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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Roman Mints| ▸ |Antioch||View Options:  |  |  |   

Antioch, Syria (Antakiyah, Turkey)

Because of Egypt's isolated position, Antioch was a more suitable capital for the eastern empire than Alexandria, and to some extent the Roman emperors tried to make the city an eastern Rome. They built a great temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, a forum, a theater, a circus, baths and aqueducts. The city was, however, repeatedly damaged by earthquakes. Edward Gibbon wrote of Antioch: "Fashion was the only law, pleasure the only pursuit, and the splendour of dress and furniture was the only distinction of the citizens of Antioch. The arts of luxury were honoured, the serious and manly virtues were the subject of ridicule, and the contempt for female modesty and reverent age announced the universal corruption of the capital of the East." Antioch was, paradoxically, also an important hub of early Christianity. The city had a large population of Jews and so attracted the earliest missionaries; including Peter, Barnabas, and also Paul during his first missionary journey. Antioch's converts were the first to be called Christians. Late in 311, an embassy from Antioch presented themselves before Maximinus and requested permission to banish Christians from their city. Maximinus initially agreed, but in May 313 restored privileges and property to Christians. Antioch struck coins for provincial Syria before becoming and imperial mint. Imperial mint dates of operation: 217 - 611 A.D. Mintmarks: AN, ANT, ANTOB, SMAN.


Tacitus, 25 September 275 - June 276 A.D.

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Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored emperors and kings, those in positions of authority similar to his own.
RA91193. Silvered antoninianus, MER-RIC 4105 (17 spec.), RIC V-1 210, BnF XII 1827, Hunter IV 71, Venra -, Choice EF, full silvering, full border centering, nice portrait, weight 4.455 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, 8th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, issue 3, Jan - Jun 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse CLEMENTIA TEMP (time of peace and calm), Emperor (on left) standing right, holding eagle tipped scepter, receiving globe from Jupiter, Jupiter standing left, nude but for cloak over shoulder, long scepter vertical in left hand, H in center, XXI in exergue; $220.00 (193.60)


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D.

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It seems Felicitas disregarded the reverse of this coin, which was dedicated to her in the hope of promoting the good fortune of the people. In 251 A.D., a fifteen-year plague began in the Roman Empire.
SL89814. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 34, RIC IV 82, SRCV III 9628, Hunter III - (p. cvi), NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (2412807-062), weight 3.58 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 251 - 252 A.D.; obverse IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS PVBL, Felicitas standing left, turreted, long grounded caduceus vertical in right hand, scepter in left hand; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $170.00 (149.60)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Hercules is depicted in the same pose as the Farnese Hercules, a massive marble sculpture, which depicts a muscular yet weary Hercules leaning on his club, which has his lion-skin draped over it. He has just performed the last of The Twelve Labors, which is suggested by the apples of the Hesperides he holds behind his back. The Farnese Hercules is probably an enlarged copy made in the early third century A.D., signed by Glykon, from an original by Lysippos that would have been made in the fourth century B.C. The copy was made for the Baths of Caracalla in Rome (dedicated in 216 A.D.), where it was recovered in 1546. Today it is in Naples National Archaeological Museum. The statue was well-liked by the Romans, and copies have been found in many Roman palaces and gymnasiums. It is one of the most famous sculptures of antiquity, and has fixed the image of the mythic hero in the human imagination.Farnese Hercules
RA89689. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1616i, RSC IV 1320d, SRCV III 10415, RIC V-1 S673 var. (draped and cuirassed not listed), Choice EF, sharp detail, excellent centering, toned silvering, weight 3.843 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 264 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVGVSTI (to the valor of the Emperor), Hercules standing right, right hand on hip, left hand holding lion skin and resting on a club set on rock, star in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $160.00 (140.80)


Palmyrene Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, 270 - 275 A.D.

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Vabalathus, son of the Palmyran king Odenathus and Zenobia, was declared Augustus but Aurelian defeated his forces. He and Zenobia were then taken to Rome where they lived in great comfort. The abbreviated titles of Vabalathus most likely were, Vir Clarissimus Romanorum (or Rex) Imperator Dux Romanorum. The portraits of Vabalathus are interesting because they display both the Roman laurel and the Hellenistic royal diadem.
RA87980. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3103, BnF XII 1241, Gbl MIR 353a2, Hunter IV 5, RIC V-2 381, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, Choice gVF, well centered, brown tone, areas of porosity, somewhat ragged edge, weight 3.112 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust of Aurelian right, from the front, B below; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Vabalathus right, from behind; $135.00 (118.80)


Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.

