Byblos - Isis holding a sail

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by GinoLR, May 29, 2024.

  1. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I have been lately trying to ID this bronze coin

    Byblos - Julia Domna (193 - 217). AE 24-25 mm, 7.84 g, 1 h.
    Obv.: ΙΟΥΛΙΑ ΔΟΜΝΑ CЄ(B?), draped bust of Julia Domna, right
    Rev.: ΙЄΡΑC ΒΥΒΛΟΥ, Isis standing, right, wearing basileion (?), holding sail

    This monetary type, Isis on a galley or a raft holding a sail, is very frequent on Byblos coinage. It was already on Seleucid coins of Antiochos IV minted in Byblos, well before this type was first used in Alexandria. It is always described as "Isis Pharia" but it is not: Isis Pharia is an Alexandrian goddess, but this Isis holding a sail type was first created in Byblos. It may rather be described as Isis Pelagia (Isis of the Sea), and Pharia only when the Alexandria lighthouse is pictured next to her.

    I could not find any reference for this coin. The RPC database does not include the Severian family yet. No specimen at the BNF or the British Museum. Not in Wildwinds. The old catalogue by Rouvier (Numismatique des Villes de la Phénicie) does not mention it.
    It seems to be mentioned in Laurent Bricault ed., Sylloge Nummorum Religionis Isiacae et Sarapiacae, Paris (De Boccard) 2008, under ref. SNRIS Byblus 18, but the same Laurent Bricault writes he could never see any specimen of this coin (Isis Pelagia: Images, Names and Cults of a Goddess of the Seas, Brill 2019, p. 66).

    It must be very rare...
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    I've never seen that type either, but I like it.
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