Featured Nikopolis ad Istrum

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by nicholasz219, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    I have added several coins of Nikopolis ad Istrum this week. Nikopolis ad Istrum is just west of Markianopolis in the province of Moesia Inferior. For those of you not familiar, let's take a look at the map.

    Roman Empire and Legions 041018.png

    Here is a map with the appropriate area highlighted:
    Moesia Inferior 041018.png

    Finally, a little more detail within the province:
    Moesia in 6th Century 041018.png

    If you start at the Black Sea just above Constantinople and head west, you will come across Markianopolis first then Nikopolis directly after. All of this is in what is present day Bulgaria.

    The town was founded by Trajan in commemoration of his Victory over the Dacians in 106AD. It issued much in the way of its own coinage and thrived. By 447AD though, the town had been in decline and was sacked by the Huns along with Markianopolis. The coins from the Severan era can be considered representative of the glory days of both towns.

    First up is an AE18 of Nikopolis.

    6299 6300.jpg

    Provincial, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior, AE18, ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΠΡΟC
    Roman Provincial
    Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    Septimius Severus
    Augustus: 193 - 211AD
    17.0 x 16.5mm 3.40gr 1h
    O: AV [K Λ] CεVHPOC; Laureate head, right.
    R: ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛ-ΠΡΟC; Serapis, draped bust facing right, modius on head.
    Hristov & Jekov; Varbanov 2404 var. (obv. legend); Moushmov 927 (smaller head, unbroken legend); AMNG 1349.

    Even on these smaller AE18-19mm coins, the details are impressive.

    6311 6312.jpg

    Provincial, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior, AE19, NIKOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ICTPO
    Roman Provincial
    Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    Septimius Severus
    Augustus: 193 - 211AD
    19.0 x 17.0mm 2.60gr 7h
    O: AV KAI Λ Cε CεVHPOC; Laureate bust, right.
    R: NIKOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ICTPO; Bearded head of Herakles, left.
    Nikopolis ad Istrum Mint
    Beastcoins 252; AMNG I 1; Unlisted with Herakles head left.

    And what could be my favorite of the bunch, this AE26. The river god motif is especially fitting as Nikopolis was founded at the junction of the Iatrus and Rositsa rivers. There is a bit of roughness unfortunately, but luckily the details and legends are clear enough.

    6273 6274.jpg

    Provincial, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior, AE26, VΠ AVP ΓΑΛΛΟV NIKOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ICTΠ
    Roman Provincial
    Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    Magistrate: Aurelius Gallus
    Septimius Severus
    Augustus: 193 - 211AD
    26.0mm 9.70gr 6h
    O: AV K Λ C CεVHPOC; Laureate head, right.
    R: VΠ AVP ΓΑΛΛΟV NIKOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ICTΠ; River god reclining left on an overturned urn, resting arm on prow of galley, holding water plants as cornucopiae.
    Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior Mint
    Moushmov 993 var. (obverse legend)

    And finally, a nice big eagle from Markianopolis to round off the post. At 27mm, the coin is a nice chunk of bronze, one large enough to include the name of the Magistrate (Flavius) Ulpianus on the reverse along with Markianopolis.

    6257 6258-1.jpg

    Provincial, Markianopolis, Moesia Inferior, AE27, VΦΛ OVΛΛΠIANOV MAPKIANOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ
    Roman Provincial
    Markianopolis, Moesia Inferior
    Magistrate: Flavius Ulpianus
    Septimius Severus
    Augustus: 193 - 211AD
    27.0mm 10.4gr 7h
    O: AV K Λ CεΠ CεVHPOC; Laureate and draped bust, right.
    R: VΦΛ OVΛΛΠIANOV MAPKIANOΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ; Eagle standing facing, head right on thunderbolt, wreath in beak.
    Markianopolis, Moesia Inferior Mint
    Moushmov 390

    Please share your thoughts, coins of Nikopolis and Markianopolis or talk about your favorite province!
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  3. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    Those two cities, now in Bulgaria, produced many high quality coins. Some of my nicest Roman Provincials hail from Nicopolis and Marcianopolis.

    3200 Septimius ct.jpg

    AE19 assarion Septimius Severus 193-211, Marcianopolis. Obv. Laureate head right. Rev. Cybele, kalathos on head, seated left on throne with two upright crosses, rabbit at the back of her throne, holding patera in right hand and resting left elbow on drum. Or tympanon. MAPKIAN O POLITWN. 19 mm, 3.55 gr. Moushmov 380.

