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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Provincial ▸ Roman PhoeniciaView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Provincial Coins of Phoenicia

Julia Maesa, Augusta 8 June 218 - 224 or 225 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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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 Venus Genetrix, 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.
RP77848. Bronze dichalkon, Rouvier 2405, cf. Baramki AUB 256 (Marsyas at Astarte's feet?), BMC Phoenicia -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Delepierre -, SNG Righetti -, aF/gF, well centered, light earthen deposits, light corrosion, weight 13.187 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, 8 Jun 218 - 224/225 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAI-SA AVGV, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse T-VRI-ORV-M, 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, pellet in pediment; murex shell, altar, and palm tree left to right in exergue; $105.00 SALE PRICE $95.00
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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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 Venus Genetrix, 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.; obverse IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust 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; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Berytus, Phoenicia

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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• (Colonia Julia Augusta Felix Berytus, FEL is upside down in exergue), veiled founder-priest plowing right with two oxen, plowing sacred pomerium around city; $85.00 SALE PRICE $76.50
 


Salonina, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Tyre, Phoenicia

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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 Venus Genetrix, 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.
RP84808. Bronze AE 27, Rouvier VII p. 107, 2562; Lindgren II 2400; Mionnet VIII supp. p. 314, 359; BMC Phoenicia -; Baramki AUB -; SNG Hunt -; SNG Cop -; SNG Righetti -, F, red earthen fill, porous, edge bump, weight 15.353 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, Aug 253 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse CORNE SALON . . ., diademed and draped bust right; reverse COL TYRO ME TRO, Astarte standing facing, head left, wearing kalathos, right hand on trophy of arms standing on left, transverse scepter in left hand, Nike standing on column on right crowning the goddess, murex shell low inner left; very rare; $85.00 SALE PRICE $76.50
 


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Berytos, Phoenicia

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Named for the daughter of Augustus, Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus 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 CAESAR AVG F, bare head left; reverse COL IVL AVG, priest with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00
 


Orthosia, Phoenicia, c. 30 - 28 B.C.

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A similar type was struck at Orthosia for Cleopatra with her bust on the obverse. After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated, under the rule of Augustus, her bust was replaced by Tyche. RPC lists this type dated with years 36, 40 and 41. No date is visible on this coin. The date may simply be worn or perhaps it is an early issue struck with an undated die. The reverse style is so close to that of the coins struck under Cleopatra that the die may have been recycled from her last issue with her regnal year erased.
SH73047. Bronze AE 20, cf. SNG Cop 175 (also no date visible), RPC I 4504 (year 36 = 29 - 28 B.C.), Rouvier 869 (same), F, corrosion, weight 8.937 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Phoenicia, Orthosia mint, rule of Augustus, c. 30 - 28 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Tyche right; reverse Baal of Orthosia in chariot pulled by to griffins to right, crescent above his head, OPΘΩCIEΩN in exergue, undated(?); extremely rare; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00
 


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Berytos, Phoenicia

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Named for the daughter of Augustus, Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus 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.
RP78052. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 2045; Rouvier 513; BMC Phoenicia p. 63, 80; Lindgren-Kovacs 2257, F, legends partially unstruck, tight flan, weight 13.319 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, Berytos (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, obverse IMP T CAESAR AVG F, bare head left; reverse COL IVL AVG, priest with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00
 


Heliopolis, Coele-Syria, c. 198 A.D.

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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 Munchen -, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 1.988 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Heliopolis mint, c. 198 A.D.; obverse Marsyas right, wineskin over shoulder, C - HE (Colonia Heliopolis), border of dots; reverse COL / HEL in two lines at center within wreath, border of dots; scarce; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
 


Tripolis, Phoenicia, 13 - 14 A.D.

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Tripolis (Tripoli, Lebanon) was the center of a Phoenician confederation of Tyre, Sidon and Arados, hence the name Tripoli, meaning "triple city" in Greek.

In 14 A.D., a census begun in 8 A.D. concluded there were 4,973,000 citizens of the Roman Empire.
RP73059. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 4515; BMC Phoenicia p. 207, 33 - 36; Rouvier 1679; SNG Cop -, F, green patina, weight 9.468 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 45o, Tripolis (Tripoli, Lebanon) mint, 13 - 14 A.D.; obverse jugate laureate heads of the Dioskouroi right; reverse TPIΠOΛITΩN, Nike standing right on a war galley prow right, extending wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, L M∆ (Actian era year 44) above prow, TKE (Seleukid era year 325) below prow; $55.00 SALE PRICE $49.50
 


Berytus, Phoenicia, c. 81 - 78 B.C.

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Beirut was conquered by Pompey in 64 B.C. The city was assimilated into the Roman Empire, veteran soldiers were sent there, and large building projects were undertaken. In 14 B.C., Berytus became a colonia named Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus. Its law school was widely known and in 533 Justinian recognized the school as one of the three official law schools of the empire.
GB73083. Bronze AE 22, Sawaya 15 (D2/R11); Rouvier 468; SNG Cop 84 - 85; BMC Phoenicia p. 53, 11 - 13; Lindgren 2245; HGC 10 110, F, weight 7.057 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, c. 81 - 78 B.C.; obverse turreted and veiled head of Tyche right; reverse dolphin entwined around vertical trident, flanked by pilei, BH−ΠY/TI−ΩN in two lines divided and flanking across field, no date visible; rare; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00
 




  



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REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society Collections Database - http://numismatics.org/search/search.
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Hendin, D. Guide to Biblical Coins. (Amphora, 2010).
Hill, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Phoenicia. (London, 1910).
Hoover, O. Handbook of Coins of the Southern Levant: Phoenicia, Southern Koile Syria (Including Judaea), and Arabia, Fifth to First Centuries BC. HGC 10. (Lancaster, PA, 2010).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
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Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Rouvier, J. "Numismatique des Villes de la Phénicie" in Journal International d'Archéologie Numismatique. (Athens, 1900-1904).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/.
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 7: Cyprus to India. (New Jersey, 1981).
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Catalog current as of Wednesday, November 22, 2017.
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Roman Phoenicia