Featured Roman Province of Antioch in Syria, Emperor by Emperor (Pile On Thread)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Justin Lee, May 19, 2019.

  1. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I have found the Roman Provincial coinage of Antioch in Syria personally fascinating and has been a collecting focus of mine for about a year now (with a focus on bronze). Instead of simply posting my coins over and over, I'd like this to be a "Pile On" thread where we can all share our coins of Antioch, Emperor-by-Emperor, and crowdsource any information we have about the area during the reign of that emperor.

    Okay, let's start with some basics...

    Antioch in Syria was located at the head of the Orontes River and was called "Antiochia ad Orontem" (Antioch on the Orontes) by the Romans. It was located in the southeast corner of Asia Minor and was a thriving center of trade around the Mediterranean Sea.

    Antique map highlighting where Antioch is located in Syria.

    Example Antiochene tetrachalkon from pre-Imperial Roman times, circa 55-45 BC. (RPC 4212, Hoover HGC 1370)

    As the Seleucid dynasty declined, Rome (led by Roman general, Pompey the Great) eventually conquered and occupied Antioch in 64 BC, was added to the Imperium Romanum, and the city became the capital of the new Roman province of Syria, making it both the capital and the military headquarters for the province. Julius Caesar visited it in 47 BC, and confirmed its freedom. Under Roman occupation, the city’s roads were improved, trade increased, and Roman soldiers provided security for its inhabitants, which at that time was around 250,000-300,000.

    The new Roman emperors, beginning with Augustus, decided to transform Antioch physically. Augustus enlarged the theatre; lined the main street with famous double colonnades; and built temples to Roman gods, including a massive sanctuary dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus on Silpius, and installed statues of their likeness.

    -- Augustus -------------------------
    So, let's get going with the first emperor, Augustus (ruled 27 BC-14 AD)...

    Here are my what-you-might-call typical "SC in Wreath" bronze coins of Augustus:

    Struck 4-1 BC
    : IMP•AVGVST• – TR•POT, laureate bust of Augustus right.
    Reverse: Large SC within laurel-wreath of eight leaves fastened at top with pellet, between inner and outer borders.
    References: RPC I 4247, McAlee 206b, Butcher 45

    Notes: Reverse is slightly double-struck, which is typical of this early issue (per Butcher, Coinage in Roman Syria).
    Size: 30mm, 18.0g

    Size: 26mm, 14g

    Additionally, there are a couple more (earlier) styles of bronze coinage that was struck in Antioch (allegedly) and used in the area. These have reverses with "C•A" or "AVGVSTVS" within a wreath. Below are two of my examples of the "C•A" type (there are large and small denominations... these are the small):

    Struck 27 BC, Asia Minor, Uncertain Mint (Antioch)
    : CAISAR, bare head right.
    Reverse: Large C•A within laurel wreath of ten leaves, between inner and outer borders.
    References: RPC I 2232, Butcher 40
    Notes: "C•A" on the reverse has been interpreted several ways, including Caesaris Auctoritate, Commune Asia, and Caesar Augustus.

    Size: 21.5mm, 5g

    Size: 20mm, 4.3g

    And here are the varying examples I have of the "AVGVSTVS" type:

    Struck 25 BC, Asia Minor, Uncertain Mint (Ephesus? Or Antioch?)
    : CAESAR, title upward to left of bare head of Augustus right within dotted border.
    Reverse: AVGVSTVS, name in laurel-wreath of eight leaves, ties upward, all within border.
    References: RPC I 2235 (Ephesus), RPC I 4100 (Antioch)​

    Size: 26mm, 7.31g

    Size: 25mm, 11.06g

    Size: 25mm, 8.8g

    Size: 24.5mm, 10.6g

    Size: 27mm, 10.8g

    Obverse C/M: Incuse AVG (Howgego 577), incuse TI•CÆ (Howgego 602), Helmet with dot(s) and other intricate design (Howgego 495).
    Reverse C/M: Incuse dolphin swimming right, circle upper right (MPC 95, 96, 97).
    Size: 28mm, 9.9g
    Notes: This coin type is the typical host coin for those with these c/m's.

    There is also another Antioch AE type with a Greek inscription:

    Dated year 27 of the Actian Era (5/4 BC)
    : AΡXIEΡEI – KAIΣAΡ ΣEB, laureate head right.
    Reverse: AΡXIE/ΡATIKON/ANTIO/XEIΣ/ZK, legend and date in five lines; all within crown.
    References: RPC I 4251, McAlee 202, Butcher 50b, BMC 135​

    Size: 23mm, 8.1g

    Okay, okay... it's time for YOU to share with us all YOUR Augustus Antiochene coins (your versions of the above, other AEs, AR Tets, etc) or any info you have about Antioch or Syria during the reign of Augustus.

