2 New Arrivals, Unrelated: Domitian Quadrans & Hadrian "ADVENTVS"

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Both of these arrived today, so I thought I'd post about them together, even though they're completely unrelated except in the sense, I suppose, that they both celebrate or commemorate something.

    First, now that I have a couple of quinarii, I figured it was time for a quadrans. Even though supposedly they were rarely used as actual currency, to make small change or otherwise, and spent their existences primarily as tokens used for entry to public latrines! (I'm getting adventurous in my old age, I suppose.) Regardless of the denomination, though, this quadrans is one I've wanted for quite a while given my fondness for coins with animals: the famous Domitian quadrans depicting a rhinoceros, one of only two Roman rhinoceros coins I know of, along with the small Trajan bronze from Roman Egypt.

    Unfortunately, on most of the ones I see, the horns are worn off completely and the animal looks basically like a rather large boar. So what's the point of buying one like that? The horns are definitely visible on this one, however (especially the lower one), and the animal's musculature is nicely portrayed, so it doesn't look anything like a boar. (Also, my, what big eyes you have, Grandma.) So I decided to buy it, even though the surface is so dubious-looking (described by the dealer as "slight corrosion"), especially on the reverse, that I'm a bit concerned that some of it might flake off completely at some point!

    Domitian (son of Vespasian), AE Quadrans [1/4 As] 84-85 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. African Rhinoceros with two horns advancing right with head down/ Rev IMP DOMIT AVG GERM (clockwise around starting at 1:00), S C across. RIC II-1 Domitian 249 (2007 ed.), Sear RCV II 2834, Cohen 673. 16.5 mm., 2.56 g.*

    Domitian Quadrans Rhinoceros jpg version.jpg

    *This variety, with the legend starting at 1:00 on the upper right, rather than 7:00 on the lower left, is the rarer of the two varieties that depict the rhino facing right (there are also two with the rhino facing left). There are only four examples of this type at OCRE, eight at acsearch by my count, and none at the British Museum. See http://numismatics.org/ocre/id/ric.2_1(2).dom.249. The number of examples with the legend beginning at 7:00 is far greater.

    The coin must have been issued after Domitian’s assumption of the Germanicus title in late 83 AD, but before the Consular date XI was added to his quadrantes in 85. It was possibly distributed as a token and/or souvenir to the crowds at the Colosseum, which Domitian completed in 82 by adding the uppermost story. See Martial’s Liber De Spectaculis (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/martial_on_the_games_of_domitian_01_text.htm), which mentions Domitian's exhibition of a rhinoceros at the Colosseum, as well as the practice of showering the crowd with tokens. See also T.V. Buttrey, “Domitian, the Rhinoceros, and the Date of Martial's ‘Liber De Spectaculis,’" The Journal of Roman Studies Vol. 97 (2007), pp. 101-112, at https://www.jstor.org/stable/20430573?seq=1.

    For a more detailed treatment, please go read @David Atherton's wonderful post and the ensuing discussion from a couple of years ago, at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/a-souvenir-from-the-colosseum.333441/#post-3372060, from which I gleaned much of this information. His rhinoceros is also the rarer variety with the legend beginning on the upper right; the difference is that on his, the rhino faces left.

    Before turning to my second new arrival, a few more examples of celebratory pachyderms, i.e., large non-ruminant herbivores with thick skins, a category encompassing rhinos, elephants, and hippos.

    Titus's elephant, issued a few years earlier, supposedly to celebrate the opening of the Colosseum:

    Titus - elephant reverse - jpg version.jpg

    Antoninus Pius's elephant, apparently issued to commemorate the games at the Colosseum celebrating Rome's 900th anniversary in 148 AD:

    COMBINED Ant. Pius elephant, large.jpg

    Philip I's elephant and his wife Otacilia Severa's hippo, issued to commemorate the games at the Colosseum celebrating Rome's 1000th anniversary in 248 AD:

    Philip I elephant combined image.jpg

    Otacilia Severa hippo COMBINED IMAGE.jpg

    Now, to my new Hadrian denarius, part of his famous Travel Series, specifically the sub-category bearing "ADVENTVS" or "ADVENTVI" legends to commemorate his "arrival" in various provinces around the Empire -- or, in this case, his return home to Rome at the end of his journeys:

    Hadrian, AR Denarius 133-135 AD (according to RIC II-3) [134-138 according to Mattingly & Sydenham in old RIC II], Rome Mint. Obv. Bare head right, HADRIANVS - AVG COS III PP / Rev. Roma standing right in military dress, with right shoulder bare, holding inverted spear with left hand, receiving the arriving Emperor Hadrian standing left, togate, bearing a scroll in left hand, the two clasping their right hands, ADVE-NTVS AVG. RIC II-3 1984 (2019 ed.), old RIC II 225a (1926 ed.), RSC II 84a, BMCRE 581. 18 mm., 3.46 g.

