Trebonianus Gallus, Samaria Neapolis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by cmezner, Jun 9, 2023.

  1. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Went downtown to pick up at HJB this Gallus AE:

    Syria Palestina, Samaria, Neapolis, 251 - 253 AD.
    Neapolis, Samaria the biblical Shechemis, now Nablus, Israel.

    25 mm, 14.92 g
    RPC IX, 2147; Harl, Neapolis 117; SNG ANS 1035; Sofaer 216; BMC 151; Rosenberger III, 113 = Harl 117;

    The monument on the bronze coins of Neapolis can be identified as an altar often seen, but so far only known as a minuscule structure in landscape view of Mount Gerizim, the sacred mountain of the Samaritans that adjoined Roman Neapolis in Palestine. The altar appears especially interesting, as it depicts an unknown monument. The structure rests on a molded two-tiered base and is divided by columns into three sections, each containing one full-length standing figure. The “columns” are then in fact pilasters.
    The coins are almost devoid of any reference to their mints. They always show the emperor’s bust on the obverse and list his name and titles in Greek on both sides. The reverse is, regardless of the mint, almost invariably taken up by a large Roman eagle in frontal view with outstretched wings, head to one side, and a wreath in its beak.

    @Jochen1 has a great write-up about the Garizim in this thread:

    Ob.: AVTKAI Γ OVI TPEB ΓAΛOC CEBA Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Trebonianus Gallus to r. The first 3 letters AVT are small and very hard to read, one has to turn the coin in hand so that one can read the letters.

    Rev.: ΦΛ NEAC – ΠOΛEΩC Mount Gerizim with temple atop main peak and altar on the left atop secondary peak, stairway leads to temple, colonnade below mountain, all supported by facing eagle with spread wings and head l. at top, star (sun?) on the left and crescent (moon) on the right.

    Picture courtesy HJB:


    On the flip that came with the coin, it is attributed as BMC 148; however, BMC 148 doesn't have a star and a moon, which this coin has on the reverse, so I changed the attribution.

    It is always a great pleasure to personally go to HJB. Today, I met Harlan and he signed and gifted me his book "100 Greatest Ancient Coins" :happy: and of course I did go through their pick bin and bought a few other coins, which I still have to attribute.

    Please share your coins from Samaria, Neapolis or anything related.
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  3. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    Great coin! That's a very nice depiction of Mt. Gerizim! Lucky you getting a signed copy of 100 Greatest Ancient Coins on your visit. I'm a couple hours away, but still haven't been in. I've been hoping to add that volume to my collection of signed ancient coin books... (I have the older edition.)

    Here is a coin from Samaria, Neapolis struck under Domitian.

    It came from the collection of Richard J. Plant (1928-2020) [ex Naville 64, 235], and was probably the model (at least the rev.) for a drawing in his 1979 book Greek Coin Types and Their Identification, No. 1881 on p. 262.

    The obverse drawing is highly idealized (they're never so well-centered with complete legends!) but the reverse is very close in many details and flaws.

    Greek Coin Types (Plant 1979) 1881 Domitian Neapolis Short.jpg

    Roman Judaea, Samaria, Neapolis, Domitian AE20 (Assarion or Dupondius?) (20mm, 7.11g, 6h), dated Year 11 (L-AI), 82-83 CE.
    Rev: ΦΛΑ-ΟΥΙ ΝΕΑ-ΠΟΛΙ ΣΑ-ΜΑ L – ΑΙ. Palm tree.
    Ref: RPC 2220; BMC 9-15; Rosenberger 4-5; Plant (1979) 1881 (this coin illustrated?).
    Prov: Ex Collection of Rev. Richard J Plant (1928-2020); Naville 64 (20 Mar 2021), 235​

    At one time I also had the following Elagabalus (?) AE from Neapolis depicting Mt. Gerizim. I post it mainly because it also came from HJB-once-removed. The Champaign, IL ancient coin dealer Gary Dayton (now deceased) reportedly purchased his entire starting inventory from Berk (and Curtis Clay), incl. this one:

    elagabalus mt gerizim.jpg
  4. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I have just this not very beautiful coin of Elagabalus :

    Néapolis Héliogabale.jpg
    Elagabalus (218-222), Neapolis, AE 22-24 mm, thickness 4.5 mm, 13.30 g.
    Obv.: ΑΥΤ Κ Μ ΑΥΡ Α-ΝΤⲰΝΙΝΟϹ, laureate head of Elagabalus, r. Square countermark A
    Rev.: ΦΛ ΝƐΑϹ ΠΟΛ ϹΥΡ ΠΑΛ, Mount Gerizim surmounted by temple complex connected to the colonnade at the slope by stairways; to r., roadway leading to altar.