    After a couple days and the sharing slows down, we'll move on to Tiberius. I can't wait!
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  3. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    It will be an eternity until I get to show anything then. My only Antioch coins are for Gordian III and Philip I. :(
  4. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    @Justin Lee Great thread and amazing coins of Augustus, my favorite :shy:

    Sharing this one with Tyche on the reverse:
    Augustus AR Tetradrachm of Antioch, Syria.
    Dated year 26 Actian Era and Cos XII = 5 BC
    24 mm, 14.12 g
    Ref.: Prieur 50; RPC I 4151; McAlee 180; DCA 400
    Ob.: KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, laureate head right
    Rev.: ETOYΣ ςΚ NIKHΣ, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, holding palm branch, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, in r. field YΠA monogram and IB (12th consulship) over ANT (Antioch) monogram
    upload_2019-5-19_23-4-9.png upload_2019-5-19_23-5-4.png
  5. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..ha!...i'm ahead of you then...i have Nerva :p..
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  6. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..ha!...i'm ahead of you then...i have Nerva :p..
  7. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    Also one like yours but a different date. The obverse has a green patina, while the reverse is more brownish. Wonder why such a difference happens.

    20 x 21 mm, 8.18 g
    Antiochia ad Orontem, 3 - 2 BC
    Ref.: RPC I 4258; RPC I 4251; BMC 135; SGI 109

    Ob.: AΡXIEΡEI KAIΣAΡ ΣEB laureate head of Augustus right
    Rev.: AΡXIE/ΡATIKON / ANTIO/XEIΣ / Θ K all within crown
    upload_2019-5-19_23-14-54.png upload_2019-5-19_23-15-7.png
    Ryro, philologus_1, Jay GT4 and 9 others like this.
  8. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    and a Semis:
    Antiochia ad Orontem, 4 - 5 AD
    21 x 24 mm, 10.74 g
    Ref.: McAlee 209; RPC 4261; SNG Fitzwilliam 5859; BMC Galatia p. 166, 130; SNG Copenhagen 140, F; at wildwinds the reference is McAlee 209(b), SGI 108
    Ob.: AVGVST•TR•POT bare head right
    Rev.: Large S•C in circle, all within laurel wreath with 8 leaves
    upload_2019-5-19_23-49-31.png upload_2019-5-19_23-49-46.png
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  9. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    I got this (Ephesus? Or Antioch?) Ht4f8W4qd6cDgX5kY9rSGs2ok7LW3p.jpg

    Augustus AE26mm As Seleucis and Pieria. Antioch mint, 37BC-14 AD. 11.3gm RPC 2235, RIC 486, for Ephesus Or RPC I 4100 (Antioch)
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting post with some great coins...

    However, I am somewhat surprised to see the countermarked issue in the OP - I have several of these and have looked at a lot of online examples and I have never seen this common countermark on an Antioch issue. From the Museum of Roman Countermarks website:

    "AVG" and "TICAE", TI*C*A, PP on Augustus Eastern As, often found in Moesia region (Bulgaria), and either late Augustean or Tiberian.. Often combined with "Dolphin" and "Helmet" cmk. "TI.C.A" thought to be from Claudian times

    Believe me when I say I am no expert and information on these is not always consistent with a lot of guesswork involved.

    If you have any information about these countermarks on Antioch issues, please share!

    Meanwhile, back to Antioch - Elagabalus bust facing left:

    Antioch - Elagabalus SC Jan 19 (0).jpg
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  11. Alegandron

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

    I really do not focus in the Imperial Era of Rome, so I do not have much from Antioch until much later (like @Sallent ).

    However, since you are in Augustus coinage now, I do have a guy who served as a Governor of Syria in Antioch under Augustus. He later ticked Augustus off...


    RPC 4252, SNG Cop. 92, 20.4mm, 8.03 grams, Dated year 27 = 5/4 B.C.E.

    Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus to right

    Reverse: Tyche of Antioch seated to right, holding palm branch; below, river-god Orontes swimming right, in right field, date ZK (year 27 = 5/4 B.C.E.)

    This rare coin was struck during Varus' assignment as Governor of Syria from 7 - 4 B.C.E. Varus guarded the borders from Parthia and violently quelled unrest in Judaea and Samaria. Josephus records an incident wherein after the death of Herod., Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2,000 Jews.

