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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ ArchitectureView Options:  |  |  |   

Architecture on Ancient Coins

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4210.00 SALE PRICE $3789.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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The cistophorus was first struck by the Pergamene Kingdom was a tetradrachm (four-drachms coin) struck on a reduced Asian standard of about 3 grams per drachm. Its name was derived from the cista, a Dionysian cult snake basket that frequently appeared on the obverse. After the Pergamene Kingdom was bequeathed to Rome in 133 B.C., the Romans continued to strike cistophori for the Asia province, with a value equal to three denarii. The portrait of Augustus and later emperors replaced the cista on the obverse.
SH85434. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Sutherland Group VI, RPC I 2215, RIC I 479, RSC I 33, BnF I 922, BMCRE I 694, BMCRR East 262, SRCV I 1587, VF, full circles strike on a broad flan, light uneven toning, light encrustations, small closed edge crack, weight 11.660 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, c. 24 - 20 B.C.; obverse IMP CAE-SAR (counterclockwise below), bare head right, linear border; reverse garlanded and filleted altar of Diana (artemis, ornamented on the front with two hinds standing confronted, AVGVSTVS above; $1080.00 SALE PRICE $972.00
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Emerita, Hispania Lusitania

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Mérida, Spain was founded by P. Carisius in 25 B.C., as Emerita Augusta, the name referring to the discharged soldiers who populated the city, by order of Augustus to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became an important city in the Roman Empire and the capital of Lusitania province. Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan).
SH84707. Silver denarius, RIC I 9b, RSC I 398, BMCRE I 291, BMCRR Spain 128, BnF I 1039, Hunter I 124, SRCV I 1627 var. (head right), gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, mint luster, weak strike areas, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.775 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 90o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), bird's-eye view of town with walls around, EMERITA inscribed above gateway in front with three battlements over two arched entrances; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $870.00 SALE PRICE $783.00
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also called the Pharos, built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 B.C., was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Between 393 and 450 feet (120 - 140 m) tall, it was one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth for many centuries. Damaged by three earthquakes between 956 and 1323, it then became an abandoned ruin. It was the third longest surviving ancient wonder (after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the still extant Great Pyramid of Giza), until in 1480 the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site. In 1994, French archaeologists discovered some remains of the lighthouse on the floor of Alexandria's Eastern Harbor.
RX86722. Bronze drachm, Dattari 1765, Milne 1373, SNG Cop 375, Kampmann 32.547, Emmett 1002/17, Geissen -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, aF/aVF, well centered, corrosion but mostly on obverse, most of obverse legend obliterated, weight 22.681 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 132 - 28 Aug 133 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC TPAI(AN) A∆PIA(NOC) CEB, laureate and draped bust right,; reverse Isis Pharia standing right, sistrum in extended right hand, holding a billowing sail with both hands and left foot, sailing toward the Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria, which is surmounted by a statue and two Tritons, each blowing a buccinum (sea shell trumpet); L IZ (year 17) above center; Emmett lists this highly desirable year 17 type as common but there are none on coin archives and it is missing from Cologne, London, and Milan; however, year 18 is common; $350.00 SALE PRICE $315.00
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Augusta Traiana, Thrace

