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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Syria||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Syria
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April69| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||as|
Otho ruled for only three months. The imperial mint at Rome did not issue bronze in his name, but two provincial mints did. Alexandria issued bronzes with Greek legends, and Antioch issued bronzes with Latin legends.
RY99147. Bronze as, McAlee 321c; RPC I 4318; cf. BMC Galatia p. 176, 207; SNG Cop -, gVF, excellent portrait, attractive toning with highlighting earthen deposits, flan adjustment marks, especially on rim, obverse edge beveled, weight 14.384 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15Jan69-17Apr69A.D.; obverse IMPMOTHO CAES AVG (inwardly, clockwise from upper right), laureate headright, dot (control symbol) behind head; reverse large SC (senatus consulto), within a laurelwreath with eight bunches of leaves, no linear circle, no dot (control symbol) in field; scarce; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |III,| |c.| |96| |-| |87| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The inscription on the reverse of this coin translates, "King Demetrios, the god, father-loving, savior." He was nicknamed Eucaerus ("the Timely") by the Syrian Greeks but was called Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean priest king Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL94920. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(2); HGC 9 1305; cf. BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 (SE 217, same controls); SNG Spaer 2863 (SE 219, different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-005), weight 16.501 g, maximum diameter 30.10 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 97 - 96 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios III right, fringe of curly beard at jawline, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩS / DHMHTPIOY / ΘEOY - ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ, cult image of Atargatis standing facing, holding flower, barley stalk behind each shoulder, two monograms (controls) outer left, date CIS (Seleucid Era year 216) in exergue, ∆H monogram (control) in exergue on right, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 113 - 95 B.C

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY95956. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2384; Houghton CSE 725; Babelon Rois 1467; BMC Seleucid p. 92, 6; HGC 9 1288k (R2), gVF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, old scratches, light deposits, weight 15.977 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 2nd reign, 113 - 112 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, spear behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines downward on right, ΦIΛO−ΠATOPOΣ downward on left, ΣI∆Ω/IEP / AΣY in 3 lines over outer left, Σ (year 200) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $550.00 SALE PRICE $495.00


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Antioch, Syria

|Antioch|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Syria||tetradrachm|
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity, for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Antioch was renamed Theoupolis after it was nearly destroyed by an earthquake on 29 November 528. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east. 6th Century Antioch
RY99405. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 866 (v. rare), Prieur 285 (5 spec.), Dura 374, RPC VII.2 U68019, gVF, broad flan, areas of striking weakness and double strike, weight 10.410 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch mint, 240 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, radiate and cuirassed bust left, seen from the front; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOVCIAC, eagle standing slightly right facing, wings spread, head left, tail left, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) below; rare; $215.00 SALE PRICE $194.00


Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D.

