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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Syria||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins of Syria

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Heliopolis, Coele-Syria

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The use of perspective is rare on ancient coins!

Heliopolis in Coele-Syria was made a colonia with the rights of the ius Italicum by Septimius Severus in 193. Work on the religious complex at Heliopolis lasted over a century and a half and was never completed. The Temple of Jupiter, the largest religious building in the entire Roman Empire, was dedicated during the reign of Septimius Severus. Today, only six Corinthian columns remain standing. Eight more were shipped to Constantinople under Justinian's orders c. 532 - 537, for his basilica of Hagia Sophia.
RY89044. Bronze AE 25, Sawaya series 22, 294 - 295 (D56/R118); Lindgren III 1271 (same dies); SNG Cop 429; BMC Galatia p. 290, 2; Price-Trell 702, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, weight 11.386 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 180o, Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) mint, emission 5, 209 - 210 A.D.; obverse L SEPTIMIVS SEVERVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse decastyle temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Heliopolitanus, on a high podium, with steps in front, aerial view in perspective from above the left front corner, I O M H (Iovi Optimo Maximo Heliopolitano) above, COL HEL (Colonia Heliopolitana) below; ex John Jencek; $550.00 (€484.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus I Soter, 281 - 261 B.C.

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Antiochus faced a formidable task holding the empire together. Revolt broke out in Syria almost immediately after his father's death. He earned the title Soter (savior) for victory over hordes of Gauls that attacked Anatolia. Elsewhere, he had little success. He was forced to abandon Macedonia, Thrace, Bithynia, and Cappadocia and to execute his eldest son for rebellion.
GY85675. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 379.6a, Newell ESM 166, HGC 9 128g, Choice VF, well centered and struck, high relief portrait, attractive toning, bumps and marks, closed edge crack, weight 16.667 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 0o, Seleucia on the Tigris (south of Baghdad, Iraq) mint, c. 263 - 261 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Apollo seated left on omphalos, examining arrow with right, resting left hand on grounded bow, monogram (primary control symbol) outer left, ∆/ΩP monogram (secondary control symbol) outer right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ANT-IOXOY downward on left; $360.00 (€316.80)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleucus I Nikator, 312 - 280 B.C.

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Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
GS91686. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 117(1)c (notes ∆ control var. from Hersh coll.), Newell ESM 4 (∆I), HGC 9 12i, VF/aF, superb sculptural high-relief head of Herakles, bumps and scratches, burnishing on reverse, weight 16.805 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 45o, Seleucia I mint, c. 300 - 296 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse Zeus on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, monogram in left field, ∆ (∆I variant) under throne, ΣEΛEYKOY downward on right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; very rare control variant; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonos I Monophthalmos, Strategos of Asia, 320 - 306/5 B.C., or King, 306/5 - 301 B.C.

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Antigonos I Monophthalmos ("the One-eyed") (strategos of Asia, 320 - 306/5 B.C., king, 306/5 - 301 B.C.) was a nobleman, general, and governor under Alexander the Great. Upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C., he established himself as one of the successors and declared himself King in 306 B.C. The most powerful satraps of the empire, Cassander, Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Lysimachus, answered by also proclaiming themselves kings. Antigonus found himself at war with all four, largely because his territory shared borders with all of them. He died in battle at Ipsus in 301 B.C. Antigonus' kingdom was divided up, with Seleucus I Nicator gaining the most. His son, Demetrius I Poliorcetes, took Macedon, which the family held, off and on, until it was conquered by Rome in 168 B.C. -- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
GS87629. Silver tetradrachm, Price 3575, Müller Alexander 900, SNG München 755, SNG Saroglos 598, SNG Alpha Bank 678, SNG Oxford 3169, Meydancikkale 2204, VF, well centered, toned, light earthen deposits, bumps, marks, scratches, weight 16.992 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Phoenician or Syrian mint, c. 317 - c. 300 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse Zeus Aëtophoros enthroned left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, AΛEΞAN∆POY downward on right, right leg drawn back, boar's head left (control) in left field; $260.00 (€228.80)
 


Philip II, July or August 247 - Late 249 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
SL89808. Bronze AE 27, Butcher 31c; SNG Cop 35; BMC Galatia p. 128, 35; SGICV 4142, NGC Ch VF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (4094544-007), weight 15.63 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M IOYΛI ΦIΛIΠΠOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ZEYΓMATEΩN, tetrastyle temple with peribolos enclosing the sacred grove of trees, below Capricorn right; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


Gadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.

