Friday, April 21, 2006
A question I idly muse on myself, now and then.
Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Gallienus, Emmett 3731(3)
A K Π ΛI OV ΓAΛΛIHNOC EVEVC, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right | LΓ, Eirene standing left, holding branch in right hand and scepter with left. Regnal year left.
Another coin of Roman Egypt, this from the 3rd year that Gallienus reigned, 255/256 CE. The Pharos, the great lighthouse of Alexandria, still stood, visible to any who turned toward the harbor. Sadly, it wasn't depicted on any coins of this reign, as it had been in the past.
What is shown here is Eirene, Greek goddess of peace.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Silvered Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Siscia, Göbl 1435i
GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right | FIDES MIL, Fides standing right, holding standards left and right.
Like Monday's post, this commemorates the faithfulness of the soldiers. In time, they would kill Gallienus, as they did so many emperors. Including the time he reigned jointly with his father, he had 15 years in office, a pretty good run for the 3rd Century, even if it did end badly.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Diademed head of Venus right, [R]VFVS·S·C[·] behind | Cupid riding a dolphin right, with bridle and reins, MN·CORDIVS in exergue.
In the year this was minted, Rome adopted the Julian calendar, Caesar brought Cleopatra and their Caesarion, from Egypt. It's worn a bit since then, but that's wear from being spent, over and over, and Caesar was still in power at the start.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Æ tetradrachm, Alexandria, Gallienus, Emmett 3836(11)
AVT K Π ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right | (retrograde) LIA, Tyche standing left, holding rudder with right hand and cornucopia in right. Regnal year left, retrograde.
Dated coins are, well, useful. This was minted in the 11th year of the Emperor's reign as reckoned by the Alexandrian Calendar, 263/264 CE. Now, granted, it's not useful useful to know that, there's nothing I can do with the knowledge, but placing a coin in a time and place matters to me, and a more precise time appeals to me.
Since the coins of Roman Egypt, minted at Alexandria, circulated throughout Egypt, and nowhere else, there's a limit to how precisely it can be placed.
The design is, frankly, unexciting. Tyche almost seems in this century to have become the default design used on provincial coins where no other design came to mind.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Æ as, Valerian, Rome, Göbl 30m
IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right | VICTORIA AVGG, Victory standing left, holding aloft wreath in right hand and transverse palm in left. S_C across fields.
As the silver used in antoninanii became more and more debased, the intrinsic value of frankly bronze coins of traditional denomination, such as this as (a denomination in use since the time of the Republic) more nearly exceeded that of base-silver coins of higher value and the bronze coins made less sense to make. They would largely cease to be made during this reign, which is always attractive to a collector.
He may not have the aristocratic features of Galba or Hadrian but I don't think there's any mistaking Valerian for what he was: a general of Rome.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I encourage you to have a look at A Gift For Polydektes, Ed Snible's recently-begun blog. See too his longer-standing site, which includes digital versions of many numismatic works that've fallen into the public domain.