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Palmyra, a city in a large oasis in the Syrian Desert, 215 km northeast of Damascus, was the vital silk road caravan stop known as "the Bride of the Desert." Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria, primarily a fertility goddess, but, she was also responsible for the protection and well-being of the people. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. The Romans called her Dea Syria.GB95894. Bronze AE 12, SNG Munchen 519; BMC Galatia p. 149, 2; Krzyzanowska Monnayage IV; SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina, earthen deposits, weight 1.663 g, maximum diameter 12.0 mm, die axis 0o, Palmyra mint, c. 150 - 225 A.D.; obverse Atargatis bust facing, head left, wearing turreted crown, thin crescent left, star right; reverse radiate bust of young Malakbel (solar deity) left; extremely rare; $300.00 (€276.00)
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Hieropolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria
Atargatis was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity. Ctesias also used the name Derceto for her, and the Romans called her Dea Syriae ("Syrian goddess"). Primarily she was a goddess of fertility, but, as the baalat ("mistress") of her city and people, she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria.RP92557. Bronze AE 26, Butcher CRS 60a; SNG Hunterian II 2695 var. (laur. head r.); SNG Cop -; BMC Syria -; Lindgren-Kovacs -, aVF, dark brown tone with highlighting red earthen deposits, centered on a tight flan cutting off parts of legends, porosity, weight 13.513 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 0o, Hieropolis (Manbij, Syria) mint mint, 218 - 222 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI MAP AYP CE AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΘEAC CYPIAC - IEPAΠO-ΛITΩN, Atargatis riding lion walking left, she is seated slightly right, head left, wearing tall headdress, chiton and peplos, drum in right hand, scepter in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; only one specimen on Coin Archives in the last two decades; extremely rare; $220.00 (€202.40)
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria
Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins, NGC| Lookup; $200.00 (€184.00)
Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander I Balas, 152 - 145 B.C.
Alexander Balas, of humble origin, claimed to be Antiochus IV's son and heir to the Seleukid throne. Rome and Egypt accepted his claims. He married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt. With his father-in-law's help, he defeated Demetrius Soter and became the Seleukid king. After he abandoned himself to debauchery, his father-in-law shifted his support to Demetrius II, the son of Demetrius Soter. Balas was defeated and fled to Nabataea where he was murdered. Apamea, on the right bank of the Orontes River, was an ancient Greek and Roman city. It was located at a strategic crossroads for Eastern commerce and became one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Seleucus also made it a military base with 500 elephants, and an equestrian stud with 30,000 mares and 300 stallions.GY93775. Bronze AE 19, Houghton-Lorber II 1805(1)b; SNG Spaer 1450; BMC Seleucid p. 55, 44; HGC 9 565 (R1); Babelon Rois 812; SNG Cop -, gF, dark patina, earthen deposits, central cavities, weight 7.137 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 150 - 149 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Apollo standing left, arrow in right hand, resting left hand on grounded bow, palm outer left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on left, ∆E monogram (control) right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $130.00 (€119.60)
Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.
Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.GB88239. Bronze AE 20, Herman 9.a (same countermark), Lindgren III 1232 (same countermark), HGC 9 1445 (R1), SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, rough, weight 4.162 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis ad Libanon mint, 85 - 40 B.C.; obverse bust of Athena right, draped, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; countermark: male head right in round punch; reverse Dioskouroi standing facing each other, each holding a spear; monograms around; ex Forum (2000), ex Phil DeVicchi Collection; rare; $110.00 (€101.20)
Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Samosata, Commagene, Syria
Samosata was an ancient city on the right (west) bank of the Euphrates whose ruins existed at the modern city of Samsat, Adiyaman Province, Turkey until the site was flooded by the newly constructed Atatürk Dam. The founder of the city was Sames, a Satrap of Commagene who made it his capital. The city was sometimes called Antiochia in Commagene and served as the capital for the Hellenistic Kingdom of Commagene from c. 160 BC until it was surrendered to Rome in 72. A civil metropolis from the days of Emperor Hadrian, Samosata was the home of the Legio VI Ferrata and later Legio XVI Flavia Firma, and the terminus of several military roads. Seven Christian martyrs were crucified in 297 in Samosata for refusing to perform a pagan rite in celebration of the victory of Maximian over the Sassanids. It was at Samosata that Julian II had ships made in his expedition against Sapor, and it was a natural crossing-place in the struggle between Heraclius and Chosroes in the 7th century.RY93572. Bronze AE 29, BMC Galatia p. 122, 56; Butcher 33c; SNG Cop 23 corr. (Philip I), Choice VF, well centered, nice portrait, toned, light deposits, porosity, weight 17.448 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Samosata (site now flooded by the Atatürk Dam) mint, Jul/Aug 247 - Late 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYAI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CAMOCATEΩN, city goddess seated left on rock, turreted, veiled, right arm on leg, grain ears downward in right hand, left hand on rock, Pegasus leaping left at feet; ex Roma e-sale 47 (28 Jun 2018), 517; $110.00 (€101.20)
Kingdom of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.
Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.GB87424. Bronze AE 20, Herman 1, SNG Cop 413, Lindgren 1218, Cohen DCA 468, HGC 9 1439 (S), BMC Phoenicia p. 203, 18 corr. (Tripolis), Choice F, attractive green patina with highlighting red earthen deposits, slight porosity, weight 7.164 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, 73 - 72 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus (or tetrarch) right; reverse the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, standing facing, heads confronted, star above each head, each wearing a petasos and Roman military garb, spear in outer hand, inner hand on his hip, LMΣ (Seleukid era year 240) downward on right; $80.00 (€73.60)
Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus III the Great, c. 223 - 187 B.C.
Antiochus' victory at the Battle of Panium in 198 B.C. transferred control of Judaea from Ptolemaic Egypt to the Seleukid Kingdom. When Antiochos conquered Asia Minor, however, the Romans responded. Antiochos' losses were so great that the whole of his empire was shattered and he was forced to content himself with the region that he had held in the beginning, Syria.GY93770. Bronze AE 18, Houghton-Lorber I 1095(2), SNG Spaer 245, HGC 9 492 (S), Newell ESM -, BMC Seleucid -, gF, brown tone, scratches, porosity, weight 7.221 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Southern Coele Syria, uncertain (Ioppe?) mint, 198 - 187 A.D.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Nike standing left, crowning king's name with wreath in extended right hand, long palm frond in left hand, BAΣIΛEΣ (king) downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, controls inner left obscured by countermark; countermark: anchor with flukes up in an oval punch; From the Errett Bishop Collection.
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