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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Mints ▸ SerdicaView Options:  |  |  | 

Serdica, Dacia Mediterranea (Sophia, Bulgaria)

Sofia was originally a Thracian settlement called Serdica, probably named after the Celtic tribe Serdi that had populated it. Around 29 B.C., Sofia was conquered by the Romans and renamed Ulpia Serdica. When Emperor Diocletian divided the province of Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. Serdica was of moderate size, but magnificent as an urban concept of planning and architecture, with abundant amusements and an active social life. Dates of operation: 272 - 282, 303 - 308 and 313 - 314. Mintmarks: SD, SER, SERD, SMSD.


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

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Serdica prospered under Rome. Turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
RP91960. Bronze AE 29, Unpublished obverse legend variety; H-J Serdica 12.18.46.2 (R6) var., Ruzicka Serdica 365 var., Varbanov III 2464 (R5) var. (all ...AVP SEVH...), F, porous, edge crack, central depressions, weight 14.918 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Serdica mint, obverse AVT K M AVPH CEVH ANTΩEINOC, laureate bearded head right; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEP-∆I-KHC (the last three letters in exergue), tetrastyle temple of Asklepios, statue of Asklepios standing in center holding snake entwined staff, coiled snake in pediment; rare; SOLD


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Serdica, Thrace

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The figure on the reverse is sometimes identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium rather than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP85917. Bronze AE 18, Moushmov 4929, H-J Serdica 12.22.16.1 (R4) var. (rev. leg.), Varbanov III 2527 var. (same), SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, well centered and struck, dark patina, porous, small edge cracks, weight 3.415 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 225o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, c. 198 - 209 A.D.; obverse Λ CEΠT ΓETAC K, bare headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse OVΛΠI CEP∆IK, Thanatos standing half right, legs crossed, leaning on inverted extinguished torch set on altar; very rare variant; SOLD


Constantius I, May 305 - 25 July 306 A.D.

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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 Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman people. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT71563. Billon follis, RIC VI Serdica 4a, Cohen VII 89, SRCV IV 14058, Choice aEF, perfect bold full-circles strike on a broad flan, some light corrosion, weight 9.729 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 303 - 305 A.D.; obverse FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, modius on head, naked except for chlamys over shoulder, pouring liquor from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, A right, •SM•SD• in exergue; fantastic!; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Gautier, G. "Le monnayage d'argent de Serdica après la réforme de Dioclétien" in RN XXXIII (1991).
Gysen, P. "Nouvelles données concernant l'atelier de Serdica sous le règne de Probus" in RBN CXLVI (2000).
Zanchi, P. "Quelques nouveaux antoniniens de Serdica" in SM 120 (November 1980).

Catalog current as of Saturday, July 20, 2019.
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Serdica