Featured Antioch of Diadumenian chosen by random number generator

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The last time I did this, it was fun, so I thought it would be fun to do it again. I used a random number generator to pick a coin for me to post today. It chose:

    Diadumenian Antioch.jpg
    Diadumenian, Caesar AD 217-218.
    Roman provincial Æ 16.5 mm, 4.63 g, 11:00.
    Syria: Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch ad Orontem.
    Obv: ΚΑΙ Μ Ο ΔΙA ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC CЄ, bare-headed and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: Large SC, Δ/Є above and beneath; all within laurel wreath interrupted by star above.
    Refs: SGI 3017; BMC 20. 201,408; SNG Cop. 235; McAlee 745a.
    Notes: Reverse die match to McAlee plate coin.[1]

    What is so interesting this coin?

    The main mint of Syria was Antioch, which produced vast numbers of bronze coins with the letters S C in a wreath on the reverse. These issues begin with Augustus and continue down to Philip I (244-249). There is scholarly disagreement as to what the abbreviation S C means on the reverse of these coins. Wayne Sayles believes this abbreviation "is probably for the same Senatus Consulto that is a common feature on Roman Imperial coins and signifies that the Roman Senate had given its approval for the issue."[2] However, Metcalf[3] notes that "the senate had no authority in the province of Syria,which was under the direct control of the emperor. One possible explanation is that the Senate had issued a Senatus Consultum approving a decision of Augustus to begin issuing this type of "anonymous" bronze coinage ... Another possibility is that S C on this Syrian coins is an abbreviation for something other than Senatus Consulto, although nothing obvious suggests itself." Similarly, Noreña[4] subscribes to the Senatus Consulto theory as well.

    Against the notion that SC stands for Senatus Consulto on coins of this city is the fact that the abbreviation occurs also on silver coinage of the region, whereas on Roman imperial issues, SC almost never occurs except on bronze issues.

    Some on this and other numismatic boards have suggested that the abbreviation stands for "Syria Coele," but I am skeptical about this for several reasons. First, Syria Coele is situated next to the province of Syria where Antioch is located. Seleucis ad Piera was the harbor of Antiochia ad Orontes. Secondly, were this reverse inscription an abbreviation for the province, I'd expect it to read CS, not SC, for in antiquity, the region was known as Κοίλη Συρία, transliterated into Latin as Coelosyria and Celesyria. Lastly, I'm unable to find a numismatic or historical reference that supports the notion the abbreviation means "Syria Coele."

    For now, I'm willing to accept that we simply don't know for sure what this iconic reverse legend means on coins of this city.

    At any rate, this coin is an example of a long and important series of Roman provincial issues from this city. It's a nice example, too; many issues from this series are poorly centered, with important design elements often falling off the flan.

    I bought this as a companion piece to an issue from this city of Diadumenian's father, Macrinus, with the same reverse design:

    Macrinus Antioch.jpg
    Macrinus, Augustus AD 217-218.
    Roman provincial Æ 19 mm, 3.80 g, 12:00.
    Syria: Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch ad Orontem.
    Obv: ΑVΤ Κ Μ Ο C ΜΑΚΡΙΝΟC CЄ, laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: Large SC, Δ/Є above and beneath; all within laurel wreath interrupted by star above.
    Refs: SGI 2949; BMC 20. 198,385; SNG Cop. 233; McAlee 728.

    I wish I knew what the Δ and the Є represented on these two coins. Denomination? Officina marks? If anyone knows, I'd appreciate hearing from you. Does anyone have a link to: Lichocka, Barbara, "Delta-Epsilon issues of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander," in Classica Orientalia: Essays Presented to Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski on his 75th Birthday (Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw)?

    Post your Diadumenians, Antiochene coins, a randomly chosen coin, comments -- anything you feel is relevant!


    1. Richard McAlee. The Coins of Roman Antioch. Lancaster, Penn./London: Classical Numismatic Group, Ltd., 2007.

    2. Sayles, Wayne G. Ancient Coin Collecting IV: Roman Provincial Coins. Krause Publications, 1998, p. 69.

    3. Metcalf, William E. The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage. Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 470.

