Saturday, May 07, 2005

Billon antoninianus, Gallienus, Mediolanum, Göbl 1320d 

IMP GALLIENVS P F AVG, Radiate head right, one ribbon behind, one forward across shoulder | P M TR P VII COS, Emperor, veiled, standing facing, head left, holding scepter right, sacrificing from patera over altar left. MP in exergue.

Some provincial coins are dated, counting from the foundation of the city, the beginning of the dynasty or the accession of the emperor, but imperial coins aren't explicitly dated. Some, like this, do display the emperor's titles in a way that narrows down the date.

P M TR P VII COS tells us that Gallienus is Pontifex Maximus, the chief priest of the state religion, recipient of TRibunicia Potestas, the power of a tribune, for the VIIth time, and COnSUL.

Gallienus recieved Tribunal power for the seventh time in September, 258 and for the eighth time a year later. We know this coin was minted during that year.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Æ30, Perga in Pamphylia, Salonina, SNG von Aulock 4744 

KOPNHΛIA CAΛONINA CEBA, Diademed draped bust right, on crescent, I before | ΠEPΓ_AIΩN, Zeus seated right, holding scepter left and patera right.

This site has photos of the ruins of Perga.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Billon antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 148k 

IMP GALLIENVS P F AVG G M, Radiate cuirassed bust right | VICTORIA G M, Two captives seated at the foot of a trophy, their arms tied behind their backs.

Captives tied at the base of a trophy built from their armor and weapons seems to have been esthetically and emotionally satisfying to the Romans, a sign that Rome was ascendant and all was well with the world.

The design was used at least five of the eight mints that struck imperial coins for Gallienus.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

AR denarius serratus, Q. Antonius Balbus, Roman republic, 83 BCE, Crawford 364/1b 

Laureate head of Jupiter right, S·C behind | Victory in quadriga right, holding wreath and palm right, C below. Q·ATO·BALB / PR in exergue.

Minted in the year of Sulla's return to Rome, this is in a style that must have seemed a bit archaic, particularly the reverse, featuring Victory in a quadriga, the kind of image that had been popular a century before.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Æ20, Ephesus in Ionia, Gallienus, SNG Copenhagen 526 

AYT [K ΠO ]ΛIK_ ΓAΛΛIHNOC, Laureate draped bust right | EΦEC_IΩN T_VXN, Tyche standing facing, head left, holding cornucopia right and rudder left.

Provincial coins showing Tyche are quite common, in this reign and others, as the worship older civic gods was slowly replaced by Tyche's cult, but coins naming her (ΤΥΧΝ) are less often seen.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Billon antoninianus, Valerian, Rome, Göbl 172b 

IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | RELIGIO AVGG, Diana standing facing, head left, holding bow right and reaching into quiver at shoulder, left. Q in right field.

Valerian is best remembered in some quarters as a terrible persecutor of Christians, especially during the last two years before his unfortunate assault on the forces of Shapur I.

This coin, probably minted in 257 (Göbl) or 258 (Webb), honors the religion of the two emperors, though it's known only with Valerian on the obverse and not with his son. I have no doubt that the suppression of Christians, who endangered the empire by risking the anger of the traditional gods of Rome, was very much a part of what was being lauded here.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Æ33, Lyrbe in Cilicia, Valerian, unknown 

AYT K ΛIK OVAΛEPIANOC CEB, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right, flower? behind head, E countermark before | ΛVPB[_EI_]TΩN, Athena standing facing, head left, scepter left and shield right.

This site has some photos of ruins at Lyrbe (and wants to sell you more, on a variety of media.)

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