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AD194 Roman Silver Denari Emperor Severus Prosperity Goddess Fortuna Emesa Syria

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Seller: ancientgifts (4,230) 99.4%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 381815882400 Click here to see 1,000 archaeology/ancient history books and 2,000 ancient artifacts, antique gemstones, antique jewelry! Silver Roman Denarius of Emperor Septimius Severus with a Reverse Theme Depicting the Roman Goddess of Good Fortune and Prosperity “Fortuna” – 196 A.D. OBVERSE INSCRIPTION: IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II. OBVERSE DEPICTION: The head of Septimius Severus, right, laureate crown (laurel wreath). REVERSE INSCRIPTION: FORTVNA REDVCI. REVERSE DEPICTION: The Goddess Fortuna seated on a curule chair left holding an olive branch in her right hand, and a cornucopiae (“horn of plenty”) in her right hand. ATTRIBUTION: City of Emesa, Syria Mint sometime in 194 A.D. SIZE/MEASUREMENTS: Diameter: 18 millimeters. Weight: 1.39 grams. NOTE: Coin is mounted free of charge into your choice of pendant settings (shown in sterling silver pendant), and includes a sterling silver chain in your choice of 16", 18", or 20" length, (details below or click here). We can reverse coin in mounting if you prefer opposite side showing front. DETAIL: This is a very handsome and quite rare silver denarius produced in the city of Emesa, Roman Provincial Syria, in 194 A.D. If it seems a bit different than the typical Roman Denari, it is. It is a little coarser. The engraving a little more primitive, and the engraved art work a little more stylized and a little less formulistic. It is in excellent condition, evidencing only relatively light wear from circulation in ancient Rome. It was well struck both front and back, just a little low, right on the obverse side; and of course that would be inversely mirrored on the reverse side, which is struck a little high, left. Nonetheless quite uncharacteristically for the era, the planchet (blank coin) was large enough, and the strikes well enough centered, that the entirely of both the obverse and reverse legends and themes are entirely present. The reverse strike is of slightly lower profile, this consequence of the fact that the Roman mints tended to use the reverse dies about three times as long as they did the obverse dies (which of course contained the portrait of the emperor). In fact in many instances as the reverse die wore (excessively), the coins struck from them became progressively lower and profile, until finally in many cases the reverse was almost indeterminable. This specimen is not at all in such a sad condition. In any event, consequentially, the reverse sides of most Roman coins will be of lower profile than the obverse side, and this is the case with this particular specimen, an interesting though certainly not unique or uncommon feature. Some of the Latin legends are a little indistinct, but this is quite ordinary and commonplace. There’s two reasons for this. First, the engravers in Provincial Emesa simply were not a skilled as those in the city of Rome, and as a result, some of the Roman Latin characters are, well…botched up a bit. Second, of equal significance is that of course these coins were struck by hand. Little bits of metal (“detritus”) both from the worn dies as well as the struck coins would slowly clog up the finer features of the coin, especially the engraved letters, and from time to time they would have to be re-engraved. If you look closely at the legends on both sides, particularly the first and last quarter of the reverse legend, and particularly the back half of the obverse legend, you’ll see that many of the letters in the die were a bit clogged up when the coin was struck, and so some of the Latin characters are flat, of low profile. Again, another interesting though certainly not unique or uncommon feature of this specimen. Despite the shortcomings, it is nonetheless a very nice specimen, and given the fact that it was struck in Emesa, Syria (see description further below), it is fairly rare and very collectible. The obverse of the coin depicts the head of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, depicted with laureate crown; and although a portion of the legend is missing due to the slightly undersized nature of the coin, it was originally accompanied by the legend “IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II”. “L SEPT SEV” of course refers to the Emperor’s name, “Lucius Septimius Severus”. The “IMP” preface to his name is an abbreviation for “Imperator”. Imperator was originally a title or acclamation awarded to victorious generals in the field during the Republic Period (before Julius Caesar). Throughout the history of Republican Rome, the title was bestowed upon an especially able general who had won an enormous victory. Traditionally it was the troops in the field that proclaimed a man imperator – the first step in the process of the general applying to the senate for a triumph (a ceremony both civil and religious held