Roman Provincial from Biblical Rabbath-Moab

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, May 30, 2020.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Septimius Severus RabathMoab.jpg
    Roman Empire. Arabia, Rabbath-Moab (Areopolis). AE 27. Septimius Severus (193-211 AD). Obverse: Laureate bust of Septimius Severus right, Greek inscription around. Reverse: Statue of Ares standing facing, in military dress with shield, spear, and sword, standing on platform with four legs, Greek inscription around [RA]BBATh MWB[...]. Cf. SNG ANS 1414. This coin: Bought from Forum Ancient Coins, February 2020.

    This coin appealed to me, despite the rather ugly obverse, because of the reverse type and because of its interesting mint city. Rabbath-Moab (located at the site of modern Rabba in Jordan) was a very ancient city. It is mentioned several times in the Bible (in the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy) as "Ar of Moab" which was an important city of the Moabite people. The city eventually became Hellenized and was renamed Areopolis, and the cult-statue of Ares featured on this coin bears that out. Areopolis was part of the Nabataean kingdom, and as such was duly absorbed by the Romans when they turned Nabataea into the Province of Arabia in 106 AD. The city issued Roman Provincial coinage under the Severans, but its output seems somewhat scarce from what I can tell. Also of note, the city's name is usually spelled "Rabbath-Moab" in history texts and Biblical references, but "Rabbath-Moba" in numismatic sources. Indeed, the city name is spelled with "Moba" rather than "Moab" on coins where this part of the legend is readable. Perhaps this is due to Greek-speakers attempting to render a foreign name, or maybe the pronunciation had shifted over the centuries. While this coin is not going to win any beauty contests, I do like the reverse on this piece. (Don't look too closely at Ares' face, though- from certain angles it looks like a clown face.) Please post your coins of Rabbath-Moab-Areopolis, or whatever else is related.
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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Trajan Decius

    Interesting coin @Parthicus and thanks for the background information.
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