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Alexandria Troas






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ALEXANDRIA TROAS (Colonia). A city so called from its being situated on that part of the coast of Mysia, called the Troad, or plain of Troy, eternized by the Iliad of Homer. - According to Strabo, it received the appellation of Alexandria, from Alexander the Great, who was the first to elevate it to the rank of a free city: from that period and occupation of Asia Minor by the Romans, who unceasingly added to its splendour. Julius Caesar greatly improved and ornamented it. His example was followed by Augustus, who made it a Roman Colony; and Hadrian (says Justin) adorned it with baths and aqueducts. It was from Augustus, that the city took the name of Augusta. But it was not called Alexandria on coins before the reign of Caracalla; and then it re-assumed the name, either to flatter that prince's affected fondness for the memory of Alexander the Great, or in acknowledgment of benefits conferred upon it by him as the eldest son and expectant successor of Septimius Severus. The era of Alexander Troas is fixied by Mionnet (Supplmt. T. V. 508) at 454 years from the foundation of Rome 300 B.C. Its ruins still exist, and are called by the Turks Eski-Stambul, or Old Constantinople.

Among the Latin colonial autonomes (described by Mionnet, vol. ii. p. 639) is the following singular one, viz.: - Obv. CO. ALEX. TRO. Turreted head of a woman. - Rev. A peasant or shepherd, holding in his right hand the pedum; he stands by the side of a cave, on which the Sybil Herophile rests herself: behing the shepherd is a ram. - The other types of this period of the colony's mint, are APOL. ZMINTHE. Apollo Sminthius (see Apollo) standing - a fawn - the vexillum - and eagle with a bull's head.

The colonial imperial coins extend in nearly an unbroken succession of reigns from Trajan to Gallienus and Salonina. They are numerous, and some few worthy of notice.  On these we read COL. AVG. (TROA or TROAD.) - COL. AVG. TRO. ALEX. Colonia Augusta Troas, (or Troadensis) Alexandria, or COL. AVG. TRO. or TR.

There is, on a second brass dedicated by the city of Troas to Caracalla, the type of a horse depascent, behind which is a tree; and by its side is the figure of a rustic, who bears the pedum in his right hand.

Of this reverse the annexed cut is a copy, after a specimen in the British Museum. - Vaillant, who (in Coloniis, i. 46), describes the figure, as simply that of a shepherd holding the crook, usually employed in his pastoral vocation, considers this device of man, horse, and tree, to indicate the confirmation of privileges and immunities, granted to the Troadensians by Caracalla.

Among the imperial series, all with Latin legends, struck in this Roman colony, one, which is dedicated to the honour of Crispina, wife of Commodus, is of good design, and curious in its typification.

Obv. CRISPINA AVGVSTA - Head of the Empress.

Rev. COL. AVG. TROAD. (The August Colony of Troas) - A figure standing in a military dress, sacrificing at a tripod, in front of the statue of Apollo, which stands on a cippus or pedestal. Above the tripod is an eagle with expanded wings, holding in its talons the head of a bull. - Vaillant, in coloniis, i.p. 223.

[Pellerin (in bis Mlange de Med. T. i. pl. xvii. No 15), gives a coin of this colony, dedicated to Commodus himself, from which the above wood-cut is take. The type differs a little from that on Crispina's above described, inasmuch as, for the tripod is substituted a lighted altar; and the sacrificer wears a cloak over his military dress, and holds a sceptre, instead of a spear, in his left hand.]

"This medal (says Vaillant), refers to the augury which was taken when the foundations of New Troy (Alexandria Troas), were about to be laid. Strabo relates (Lib. xiii.) that the city was built where it now is, from the ruins of ancient Troy, by command of the Oracle. Now all this appears to me very clearly expressed in the medal before us. For indeed, whilst the founder of New Troy is performing sacrifice at the tripod of Apollo (who was the guardian deity of Old Troy), with a view to learn what place he ought to fix upon for the city which he designed to build, an eagle is seen in the air, holding in his claws the head of an immolated bull; thereby signifying to him who sacrificed it, that he should lay the foundations of his new town on the spot, where the eagle is going to carry that portion of the victim. For this reason, the inhabitants of the colony, in remembrance of the foundation of their city, caused to be represented on their coins, sometimes a single eagle, which flies away with a bull's head; at other times the same bird and caput boris, with their founder offeriing sacrifice to Apollo."

Mionnet gives a coin of this colony, dedicated to Commodus, having for its obverse legend, GEN. CON. COL. AVG. TROAD. - The genius of the colony is half naked, and stands holding in her right hand a small figure of Apollo, and in her left a cornucopiae. - In the reverse of a coin of Crispina, the type is a mountain, on which is Apollo, clothed in the female habiliment of the stola. The bow and patera are in his hands. A herdsman, or shepherd, is before the god, holding the pedum, and in a suppliant posture; behind him is a ram. - A coin of Alexandria Troas, struck in honour of Trebonianus Gallus, exhibits as the type of its reverse, Apollo, naked, this colony to Caracalla.

On the observe is M. AVREL. ANTONIN, an the laurelled head of that emperor. - The reverse (as will be seen by the annexed cut) bears for legend - COL. ALEXAND. D. AVG. and for type an equestrian figure, with right hand raised, riding at speed, before, what M. Du Mersan calls, the statue of Minerva; but which, by the turreted crown, and from other numismatic analogies, Mr. Akerman appears fully warranted in pronouncing to be the Genius of the Colony.

The other types of this colony consist of the head of a turreted woman and the vexillum; also Apollo Sminthius (see the word), as in Hadrian and in Commodus. - Victory marching; and Eagle with head of an ox; struck unter Antoninus Pius. - A satyr, with wine-skin on his shoulder; a horse feeding, under M. Aurelius; a tripod and a crow beside it; a turreted woman carrying the palladium an vexillum; Hercules standing in repose like that (says Mionnet) of the Palais Farnese; minted under Commodus. - Hercules strangling Antaeus; Silenus, supported by two Bacchants, and a satyr before him, minted under Caracalla. - Remus and Romulus with the wolf, struck under Elagabalus. - Equestrian figure before a statue of Apollo,as in Maesa. - Emperor on horseback, with paludamentum, right hand raised, before him a statue of Apollo, placed on a eippus, dedicated to Alexander Severus. - Bust of a woman, behind which is the vexillum, on which is AV. CO.; struck under Gallienus. - An eagle on a cippus, as in Salonina, &c., &c. - See Mionnet, vol. ii. p. 653. Do. Supplmt. v. p. 508. et. sea.


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