Antioch or Rome mint?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by svessien, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I got this lovely little coin in the mail today. It measures 19 mm, 5,26 g. So I reckon it is a semis, although there are aes coins struck on small planchets from this period too. That would make it RCV 3701 (semis) instead of 3699 (as).

    Sear 3701 Hadrian.jpg

    Where it is minted seems like an open question in Sear II. He states: "This unusual group of aes (nos 3695-3703) is attributed in RIC and BMCRE to the mint of Rome. Hill (UCR p 14) prefers to place them in the East, favouring an attribution to the Syrian metropolis of Antioch-on-the-Orontes, a view which appears to be supported by the reverse type of a city-goddess with river-god at her feet (nos 3696 and 3702)."

    Sear himself does not take a stand on this, he attributes them to "Rome or Antioch?". The fact that he chooses to pose this question even if the coins are attributed to Rome in RIC and BMCRE, gives me a feeling that he agrees with Hill, though.
    We have also seen the small coinage from Trajan, struck on smaller planchets for circulation in Syria from this period. Sear describes them with "Antioch?" too.

    The reverses on these coins remind me more of Greek coins than Roman coins. River gods, griffins and musical instruments are not what I usually associate with the mint of Rome. The lyra on this coin is a known reverse from several Greek cities, but does not occur often on Roman coins, even from an artistic person like Hadrian. My impression is that Romans generally looked down on musicians and artists, although they enjoyed their art.

    I took a stand when making this photo, and attributed the coin to Antioch. What are your opinions? Do you have coins that we know are struck in Rome with such reverses?
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice coin, but I have no idea where it may been struck.
    I don't know.JPG
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  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Richard McAlee illustrates 3 coins of the same type in his book The Coins of Roman Antioch, & expresses the same frustration in attributing these coins. Number 547(a) has a weight of 5.36 gm (close to yours). He also writes "Hadrian's coins were the last instance of an orichalcum issue struck in Rome for use in Syria, although similar coins were struck for at least one other eastern province under Marcus Aurelius".
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  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I had made the same "Antioch" declaration in my attribution of the same type:

    Hadrian, Ruled 117-138 AD
    Orichalcum As, Struck 125-128 AD
    Minted in Rome for circulation in Syria
    Obverse: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, bust of Hadrian, laureate, draped, right.
    Reverse: COS III, Lyre, S-C across field.
    References: Butcher 25, RIC II 684
    Size: 23mm, 7.07g
    Ex: H. D. Rauch, Auction 82 (4/23/2008), #329
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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