A Note on a Medallion of Antoninus Pius from Neapolis: The Largest Medallion Minted in Palestine
by Robert Deutsch
Antoninius Pius, the adopted son of Hadrian, was born on September 19, 86, and became Roman Emperor on July 11, 138. He died on March 7, 161, at the advanced age of seventy-four. He reigned for twenty-three years, and until the end of the third century was the second-longest reigning emperor after Augustus, lasting one month longer than Tiberius. He refrained from engaging in military adventures beyond those necessary for maintenance of the empire and is considered a peaceful emperor.
The massive minting of city coinage in Palestine during his reign is represented in Neapolis by a series of coins including the following medallion, which appears to be the largest ever minted in Palestine:
Æ medallion; 48 mm; 56.3 gr.; ↑ (Fig. 1)
Obv.: Laureate draped and cuirassed bust of Antoninus Pius to r.; Greek legend
upwards from bottom left: [ANTω]NINOC CEBAC EYCE AY[TOK KA]I(C)AP
Rev.: Mount Gerizim is represented as two mountain peaks, separated by a sloping roadway. A steep, broad stairway leads up between houses to a temple seen in three-quarters perspective. Below is a colonnade with eleven pillars and two arches over the columns. The entrance leads to a square with a horned altar. A path leads to the right from the center of the road to a higher hill with a second horned altar. Greek legend from bottom left upwards: ΦΔ NEACΠOΔEωC CYPIAC ΠAΔAICTINE[C] ET ΠH (“Fl[avia] Neapolis [which is in] Syria-Palestine, year 88 [160 CE]”)1
The dies used to mint our medallion are significantly larger than those used for regular sestertii. The obverse is surrounded by an elaborated frame resembling a bezel, and the reverse shows a large image of Mount Gerizim surrounded by a chain of dots, two parallel lines, a circular groove and a raised border ridge. The limits of the dies are not visible, which means that the dies were larger than 48mm. In contrast, the limits of the dies are clearly visible on sestertii.2
The representation of Mount Gerizim with a stairway leading to the temple on its peak first appears on the coins of Antoninus Pius toward the end of his reign. His coins are dated ÐZ (year 87, i.e., 159 CE), ÐH (year 88, i.e., 160 CE), or ÐÈ (year 89, i.e., 161 CE), or are undated. Therefore we can not establish the exact first appearance of the mountain in his reign; a date earlier than 87 CE is also possible.
Mount Gerizim became the emblem of Neapolis and was adopted by all subsequent emperors. It appears on their coinage covering the surface of the reverse, or in small icons on eagles’ wings, or on the back of a she-wolf, or in the background.3 The last coins issued in Neapolis were struck during the reign of Trebonianus Gallus (and his son Volusianus) in 251–253 CE. The emblem was also used on jewelry, including rings.4 In the fourth and fifth centuries, the emblem was represented on typical Samaritan oil lamps by a temple with a flight of steps leading to it.5
The term “medallion” is misleading as it is used for all the large specimens minted in Palestine. Therefore a subdivision into two main groups is required:
1. Commemorative — unusually large specimens, not designated for commercial use but minted to commemorate outstanding events.
2. Commercial — coins the size of Roman sestertii, currency in circulation and used in everyday commercial activity.6
The largest previously recorded medallion is in the collection of Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. This specimen is undated and measures 43mm in diameter.7
What was the purpose of minting such a large medallion in Neapolis in 88 CE? As far as we know, Antoninus Pius did not travel to Palestine as his adoptive father Hadrian had done and no special events in his honor were celebrated. The reason for minting such a magnificent medallion will remain unknown for the time being.
- The medallion suggests that Antoninus Pius did visit Palestine at some time. An aureus of his was discovered at Bethsaida (Israel Numismatic Research 2011 p135), which also suggests that he might have visited the region although it was not recorded by the historians as far as we know.
- wow nice post, in india the place neeloor, their is chech st Xavier church , its an amazing church, i think the geolagist and other are like this for a study
- To give you an indication of his versatility, he recently completed the copy for a precision engineering website, after which he immediately started work ghostwriting a book about astrological compatibilty.
- here are a variety of factors in play, including ethnic background, environmental influences and the possibility of unexpected illness or injury, it's impossible to accurately predict a child's exact adult height. However, there is a simple formula for calculating of a child estimated height.
- Coming from her ce and then lessons strategies, ASTA preps its own members to jog high-caliber, efficient companies. As a result of Society's on-going school solutions, total compound software sources and even stringent Program
- Thanks to the brilliant technology in today's world. The detail published on the internet about the availability of rooms is mostly accurate.
- Its important to you are not getting paid to travel. You are paid to do a certain job and travel is just a necessary part of the work. Think of it as an occupation with astonishing travel perks
- Rubberized playground flooring is flexible and durable. The mats are soft, providing comfort to young kids should they fall while playing. Rubber mats are strong and able to withstand the rough-and-tumble play characterized by young kids. Rubberized flooring is used in gymnasiums and other athletic facilities, but it is also ideal for outdoor play yards.
- Executive assistants perform together with experts and assist them with more tasty items that make the perform and daily process better. The best continue framework for professional employees is one where the qualifications, skills and knowledge are provided on the first page, so the company recognizes the potential of the candidate.
- The majority of campsites has shelters guy out rooms very comfortable bag after a day of cycling a little wet ...
- It was worth visiting your blog and I have bookmarked your blog. Hope to visit again
instant breast lifts
- There are lots of ways to meet people online these days, Escort and Dating Service from social media to online dating specialist websites.
- Dit artikel is zo interessant! Oude munten is mijn passie, ik heb ook kleine collectie, maar ik heb nooit gedacht om een blog met beschrijving te creëren. En nu wanneer ik je werk zag je me een inspiratie om hetzelfde werk te doen! Dank)
- Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
- I was about to say something on this topic. But now i can see that everything on this topic is very amazing and mind blowing, so i have nothing to say here. I am just going through all the topics and being appreciated. Thanks for sharing.
- I was working and suddenly I visits your site frequently and recommended it to me to read also. The writing style is superior and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!
- Banyo one of the largest UK’s independent bathroom retailer, We supply high end Bathrooms Suite, Kitchen Appliances, Designer Radiators, Towel Radiator and Gas Fires places. We also have the capacity to install products depending on your proximity to Leicester. With nationwide delivery, choose your ideal bathroom suite online.
- I really enjoyed reading this post, I always appreciate topics like this being discussed to us. Thanks for sharing.
- Thanks for your nice sharing! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you would be a great author.
- You never know about the work others takes advantage and let not anyther take of that thing.
- Great article, thank you!
- It is very interesting! thank you for great work!
- Danke für die vielen Infos. Fand ich sehr informativ.
- I like the design. Thank you for great story!
- Maybe the idea was simple. The larger medallion - the greater Emperor. Anyway the design is decent!