in Rome itself to publicly honor the general and to display/parade the glories and trophies of Roman victory). Imperatrix was the title of the wife an Imperator. After Augustus Octavian (Julius Caesar’s successor) had established the hereditary, one-man rule in Rome that we refer to as the Imperial Roman Empire, the title Imperator was restricted to the emperor and members of his immediate family. If a general who was not part of the imperial family was acclaimed by his troops as Imperator, it was tantamount to a declaration of rebellion or civil war against the ruling emperor. Though the title Augustus is probably the closest Latin equivalent to the English word emperor; it was eventually the term Imperator which became the root of the English word “Imperial”. Following “IMP” is found the abbreviation “CAE”, which is short for “CAESAR”. “Caesar” of course refers to the title “Caesar”, which was a title of imperial character used by either the Emperor or the heir apparent of the Emperor – though in the fragmenting later Roman Empire it was used to refer to the “junior” sub-emperors; inferior to “Augustus”, or the “senior” Emperor. The title’s origin was the name of Julius Caesar, the famous Roman General and Dictator. This came about when Octavius, eventually the first Emperor of Rome, was named by Julius Caesar posthumously (in his will) as his heir and adopted son. Octavius adopted the name “Caesar” in order to emphasize his relationship with his Uncle, Julius Caesar. Eventually the term evolved into part of a title, “Imperator Caesar Augustus”, when Octavious adopted his nephew Tiberius Claudius Nero as his successor, renaming him "Tiberius Iulius Caesar". The precedent was set: the Emperor designated his successor by adopting him and giving him the name "Caesar". The title was occasionally accompanied by that of “Princeps Iuventutis” (literally "Prince of Youth"). After some variation among the earliest Emperors, the title of the heir apparent evolved into NN Caesar before accession and Imperator Caesar NN Augustus after accession. A later evolution expanded the title to “NN Nobilissimus Caesar” (“Most Noble Caesar") rather than simply NN Caesar. Ultimately to this the additional titles “Pius Felix” ("the Pious and Blessed") and “Invictus” ("the Unconquered") were added. “PERT” refers to the “title” or name “Pertinax”; in reference to one of the shorter-lived Emperors of the Roman Imperial Period, Publius Helvius Pertinax. Pertinax had enjoyed a long career in public service, first in the military, then as a Senator, and finally the perfect of the city of Rome at the time Commodus (the insane son of Marcus Aurelius of “Gladiator” fame), was murdered, having completely disgraced the purple with his publicly stated belief that he was the reincarnation of Hercules and his public spectacles fighting wild beasts in the Amphitheatre. Pertinax had a reputation as a disciplinarian, had attracted the attention and respect of Marcus Aurelius, and he seemed the perfect choice as an Emperor to restore order to Rome after the murder of Commodus. Pertinax reluctantly accepted the throne when it was offered to him by the Praetorian Perfect and the other conspirators behind Commodus’s death. However the strict reforms and economic measures he immediately instituted made him quite unpopular with the Praetorian Guard (the Emperor’s “body guard”) – especially his decision to pay them a very small “donative” – the customary gesture a new Emperor made to the Praetorian Guard. Kind of a bribe to ensure good behavior – there simply were not adequate funds in the treasury – and Pertinax was not an exceptionally wealthy man. Feeling offended and demeaned, the Praetorian Guard invaded the palace and murdered Pertinax after a reign of only 86 days. There was a rapid succession of contenders to the throne, including one wealthy Senator who “purchased” the throne and title of Emperor from the Praetorian Guard; as well as three different generals who were proclaimed Emperor by their legions. One of the three was Septimius Severus, who had been loyal to Pertinax for the latter’s short reign. Ultimately Septimius Severus prevailed over the other contenders to the throne. In a tribute to Pertinax, Septimius Severus took the former Emperor’s name, deified Pertinax, and became Septimius Severus Pertinax. It is believed by historians that Septimius Severus saw himself as the avenger of Pertinax. Septimius Severus eventually dropped the use of the name “Pertinax”, it is believed after having a dream (an “omen”) that he would meet the same fate as Pertinax (murdered at the hands of the Praetorian Guard) if he kept the name of Pertinax. The suffix “AVG” was an abbreviation for Augustus. The term “Augustus” is Latin for “majestic” (thus the honorific salutation “your majesty”). However the term “Augustus” in the common vernacular of the Roman Empire became synonymous with the Emperor. The first "Augustus" (and first man counted as a Roman Emperor) was Octavius, Julis Caesar’s nephew and heir. Octavian was given the title of Augustus by the Senate in 27 