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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Greek Imperial ▸ PhoeniciaView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Provincial Coins from Phoenicia

Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Arados, Phoenicia

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Ancient Arados, surrounded by massive walls on an island about 800 m long by 500 m wide, about 50 km north of Tripolis, was an important trading city with an artificial harbor on the east side toward the mainland. A walled island provides great security, but the lack of water on Arados was a serious challenge. Strabo recounts that Phoenicians collected rainwater and channeled it into cisterns, and that they shipped containers of fresh water from the mainland. Perhaps the most resourceful solution came from the fortuitous discovery—probably by sponge and coral divers—of an undersea freshwater spring, not far from the island in the channel between Arwad and the mainland. This spring, says Strabo, was exploited as a last resort when war or other crises interrupted water supplies from the mainland: "...into this spring the people let down from the water-fetching boat an inverted, wide-mouthed funnel made of lead, the upper part of which contracts into a stem with a moderate-sized hole through it; and round this stem they fasten a leathern tube (unless I should call it bellows), which receives the water that is forced up from the spring through the funnel. Now the first water that is forced up is sea-water, but the boatmen wait for the flow of pure and potable water and catch all that is needed in vessels prepared for the purpose and carry it to the city."Arados
RP89763. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6746 (16 spec.); SNG Hunterian II 3258; BMC Phoenicia p. 48, 379; Rouvier III p. 257, 410, VF, struck on a thick, heavy flan, minor edge porosity , weight 11.959 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse ANTWNOC KAI OYHPOC CEBACTOI, confronted, laureate, draped, and bearded busts of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; reverse AKY E APA∆IWN, humped bull charging left, head turned facing, AKY (year 421 of the local era) above, E in right field, APA∆IΩN below; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 1 (25 Jun 2017), lot 830; ex European Collection formed before 2005; very rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Dora, Phoenicia

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Dora, on the coast eight miles north of Caesarea, was a Canaanite city. It fell to the Philistines early in the 12th century B.C. Solomon appointed the son of Abinadab as overseer of Dor (I Kings 4:11). In the Persian period Dor was a Sidonian colony. In Hellenistic times it was a Ptolemaic seaport and royal fortress, once besieged by Antiochus VII, (1 Macc. 15. 11-14). Under the Romans, Dora was a free city. See also Josh 11:2, 17:11; and Judg 1:27.
RP89041. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online III 3915 (18 spec.); De Saulcy 2; Rouvier 768; BMC Phoenicia p.117, 30; Meshorer Dora 33; Rosenberger II 26; Sofaer pl. 39, 28; Hendin 850, nice F, dark patina, weight 13.034 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Dora mint, 112 - 113 A.D.(?); obverse AVTOK KAIC NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓEPM ∆AK, laureate bust right, drapery on left shoulder, star under chin; reverse ∆WP IEP ACYΛ AYTON NAYAP (Dora, Holy Asylum, Autonomous, Naval Headquarters), laureate head of Doros right, to right aphlaston, POE below (year 175) below; ex Gert Boersema Ancient Coins; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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Astarte, called "Ashtroth" in Scripture, was the favorite goddess of the Sidonians, Tyrians, Philistines, and Syro-Phoenicians generally. She was associated with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus Genetrix, being believed by the ancients to be the goddess of generation, as well as of beauty. Astarte was chiefly worshiped and appears on the coins of Berytus, Bostra, Sidon, and Tyre. Her image is of a young woman, wearing a tall headdress; and clothed in a tunic, high in the neck- sometimes, not reaching lower than the knees, or sometimes with a longer dress, but with one knee exposed, and one foot planted on a galley's prow.
RP77850. Bronze AE 29, Baramki AUB 283; BMC Phoenicia p. 287, 453 corr. (rev. leg.); SNG Hunterian 3431 var. (palm and murex reversed, etc.); Lingren-Kovacs 2396; SNG Cop -, F, green patina with lighter highlighting fields, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.794 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse COL - TY-RO - MET, hexastyle temple, Tyche-Astarte standing facing within under central arch, wearing tall headdress and short tunic, right hand on trophy standing to her left, transverse long scepter in left hand, left foot on galley, being crowned by Nike on short column to her right; tree, altar, and murex shell from left to right in exergue; rare; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Berytus, Phoenicia

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The ceremonial founding of a new Roman colony included plowing a furrow, the pomerium, a sacred boundary, around the site of the new city.