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This type and another similar anonymous year one of Rome type, have traditionally been attributed to Gadara. In 64/3 BC Roman troops under Pompey "liberated" the Greek cities conquered by the Judaean king Alexander Jannaeus. Pompey personally supervised reconstruction in Gadara. Commemorating these events, Gadara established the year 64/3 B.C. as the beginning of a new Pompeian era, replacing the previous Seleukid era. Hoover says the attribution to Gadara is in error; that the fabric and style suggest a mint in southern Syria. For now, at least, we retain the traditional attribution.
RP91034. Bronze AE 23, Meshorer City-Coins 217, Spijkerman 1, Rosenberg IV 1, HGC 10 381 (S), RPC I -, aVF, weight 11.043 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Gadara (Um Qais, Jordan) mint, 64 - 63 B.C.; obverse bust of Herakles left, draped with lion's skin, club on left shoulder, anepigraphic; reverse galley ram right, L A / PΩMHS (year 1 of Rome [Pompeian Era]) in two lines above, all within wreath; rare; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

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Oliver Hoover, in Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, attributes this type to the Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C. The symbols were used on Cappadocian royal coinage, the coins are found in Cappadocian hoards and a tetradrachm naming the Cappadocian King Ariarathes VII Philometor (116 - 99 B.C.) bears the obverse portrait of Antiochus VII. He notes they may have been struck to pay foreign (Syrian?) mercenaries who preferred the types of Antiochus VII.
GS87616. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061.1s, Newell SMA 280, SNG Spaer 1852, HGC 9 1067d, VF, slightly off center, corrosion, light scratches, weight 16.461 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, right hand extended through inscription to border holding Nike, grounded shield in left hand, spear leaning on left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, laurel wreath border; $215.00 (€189.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

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Oliver Hoover, in Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, attributes this type to the Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C. The symbols were used on Cappadocian royal coinage, the coins are found in Cappadocian hoards and a tetradrachm naming the Cappadocian King Ariarathes VII Philometor (116 - 99 B.C.) bears the obverse portrait of Antiochus VII. He notes they may have been struck to pay foreign (Syrian?) mercenaries who preferred the types of Antiochus VII.
GS87618. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061.1s, Newell SMA 280, SNG Spaer 1852, HGC 9 1067d, VF, well centered on a broad flan, light bumps and marks, small spots of light corrosion on the obverse, weight 16.109 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, right hand extended through inscription to border holding Nike, grounded shield in left hand, spear leaning on left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, laurel wreath border; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios (Achaeus) was an uncle of Antiochos III. In 223 B.C., Antiochus III appointed Achaeus to the command of Anatolia on the western side of Mount Taurus. Achaeus recovered all the districts which had been lost; but was falsely accused by Hermeias, the minister to Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defense he assumed the title of king. Antiochus marched against Achaeus after he concluded the war with Ptolemy. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, Achaios was captured and beheaded.
GY89996. Bronze AE 17, Houghton-Lorber I 956 corr. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, green and garnet patina, off center, light deposits, tiny edge split, weight 3.260 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn/winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in formal (corkscrew) curls; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AXAIOY downward on left, A (control symbol) outer right; apparently unpublished and only two sales recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch(?)

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"C•A" on the reverse has been interpreted several ways, including Caesaris Auctoritate, Commune Asia, and Caesar Augustus. RPC notes the mint, the meaning of ΛT, and the date are all uncertain. The mint was certainly in Syria, where nearly all examples have been found and the type shares a countermark which otherwise only found on Antioch SC bronzes. ΛT could be the Greek numeral 330, but, if a date, it does not fit any known era for Syria.
RY92807. Bronze AE 22, McAlee 197 (R), RPC I 4106 (26 spec.), BMCRE I 743, Butcher 61 , VF, porosity, some obv die wear, edge crack, weight 6.338 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Syrian mint, 16 Jan 27 B.C. - 19 Aug 14 A.D.; obverse AVGVST TR POT (from upper right), laureate head right; reverse C•A, smaller ΛT above, all within a laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves, the wreath between an inner and outer linear border; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 8 (29-30 Jun 2019), lot 799; rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 19, 2019.
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Syria