Featured A Thread Honoring “Campgates.” Post Yours!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great coins all

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  3. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    "Hot oil pots" is probably what they were, with a cover to retain the heat. They were probably pre-filled with water or sand, or another thermic medium, and a fire could be started beneath the tripod legs to heat the mixture when needed. On some of the coins you can see that there's even a little thing on top of the round pot. That's a handle to remove the lid...or it could even be the pots had a hinge mechanism to allow them to be tipped over easily...and the little pointy thing is the spout for the liquid or other thermic material to be poured down on the Invaders in a much more controlled and targeted manner.

    Even if what I just said it's not the case, it still makes more sense than calling it a turret when it is obviously not a turret. Heck, a tripod BBQ would make more sense...and there where no BBQs in antiquity.
  4. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Thanks all for the kind words regarding my new campgate and thanks even more for all the fantastic coins shown so far. In true CT fashion we have added a few more theories to explain this reverse that had somehow been missed by previous scholarship. :D

    To summarize the coins may also show:
    • Sputnik
    • BBQ grills (yum)
    • Water towers used for showering
    • Hot oil pots for dumping on enemy heads (ouch)
    @TIF , thanks for the great comments and the additional references. I know what you mean about silvering on coins. It can be really hit or miss when trying to capture a photo and usually makes the details look less sharp than they are. Also, I agree with you about the rarery ratings. I’ve had my eye out for a nice Constantine and sons era campgate for a while and the rarity ratings do t seem to make much difference in price. Condition and detail seem to be the drivers.

    @Bing , love the Tiberius!

    @Severus Alexander , Nice Valentinian III example. One of those is on my list!

    @zumbly , all of your examples are top notch. Steve’s open door campgate is unusually well detailed. The stonework looks great. The “turrets” on the yourMagnus Maximus are very interestingly detailed as well.

    Great additions @Cucumbor !

    That’s a great start to your campgate collection @ken454 ! Some really nice examples.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  5. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper

    @Curtisimo , you forgot "hot oil pots", though they most likely would have contained water or sand as the thermic weapon.
    Curtisimo likes this.
  6. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    As far as I am aware the arched opening at the base of these campgate types have always been considered doorways or gates. In many examples (like my OP) there are even doors that are shown. Sometimes the doors are shown open, like on my example, and more rarely closed. More commonly there are no doors shown, just an opening.

    Some great points. A lot of the theories about these depend on how you consider the variations / different issues to be linked.

    I for one tend to suspect that there is some continuity between the tetrarchs sacrificing coins of the tetrarchy and the later 2D campgate types (with the campgate types showing a simplified view). It wouldn’t surprise me if this was not the case either though.

    I do think that the initial sacrifice scene coins like my Diocletian argenteus show a Roman camp / fort. The legends seem to point to a campaign in Sarmatia as the inspiration. I have done a bit of research on the sacrifice types and hope to get around to a write up about it at some point.
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  7. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    How about a campgate with a Christian symbol atop?

    The symbol portrayed is termed differently by catalogers: Christogram, Chi-Rho, Chrismon, Tau-Rho, & Staurogram. IMO: The latter 2 terms seem most accurate.
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  8. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Looking at Zumby's magnificent Maximianus argentius, I wonder if they could be tanks filled with "Greek fire " liquid to repulse invaders.
    Pardon the rank speculation. :).
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  9. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    This is actually a really interesting theory that I hadn’t considered before.

    I couldn’t find any descriptions of an exact mechanism for a devise like this from Roman times but there are some interesting parallels to devices used in medieval Europe.

    The use of hot oil as a defense against siege is mentioned by Josephus in AD 67 when he describes its use against the Romans at Jotapata. Other than that the only references I could find were to the use of “fire pots” as grenades / projectiles or reference to Greek fire from the Byzantine period.


    It’s an interesting idea though one would wonder why such a device would be so universally shown on the coins for so long and not be mentioned in the sources (same goes for fire signaling IMO). Does anyone know if the idea has been mentioned in any of the numismatic literature on this type?
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  10. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    Difficult to make a choice; there are so many. First an 'earthquake' follis and then the 'mother of all campgates which is twice the size of the later ones... 12 nr 0348 Constantinus II Arles 272 var 12 nr 0348.jpg campgates early and late.jpg
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  11. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I believe we need to rethink the Campgate BBQ Grill / Beacon / Hot Oil Pot theory.


    However, I will posit another theory that deserves a lot of thought. Those are the first known proof of the Pierson Puppeteers. Ergo, Larry Niven's "RingWorld" theory and series are REAL.

    TRI-POD, Upright on top, see STAR above the campgate... all pointing to the Puppeteers. All real, all proof of Roman intersteller contact. They already proven they had a Roman Air Force as shown on several of their coins...

