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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Camel||View Options:  |  |  | 

Camels on Ancient Coins

The camel was a symbol of Arabia.

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

|Decapolis,| |Arabia| |&| |Syria|, |Trajan,| |25| |January| |98| |-| |8| |or| |9| |August| |117| |A.D.,| |Bostra,| |Provincial| |Arabia||drachm|
The camel was the sacred animal and symbol of Dusares, the main Nabataean god. Camels were sacrificed to him. The Romans made the camel their symbol of Arabia.
SH90321. Silver drachm, Sydenham Caesarea 204; Kindler Bostra pl. VI, 10 ff. var.; BMC Galatia p. 54, 65 var. (Caesarea, Cappadocia); SNG ANS 1159 var. (all var. bust), gVF, superb heroic portrait, weight 3.409 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Bostra (Bosra, Syria) mint, 112 - 117 A.D.; obverse AVTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANΩ APICTΩ CEB ΓEPM ΔAK, laureate, bare-chest bust right, with slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse ΔHMAPX EΞ YΠA TO Σ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 6th time), Bactrian camel, with two humps, walking left on exergual line; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins, extremely rare with this bust; SOLD


Roman Republic, First Triumvirate, A. Plautius, c. 55 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |First| |Triumvirate,| |A.| |Plautius,| |c.| |55| |B.C.||denarius|
In 67 B.C., Aristobulus II rebelled against his older brother Hyrcanus II, the king of Judaea. Both brothers appealed to Pompey's deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, who, bribed by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus. When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 B.C., both brothers sent delegates to Damascus, but Pompey did not make an immediate decision. Aristobulus' followers refused to open the gates of Jerusalem and Romans forces besieged and captured the city. Pompey deemed Hyrcanus II, the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally. Hyrcanus was restored as high priest, but not as king. Aristobulus was taken to Rome as a prisoner. In 57 B.C. Aristobulus escaped to Judaea and instigated another rebellion. A young cavalry commander, Marc Antony, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications leading to his recapture. At the time this coin was struck in 55 B.C., Aristobulus was a prisoner in Rome. Julius Caesar released him in 49 B.C., hoping to turn Judaea against Pompey, but on his way to Judaea he was poisoned by a Pompey supporter. With help from the Parthians, Aristobulus' son Antigonus rebelled against Rome and became king in 40 B.C. He was defeated by Rome and killed in 37 B.C.

This special issue was struck by an Aedile Curule. Aediles supervised public works and staged games. Since this issue bears turreted Cybele, we may speculate it was to finance a building project.
RR94469. Silver denarius, Crawford 431/1, Sydenham 932, RSC I Plautia 13, BMCRR Rome 3916, Russo RBW 1540, SRCV I 395, Choice gVF, well centered on a broad flan, light tone on mint luster, areas of weak strike, light marks, weight 3.867 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse AED CVR S C downwards on left, A PLAVTIVS downwards on right, turreted head of Cybele right, wearing cruciform earring, hair rolled and in knot at the back, locks falling down neck; reverse Bacchius Judaeus (Aristobulus II High Priest and King of Judaea) kneeling right, with left hand holding reins of camel standing right on his far side, raising olive branch in right hand, IVDAEVS upward on right, BACCHIVS in exergue; from an Israeli collection, ex Mnzzentrum Rheinland, auction 177 (14 Sep 2016), lot 304; SOLD


Tiberius Gemellus and Germanicus II, Twin Grandsons of Tiberius, c. 19 - 23 A.D., Kyrene, Kyrenaica, North Africa

|Kyrenaica|, |Tiberius| |Gemellus| |and| |Germanicus| |II,| |Twin| |Grandsons| |of| |Tiberius,| |c.| |19| |-| |23| |A.D.,| |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaica,| |North| |Africa||AE| |20|
Tiberius Gemellus and Germanicus II were the twin sons of Drusus and Livilla, the grandsons of the Emperor Tiberius, and the cousins of the Emperor Caligula. Gemellus is a nickname meaning "the twin." Germanicus II died in childhood. Because Gemellus' was too young to assume the throne, Caligula was summoned by Tiberius to Capri in 35 where he and Gemellus were made joint-heirs. Tiberius may also have selected Caligula because, according to Suetonius, Tiberius detested Gemellus, believing he was result of an adulterous affair by his mother. Tacitus records that while they were in Capri, Tiberius, with Gemellus in his arms, looked at Caligula in tears and told him: "You will kill him, and another will kill you." Caligula had Gemellus killed in late 37 or early 38, not long after assuming power, and was himself assassinated in 41.
RP96983. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 948 (1 spec.); BMC Cyrenaica p. 121, 52; Asolati 171, aF, rough, porous, corrosion, off center, edge crack, weight 3.203 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 19 - 23 A.D.; obverse dromedary (one-humped Arabian camel) standing right in laurel wreath border; reverse bare heads of the twin sons of Drusus, Tiberius Gemellus (on left) and Germanicus II (on right) face to face, TIB ΓEP above, KAIΣAPEΣ below; extremely rare, only three other specimens known to FORVM, zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; SOLD