|Antioch|, |Volusian,| |c.| |November| |251| |-| |July| |or| |August| |253| |A.D.||tetradrachm|
Gaius Vibius Afinius Gallus Vedumnianus Volusian was the son of Trebonianus Gallus and was given the rank of Caesar when his father became emperor. After emperor Hostilian was killed, he was raised to the rank of Augustus. He was assassinated along with his father in 253 A.D.
RY99417. Silver tetradrachm, RPC online IX 1795; McAlee 1187b; Prieur 695 (rare); SNG Hunterian 3125; BMC Galatia p. 230, 658; Dura 614, gVF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion/porosity, weight 10.901 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, late 251 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K Γ AΦIN ΓAΛ OYEN∆ OYOΛOYCCIANOC CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front, (2nd officina) below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing slightly right on line, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, B (2nd officina) between legs, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Nerva,| |18| |September| |96| |-| |25| |January| |98| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||as|
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
RY99043. Bronze as, McAlee 421(f); RPC Online III 3484; Butcher CRS 189; Wruck 131; SNG Hunter II 2908; BMC Galatia -, F, large flan, nice green patina, legend weakly struck, spots of light corrosion/porosity, obv. edge beveled, weight 14.963 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR NER-VA AVG III COS, laureate head right; reverse large S C (senatus consulto), small ς (6th officina) below, all within laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves closed with a pellet in annulet at the top; from a Las Vegas dealer; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |5| |-| |4| |B.C.,| |Legate| |P.| |Quinctilius| |Varus||trichalkon|
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RY99148. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG Munchen 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), gF, black patina, well centered, edge split, light earthen deposits, weight 6.816 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Marcus Aurelius, 7 Mar 161 - 17 Mar 180 A.D., Hierapolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |7| |Mar| |161| |-| |17| |Mar| |180| |A.D.,| |Hierapolis,| |Cyrrhestica,| |Syria||AE| |24|
The modern name Manbij is very similar to the original Aramean name, Mnbg. It was part of the kingdom of Bit Adini before it was annexed by the Assyrians in 856 B.C. It fell to Alexander and later prospered under the Seleucids who made it the chief station between Antioch and Seleucia on the Tigris. It was refounded as Hieropolis by Eumenes II of Pergamon in 190 B.C. Crassus sacked the temple on his way to meet the Parthians in 53 B.C. In the 3rd century, the city was the capital of Euphratensis province and one of the great cities of Syria. It was, however, in a ruinous state when Julian gathered his troops there before marching to his defeat and death in Mesopotamia. Sassanid Emperor Khosrau I held it for ransom after the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I failed to defend it. The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid restored it at the end of the 8th century, making it the capital of al-Awasim province. Afterward, the city became a point of contention between the Byzantines, Arabs, and Turks. The crusaders captured it from the Seljuks in the 12th century, but Ayyubid Sultan Saladin retook it in 1175. Manbij later became the headquarters of Hulagu and his Mongols, who destroyed it. The remains of ancient Manbij are extensive, but almost wholly of late date, as is to be expected in the case of a city which survived into Muslim times. The walls were built by the Arabs, and no ruins of the great temple survive.
RP98023. Bronze AE 24, cf. BMC Galatia p. 142, 30; SNG Righetti 1877; SNG Hunterian II 2680; SNG Cop 58; Butcher p449, 46a; RPC Online IV.3 T6987, VF, attractive portrait, slightly off center, light deposits, light corrosion, weight 10.073 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, Hierapolis-Bambyce (Manbij, Syria) mint, 161 - 180 A.D.; obverse AY K M AYPHΛI - ANTWNEINOC (or similar, right side off flan), laureate, bearded head right; reverse ΘEAC CYPI/AC IEPOΠO / Θ (Holy City of the Syrian Goddess) in three lines within laurel wreath; ex Naville Numismatics auction 32 (18 Jun 2017), lot 207; $110.00 SALE PRICE $99.00


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Antioch|, |Elagabalus,| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||tetradrachm|
From the Ray Nouri Collection.

This type is traditionally assigned to Antioch but McAlee identifies Laodicea as the most likely mint. McAlee notes, "After Septimius stripped Antioch of its privileges and conferred them on Laodicea-ad-Mare, some coins of Laodicea bear the legend 'Metropolis of the Four Provinces,' and others have a representation of four Tyches. The letters ∆ - E also regularly appear on the coins of Laodicea from the time of Elagabalus to that of Trebonianus Gallus." We attribute the type to Antioch, but clearly that is not certain.
RY94937. Billon tetradrachm, Bellinger Syria 42, SNG Cop 236, McAlee 758, Prieur 249 var. (both ties behind neck), Dura Coins -, F, toned, tight flan cutting off part of legends, reverse legend weak, weight 12.920 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 219 A.D.; obverse AVT K M A ANTWNEINOC CEB, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder, one wreath tie on neck; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠ B (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the second time), eagle standing facing, wings spread, head left, wreath in beak, ∆ - E (∆ EΠAPCEIΩN - of the four eparchies) flanking eagle's head, star between legs; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D., Gabala, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Macrinus,| |11| |April| |217| |-| |8| |June| |218| |A.D.,| |Gabala,| |Seleucis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria||AE| |24|
Gabula was important enough in the Roman province of Syria Prima to be a Metropolitan Archdiocese in the sway of the Patriarchate of Antioch (the provincial capital Antioch on the Orontes), but was to fade, presumably at the advent of Islam.
RY92570. Bronze AE 24, SNG Cop 316; SNG Hunterian II 3244; Lindgren III 1192; SNG Munchen 835; BMC Galatia p. 246, 20 var. (laureate head), VF, dark green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, tight flan cutting off much of legends, porous, weight 8.847 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 15o, Gabala (Jableh, Syria) mint, 11 Apr 217 - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse AV K M O C MAKPEINOC CE, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΓABAΛEWN, Tyche seated left, wearing chiton, peplos and modius, rudder held by tiller on right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00




  






REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society Collections Database - http://numismatics.org/search/search.
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Bellinger, A. The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus. ANSNS 3. (New York, 1940).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Butcher, K. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC-AD 253. (London, 2004).
Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
de Callata, F. "Le production des ttradrachmes civiques de la Cilicie jusqu? la Palestine" in Les Monnayages Syriens.
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Roman Provincial Coinage Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 7: Cyprus to India. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections, Part 8: Syria-Nabataea. (London, 1971).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II, Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (Bern, 1993).
Van Heesch, J. "The last civic coinages and the religious policy of Maximinus Daza (AD 312)" in NC 1993.
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