    4. Noreña, Carlos F. "Heritage and Homogeneity: The Civic Coinage of Roman Antioch," in S. Alcock, M. Egri, and J. Frakes (eds.), Beyond Boundaries: Connecting Visual Cultures in the Provinces of Ancient Rome (Getty Publications, 2016), p. 298.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Another SC / DE from Antioch

    SYRIA, Antioch. Elagabalus, 218-222 AD, AE17 5.01g
    Obv: ΑΥΤ [ΚΑΙ Μ ΑΥΡ ΑΝΤWΝΙ]ΝΟΝ; Wreathed bust right
    Rev: Large S·C, ΔЄ above, small eagle below
    Ref: SNG Copenhagen 243-4

    A poster on CoinTalk said "McAlee argues that the ΔЄ is abbreviation for "of the four Eparchies," with an eparchy being a subdivision of a province, of which Syria had four. The initials would indicate that the coinage was current in all four Eparchies, rather than merely in Antioch."
  4. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Wonderful coins and informative write up.
    I enjoyed your previous post with the random generator... you have a wonderful collection. For someone new like me I learn something from almost every post.

    The vets on here have (I am sure) seen it all (or all that is brought up here).. and probably have seen many dozens upon dozens of times over... to me this sounds like a great way to post coins that you haven't had a chance to post in a long time... or you have better examples of - or maybe think they aren't worthy of their own thread? I don't know - but I am sure some don't get the "press" of others.

    I, for one, would love to see them and learn more...

    Awesome idea!

    Here is my only Diadumenian... I think it's pretty cool:


    Weight (g) 2.99
    Ob. Desc. Bare headed and draped bust of Diadumenian right – seen from behind
    Meaning Marcus Opellius Antonius
    Rev. Desc. Eros/Thanatos standing left, resting chin on palm, leaning on (extinguished) inverted brand
    Meaning (Coin) of the people of Markianopolis – A prince crowned by the gods

    Eros was worshiped as a fertility god and associated with love and sexual desire. Sometimes thought of as Thanatos, ‘god of death’, due to his association with the concept of life after death. The symbolism here, of the extinguished torch, may represent joy after sexual fulfilment, or hope for life after death.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Sweet D, @Roman Collector! I love me some Antiochene coinage; My current collecting focus!

    Here's my recent, and first, Diadumenian from Antioch, similar to yours with Delta above, Epsilon below (haven't taken the time to actually attribute it yet):

    And like you, it accompanies his father:
    McAlee 728, like yours.

    A variation of McAlee 728, with differing obverse legend and Epsilon above, Delta below on reverse.

    Here are a couple other Antiochene collection "siblings" that I haven't shared yet.

    Elagabalus AE 8 Assaria, McAlee 803

    Domitian, big & chucky cast flan (rounded on obverse - flat, sharp edged on reverse), McAlee 409
  6. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I think Butcher has a paper on Academia.edu about trying to decipher the Greek letters on the Antioch reverses (Gamma, Theta, Delta, Epsilon, etc). I believe he was making a case for it being officinas.

    Edit: Found it in my Downloads folder... Attached below.

    Also, in searching again, wasn't on Academia.edu but Numisbel.be

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  7. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Great writeup and coin

    Diadumenian, Denarius - Rome mint, AD 217-218
    M OPEL ANT DIADVMENIAN CAES, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind
    SPES PVBLICA, Spes walking left, holding a flower and her dress
    3,23 gr, 21 mm
    Ref : Cohen # 21, RIC # 117

    Diadumenian, Tetradrachm Hierapolis mint
    AVT K M OTTEA ANTONEINOC, Radiate and draped bust of diadumenian right
    DHMAP X EX VTTAT (OC), Eagle facing, head right, holding wreath in beak, lion between legs
    11,44 gr
    Ref : Prieur #947_050, Sear #315

    dadams, Curtisimo, chrsmat71 and 16 others like this.
  8. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Q.. those are amazing!
    Roman Collector and Cucumbor like this.
  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    The True Random Number Generator says I should show coin #311, a tiny AE9 of Dardanos in the Troad. It's one I haven't pulled out or thought about in awhile. Hello there, little coin! :)

    Troas Dardanos400.jpg TROAS, Dardanos
    AE9. 1.15g, 9.6mm. TROAS, Dardanos, circa 4th century BC. BMC 11 var. (race-torch behind cock). O: Horseman wearing chiton, chlamys and petasos, on horse galloping right, right hand raised. R: ΔΑΡ, Cock standing right.

    Strabo, writes in the 1st century that, "Dardanos is an ancient settlement, but so insignificant that the kings have frequently transplanted it to Abydos and again resettled it on the ancient site. Here took place the meeting between Cornelius Sulla, the Roman general, and Mithridates surnamed Eupator, where they came to terms for the conclusion of the war."

