Caracalla Billon Tetradrachm, COS. IV, AD 213-217 [McAlee pp. 6, 270: probably ca. 216-217; see third fn. below], Antioch ad Orontem, Seleucis and Pieria,* Syria Province. Obv. Laureate head right, [ΑΥΤ]•Κ•Μ•Α• •ΑΝΤΩΝЄΙΝΟC [CЄΒ] / Rev. Eagle with wreath in beak, head right, and wings spread, standing facing on leg and thigh of sacrificial animal,** ΔΗΜΑΡX•ЄΞ• ΥΠΑ• ΤΟ• Δ• [equivalent of TR P COS IV (fourth consulship)] around, •Δ•-• Δ • [Delta – Epsilon***] across upper fields. McAlee 681 (ill. p. 271), Prieur 224, Bellinger 19 [Alfred R. Bellinger, The Syrian Tetradrachms of Caracalla and Macrinus, American Numismatic Society (Numismatic Studies No. 3, New York, 1940)]. 13.49 g., 25 mm., 12 h. Purchased from Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Auction 96, 5 May 2022, Lot 739. *According to http://grifterrec.rasmir.com/seleucis_pieria/seleucis_pieria.html, "a district of northwest Syria [Province], bordering the Mediterranean, just north of Phoenicia.” If this is correct, then “Seleucis and Pieria” is to be distinguished from the city of “Seleucia in Pieria,” Greek for Seleucia by the Sea, the seaport for Antioch ad Orontes (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucia_Pieria). [If anyone knows whether I'm right that one is a district and the other a city, please weigh in!] **See McAlee p. 216 for a discussion of the “eagle on leg and thigh of sacrificial animal” motif, introduced under Hadrian: ***The Delta and Epsilon across the reverse fields appeared for the first time on this type and McAlee 682 (the same as 681 except for the draped & cuirassed bust on the obverse). See McAlee p. 6, quoted in full below. For the significance of those letters, see McAlee p. 270 n. 131 (footnoting McAlee 681), explaining that “the letters ΔЄ each have a dot to either side. They probably stand for ‘Δ ЄΠΑΡΧЄIΧΩN’ (of the four eparchies, thereby signifying that the coins were valid currency throughout the province of Syria.” See also the discussion at McAlee p. 265, using the presence of ΔЄ to narrow down the probable dates of the types bearing it: “All of Caracalla’s billon tetradrachms are dated COS IV (213-217), but most of them were probably struck during 215-217, when the emperor was present in person in the east and preparations for the Parthian campaign were underway. . . . The tetradrachms with ΔЄ are very similar to the Antiochene tetradrachms of Macrinus, Caracalla’s successor, so they must have been struck at the end of Caracalla’s reign, c. 216-217. The coins without ΔЄ were probably struck somewhat earlier, and are here dated to c. 214-215, although they may not have commenced until 215, when Caracalla arrived in Antioch. The coins with ΔЄ may have been produced for civilian use, as opposed to military pay. They were probably struck at the same time as the special wartime series of tetradrachms discussed below, which do not have the letters ΔЄ.” McAlee’s full elaboration of his position regarding the significance of the Delta-Epsilon can be found at pp. 5-6 of his book. Note particularly the final paragraph, stating that the letters ΔЄ “first appeared on tetradrachms of Caracalla which were probably struck during 216-217 (nos. 681-682), at the same time as a special wartime series of tetradrachms (nos. 683-694) which did not have the letters ΔЄ”: McAlee’s book was published in 2007. Barbara Lichocka takes a different position from McAlee on the significance of the Delta-Epsilon in her 2011 article "Delta-Epsilon issues of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander," at pp. 287-323 of the book Classica Orientalia: Essays Presented to Wiktor Andrzej Daszewski on his 75th Birthday (Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Nov. 2011). See pp. 293-295: “The interpretation of the meaning of the letters on the reverse is controversial. A fairly common reading has ΔЄ standing for Δημαρχικής Eξουσίας, equivalent of tribunitia potestas (see Westholm 1936: 135; 1937: 530; Hill 1972: 235 note 3, Elagabalus; Lichocka 1999: 176–177; Amandry 