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The Emperors and Such


145 files, last one added on Nov 27, 2021
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7 files, last one added on Dec 12, 2016
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The Republic


9 files, last one added on Jan 04, 2021
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Judean / Samarian / Philistian


28 files, last one added on Jun 24, 2020
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55 files, last one added on Feb 17, 2021
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Roman Provincial


21 files, last one added on Dec 31, 2020
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Persian Empire


17 files, last one added on Jun 19, 2021
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Reference Coins and Updated Photographs


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8 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - Nemonater's Gallery
Gordian I DenariusGordian I, 238. Denarius (Silver, 20 mm, 3.25 g, 7 h), Rome, March-April 238.
O: IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian I to right, seen from behind.
R: ROMAE AETERNAE Roma seated left on shield, holding Victory in her right hand and spear in her left.
- BMC 8. Cohen 8. RIC 4.
- From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, privately acquired from Bank Leu on 29 June 1966

Gordian I and his son Gordian II share the dubious distinction of having the shortest reigns of any "legitimate" Roman emperors. Born in AD 159 during an era of peace and stability, Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus claimed a distant relation to the emperor Trajan on his mother's side and descent from those famous Republican reformers, the brothers Gracchi, on his father's.

Despite these illustrious genes, he had a rather uneventful career as a Senator and did not reach the Consulship until the advanced age of 64. He was approaching his 80s when, in AD 237/8, the Emperor Maximinus I appointed him governor of North Africa, where he was expected to enforce the regime's draconian program of taxation. In March of 238, a group of young African nobles rebelled and murdered the emperor's tax agent.

Realizing they'd passed the point of no return, the rich rebels sent a delegation to Gordian begging him to accept the purple as a rival to the unpopular Maximinus, who was preoccupied campaigning on the Rhine frontier. At first reluctant, Gordian accepted their acclamation on March 19 and appointed his son, Gordian II, as co-emperor.

The Gordians both assumed the title Africanus and dispatched a messenger to Rome proclaiming their program of reform. The Senate, which hated the brutish Maximinus, eagerly approved their elevation and began striking coins in their names. But Maximinus ordered his loyal governor in Numidia, Capellianus, to attack Carthage and crush the revolt. Capellianus duly set out with a veteran force, against which the Gordians could only pull together an ill-trained rabble. Gordian II died in battle on April 12, AD 238 and his father hanged himself upon hearing of its outcome. They had together reigned a mere 22 days.

An enduring mystery is the excellent quality of the Roman coinage of Gordian I and II, whose reign totaled 21 days, during which neither emperor left North Africa. Despite their brief production run, coins of Gordian I and II are notable for their fine portraiture and careful quality control.

Both portraits are distinctive, carefully engraved, and clearly modeled on the actual rulers. There seems to have been no "interim phase" during which the imperial portrait was simply a modified version of the predecessor (as with Trajan and Maximinus I, both of whom were absent from Rome when raised to the purple).

Two possibilities suggest themselves: (1) The "spontaneous" revolt of the Gordians in Africa had actually been carefully planned in advance, with coin dies prepared in secret from busts provided to the mint workers by their backers in the Senate; (2) the production of coins for Gordian I and II extended well beyond their brief reign, perhaps running concurrently with the coinage of Balbinus, Pupienus and Gordian III as Caesar, allowing time for proper effigies of the deceased rulers to be provided to the mint.
1 commentsNemonaterNov 27, 2021
The Year of the Six Emperors Part IIIn order from top left to right: Maximinus Thrax, murdered; Maximus Caesar, murdered; Gordian I suicide; Gordian II killed in battle; Pupienus, murdered; Balbinus, murdered; Gordian III, probably murdered but possibly died in battle.

It's often better to be a peasant!
1 commentsNemonaterNov 27, 2021
Siglos Artaxerxes II to Artaxerxes III With KerykeionAchaemenid Empire. Time of Artaxerxes II to Artaxerxes III. Circa 375-340 BC. AR Siglos (15mm, 5.37 g).
O: Persian king or hero right, in kneeling-running stance, holding spear and bow; kerykeion (caduceus) in left field
R: Rectangular incuse punch.
- Cf. Carradice Type IV C var. Extremely rare with caduceus.
1 commentsNemonaterJun 19, 2021
Siglos Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II Engraved Reverse DiePERSIA, Achaemenid Empire. temp. Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Circa 420-375 BC. AR Siglos (15mm, 5.45 g). Sardes or subsidiary mint.
O: Persian king or hero, wearing kidaris and kandys, quiver over shoulder, in kneeling-running stance right, holding dagger in right hand, bow in left
R: Incuse punch with small ivy leaf or spear head.
- Carradice Type IV B; BMC Arabia pl. XXVII, 10 var. (no symbol on rev.); I. Carradice, “The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi” in Studies Price, Rev. Die 58, 264 (same dies).

