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LAST CIVIC COINAGES
of the Roman Empire (c. 312 A.D.)

 

 

INTRODUCTION

At the beginning of the 3rd century, during the reign of Septimius Severus (193-211), about three hundred cities of the Roman Empire (mainly in the eastern) had imperial permission to strike coins. There was a division in the authority of minting coins of particular metals. Numerous local authorities were allowed to mint bronze coins in their own provincial mints.

Roma gradually took control of most of these provincial mints and started to open its own permanent mints. Only a dozen local mints were still active in the middle of the century with autonomous coinages. At the end of the 3rd century all existing offices in the Empire had to adapt to the Diocletian’s monetary reform. The last provincial emissions (so-called civic coins) were struck in Alexandria (297-8).

All the coins we present here are clearly provincials. The imperial portrait and imperial legends are not shown on the obverse. However, these civic coins are dated in the 4th century. These emissions are an exception because provincial emissions finished with Diocletian’s monetary reform in the late 3rd century. Another unique feature of these coins is the pagan symbolism. Sarapis, Ceres or Apollo appear among other deities.

There is no total agreement about the origin of these civic coinages. Henry Cohen (1880-1892) and other classical authors assigned these emissions to the period of Julian the Apostate (360-363). Adolphe Dieudonné (1909) associated the emissions to Antioch, during the persecutions of the Christians by Galerius (305). András Alföldi (1937) does not include them in its catalogue of the Festival of Isis coinage, but show them in his plates. Johan Van Heesch (1975) proposed the persecutions by Maximinus Daza (310-311). Finally, Van Heesch (1993) also indicated that all these autonomous coins of Alexandria, Antioch and Nicomedia were issued as part of the (anti-Christian) religious policy of Maximinus Daza (312), thus constituting the last civic coinages of the Roman Empire. Nowadays, this is the widely accepted theory. See Note [1].

Madrid / Málaga (Spain), Mars 5th, 2014 (Navigium Isidis)

Manuel Pina   -  Javi 

 


Map of the roman mints

 
CATALOGUE OF LAST CIVIC COINAGES  (Maximinus Daza, 312 A.D.)

 No. 1a, b 
AE3/4 - Antioch

Heesch 3a, b
Vagi 2954
Cohen VIII 43: 1

- Obverse: GENIO AN-TIOCHENI. Tyche of Antioch seated facing on rocks, turreted and veiled, stalks of grain in right hand, river-god Orontes swimming below.
- Reverse: APOLLONI (sic) SANCTO. Apollo standing left holding lyre and patera. Greek letter in right field (varying from A to I).
- Exergue: Mintmark SMA (1a) or AMS (1b).
- Size: 14-16,2 mm, 1,46 gr. (Average data for 96 coins. See Note [2]).


 No. 2 
AE3 - Antioch

Heesch --
Vagi --
Cohen VIII --

- Obverse: GENIO AN-TIOCHENI. Bust of Tyche of Antioch right, wearing mural crown.
- Reverse: APOLLONI (sic) SANCTO. Apollo standing left holding lyre and patera. Greek letter Є in right field (5th office).
- Exergue: Minmark SMA
- Size: 17 mm, 1,63 gr. (Data from one single coin: "Comptoir Général Financier". Auction 43, 2010-04-29, Lot 977).

 No. 3 
AE3/4 - Antioch

Heesch 4
Vagi 2956
Cohen VIII 43: 2

- Obverse: GENIO CI-VITATIS. Bust of Tyche of Antioch right, wearing mural crown.
- Reverse: APOLLONI (sic) SANCTO. Apollo standing left holding lyre and patera. Greek letter B in right field (2nd office).
- Exergue: Mintmark SMA
- Size: 15,5 mm. (Average data for 2 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 4 
AE3 - (żTésera?)
Antioch

Heesch 5
Vagi 2957
Cohen VIII --

- Obverse: Anepigraph. Bust of Tyche of Antioch right, wearing mural crown.
- Reverse: Anepigraph. Apollo standing left holding lyre and patera.
- Size: 16,4 mm, 1,50 gr. (Average data for 2 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 5 
AE3/4 - Antioch