B.C. Over the next forty years, Caesar Augustus literally set the standard by which subsequent Emperors would be recognized, accumulating various offices and powers and making his own name ("Augustus") identifiable with the consolidation of these powers under a single person. Although the name signified nothing in constitutional theory, it was recognized as representing all the powers that Caesar Augustus eventually accumulated. Caesar Augustus also set the standard by which Roman Emperors were named. The three titles used by the majority of Roman Emperors; “Imperator”, “Caesar”, and “Augustus” were all used personally by Caesar Augustus (he officially styled himself "Imperator Caesar Augustus"). However of the name "Augustus" was unique to the Emperor himself (though the Emperor's mother or wife could bear the name "Augusta"). But others could and did bear the titles "Imperator" and "Caesar". Later usage saw the Emperor adding the additional titles “Pius Felix (“pious and blessed”) and “Invictus” (“unconquered”) in addition to the title “Augustus”). In this usage, by signifying the complete assumption of all Imperial powers, "Augustus" became roughly synonymous with “Emperor” in modern language. As the Roman Empire began splintering, Augustus came to be the title applied to the senior Emperor, while the title “Caesar” came to refer to his “junior” sub-Emperors. Finally the abbreviation “COS II” is short for “CONSVL”, or “Consul”, the “II” being the Roman number “2”, indicating (the second) term as Consul. As Augustus, an acclamation or title oftentimes attributed to the Emperor was that of Consul. As Consular Imperium (Imperial Consul) he had authority equal to the official chief magistrates within Rome. He had authority greater than the chief magistrates outside of the city of Rome, and thus outranked all provincial governors and was also supreme commander of all Roman Legions. Originally “Consul” was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic (ultimately it was an appointed office under the Empire). Under the Republic two consuls (with executive power) were elected each year, serving together with veto power over each other's actions. The office of consul was believed to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 B.C. Consuls executed both religious and military duties. During times of war, the primary criterion for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. Initially only patricians could be consuls, but later the plebeians won the right to stand for election. With the passage of time, the consulship became the penultimate endpoint of the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman. When Octavius Augustus, heir to Julius Caesar, established the Empire; he changed the nature of the office, stripping it of most of its powers. While still a great honor and a requirement for other offices, about half of the men who held the rank of Praetor would also reach the consulship. However under the Empire, Emperors frequently appointed themselves, protégés, or relatives without regard to the requirements of office. For example, the Emperor Honorius was given the consulship at birth. One of the reforms of Constantine the Great was to assign one of the consuls to the city of Rome and the other to Constantinople. When the Roman Empire was divided into two halves on the death of Theodosius I, the emperor of each half acquired the right of appointing one of the consuls. As a result, after the formal end of the Roman Empire in the West, for many years thereafter there would be only one Consul of Rome. Finally in the reign of Justinian the consulship was allowed die; first in Rome in 534 A.D.; then in Constantinople in 541 A.D. The emperor is depicted “laureate”, or wearing a wreath or crown composed of laurel, or “bay leaves”. This wreath of laurel leaves is an attribute of the Graeco-Roman God Apollo, and is a symbol of victory. In Greek Mythology, Apollo fell in love with the legendary mountain nymph Daphene. Daphene, anxious to escape Apollo’s amorous interests, asked the Gods of Olympus to change her into a bay tree. Thereafter Apollo always wore a laurel wreath made from the leaves of her sacred tree to show is never failing love for her. Apollo also declared that wreaths were to be awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions and poetic meets under his care. Laurel wreaths became the prize awarded in athletic, musical, and poetic competitions. For instance by the 6th century B.C., the winners of the ancient Greek Pythian Games (forerunner of the Olympics and held every four years at Delphi) were awarded a wreath of laurel leaves. Ancient Greek coins from at least as far back as the second century B.C. depict laurel wreaths worn by not only Apollo, but also Athena, Saturn, Jupiter, Victory (Nike), and Salus. Eventually the custom of awarding a wreath of laurel leaves was extended from victors of athletic events to the victors of military endeavors. The symbolism was inherited (or mimicked) by the Romans, to whom the bestowal of a laurel wreath became the sign of a victorious