    3201 RR Geta.jpg
    Geta caesar 198-209, AE17, Nicopolis ad Istrum, now Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria. Obv. Bust r. Rev. Basket of fruit. 17 mm, 2.7 gr. Hristova & Jekov; AMNG I/2 1652; Varbanov 3248.

    3204 Carac Moesia 350.jpg

    Caracalla 211-217, AE17 Nikopolis, Moesia Inferior. Obv.: Laureated bust r. Rev.: Star with 8 rays. NIKOPOLITWN PROC ICTP. 18 mm, 3.42 gr. Moushmov 1097.

    3210 Diadu e350.jpg

    AE Diadumenianus 217-218, Nicopolis ad Istrum. Obv. Bare head t.r. Rev. Cista mystica with snake (serpent) emerging to the left. NIKOPOLITWN. 17 mm, 3.90 gr. SGI --. BMC --, but see p. 49. Not in Wildwinds. Moushmov 1341 variety (plate has snake emerging right) Nikopolis page 333,

    3211 Macr kl.jpg

    Pentassarion Macrinus with Diadumenianus as caesar 217-218. Marcianopolis.
    P. Furius Pontianus as legatus consularis (name Pontianou on rev.). Obv: Bust of Macrinus n.r., opposing that of Diadumenia t.l. Rev.: Tyche standing t.l., with her rudder and cornucopia. E in the field (= 5, value). Cf. H&J; Varbanov 1221. From the collection of the MoneyMuseum, Zurich. Ex Giessener Münzhandlung 96 (7 June 1999), lot 316. 26 mm, 12.17 gr.

    3216 Elag Moesia wo.jpg

    AE16 Elagabalus 218-222, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior. Obv.: Laureated head r. Rev.: Crescent with 3 stars. NIKOPOLITWN PROC ICTPON. 16 mm, 3.23 gr. Varbanov 2832.

    3254C Gordianus ct.jpg

    AE pentassarion Gordianus III. Moesia inferior, Marcianopolis. Obv.: Laureated bust Gordian t.r. opposing Serapis with modius hat t.l. Rev.: Asklepios with snake. E in the field. YP MNOFILOY MARKIANOPOLITWN. (=Magistrate Tullius Menophilus). 27.5 mm, 13.99 gr. Moushmov 789, Varbanov 1952, AMNG 1148 (Wildwinds).
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  4. Alegandron

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

    RI Diadumenian 217-218 AE26 Nicopolis ad Istrum Homonoia stdg.jpg
    RI Diadumenian 217-218 AE26 Nicopolis ad Istrum Homonoia stdg

    RI Didumenian and Macrinus 217-218 CE AE28 Markianopolis mint Serapis.jpg
    RI Didumenian and Macrinus 217-218 CE AE28 Markianopolis mint Serapis

    My favorite Province is Tennessee. Great year-round weather, good food, wonderful folks. Two of my kids born there... Unfortunately, I cannot attest to areas 2000 years ago. :)
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  5. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    @Alegandron Goof, haha. Excellent coins though.

    @Pellinore Great coins! I am sticking to SS and JD but your pieces make me want to expand my holdings further!
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  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

    Geta, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Nemesis on reverse


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  7. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    Nice group of coins @nicholasz219 !

    Here's one of my favorites from that neck of the woods.


    Caracalla, Caesar 196-198 AD, Assarion, Nicopolis ad Istrum

    O: MAR AU KA - ANTWNI, bust right. R: NIKOPOLIT PROS ISTRON. basket of fruit. 18 mm, 2.9 g

    Oh wait, I have this one also...


    Elagabalus, 218 - 222 AD, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior, AE assarion

    O: AVT K M ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right R: ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC ΙCΤΡΟΝ, Nike standing left, and Elagabalus standing right holding spear, they erect a trophy of captured arms with two bound captives at the base Varbanov 3859 17.5 mm 3.7 g
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My favorite Nicopolis is this Geta assarion (AE16x18)with Apollo Sauroctonos showing a more clear than usual lizard on the tree.

