Did you some day visit the cities your coins were from?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by GinoLR, Jan 26, 2022.

  1. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    Rome, Athens, Lugdunum, Alexandria are today large and crowded cities, in which you still can see remains of what they were in Antiquity. Others like Petra, Ephesus, Perga, are now archaeological sites crowded with tourists. Some just look like cities or towns of today, no remains of their ancient monuments can be seen, except maybe in some local museum when there is one - it's the case in Antioch for example. Others are completely deserted, like Cnidus or some Asia Minor ancient cities which once minted coins that are in many collections, but are today just ruins in the wild.

    I like travelling and visiting places. Of course it was before the Covid pandemic, now it is more difficult, but I think things will soon be back into a certain form of normality. When I was much younger, and rules much less strict than today, I remember there were people in ancient sites who proposed selling (for very moderate prices) ancient coins, or you could find also nice and affordable ones in booths or souvenir shops nearby... Many of my coins have been acquired on the spot.

    I don't know if many collectors like to visit the places where their coins are from. Provenance for a coin has two meanings : it can be the former collections in which they were, but it also can be the place they were found.

    Rome 2009 044b.jpg

    Petra Aretas.jpg
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  3. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    The closest cities from where I live that produced coins in my ancient collection come from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu,
    1. Madurai, capital of the Pandyas

    2. Thanjavur, capital of the Cholas

    3. Kanchi, capital of the Pallavas

    Although this massa that was produced in the vicinity of Sumatra-Java would be the closest one.

    Out of all these places, I've actually been to Madurai along with Singapore and Malaysia (once part of the Sri Vijayan kingdom) with my family back when I finished high school! long before I started collecting coins, let alone ancients.
    I'd love to visit Rome, Pompeii, Acropolis of Athens, probably Constantinople, but I'm not sure about Egypt due to safety concerns.
    But visiting Europe is multiple times as expensive as visiting SEA or India, However the next city on my bucket list is definitely Thanjavur and many other Tamil cities to truly appreciated the legacy of Cholas, Pandyas and other kings. The thing with these cities are that they're continuously inhabited since antiquity with their native culture intact, and their buildings still actively used for their intended purpose.
    Then it's Angkor Wat (Cambodia), again to experience the influence of Cholas in SEA.
    Only after that I can look into Europe!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
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  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    When I visited Rome, I brought the Augustus As below on a 6000 mile return trip to its home city and tossed it into the Trevi Fountain. According to the rules, I am thus promised my own return trip to Rome one of these days. :)

    Augustus in the Trevi.jpg

    I later bought a Trajan Circus Maximus sestertius because of the fond memories a rare relaxed moment spent looking out over where it once stood. I remember it to be an otherwise busy and somewhat stressful holiday!

    Trajan - Sestertius Circus Maximus.jpg

    Another moment of the trip that I'd like to commemorate with a coin purchase one day is when the wife and I had to anxiously hunt around for a secluded spot in the upper levels of the Colosseum to let her nurse our bawling child. Might take awhile to get that coin. :D
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  5. tibor

    tibor Supporter! Supporter

    I know this Is the "Ancients" forum, but I'll sneak this in anyway.
    I collect Early Dated (pre 1501 A.D.) European coins. i would enjoy
    a trip to Aachen, Koln, Frankfurt. These are German cities.
    Antwerp, Liege and Schoonvorst. These are cities in the BeneLux
    region. There are many others, but these are a good start.
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  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Constantinople and Alexandria come to mind, been to both places. Also, the Fayyum in Egypt where the rare "nome" coins were struck featuring a bust of Amenophis.
  7. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I didn't try this, looks like a good idea, thanks! Next time I go to Rome i'll do it.
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  8. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    It must be the only Egyptian pharaoh whose portrait is on an ancient coin ! Do you have one? I don't, and I'll try to get one!
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  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    He was regarded as a legendary figure in that area (Arsinote nome) and there was some sort of cult involved, persistent even until Roman times, hence he was granted a place on the coinage. (Not my coin)


