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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Provincial ▸ Roman EgyptView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Provincial Coins of Egypt

From Augustus' conquest until Diocletian's monetary reforms, Egypt maintained a separate currency. Hoard evidence indicates that when crossing into Egypt all imperial coinage had to be exchanged for Egyptian and when leaving all Egyptian coinage had to be exchanged for imperial coinage. Coins are dated according to the Egyptian year which began on 29 August, or 30 August following a leap year. The Egyptian tetradrachm was officially valued at one denarius.


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $840.00 (€739.20)
 


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

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In 116, Trajan completed his invasion of Parthia by capturing the cities of Seleucia, Babylon, Ctesiphon and Susa. This was the high-water mark of the Roman Empire's eastern expansion.
RX87338. Bronze drachm, BMC Alexandria p. 48, 402; Geissen 702; Emmett 611.19; Dattari 1072; Kampmann-Ganschow 27.662; SNG Milan -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive brown patina, a little flatly struck on highest points, weight 18.113 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 115 - 28 Aug 116 A.D.; obverse AVT TPAI-AN API CEB Γ-EPM ∆AKIK ΠAP, laureate bust right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse Zeus enthroned left, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt at side in left hand, eagle at feet standing left looking back, L I-Θ (year 19) across field; ex CNG, auction 78 (14 May 2008), lot 1508 ($650 plus fees); ex Empire Coins, auction 8 (7 Dec 1987), lot 429; $470.00 (€413.60)
 


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Homonoia was the Greek goddess (or spirit or personification) of harmony, concord, unanimity, and oneness of mind. She is usually depicted either seated or standing with a cornucopia.
RX89791. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 22.2, Milne 454, Geissen 317, Emmett 233, RPC II 2463, Dattari 422, BMC Alexandria 278, aVF, toned, some die wear, some porosity, weight 10.153 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 79 - 28 Aug 80 A.D.; obverse AYTOK TITOY KAIΣ OYEΣΠAΣIANOY ΣEB, laureate head of Titus right; reverse OMONOIA, Homonoia seated left, olive branch in right hand, feet on footstool, LB (year 2) lower left; ex Forum (2010); $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius, Roman Provincial Egypt

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Missing from all the references examined, except Emmett, where the type is listed only for year three and is identified as very rare (R5). We did not find another example online.
RX89193. Bronze diobol, Emmett 2324 (R5), Dattari -, Geissen -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, Kampmann -, SRCV II -, VF/F, light marks, edge cracks, beveled obverse edge, weight 8.146 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 162 - 28 Aug 163 A.D.; obverse ΦAVCTINA CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse Tyche standing facing, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, L - Γ (year 3) divided across fields; extremely rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Alexandria

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In 170 A.D., Marcus Aurelius wrote in Sirmium (Pannonia) his first of 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek.
RX89766. Billon tetradrachm, BMC Alexandria p. 155, 1282; Dattari 3414; Emmett 2087.10; Geissen 2067 var. (head left) , VF, well centered, light toning, edge splits, weight 12.965 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria, Egypt mint, 29 Aug 169 - 28 Aug 170 A.D.; obverse M AVPHΛIOC ANTWNINOC CE, laureate head right; reverse L I (year 10) in laurel wreath; ex Naville Numismatics auction 32 (18 Jun 2017), lot 222; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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

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Ptolemy Soter wanted to integrate the Hellenistic and Egyptian religions by finding a deity that could win the reverence of both groups. The Greeks would not accept an animal-headed figure, so a Greek-style anthromorphic 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.
RX91486. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 14.84; Geissen 170; Dattari 253; Milne 226; BMC Alexandria p. 19, 157; RPC I 5281; Kampmann 14.84; Emmett 133 (R1), gVF, old collection toning, well centered, highest points flat, few spots of corrosion, weight 12.522 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 64 - 28 Aug 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩ KΛAV KAIΣ ΣEB GEP, radiate head right; reverse AYTOKPA, draped bust of Serapis right, wearing polos, LIA (year 11) right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Maximinus I Thrax, March 235 - May 238 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In Greek mythology, Selene is the goddess of the moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, but only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.
RP89035. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari (Savio) 4601; BMC Alexandria p. 228, 1775; Milne 3267; Kampmann 65.73; Emmett 3300.1; SNG Cop -; Geissen -, aVF, full border centering on a broad flan, dark brown patina, mild corrosion, edge cracks, weight 12.190 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 237 - 28 Aug 238 A.D.; obverse AVTO MAΞIMINOC CEV CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Maximinus I right, seen from behind; reverse head of Selene right, wearing tainia and chiton fastened on left shoulder with a fibula, L∆ (year four) behind, large crescent right with horns left; ex CGB mail bid sale 13 (30 Jul 2001), lot 557; $145.00 (€127.60)
 


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Roman Egypt, Messalina, Britannicus & Octavia Reverse

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RPC I notes, "Messalina, who is shown as Demeter, holds two small figures. These were traditionally identified as the children of Claudius and Messalina, Britannicus and Octavia, but Dattari (RIN 1900, pp. 383-4) rejected this view, since Britannicus was born in 42 and the coin type is first used in 41; but Vogt (pp. 24-5) returned to the traditional description, arguing that the date of Britannicus' birth was not certain, and that these coins, in fact, show that he was born before August 41."
RX91431. Billon tetradrachm, RPC I 5131; Geissen 75; Dattari-Savio 123; BMC Alexandria p. 10, 71; Milne 84; Curtis 13; Kampmann 12.22; Emmett 74.3, aVF, toned, a few cuts, scratches, corrosion, struck with a damaged obverse die, weight 12.190 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 42 - 28 Aug 43 A.D.; obverse TI KΛAV∆I KAIΣ ΣEBA ΓEPMANI AVTOKP, laureate head right, date LΓ (year 3) before neck; reverse MEΣΣAΛINA KAIΣ ΣABAΣ, Messalina as Ceres standing facing, head left, two small figures in right hand, two stalks of grain in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Pegasi Coins; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to "enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle." Dio, 51.16:5. "In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus" dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. Eusebius of Caearea, "Historia Ecclesiastica, books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD." The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX86734. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102, Dattari 2009, Milne 1436, SNG Cop 391, SNG Milan 1114, BMC Alexandria 811, Kampmann 32.610, Emmett 1114/18, F, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, scratches, edge cracks, weight 7.579 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull standing right on ground line, altar to right, L IH (year 18) above; scarce; $120.00 (€105.60)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Curtis, J. The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt. (Chicago, 1957).
Dattari, G. Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Cairo, 1901).
Emmett, K. Alexandrian Coins. (Lodi, WI, 2001).
Geissen, A. Katalog alexandrinischer Kaisermünzen, Köln. (Cologne, 1974-1983).
Kampmann, U. & T. Ganschow. Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria. (Regenstauf, 2008).
Milne, J. A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1933).
Pool, R. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Alexandria. (London, 1892).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Savio, A. ed. Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini. (Trieste, 2007).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values. (London, 1978 - ).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 8: Egypt, North Africa, Spain - Gaul. (New Jersey, 1994).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale, Vol. 4: Alexandria I, Augustus - Trajan. (Zurich, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 2: Octavianus Augustus - Lucius Verus. (Milan, 1991).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano XIII, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche, Aegyptus, Part 3. Commodus - Galerius Caesar. (Milan, 1992).

Catalog current as of Thursday, July 18, 2019.
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Roman Provincial Egypt