Offer: Attributing of Nikopolis coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Macrinus (217-218 AD) Ae Tetrassarion : Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    (26mm, 12.2gms) Macrinus Nikopolis ad Istrum Ares 1.jpg
    Obv: AVT K M OPELL MAKPEINOC; Laureate bust right
    Rev: YP CTA LONGINOV NIKOPOLITWN PROC ICTPON; Ares standing left resting right hand on shield; spear in left hand
    Ref: Moushmov 1219
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  3. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Here's one more:

    Diadumenian (217-218 AD) Ae: Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    (25mm, 8.8gms)
    Rev: River-God seated left on rock, holding reed and resting hand on urn from which liquid flows
    Ref: Varbanov 3690
    Diadumenian Nicopolis River-God.jpg
  4. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Is it right to call the denomination "tetrassarion" for a Roman Provincial coin and wouldn't the weight of a tetrassarion be closer to 30 g?
    DonnaML likes this.
  5. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Is it right to call the denomination "tetrassarion"?

    The coin is mine but the description was a cut and paste from acsearch. I kind of questioned it myself.
  6. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Hope someone can jump in and clarify these *.assarion denominations questions?:confused:
  7. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member


    Thank you for your post. I think one should deal with such badly preserved coins too, because they are over 1800 years old witnesses of ancient culture. Let me try:

    Coin #1:
    This is an easy one, because it is the only type with a small 6-pointed star in the cavity.
    Caracalla, AD 198-217
    AE 16, 4.0g
    Obv.: [AV K M A] - ANTΩNINO(sic!)
    Laureate head r.
    Crescent with small 6-pointed star in the cavity
    Ref.: a) AMNG I/1, 1615 (1 ex., BUdapest)
    b) Varbanov 2938 corr. (writes AMNG 1615, but has AV K M AV ANTΩNIN!)
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) (same dies)

    Coin #2:
    An interesting type, because it is not listed in Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020). But I found the rev. type under Geta. It is known from Geta, HrHJ (2020) Here the rev. ΠPOC IC ends with the last C right of the middle of the shield like on your coin. It is well known that rev. types have been struck parallel for members of the imperial family. It is possible that this should be an external sign of the close cohesion of the family. Your coin is a typical example for this approach.

    Caracalla, AD 198-217
    AE 17, 2.6g
    obv. [AV] K M AV - AN[TΩN]IN
    Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
    rev. NIKOΠOΛI - [ΠPO]C IC
    Athena stg. frontal, head l., holding in l. hand spear and shield set on ground and in extended r. hand patera.
    ref. a) not in AMNG
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) not in Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020):
    rev. and 7 (same die)
    obv. e.g. (same die)

    I would like to add your coin to Nikopolis Addenda #8 (thread in Forum Ancient Coins) for the next edition. It would be nice to provide a better photo with white background.

    Coin #3:
    An easy one, because this is the only type with grapes where the grapes don't break the rev. legend.
    Caracalla, AD 198-217
    Obv.: [AV] K M [AV] - ANTΩNIN
    Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
    Bunch of grapes
    Ref.: a) not in AMNG:
    cf. AMNG I/, 1610 (for the type only)
    b) not in Varbanov
    cf. #2980 (for the type only)
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) 8.18. 8.18 (same dies)

    Coin #4:
    Severus for sure. But this coin is terrible. The back should be turned 90° clockwise. Then it most likely reminds of a four-footed animal. I compared it with all animals found in Nikopolis and got stuck with the cow grazing to the left. It can well be Nikopolis. However, I did not succeed in matching the legend remains on the back with a known legend.
    That's it. I hope that there was something useable for you.

    Best regards
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  8. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    @Brian Bucklan, @cmezner!

    These names go back to Pick in AMNG (1898). His main argument was that e.g. in Markianopolis, Odessos and other cities in Northern Thrace coins were marked with the values A, B, Γ, Δ and E. These designations were strictly based on the size (not the weight!) of the coins. Since the smallest unit was the As (Greek = Assarion), it was only natural to identify it with the A. And thus the order of the other designations was clear: B (2) = Diassarion, Γ (3) = Triassarion, Δ (4) = Tetrassarion and E (5) = Pentassarion. Cities like Nikopolis joined these value gradations, even if they did not mark the individual values with the letters (numbers). Sometimes they also did not adopt all values. For example there is no Pentassarion in Nikopolis like in Markianopolis.

    Best regards
    cmezner and DonnaML like this.
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I can add nothing to clarify but I fail to see how we could expect 30g out of a four when the small units see, to weigh as little as 2.5g to 4g. That would make the tetra- 10 to 16g. which is what we see. As usual, I believe we modern owners of digital scales overemphasize .01g differences when the makers were relying on diameter and general feel of the coins. Certainly there are denominations marked A, B, Γ, Δ and E (not to mention the 1 1/2 and 4 1/2 coins) but I suspect that the exact time and place only made a couple of the sizes and people would accept the big ones as four and little ones as one or whatever was appropriate. Details would be what made business for moneychangers which never in history was an occupation universally admired for honest dealings.

    In general, right or wrong, I expect 2 and 3 pieces to be marked with 5's having the facing portraits unless otherwise marked (like 4 1/2). Like all of my opinions, this is a thought in progress subject to modification as we find more information. Today we suffer from enlarged photos like Brian's 8.8g river god which seems awfully light for a four. Perhaps, in hand, it would seem to be something else but my eye sees a coin that is too lage to be a one and not marked so I want to see a four. People who used these things on a daily basis were expected to develop a feel rather like we have when we stick our hand blindly in a pocket and can find the coin we want.
    2 (B is backwards and also servs as a bow for Herakles?)