    He also states that according to one tradition, the nearby Dardanos promontory was where Ganymede, son of Tros of Dardania, and most beautiful of all living mortals, was abducted by Zeus in the form of a great eagle and brought to Mount Olympus to serve as his cup-bearer.

    00ganymede - Andr22.jpg
    The Abduction of Ganymede (ca. 1650), by Eustache Le Sueur
  10. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  11. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    I chose a coin of Diadumenian whose denomination is one Assarion. I also picked up another of Macrinus with SC on reverse. I'm very curious to know how the "Senatus" approved the coins of Macrinus in Antioch, though he was the only Roman Emperor who was never approved by the Senate himself ?!.

    DiaR O Ant     SGI 3017.jpg DiaRBMC 408 Assarion.jpg Macri O.jpg Macri R.jpg
    Curtisimo, chrsmat71, Jwt708 and 11 others like this.
  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Elagabalus AE17 of Antioch. A recent inexpensive purchase.


    I understand that Antioch was where the Holy Hand Grenade was manufactured.

  13. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks! That article goes into a great deal of detail.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    Thanks for the write-up - here's my somewhat humble Domitian where the most interesting feature is the left-facing portrait.


  15. Multatuli

    Multatuli Homo numismaticus Supporter

    Great thread and awesome coins. My only one:
    2BF23DB8-991C-4A3B-B7AA-F579ED913A0A.jpeg 425C649E-0B20-4142-8590-FDD24B9F5EF4.jpeg
    AR Denarius
    Diadumenian, as Caesar (218 AD)
    RIC IV 102 (Macrinus)
  16. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    Bildschirmfoto 2018-11-22 um 22.06.53.png
    M OPEL ANTONINVS DIADVMENIANVS CAES - bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust of Diadumenian right.
    SPES PVBLICA S C - Spes advancing left, holding flower in extended right hand and raising drapery of her dress behind.
    Orichalcum Sestertius, Rome 218
    32,23 mm / 23,46 gr
    RIC 219; BMCRE 155-7 and pl. 84, 7 (same obverse die); Cohen 23; Sear 7454; Banti 11
  17. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Diadumenian 4.jpg
    Bare headed and draped bust right – seen from behind
    Aesklepios staff, with serpent entwining
    Struck at Markianopolis, Moesia Inferior, 218 AD
    3.07, 17mm
    Varbanov 1354
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I tried the random thing for this thread, too, but came up with #826 which was a coin I've shown before that no one wants to see again. I like Roman Collector's idea for a random picker but following his random with my random just doesn't work. My mirror image seems more appropriate.
    KAIC M ΔIAΔ ANTΩNINOC CE? or KAIC M OΠ ΔI ANTΩNINOC CE? I have only seen a couple of these left facing but I don't read them as having this legend. When coins are low grade, it is easy to get confused.
  19. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    I have a D Dog from Antioch!

  20. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Well I can play this game a little bit...

    A Diadumenian:
    Diadumenian, AD 217-218
    AE, 28mm, 11.4g; 12h; Nikopolis ad Istrum
    Obv.: K M OΠΕΛ ΔΙΑΔΟUMENIANOC AV; draped bust right
    Rev.: UΠ ΑΓΡΙΠΠΑ NIKOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ICTΠ; city gate with three crenulated towers

    Here's an Augustus from Antioch:
    Caesar Augustus, 27 BC - AD 14
    Æ24, 8g, 12h; Antioch mint, 4/5 BC.
    Obv.: AΡXIEΡEI KAIΣAΡ ΣEB; Laureate head right.
    Rev.: AΡXIE / ΡATIKON / ANTIO/ XEIΣ / ZK within wreath of an archiereus.

    And I used the Random Number Generator which gave me 114, and here it is:
    Constantine, AD 306-337
    AE, 20mm, 2.9g, 12h; Constantinople, AD 327-328
    Obv.: CONSTANTI-NVS PIVS AVG; Diademed, draped bust right
    Rev.: GLORIA RO-MANORVM; Roma hlemeted, seated left on shield, holding long scepter, Victory on globe in right hand, Z in field
    In Ex.: CONS

    This coin is very well struck and the photo captures it's very glossy appearance obscuring the details. I don't think I've ever shared this coin with the forum before and my records are off.
  21. Amazing stuff! Love these SC coins.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page