Celebration time: coins and a book

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Limes, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Marcus Julius Philippus, also known als Philip or Philippus I Arabs, became emperor after the assassination of Gordian III. The demise of Philippus I would signal a period of civil war and barbarian invasions, marking the beginning of the crisis of the 3rd century. During his reign, in 248 AD, he had the honor to give on of Rome's biggest parties ever, as it celebrated it’s 1000 year anniversary. According to some accounts the festivities were spectacular, with celebrations (or, more realistisch, massacres) in the collosseum. I’ve read online that sources state that “more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros.” (At least that one rhino went down in history.) The reverse has a very interesting error, as the latters S C are mixed. I guess the minters were in a hurry striking coins for the masses, or either intoxicated due to the massive party.

    Even though my collection does not include the era after the severan dynasty, I could not resist this particular coin, because of its reverse. Having a coin in my humble collection that forms a direct link to an actual event - in this case in my opinion a massive party that speaks to the imagination - is what made me pull the trigger. Then, reading about the emperor Philippus I, led me to the conclusion he must have been a peculiar figure in that time and place. Firstly, because of the fact that he was of Arab origin and Rome was in conflict with Persia and the arabs. Second, because of the fact that he was tolerate towards all religions, including the Christians. This gave rise to the notion that Philippus I himself was a Christian, although it is debated. His reign began troublesome with war with Persia and invasions of Goths and other tribes over de Danube river. He nevertheless dealt with these matter properly, ending the war with Persia at the start of his regin and leading successful campaigns against the Goths in 247 AD. He and his family were rewarded with honors and received the titles Carpicus MAximum and Germanicus Maximus. However promising his reign might have been for the long run, the hunger for power of ambitious and rebellious generals eventually led to his downfall. Dealing with the rebellious Pacatianus was Decius, who himself was proclaimed emperor by his danube legions. In 249 AD Philippus I met Decius in battle but was killed, either in the battle itself or by his own troops.

    Philippus I saw himself as a member of the Severan dynasty (which is also an excuse for this coin to be in my collection actually). To underline that notion, he added ‘Severus’ to his son’s name. This forms a step to my next auction win, a sestertius of Caracalla. According to some auction houses this is a rare, or even ‘tres rare’ coin. The difference with the more common ‘RIC 512’ is the obverse title. This is however not the reason I wen’t for this coin. Basically, it had style, it had flair, it was there, that’s how it became ... part of my collection (yes, you can hear that song in your head now). It’s a coin with rough surfaces, but the portet is really nice and strong. Bronze coins of Caracalla or somewhat difficult to obtain (unless you are Bill Gates of course), and I am very pleased with this specimen.

    The two coins allowed me to test my new reference book of David van Meter, ‘The Handbook of Roman Imperial Coins’. It basically is what it says on the cover: a catalog of all major types issued from 27 BC through 498 AD. Easy to use, and a very fine addition to my library, but do expect major issues and nothing more. Next is finding out how many of my coins are deemed a ‘major issue’.

    Thank you for reading, and please post your Philippus I Arabs 1000 year anniversary coins, and/or Caracalla bronzes.
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  3. bcuda

    bcuda El Ibérico loco

    Lovely coin @Limes

    I had a Sestertius of Phillipus I with the Elephant reverse just like that with really nice green patina.
    Only it had the correct version of the S C . This is one of those coins I sold in hard times and have been kicking myself for it for over 20 some years now.
    Theodosius and Limes like this.
  4. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    The Caracalla has a fantastic bit of portraiture. He looks like a proper scowling menace haha.
    Theodosius and Limes like this.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I would be thrilled to run across a coin like that Phillip even without the CS situation. The Caracalla would not tempt me. I do not have to upgrade everything!
  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    nice one even with the error....seems that ancients do not get the same billing as moderns with errors...
    Limes and Bing like this.
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's my elephant one!

    Philip I, AD 244-249.
    Roman AR Antoninianus, 3.73 g, 22.4 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, AD 247.
    Obv: IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant guided by mahout with goad and wand, walking left.
    Refs: RIC 58; Cohen 17; RCV 8921; Hunter 31.
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Nice coins. I have a couple of sestertii from the 1000th anniversary celebration, a Philip I and his son Philip II.

    I realize weights for AEs were declining around this time, but in my very, very limited experience, these 1000th anniversary issues seem particularly skimpy. The Philip I (antelope) weighs 13.59 grams. The Philip II elk (or goat?) is 13.36 grams. I was wondering if this "special" issue was perhaps made for mass distribution during the celebrations, and deliberately on the light side? The OP's backwards SC might indicate hasty production as well. Since everybody is in a good mood from the rhino and elephant slaughter, maybe they won't notice the coins are on the light side?

    Philip I Sest Antelope Jun 2018 (0).jpg
    Phillip II - Sest. Elk Walking Sep 2019 (0).jpg
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    That does seem like a good time to reduce weights of the bronzes especially if they were being given out as a dole.
    ominus1 likes this.
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