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Bostra






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Bostra, (Arabia) Colonia - now Boszra, in the southern part of the Turkish pashalic of Damascus. The era of this Arabian city dates from AD 105. Its coins are imperial, in brass, with Greek inscriptions, from the reign of Antoninus Pius to that of Elagabalus; and in the same metal, with Latin legends, from Severus Alexander to Trajan Decius and Herennius Etruscus. On imperial coins in large, middle, and small brass, the colony is called COL BOSTR (COLONIA BOSTRA). Also on a large brass of Julia Mamaea, is read N TR ALEXANDRIANAE COL BOSTR (Nova Trajanae Alexandrianae Coloniae Bostrae). According to Vaillant, Bostra took the name of Trjan on account of benefits (such as the building of bridges and other public structures) received by it from that emperor; and the appelation of Alexandrianae was added in honour of Severus Alexander. On coins of Philip I, and of Trajan Decius, this city is styled COL METROPOLIS BOSTRA, meaning the chief city of the Roman province, formed under the name of Arabia. On a coin of Caracalla, in the museum San. Clem. the legend of the reverse is METRO ANTONIANA AVR B (that is, says Mionnet, Supp. VIII 384, Aurelia Bostra).

The types of this colonia are as follows:

1. Ammon (Jupiter) [Zeus], head with ram's horn, surmounted by a globe, or by the modius; on a samll brass of Severus Alexander and Philip I.

2. Astarte - N TR ALEXANDRIANAE COL BOSTR, an upright figure of this divinity, in a four columned temple, holding an oval headed staff and a cornucopiae. On each side at her feet is the figure of a centaur blowing a horn. This singular type appears on a large brass of Julia Mamaea.


Astarte,or Venus, was worshipped, and had a fine temple at Bostra. The fertility and abundance of whose territory is designated by the cornucopiae. But why the two centaurs are introduced into the type is a question which remains unexplained.

A coin was struck under Trajan Decius, with COL METROPOL BOSTRON for its legend of reverse; and with the type of Astarte standing facing, in a long dress, holding the cross topped hasta; and having at her feet the infant Silenus dancing.

3. Colonus boves agens. Pellerin gives a coin with this type struck under Elagabalus. 'This medal shews that the city of Bostra had been a colony before the reign of Severus Alexander, contrary to the opinion of Spanheim and of Vaillant." See Melange, i 300.

On a coin dedicated to Severus Alexander is the same type of a Colonist at plough; added to which well known group is an ediface, with atircase of ascent to the upper part, where three vases are placed.

4. Head of Serapis, surmounted by the modius, or the calathus, on a coin of Severus Alexander. The bust of the pricipal deity of Egypt, on a coin struck at Bostra, shews that god, whom Nonnus calls the Egyptian Jupiter, was amongst the objects of idolatrous worship in this Roman colony.

5. Silenus standing, with right hand raised, and a wine skin on his ledt shoulder.



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