Faustina Friday -- Dionysus and panther on an Æ 25 from Anchialus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    For this week's issue of Faustina Friday, I've chosen a rather workaday provincial of Anchialus in Thrace. These coins are undated, of course, but this has some features that suggest it was one of the very first coins issued for the young empress by the city.


    Faustina Jr., 147-175.
    Roman provincial Æ 9.06 g, 24.7 mm, 7 h.
    Thrace, Anchialus, AD 147-149.
    Obv: ΦΑVCΤΕΙΝΑ ΝΕΑ CΕΒΑCΤΗ, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: ΑNΧΙΑΛΕΩΝ, Dionysos standing left, holding cantharus and thyrsus; panther at feet, left.
    Refs: AMNG 434; RPC 4525; Varbanov 90; BMC --; SNG Copenhagen --.

    The coin bears the unusual inscription, ΦΑVCΤΕΙΝΑ ΝΕΑ CΕΒΑCΤΗ. The Greek word, NEA, means "Junior" or "Young," and suggests it was added so as to inform the citizens of Anchialus that the woman on this coin was not the elder Faustina with whom they were familiar, but the younger Faustina with whom they were NOT familiar. This suggests a very early date.

    Moreover, Faustina bears the earliest hairstyle that appears on her coins, such as these two middle bronzes with the earliest titulature, FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL. These are dated to AD 147-149 by Strack and to AD 148-152 by Sear. I am inclined to accept an earlier date than Sear for this issue. This too suggests a very early date.

    Faustina Jr VENVS S C and rudder dupondius.jpg
    Faustina Jr VENVS S C left bust As.jpg

    Therefore, I've assigned an early date to the coin, AD 147-149.

    The reverse features Dionysus in the standard iconography: Holding a kantharos over a panther in his right hand and a thyrsus in his left. The city issued few types for Faustina II: nude Apollo seated on rock, r., playing a lyre; three fish; Demeter seated, l., wearing stephane, holding two ears of corn and long torch; Dionysus standing, l., crossing legs, holding long filleted thyrsus, resting l. arm on column; and the type depicted above. I suspect the choice of reverse designs had some sort of local significance to the people of Anchialus that is lost to us in modern times.

    Note the Demeter seated reverse type:


    Of the various issues, the only two featuring her early hairstyle are the OP coin and this Demeter seated reverse type. Unsurprisingly, only these two issues bear the appellation, NEA; the others bear the simple ΦΑVϹΤΕΙΝΑ ϹΕΒΑϹΤΗ title and depict the empress wearing a later hairstyle. Some of these later-style portraits are veiled and stephaned, suggesting they may have been issued posthumously.

    Post comments, coins of Anchialus, provincial issues of Faustina II, or anything you feel is relevant.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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  3. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Groovy write-up and Faustina Jr coins!
    Roman Collector likes this.
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice! I have one coin from Anchialus:

    Gordian III with wife Tranquillina, AE 26 mm., 241-244 AD, Thracia, Anchialus [Pomorie, Bulgaria]. Obv. Confronted busts of Gordian III right, laureate, draped and cuirassed, and Tranquillina left, draped and wearing stephane; ΑVT Κ M ANT / ΓOPΔIANOC AVΓ clockwise around; CEB TPAN // KVΛΛINA in exergue; border of dots/ Rev. Apollo standing left, holding patera in right hand; left arm resting on column; ΟΥΛΠΙΑΝωΝ / ΑΓXΙΑΛEωΝ clockwise around; border of dots. Moushmov 2939 [H. Moushmov, Ancient Coins of the Balkan Peninsula (1912)], Varbanov II 668 [Ivan Varbanov, Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Vol. II, Thrace (from Abdera to Pautalia) (English Edition) (Bourgas, Bulgaria 2005)], AMNG II 656 [F. Münzer & M. Strack, Die antiken Münzen von Thrakien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. II (Berlin, 1912)]. 26 mm., 11.91 g.

    Gordian III - Tranquillina Anchialus (Thrace) - jpg version.jpg
  5. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Nice provincial coins!

    I don't have any on Anchialus (still too new into Roman provincial), but one on Augusta Traiana. It is a Faustina Junior coin.

    THRACE, Augusta Traiana. Faustina Junior.
    Augusta, AD 147-175. Æ (26mm, 9.97 g, 7h).
    Obv: Draped bust right
    Rev: Tyche, standing left, wearing mural crown, holding phiale and scepter. Minkova 208-13; Schönert-Geiss, Augusta Traiana 63 (V23/R53); RPC IV.1 Online 9378.
    Spaniard, Bing, Johndakerftw and 4 others like this.
  6. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    One (more or less) interesting thing I just noticed was the difference in spelling between my coin and @DonnaML 's coin.

    Typically, the "gamma nasal" was used to indicate a "ng" sound before a velar consonant, such as κ, χ, ξ, or another gamma. As such, the name of the city is most commonly spelled as on Donna's coin: ΑΓXΙΑΛEWΝ. However, mine uses a nu to indicate the nasal phoneme before the chi: ΑNΧΙΑΛΕΩΝ. Note, too, the difference in the letter-form for omega on our two issues.

    Orthography was a fluid thing in the ancient world.
    happy_collector and Spaniard like this.
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