Featured Claudius I & his mother Antonia: only my second Roman Alexandrian before the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Until a couple of months ago, my earliest royal woman portrayed on a Roman Imperial coin was Hadrian's wife Sabina (unless one believes that Pax on the reverse of the Tiberius "Tribute Penny" = Livia). Since then, I've acquired coins depicting Domitia (Domitian's wife), Julia Titi (Titus's daughter), and now, Antonia, known as Antonia "Minor" or "the Younger" (36 BCE - 37 AD) (her older sister was Antonia Major/the Elder). Antonia Minor was the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia Minor (Augustus's sister) and, therefore, Augustus's niece. She was the wife of Nero Claudius Drusus; the mother of Claudius I and Germanicus (as well as Livilla, whom she allegedly punished for her plot with Sejanus by locking her in a room until she starved to death); the grandmother of Caligula (Germanicus's son); and the great-grandmother of Nero through her granddaughter Agrippina the Younger, daughter of Germanicus and mother of Nero. Her death was either a suicide or the result of poisoning by Caligula. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonia_Minor. (She was also a major character in "I, Claudius.") Thus, this coin, issued by her son approximately four years after her death, was a memorial issue.

    Claudius I, billon [Sear] or AR [RPC] Tetradrachm, Year 2 [41/42 AD], Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate head right, ΤΙ ΚΛΑVΔΙ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙ ΑVΤΟΚΡ around, LΒ [Year 2] under chin / Rev. Draped bust of Antonia [Claudius’s mother] right, ΑΝΤΩΝΙΑ upwards to left, ΣΕΒΑΣΤΗ downwards to right. ); RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. I 5117 (1992); RPC I Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/1/5117; Emmett 73.2 [Emmett, Keith, Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001)]; Sear RCV I 1868 (ill.); Sear GIC 492 (ill.) [D. Sear, Greek Imperial Coins and their Values (1982)]; BMC 16 Alexandria 65 at p. 9 [Pool, Reginald Stuart, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 16, Alexandria (London, 1892)]; K & G 12.3 [Kampmann, Ursula & Granschow, Thomas, Die Münzen der römischen Münzstätte Alexandria (2008)]; Milne 61 [Milne, J., A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1933, reprint with supplement by Colin M. Kraay). 24 mm., 11.25 g.

    Claudius I - Antonia (mother) Roman Alexandria Tetradrachm jpg version.jpg

    Despite the rough surfaces, I think this example has very nice details on the portraits, especially Antonia's. And the coin is quite silvery compared to most Alexandrian tets, especially later ones. (Note the cited disagreement on whether to call it "billon" or "AR.")

    My only other Roman Alexandrian coin issued prior to the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty is this tetradrachm issued by Nero, with the personification of Alexandria on the reverse.

    Nero, Billon Tetradrachm, Year 12 (65/66 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Radiate bust of Nero with aegis, right, ΝΕΡΩ ΚΛΑV ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ ΓΕΡ / Rev. Bust of Alexandria, right, wearing elephant headdress, AYTO-KPA around, LIB [Year 12] in right field. RPC I 5289, Emmett 109.12, Milne 238, Walker 159-167. 20x23 mm., 12.11 g.

    Nero-Alexandria Tetradrachm COMBINED.jpg

    Why do I mention this? Because the contrast between the number of Alexandrian coins issued by the Nerva-Antonines and the numbers issued before -- and even afterwards -- isn't present only in my collection; it's almost invevitable given the disparities in the numbers of different coins issued by the different emperors from Augustus to Diocletian. Here is a list I compiled, in order, of the ten Emperors/Empresses with the largest numbers of different coins of all denominations minted in Alexandria in their names (including Nomes coinage). The source is the numbers set forth for each person and for each denomination of that person in Emmett at pp. xxii-xxv; I have combined the numbers as Caesar and as Augustus where they are given for both.

    1. Hadrian: 1,065
    2. Antoninus Pius: 1,019
    3. Trajan: 980
    4. Marcus Aurelius: 546
    5. Domitian; 289
    6. Severus Alexander: 273
    7. Faustina II: 233
    8. Lucius Verus: 217
    9. Commodus: 207
    10. Diocletian: 176.

    The number for Claudius I is 86 (including only 9 different tetradrachms), and the number for Nero is 125.

    I don't think anyone who's collected Roman Alexandrian coins will be surprised by these numbers!

    Please post any or all of the following:

    Other Imperial or Provincial coins portraying Antonia Minor, whether from Alexandria or elsewhere.

    Other Provincial coins depicting Claudius I, whether from Alexandria or elsewhere.

