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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.


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


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 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.
SH66608. Billon antoninianus, BnF XII 1003, Göbl MIR 143q, RIC V-1 260, SRCV III 11542, Choice EF, weight 3.550 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 4th emission, c. 272; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSER (to Jupiter the protector), emperor standing right, scepter in left, receiving globe from Jupiter, Jupiter standing left, scepter in left, P in exergue; 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 Friday, July 20, 2018.
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Serdica