    3 pn1640bb2313.jpg

    4 pn1820bb1911.jpg

    1 1/2

    4 1/2
  10. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    @Brian Bucklan

    Here are my attributions (with some corrections too)

    Coin #1:
    We have 2 Ares types for Macrinus. Because the rev. legend of your coin is not completely readable, we have to go for the depiction. On your coin the spear points directly to the O of NIKOΠ, not to the space between O and Π of NIKOΠ. So it is this coin:
    Macrinus (217-218 AD) Ae Tetrassarion : Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    (26mm, 12.2gms)
    struck under governor Statius Longinus
    Bust, cuirassed, laureate, r.
    Ares standing left resting right hand on shield set ongbround; inverted spear in left hand
    Ref.: a) not in AMNG:
    cf. AMNG I/1, 1742 (for the type only)
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020)

    Coin #2:
    AMNG (and Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov) strictly distinguishes between river and mountain gods. This coin is a mountain god, because there is no typical urn from which water flows. It is the following coin:
    Diadumenian (217-218 AD) Ae: Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
    (25mm, 8.8gms)
    struck under governor Marcus Claudius Agrippa
    Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, bare-headed, r.
    Mountain god std. l., head r., holding reed in raised r. hand and resting with l. hand on rock(?)
    Ref.: a) not in AMNG:
    rev. AMNG I/1, 1810 (pl. XVIII, no.5)
    obv. AMG I/1, 1811
    b) not in Varbanov:
    cf. #3666 (for the type only)
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) (same dies)

    Best regards
    Edessa, Marsyas Mike and DonnaML like this.
  11. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    @Jochen1, @dougsmit
    Your definition and clarification is absolutely excellent and precise. I have been looking for hours for a definition of those *-assarion and couldn't find one. Yours is perfect, thank you so much.

    While I was trying to attribute a coin, I found one (can't remember where, I did not copy the link), that said it was a tetrassarion and its weight was about 30 g. That is precisely why I was asking.
  12. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for all of your hard work! I sincerely appreciate. I am also quite glad that you can use the Athena coin. Below is hopefully a more usable picture.
  13. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member


  14. catadc

    catadc Well-Known Member

    Received this coin today. @Jochen1 was so kind to identify it already:

    A new die combination for Iulia Domna
    AE 17, 3.20g
    obv. IOVL DOM - [CEBACT]
    Bust, draped, r.
    Crescent with 1 star
    ref. a) AMNG I/1, 1485 var. (has CEBACTH)
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) not in Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020):
    rev. (same die)
    obv. e.g. (same die)

  15. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    hello! Looking to find a specific reference for this Commodus coin. It's very similar to one posted on the first page but with a different obverse legend and reverse legend & break. Thanks!

    Commodus. 177-192 AD. Nicopolis, Moesia inferior.
    Obv: ΑVΤ ΚΑΙ ΚΟΜΟΔΟC, laureate head of Commodus, r.
    Rev: ΝƐΙΚΟΠΟ ΠPΟС ΙССΤ, Tyche standing, l. holding rudder and cornucopia.
    Ref: _____
  16. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Supporter! Supporter

    The Sep Sev posted by @hotwheelsearl has a woven Basket of fruit or similar, with some hanging down either side on the reverse.
  17. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Your coin is
    a) AMNG I/1, 1244 (1 ex., Löbbecke)
    b) Varbanov 2157 (= AMNG 1244)
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) (same dies)

    Best regards
    Orange Julius likes this.
  18. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    Thank you Jochen! I appreciate it. I'd found a few examples with mixed references since. Your great knowlege is a great resource to this board. I have a few more for future posts. Keep up the good work!
  19. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Hi @Jochen1 and thank you for your work.
    Attributed as Nikopolis ad Istrum. Septimius Severus AD 193-211.
    Bronze17 mm, 2,46 g.
    Really not sure about the reference and if the city is correct.


    I also have this one from a batch, tried to attribute it but no joy. I have no idea who the emperor is (could be Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Lucius Verus, Septimius Severus ....). Some collectors advised the character on ther reverse is Cybele. Any match with a Nikopolis ad Istrum coin, perhaps?
    Marsyas Mike, Bing and Jochen1 like this.
  20. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member


    Upper coin:
    Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
    AE 17, 2.46g
    obv. A K CE - [CEVHROC]
    Laureate head r.
    rev. NIKo - PROC IC
    Bearded head of Herakles r.
    ref. a) not in AMNG
    b) not in Varbanov
    c) Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (2020) corr. (same dies, writes NIK - PROC IC in error, but the depicted coin is very worn)

    I would like to add your coin as correction to Nikopolis Addenda #8, a thread for the next edition of "Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov, The Coinage of Nikopolis ad Istrum" in Forum Ancient Coins.

    Lower coin:
    Certainly does not from Nicopolis ad Istrum. The emperor seems to have NOC in his name. That doesn't match Septimius Severus. The female figure on the rev. can be Demeter, Tyche or another female deity. For Kybele I am missing the lions or the tympanum.

    Best regards
    ambr0zie likes this.
  21. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Really appreciate your info, Jochen.
    Please use the picture in your work.

    As for the second, will have to keep searching...
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