    Other Provincial coins, from Alexandria or elsewhere -- are there any? -- depicting Antonia's husband, Nero Claudius Drusus, or Claudius I's son Britannicus.

    Other Roman Alexandrian coins from before the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
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  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    very nice Donna...:)..
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  4. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Donna, you obviously scored a very scarce coin with an attractive portrait of Antonia :happy:. The coin appears to be chemically cleaned, & with it's present color I would lean towards billon rather than silver. The Claudius Tet pictured below was sold by London Ancient Coins, Ltd., & was labeled billon, Year 6.
    Claudius, billon Tet, London Ancient Coins, Ltd, Yr 6.jpg
  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Great coin, Donna.

    Claudius (41 - 54 A.D.)
    Egypt, Alexandria
    Billon Tetradrachm
    O: TI KLA[UDI KAIS SEBA GERMANI AUTOKR], laureate head of Claudius right; LB to right.
    R: ANTWNIA SEBASTH, draped bust of Antonia right, wearing hair in long plait.
    Dated RY 2 (41/2 AD)
    Dattari 114; Milne 61-64; Emmett 73.

    Claudius (41 - 54 A.D.)
    AR Cistophoric Tetradrachm
    O: TI CLAVD CAES · AVG, bare head left.
    R: COM ASI across field, distyle temple of Roma and Augustus, enclosing standing facing figures of Claudius, holding scepter, being crowned by Fortuna, holding cornucopia; ROM ET AVG on entablature.
    Ephesus mint. Struck AD 41-42
    RIC I 120 (Pergamum); RPC I 2221; RSC 3; BMCRE 228; BN 304-6
  6. LaCointessa

    LaCointessa Supporter! Supporter

    That is quite an interesting study you have accomplished @DonnaML
    I had no idea about those numbers.
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  7. Alegandron

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

    Very nice, @DonnaML !


    RI ANTONIA Minor AVGVSTA d-Marc Antony w-Nero Claudius Drusus AE Dupondius 28mm 11.8g togate holding simpulum S-C


    RI Claudius 41-54 Ae As 28mm LIBERTAS AVGVSTA holding pileus S-C RIC 113

    Roman Principate
    Claudius w-Britannicus
    CE 41-54
    Æ Prutah
    17mm 2.8g
    Antonius Felix-procurator
    Dated RY 14 54 CE
    2-crossed shields spears -
    Palm tree BPIT K AI L IΔ date
    Hendin 1348
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    On the Facebook Ancient and Medieval Coins group today somebody showed a recent score - a complete collection of all 12 zodiac drachms of Antoninus Pius plus a drachm showing all twelve signs on the reverse!

    As an aside there is an interesting representation of the zodiac in the temple of Khnum at Esna dating to Ptolemaic times.
    +VGO.DVCKS, LaCointessa and DonnaML like this.
  9. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the write up Donna.:)

    The mother:
    Antonia - Claudius new (2).jpg

    her son and grandson:

  10. Alegandron

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

    I really like your Claudius. Looks like I would imagine him.
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  11. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

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  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I agree, especially regarding the second one, the cistophoric tetradrachm. The Platonic ideal of a Claudius!
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  13. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great looking Claudius, @DonnaML!! Very nice portraits and state of preservation! Mine is not so lucky, but a appears to be a scarcer year (R5)... Mine looks almost like he was, dare I say, chubby? What a difference one year makes! Haha :smuggrin:

    Claudius, Ruled 41-54 AD
    BL Tetradrachm, Egypt, Alexandria
    Dated RY 3, Struck 42/43 AD

    Obverse: ΤΙ ΚΛΑVΔΙ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙ ΑVΤΟΚP, laureate head right, LΓ (RY 3) at lower right.
    Reverse: ΑΝΤΩΝΙΑ ΣΕΒΑΣΤΗ, bust of Antonia right.
    References: Emmett 73 R5, RPC 5133
    Size: 26.5mm, 9.0g
  14. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Stunner Donna :wideyed: Another rare beauty:cigar::pompous: And you're right about Antonia's portrait popping!
  15. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here are my provincials featuring Claudius I:

    Claudius and the woman who poisoned him:

    Claudius, AD 41-54 and Agrippina II, AD 50-59.
    Roman provincial Æ 20.2 mm, 5.81 g, 10 h.
    Lydia, Thyatira, AD 50-54.
    Obv: ΤΙ ΚΛΑYΔΙΟC CЄΒΑCΤΟC, bare head of Claudius right.
    Rev: ΑΓΡΙΠΠΙΝΑΝ CЄΒΑCΤΗΝ ΘΥΑΤΙΡΗΝΟΙ, draped bust of Agrippina right.
    Refs: Sear 507; RPC I 2380; BMC 22. 301, 57; SNG München 611; SNG von Aulock --; SNG Copenhagen --; Mionnet --; Wiczay --.

