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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ SerapisView Options:  |  |  |   

Serapis

Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $250.00 (222.50)


Roman Egypt, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D.

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Both the obverse and reverse types on this tessera are published but the combination does not appear to be published. Nor did we find another example online. According to Milne, lead tesserae served as local small change in Egypt during the first to the third century A.D.
RX74430. Lead tessera, Unpublished; cf. Dattari 6444 and Geissen 3584 (for obverse type), F, weight 3.300 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria(?) mint, Nov 130 - c. 138 A.D. (possibly later); obverse Antinous on horseback right, wearing hem hem crown, caduceus in right hand; reverse bust of Serapis(?) right, kalathos (?, on head), cornucopia on shoulder behind, snake entwined staff before; extremely rare; $160.00 (142.40)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The ancients did not agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. On this coin, Pluto's influence is evident with the fearsome Kerberos at Serapis' feet.
RP72130. Bronze drachm, cf. Dattari-Savio 8907 - 8908, Dattari-Savio Suppl. pl. 20, 165, Geissen 1616/1620, Milne 2011, Kampmann-Ganschow 35.444, Emmett 1668, aF, porous, rough, flan cracks, weight 22.957 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 45o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 148 - 28 Aug 149 A.D.; obverse AVT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNINOC CEB EVC, laureate head right; reverse L ∆W∆EKATOV (year 12), temple with two columns, Serapis seated left within, right hand resting on a head Cerberus at his feet, long scepter vertical behind in left, orb in pediment; $110.00 (97.90)


Menaion, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 200 - 150 B.C.

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Mineo, Sicily (ancient Menaion) is inland about 64 km southwest of Catania. It was a Sikel city, founded around 458 B.C. by King Douketios. In 396 B.C. it was captured by Dionysios I of Syracuse. Under Roman rule Cicero mentions Menaion among the "civitatis decumanae," cities that pay one tenth of their annual harvest to Rome. Today it has about 5,600 residents.
GI73159. Bronze pentonkion, Calciati III p. 183, 2; SNG ANS 292; SNG Cop 379; SNG Mnchen 610; HGC 2 757, Choice VF, centered, nice green patina, weight 3.677 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Menaion (Mineo, Sicily, Italy) mint, Roman Rule, c. 200 - 150 B.C.; obverse laureate and draped bust of Serapis right, wearing atef crown; reverse Nike in biga charging right, Π (mark of value) below, MENA/INΩN divided in two lines above and below; scarce; $110.00 (97.90)


Katane, Sicily, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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This type was probably first struck, in fine style, in the 3rd century, probably shortly before Roman rule was established in 212 B.C. This and some other examples, appear to be part of a later issue, struck under Roman rule, imitating the earlier type, but with a cruder style. Despite HGC listing it only as scarce, both the finer style and this cruder style appear to be very rare.
GI76589. Bronze AE 18, Calciati III p. 108 - 109, 22; SNG Cop 191; SNG ANS 1277; SNG Mnchen 489; cf. HGC 2 609 (S, finer style, earlier?), F, crude late style, weight 3.965 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Katane mint, c. 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse jugate heads right of Serapis (nearer), both wearing a simplified Isis type headdress, ear of barley behind; reverse KATANAIΩN, Apollo standing half left, nude but for chlamys over arms, laurel branch in his right hand, bow in his left hand, left forearm resting on pillar, quiver and omphalos at feet on left; very rare; $110.00 (97.90)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.

RS71515. Silver denarius, RIC IV 263f, RSC III 296, BMCRE V 133, VF, full circles centering, toned, reverse a little weak, small encrustations, weight 3.102 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune of the people for 18 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Serapis standing facing, head left, draped, raising right hand, scepter in left; scarce; $100.00 (89.00)


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

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The ancients did not agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. On this coin, Pluto's influence is evident with the fearsome Kerberos at Serapis' feet.
RX76581. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 32.571, Geissen 1094, Dattari 1479, Milne 1399, Emmett 892, BMC Alexandria 623, SRCV II 6739 var. (date), aF, well centered, grainy and porous, weight 10.343 g, maximum diameter 13.74 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse Serapis seated left, reaching with right to Cerberus at feet left, long scepter vertical in right, LI - H (regnal year 18) across fields; $100.00 (89.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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The reverse legend translates:
YΠ = Consular Legate (Governor)
NOBIOY POYΦOY = Nobius Rufus
NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC ICTPΩ = (coin) of the citizenry of Nicopolis on the Istrus (Danube)

The governor's full name was Tiberius Flavius Novius Rufus, he is also known from inscriptions.
RP84565. Bronze AE 27, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.26.6.5 (R3), Varbanov I 4058 (R3), AMNG I/I 1901, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, green patina, die break on obverse at beginning of legend, some flatness of strike, weight 12.513 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, cos. legate Ti. Flavius Novius Rufus, 218 - 222; obverse AVK M AVP ANTΩNEINOC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse YΠ NOBIOY POUΦ-OY - NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I,CTP-ON (last five leters in divided line across field), Serapis standing facing, kalathos on head, raising right hand, long scepter in left; ex Agora Auctions, sale 53, lot 70; $90.00 (80.10)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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Renamed by Trajan after his sister, Ulpia Marciana, Marcianopolis was an important strategic center for centuries. The city was repeatedly destroyed by barbarian raids (Goths, Huns, Avars and others) but also was repeatedly rebuilt and prospered. During Valens' conflict with the Goths, Marcianopolis was a temporary capital of the empire and the largest city in Thrace. An Avar raid destroyed the city in 614 or 615.
RP70504. Bronze pentassarion, H-J Marcianopolis 6.37.5.- var. (R6, obv legend, reverse legend arrangement), Varbanov I 1976 ff. var. (R3, same); SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, scratches, flan cracks, centration dimples, weight 11.799 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 0o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Tullius Menophilus; obverse M ANTΩNIOX ΓOP∆IANOC AY, confronted busts of Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed, seen from behind; and Serapis on right, draped, wearing kalathos on head; AYT K M below; reverse YΠ MHNOΦIΛOY MAPKIANOΠOΛ,I/T/Ω/N (last four letters in right field), Demeter standing facing, wearing kalathos, grain in right hand, long torch vertical behind in left hand, E in left; an unpublished variation of a scarce type; $60.00 (53.40)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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The Romans, whose fondness for new gods increased with the influence of their foreign conquests, introduced the worship of Serapis with the walls of their city; not, however, without opposition and resistance for a season on the part of the senate to the popular thirst after such novelties. Through the influence of P. Victor an altar was erected to Serapis in the Circus Flaminii, and it quickly assumed the form of a superb temple which, after its Alexandrine prototype, was called the Serapeon. The principal Italian cities, never far behind Rome, soon imitated her example, and it was not long before the worship of Serapis was extended from Italy by the different colonies sent from that country into Asia Minor.
RP59690. Bronze AE 26, Varbanov II 3842 - 3843 var. (obv. legend), BMC Thrace p. 120, 27 var. (same), SNG Cop -, aVF, weight 9.782 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 0o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse AVT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AVΓ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, Serapis standing half left, raising right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand; rare variety; $50.00 (44.50)




  



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Serapis