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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Greek Imperial ▸ Decapolis, Arabia & SyriaView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Provincial Coins from the Decapolis, Syria and Arabia

The Decapolis means "the ten cities" in Greek, yet we don't really know how many cities there were, or where they were. In 106 A.D., under the Roman emperor Trajan, the Nabataean Kingdom and the cities of the Decapolis were incorporated into the newly established Provinces of Syria and Arabia.

Click here to read "The Decapolis of Jordan" by Rami G. Khouri


Apameia, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 9 - 8 B.C.

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Apamea is believed to be the Biblical city Shepham (Num. xxxiv. 11). Rome received Apamea with the Pergamene Kingdom in 133 B.C., but sold it to Mithridates V of Pontus, who held it till 120 BC. After the Mithridatic Wars it became a great center for trade, largely carried on by resident Italians and Jews. Pompey razed the fortress and annexed the city to Rome in 64 B.C. Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 62a, Niddah, 30b and Yeb. 115b). By order of Flaccus, nearly 45 kilograms of gold, intended by Jews for the Temple in Jerusalem was confiscated in Apamea in 62 B.C. In the revolt of Syria under Q. Caecilius Bassus, it held out against Julius Caesar for three years until the arrival of Cassius in 46 B.C.Great Colonnade at Apamea
GY87604. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 4353; SNG Cop 301; SNG Mün 809; BMC Galatia p. 234, 12; Lindgren-Kovacs 2032; SGCV II 5870; HGC 9 1425 (S) var. (date), gVF, well centered, some porosity, weight 8.033 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 90o, Syria, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 9 - 8 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right wreathed with ivy, ME monogram behind; reverse thyrsos (staff of Dionysos), AΠAMEΩN / THΣ IEPAΣ in two downward lines on right, KAI AΣYΛOY downward on left, ∆T (year 304 of the Seleucid Era) downward inner left; scarce; $260.00 (€221.00)
 


Lot of 5 Roman Provincial Bronze Coins, Nero (2), Titus (1), and Nerva (2), 54 - 98 A.D.

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LT88498. Bronze Lot, 5 Roman provincial coins, Nero (2, Antioch, Syria and Hierocaesaraea, Lydia), Titus (1, Antioch, Syria), Nerva (2 Antioch, Syria), 19.3mm - 25.4mm, F or better, nice coins, Nero with countermark, no tags or flips, the lot is the actual coins in the photograph; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 7/6 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

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Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria as the where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RP87432. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 85; RPC I 4242; SNG Cop 90; BMC p. 158, 57; Butcher 48; Cohen DCA 402, aVF, well centered, a little rough, porous, obscure countermark (or flaw) on obverse, weight 6.267 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 7/6 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right, three pellets (mark of value) below neck; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, EK (Actian Era year 25) in the right field; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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In 248, overwhelmed by the number of invasions and usurpers, Philip offered to resign. The Senate decided to support the Emperor, with Gaius Messius Quintus Decius most vocal of all the senators. Philip was so impressed that he dispatched Decius with a special command of the Pannonian and Moesian provinces. His loyal supporter, Decius, was, however, proclaimed Emperor by the Danubian armies in the spring of 249 and defeated and killed Philip in September.
RP87838. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1032(b) (ex. rare), Prieur 402A, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, VF, well centered, uneven toning, earthen deposits,, weight 10.929 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 247 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, radiate and cuirassed bust left, without aegis, seen from the front; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠATO Γ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 3rd time), eagle standing right, head right, wings open, neither wing behind leg, wreath in beak, ANTIOXIA over S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; extremely rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Lot of 5 Roman Provincial Bronze Coins of Antioch Syria, c. 200 - 250 A.D.

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The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity,” for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Antioch was renamed Theoupolis after it was nearly destroyed by an earthquake on 29 November 528. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east. 6th Century Antioch
LT88499. Bronze Lot, 5 Roman provincial coins of Antioch, Syria, 17.1mm - 23.0mm, Nice VF, desert patinas with highlighting earthen deposits, no additional identification, no tags or flips, the lot is the actual coins in the photograph; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Ptolemaios, 85 - 40 B.C.

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Ptolemaios son of Mennaios (also known as Ptolemy I), an Ituraean Arab dynast, established the Kingdom of Chalkis, c. 85 B.C., during the collapse of the Seleukid Empire. The kingdom, with its capitol at Chalcis sub Libano at the foot of Antilibanus, included Heliopolis, the valley of the Marsyas, and the mountainous region of Ituraea. In 64 B.C., he bribed Pompey the Great to forgo annexing his kingdom into the new Roman province of Syria and to allow him to continue ruling his territory as Tetrarch. Ptolemaios was succeeded by his son Lysanias, who was put to death by Marc Antony for supporting Mattathias Antigonus over Herod the Great. Antony gave the tiny kingdom of Chalkis to Cleopatra as a gift.
GY86696. Bronze AE 19, Herman 4; SNG Cop 414; BMC Galatia p. 280, 5; Lindgren I A2134B; HGC 9 1440 (S), VF, green patina, earthen deposits, light marks and scratches, high points bare copper, weight 3.506 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, 63 - 62 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse the Dioscuri standing facing, center legs crossed, heads turned confronted, each leaning on spear in outer hand, LB (year 2 Pompeian Era) ∆ / ΠTOΛEMA right, TETPAPΠX left, APXE below, all within wreath; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Tetrarchy of Chalkis, Coele Syria, Lysanias, 40 - 36 B.C.