    The temple shown here is the temple of Zeus Hypsistos, "Zeus the Highest", who was the best Greek equivalent of the Samaritan Yahweh. It was probably built under Hadrian, and probably destroyed when Christianity prevailed in the region. There is an excellent article about this representation of Mount Gerizim on coins :

    Among the late 8th c. mosaics of the St. Stephen church in Umm ar-Rasas (Jordan) there is a symbolic image of Neapolis : even if it had been completely destroyed centuries ago, this mosaic may be inspired by an ancient image of the Zeus Hypsistos temple as seen from the last stairs... :

    Néapolis Umm Resas.jpg

    Today Mount Gerizim is still a place of worship for the small Samaritan community of Nablus.


    While modern Jews follow the religion which was founded in the Iron Age kingdom of Juda around Jerusalem, the Samaritans follow the religion of the rival kingdom of Israel in the North, around Shomron, Samaria. Samaritans have the shortest Bible : they consider the Torah only (the Pentateuch, 5 first books of the Bible) as sacred and God-inspired.

    Being rivals, following different versions of the Biblical religion, Jews and Samaritans used to hate each other, very much like Sunni and Shiite Muslims since the 8th c., or Catholics and Protestants in 16th c. Europe and still now in North Ireland. When Jesus told his famous parabole of the "Good Samaritan", the very term was supposed to sound as a provocative oxymoron for a Jewish audience. If he was teaching today in Israel, he would probably call it "the Good Arab". Even today, the Samaritans living in Nablus consider themselves Palestinians, not Israeli, but those who live in Israel near Tel Aviv have the Israeli nationality.
    expat, Marsyas Mike, cmezner and 5 others like this.
  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Well-Known Member

    Nice coin cmezner, a great example of one of the more interesting coins of that region.Judaea, Neapolis. Elagabalus, AD 218-222. Ae 21.5mm, 10.3gm. Mount Gerizim surmounted by temple and altar, stairway to temple and colonnade below mountain. 5Zwpce4NDJf9xR72Mzp2r64GbB8bF3.jpg
    expat, Marsyas Mike, Curtis and 3 others like this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Lovely coin @cmezner . I have a similar one that I attributed to Volusian, although the legends say Trebonianus Gallus - I did this one a few years ago, when I was greener than I am now. But it looks from my notes that Trebonianus Gallus/Volusian types from Neapolis are easily confused. I'm confused, that's for sure.

    As for the green, I've been soaking this in distilled water for a year, and though some came off (especially in that obverse pit!), the rest of it seems stable. For now. This is a pre-soak photo.

    Samaria Neopolis - Volusian  Mt Gerizim Oct 2019 (0).jpg

    Volusian Æ 22
    (251-253 A.D.)
    Samaria, Neapolis

    AVT KAI Γ [OVI TPEBOVOΛOV]CIAN Radiate, cuirassed bust right / ΦΛ NEACΠOΛEWC Eagle standing left, supporting Mt. Gerizim with temple, altar, stairway, colonnade below; star
    & crescent left & right above.
    (11.65 grams / 22 mm) eBay Oct. 2019

    Attribution / Die Match (?)

    Gemini, LLC Auction VI Lot 742 appears to be a reverse die match: "Harl, Museum Notes 29, 1984, pl. 14, 146 (same obv. die A33, new rev. die same type). SNG ANS 1031 (same obverse die, misattributed to Treb. Gallus). Ex Dr. Stephen Gerson Collect."
    RPC 2161 uses this specimen for this type.
    expat, cmezner, Bing and 2 others like this.
  7. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    He certainly looks like Trebonianus and not Volusian; Volusian seems to have a hawkish nose on RPC 2161.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
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