general acclaimed by his troops. After defeating Pompey, the Roman Senate not only voted Julius Caesar Imperator for life, but also awarded him the right to wear the laurel wreath in perpetuity. From that point on it is said that Julius Caesar always appeared in public laureate, and all of his coinage depicted Julius Caesar wearing the laurel leaf crown. Thus the laurel leaf crown became associated not only with the victorious general, but became a symbol of the office of Caesar and Imperator. There were other types of wreaths in Graeco-Roman Mythology as well. Dionysus was oftentimes depicted either with a wreath of ivy or with a wreath composed of grape leaves. Zeus was oftentimes depicted with a wreath of oak leaves, and wreathes of roses became associated with Aphrodite. As well, funeral wreaths became a Roman custom, and were often carved into the decorative elements of a sarcophagus. Lucius Septimius Severus was born in 146 AD at Leptis Magna in Africa (near Carthage) to noble parents. It is believed that he was made a Senator by Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 172 A.D. He was reputed to be a soldier of outstanding ability, and was promoted through a series of increasingly important commands. One of those commands under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius was of the legion based at Emesa, Syria. Emesa was an important religious center/city sited on the trade route between Palmyra and Antioch. And it was there in 187 A.D. that Septimius Severus was to meet Julia Domna, the daughter of the High Priest of the Sun God Elagabal. In 187 A.D. Julia Domna was married Lucius Septimius Severus as his second wife (his first had died). Julia Domna and her sister Mulia Maesa were the beginning of four generations of “Syrian Princesses” which were the power behind the Roman Throne. Of Julia Maesa’s two daughters, Julia Soaemias was the mother of future Emperor Elagablus; Julia Mamae was the mother of future Emperor Alexander Severus. After the death of Marcus Aurelius, as semi-fictionalized by the movie “Gladiator”, his despotic son Commodus became Emperor of Rome. At the death of Commodus in 192 A.D., Septimius was governor of Upper Pannonia (an appointment he had received from Commodus in 190 A.D.). He swore allegiance to the new emperor, Pertinax. However Pertinax was murdered the following year, and the Praetorian Guards publicly announced that they would elect as the new emperor whomsoever would pay them the highest price. Didius Julianus, a wealthy Senator, offered 25,000 sestertii (for each of the Praetorian Guards), and was proclaimed emperor. Eventually there were four "emperors" laying claim to the throne, Septimius Severus, Clodius Albinus, Pescennius Niger, and Didius Julianus. Septimius Severus advanced on Rome and beheaded Didius Julianus after Didius had been emperor for a mere 66 days. The following year Septimius's troops defeated Niger's troops, and Septimius executed Niger. And in 197 AD, after his army was defeated in battle by Septimius's army, Albinus committed suicide. Septimius Severus’s relationship with the Roman Senate was never good. He was unpopular with them from the beginning, having seized power with the help of the military. Severus ordered the execution of dozens of senators on charges of corruption and conspiracy against him, replacing them with his own favorites. He also disbanded the Praetorian Guard and replaced it with one of his own, made up of 50,000 loyal soldiers camped in and around Rome. Although his actions turned Rome into a military dictatorship, he was popular with the citizens of Rome, having stamped out the moral degeneration of the reign of Commodus and the rampant corruption. When he returned from his victory over the Parthians, he erected a triumphal arch that still stands and bears his name to this day. Septimius Severus spent much of his reign conducting military campaigns in different parts of the empire, as well as visiting the provinces. In 208 AD he campaigned in Britain against barbarians of the north, and made repairs to Hadrian's Wall. He died in York on February 4, 211 AD. Septimius was succeeded by his two sons, Caracalla and Geta. Caracalla, the eldest, arranged to have his wife murdered that same year; and then orchestrated the murder of his younger brother the following year. Caracalla was himself was murdered five years later in 217 AD, at which time Septimius's surviving wife, and mother of Geta and Caracalla, Empress Julia Domna, committed suicide by starving herself to the death. The reverse of this particular specimen portrays the Roman Goddess "Fortuna", depicted seated on a curule chair holding a branch in her outstretched right hand, and a cornucopiae (“horn of plenty”) in the crook of her left elbow, against the chair. The depiction of the goddess Fortuna is accompanied by the legend “FORTVNA REDVCI”, which translates literally to “the fortuna of a lucky return”. This refers to the return of Septimius to Rome one of his victorious engagements during the civil wars which raged for several years after his proclamation