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Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria today) was founded by Trajan, c. 106 A.D. During 2nd - 3rd century A.D., it was the second largest city in Roman Thrace, after Philippopolis, and was fortified by strong walls. The city struck bronze coins from the time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
RP83509. Brass AE 31, Schönert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 163, Varbanov II 1009 (R7), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, centration dimples, weight 15.997 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠTI - CEVHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse AVΓOVCT-HC TRAIAN-HC, tetrastyle temple on raised platform, flanked on each side by a tree and a stag leaping outward, Artemis standing right within the temple, holding bow in left hand and drawing arrow from quiver on shoulder with right hand; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $215.00 SALE PRICE $194.00
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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In 278, Probus defeated the Alamanni, expelled the Franks from Gaul, reorganized the Roman defenses on the Rhine and resettled the Germanic tribes in the devastated provinces. He adopted the titles Gothicus Maximus and Germanicus Maximus.
RA76944. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice EF, near full silvering, superb portrait, light marks, weight 4.097 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The reverse legend translates, "The gates of Janus' temple are closed because peace (of the Roman people) is set on both land and sea." On the rare occasions when Rome was not at war the doors of the 'Twin Janus' were ceremonially closed, an event Nero commemorated extensively on the coinage of 65 - 67 A.D. -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol 1
RB86771. Copper as, RIC I 306, Mac Dowall WCN 288, BMCRE I 227, BnF II 400, Cohen I 171, SRCV I 1974, F, mostly bare copper surfaces, marks, scratches, some corrosion, weight 8.796 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP, laureate head right; reverse PACE P R VBIQ PARTA IANVM CLVSIT, three-quarter view of the Temple of Janus with garland over closed doors within arch, temple front on the right, the left side of the temple side with windows to the left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
 


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 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; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Perinthus, Thrace

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A neocorate was a rank or dignity granted by the Roman Senate and the Emperor to certain cities which had built temples to the Emperor or had established cults of members of the Imperial family. The city itself was referred to as neokoros (pl. neokoroi). A temple dedicated to the emperor was also called neocorate. Starting in the 2nd century CE, the title appeared on many coins. There were approximately 37 cities holding the neocorate, concentrated in the province of Asia, but also in neighboring provinces. Severus rewarded Perinthus with the title Neokoros for the first time for their support against Pescennius Niger. The city received a second neocorate under Elagabalus.
RP83931. Bronze tetrassarion, CNT_2626, Schönert Perinthos 466, Varbanov III 193 (R5), Moushmov 4524, SNG Cop 741 var. (draped and cuirassed), BMC Thrace -, F, nice portrait, green patina, scratches, small edge crack, central dimples, weight 15.690 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 225o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 196 - 211 A.D.; obverse AY KΛ CEΠ CEYHPOC ΠE, laureate head right; reverse facade of a octastyle temple on double crepidoma with eight Corinthian columns, shield with umbo on pediment and acroteria on roof, ΠE−PIN/ΘI−ΩN flanking across field in two divided lines, NEΩKOPΩC in exergue; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
 


Crusaders, Athens, Frankish Greece, Guy II de La Roche, 1287 - 1308

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Guy II de la Roche was the Duke of Athens from 1287, the last duke of his family. He succeeded as a minor on the death of his father, William I, at a time when the duchy of Athens had exceeded the Principality of Achaea in wealth, power, and importance. Guy was originally under the tutorship and regency of his mother, Helena Angelina Komnene, who was forced to make submission to Isabella of Villehardouin. In 1299, Guy was engaged to Matilda, daughter of Isabella and and her husband, Florent of Hainaut. Charles objected, as his permission had not been sought, but Pope Boniface VIII intervened on the young couple's behalf. In 1307, Guy was made bailli of Achaea by its new prince, Philip I of Taranto. He governed well, but for barely a year. He died, 5 October 1308, at the age of twenty-eight, but was respected and renowned for his chivalry and manners, typical of the Frankish courts kept in Greece.
ME85309. Billon denier tournois, Malloy Crusaders 85, Metcalf Crusades Variety 1c and pl. 42, 1067; Schlumberger XXXIX 14, VF, well centered, toned, areas of weak legend, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.783 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 45o, Athens mint, majority, 1294 - 1308 A.D.; obverse + GVI DVX ATENES (trefoils flanking cross, trefoil stops), cross pattée; reverse + ThEBANI.CIVIS (trefoils flanking cross), castle tournois, double pellet at beginning and end of legend; ex C. Subak (Chicago, Sep 1975); $115.00 SALE PRICE $104.00
 




  



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REFERENCES

Price, M.J. & B. Trell. Coins and Their Cities: Architecture on the Ancient Coins of Greece, Rome, and Palestine. (London, 1977).

Catalog current as of Friday, June 22, 2018.
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Architecture