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Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia
Astarte, called "Ashtroth" in Scripture, was the favorite goddess of the Sidonians, Tyrians, Philistines, and Syro-Phoenicians generally. She was associated with the Greek Aphrodite and Roman VenusGenetrix, being believed by the ancients to be the goddess of generation, as well as of beauty. Astarte was chiefly worshiped and appears on the coins of Berytus, Bostra, Sidon, and Tyre. Her image is of a young woman, wearing a tall headdress; and clothed in a tunic, high in the neck- sometimes, not reaching lower than the knees, or sometimes with a longer dress, but with one knee exposed, and one foot planted on a galley's prow.RP77850. Bronze AE 29, Baramki AUB 283; BMC Phoenicia p. 287, 453 corr. (rev. leg.); SNG Hunterian 3431 var. (palm and murex reversed, etc.); Lingren-Kovacs 2396; SNG Cop -, F, green patina with lighter highlighting fields, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.794 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverseIMP CP LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right, from the front; reverse COL - TY-RO - MET, hexastyle temple, Tyche-Astarte standing facing within under central arch, wearing tall headdress and short tunic, right hand on trophy standing to her left, transverse long scepter in left hand, left foot on galley, being crowned by Nike on short column to her right; tree, altar, and murex shell from left to right in exergue; rare; $70.00 (€59.50)
Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Berytus, Phoenicia
The ceremonial founding of a new Roman colony included plowing a furrow, the pomerium, a sacred boundary, around the site of the new city.
Rouvier notes that this type is very often incorrectly attributed to earlier emperors as the legend is frequently missing and the portrait resembles those of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nerva. RP84807. Bronze AE 26, Sawaya cf. 540 (D98/-, unlisted reverse die); RPC Online III 3832 (23 spec.); BMC Phoenicia p. 64, 814; SNG Cop 95; Baramki AUB 52; Rouvier 520, F, tight flan, reverse slightly off center, weight 14.082 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, 98 - 102 A.D.; obverse IMP NER TRAIAN CAES - AVG GERM P P, laureate head right; reverse •COL / IVL - AVG - FEL - BER• (ColoniaJulia AugustaFelixBerytus, FEL is upside down in exergue), veiled founder-priest plowing right with two oxen, plowing sacred pomerium around city; $60.00 (€51.00)
Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia,
The reverse refers to the legendary beginnings of Tyre and its famous purple die. The mythical Ambrosial rocks originally floated about the Mediterranean. Between the rocks, an eagle and snake lived on a sacred olive tree which continuously burned but was never consumed by the flames. The god Melqart (Hercules to the Romans) taught the first Phoenicians to build ships and his oracle told them to capture and sacrifice the eagle. After the sacrifice, the two rocks settled and became the land on which Tyre was founded. Once, when Melqart was nearby chasing the nymph Tyros, his dog found a murex on the beach and ate the small mollusk (Hexaplex trunculus). When the nymph saw the bright color stains on the dog's mouth she demanded Melqart give her a dress this color to win her affection. Of course, Melqart gave in to her demand, inventing the famous purple die in the process. RP89196. Bronze AE 25, SNG Cop 378; BMC Phoenicia, p. 284, 442; Lindgren III 1478; Rouvier 2477; Boston MFA 269, Fair/Fine, rough, scratches, porous, weight 13.252 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Tyre mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverseIMP C G VIBIVS TREB GALLVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassedbust right; reverse COL TYRO METRO, two baetyls (the Ambrosial rocks) with the sacred olive tree between them, dog of Herakles discovering the murex below; ex C. C. Vermuele Collection; ex Coin Galleries, Mabbot Sale (June 1969), lot 2864; rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Berytos, Phoenicia
Named for the daughter of Augustus, Colonia Iulia Augusta FelixBerytus was founded in 14 B.C. with veterans of the 5th and 8th legions. Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa I, and Herod Agrippa II built sumptuous monuments and sponsored gladiatorial combats at Berytos. After the siege of Jerusalem, Titus gave gladiatorial games at Berytos, in which the combatants were Jews.RP55005. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 2045; Rouvier 513; BMC Phoenicia p. 63, 80; Lindgren-Kovacs 2257, F, green patina, scratches, reverse off-center, weight 13.564 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Berytos (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, obverse IMP T CAESARAVG F, bare head left; reverse COL IVL AVG, priest with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; $50.00 (€42.50)
Heliopolis, Coele-Syria, c. 198 A.D.
Septimius Severus conferred the Jus Italicum upon Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) in 193, for supporting him against Pescennius Niger. Prior to that Heliopolis had been part of the territory of Berytus (Beirut) on the Phoenician coast since 15 B.C. This obverse of this coin is copied from a coin of Berytus.
Marsyas found Athena's flute. Inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully. Foolishly he challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Apollo won by singing to the music of his lyre. As a just punishment for his presumption, Apollo flayed Marsyas alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and his skin was hung like a wine bag in the cave out of which that river flows.RP73451. Bronze AE 13, Sawaya 261 (D48/R100), Lindgren-Kovacs 2156, SNG Cop -, SNG München -, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 1.988 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Heliopolis mint, c. 198 A.D.; obverseMarsyas right, wineskin over shoulder, C - HE (ColoniaHeliopolis), border of dots; reverse COL / HEL in two lines at center within wreath, border of dots; scarce; $40.00 (€34.00)
Berytus, Phoenicia, 114 - 117 A.D.
While playing the flute Athena saw her reflection in the water and disturbed by how her cheeks looked, puffed up while playing, threw away the instrument in disgust. The satyr Marsyas picked up the flute and since it had once been inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully on its own accord. Elated by his success, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. For the prize, the victor could do what he pleased with the vanquished. The Muses were the umpires. Apollo played the cithara and Marsyas the flute. Only after Apollo added his voice to the music of his lyre was the contest decided in his favor. As a just punishment for the presumption of Marsyas, Apollo bound him to an evergreen tree and flayed him alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and Apollo hung up his skin, like a wine bag, in the cave out of which that river flows.GB73439. Bronze AE 11, Sawaya 786 ff.; SNG Cop 89; BMC Phoenicia p. 56, 1 ff.; RPC I -, VF, weight 0.830 g, maximum diameter 11.3 mm, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, 114 - 117 A.D.; obverseMarsyas advancing left, carrying wine skin over shoulder, CO-L divided across field; reverse forepart of galley right, BER above; $36.00 (€30.60)
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