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Roman Coins of the 3rd Century Crisis and Decline of the Roman Empire
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Alexandria Troas, Troas
The representation of the decurions of Alexandria depicted on the reverse of this type is unique within the Roman provincial series. The decurions were members of municipal senates responsible for procuring funds for new public works, festivities and games, as well as for welfare networks. Their fiscal responsibilities also extended to the collecting of imperial taxes, for which they were expected to cover any shortfalls.RP87204. Bronze AE 22, RPC IX 432 (12 spec.); Bellinger A409; SNG Çanakkale 376; BMC Troas p. 27, 145; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark green patina, reverse slightly off center, tiny encrustations, some legend weak, edge cracks, weight 4.586 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP C VIBI TRIBO GALLVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse The curia decurionum of Alexandria in session: nine men wearing togas seated in a semicircle, two outer men seated on curule chairs, two in center holding short staffs, AVG above, two steps below, ALEXAND on upper step, decorative pattern on lower step, TROADA in exergue; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), lot 429; very rare; $1300.00 (€1144.00)
Maximus, Caesar, 235 or 236 - 24 June 238 A.D.
When Augustus ruled Rome, he was not called emperor or king, he was the Princeps, the "first of men." In the empire, the designated successors to the emperor were named caesar and also given the title Princeps Juventutis, the "first of youths." This is the origin of the English word prince, meaning the son of a monarch.SH89839. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 13, BMCRE V 213, Hunter III 11, Cohen IV 14, SRCV III 8411, gF, excellent portrait, well centered, edge split, weight 23.265 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, early 236 - Apr 238 A.D.; obverse MAXIMVS CAES GERM, bare-headed and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS (to the Prince of Youth), Maximus standing left, head bare, short scepter in right hand, transverse spear in left hand, two military standards behind, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73 (6 Jan 2019), lot 543; scarce; $380.00 (€334.40)
Pupienus, 22 April - 29 July 238 A.D.
A.D. 238 was the year of six emperors. Maximinus Thrax was killed (along with his son Maximus Caesar) when his soldiers mutinied. Gordian II was killed in battle. Gordian I hanged himself. Pupienus was lynched by his bodyguard. Balbinus was beaten and dragged naked through the streets of Rome before being killed by the Praetorians. Gordian III lived to become sole emperor. SH91233. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV-1 14 (S), Cohen V 15, BMCRE VI 10, Hunter III 16, SRCV III 8531, VF/F, black patina, scratches, reverse rough, weight 21.051 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M CLOD PVPIENVS AVG, Laureate and draped bust right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGVSTORVM (the generosity of the Emperor), Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C divided across lower half of the field; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; scarce; $360.00 (€316.80)
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; $250.00 (€220.00)
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.
In 263 A.D., King Odenathus of Palmyra declared himself ruler of the area west of the River Euphrates and was given the title Dux Orientalis by Emperor Gallienus.RB86184. Orichalcum sestertius, Göbl MIR 92h, RIC V J209, Cohen V 132, Hunter IV J24 corr. (described with aegis), SRCV III 10467, aVF, tight flan, dark green patina with light earthen deposits, some corrosion, a few blue-green spots, tiny edge cracks, weight 16.198 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse CONCORDIA EXERCIT (harmony with the army), Concord standing left holding patera and double cornucopia, S C (senatus consulto) at sides low across field; the lighter blue-green spots are hard, not powdery, and do NOT appear to be active corrosion; $200.00 (€176.00)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.
During Philip's reign the 1000th anniversary of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated, and magnificent games were held. This coin was issued as part of that celebration and the reverse undoubted depicts one of the animal types displayed and hunted in the Colosseum during the games.RB87835. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 160a; Cohen V 183, Hunter III 107, SRCV III 9012, VF, nice portrait, well centered, some bumps and scratches, a little rough and porous, edge cracks, traces of shellac(?), weight 16.917 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, from behind; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), stag standing right, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $200.00 (€176.00)
Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Side, Pamphylia
A thyrsos and a torch on another Side reverse mentioning the Agon Mystikos (BMC 118) indicates the Sidetan Mystikos was dedicated to Dionysos and Demeter, and perhaps also to the Roman emperor (see J. Nollé: Der Agon Mystikos in Side, in: Chiron 16 (1986), pp. 204-206). As Dionysos is, among other roles, a god of the arts, it was likely an artistic rather than athletic competition. Nollé dated the conferment of the Sidetan Agon Mystikos to the time of Hadrian, but as the first reference to it comes from coins of Gallienus (such this coin). More likely, the Agon was founded in the mid 3rd century, perhaps in fact under Gallienus, whose interest in mystery cults is well attested and who was famously initiated into the Eleusian Mysteries himself (like Hadrian!). RP88915. Bronze AE 32, SNG PfPs -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycia -, Lindgren -; ISEGRIM -; et al. -; c/m: Howgego 805 (169 pcs, applied 253 - 268 A.D.), aF, legends weak, a little off center, rough and porous, weight 17.252 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 30o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, joint reign, Aug 253 - 260 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI ΠOY ΛI ΓAΛΛIHNOC CE, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; countermark on right: E (5 assaria) in 7.5mm round punch obliterating IA (prior mark of value); reverse IEPA ΠVΘIAE IEPOC MYCTIKOC (holy Pythian [games], sacred, mystical), two prize urns containing palms, set on an agonistic table, table edge inscribed CI∆HW, uncertain object(s) or inscription below table top and in exergue (if any); we could not find a single specimen of this type online or in our many references - this is the only specimen of this type known to FORVM; extremely rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.
This coin is from the issue celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Rome.RS89477. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 15, RSC IV 178, Hunter III 46, SRCV III 8957, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered, flow lines, reverse struck with a worn die, weight 3.884 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, I I in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $200.00 (€176.00)
Saloninus, Summer 260 A.D.
Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men. On this coin, the Caesar, Saloninus, the designated successor of the emperor, is identified as the hope for the future of the Roman people.RL88067. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1707e(1) (Samosata), RIC V-1 36 (Antioch), RSC IV 95a (Antioch), Hunter IV 12, Cunetio 865 (3 spec.), SRCV III 10775, nice VF, attractive dark tone, porosity, weight 3.111 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syrian mint, as caesar, Jan - summer 260 A.D.; obverse SALON VALERIANVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Saloninus (on left) standing right, wearing military garb, holding spear, confronting Spes standing left, raising skirt with left hand, presenting flower to prince with right hand, wreath above; $175.00 (€154.00)
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D.
It seems Felicitas disregarded the reverse of this coin, which was dedicated to her in the hope of promoting the good fortune of the people. In 251 A.D., a fifteen-year plague began in the Roman Empire.SL89814. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 34, RIC IV 82, SRCV III 9628, Hunter III - (p. cvi), NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (2412807-062), weight 3.58 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 251 - 252 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS PVBL, Felicitas standing left, turreted, long grounded caduceus vertical in right hand, scepter in left hand; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $170.00 (€149.60)
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