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In 323, at the age of seven, he took part in his father's campaign against the Sarmatians. At age ten, he became commander of Gaul, following the death of his half-brother Crispus. Following the death of his father in 337, Constantine II initially became emperor jointly with his brothers Constantius II and Constans, with the Empire divided between them and two of their cousins. This arrangement barely survived Constantine Is death, as his sons arranged the slaughter of most of the rest of the family by the army. The three brothers gathered together in Pannonia and there, on 9 September 337, divided the Roman world among themselves. Constantine, proclaimed Augustus by the troops received Gaul, Britannia and Hispania.
RL91853. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Antioch 59 (R4), SRCV IV 17203, Cohen VII 83, LRBC I 1325, Hunter V 90 var. (officina), Choice VF, highlighting green patina, weight 2.425 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 330o, 8th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 324 - 325 A.D.; obverse laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, no legend; reverse CONSTAN/TINVS / CAESAR / SMANTH in four lines, star above, pellet below; rare; $130.00 (114.40)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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Soon after the Feast of Easter 337, Constantine fell seriously ill. He left Constantinople for the hot baths near his mother's city of Helenopolis. There, in a church his mother built in honor of Lucian the Apostle, he prayed, and there he realized that he was dying. He attempted to return to Constantinople, making it only as far as a suburb of Nicomedia. He summoned the bishops, and told them of his hope to be baptized in the River Jordan, where Christ was written to have been baptized. He requested the baptism right away, promising to live a more Christian life should he live through his illness. The bishops, Eusebius records, "performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom." It has been thought that Constantine put off baptism as long as he did so as to be absolved from as much of his sin as possible. Constantine died soon after at a suburban villa called Achyron, on 22 May 337.
RL88038. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Antioch 39; LRBC I 1374; SRCV V 17488; Voetter 34; Cohen VII 760; Hunter V p. 283, 4 ff. var. (officina), EF, attractive highlighting desert patina, light marks, tight flan, weight 1.705 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, posthumous, Sep 337 - 340 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse Constantine in quadriga right, veiled, the hand of God reaches down to take him to heaven, star above, SMANΘ in exergue; $115.00 (101.20)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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Manus Dei, the hand of God, reaches down to take Constantine up to heaven. Constantine is a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
RL88042. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VIII Antioch 39; LRBC I 1374; SRCV V 17488; Voetter 34; Cohen VII 760; Hunter V p. 283, 4 ff. var. (officina), EF, highlighting desert patina, die break reverse right side, weight 1.654 g, maximum diameter 14.9 mm, die axis 180o, 7th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, posthumous, 337 - Apr 340 A.D.; obverse DV CONSTANTINVS PT AVGG, veiled bust right; reverse Constantine in quadriga right, veiled, the hand of God reaches down to take him to heaven, SMANZ in exergue; $115.00 (101.20)


Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.

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In 327, construction of the Domus Aurea, the cathedral of Antioch, began on an island between two branches of the Orontes River, where the Imperial Palace was located. It was dedicated on 6 January 341, in the presence of Constans, Constantius II and ninety-seven bishops. In the following centuries, it was repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes and fires and rebuilt. It was finally destroyed in 588 after a major earthquake left the dome resting on a pile of rubble. Today the site of the cathedral is uncertain.
RL89942. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Antioch 54 (R3), SRCV IV 17203, Cohen VII 83, LRBC I 1325, Hunter V -, Choice aVF, well centered, weight 2.194 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 324 - 325 A.D.; obverse laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left; reverse CONSTAN/TINVS / CAESAR / SMANTA (in four lines), star above; rare; $110.00 (96.80)


Julian II "the Apostate," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.

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In 351, Constantius Gallus built a new church in honor of Saint Babylas at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, and transferred the remains of the bishop to it to neutralize the pagan effects of the nearby temple of Apollo. In 362, Julian consulted the oracle of Apollo at the temple in Daphne, but received no answer, and was told that it was because of the proximity of the saint. He had the sarcophagus of the martyr exhumed and removed. A few days later, on October 22, a mysterious fire broke out consuming the roof of the temple and the statue of the god, copied from Phidias' statue of Zeus at Olympia. Julian, suspecting angry Christians, closed the cathedral of Antioch and ordered an investigation. Ammianus Marcellinus reports "a frivolous rumor" laid blame on candles lit by a worshipper late the previous night (XXII, 13). John Chrysostom claimed a bolt of lightning set the temple on fire. The remains of Babylas were reinterred in a church dedicated to him on the other side of the River Orontes.
RL93013. Billon double maiorina, RIC VIII Antioch 217 (R2), LRBC II 2641, SRCV V 19162, Cohen VIII 38, Voetter -, gVF, toned copper surfaces, porous and a little rough from light corrosion, weight 8.089 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 362 - 26 Jun 363 A.D.; obverse D N FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SECVRITAS REIPVB (security of the Republic), Bull standing right, two stars above, ANTΓ between two palm fronds in exergue; from the Jimi Berlin Caesarea Collection; rare; $110.00 (96.80)


Constans I, 9 September 337 - 19 January 350 A.D.

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The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix: 'Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent's sepulcher), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.'
RL89594. Billon quarter maiorina, RIC VIII Antioch 131 (S, unlisted officina), LRBC II 2619, SRCV V 18667, Cohen VII 21, Hunter V -, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.166 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 90o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 348 - 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTA-NS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), radiate Phoenix standing right on globe, star right, ANS in exergue; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher), ex Alex G. Malloy (Mar 1993); very scarce; $100.00 (88.00)




  



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REFERENCES|

Huvelin, H. "L'atelier d'Antioche sous Claude II" in NAC XIX (1990), pp. 251-271.
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Van Heesch, J. "The last civic coinages and the religious policy of Maximinus Daza (AD 312)" in Numismatic Chronicle 1993, pp. 65 - 75, pl. 11.

Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 19, 2019.
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Antioch