    Alexandria & Arsinoe.jpg
  10. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I am convinced there are less safety risks touring Egypt than attending high school in some Western countries. The biggest concern in Egypt IMO is the risk of being robbed if you wander in some ill-famed neighbourhoods... Same in the Paris Metro ;)
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  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    I actually was held up at gunpoint at Kom Ombo and robbed of 200 Egyptian pounds. Also got into a bit of trouble with Islamists in the ancient town of Coptos but used my Arabic Qu'ran to good effect, saying that I was learning the language and the religion, so they were mollified. The conversation ended with a discussion if there were any faithful in America, as they considered it an apostate country with no connection to Allah, the one true god. My Qu'ran was published by Al-Azhar, which they were glad to see.

    Edit: The lesson is to avoid some of the hotspots, such as parts of Upper Egypt and Sinai. On the whole I was usually greeted with tea or coffee and sometimes invited into peoples' homes to discuss all sorts of things.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
  12. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I was myself held at gunpoint too, twice. One time in the Syrian desert (the guys suspected me of being some Israeli spy, but in the end they asked me what was my religion, I replied Catholic, then they smiled and said : "So are we !" opening their shirts to show me gold or silver crosses around their necks... We had tea together in the wild and they left me alone...). Another time it was in N'djamena, Chad, in the middle of the night, when a patrol of presidential guards arrested me and asked me, very seriously, if I was a terrorist. I swore I was not, and after some moment another patrol arrived, this one from the regular army, led by an officer who explained them I was obviously not a terrorist, so they let me go...
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  13. UncleScroge

    UncleScroge Well-Known Member

    I visited San Francisco a couple of times and Denver once, but I haven't been to Philadelphia or West Point yet.
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  14. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, West Point, Canada, and Mexico so far.
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  15. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    I found a pic from my holiday September (2019) at Bari where there is a section of Via Traiana, exposed under the modern walkway near the beach at Bari. [​IMG]
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  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @ancient coin hunter and @GinoLR, if you're interested in learning more about the Hadrian Nomes obol in question, depicting Amenemhat III (a/k/a Pramarres; I've never seen it rendered as Amenophis), here is my description -- including the lengthy footnote -- of my own example of that coin, originally posted on Jan. 9, 2021. By the way, it's generally accepted that the Nomes coins were minted in Alexandria just like the rest of the Roman Egyptian coinage, not in the Nomes themselves.

    Hadrian, AE Nome Obol, Year 11 (126/127 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint (for Arsinoite Nome). Obv. Laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder, AΥΤ ΚΑΙ - ΤΡΑΙ ΑΔΡΙΑ ϹΕΒ / Rev. Head of Egyptian Pharaoh right, no beard [identified with Amenemhat III, under Greco-Roman name of Pramarres], wearing nemes [royal striped headdress] with uraeus [sacred cobra, worn by deities and pharaohs] at forehead; APCI (= Arsi[noites]) to left, date L IA (Year 11) to right. RPC [Roman Provincial Coinage] Vol. III 6296 (2015); RPC III Online at https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/6296 ; Emmett 1211.11 /[Emmett, Keith, Alexandrian Coins (Lodi, WI, 2001)]; BMC 16 Alexandria, Nomes 72-73 at p. 357 [Pool, Reginald Stuart, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 16, Alexandria (London, 1892)]; Milne 1229 [Milne, J., A Catalogue of the Alexandrian Coins in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, 1933, reprint with supplement by Colin M. Kraay). 19.4 mm., 5.32 g. (Purchased from Zuzim Inc., Brooklyn, NY Jan 2021; ex. Fontanille Coins, Auction 96, July 2017, Lot 7, sold as “the finest example [that dealer] ha[d] seen.”)*

    The first photo is from Fontanille Coins (is anyone familiar with them? They seem to be inoperative currently, although their auction archives are still up), and the second from Zuzim. I would say that the reverse of the first photo -- presented on the left for some reason -- and the obverse of the second, are the closest to what the coin looks like in hand, in terms of color and shade.