Heesch 2
Vagi 2955
Cohen VIII 49: 53

- Obverse: IOVI CONS-SERVATORI. Jupiter, wearing cloak, seated left on throne, holding sceptre and globe.
- Reverse: VICTOR-IA AVG. Victoria / Victory advancing left, wearing long dress, holding wreath and palm branch. Greek letter in right field (varying from A to I).
- Exergue: Mintmark ANT
- Size: 14,1-16 mm, 1,40 gr. (Average data for 46 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 6 
AE4 - Nicomedia

Heesch 1
Vagi 2958
Cohen VIII 67: 2

- Obverse: DEAE SANC CERERI. Diademed, draped and veiled bust of Ceres left, holding grain ears.
- Reverse: GEN CIVI-T NICOM. Genius of Nicomedia (or Fortuna), modius on head, standing left, holding rudder and cornucopia.
- Exergue: Mintmark OPA
- Size: 12,4-13 mm, 1,57 gr. (Average data for 4 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 7a 
AE3/4 - Alexandria

Heesch 6a
Vagi 2959
Cohen VIII 43: 3 & 44: 4

 No. 7b 
AE3/4 - Alexandria

Heesch 6b
Vagi 2959
Cohen VIII 43: 3 & 44: 4

- Obverse: DEO SANCT-O SARAPIDI. Bearded bust of Sarapis right, wearing modius.
- Reverse: DEO SANCTO NILO. River-god Nile reclining left, holding reed and cornucopia, resting on hippopotamus, crocodile or sphinx to right. No letter in fields (7a) or Greek letter in left field (7b) indicating office.
- Exergue: Mintmark ALE
- Size: 14,1-17 mm, 1,53 gr. (Average data for 10 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 8 
AE4 - Alexandria

Heesch 7
Vagi 2959
Cohen VIII 44: 5

- Obverse and reverse: Similar to type 7b, with smaller size
- Size: 13,2-13,6 mm, 0,97 gr. (Average data for 2 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 9 
AE4 - Alexandria

Heesch 8
Vagi 2960
Cohen VIII 47: 37

- Obverse: DEO SA-RAPIDI. Bearded bust of Sarapis right, wearing modius.
- Reverse: SANCTO NILO. River-god Nile reclining left, holding reed and cornucopia, resting on hippopotamus, crocodile or sphinx to right.
- Exergue: Mintmark ALE
- Size: 10,7-13,2 mm, 1,02 gr. (Average data for 6 coins. See Note [2]).

 No. 10 
AE4 - Alexandria

Heesch --
Vagi --
Alföldi 400
Cohen VIII 64: 1

- Obverse: DEO SA-RAPIDI. Jugate busts of Sarapis and Isis, right, wearing modius and crown.
- Reverse: SANCTO N-I-LO. River-god Nile reclining left, holding reed and cornucopia, resting on sphinx to right. See Note [3].
- Exergue: Mintmark ALE (?)
- Size: 17 mm, 1,10 gr. (Data from this single coin).

 No. 11a, b, c 
AE4 - Alexandria

Heesch 9a, b, c
Vagi --
Cohen VIII --

- Obverse: DEO SA-RAPIDI. Bearded bust of Sarapis right, wearing modius.
- Reverse: GENIO A-LEXAND. Alexandria reclining left, holding rudder.
- Exergue: Mintmark SM (11a),  MS (11b) or empty (11c).
- Size: 10,5 mm, 0,95 gr. (Average data for 3 coins. See Note [2]).

 

 

Note [1] - All mentioned authors and their respective works are related on page "Bibliography, links and other sources".

- The information about the images is shown with their corresponding number on the same page "Bibliography, links and other sources".

Note [2] - Sizes from article by Johan Van Heesch "The Last Civic Coinages and the Religious Policy of Maximinus Daza", Numismatic Chronicle Vol 153, pp 65-75, London, 1993.

Note [3] - H. Cohen (VIII - 64: 1) wrongly described this reverse as "Le Nil portant un vaisseau". A. Alföldi (95: 400) just quoting Cohen.

 

Glossary Bibliography & Links

 

      M. Pina   -  Javi