Saturday, January 22, 2005

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Antioch, Göbl 1636a 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head left | VIRTVS AVG, Mars advancing right, holding transverse spear and globe right, branch in exergue.

Last year I posted a more common coin of this issue with radiate draped cuirassed bust right. This, though, simply has a radiate head left. It's really not at all clear why the emperor's portrait nearly always exists in multiple forms for any given reverse.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Gallienus, Emmett 3837(12) 

AYT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, Laureate cuirassed bust right | LIB, Tyche seated left holding cornucopia right and rudder left. Palm in right field, regnal year in left.

Tyche was the goddess of fortune, commonly associated with the Roman Fortuna.

Curtis Clay, commenting on another coin of this period on FORVM's message board said
According to Vogt, Die alexandrinischen Münzen, p. 208, the palm branch appears on MOST of Gallienus' Alexandrian coins in years 10-11, and on ALMOST ALL of them in years 12-15, in commemoration of his decennalia which were celebrated in year 10.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Antioch, Göbl 478f 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | FIDES LEG, Gallienus, in military garb, standing facing, head left, holding transverse scepter. Legionary standard on either side.

This coin honors the faithfullness of the legions, and perhaps admits the emperor's dependance on that faithfullness. Some time after this coin was minted, his officers turned on Gallienus and killed him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

AR denarius, Macrinus, Rome, RIC 60 

IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right. Older features, long beard | FELICITAS TEMPORVM, Felicitas standing left, holding long caduceus left and cornucopia right.

Marcus Opellius Macrinus served as praetorian prefect under Caracalla and succeeded him as emperor after he was assassinated by the praetorians in 217.

He was not successful fighting Parthian invaders, eventually bribing them to go away, and failed to earn the loyalty of the legions.

Surviving members of the previous imperial family proclaimed a cousin of Caracalla emperor and raised an army from Roman legions in Syria, who captured and killed Macrinus in 218.

This coin, like Monday's, depicts Felicitas, the personification of happiness and success.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Æ27, Smyrna in Ionia, Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 1407var... 

(legend, magistrate)

AVT ΠO ΛIK_[I]N ΓAΛΛIHNOC, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right | [CMYPNAIΩN NEΩKOPΩN] / EΠC ΦIΛH_TOV / IΠΠI[KOV], Roma seated left on throne, holding temple left and spear right, shield at base of throne right.

While this recent acquisition isn't nearly as legible as this contemporaneous issue, parts are legible enough to allow me to better understand the legends on both and to be able to see that they name ΦIΛHTOV and IΠΠIKOV, apparently the magistrates in Smyrna at that time. Looking through SNG Copenhagen and SNG von Aulock, it seems that Smyrna often continued using the same basic reverse design over the period of a series of magistrates. These magistrates may have been elected annually, and probably were expected to raise or supply funds for festivals, games, and statues and temples of the Imperial family.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 478f 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right | FELICIT AVG, Felicitas standing facing, head right, holding globe right and caduceus left. T in right field.

Felicitas was the personification of happiness and success, virtues that the emperor very much wanted associated with himself, perhaps especially when things were going badly.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Salonina, Emmett 3852(14) 

ΚΟΡΝΗΛΙΑ CΑΛωΝΕΙΝΑ CΕΒ, Diademed draped bust right | LΙΔ, Eagle standing left, wings open, wreath in beak. Palm in right field, regnal year in left: ΙΔ within L.

Not great, not awful. It shows wear from having circulated after it was issued, over 1,700 years ago, and has suffered some since then, see the signs of corrosion on the reverse, particularly the eagle.

In all, a pleasing if unspectacular ancient coin, the marketplace is full of its equals.

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