    *The Nomes (from Greek: Νομός, "district") were the 60-70 administrative divisions of Egypt under the Ptolemies and Romans; the Egyptian term for a nome was “sepat.” See https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Nomes. The Arsinoite Nome (known as “Arsinoites”), the capital of which was the city of Arsinoe, corresponded to the area of the Fayum Oasis or Basin, Lake Moeris, etc., west of the Nile and southwest of Cairo. See https://www.trismegistos.org/fayum/fayum2/gen_intro.php. It encompassed, among other things, the pyramid of Amenemhet III near the town of Hawara, north of the lake (the site of the famous necropolis where the Fayum mummy portraits were discovered). See id., see also the excellent discussion, with photos including one of the Hawara pyramid, by our own @Jochen1 -- together with a wonderful example of this same coin type -- at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/amenemhet-iii.370249/#post-5138482.

    The Nomes coins were small bronze issues minted in Alexandria, each with the head of the reigning emperor on the obverse, and the name (in full or abbreviated, as with this coin) of one of the Nomes written in Greek on the reverse, together with an image ostensibly bearing some relationship to a deity or to cult worship associated with that Nome. They were issued under Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius Caesar. See Numiswiki, supra. See also Emmett at p. xv for a discussion of the Nomes coinage, noting that Hadrian issued “the most nome coins in terms of numbers of coins issued, numbers of different reverse types and numbers of nomes.” Indeed, Emmett specifically singles out this type from among Hadrian’s extensive series of bronze Nome obols and dichalkons issued in Year 11, as one of “only two interesting reverse types that appear on Hadrian’s obols: that of a bust of an Egyptian King on his Arsinoite nome obol”; it is the only Nomes type bearing such an image. Id. Emmett makes no attempt to identify which “King.” However, RPC III 1749 expressly identifies the reverse image as “head of Premarres (Amenemhet III),” who reigned in the 12th Dynasty, from 1842-1797 BC. (The more common spellings seem to be “Pramarres” and “Amenemhat.”). The evidence available online appears to support that identification.

    Thus, Emmett states that “[t]hese coins depict the local cult-worship of each nome,” with “Horus and Isis . . . the god and goddess most often represented in their various forms on the reverses of the nome coins.” Id. But the entry for Nomes in Numiswiki, supra, argues that the fact that the Nomes coins were minted in Alexandria “robs them of the interest they would otherwise have possessed as calculated to throw light on local cults,” and that the purpose of the Nomes coinage should be regarded as “primarily commemorative.” See also BMC Alexandria 16 at pp. xcviii-c, discussing the issue at length, citing various examples, and concluding that it seems “certain that the Nome types were not only selected at Alexandria, but that the selection was independent of local worship unconnected with Alexandria. Thus the series loses much of its interest as its mythological value is small and uncertain,” except for Nomes near Alexandria. (Id. at p. c.)

    But regardless of the significance of the reverse image on other Nome coins, a strong argument can be made that the image on the reverse of this type of the Nome coinage of Hadrian, bearing the name of the Arsinoite Nome -- unquestionably the image of a pharaoh, given the presence of the nemes and uraeus -- was, in fact, directly connected to cult worship in that Nome, which was the center of the cult of the deified Amenemhat III.

    It would seem farfetched to conclude that it could be purely a coincidence that the Arsinoite Nome was the only one for which a Nome coin was issued depicting a pharaoh, and that the very same Nome was the center of the cult of Amenemhat III, as the site of his pyramid, up to and into the Greco-Roman period, until the rise of Christianity. The available evidence strongly suggests that it was not a coincidence. See Uytterhoeven, Inge, and Ingrid Blom-Böer. “New Light on the Egyptian Labyrinth: Evidence from a Survey at Hawara.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 88, 2002, pp. 111–120, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3822339 , accessed 5 Jan. 2021, stating as follows on its first page:


    See also https://www.trismegistos.org/fayum/fayum2/747.php?geo_id=747 -- trismegistos is “a platform aiming to surmount barriers of language and discipline in the study of texts from the ancient world, particularly late period Egypt” -- for a lengthy discussion of the archaeological excavations at Hawara, including at the pyramid of Amenemhat III. The discussion specifically notes that “the fullest topographical description [of the location] in the Graeco-Roman period is found in P.Hawara Lüdd. XIX (85 BC): ‘the necropolis, which is in the Souchos village Hawara in the exo topoi in the area on the north side of the Moeris canal in the meris of Herakleides in the Arsinoite nome.’" (Emphasis added.) Thus, the location of the tomb of Amenemhat III within the Arsinoite Nome is not in question.

