Saturday, November 13, 2004
Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Cyzikus, Göbl 1555Ac
GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right, no pellets beneath | VIRTVTI AVG, Two captives seated at the foot of a trophy, their arms tied behind their backs. SPQR in exergue.
This features a fairly common reverse figure for this period, captives and trophy, paired with an unusual form of the legend "to the martial virtue of the emperor."
The reverse was continued at this mint during the first emission of Claudius Gothicus, who succeeded Gallienus.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Æ20, Cotiaeum in Phrygia, quasi-autonomous, SNG von Aulock 3773
ΔΗ_ΜΟC, Diademed head of Demos right | ΕΠΙ Π ΑΙΛ ΔΗ·ΜΗ ΤΡΙΑΝΟΥ ΑΡΧ, Kybele seated left on throne, a lion to either side.ΚΟΤΙΑΕΩ / Ν in exergue.
Demos was the personification of the people, the root of our word democracy. At the end of the week, I find I've completely run out of things to say.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 472f
GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right | LIBERT AVG, Libertas standing facing, head left, leaning on a cippus right, holding cap left and transverse scepter.
There's a lesson here somewhere, which needs a better writer than I, about the lazy freedom of slaves temporarily at ease and the more vigorous liberty of free people in charge of their own lives. Still, everyone appreciates a chance to relax and lean back now and then.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS, Laureate head right | P M TR P XIX IMP II COS III, Armenia seated left on the ground in mourning. Bow and quiver right, sheild and vexillum left. ARMEN in exergue.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the nephew of Antoninus Pius, and was adopted and named heir by him in 138. He's remembered as a Stoic philosopher and successful general.
He became emperor in 161, accompanied by Lucius Verus until Verus died in 169. Marcus Aurelius himself died in 180, and was succeeded by his son, Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Æ33, Lyrbe in Cilicia, Valerian, SNG Levante 288 (this coin)
ΑV·Κ·Π·ΛΙ·ΟVΑΛΕΡΙΑΝΟC, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right, IB before | ΛVΡ_Β_ΙΤΩ_Ν, Athena standing facing, head right, holding patera left and transverse spear.
At 33mm, a big hunk of bronze, bigger than a modern half dollar, not as big as an old silver dollar. The Romans weren't big on trousers, so wouldn't have had the satisfaction of a few big coins in their pockets, but a heavy marsupium must have given many of the same feelings of security.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Billon antoninianus, Gallienus, Antioch, Göbl 1610b
GALLIENVS P F AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right | AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing facing, head left, holding cornucopia right and scales left.
Researchers at Yerkes National Primate Research Center have found that capuchin monkeys who see their fellows being better rewarded than they will refuse further participation in experiments and become hostile.
We've adopted the scales as an attribute of Justice, the Romans had Aequitas as a separate personification of Equality and fair-dealing.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Æ29, Tyre in Phoenicia, Gallienus, cf. BMC 467 (Valerian)
[IMP C P LIC GA]LLIENVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right |COL TV_RO MET, Diomedes standing left, holding Palladium left and spear right. Murex shell in lower left field.
Diomedes was a legendary Greek hero who fought in the Trojan War and later helped to steal the Palladium, a sacred statue of Pallas Athena.
The Murex shell is common on coins of Tyre as it was the source of Tyrian purple the locally-made dye much used by the Romans.