In his description of the Persian coinage in the Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage (Oxford, 2012), M. Alram notes (p. 69) that “in the earliest phase of type IV sigloi small images, engraved into the original die, are sometimes included in the reverse punches.” What is interesting about the current coin is that it is from Group B of type IV, a fact confirmed by Carradice’s placement of this issue in the Dinar Hoard under the “middle” groups of type IV (interestingly, Carradice failed to note the presence of the symbol on this die). Thus, Alram’s statement must be expanded to include issues beyond the earliest of type IV sigloi. - CNG

NemonaterJun 15, 2021
Nerva / Palm IVDAICINerva Æ Sestertius. 27.84g, 33mm, 6h. Rome, AD 96.
O: IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS II P P, laureate head to right
R: FISCI IVDAICI CALVMNIA SVBLATA, palm-tree, with two clusters of dates; S-C across fields.
- RIC II 58; BMCRE 88. From the Antonio Carmona Collection.

According to the Roman historian Suetonius: "More than any other, the Fiscus Iudaicus was administered very severely; and to it were brought, or reported, those who either had lived the life of a Jew unprofessed, or concealing their origin, had not paid the tax imposed upon by the people. I remember that it was of interest to me during my youth when a ninety-year-old man was brought before the procurator and a very crowded court to see wheather he was circumcised."

Marius Heemstra challenged the earlier interpretation of the reverse inscription. "The embarrassment (CALVMNIA) of the Jewish Tax (FISCI IVDAICI) is removed," ie., that the Jewish tax, which had been introduced by Vespasian after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, was repealed by Nerva, in whole or in part. Heemstra also disagrees with the theory that the CALVMNIA, was "the circumcision test" described by Suetonius (Dom. 12.1-2).

Rather, Heemstra maintains that the tax was not repealed, but, rather, that the legend should be translated: "The removal of the wrongful accusation (CALVMNIA) of the Fiscus Judaicus (the imperial tax collection agency)."

What was the CALVMNIA? Meestra explains that before the "removal" of the "wrongful accusation," by Nerva, it is highly plausible that the charge of 'leading a Jewish life without publicly acknowledging that fact' could have been levied against high-ranking Romans who could then have been victims of the Fiscus Judaicus, which would confiscate their wealth.

Conviction could occur either on political grounds, instigated by the emperor himself (Domitian), or because any affiliation with Judaism, however, small could lead to an accusation of "atheism," which to Romans meant not recognizing their pagan gods.

Meestra points out that an important impact of the new law was that it necessitated a clarification in the definition of who was the taxpayer, and, thus who was considered to be a Jew. Instead of "each one of the Jew"s (Josephus), or, "those belonging to the Jewish gens" (Suetonius), the definition changed to "those Jews who continued to observe their ancestral customs" (Dio). In practice, these were the Jews that had been paying the tax in the first place.

By removing the CALVMNIA "the wrongful accusation," Nerva succeeded in transforming the definition of 'Jew' from an ethnic one into a religious one, which both the Romans and Jews adopted.

The coin represents Nerva's order not to abolish the tax itself but of the insulting method of collecting the Jewish tax. - See discussion in: Marius Heemstra, "The interprretation and Wider Context of Nerva's Fiscus Judaicus Sestertius, Judaea and Rome in Coins 65 BCE - 135 CE, London: Spink and Sons, 2010, 187-201.

David Hendin quotes David Vagi for another theory for the Fiscus Judaicus in his Guide to Biblical Coins, Fifth Edition.
"In all likelihood (this reverse type) celebrates Vespasian's requirement of 71/2 CE that the annual didrachm Temple Tax, the Fiscus Iudaicus, be paid to Rome rather than to the Jewish Temple.
This tax was extended to every Jew, male and female, from the age of three, and even to slaves of Jewish households. The proceeds were earmarked for the rebuilding of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Captiolinus in Rome, which had been destroyed in the last days of the Roman Civil War of 68-69."
"Thus, FISCI IVDIACI CALVMNIA SVBLATA ('the insult of the Jewish Tax has been removed') would refer to Vespasian's removal of the insult that prior to 71/2 the Jewish Temple Tax had been collected by Jews for their own use. After all, Romans considered themselves the only legitimate taxing authority within the empire, and the only rightful beneficiary of tax revenues."

