Getting (a bit) better at reading Greek legends

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by cmezner, Mar 4, 2024.

  1. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    A coin from Coele-Syria, Chalkis ad Belum, 98 AD:
    AE 24
    10.753 g
    RPC III, 3458; BMC 1;
    The obverse is quite worn, but the last letter in the legend is clearly Θ, therefore, it is BMC 1

    The reverse in Greek is easy to read:)
    Ob.: ΑΥΤΟΚΡ ΚΑΙϹ ΝεΡ ΤΡΑΙΑΝΟϹ ΑΡΙϹΤ ϹεΒ ΓεΡΜ ΔΑΚ ΠΑΡΘ (Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Optimus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus Parthicus) laureate and draped bust of Trajan to r.
    Rev.: ΦΛ XAΛKIΔεωN city legend in two lines, year A below, all within laurel-wreath

    Obverse picture courtesy CNG; reverse picture is mine



    Please share your coins from Chalkis ad Belum or anything relevant
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  3. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    Same coin as yours, but from Beroia (Aleppo, Syria)

    Obv.: Illegible legend. Laureate bust of Trajan right.
    Rev.: BEPOI / AIωN / Γ in wreath
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  4. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    I was checking in the BMC the attribution of the OP issue RPC III, 3458

    According to rpc.ashmus the city is Chalcis ad Belum, also known as Chalcis sub Libano and Chalkis under Libanos, and the reference is BMC 1-4.

    Going through the BMC Greek Coins of Galatia, Cappadocia and Syria the OP coin is not to be found under Chalcis sub Libano, on Page 279 (373 pdf). Actually BMC 1 is a totally different coin.

    So I kept searching in the same BMC and found that there is the city Chalcis near Beroea (Aleppo).
    Under Cyrrhestica, Beroea, p. 130 (in the pdf it is p. 224) it says: "The coins are bronze (Trajan – Antoninus Pius) with the wreath type and numerals A – H. These numerals, both here and at other Syrian towns do not appear to indicate regnal years, but are probably marks of successive issues of the mint in each reign."
    For Trajan these are BMC 2-10 but the city name on the reverse is Beroea, like the coin shared by @GinoLR

    The OP coin is on p.147 (p. 241 pdf) under Chalcidice, Chalcis near Beroea.

    Now I'm really confused:confused: What am I missing? Which city is right? Chalcis ad Belum (RPC) or Chalcidice, Chalcis near Beroea (BMC).

    Can someone please help clarify this?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2024
  5. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian

    I can't find any corroborating evidence for a city named Chalkis near Beroea. The only other Chalkis I know of is the original Greek city on the island of Euboea. Is there any info on a Chalkis near Beroea other than the listing in BMC?
  6. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    In this post @Sulla80 mentions "Chalcis by Belus, in Syria near Beroea"

    Pliny the Elder in Natural History 1-11 says "Below the deserts of Palmyra is the region of Stelendene, and Hierapolis, Beroea, and Chalcis, already mentioned." and Procopius in History of Wars says "Chalcis, eighty-four stades distant from the city of Beroea,..." and

    Perhaps the BMC catalogue should say "Chalcidice, Chalcis ad Belum (near Beroea)".
    RPC III 3458 says that it is BMC 1-4 but none of these has the ending letters ΠΑΡΘ on the obverse legend, however, for BMC 2 the last letters are missing; thus it could only be BMC 2 Chalcidice, Chalcis (near Beroea)
  7. Sulla80

    Sulla80 Well-Known Member

    Here are a couple of references that may highlight that there are two cities possible:
    - Chalkis in Chalcidice ad Belum (near Beroea)
    - Chalkis under Libanos
    although it seems most have sided with the first of these town.

    "It is not clear whether coinage from the early second century a.d. that is inscribed ΦΛ XAΛKIΔεωN should be attributed to this city (Chalkis in Chalcidice ad Belum) or to CHALKIS under Libanos."
    -Cohen 2006, 143

    "Coinage inscribed ΦΛ XAΛKIΔεωN with an era beginning in 92 a.d. (when the town would also have received the title “Flavia”) has usually been assigned to Chalkis on Belos; see, for example, Head, HN 2, 778; Hunter. Coll., 3: 140–41, nos.1–7; Wroth, BMC Galatia, etc., liv–lv, 147–48, nos. 1–9; SNG (Cop) Syria: Cities 65–66; SNG Schweiz II 187–88; and followed, for example, by A. H. M. Jones ( JRS 21 [1931] 267 and n. 10, “attributed on technical grounds to Chalcis ad Belum”). However, Wroth also considered the possibility that some of the coins could be assigned to CHALKIS under Libanos. Schürer (History2, 1: 573 and n. 68) likewise expressed reservations about the attribution to Chalkis on Belos. Sartre (Alexandre, 515 and n.231), in fact, opted for Chalkis under Libanos."
    -Cohen 2006, p 144

    "The site of Chalcis ad Belum/Qinnasrin lies under the modern village of al-‘Is, 25km south-west of Aleppo. It is located in the foothills of the easternmost part of the calcareous massif of northern Syria, thus in a zone between ploughed areas in the north-west and steppe lands in the south-east.

    Qinnasrin, which has been the traditional name of the site since the Aramaic period, was renamed Chalcis when Seleucos Nikator founded a garrison town there. It continued to have this function until the end of its existence. From the time of Pliny, the region of Chalcis, the Chalcidene, was described as the most fertile region in Syria, and the Roman highway from Antioch to Beroea passed through it. Despite its importance, Chalcis is a city with almost no history during the Hellenistic and Roman periods (Cohen 2006: 143-145). The size and significance of the city increased during late antiquity, and it is well known as a center of early Christianity and the chief town of the district of Syria Prima. It was then a stronghold against Persian attacks (Bowersock 2002)."
    -Marie-Odile Rousset. Chalcis/Qinnasrin: from Hellenistic city to the jund capital of North Syria. Roger Matthews and John Curtis, with Michael Seymour, Alexandra Fletcher, Alison Gascoigne, Claudia Glatz, St John Simpson, Helen Taylor, Jonathan Tubb and Rupert Chapman (eds). Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 12-16 April 2010, the British Museum and UCL, London. Volume 2 Ancient & Modern Issues in Cultural Heritage Colour & Light in Architecture, Art & Material Culture Islamic Archaeology, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, pp.552, 2012.
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  8. Sulla80

    Sulla80 Well-Known Member

    "the place called Chalcis on Belus, which gives its name to the region of Chalcidene, a most fertile part of Syria"
    -Pliny NH 5.19
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