    Claudius, AD 41-54, and Agrippina II, AD 50-59.
    Roman provincial Æ 19.6 mm, 4.19 g, 12 h.
    Lycaonia, Iconia (as Claudiconium), magistrate M. Annius Afrinus, AD 50-54.
    Obv: ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ϹЄΒΑ, laureate head of Claudius, right.
    Rev: ϹЄΒΑϹΤΗ ЄΠΙ ΑΦΡЄΙΝΟΥ ΚΛΑΥΔЄΙΚΟΝΙЄѠΝ, bare-headed and draped bust of Agrippina II, right.
    Refs: RPC I 3542; von Aulock Lyk. 258–62.

    Claudius, AD 41-54 and Agrippina II, AD 50-59.
    Roman provincial Æ 12 Nummia, 9.30 gm, 25.0 mm.
    Bosporos, under King Kotys I, AD 50-54.
    Obv: ΤΙ ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟΥ ΚΑΙCΑΡΟC, laureate head of Claudius, right.
    Rev: ΙΟΥΛΙΑΝ ΑΓΡΙΠΠΙΝΑΝ CΕΒΑCΤΗΝ, head of Agrippina II, left, in loop ponytail; BAK before.
    Refs: SGI 5438; RPC 1925; BMC 13.52,7; Anokhin Bosporus 348; SNG Copenhagen 31.

    Claudius and Messalina:

    Claudius, AD 41-54.
    Billon Tetradrachm, 10.32 gm, 24.0 mm.
    Alexandria, AD 46.
    Obv: ΤΙ ΚΛΑΥΔΙ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΓΕΡΜΑΝΙ ΑΥΤΟΚΡ, laureate head of Claudius, r.; LϚ (year 6) before.
    Rev: ΜΕΣΣΑΛΙΝΑ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑΣ, Messalina standing l., holding children and ears of corn.
    Refs: RCV 1869; SGI 495; RPC 5164; BMCG 75; SNG Cologne 88; Milne 106; Emmett 74.

    My favorite Claudius provincial, only recently demonstrated to be from Caesarea in Cilicia:

    Claudius, AD 41-54.
    Roman provincial Æ 23.2 mm, 7.13 g, 12 h.
    Cilicia, Caesarea (formerly Mopsuestia), AD 50/1.
    Obv: ΤΙΒЄΡΙΟϹ ΚΛΑΥΔΙΟϹ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ; bare head of Claudius, right.
    Rev: ΚΑΙⳞΑΡΕΩΝ ΕΤΟΥⳞ Ε; veiled Tyche, seated right, on rocks and holding ears of corn; below, river god.
    Refs: RPC I 4086; SNG von Aulock 6348 (Caesarea in Cappadocia); SNG Copenhagen 177 (Caesarea in Cappadocia); SNG Schweiz II (Righetti) 1759 (Caesarea in Cappadocia); SNG Österreich (Caesarea in Cappadocia) 2759-60; RG 4744-45; BMC 21.31,4 (Anazarbus?).
  16. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Wow Donna, nice writeup and a lovely example.

    Here are a few alexandrians that happen to be the Dattari plate coins. Sorry no examples for Claudius. I do of course have a few Flavians from Alexandria

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Vespasian, 69-79 Tetradrachm 1 July-28 August 69 (year 1), billon 24.5mm., 11.95g.
    Laureate head r.; in front, LA.
    Rev. ΕΙΡΗΝΗ Eireine standing, l., with corn-ears and caduceus.
    RPC 2401(this coin cited as example #15 on RPC online). Geissen 266. Dattari-Savio Pl. 13, 6688 (this coin).
    Ex: Dattari collection

    Purchased from Naville Numismatics Auction 55 Lot 293

    Vesp dattari.jpg

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Tiberius, 14-37 Obol circa 19-20 (year 6), Æ 20.1mm., 5.67g. Laureate head r. Rev. TIBEPIOY Hippopotamus standing r.; in exergue, L Geissen -. RPC 5087 (this coin cited as example #1 on RPC online).Dattari-Savio Pl. 4, 103 (this coin).
    Brown tone, About Very Fine.
    From the Dattari collection.
    Naville Numismatics Aution 43, Lot 250 September 23, 2018
    Tiberius Dattari 103.jpg

    Vespasian Æ Obol of Alexandria, Egypt. Dated RY 7 = AD 74/5.
    Obv: [AYTOK KAIΣ ΣEBA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY], laureate head right
    (21mm 4.47g, 12h.)
    Rev: Canopus right; L [Z] (date) in right field.
    RPC 2446.1 (this coin); Dattari (Savio) 373 (this coin); Emmett 219.
    Extremely Rare; the only known example.
    This coin published in A. Savio, Catalogo completo della collezione Dattari Numi Augg. Alexandrini (Trieste, 1999);
    This coin published in A. Burnett, M. Amandry, I. Carradice, Roman Provincial Coinage, vol. II (London and Paris, 1999);

    Ex: Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Sale 71, May 28 2020, Lot 710
    Ex Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Sale 46, 5 June 2018, lot 406;
    Ex Naville Numismatics 28, 22 January 2017, lot 314;
    Ex Dattari Collection, formed in Egypt prior to 1901.