1993: 17; Parks 2005: 132; Pitsillides 2004: 40 No. 77). Indication of tribunal power in abbreviated form, TR P, TR POT was common on Roman imperial coins, but ordinarily with a numeral to express successive resumptions of office. For the first year the numeral was omitted (see RIC IV/2: 27–42, 69, 71–80, 90–91). Although omission of the numeral on coins struck also after the first regnal year, for example, on the obverses of bronzes of Vespasian (RIC II: 66), has been noted, it should be emphasized that the title appeared always together with other titles of the emperor as part of the legend. The composition of coins of the ΔЄ type is similar to the composition of Antioch coins of the SC type. D. Waagé noted the similarity in fabric and style of ΔЄ and SC types (Waagé 1949: 57). It could have been a conscious reference to issues which at least theoretically referred to the Senate’s decision, assuming of course that SC was meant to denote Senatus Consulto (Kraft 1962: passim; Butcher 2004: 235, 385; McAlee 2007: 288). H.R. Baldus believed this similarity of composition to be of significance for the interpretation of the letters ΔЄ, which are also present additionally on the SC coins and could have meant acceptance by local authority, e.g., Δ(όγμα) Ἐ(κκλησίας) or Δ(ήμῳ) Ἔ(δοξεν) (Baldus 1973: 446–447). E. Meyer’s opinion that the letters ΔЄ refer to the four Syrian eparchies of imperial cult (Meyer 1991: 69–70) was shared by K. Butcher (2004: 233–235; 2005: 148, note 27) and by R. McAlee (2007: 5–6, 266, 289). An inscription from Gerasa dated to AD 119/120 attests to the use of the Greek term “four eparchies” and mentions Antioch as their metropolis (“ἱερασάμενος τῶν τεσσάρον ἐπαρχειῶν ἑν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τῇ μητροπόλοι”, Meyer 1991: 69). Issues from Tarsus in Cilicia could favor the interpretation that ΔЄ stands for “four eparchies”. The title of metropolis of three eparchies, granted to the town in AD 198/199, was recorded on the town’s coins in partial abbreviation: TAPCON MHTPO TΩN Γ EΠΑΡΧΙΩΝ (Meyer 1991: 72). But was ΔЄ actually an abbreviated recording of “four eparchies” in Greek terms?. . . . [Discussion of appearance of Delta-Epsilon on bronze coins produced in Laodicea ad Mare omitted.] The letters ΔЄ occurred in Antioch issues earlier than on coins of Laodicea ad Mare. In the times of Caracalla Antioch struck bronzes with the letters Δ beneath and Є above SC within a laurel wreath (e.g. SNG Copenhagen 232). Macrinus continued the type (e.g. SNG Copenhagen 233–235). Under Elagabalus a new composition appeared with the ΔЄ placed variably above or below a large SC, sometimes with an eagle or a ram as well (SNG Copenhagen 242–247; Butcher 2004: 384–385; McAlee 2007: 266, 288–289). Small letters ΔЄ can be seen on reverses of bronzes of another type: an eagle with open wings and holding a wreath in its beak (e.g. SNG Copenhagen 236–241). A large ΔЄ in the field most likely meant the same as a small ΔЄ in different contexts, also in addition to the letters SC on coins struck in Antioch in the same period. The striking similarity of the composition of ΔЄ and SC coins could suggest that ΔЄ issues were intended as competing, supplementing or replacing SC issues. Therefore, the letters ΔЄ need not indicate issues on behalf of four eparchies, but following the assumption proposed by H.R. Baldus, could evince the privileges or acceptance of local authority. Issues with the large letters ΔЄ, modeled on the SC type, could have manifested the special status of an entitled town or office.” McAlee’s interpretation makes sense to me, but I am hardly qualified to judge who is correct. It does seem unlikely, in my opinion, that the Delta-Epsilon was simply an indication of the tribunician power of the emperor in the form of an abbreviation for ΔΗΜΑΡXKCH ЄΞOYCIAC: if so, the letters would have been entirely redundant on coins, such as this one (as McAlee specifically notes, see above), that already set forth the tribunician power in their legends. I