Rouvier notes that this type is very often incorrectly attributed to earlier emperors as the legend is frequently missing and the portrait resembles those of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nerva.
RP84807. Bronze AE 26, Sawaya cf. 540 (D98/-, unlisted reverse die); RPC Online III 3832 (23 spec.); BMC Phoenicia p. 64, 814; SNG Cop 95; Baramki AUB 52; Rouvier 520, F, tight flan, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.082 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, 98 - 102 A.D.; obverse IMP NER TRAIAN CAES - AVG GERM P P, laureate head right; reverse •COL / IVL - AVG - FEL - BER• (Colonia Julia Augusta Felix Berytus, FEL is upside down in exergue), veiled founder-priest plowing right with two oxen, plowing sacred pomerium around city; $60.00 (€52.80)
 


Heliopolis, Coele-Syria, c. 198 A.D.

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Septimius Severus conferred the Jus Italicum upon Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) in 193, for supporting him against Pescennius Niger. Prior to that Heliopolis had been part of the territory of Berytus (Beirut) on the Phoenician coast since 15 B.C. This obverse of this coin is copied from a coin of Berytus.

Marsyas found Athena's flute. Inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully. Foolishly he challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Apollo won by singing to the music of his lyre. As a just punishment for his presumption, Apollo flayed Marsyas alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and his skin was hung like a wine bag in the cave out of which that river flows.
RP73451. Bronze AE 13, Sawaya 261 (D48/R100), Lindgren-Kovacs 2156, SNG Cop -, SNG München -, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 1.988 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Heliopolis mint, c. 198 A.D.; obverse Marsyas right, wineskin over shoulder, C - HE (Colonia Heliopolis), border of dots; reverse COL / HEL in two lines at center within wreath, border of dots; scarce; $32.00 (€28.16)
 


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While playing the flute Athena saw her reflection in the water and disturbed by how her cheeks looked, puffed up while playing, threw away the instrument in disgust. The satyr Marsyas picked up the flute and since it had once been inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully on its own accord. Elated by his success, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. For the prize, the victor could do what he pleased with the vanquished. The Muses were the umpires. Apollo played the cithara and Marsyas the flute. Only after Apollo added his voice to the music of his lyre was the contest decided in his favor. As a just punishment for the presumption of Marsyas, Apollo bound him to an evergreen tree and flayed him alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and Apollo hung up his skin, like a wine bag, in the cave out of which that river flows.
GB73439. Bronze AE 11, Sawaya 786 ff.; SNG Cop 89; BMC Phoenicia p. 56, 1 ff.; RPC I -, VF, weight 0.830 g, maximum diameter 11.3 mm, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, 114 - 117 A.D.; obverse Marsyas advancing left, carrying wine skin over shoulder, CO-L divided across field; reverse forepart of galley right, BER above; $32.00 (€28.16)
 







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REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society Collections Database (ANSCD) - http://numismatics.org/search/search.
Baramki, D. The Coin Collection of the American University of Beirut Museum. (Beirut, 1974).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Cohen, E. Dated Coins of Antiquity: A comprehensive catalogue of the coins and how their numbers came about. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
Duyrat, F. Arados Hellénistique: Étude historique et monétaire. (Beirut, 2005).
Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins. (Amphora, 2010).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Hoover, Oliver D. Handbook of Coins of the Southern Levant: Phoenicia, Southern Koile Syria (Including Judaea), and Arabia, Fifth to First Centuries BC. HGC 10. (Lancaster, PA, 2010).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Meshorer, Y. "The Coins of Dora" in INJ 9 (1986).
Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Rouvier, J. "Numismatique des Villes de la Phénicie" in Journal International d'Archéologie Numismatique. (Athens, 1900-1904).
Roman Provincial Coins (RPC) Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/.
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 7: Cyprus to India. (New Jersey, 1981).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, Univ. of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II, Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (Bern, 1993).

Catalog current as of Thursday, July 18, 2019.
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Roman Phoenicia