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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.RB92485. Copper as, RIC IV 505 (S); Cohen IV 214; BMCRE V p. 478, 257; SRCV II -, VF, nice portrait, dark patina, scratches encrustations, weight 9.619 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVI COS IIII P P, Serapis standing slightly left, head left, draped, kalathos on head, raising right hand with fingers spread, transverse scepter in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking below center; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very scarce; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00
Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.
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; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00
Maximinus I Thrax and Maximus Caesar, 20 March 235 - late May 238 A.D., Flaviopolis, Cilicia
Flaviopolis was founded in 74 A.D. by Vespasian, as part of an imperial program for the urbanization of the Cilician Plain. Until then the rural hinterland, as well as the city of Anazarbos, was probably administered by the Tracondimotid dynasty from Hieropolis Castabala. Some mosaic floors, inscriptions, and building blocks have been found at Kadirli, and a 6th century church has been excavated. Flaviopolis was bishopric of Cilicia Secunda in the Christian era.RP92397. Bronze AE 34, RPC VI online T7466 (15 spec.), SNG BnF 2196, SNG Levante 1553, SNGvA 5565, SNG Pfalz 517, F/aF, well centered, nice portraits for the grade, porous, weight 16.432 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Flaviopolis mint, 235 - 236 A.D.; obverse AYT K Γ IOY OYH MAΞIMEINOC Γ I OYH MAΞIMOC K, laureate and draped bust of Maximinus I right (on left), confronting radiate and draped bust of Maximus left; reverse FΛAVIOΠOΛEITWN, Serapis seated facing, sacrificing from patera in right hand over lighted altar on left, cornucopia in left hand, amphora at feet on left, crater at feet on right, ET ΓΞP (year 163) in exergue; rare; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.RP77245. Bronze AE 32, Franke-Nolle, type VII, 743 (Vs. B/ Rs. 39); cf. BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Hunterian 1957; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, slightly ragged flan, potentially active corrosion, weight 10.522 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AV• KE• - ΠOV ΛIK OYA/ΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis from which two snakes rise; reverse IEPAΠOΛEI/TΩN - K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, resting each hand on the head of a stag, one stag flanking on each side, NEΩ/KO/PΩ/N in four lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00
Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Ephesus
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Ephesus. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.RP77249. Bronze AE 33, SNG Hunterian 1957 (same dies); cf. Franke-Nolle, type VII, 736 (Vs. A/Rs. -, unlisted reverse die); BMC Phrygia p. 264, 188; SNG Righetti 1189, aVF, large edge split, potentially active corrosion, weight 17.950 g, maximum diameter 33.1 mm, die axis 190o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse A K Π Λ OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩ-N K EΦECIΩN, Serapis standing right, kalathos on head, holding transverse scepter; to right, Artemis Ephesia facing, with two supports, flanked by a stag on each side, NE/OK/O in three lines in center field, OMONOIA in exergue; very rare; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00
Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Ptolemy Soter integrated Egyptian religion with that of the Hellenic rulers by creating Serapis, a deity that would win the reverence of both groups. This was despite the curses of the Egyptian priests against the gods of previous foreign rulers (i.e Set who was lauded by the Hyksos). Alexander the Great had attempted to use Amun for this purpose, but Amum was more prominent in Upper Egypt, and not as popular in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. The Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so an anthropomorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force). Ptolemy's efforts were successful - in time Serapis was held by the Egyptians in the highest reverence above all other deities, and he was adored in Athens and other Greek cities.RX87837. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 2713; Dattari-Savio 4910; SNG Cop 709; Milne 3553; BMC Alexandria p. 256, 1980; Kampmann-Ganschow 74.29; Emmett 3506.2 , VF, mild porosity, edge a little ragged, weight 12.265 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 247 - 28 Aug 248 A.D.; obverse A K M IOV ΦIΛIΠΠOC EVCEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse Serapis standing facing, head right, wearing kalathos, chiton, and himation, long scepter vertical in right hand, L - B (year 2) across the field; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00
Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 212 - 133 B.C.
This type was perhaps the last pseudo-autonomous issue of Syracuse.RP79995. Bronze AE 19, Calciati II p. 434, 240/9 (same obverse die), SNG Morcom 838, SNG ANS 1099, SNG München 1483, Fine/Fair, obv off-center, ragged flan, weight 4.933 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 345o, Syracuse mint, c. 212 - 133 B.C.; obverse diademed, bearded male (Serapis, Poseidon or Zeus) head right; reverse ΣYPAKOCIΩN, female (Isis?) standing left, wreath (or sistrum?) in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; ex Forum (2011); scarce; $55.00 SALE |PRICE| $49.50
Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D.
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.RT91631. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 160b, SRCV IV 14843, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V 125 ff. var (5th officina not listed), aVF, well centered, burgundy and black patina, rev. center week, bumps and marks, areas of light corrosion, weight 4.384 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Alexandria mint, 312 - 313 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI• (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genio standing facing, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, head of Serapis in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star upper left, N over palm in left field, E in right field, ALE in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $45.00 SALE |PRICE| $40.50