    Hadrian Adventus Roma jpg version.jpg

    (Note, as is often the case, the strong resemblance between Roma and Virtus when in their Amazonian presentations, bare right breasts and all.)

    There is some disagreement among the various authorities regarding exactly when this and all the other Travel Series coins were issued; see the reference in the description above. There seems to be no dispute that this coin, at least, was issued after Hadrian's final return to Rome from his journeys, whenever that was. Some apparently argue for an even earlier date than in 133 AD.

    See https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=ADVENTVS regarding the ADVENTVS legend in general. Leaving entirely aside the Travel Series types that simply bear the names of different provinces (like the AEGYPTOS denarius, my only other Travel Series example), or bear the "RESTITUTOR" legend, I counted 16 different provinces or cities listed in OCRE -- not including "Roma" itself -- for which Hadrian issued Travel Series coins with the legend ADVENTVS or ADVENTVI: in no particular order, Italia (not actually a province), Africa, Hispania, Mauretania, Alexandria, Arabia, Asia, Bithynia, Cilicia, Judaea, Macedonia, Moesia, Noricum, Phrygia, Sicilia, and Thracia. The great majority were issued only in AE, as sestertii and/or dupondii. If I missed any, please let me know! And, of course, quite a few other emperors also issued coins with ADVENTVS legends.

    Please post any or all of the following: your quadrantes issued by anyone, your coins depicting pachyderms (particularly if issued to mark a specific occasion), your Hadrian Travel Series coins of any type (hopefully someone has something to show beyond the Aegyptos variety which I and others always manage to post!),* and/or your ADVENTVS-type coins issued by anyone.

    *Like now, just in case there's a single person who hasn't seen me post it yet:

    Hadrian-Aegyptos - new combined photo.png
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Wow, @DonnaML, that's the nicest rhino quadrans I've seen, surface problems notwithstanding!

    I do like these anonymous quadrantes!

    Anonymous--Domitian to Antoninus Pius.
    Roman Æ quadrans, 12.9 mm, 2.37 g, 4 h
    Rome, A.D. 81-161.
    Obv: Bust of Venus, diademed, draped, right.
    Rev: S-C, dove standing right.
    Ref: RIC II, p. 218, 24; BMCRE --; Cohen VIII, p. 268, 10.

    They all seem to be affected by corrosion. This doesn't look all that good, but it's Minerva and an owl, which makes me suspect it was issued by Domitian.

    Anonymous--Domitian to Antoninus Pius
    Roman Æ quadrans, 14.9 mm, 2.51 g, 5 h
    Rome, A.D. 81-161
    Obv: Helmeted and draped bust of Minerva right
    Rev: S-C, Owl standing left, head facing
    Ref: RIC II, p. 216, 8; BMCRE --; Cohen VIII, p. 268, 8; RCV --.
  4. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Dazzling and beautiful new coins!:artist::wideyed:
    Big fan of Quadrans!
    1579077_1607414275.l (1).jpg 1598144_1608741539.l-removebg-preview.png 1725915_1614760960.l-removebg-preview.png 20190326_100453_D1167B3C-EF5D-4F02-A409-7E81E5C72D68-406-0000006F0B5DF4F2.png 16067088105404645618232269296843.jpg
  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    A really superb rhino quadrans! I had my eye on it as well ... but good to see the piece went to a collector who will appreciate it!

    And of course the Hadrian is a real eye catcher too.
  6. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Yes that rhino is very nice. David Jay and I were discussing that very coin a few days ago. All of us agreed that it was a really great example.
    Great eye Donna!
    ambr0zie and DonnaML like this.
  7. Parthicus Maximus

    Parthicus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Two very nice additions @DonnaML!
    Your rhino is one of the best I've ever seen.
    DonnaML and ambr0zie like this.
  8. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Great coins!

    Trajan AD 98-117. Rome
    Quadrans Æ
    20 mm., 3,01 g.
    Legend: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P PType: Head of Trajan, laureate, right
    Reverse Legend: S C
    Type: She-wolf walking right


    3.4 g 17.2 mm Quadrans
    RIC II Trajan 694
    From Date: AD 114 To Date: AD 117
    Type: Head of Trajan, laureate, right
    Legend: S C
    Type: She-wolf walking left


    2.24 g 15.3 mm Quadrans
    RIC II Nerva 113
    Date: AD 98
    Type: Modius containing four corn-ears
    Legend: S C
    Type: Winged caduceus upright

    My only elephant:

    Seleukid Kingdom. Sardeis. Antiochos III Megas 223-187 BC. Bronze Æ 12 mm., 1,96 g.
    Obv - Laureate head of Apollo right, with spiral curls
    Rev - Legend: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ANTIOXOY (vertical left and right), monogram above elephant
    Type: Elephant standing left

    Attached Files:

  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    These quadrantes are all very cool. @Ryro, would you mind identifying some of yours? Who's the guy in the helmet, for example? Are they all from the 2nd Century AD?
    Roman Collector likes this.
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    A more general question: if it's really the case that nobody has another example of a Hadrian ADVENTVS or ADVENTVI coin, does anyone know why they aren't more common, especially the denarii? For the Roma types (including mine and the type with Hadrian standing right and Roma left) -- the most common, I believe -- OCRE lists only 18 specimens of the denarii, and ACSearch only 23 (plus 94 bronzes). Checking two more, each site has 10 or fewer examples of each of the Italia and Hispania types.