as emperor (see description above). The goddess Fortuna was borrowed from the Greeks where she was known as "Tyche", where she was worshipped as the goddess of good fortune, chance and prosperity (ancient images or Fortuna/Tyche here, here, here, here, and here, and here. Many cities in the ancient Greek world were believed to be under the special protection of the Goddess Tyche. The Roman version known as “Fortuna” was revered as the goddess of fortune and good luck. She is typically portrayed holding a rudder, oftentimes resting atop a globe, alluding to Rome’s dominance of the known world’s maritime industry, and the “good fortune” it brought to Rome in the form of grain from Egypt and North Africa. As in this instance, she is also usually portrayed holding a cornucopiae in her role as bestower of blessings. A cornucopiae of course is a “horn of plenty”, a symbol of abundance generally a wicker container filled with fruits or vegetables. Used since at least the fifth century B.C., it seems to have originated in Greek mythology where Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return Zeus gave her the goat's horn. It had the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia. The original depictions were of the goat's horn filled with fruits and flowers. On occasion a wheel or ball will be shown beside her (in this instance a wheel is depicted beneath her chair), and sometimes (as in this instance) an olive branch or a patera. A “patera” was a broad, flat, round dish used for drinking (wine more often than not) and ceremonially for offering libations. The olive branch is actually an attribute of “Pax”, the Roman Goddess of Peace. The olive brancvh represents peace, and taken together with the legend “FORTVNA REDVIC”, it’s obvious that this coin not only celebrates Septimius Severus’s victories in the ongoing civil wars, but also implies that an olive branch is extended to his remaining adversaries (who would ultimately be defeated in 196 and 197 A.D.). Fortuna was worshiped in the most remote antiquity in Italy as the goddess of nature and the goddess of fate. According to legend her worship was introduced by King Servius Tullius, the sixth King of Rome (578-534 BC), who was also credited with introducing silver and bronze coinage, the census, and the Servian Constitution. He was said to have founded her oldest sanctuaries on the right bank of the Tiber River below Rome. Ultimately the worship of Fortuna became one of the most popular in Italy. She was worshipped at a great number of shrines under many titles. Some of these titles included “Fortuna Primigenia”, who determined the destiny of a child at birth; “Fors Fortuna”, the god of luck or chance; “Fortuna Publica Romani”, the goddess of the state; “Fortuna Caesaris” or “Augusta”, the protectress of the Emperor; “Fortuna Privata” protectress of family life; “Fortuna Liberum” protectress of children; “Fortuna Virginalis”, protectress of maidens; “Fortuna Virilis”, the goddess of a woman’s happiness in married life. Fortuna was also worshipped in a military role as “Fortuna Victrix”, giver of victory; “Fortuna Dux” protectress of the leader; “Fortuna Redux” who brought safe homecomings, particular the safe homecoming of the Emperor (returning from the far-flung provinces back to the capital city of Rome, an event generally declared a holiday); and “Fortuna Tranquilla”, the giver of prosperous voyages. “Fortuna Tranquilla” was along with Portunus was the patron goddess of the harbor of Rome, and it was this role which is alluded to by the rudder so often depicted in the coinage of Fortuna. As well the rudder alluded to Fortuna’s role as Rome’s “pilot of destiny”, and was also allegory to the return of Rome’s victorious legionary armies from deployments. The Emperor Trajan established a special temple in her honor as the supreme power of the world. At that temple a special sacrifice was offered to her each New Year’s Day. An emperor whose reign was especially blessed by Fortuna would be referred to on coinage of the reign as “Felix”; meaning fortunate, blessed, or simply lucky. Scattered through Rome were thirty lesser temples to Fortuna. History records that the Emperor Nero built a temple to Fortuna of transparent stones. The common people regarded her as a divinity who distributed good and evil, fortune and misfortune, among mankind according to her caprice, casually and carelessly, and without any regard to merit. The Romans believed that Fortuna had bestowed her good fortune first upon the Persians and Assyrians, who ultimately she deserted in favor of Alexander the Great. With the passing of Alexander she “relocated” and bestowed her blessing upon Egypt and Syria. But discovering Rome’s Palatine Hill, she finally found her home, and entered Rome where she took up her abode for ever. Fortuna appears on a great number of Roman coins, both standing and seated, sometimes veiled, but always wearing the stola. The stola was a sleeveless outer garment worn by mature women over the tunic (or chemise). More often than not she was depicted holding in her