    The website states as follows:

    “Hawara owed its fame to Pramarres, the 12th Dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat III, who built his funerary complex at Hawara around 1800 BC. The Labyrinth, south of the pyramid, was evidently the main cult centre of the deified pharaoh (photo). The cult is attested by Ptolemaic dedications, such as I.Fayum I 34 and 35 (both 1st cent. BC) and the demotic stele Stewart 1983 Nr. 81 (Ptolemaic period).”

    The website also discusses how well-known the necropolis near the pyramid was, as far away as Alexandria (where this coin was minted), specifically because of its connection with the deified Amenemhat III. Note the reference to a will executed between 117 and 138 AD, i.e., during the reign of Hadrian:

    “Hawara, ideally located at the desert edge and easily accessible from the metropolis by the Bahr Yussuf, was a logical choice as necropolis for the nome capital. For some it was a privilege to be buried in the sacred area near the tomb and temple of the deified Amenemhat. Thus an anonymous metropolite, who lived at Tebtynis, explicitly mentioned in his last will that he wanted to be buried 'near the Labyrinth' (SB VIII 9642 l.4; 117-138 AD). At least part of the Hellenized elite buried at Hawara must have lived in the metropolis, e.g. the gymnasiarchs Tiberius Iulius Asklepiades and Dios and their wives. The specification ᾿Αρσινοείτης added to the occupation of the wool merchant Apollinarios (SB I 3965/III 7084; 2nd century AD) and the mention of the agora; τῶν ἱματοπωλῶν on the mummy label of Diodoros (SB XVIII 13654; Roman period) suggest that these too were inhabitants of Arsinoe.

    Hawara also attracted persons from other places in the Arsinoite nome. Thus the body of an undertaker of Alexandrou Nesos had to be placed in a family tomb at Hawara (P.Hawara Lüdd. IV; 220 BC). The unpublished account P.Ashm. I 30 lists deceased from the village Mendes, from Ptolemais Hormou and even from Meidoum in the Memphite nome. There may even be a relation between the place of origin of the dead and the cult places of Pramarres in the Fayum (e.g. Alexandrou Nesos and Tebtynis).

    Indeed, even people from outside the Fayum found their last resting place at Hawara, as is attested by the correspondence between the undertakers of Alexandria with those of Hawara (SB I 5216; 101, 68 or 39 BC) and by the mummy label of Pantagathos, sent "to the Arsinoite nome" (SB I 3967).”

    (Emphasis added.)

    The conclusion that the image of a pharaoh on the reverse of this coin of the Arsinoite Nome was intended to represent the deified pharaoh Pramarres, i.e. Amenehmhat III -- regardless of the fact that the coinage was minted in Alexandria -- appears inescapable. The type is historically significant, given that there is no other Egyptian pharaoh represented on Roman Alexandrian coinage.
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Returning to the subject of this thread, the only city I've visited where any of my ancient coins were minted is Rome, where I took my son as a high school graduation present in 2008. (I've been to London, but have no ancient coins from the mint there.)

    Here's a photo he took of me standing by the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius:


    Here's a photo I took at the Capitoline Museum of the famous statue of the wolf suckling Romulus and Remus:


    This statue, known as the Capitoline Wolf, was long believed to be an original ancient Etruscan statue of a she-wolf, with the twins added in the 15th century AD. However, "Radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dating was carried out at the University of Salento in February 2007 to resolve the question. The results revealed with an accuracy of 95.4 percent that the [entire] sculpture was crafted between the 11th and 12th century AD."

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitoline_Wolf.

