Semi-autonomous coinage, Lydia

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by cmezner, Jun 2, 2023.

  1. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    One of my recents is this small Æ Hemiassarion, Ex. Clive Foss, which I found interesting

    Lydia, Philadelphia, 193-235 AD
    19 mm, 3.93 g
    Hunter 10; SNG Hunterian 1962; SNG v. Aulock 3064-3065; Mionnet IV, 552; Mionnet Supp. VII, 375; GRPC Lydia 133; Waddingtom 5127; Paris 952; SNG Copenhagen 368

    Ob.: ΦΛ ΦI-ΛAΔЄΛΦЄΩN, Turreted and draped bust of Tyche to r.
    Rev.: NЄΩK-OPΩN, Cult-statue of Artemis Anaïtis standing facing, wearing polos and veil, between two stags.

    Artemis Anaïtis on coins, resembles the Ephesian Artemis, but she has a tall kalathos on her head, supporting a veil which falls all the way to the ground on both sides of her body.

    What does NЄΩKOPΩN mean?

    Please share your semi-autonomous coinage from Lydia, or anything relevant:)

    Picture courtesy Perry Siegel

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  3. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

  4. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    the obv. legend is rather ΦΛ ΦI-ΛAΔЄΛΦIA I think.
    I cannot find this coin in the RPC online database
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  5. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Yes, you are right, it is ΦI-ΛAΔЄΛΦIA which translates to "of Philadelphia".

    It is not in RPC, but in GRPC Lydia which stands for "Greek and Roman Provincial Coins of Lydia. It is the first corpus of coins of Lydia which, unlike BMC, SNG Copenhagen, SNG München, Gökyıldırım, Von Aulock, Mionet etc, is not limited to examples in single collections.
    Publishers Comments / John Aiello
    General Introduction / Dane Kurth

    I guess that it is not in RPC online, because it is not attributed to an emperor. Since the date is 193-235 AD it could be from any emperor Pertinax to Severus Alexander. But, (why is there always a but?) under Caracalla, Philadelphia housed an imperial cult; its coins bore the word “neokoron”. So maybe this coin was minted under Caracalla?
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  6. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    Strictly speaking, I don't think I have any truly "quasi-autonomous" from Lydia (I've Roman Provincial bronzes from Lydia, but all are in the name of the emperor; the closest "quasi-autonomous" in my coll. would be from Phrygia).

    But, on the other topic, I do have a couple of Neokorate coins (i.e., coins of the Neokoroi cities). This is a very interesting topic.

    As you comment, it required that the city maintained a Temple to the Imperial Cult ("Neokoros" means something along the lines of "temple keeper"; I've seen multiple variants on that translation). And it was usually also associated with various games and festivals (as on my coin below).

    Here's a Philip II AE26 advertising Thessalonica "Neokoros" and the second local Pythiad ("ΠΥΘΙΑΔΙ Β”; these were the local Phythian Games, in honor of Kabeiros, not the main Pythian Games at Delphi). This is the 6th specimen on RPC Temp 69113 (and formerly the "digital plate coin" until the Kovacs Coll. specimen bumped me off!):

    Philip II Thessalonica Temple.jpg

    Neokoros represented a very important important relationship status between a city and the Empire. As @curtislclay has suggested, it appears that Macedon, Thessalonica became a "triple Neokorate" under Trajan Decius -- probably for supporting the Decii over the Philippi in their revolt -- in just a few years after the coin above was struck.

    So, very interestingly, a city could be named a multiple Neokorate. This is usually represented by coins showing two or even three temples.

    Unfortunately I don't (yet) have a "triple Neo" Thessalonica. But I do have Double Neokoros issue of Otacilia from Bithynia, Nicomedia. It's worn, but you can still see that Tyche is holding up one temple in each hand to represent both of the city's Imperial Neokoros awards (RPC 20007.5 = Lindgren & Kovacs [1985] 177 = this coin):

    Otacilia Nicomedia Lindgren 177.png

    Clearly cities were very proud of their Neokorate status, which gave them various privileges as preferred cities. (Like other formal statuses or titles for cities, which had different benefits and responsibilities, such as "Metropole" or "Colonia.")

    The Wiki link given by @Broucheion is useful. Also very useful is the excellent book by Barbara Burrell (2004) Neokoroi Greek Cities and Roman Emperors (Cincinnati Classical Studies IX; Leiden: Brill). Google Books has a ~50 page free preview:
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  7. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    @Curtis thank you so much for your excellent comments and information about this topic.
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  8. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    I didn't want to bump the thread just to correct an error in my previous comment (for whatever reason certain comments can't be edited?) but I can't take it anymore and have to add:

    In fact, as Clay pointed out (HJB 201, 377), by Trajan Decius, Thessalonica wasn't just "triple," but a Quadruple Neokorate!
    Trajan Decius Thessalonica HJB 201 377.jpg
    Note: The coin above (NOT mine) was the first coin in Part II of Bill Behnen's fascinating collection of Trajan Decius et al (H.J. Berk 201st Buy Bid Sale [Catalog], Lot 377 [ACS])

    (It's also possible Ephesos and Sardis achieved Quadruple Neokorate status, as they have coins with four temples -- per Burrell [2004, p.9], following Price & Trell [1977, pp. 241-287], but I haven't heard of more than four.)
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