right hand a rudder, a tiller, or resting on the prow of a ship, and in her left hand, a cornucopia. Occasionally she might be depicted with a wheel at her feet or under the Curule chair/throne she is seated upon (the wheel being the symbol of Fortuna’s “dark side”, her manifestation as “Nemesis”, or misfortune; see here), and sometimes the rudder is sitting atop a globe. On rare occasion she is depicted with a cauduceus or with her arm resting upon a column. Fortuna was said to distribute wealth from her cornucopiae, and to steer by her rudder the government of human affairs. In the Roman Republic, and later the Empire, the curule chair (or throne) was the chair upon which senior magistrates or promagistrates were entitled to sit, including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, priests of Jupiter, and the curule aediles. In the latter Republic, Caesar the Dictator was entitled to sit upon a curule chair made of gold. The curule chair was traditionally made of ivory; with curved legs forming a wide X; it had no back, and low arms. The chair could be folded, and thus made easily transportable for magisterial and promagesterial commanders in the field. According to the (ancient) Roman Historian Livy the curule chair originated with the Etruscans, though there is evidence that before then it might have originated with Near East potentates. The cauduceus was in Greek Mythology originally an attribute of Hermes (“Mercury” to the Romans), messenger of the gods of Mount Olympus. The cauduceus was originally an enchanter’s wand, a symbol of the power that produces wealth and prosperity, and also an emblem of the influence over the living and the dead. But even in early times it was regarded as a herald’s staff and an emblem of peaceful intercourse. It consisted of three shoots, one of which formed the handle, the other two being intertwined at the top in a knot. The place of the latter two intertwined shoots was eventually taken by serpents and was an attribute of Asclepius, the Graeco-Roman God of Medicine. If you’d like to learn more about Fortuna (or “Tyche” as she was known to the ancient Greeks), there are excellent articles here, here, and here. This particular issue was struck in the Roman city known as "Emesa" was actually an ancient Syrian city known as "Homs" dating back to about 2300 B.C. Homs, or Emesa, was strategically located at the fertile Orontes River between Damascus and Aleppo. It is very close to the coast and is not far from Hama to the north and Palmyra to the southeast. Homs is the only natural gateway from the Mediterranean coast to the interior. During Roman times it contained a great temple to the sun god El Gebal and was ruled by a line of priest-kings two of whom rose to become emperor; Elagabalus (218-222 A.D.) and Severus Alexander (222-235 A.D.). The history of Roman royalty in Emesa however goes back to the time of Septimius Severus. Julia Domna the daughter of a high priest of Emesa married Septimius Severus, while he was stationed at Emesa. Septimius became emperor of Rome. After his transfer to Rome, Julia Domna and her female relatives/offspring (Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea and Julia Soaemias) became principal figures in the dynasty's fortunes, and collectively were known as "The Syrian Princesses". Emesa's fortunes were always tied with the trade city of Palmyra. As long as Palmyra flourished so did Emesa. When Syria's Zenobia was defeated at Palmyra in about 272 A.D., Emesa declined. Your purchase includes, upon request, mounting of this coin in either pendant style “a” or “d” as shown here. Pendant style “a” is a clear, airtight acrylic capsule designed to afford your ancient coin maximum protection from both impact damage and degradation. It is the most “politically correct” mounting. Style “d” is a sterling silver pendant. Either pendant styles include a sterling silver chain (16", 18", or 20"). Upon request, there are also an almost infinite variety of other pendants which might well suit both you and your ancient coin pendant, and include both sterling silver and solid 14kt gold mountings, including those shown here. As well, upon request, we can also make available a huge variety of chains in lengths from 16 to 30 inches, in metals including sterling silver, 14kt gold fill, and solid 14kt gold. HISTORY: Coins came into being during the seventh century B.C. in Lydia and Ionia, part of the Greek world, and were made from a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Each coin blank was heated and struck with a hammer between two engraved dies. Unlike modern coins, they were not uniformly round. Each coin was wonderfully unique. Coinage quickly spread to the island and city states of Western Greece. Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) then spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. Ancient coins are archaeological treasures from the past. They were buried for safekeeping because of their value and have been slowly uncovered throughout modern history. Oftentimes soldiers the night before battle would bury their coins and jewelry, hoping and believing that they would live long enough to recover them, and to return to their family. Killed in battle, these little treasure hoards remain until today scattered throughout Western and Eastern Europe, even into the Levant and Persia. As well, everyone from merchants to housewives found the safest place to keep their savings was buried in a pot, or in some other secretive location. If they met an unexpected end, the whereabouts of the merchants trade goods or the household’s sugar jar money might never be known. Recently a commercial excavation for a new building foundation in London unearthed a Roman mosaic floor. When archaeologists removed the floor, they found 7,000 silver denarii secreted beneath the floor. Even the Roman mints buried their produce. There were over 300 mints in the Roman Empire striking coinage. Hoards of as many as 40,000 coins have been found in a single location near these ancient sites. Ancient coins reflect the artistic, political, religious, and economic themes of their times. The acquisition of ancient coins is a unique opportunity to collect art which has been appreciated throughout the centuries. Coins of the Roman Empire most frequently depicted the Emperor on the front of the coins, and were issued in gold, silver, and bronze. The imperial family was also frequently depicted on the coinage, and, in some cases, coins depicted the progression of an emperor from boyhood through maturity. The reverse side of often served as an important means of political propaganda, frequently extolling the virtues of the emperor or commemorating his victories. Many public works and architectural achievements such as the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus were also depicted. Important political events such as alliances between cities were recorded on coinage. Many usurpers to the throne, otherwise unrecorded in history, are known only through their coins. Interestingly, a visually stunning portrayal of the decline of the Roman Empire is reflected in her coinage. The early Roman bronze coins were the size of a half-dollar. Within 100-150 years those had shrunk to the size of a nickel. And within another 100-150 years, to perhaps half the size of a dime. One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was the ancient Roman Empire. In exchange for a very modest amount of contemporary currency, you can possess a small part of that great civilization in the form of a 2,000 year old piece of jewelry. The Roman civilization, in relative terms the greatest military power in the history of the world, was founded in the 8th century (B.C.). In the 4th Century (B.C.) the Romans were the dominant power on the Italian Peninsula, having defeated the Etruscans and Celts. In the 3rd Century (B.C.) the Romans conquered Sicily, and in the following century defeated Carthage, and controlled the Greece. Throughout the remainder of the 2nd Century (B.C.) the Roman Empire continued its gradual conquest of the Hellenistic (Greek Colonial) World by conquering Syria and Macedonia; and finally came to control Egypt in the 1st Century (B.C.). The pinnacle of Roman power was achieved in the 1st Century (A.D.) as Rome conquered much of Britain and Western Europe. For a brief time, the era of “Pax Romana”, a time of peace and consolidation reigned. Civilian emperors were the rule, and the culture flourished with a great deal of liberty enjoyed by the average Roman Citizen. However within 200 years the Roman Empire was in a state of steady decay, attacked by Germans, Goths, and Persians. In the 4th Century (A.D.) the Roman Empire was split between East and West. The Great Emperor Constantine temporarily arrested the decay of the Empire, but within a hundred years after his death the Persians captured Mesopotamia, Vandals infiltrated Gaul and Spain, and the Goths even sacked Rome itself. Most historians date the end of the Western Roman Empire to 476 (A.D.) when Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed. However the Eastern Roman Empire (The Byzantine Empire) survived until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain in the West, throughout most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and into Asia Minor. Valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably these ancient citizens would succumb to one of the many perils of the ancient world. Oftentimes the survivors of these individuals did not know where the valuables had been buried, and today, two thousand years later caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Roman Soldiers oftentimes came to possess large quantities of “booty” from their plunderous conquests, and routinely buried their treasure for safekeeping before they went into battle. If they met their end in battle, most often the whereabouts of their treasure was likewise, unknown. Throughout history these treasures have been inadvertently discovered by farmers in their fields, uncovered by erosion, and the target of unsystematic searches by treasure seekers. With the introduction of metal detectors and other