    My Septimius Sauroctonos is larger AE25 and shows the variation where Apollo intends to dart the lizard rather than catch it in hand as on most including the Louvre statue. I suspect the city had a copy of Sauroctonos since they used the type so much but I can not explain the two types.

    For those not familiar with it, Apollo Sauroctonos (lizard slayer) is a statue by 4th century BC master Praxiteles known today only from several Roman copies. The most famous is in the Louvre.
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  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    Markianopolis Carracalla with error Greek Caracalla bronze 002.JPG Greek Caracalla bronze 004.JPG
  10. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    your putting together a great collection nicholasz219, and these cities have so much variety. I have a recent Nikopolis buy showing the city gate. Z17.jpg Z17 (2).jpg
    Roman Provincial, Moesia Inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Gordian III (238-244 AD) Æ 27 (12.43g) Sabinius Modestus, legatus consularis., City Gate, Obv.: Laureate and draped bust right. Rev.: Arched gate flanked by two roofed towers with arched windows in uppermost story. Varbanov 4182. Rare! NGC XF
    The towers are actually rounded, raised off the face of the coin. Interesting details on top of the towers and along the top of the wall.
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  11. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

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  12. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    @dougsmit Those are great coins, ones I was unfamiliar with until your post. They are interesting, especially because I wonder how “lizard slayer” became a thing.

    @Ancient Aussie That is a fantastic coin! So big and so detailed! I hope there is a similar issue for Severus so I have an excuse to buy one!
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  13. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    My favorite from this city is this little assarion of Caracalla with a lion:

    Caracalla Nikopolis ad Istrum assarion lion.jpg
    Caracalla, AD 198-217
    Roman provincial Æ assarion, 1.92 g, 15.4 mm, 2 h
    Moesia Inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum
    Obv: MAP AV K ANTΩNIN, bare head, right
    Rev: NIKOΠOΛITΩ / ΠPOC IC, lion walking right
    Refs: Varbanov 3007; Moushmov 1111; AMNG 1599 var.
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  14. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Some of my favorite provincials are from Nicopolis and Marcinopolis and I think the Severan period was a high-water mark in terms of interesting reverse types.

    Septimius Severus - Nicopolis City Gate Temple 1948.jpg
    AE29. 12.6g, 28.8mm. MOESIA INFEROR, Nicopolis ad Istrum, circa AD 210-211. Flavius Ulpianus, legate. Varbanov 2795; AMNG 1339; Price/Trell Fig. 26. O:AVT Λ CEΠ-T CEVHPOC Π, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right. R: V ΦΛ OYΛΠIAN NIKOΠOΛIT, ΠROC IC below, City gate with small tetrastyle temple seen in distance through doorway; above, a colonnaded stoa or sanctuary with three sections.

    Caracalla - Nicopolis Crescent Stars Crosses 861.jpg
    Rare. AE17. 3.77g, 16.6mm. MOESIA INFERIOR, Nicopolis ad Istrum, circa AD 195-198 (as Caesar). Cf. Varbanov 3020 (legend variations, four crosses as stars). O: AV KEC ANTΩN, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right, seen from behind. R: NIKOΠOΛI ΠROC ICTP, three cross-stars within crescent, another below.

    Geta - Nicopolis - Cybele 869.jpg
    Scarce. AE26. 10.82g, 26mm, MOESIA INFERIOR, Nikopolis ad Istrum, circa AD 209-201, magistrate Flavius Ulpianus. Varbanov 3304 (R5). O: AVT K Π CЄΠ ΓЄTAC AV, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: V ΦΛ OVΛΠIAN NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC ICT, Cybele holding spear and tympanum, riding on back on lion right.

    Elagabalus - Nicopolis Pan Panther.jpg
    Rare. AE27. 12.24g, 26.9mm. MOESIA INFERIOR, Nicopolis ad Istrum, circa 218-222. Novius Rufus, legate. Varbanov 3949 (same dies); AMNG 1933 corr. (2 specimens). O: AVT M AVP – ANTΩNINOC (NO ligate), laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from front. R: VΠ NOBIOV POVΦOV NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPO, C ICTPΩ in exergue, Pan, with goats horns and legs, standing left, head right, draped in fawn skin, fawn hooves hanging from left arm, playing pipes (?), holding pedum in right hand, and placing left hoof on chest of panther which is lying on its back on the ground and raising its head.
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  15. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    city misspelling...missing an O.....:)
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  16. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    All terrific coins zumbly, but I don't think I need to tell you which one I think is absolutely fantastic do I?
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  17. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Just guessing - the one with a Price/Trell reference number? :D
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  18. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Imperial coins of Marcinus (217-218) are scarce, but his coins from Marcianopolis and Nicopolis are common. Here is one with a nice green patina.


