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Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.
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; $110.00 (€101.20)
Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.RT93355. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 152b, SRCV IV 14841, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, gVF, dark brown patina, flow lines, porosity, slightly off center, reverse die wear, tiny edge crack, weight 5.116 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Alexandria mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genio standing facing, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, head of Serapis in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, crescent upper left, X in left field, B in right field, ALE in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 (€82.80)
Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Ptolemy Soter integrated Egyptian religion with that of the Hellenic rulers by creating Serapis, a deity that would win the reverence of both groups. This was despite the curses of the Egyptian priests against the gods of previous foreign rulers (i.e Set who was lauded by the Hyksos). Alexander the Great had attempted to use Amun for this purpose, but Amum was more prominent in Upper Egypt, and not as popular in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. The Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so an anthropomorphic 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.RX92519. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2212; Milne 2655; SNG Cop 571; RPC Online IV.4 T14197; Dattari 3847 var. (obv. leg.); BMC Alexandria p. 178, 1432 var. (same), VF, dark patina, centered, edge chip, area of corrosion damage, edge splits, weight 10.905 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 183 - 28 Aug 184 A.D.; obverse M A KO ANTW CEB EYCEB, laureate head right; reverse on left: bust of Serapis right on short column, wearing kalathos; on right: Commodus standing left, wearing high round cap with tails and priestly robes, dropping incense on flaming altar (or thymiaterion), L in exergue, K − ∆ across fields (year 24 [of Marcus Aurelius]); from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 (€55.20)
Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.
Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the official sun god of the late Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274, Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree whether the new deity was a re-foundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus, or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 A.D. and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.RL93197. Billon follis, Hunter V 106 (also 1st officina), RIC VI Antiochia 167b, SRCV IV 14894, Cohen VII 161, F/aF, porous, spots of encrustation, parts of legends weak, weight 3.669 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing facing, head left, radiate, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, head of Serapis wearing kalathos in left hand, A left, star right, ANT in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 (€55.20)