Off the Beaten Path - Sardis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I've always been intrigued by imperial era coins with personifications on the obverse instead of an imperial portrait. Also, I have a soft spot for architectural types. This little bronze from Sardis satisfies both interests.

    Time of Vespasian
    Æ17, 2.86g
    Sardis mint, 69-79 AD
    Obv: ΙƐΡΑ ϹΥΝΚΛΗΤ(ΟϹ); Draped bust of Senate, r.
    Rev: ϹΑΡΔΙΑΝΩΝ; Temple with four columns
    RPC 1309 (1 spec.).
    Acquired from David Connors, August 2021.

    The mint of Sardis in Asia minor had previously struck coins for the Julio-Claudians. This undated small bronze most likely was struck sometime during Vespasian's reign (although a Second Century date cannot be ruled out). The obverse features a draped bust of the Holy Senate with the reverse showing an anonymous temple. The weight indicates this piece's likely value as 1/2-assarion.

    Does anyone else have a coin from Sardis or featuring a personification of the Senate? If so, I'd love to see it!
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    I think Sardis was semi-autonomous at the time. I have this from Vespasian's time, featuring the Anatolian god Mên, struck over an imperial issue:

    Sardis Hemiassarion, 70-73
    Bronze, 12.5mm, 2.48g. EΠI TI KΛAY ΦIΛEINOY CTΡA (Ti. Cl. Phileinos magistrate), Mên wearing Phrygian cap with crescent on shoulders. CAΡ/ΔIA/NΩN (of Sardis) in laurel wreath (RPC II 1307).

    The overstruck coin was probably a Sardis hemiassarion of Nero - see "KAIC" on the reverse, from NEPΩN KAICAP (Nero Caesar), and "CAPΔ" below the bust, from CAPΔIANΩN (of Sardis). At this time, the Phrygian cap symbolised the Anatolians (or barbarians if you were Roman), not revolution as it does now.
  4. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Although depicting the bust of the Senate, the portrait reminds me of Trajan. If minted during his reign, this resemblance may have been deliberate.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting type, @David Atherton! Here's a recent acquisition that was minted there.

    Faustina I, AD 138-140.
    Roman provincial Æ 20.6 mm, 4.46 g, 6 h.
    Lydia, Sardis, AD 138-140.
    Obv: ΦΑVϹΤΙΝΑ ϹΕΒΑϹΗ, bare-headed and draped bust of Faustina I, right.
    Rev: ϹΑΡΔ-Ι-ΑΝΩΝ, Aphrodite standing left, holding apple and scepter.
    Refs: RPC IV.2, 1427 (temporary); BMC 22.258, 140; SNG von Aulock 3153; SNG France 1240.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Here's my Sardis. Sort of mediocre, but I love the honest wear and natural sand highlights. I also have a soft spot for radiate provincials.
    Caracalla Sardes Mionnet Sp VII 501.JPG
  7. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Here is Nero, from the times he was in perfect shape

    RPC I, 3002, BMC 120, Cop 522 corr.
    17 mm 4.51 g
    ΝΕΡΩΝ ΚΑΙⳞΑΡ, laureate head of Nero r / ΕΠΙ ΜΙΝΔΙΟΥ ⳞΑΡΔΙΑΝΩΝ, laureate head of Heracles, r., with lion skin tied round neck
  8. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Nice coin David! Here are a few Senate personifications.

    Aeolis, Temnos. Pseudo-autonomous Ae25. Senate/Nemeses

    Ionia, Smyrna. Æ24 Pseudo-autonomous.

    Mysia, Germe, Conventus of Cyzicus. Pseudo-autonomous AE20
  9. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Two other issues are known from Vespasian's reign, both are signed by either the proconsul T. Clodius Eprius Marcellus (rarely) or the strategos T. Fl. Eisigonos.
    PeteB and John Conduitt like this.
  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Antoninus Pius denarius and sestertius featuring GENIO SENATVS:

    Antoninus Pius - GEN SENATVS Mar 19 (0).jpg
    Antoninus Pius - Sest GENIO SENATVS Dec 2019 (0a).jpg

    And a Commodus sestertius - PATER SENATVS:

    Commodus - Sest. PATER SENATVS Oct 2020 (0a).jpg
  11. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

    An interesting architectural reverse on a great coin. Congrats David! There are also some other very interesting coins in this thread.
    David Atherton likes this.
  12. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Here are some earlier coins from Sardis - sigloi from the Achaemenid Empire. The city was conquered by Cyrus the Great during the Persian era.


    Persia. Achaemenid Empire.
    Time of Darius I to Xerxes II.
    AR Siglos. Sardis mint. Circa 485-420 BC.
    Persian king in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear and bow / Rectangular incuse punch.

    The second coin has three banker's marks on the obverse.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  13. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Well-Known Member

    AB-37 REV.jpg Smyrna 1970 - Bronze coin (AE 22) minted at Smyrna during the reign of TIBERIUS between 14 - 37 A.D. Quasi-Autonomous Greek Coinage (IONIAN) Obv. Draped bust of the Roman Senate. Rev. Hexastyle Temple. GIC #4952 pg.487. AB-37 OBV.jpg AB-37 REV.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
    Johndakerftw, Carl Wilmont and PeteB like this.
  14. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Well-Known Member

  15. Jims Coins

    Jims Coins Well-Known Member

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page