue of Mars in side niche; of good Rome style, superior execution and eye appeal; SOLD


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

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The "Lost Arch of Nero" was decreed by the Senate in 58 A.D. to commemorate the eastern victory of Cn. Domitius Corduba. It was located on Capitoline Hill. It was demolished shortly after Nero's downfall. No trace remains today.
SL85477. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 147, BMCRE I 187, BnF II 287, Cohen I 308, SRCV I 1962, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5, fine style, light smoothing (3762373-001), weight 27.57 g, maximum diameter c. 34 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, aegis on neck; reverse triumphal arch; surmounted by statue of Nero in a facing quadriga, led by Pax on left and Victory on right, and flanked below by two soldiers; front ornamented with statue of Mars in a niche and bas-reliefs of small figures; garland hanging in arch, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking; ex Stacks NYINC Auction (8 Jan 2016), lot 31152; ex Rockaway Collection; SOLD




  




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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 Monday, October 14, 2019.
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Architecture