    Later Varus was transfered to the Northern front, where he met disaster fighting the Germanic tribes in the Teutoburg forest. Three legions under his command, legions XVII, XVIII and XIX were completely annihilated. This caused emperor Augustus great grief and he was said to have cried out on occasion "Quintili Vare, legiones redde!" or "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!"
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  12. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Cool thread so far, looking forward to see how it goes. I believe my contributions will be small bit here's an Augustus:
    Caesar Augustus, 27 BC - AD 14
    Æ24, 8g, 12h; Antioch mint, 4/5 BC.
    Obv.: AΡXIEΡEI KAIΣAΡ ΣEB; Laureate head right.
    Rev.: AΡXIE / ΡATIKON / ANTIO/ XEIΣ / ZK within wreath of an archiereus.
  13. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Mike, that's the exact page where I found most of my information, specifically the first group/section:

    "AVG", "TICAE",Helmet on obverse, Dolphin on reverse, on Ephesos As of Augustus, countermarks originating from Moesia"
    Here, they are siding with the initial belief the AVGVSTVS coins were struck in Ephesus (RPC I 2235). More recently the belief changed to be struck in Antioch (RPC I 4100).

    On some of the examples at the top of the link you provided, you can see the (worn) bust of Augustus on obverse and on reverse the remnants of the laurel wreath matching the type (the first below, you can still see the starting A in AVGVSTVS on reverse; on second, the ending AR in CAESAR on obverse).

    Also, in the Richard Baker collection of countermarks there are 2 examples, one (right) appears to maintain the -SAR of CAESAR on obverse and noticable wreath leaves on reverse.

    If I orient mine according to the host coin, you can see the topf/back of Augustus' head, and some wreath outline on the right:

    My belief is that these were struck in Antioch, over time many traveled via trade route north and west, being used and worn down, ended up in Moesia, and after about 40-50 years of use were countermarked during the reign of Tiberius for continued use in the area.

    I'd love to see your's, Mike!
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Tribunicia Potestas

    I have a Domitian with a left facing portrait. It'll be awhile before I post it...
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  15. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Very cool coin @Alegandron. He was mentioned in Butcher that we was involved in the Augustus type with Greek inscription on reverse...
    ...like this SUPERB one from @Jwt708! It's better than mine with my "crusties" attached.

    That's a lovely, crisp, and green example, @Ancient Aussie!

    Great examples and additions, @cmezner! I love that one with the different date!
  16. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I sold this Tet several years ago at a Heritage auction :( but would like to share photos of it anyway. It has a handsome portrait & is blessed with beautiful old cabinet toning :D. Augustus, Year 29, Consul 12 (3 B.C.), 27 mm, 15.31 gm.

    IMG_7295 (2).JPG IMG_7298 (2).JPG
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  17. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    WOWZERS!! That is a beautiful coin definitely worth a share! Do you know where it is today?
  18. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    romansyria4.JPG A bit before but still Roman
    Tetradrachm of Philip Philidelphos types minted by Aulus Galbinius 57-55 B.C. Antioch RPC 4124
  19. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Thank you for expanding on this, Justin. I thought those "portrait" types were Imperial Ases (Asses?) or, more likely, Balkan imitations. I don't have photos handy for mine, and it is raining today (I am an outdoor lousy photographer). Here is a quick and dirty snapshot of three of them I keep by my keyboard - they all came together and are toned/patinated similarly, so I suspect they were buried together - I keep them in a giant holder - note the low weights:

    CM - 3 TICAs Nov 18.JPG

    For now, I will say all mine (6 or 7 of them?) are all very thin planchets, not at all like the Antioch chunky ones I've seen. And I was not aware of the Ephesus/Antioch switcheroo.

    When I was researching these at first (a year ago or so) it seems I was finding references to these countermarked issues being found along the limes (Danube, mostly). So it was in my mind that these are more European than from the Asia/Africa area.

    Again, I am very early in a steep learning curve for this kind of material - thank you for taking the time to expand my horizons!
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  20. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    The nearest bust I have, is of Tiberius. However I have another coin from Antioch which is a legal issue under Augustus. It was struck with Zeus bust on obverse in the local year 44 ( 12/13 AD). Reverse shows ram leaping right and turning its head back towards a star. Astrological Sign of Aries or Star of Bethlehem.

    StarBetha O.jpg Star Beth Aries.jpg
  21. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    got one of these issues too.

    For RIC I 486; BMCRE 731; RPC 2235 (Asia); Tziambazis Roman 3;
    RIC attributes Ephesus as the mint, RPC says Asia: "Provincial" issue. Both references use the same dating though. Tziambazis believes it to be of Cypriot origin. Needless to say, the scattered evidence found makes the coin remain an enigma.
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