Saturday, August 28, 2004

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 583r 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | VBERITAS AVG, Uberitas standing left holding marsupium left and cornucopia right, E in right field.

The radiate head right version of this coin, with an "E" mintmark indicating the 5th officina, is one of the most-commonly seen coins of Gallienus: Göbl attests 376 examples in the collections that he surveyed. I've already posted a far less common example with radiate cuirassed bust, and was pleased to win this even less common radiate draped cuirassed bust version at a recent eBay auction.

Uberitas was a personification of fruitfulness or plenty.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Æ23, Augusta Traiana in Thrace, Gallienus, Varbanov 511 

ΑVΤ ΓΑ_ΛΛΙΗΝΟC, Radiate draped bust right | ΑV[Γ]ΟVCΤΗC ΤΡΑΙΑΝΗ[C], Coiled snake with gaping mouth.

Sometimes the ancients seem very familiar, sometimes distant. With snakes, which they revered as companions of Aesculapius, god of medicine and recovered health, they're pretty distant.

If I had the time and inclination, I'd try to find out if venomous snakes were more common in northern Europe than in the core of the Classical world, and if that might have shaped the apparent difference in expectations.

I certainly can appreciate the value of a garter snake in the garden, and would be happy to have one there, but my first reaction is more along "what's a copperhead look like?" lines.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Billon antoninianus, Valerian II, Rome, Göbl 262i 

DIVO CAES VALERIANO, Radiate draped bust right | CONSECRATIO, Eagle standing left with wings open, head right.

Honoring the deified son of Gallienus, who died in 258 of uncertain causes, while with the army on the Danubian front. He doesn't look too enthusiastic about the whole being a god thing.

Doug Smith's interesting page on distinguishing Valerian II from his brother, Saloninus, here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

AR denarius, Roman imperatorial period, 32-31 BCE, travelling military mint, Marc Antony, Crawford 544/16 

ANT·AVG III·VIR R·P·C, Galley being rowed right | LEG IIII, Legionary eagle between two standards.

After the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, civil war at Rome was averted for a time by the establishment of the second triumverate, with a 10-year term. With the experation of that term Octavian, at Rome, and Antony, at Alexandria, were ready to contest each other for domination of the Roman world.

Octavian had Agrippa. Antony had Cleopatra. Still, fun while it lasted and all, and before things were done Antony issued a very collectable legionary series of slightly underweight denarii. This one is in the name of Legio IIII Macedonica.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Æ31, Tarsus in Cilicia, Valerian, Lindgren III, A935a 

ΑVΤ Κ Π ΛΙ ΟVΑΛΕΡΙΑΝ[ΟΝ C], Radiate draped cuirassed bust right, Π before and behind | ΤΑΡC ΜΗ_[ΤΡ]ΟΠΟΛ Α Μ Κ, Athena standing holding spear left and shield at feet right. Γ in left field, Β in right.

I just received this one, and can find it cataloged only in the appendix of Lindgren III, where he describes the reverse
Figure stdg. facing, wearing long chiton, drapery hanging in long fold at r., holding uncertain objects.
so any fault in identifying this as Athena is entirely my own. It certainly looks like an Athena pose to me.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Strengthen the Good 

Via Strengthen the Good, Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund at The Gulf Coast Community Foundation Of Venice

Billon antoninianus, Valerian, Antioch, Göbl 1574a 

IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | VICTORIA AVGG, Victory standing facing, head left, presenting wreath left and holding palm right.

A nice Victory reverse, holding a wreath and a palm branch. It's unusual for coinage of this family in that Victory's wing is most visible to her left, which was true only for this reverse. Which is a pretty piddly distinction. Which is what happens when you have a narrow specialty.

Which has its good points and bad.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Æ31, Tarsus in Cilicia, Valerian, SNG Levante 1188 

ΑV ΚΑΙ ΠΟV ΛΙ ΟVΑΛΕ[ΡΙΑΝΟC CΕ], Radiate draped cuirassed bust right, Π before and behind | ΤΑΡCΟV ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟ / ΛΕΩΝ / Α / Μ / Κ / Γ / Γ, (Eutychides') Tyche of Antioch seated on rock, Orontes swimming beneath. Perseus right, crowning her while holding harpa and Gorgon's head. Herakles, left, stands naked, holding club.

This one's interesting (your results may vary.) The seller described the reverse scene as Eurystheus assigning Herakles his labors, but once I had it in hand I recognized Eutychides' Tyche of Antioch, a statue which was featured on ancient coins for over 600 years.

Now, why Tarsus should put the Tyche of Antioch on their coins, I don't know. It means something, as the reverses of provincial coins so often do, but as is also often true, for some of it you just had to be there.

Thanks to Curtis Clay for attributing this for me, as it's not listed in any catalog I own.

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