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Vespasian, 69-79 Diobol circa 70-71 (year 3), Æ
    ( 26.5mm., 9.15g.)
    Obv: Laureate head r.
    Rev. Bust of Isis r.; in front, LΓ. RPC 2430 (this coin cited as example #11 on RPC online).. Dattari-Savio Pl. 14, 382 (this coin).
    Brown tone. Very Fine.
    Naville Numismatics Auction #30, Lot 283, April 02, 2017.
    Coin depicted in the Wildwinds.com database.
    Naville Numismatics Auction #30, Lot 283, April 02, 2017.
    Coin depicted in the Wildwinds.com database.

    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Domitian, 81-96
    Diobol circa 89-90 (year 9),
    Æ 24.7mm., 15.53g.
    Laureate head r.
    Rev. ETOYΣ ENATOTOY Eagle standing r. on thunderbolt.
    RPC 2566 (this coin cited as example #3 on RPC online). Dattari-Savio Pl. 22, 6809 (this coin).
    Rare, only two other specimens listed in RPC.
    Brown tone, Good Fine.
    From the Dattari collection.
    Ex; Naville Numismatics Live auction 51 Lot 305
    Domitian Dattari.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    These are great. Love that hippo!
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  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wow. They're all nice, but that last one is amazing!
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  19. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I am glad you posted those coins. For me, what is most interesting is the fabric of the coins, the metallic composition. As you mention there's some hesitation about whether the Antonia coin should be listed as silver or billon. There's a good reason for that. The early Alexandrine tetradrachmas still had enough silver in them to pass as silver. Harl records those of Tiberius averaging 30.5 % Ag and those of Claudius at 22.94% Ag. For the first couple years those of Nero averaged 23.15% Ag and then afterwards quickly down to 16.54% Ag. as part of an overall reduction of silver, easily detected in his denarii by a reduction in weight. Nero's tetradrachmas were issued in very large numbers after that debasement and are fairly common today, in pretty nice condition, too, but those of his first two years, as well as those of Tiberius and Claudius are not so common. The difference in percentage of silver probably invited melting them down. In value it seems that the amount of silver in them now equaled the silver content of the denarii so that they trafficked at one denarius = one tetradrachma, at least within Roman Egypt.

    I have also posted a tetradrachma of Agrippina from the Antioch mint as Antioch produced some coins of the first families but these were minted with a higher percentage of silver than those of Alexandria. Harl has them with a content of about 78 % Ag. They often show the same members of the Imperial Family and it is interesting to see how they were pictured compared to the issues of Alexandria.

    The first coin is similar to yours, an Alexandrine Tetra with Antonia, mother of Claudius, issued in L B, year two of his reign with Claudius on the obverse. Considering how indifferently, some may say cruelly, she treated her "half formed son", it's a work of notable piety that she was featured at all. The second coin is one from the Antioch mint showing Agrippina with her son, Nero, on the obverse. it is a good thing that on both coins the names are clearly legible as their appearance is similar and one could otherwise wonder who was on the coin if they were not legible. The third Tetra is one of Nero after the great debasement with the personification of Alexandria on the reverse. I have posted them side to side for a better comparison of both the images and the appearance of the fabric. Perhaps i am seeing things but I think one can distinguish the difference in silver content by the shading of the coins. IMG_1931Antonia rev..jpg IMG_1932Antonia obv.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
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  20. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Antonia Minor Ae Dupondius Minted by Claudius 41-42 AD Obv Bust right draped hair in long plait behind head. Rv. Claudius veiled and togate standing left. RIC 92 14.26 grms 28 mm Photo by W. Hansen antonia1.jpg It is interesting that while the provincial coinage readily adopted images of the Imperial women on coinage the mint of Rome was much less inclined. Antonia Minor would be important to the Emperor Claudius as she does link him to the family of Augustus through his elder sister Octavia. It should be note that both his wives Messalina and Agrippina Junior had a closer link to Augustus than he.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
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  21. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Something went wrong here Ooops
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