    An old print of Trajan's column, purchased in Rome in 2008:


    A photo I took on that trip:


    Finally, for a whole lot of photos I took at Hadrian's Villa, see https://www.cointalk.com/threads/the-post-of-ruins.373504/#post-5425016 and https://www.cointalk.com/threads/the-post-of-ruins.373504/#post-5425203.
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  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Brain freeze. Amenophis is the Greek name for Amenhotep III, a ruler in the 18th dynasty. According to Manetho, Amenemhat III in Greek was Lamares or Pamares and a Middle Kingdom ruler. Thanks for the information (and the backdrop). Speaking of Tebtunis, I've been a supporter of the Tebtunis Papyri project at UC Berkeley for some time. The town was a cult center for Sobek, known as Soknebtunis in the area.
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  19. Robidoux Pass

    Robidoux Pass Well-Known Member

    I don’t consider Egypt to be necessarily a dangerous place to visit. I’ve been multiple times to Egypt, in the neighborhood of 70. I consider the Egyptian people some of my favorite in the world. However, as in any place in the world, one must be aware of their surroundings. I haven’t hesitated to travel to any town or village in Egypt, but knowing how a few individuals may strongly oppose Americans, I am more careful. As the curiosity of a foreigner in a village leads to a “Menn fain?” (Where are you from?), I avoid advertising that I'm an American. Instead, I answer with “Menn Kanada” or “Ana Inglizi.” Thus I say I’m “from Canada” as no one hates the Canadians or “I’m English” as most of these villagers on first sight will accept that I’m British.

    However, in Egypt, I also had a Deputy Minister threaten me with a pistol, but that was over a work argument so doesn’t pertain to dangers to a visitor to Egypt. And on another occasion, I was unfortunately confined to some time in a Cairo jail, but that’s another story.

    I was surprised to read ancient coin hunter mention being in N’Djamena, Chad –- certainly a place off the beaten path that few people on this site have visited. Yes, Chad is a place where visitors should exercise caution. I lived and worked there two years earlier in my career. I guess my most exciting incident was being rescued by the French Foreign Legion from probably what would have very soon ended up being, unfortunately for me, a deadly situation.
  20. whopper64

    whopper64 Well-Known Member

    I can add to your list with visits to New Orleans and Carson City as well.
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  21. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Слава захисникам свободи


    Tyra is in the SE corner of what is now Ukraine - near the city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, and is one of the oldest known continously occupied cities in the world. It is believed that the original settlement of the area at the mouth of the Dnestr river began in the 6th century BC, it's prominence at the end of the river where it empties into the Black Sea gives it an advantage in trade. Coins from Tyra date into the 3rd century BC, but curiously they are difficult to find as they are never found in any quantity. As the Roman Empire expanded eastward and absorbed Thrace their client states in the region began minting coins in the names of the Roman Emperors.

    This coin was minted in the reign of Antoninus Pius(138-161 AD) and bears his portrait and name. The reverse of the coin has Hercules standing with a club and lion skin and the legend "TYPANWN" for the city name. Even during the Roman era there doesn't appear to have been a large output of coinage from Tyra, and this example is only the third one I have seen in ten years of searching for one.

    The city of Bilhorod-Dnestrovskyi is one of those places that has changed hands many many times over the years, it has been a part of the Greek Empire, then Roman, Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, then the Ottoman Empire, part of Moldavia in the 18th century, then absorbed into the Russian Empire, then in 1918 was awarded to Romania and became "Cetatae Alba" - literally meaning White City, then in 1940 was taken by the USSR and became a part of Ukraine. There are historical excavations going on in the vicinity of the Fortress of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi - a fortress that dates into Byzantine times.

    The first time I visited was in September 2001, in fact we were there on 9/11 and felt at that moment like we were in the safest place in the world. People in the city knew about us being there because we were staying at a clinic there and word got around. We literally had older ladies that obviously had survived the Nazi invasion, the Stalinist era etc offer to protect us in their homes.

    The last time I was in Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi was a short visit with friends there at the clinic in 2008.
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