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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.


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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Aurelian defeated the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. He defeated the Palmyrene Empire in the east and the Gallic Empire in the west, reuniting the Empire in its entirety. He was responsible for the construction of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. His successes were instrumental in ending the Crisis of the Third Century, earning him the title Restitutor Orbis or "Restorer of the World."
SL89709. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2747, RIC V-1 290, Venèra 9995 - 10000, BnF XII 1031, Hunter IV -, NGC MS, strike 5/5, surface 3/5, silvering, scratches (4243955-014), weight 4.15 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 315o, 2nd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, issue 8, phase 2, Nov 274 - Sep 275; obverse AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORBIS (to the restorer of the world), woman standing right, presenting wreath to emperor standing left, scepter in left hand, star in center field, KAB in exergue; ex Heritage auction 231808, lot 64072; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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In 277, Probus traveled west, defeated the Goths along the lower Danube, and acquired the title of Gothicus. The Goths came to respect his ability and implored Probus for a treaty with the empire.
RA87902. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 888 (R1); Cohen VI 927; Pink VI/1 p. 45; SRCV 12075 var. (obv. leg.); Hunter IV -, gVF, much silvering, edge slightly ragged, scattered minor porosity, weight 3.661 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, c. 277 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P AVG, radiate, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield on left arm; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), emperor riding left, raising hand, captive at foot before horse, KA•Γ (A appearing as H) in exergue; ex Beast Coins; rare; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


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







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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 Tuesday, June 18, 2019.
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Serdica