"In summary, the idea that this coin represents a Roman apology, or a Roman acknowledgment of its own callous behavior, must be abandoned" (p. 458).
3 commentsNemonaterMay 25, 2021
Titus / QuadrigaTitus. Silver Denarius (3.41 g 19mm), as Caesar, AD 69-79. Judaea Capta type. Antioch, under Vesapasian, AD 72/3.
O: T CAES IMP VESP PON TR POT, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Titus right.
R: Titus, togate, holding palm branch and scepter, standing right in triumphal quadriga advancing right.
- RIC 1563; BMC 521; RSC 395; Hendin 1493.
2 commentsNemonaterApr 24, 2021
Titus / CaptiveTitus. As Caesar, AD 69-79. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.53 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 79.
O: IMP T CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, Laureate head right
R: TR POT VIII COS VII, Bound captive kneeling right before trophy.
- RIC 1; RSC 334a; BMCRE 1. Exemplar der Sammlung Dr. Klaus Berthold, erworben 2013.
2 commentsNemonaterApr 24, 2021
Titus / VictoryTitus as Caesar (AD 69-79). AR denarius, 16mm, 3.22g, Ephesus, ca. AD 71.
O: IMPERATOR T CAESAR AVGVSTI F, bare head of Titus right
R: PACI-AVGVSTAE, Victory advancing right holding wreath and palm, ligate EPHE in lower right field.
RIC 1441 (R2) (Vespasian). RPC 838 (Paris only). BM 468 note. Paris 360. Cohen 124 (15 Fr.).

Rare Eastern issue with Titus depicted bareheaded rather than laureate.
4 commentsNemonaterApr 24, 2021
Vespasian / VirtusVespasian. AD 69-79. AR Denarius, Antioch (or Tyre?) mint. Struck 70 AD.
O:IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right.
R: VIRTVS AVGVST, Virtus standing right, foot on prow, holding spear set on round shield and parazonium.
RIC 1542 (R2). BMC 499. RSC 640. RPC 1916 (5 spec.). BNC 315. Metal detector find from Shkodra city , village of Koplik, Albania

McAlee considers this group of denarii to have been issued at Tyre, not Antioch. (McAlee p.159)
3 commentsNemonaterApr 18, 2021
Siglos Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II Engraved Reverse DiePersian Empire, Xerxes II to Artaxerxes II. Ca. 420-375 B.C. AR siglos.
O: Persian king or hero in kneeling/running stance right, holding dagger and bow; bankers marks.
R: Helmet facing within reverse incuse punch.
- Carradice plate XIII, 34; BMC Arabia p. 165, 124, pl. XXVI, 21.
1 commentsNemonaterFeb 20, 2021
Julius Caesar / L BVCA Venus standingJulius Caesar, (c.February - March 44 B.C.), silver denarius, (3.09 g), Rome Mint
O: Wreathed head of Caesar to right, around CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, dotted border
R: L BVCA to right, Venus standing to left, holding Victory and sceptre, dotted border, (S.1411, Cr.480/8, Syd.105, RSC Julius Caesar 23). Ex Dr V.J.A. Flynn Collection.

The weak strike exposes the unexplained, bumpy flan.
NemonaterFeb 20, 2021
Shekel Tyre CY 38 (89/88 BC)PHOENICIA, Tyre. 126/5 BC-65 AD. AR Shekel Dated CY 38 (89/88 BC).
O: Laureate head of Melkart right
R: TΥΡIOΥ IEΡAΣ KAI AΣΥΛOΥ, eagle standing left on prow; HΛ and club to left, Phoenician letter between legs, monogram to right.

- Well struck in high relief
3 commentsNemonaterFeb 17, 2021

Random files - Nemonater's Gallery
Augustus RIC 20727 BC-AD 14. AR Denarius. Lugdunum mint. Struck 2 BC-AD 4.
O: Laureate head right
R: Caius and Lucius Caesars standing facing, holding shields and spears between them; simpulum and lituus above.
- RIC I 207; Lyon 82; RSC 43

Light, bluish toning
1 commentsNemonater
Bar Kokhba Revolt Zuz - Domitian UndertypeJudaea, Bar Kokhba Revolt. Silver Zuz (3.22 g), 132-135 CE. Undated, attributed to year 3 (134/5 CE).
O: 'Simon' (Paleo-Hebrew) within wreath of thin branches wrapped around eight almonds, with a medallion at top and tendrils at bottom.
R: 'For the freedom of Jerusalem' (Paleo-Hebrew), fluted jug with handle on left; in right field, willow branch. Partial portrait of Domitian to left.
- Hendin 1418; Mildenberg 79 (O14/R51); TJC 283., ex S. Moussaieff Collection.

For more about the Moussaieff Collection, see
1 commentsNemonater
Vespasian / Victory on Globe AR Denarius, Uncertain Spanish mint, 69-70 AD
O: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Laureate head left.
R: VICTORIA IMP VESPASIANI; Victory standing left on globe, with wreath and palm
- RIC 1340 (R), BMC 362, RSC 630

A very pleasing dark chocolate patina with bronze highlights. A nice compliment to my Civil Wars denarius with the same Victory on globe reverse.
3 commentsNemonater

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