Friday, March 02, 2007

Æ25, Nicaea in Bithynia, Gallienus, BMC 154 

ΠO ΛI EΓ ΓAΛΛIHNO CEB, Radiate draped cuirassed bust right | NIKAI_EΩN, Dionysus, holding kantharos and thyrsus, seated left in quadriga of elephants left.

For the second week in a row I post a poorly-preserved coin of Nicaea, which is representative of the state of my coins of that city. The reverse image is a bit unexpected though, as the elephant was an exotic animal and had no commonly-known association with dionysus or Nicaea. They do seem to be together more than I'd expect, though.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Æ antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome?, counterfeit like Göbl 744b 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right | DIANAE [CONS AVG], Stag walking left. Exergue apparently empty.

This apparent counterfeit was skipped over when I previously swept the collection looking for posts. It differs from a more obviously authentic coin in the overall shape of the legends on both sides, in the face of the emperor, and in the legs of the stag, which look wrong with very straight forelegs and bent hind legs.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AR denarius, Julia Maesa, Rome, RIC 263 

IVLIA MAESA AVG, Draped bust right | PIETAS AVG, Pietas standing left, holding hand over lit altar left, holding incense box in right hand.

Julia Maesa was the drandmother of Elagabalus and a matriarch of the Severan family. After Elagabalus had infuriated the Roman people with his excesses, Maesa was instrumental in promoting Severus Alexander, another grandson, as a successor to the emperor. (Soon after he was made eligible for the job he was required to fulfill it.)

Maesa died about 226, apparently of natural causes, not a typical death for a member of the Severan nobility.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Æ28, Irenopolis in Cilicia, Valerian, SNG von Aulock 5598 

AVT K Π ΛI VAΛE[...]AN[...], Radiate cuirassed bust right | IPHNIOΠ_O_ΛITΩN ΔC, Hygieia, left, standing facing Aesculapius who holds a snake-entwined staff, uncertain countermark.

A surprisingly common coin, I have a mini-collection showing various countermarks. As with Friday, the reasons for the countermark are unclear, as is whether or not the coin circulated for a time before being countermarked.

The portrait is poorly executed and the radiate crown is a sketch, a childish assembly of solar rays, each ray with its own orientation.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Billon antoninianus, Gallienus, Rome, Göbl 708Aa 

GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right | VICTORIA AET, Victory standing left raising wreath in right hand and holding palm in left. S in left field, P in right field.

There's always a degree of Ozymandias in coins with a reverse legend like this, which promises eternal victory. That proved an innacurate prediction for the empire and for the emperor. As, soon enough, bad things were due to turn worse.

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