    Stop the silly non-sense of BBQ Grills and Beacons. Move on.
    Puppeteers are IN!


    upload_2019-7-5_15-19-8.png upload_2019-7-5_15-16-48.png

    Proof of Roman Air Force (Female Pilot)

    RI Mariniana AR Ant 253-254 CE DIVA Crescent - On Peacock flying 21.2mm 3.1g RIC VII 6 Rome

    Some of my Campgates (and they depict Puppeteers):

    RI Constantine I CE 306-337 Æ Follis 19mm 3.2g Siscia CE 326-7 AVG Laureate R - PROVIDENTIAE AVGG Camp gate 2 turrets no door star RIC 200

    RI Flavius Victor 384-388 CE AE4 14mm 1-8g Aquileia Camp Gate Star SMAQS RIC IX 55b-2 LRBC1104.JPG
    RI Flavius Victor 384-388 CE AE4 14mm 1-8g Aquileia Camp Gate Star SMAQS RIC IX 55b-2 LRBC1104

    RI Crispus 317-326 CE AE Folles Caesar in Trier Campgate - Heraclea mint.jpg
    RI Crispus 317-326 CE AE Folles Caesar in Trier Campgate - Heraclea mint

    Folks, I am sticking with my Theory. The proof is right here.

    Besides, this is the INTERNET. EVERYTHING is real on the Internet.

    :D :D :D

    By the way, @Archeocultura ! WAY COOL EarthQuake Campgate!!!
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  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I feel guilty agreeing with this but I learned to prefer coins with no silvering when I was collection Probus. I know they are the way they are for a good reason but being hard to photograph never earns a coin any points in my book.
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  13. Trebellianus

    Trebellianus VOT II MVLT III

    Yeah, the legends complicate these intriguingly. Taken in isolation, "VIRTVS MILITVM" naturally suggests a military structure; and "PROVIDENTIAE" just as naturally suggests protective city walls, newly-built or refurbished by the foresight and good sense of the emperor (e.g. Aurelian putting nice big new walls around Rome, etc.).

    And yet we see some flexibility in the uh, semiotics: the isometric camp with the tetrarchs in front of it is mainly a "VIRTVS" scene, but it evidently wasn't regarded as an unsuitable illustration of "PROVIDENTIAE". Meanwhile the Constantinian ones go in the other direction, those gates are mostly depictions of "PROVIDENTIAE" but occasionally they show "VIRTVS". I'd almost be inclined to think the gates are meant to just represent the emperor's military virtues in the most generic sense possible. The ambiguity re what structure is depicted could well have been intentional, perhaps.
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  14. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Just sticking with the Constantine-era campgates, I think there must have been a reason why "Virtvs" structures had doors, even if they were open, while the "Providentiae" types did not. I can't imagine what the reason might have been, but I wonder if most people back then could recognize a different type of structure based upon the doors.
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  15. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that only Arles and Rome (very few others!) had doors with the VIRTVS types and Arles is the only one having them occasionally open.
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  16. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for starting this thread Curtissimo. Nice open door from Arles. I hope your suggestion creates something.

    I started a specialized collection of the Constantinian campgates in the late 1980s, and by about 2000 started adding other gate material. It is still an active collection, to which I added new material just a few weeks ago. I'm not particularly interested in the speculative questions about the so-called "turrets," but I am very interested in carrying the work of Patrick Bruun into a new generation of discovery. I was hoping that this thread might bring together people here with SERIOUS interest in the Campgates who wish to start a discussion that is more than just a show-and-tell session gone in a flash.

    In addition to the gates on argenti here are some more alternatives to the Constantinian gates.

    Provincial Gates:

    Bosporus AE29 - Sauromates I - 95-124 AD/CE
    Plotinopolis AE28 - Septimius Severus - 193-211
    Augusta Traiana AE30 - Caracalla - 198-217

    Roman Imperial gates (pre-Constantinian)
    The argentei have been represented,

    Emerita (Spain) denarius under Augustus - a military retirement center
    Cyzikus - Follis under Galerius - immediate precursor to the Constantinian bronzes

    If anyone wants to venture into a more detailed look there are some interesting varieties on the campgates, not all of which are known generally by collectors. For example:


    Many folks have seen the striated base gates from Siscia, but how many know that this variety comes in three flavors in variance with the dot styles in the top layer of bricks on the gate? The one I show here I call "Siscia gate reverse type VII."
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  17. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Marvelous assortment of gates, @lrbguy!

    What is the nature of his work?
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  18. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Thanks TIF. I'm sorry, for being a name dropper, I guess. Patrick Bruun is the name of the museum professional in Finland who wrote RIC volume VII. He did significant work in the 60s on the coinage of Constantine (especially) and his family. On this topic Bruun proposed a systematic interpretation of the iconography underlying the sequential series of mint production. He was interested in the variance of the numbers of layers in the gates, but had not determined whether or not there was a systematic code behind it.
  19. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Well-Known Member

  20. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Well-Known Member

    Theodosius I AE4
    minted in Thessalonica in 388 A.D. KFE-325 OBV.jpg KFE-325 REV.jpg
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  21. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Well-Known Member

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