Saturday, March 20, 2004

Billon antoninianus, Rome, Valerian, Göbl 4d 

IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | P M TR P II COS II P P, Jove standing facing, head left, holding scepter right and thunderbolt left.

The letters on the reverse say that Valerian is Pontifex Maximus (chief priest of the state religion, a lifetime office), Tribunicia Potestas (an annual office) for the second time, Consul (also an annual office) for the second time and Father of the country. Valerian began his second consular year in January 254 and ended his second tribunal year in September of that year, so this coin dates during that period, 1750 years ago.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Æ29, Syedra in Cilicia, Salonina, SNG Cop 257 

ΚΟΡΝΗΛΑ CΑΛΩΝΙΝΑ CΕΒ, Diademed draped bust right, IA before | CVΕΔ_ΡΕΩΝ ΘΕ_ΜΙC, Two wrestlers grappling.

Syedra is today in ruins.

Many coins of Syedra in this period feature various prizes for athletic competition, this is one of the few that shows the competition itself. ΘΕΜΙC indicates that these were games with cash prizes. (Thanks to EmpressCollector and the other members who clarified that for me at Forvm Ancient Coins.)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Æ antoninianus, ancient counterfeit, Salonina, would be Göbl 599aa 

SALONINA AVG, Diademed draped bust right on crescent | FIDES MILITVM, Fides standing facing, head left, holding standard left and scepter right.

While Severina, wife of Aurelian, was featured on a number of military-themed coins, she is exceptional in that regard. I know of no imperial coinage for Salonina using military themes.

While it's always possible for a mistake to be made at the mint, using an obverse die of Salonina and a military reverse die intended for Gallienus, neither side of this coin quite looks legitimate: note particularly the blobby, featureless, decorations on the standard on the reverse and the more detailed ones on the coin of her husband.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Æ obol, Alexandria, Claudius, Emmett 91(2), Milne 75 

ΤΙ ΚΛΑΥ ΚΑΙ_[CΕΒΑC ΓΕΡΜΑ], Laureate head right | ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑ, Hippopotamus standing right. Regnal year LΒ in exergue.

Egypt came under Roman control after the battle of Actium, where the armies of Marc Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by those of Octavian and his general Marcus Agrippa. It was under control of the emperor, off-limits to Senators without his permission. Egypt had a closed monetary system of debased and token coins, requiring that visitors change money when entering and leaving, suffering a loss both times.

The date LΒ on the reverse indicates that this was issued in the second year of Claudius's reign, 42 CE.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Æ29, Hierapolis-Castabala in Cilicia, Valerian, Lindgren I A1516A 

ΑVΤ Κ ΟVΛΑΕΡΙΑΝΟC CΕ, Radiate draped bust right | [...]Π ΚΑ_CΤΑΒΑΛΕ, Helios advancing left, hand raised left. S in left field.

Hierapolis-Castabala is today Adana, the fourth largest city of Turkey.

Lindgren calls the reverse "nude male figure," Sear GIC says "naked youth." I'm convinced that, based on the pose and radiate crown (see detail here) that it's Helios, equivalent to the Roman Sol.

The big S on the reverse is the Greek numeral 6, indicating that this is a 6-assaria piece, worth about 1/3 of the imperial antoninianii that I feature here most days.

The big pits on both sides are, I think, the remains of a nasty case of "bronze disease". While there's no sign of the chemical reaction itself, I don't know what else would do that.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Æ antoninianus, Rome, Salonina, Göbl 725x 

COR SALONINA AVG, Diademed draped bust right on crescent | IVNONI CONS AVG, Bearded elk walking left. Δ in exergue.

What I said about this "zoo" series on Saturday still goes. While the portrait on the obverse of this coin is badly damaged, I think the elk on the reverse is pretty cool.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Æ27, Anemourion in Cilicia, Valerian, SNG Levante 511 

ΑVΤ ΠΟ ΛΙ ΟVΑΛΕΡΙΑΝΟΝ, Radiate cuirassed bust right, seen from slightly behind | ΕΤ Β ΑΝΕ_ΜΟVΡΙΕΩΝ, Dionysus standing facing, head left, holding thyrsos right and pouring out kantharos left.

A few photos of Anemourion today.

Dionysus, Bacchus, and Liber Pater: always up for a party.

Good times, good times.

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