    28 mm.
    Struck at Nicopolis ad Istrum. ("Nicopolis" perhaps should be spelled "Nikopolis" with "K"--the Greeks did)
    AVT K OΠΠEΛ CEVH MAKPINOC (naming Opelius Severus Marcinus) [He added "Severus" during his reign]
    NΠ ΛΓPIΠΠA NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPO CICTPΩ (naming [Marcus Claudius] Agrippa)
    Artemis advancing right, drawing arrow from quiver and holding bow, hound leaping at her side.

    Pick 1689. Sear Greek Imperial --
    Nikopolis, by Hristova and Kekov (2009), on page 288. The "8" refers to the city, Nikopolis," The "23" to Macrinus, the "13" to the reverse with Artemis, and the "1" to the variety within that type. There are other books in the series for Serdica (city 12), Marcianopolis (city 6) and Nicoplois ad Nestrum (city 9) and they use the same coding system. By now there are probably more books completed. The introduction promises them for 13 cities in Bulgaria, but I don't know of the other books. A small amount of the text is in English and the bulk is in Bulgarian.

    That is a remarkable book. I believe this 476 page color book was not printed normally, rather on a color printer and assembled. The cover title is paper glued onto a cloth binding.


    Every page, 17 through 471, has multiple color photos of coins. The above photo is typical.
    I got mine long ago from Plamen Patchev from Bulgaria. I think it cost well over $200 (476 pages on a color photocopier could not be cheap). He wrote later that it has been translated into English, but I have not seen it and don't imagine it makes much difference (the pictures are in English! :)). The Marcianopolis book has photos in black and white and two page plates of color photos of 35 coins and 239 pages in the same format. It looks more professionally printed (and must be less expensive). If you want his (old, I hope it still works) e-mail address, PM me.
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  19. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    @Valentinian I agree, that is a hearty green patina on your Macrinus! Very attractive! See your pm’s also.
  20. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

    I'm not sure about the full attribution, but it is a Macrinus...I believe of Nikopolis ad Istrum, came from an uncleaned hoard.


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  21. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    City-states in Moesia Inferior produced some fantastic coins :).

    @nicholasz219, can you tell us a bit about why you chose the particular coins you bought? I'm always interested in that as much as the history of a given coin.

    @Valentinian, that Hristova book is mighty tempting.

    @zumbly, I'm so envious of that Elagabalus!

    Here are some of my Nikopolis ad Istrum provincials.

    MOESIA INFERIOR, Nikopolis ad Istrum. Caracalla
    Ovinius Tertullus, legatus consularis.
    AE 28, 13.05 gm
    Obv: AV K M AVP ANTΩNINOC; laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: VΠA OOVI TEPTOVΛΛOV ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC Ι; Apollo Sauroktonos standing right, holding laurel branch and leaning hand upon a tree stump with a lizard climbing up it.
    Ref: H&J; Varbanov -.

    This type had been shown a few times on CoinTalk and I love the iconography, although on this coin Apollo's pose is different than on the Praxiteles statue.

    MOESIA INFERIOR, Nikopolis ad Istrum. Elagabalus
    Æ 26 mm, 12.5 gm
    CE 218/9, Novius Rufus, consular legate
    Obv: ...ΠΗ ANTΩNEINOC΄ laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Elagabalus right
    Rev: VΠ NOBIOV POVΦOV NIKO[ΛOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC TP]; Athena standing left before serpent coiled around olive tree to left; shield on ground behind her
    Ref: Hristova & Jekov (same as last illus. Specimen); Varbanov 3906 (same dies as illus.); Moushmov 1384

    I don't claim to understand the reverse scene and why it appears on this coin from Nikopolis. Maybe it recalls Athena's creation of an olive tree as she competed with Poseidon for patronage of Athens? Where does the snake fit in? Did this scene copy a contemporary statue? There are other Severan Nikopolis coins showing Athena and a snake in which she's about to slash off the snake's head. On this coin they appear to be on good terms, just having a little chat.
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