    Also, regarding the ADVENTVS coins which I know exist for other emperors, are any of them tied to specific locations and personifications like Hadrian's, or are they all simply the unspecified "ADVENTVS AVG" type, like this one Probus example I have from the Rome mint?

    Probus Ant. Rome.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  11. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    That's a magnificent rhino, excellent example. And you've accumulated quite the managerie.
    About the travel coins: I do wonder what coins the ancient Romans would consider being part of the travel coins. Would they even consider these coins, travel coins, as a series? (And would they even have cared?) What also puzzles me, is why some are less common than others. Intriguing. Below three types which are less common. A copy and paste from FAC, a post by Curtis Clay, where he gives the ranking according to the number of specimens of all varieties found in the Reka Devnia hoard:

    1. Aegyptos 79

    2. Africa 63

    3. Hispania 44

    4. Nilus 34

    5. Italy 27

    6. and 7. Asia and Germania, 18 each

    8. Alexandria 17

    Below are my Asia, Germania and Alexandria. Ironically, it's been a more daunting task to acquire a decently priced Hispania, then these three...!




    Perhaps these coins are less common for Hadrian, because he also issued the type with the galley on the reverse? I understand that ADVENTVS coins refer to the emperor coming to Rome, which was celebrated and a lot of high-fives were given :)
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. Very interesting. As indicated above, the ADVENTVS and ADVENTVI coins weren't issued only for Roma, but also for at least 16 other places he visited. It seems that these types may be less common in general than the types with only the name of the province or with RESTITUTOR? I can't tell, though, if the Reka Devnia numbers include all three legend types or only the types without RESTITUTOR or ADVENTV--.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  13. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Lovely coins and write-up as always Donna.

    I have a Hadrian sestertius of the ADVENTVS type - rather poor shape, but attributable, sort of:
    Hadrian - Sest. ADVENT lot May 2020 (0).jpg
    Hadrian Æ Sestertius
    (133-135 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [HADRI]ANVS AVG COS III PP, laureate, draped bust right / ADVEN[TVS AVGVSTI] S-C, Hadrian standing right (on left) holding roll, clasps hands with Roma standing left (on right) holding spear.
    RIC II.3 2063 (old RIC 742)
    (22.51 grams / 29 mm)
    eBay May 2020 Lot @ $5.00

    Attribution Note:
    Reverse legend can be AVG or AVGVSTI for type, but full ADVENTVS to left makes it likely this is AVGVSTI, based on other examples I saw online:
    RIC II.3 2063 (old RIC 742)

    Only somewhat more appetizing is the Africa Restitutori sestertius:
    Hadrian - Sest. Africa Rest. Feb 2020 (0).jpg
    Hadrian Æ Sestertius
    (134-138 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [HADR]IANVS AVG COS III PP laureate, draped bust right /[RE]STITVTORI AFR[IC]AE SC, Hadrian togate, standing left raising up Africa, kneeling left,
    corn-ears growing betweet.
    RIC 941f; Cohen 1226.
    (21.57 grams / 32 mm)

    This one is Restitutori Achaiae, and looks a bit better in hand, another sestertius:
    Hadrian Achaea Rest Nov 2018 (0).jpg
    Hadrian Æ Sestertius
    (134-138 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [HADR]IANVS AVG COS III PP laureate, draped bust right / [RESTITVTO]RI ACH[AIAE], Hadrian, togate, standing left, raising up kneeling Achaea; vase with palm between figures.
    RIC 938; Cohen 1216.
    (26.17 grams / 31 mm)

    That's some traveling on a budget!
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. Note that mine has the full ADVENTVS accompanied by only AVG.
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  15. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coins.
    Trajan quadrans - Hercules with lion's skin and boar
  16. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    very nice coins! ..Donna's been goin' great guns on fine new additions to her collection...congrats Donna! :)
    DonnaML likes this.
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

  18. JPD3

    JPD3 Well-Known Member

    Colosseum commemoratives and 'potty' tokens. :) Those new additions are wonderful examples. Thinking about those Travel Series coins, I bet just like us, there were ancient collectors who said, "Wow, if I get the Macedonia, I'll have the complete Hadrian issues!" :happy:
    DonnaML likes this.
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