have only one other coin with the letters Delta-Epsilon on the reverse, an octassarion of Philip I. I've never posted the full write-up before, so I'll do so here: Philip I AE Octassarion (8 Assaria), Second Issue, AD 247-249, Syria, Seleucis & Pieria, Antioch Mint. Obv. Radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right, ΑΥΤΟΚ Κ Μ ΙΟΥΛΙ ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟϹ ϹƐΒ / Rev. Turreted and draped bust of Tyche right; above, ram leaping right with head turned back left; star below bust; ΑΝΤΙΟΧƐΩΝ - ΜΗΤΡΟ ΚΟΛΩΝ around; Δ – Ɛ [Delta – Epsilon] across upper fields; S - C across lower fields. 30 mm., 15.68 g. McAlee 990 (ill. p. 345) [Richard McAlee, The Coins of Roman Antioch (2007)]; RPC VIII Online (unassigned, ID 7493) (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/type/7493); BMC 20 Syria 526 [Warwick Wroth, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 20, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Syria (London, 1899) at p. 215]. Purchased from Kenneth W. Dorney, Feb. 2022.* *Second Issue, Star below Tyche. Octassarion: See McAlee p. 327: “The aes coinage of Philip I and his family can be divided into two issues. The first issue, struck from 244 to c.247, is characterized by an obverse legend for Philip I which includes ‘MA.IOVΛ.’ (or, rarely, ‘MA. IOVΛI.’), a reverse legend ending ‘ΚΟΛΩ.’, and the absence of a star below the bust of Tyche on the largest denomination. The second issue, struck from c. 247 to 249, is characterized by an obverse legend for Philip I which includes ‘M. IOVΛI.’, a reverse legend ending ‘ΚΟΛΩΝ.’, and the presence of a star below the bust of Tyche on the largest denomination. The coins of the first issue are larger and heavier than those of the second issue, and are not as common as those of the second issue. It is apparent that Philip reformed the bronze coinage by reducing its weight, and that the mint marked the reformed coins with a star below the bust of Tyche. The large denomination (eight assaria) consistently employs a bust of Tyche as the reverse type. . . . A scarce medium denomination (four assaria) was struck with reverse Apollo standing, and a very rare type with reverse Tyche standing. Both reverse types appear on the medium denomination aes of later emperors.” Ram: See Butcher, Kevin, Coinage in Roman Syria: 64 BC-AD 253 (PhD Thesis, University of London, 1991) (available at https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121055/1/Butcher_10121055_thesis.pdf) at p. 369: “The ram which appears as a type or subsidiary device on Antiochene coinage is thought to represent Aries, perhaps the zodiacal sign under which the city was founded (or subsequently refounded). On the reverses of civic bronzes it is usually accompanied by a star, or a star and crescent, strongly suggesting that it is indeed an astral symbol. Although the type is not known on Antiochene coinage before the reign of Augustus, this does not necessarily mean that it is late in date; the Tyche of Antioch, set up in the early third century BC, does not occur on coins until the first century BC.” See also McAlee at p. 8: “Another symbol seen on both silver and bronze coins, and as a primary type on the reverse of some civic coins, is a ram, usually depicted as a leaping or running figure looking backwards. It is likely that the ram is a zodiacal symbol (Aries), perhaps referring to the time of year at which the city was founded.” Δ – Ɛ (Delta-Epsilon): See third footnote to description of Caracalla tetradrachm (McAlee 681). S – C (Senatus Consulto): See the extensive discussion at McAlee pp. 3-5, arguing that “the letters SC on the coins of Antioch . . . mean, in effect, ‘Roman currency'” (as opposed to their meaning on earlier Imperial coins, signifying Senatorial authorization of a particular issue). His summary and conclusion can be found at McAlee p. 5: Please post your Caracalla tetradrachms from Antioch or elsewhere, and/or your own Antioch coins bearing the letters Delta-Epsilon on the reverse.