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

Ancient Coins of Syria
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 BAΣIΛEΩΣ / 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 (760.00)


Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - late May 238 A.D., Philadelphia, Cilicia Trachea

|Cilicia|, |Maximinus| |I| |Thrax,| |20| |March| |235| |-| |late| |May| |238| |A.D.,| |Philadelphia,| |Cilicia| |Trachea||AE| |34|
Philadelphia (Greek: brotherly love) in ancient Cilicia Trachea (later of Isauria) was on the river Calycadnus, above Aphrodisias. Its site is tentatively located near Imsi ren in Asiatic Turkey. Neither Philadelphia in Lydia (Alasehir, Turkey today) nor Philadelphia, in the Decapolis, later Arabia Petraea (Amman, Jordan today) struck coins for Maximinus Thrax.
RB98739. Bronze AE 34, SNG BnF 760, SNG Levante 580, SNGvA 5804, SNG Leypold 2580, Lindgren-Kovacs 786, RPC Online VI T6889, EF, dark patina, pitting, a little off center, weight 14.930 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, Philadelphia (near Imsi ren, Turkey) mint, 20 Mar 235 - late May 238 A.D.; obverse AVT K Γ IOVH MAΞIMEINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ΦILALELFFEΩN KHTIΛOC, Tyche standing left, kalathos on head, grounded rudder in right hand held by tiller, cornucopia in left hand; from the CEB Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell, big 34mm!; $300.00 (285.00)


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 (142.50)


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 (123.50)


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 (114.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IV| |Epiphanes,| |175| |-| |164| |B.C.||AE| |36|
From the extraordinary "Egyptianizing" coinage of Antiochus IV, celebrating his triumph over the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt by using a reverse type strongly associated with the Lagid dynasty, an eagle perched on a thunderbolt.

The villain of Hanukkah. Antiochos IV assumed divine epithets, which no other Hellenistic king had done, such as Theos Epiphanes (God Manifest). His subjects made a pun on his name, calling him Epimanes (madman). In 168 B.C., Antiochus IV ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. The Temple in Jerusalem was seized and dedicated to Zeus. The Jews revolted and after three years of fighting, Judah Maccabee defeated the Seleukid army. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. According to the Talmud, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, enough time to prepare and consecrate fresh oil.
GY98882. Bronze AE 36, Houghton-Lorber II 1413; SNG Spaer 979; Newell SMA 59; BMC Seleucid p. 38, 42; Houghton CSE 118; Svoronos 1416; HGC 9 643 (S-R1), aF, rough, central cavities, obverse edge beveled, weight 32.540 g, maximum diameter 35.5 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, autumn 169 - autumn 168 B.C.; obverse laureate and diademed head of Serapis right, taenia diadem with Osiris cap at peak; reverse eagle standing right on thunderbolt, wings closed, head right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on the right, ΘEOY EΠIΦANOYΣ in two downward lines on the left; big 36mm bronze!; scarce; $110.00 (104.50)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VI| |Dionysus,| |144| |-| |c.| |142| |B.C.||AE| |23|
After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
GY99029. Bronze serrated AE 23, Houghton-Lorber II 2006(c), SNG Spaer 1774, Houghton CSE 249, Babelon Rois 1011, SNG Cop 304 var. (control), HGC 9 1043 (C-S), aVF, attractive portrait, green patina, light earthen deposits, weight 8.086 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid-143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse elephant walking left holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in two lines in exergue, ΣTA above star (controls) right; $110.00 (104.50)


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 (95.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144 - c. 142 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |VI| |Dionysus,| |144| |-| |c.| |142| |B.C.||AE| |23|
After his father was deposed by Demetrius II, the general Diodotus Tryphon nominated Antiochus VI as king. He gained the allegiance of most of the Seleucid domain, including Judaea, but was actually only a puppet of the general. He died after "ruling" for two years. He was likely assassinated under orders from Tryphon, who then made himself king.
GY99028. Bronze serrated AE 23, Houghton-Lorber II 2006(a), SNG Spaer 1772, Houghton CSE 248, Babelon Rois 1007, SNG Cop 306, HGC 9 1043 (C-S), aVF, highlighting earthen deposits, obv. off center, weight 8.518 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. mid 143 - 142 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Antiochos VI right, wreathed in ivy; reverse elephant walking left, holding torch in trunk, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY above, EΠIΦANOYΣ ∆IONYΣOY in exergue, ΣTA over cornucopia (control symbols) to the right; $100.00 (95.00)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Samosata, Commagene, Syria

|Roman| |Syria|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.,| |Samosata,| |Commagene,| |Syria||AE| |21|
Samosata, meaning "sun," was an ancient city whose ruins existed at the modern city of Samsat, Adiyaman Province, Turkey until the site was flooded by the Atatrk Dam. -- wikipedia.org
RP99004. Bronze AE 21, RPC III 3419; SNG Hunt 2590; SNG Munchen 376; SNG Cop Cyprus 17; Butcher p. 470, 12; BMC Galatia p. 118, 22, gVF, dark patina, uneven strike with flat areas, part of edge ragged, light earthen deposits, weight 5.450 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 180o, Samosata (site now flooded by the Atatrk Dam) mint, c. 132 - 133 A.D.; obverse A∆PIANOC CEBACTOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from rear; reverse ΦΛA / CAMO / MHTPO / KOM (Flavia Samosata Metropolis Commagene), inscription in four lines within oak wreath; $95.00 (90.25)




  






REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society Collections Database - http://numismatics.org/search/search.
Bellinger, A. The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report, Vol. 6: The Coins. (New Haven, 1949).
Bellinger, A. The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus. ANSNS 3. (New York, 1940).
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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.
Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Seleucid Kings of Syria. (Forni reprint, 1963).
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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).
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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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