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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Roman Mints| ▸ |Serdica||View 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.


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Serdica struck many similar types with the reverse legends RESITVT ORBIS and RESTITVTOR ORBIS, combined with various busts, obverse legends, officina, and control marks. This coin differs from all the varieties listed in RIC.

KA in the exergue, is the Greek numeral 21, a mark of value, indicating 21 parts bronze to one part silver (approximately 4.5% silver). Γ, is the Greek numeral 3, indicating the coin was struck by the third officina (mint workshop).
RA92325. Silvered antoninianus, Pink VI-1, p. 44-45/1; RIC V-2 856 var. (RESTITVTOR ORBIS); Cohen VI 508 var. (also draped); Hunter IV -; SRCV III -, aEF, much silvering, well centered, scratches, corrosion, some pitting, edge split, weight 3.251 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3nd officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, c. 276 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVT ORBIS (to the restorer of the world), female (on left) standing right, presenting wreath to emperor, emperor (on right) standing left, extending right hand, spear in left hand, star low center, KA•Γ in exergue; not in RIC; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Probus marched against the enemies of Rome in Gaul and Germany. Several battles were fought and Probus left 400,000 barbarians dead in the field. After similar success against the Sarmatians, Probus had successfully quelled and terrified to peace the numerous barbarian tribes of the north. He then marched through Syria against the Blemmyes in the neighborhood of Egypt and defeated them with great slaughter. The military character of the emperor was so well established, that the king of Persia sued for peace and attempted to buy Probus' favor with the most splendid presents. Probus was feasting upon the most common food when the ambassadors were introduced. Without even casting his eyes upon them, he said that if their master did not give proper satisfaction to Rome, he would lay Persia as desolate and as naked as the crown of his head. As he spoke the Emperor took off his cap and showed the baldness of his head to the ambassadors. His conditions were gladly accepted by the Persian monarch.
RA89639. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 886, Cohen VI 928, SRCV III 12075, Hunter IV 299 var. (officina), Pink VI-1 p. 45 4, Choice gVF, near full silvering, excellent centering, very light scratches, some reverse die wear, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st Officina, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, 276 - 282 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate helmeted and cuirassed bust left, eagle-tipped scepter in right over right shoulder, shield in left decorated with horse and rider and two rows of soldiers; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Probus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left hand, bound captive seated left in front of horse below raised right foreleg, KAA in exergue; ex Beast Coins; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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







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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, November 19, 2019.
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Serdica