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Lysanias is called Tetrarch of Abila by Josephus. Lysanias' father Ptolemaios was married to Alexandra, one of the sisters of Mattathias Antigonus. Lysanias offered the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes a thousand talents and 500 women to depose Hyrcanus and put his uncle (or step-uncle) Antigonus on the throne of Judaea (Josephus B.J. 1.248). When Lysanias continued to support Antigonus against the Roman nominee Herod the Great, Mark Antony had him executed, and gave his territory to Cleopatra VII.
GB67917. Bronze AE 21, Herman 11.g, RPC I 4769, HGC 9 145 corr., Lindgren III 1243, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 5.480 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Chalkis sub Libano mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse veiled female bust right, no inscription; reverse double cornucopia, flanked by four ligatures ΛYCA, TETP, APX, IΦ (Lysanias tetrarch and high priest); very rare; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Raphanea, Seleukis Pieria, Syria

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Josephus mentions Raphanea in connection with a stream that flowed only every seventh day (probably an intermittent spring now called Fuwar ed-Deir) and that was viewed by Titus on his way north from Berytus after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. Near Emesa, Raphanea was the fortified headquarters of the Legio III Gallica from which in 218 A.D. 14-year-old Elagabalus launched his successful bid of to become Roman Emperor. The crusaders passed through it at the end of 1099; it was taken by Baldwin I and was given to the Count of Tripoli. It was then known as Rafania.
RY86732. Bronze AE 23, BMC Galatia p. 267, 4; Lindgren I 1210 var. (star in ex.); SNG Cop -; SNG München -, F, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, centered on a tight flan, corrosion, porosity, legend not fully struck, weight 9.155 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Raphanea (Rafniye, Syria) mint, as caesar, c. Summer 221 - 13 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse M AYP AΛEΞAN∆POC, bare headed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse PEΦ-A-NE-ΩN, turreted Genius standing half left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, humped bull standing left at feet on left, eagles flanking left and right; ex Classical Numismatic Group, ex J.S. Wagner Collection; very rare; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Apameia, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 10 - 9 B.C.

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Apamea is believed to be the Biblical city Shepham (Num. xxxiv. 11). Rome received Apamea with the Pergamene Kingdom in 133 B.C., but sold it to Mithridates V of Pontus, who held it till 120 BC. After the Mithridatic Wars it became a great center for trade, largely carried on by resident Italians and Jews. Pompey razed the fortress and annexed the city to Rome in 64 B.C. Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 62a, Niddah, 30b and Yeb. 115b). By order of Flaccus, nearly 45 kilograms of gold, intended by Jews for the Temple in Jerusalem was confiscated in Apamea in 62 B.C. In the revolt of Syria under Q. Caecilius Bassus, it held out against Julius Caesar for three years until the arrival of Cassius in 46 B.C.Great Colonnade at Apamea
RY86707. Bronze AE 21, De Luynes IV p. 42, 3458; RPC I 4354 (4 spec.); SNG Cop 300 var. ( (MA below); BMC Galatia p. 234, 11 var. (same); HGC 9 -; SNG Mün -; Lindgren -, VF, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, reverse off center, weight 7.784 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Syria, Apameia (Qalaat al-Madiq, Syria) mint, 10 - 9 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wreathed in ivy; reverse cornucopia overflowing with fruits and grains, ΓT (year 303) inner left, AΠAMEΩN / THΣ IEPAΣ − KAI AΣYΛOY in three downward lines (first two on left, last on right), ∆-I flanking tip of cornucopia; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; extremely rare; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
RY86830. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online IV 8532 (52 spec.); SNG Hunterian 2628 (same c/m); BMC Galatia p. 125, 8 (same); SNG Cop 28; countermark: Howgego 453 (32 pcs.), aF, c/m VF, tight flan, earthen deposits, corrosion, edge cracks , weight 10.192 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 138 - 161 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAI TIT AIΛ A∆P ANTWNEINOC CEB EY (or similar), laureate head right, countermark: 5-pointed star in same shaped 5 mm punch; reverse ZEYΓMTEWN, tetrastyle temple, a rectangular walled and colonnaded peribolos before the temple containing sacred grove, crescent with horns up above, obscure officina letter upper left; ex Beast Coins; $110.00 (€93.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, May 19, 2019.
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Roman Decapolis, Syria and Arabia