Roman Republic, First Triumvirate, Marcus Aemilius Scaurus & Publius Plautius Hypsaeus, 58 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |First| |Triumvirate,| |Marcus| |Aemilius| |Scaurus| |&| |Publius| |Plautius| |Hypsaeus,| |58| |B.C.||denarius|
M. Aemilius Scaurus, in 62 B.C., as quaestor to Pompey, was sent against King Aretas but withdrew when Aretas paid 300 talents. This was the first time a moneyer publicized his own career on coinage. Aemilius was curule aedile when this coin was struck. This was the first time a moneyer publicized an event from his own career on coinage. Later he was praetor and propraetor, lost a campaign for Consul, and successfully defended Cicero. In 52 B.C., he was charged with bribery and went into exile.
RR91807. Silver denarius, BMCRR Rome 3878 (also HYPSAEVE), Crawford 422/1b var., Sydenham 913 var., RSC I Aemilia 8 var., Russo RBW 1519 var., SRCV I 379 var., Choice gVF, deep old cabinet toning, well centered on the usual tight flan, weight 3.945 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, 58 B.C.; obverse Aretas, King of Nabataea, kneeling beside camel, holding reins and raising olive branch with fillet, M·SCAVR over AED·CVR above, EX - S C at sides, REX ARETAS in exergue; reverse Jupiter in quadriga left, reins in right, hurling thunderbolt with left, scorpion below, P HYPSAEVE / AED CVR above, CAPTV on right, C HYPSAE COS / PREIVE in exergue; ex Savoca Numismatik auction 31 (10 March 2019), lot 392; SOLD


Roman Republic, First Triumvirate, A. Plautius, c. 55 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |First| |Triumvirate,| |A.| |Plautius,| |c.| |55| |B.C.||denarius|
In 67 B.C., Aristobulus II rebelled against his older brother Hyrcanus II, the king of Judaea. Both brothers appealed to Pompey's deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, who, bribed by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus. When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 B.C., both brothers sent delegates to Damascus, but Pompey did not make an immediate decision. Aristobulus' followers refused to open the gates of Jerusalem and Romans forces besieged and captured the city. Pompey deemed Hyrcanus II, the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally. Hyrcanus was restored as high priest, but not as king. Aristobulus was taken to Rome as a prisoner. In 57 B.C. Aristobulus escaped to Judaea and instigated another rebellion. A young cavalry commander, Marc Antony, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications leading to his recapture. At the time this coin was struck in 55 B.C., Aristobulus was a prisoner in Rome. Julius Caesar released him in 49 B.C., hoping to turn Judaea against Pompey, but on his way to Judaea he was poisoned by a Pompey supporter. With help from the Parthians, Aristobulus' son Antigonus rebelled against Rome and became king in 40 B.C. He was defeated by Rome and killed in 37 B.C.

This special issue was struck by an Aedile Curule. Aediles supervised public works and staged games. Since this issue bears turreted Cybele, we may speculate it was to finance a building project.
RR97228. Silver denarius, Crawford 431/1, Sydenham 932, RSC I Plautia 13, BMCRR Rome 3916, Russo RBW 1540, SRCV I 395, VF, iridescent toning, bumps and scratches, slightly off center on a tight flan, weight 4.032 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse AED CVR S C downwards on left, A PLAVTIVS downwards on right, turreted head of Cybele right, wearing cruciform earring, hair rolled and in knot at the back, locks falling down neck; reverse Bacchius Judaeus (Aristobulus II high priest and ruler of Judaea) kneeling right, with left hand holding reins of camel standing right on his far side, raising olive branch in right hand, IVDAEVS upward on right, BACCHIVS in exergue; SOLD







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