modern technologies to Eastern Europe in the past three or four decades, an amazing number of new finds are seeing the light of day 2,000 years or more after they were originally hidden by their past owners. And with the liberalization of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, new markets have opened eager to share in these treasures of the Roman Empire. HISTORY OF ROMAN SYRIA: The Roman Province of Syria lay directly South of Mesopotamia and further North, Armenia. The Parthians, famous for their mounted archer warriors, had been a constant challenge for the Greeks as well as the Romans. The region was first conquered by the Romans under Emperor Trajan during the Parthian war of A.D. 114-117, although as early as 55 A.D. the Parthians and Romans had struggled over control of Armenia. Half a century later Marcus Aurelius (the elderly Emperor of “Gladiator”) was engaged in another war against the Parthains. And yet again in A.D. 195 and 197-199 the Emperor Septimius Severus engaged the Parthians. In A.D. 224-226 the Parthian state was overthrown by the Sassanids who founded the Persian Empire. Their first Emperor Ardashir proved to be both aggressive and ambitious, aiming to wrest Mesopotamia, Cappadocia to the West, Armenia to the North, and Syria to the South from Roman control. Between an offensive in A.D. 230 and A.D. 241 the Sassanians overran much of Mesopotamia as far west as Antiochia, the capital city of the Roman province of Syria. The Romans launched a counteroffensive in A.D. 243 under Emperor Gordian III, and Gordian’s successor “Phillip the Arab” concluded a peace treaty in A.D. 244. However Aradashir’s son, Shapur I (“the Great”) launched another war in A.D. 252 which was to go on for years, culminating in the capture of the Roman Emperor Valerian in A.D. 260. Accounts of the time state that for the remainder of his life Valerian remained in captivity, serving as Shapur’s foot stool whenever he mounted or dismounted his horse. It took the campaigns of Valerian’s successors, Aurelian, Carus, and Galerius to restore Roman control to the area by the end of the third century A.D. The Romans again controlled the region until A.D. 363 when a crumbling Rome relinquished control of the area to the Persians. It was in this world that this little artifact was created, used, and eventually lost; though it remains a testament to the world that was Rome. The oldest known communities in Mesopotamia are thought to date from 9,000 B.C., and include the ancient city of Babylon. Several civilizations flourished in the fertile area created as the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow south out of Turkey. The river valleys and plains of Mesopotamia, often referred to as the “fertile crescent”, lay between the two rivers, which are about 250 miles apart from one another. The ancient Sumerians and Babylonians were inhabitants of Mesopotamia, located in a region that included parts of what is now eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and most of Iraq, lay between two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. According to the Bible, Abraham came from this area. The area is commonly referred to as "the fertile crescent" by historians and archaeologists. By 4,000 B.C. large cities had grown up in the region. Considered one of the cradles of civilization, the region is referred to frequently in The Bible, and is mentioned as the birthplace of Abraham. The region produced the first written records, as well as the wheel. The region was conquered by the Akkadians in the 24th century B.C. who ruled for about two centuries. The ancient city of Ur controlled the region for the next two centuries until about 2,000 B.C. Mesopotamia was not again united until about 1750 B.C., then the Kingdom of Babylon arose and reigned supreme in the area for about one and one-half centuries. The Babylonians in turn were conquered by Hittites from Turkey in about 1595 B.C. The longest control of the area was by the ancient Assyrians, who ruled the area from about 1350 B.C. through about 600 B.C. After a brief interlude of chaos, the Persians conquered the area and held it for three centuries until Persian and all of its territories were conquered by Alexander the Great in the last 4th century B.C. However the Greeks only held the region for about one century, before it again fell to the Persians. The Persians and Romans wrestled over the area for a number of centuries. Finally in the 7th century A.D. the area of Mesopotamia fell to the Islamic Empire. HISTORY OF SILVER: After gold, silver is the metal most widely used in jewelry and the most malleable. The oldest silver artifacts found by archaeologists date from ancient Sumeria about 4,000 B.C. At many points in the ancient world, it was actually more costly than gold, particularly in ancient Egypt. Silver is found in native form (i.e., in nuggets), as an alloy with gold (electrum), and in ores containing sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorine. Much of the silver originally found in the ancient world was actually a natural alloy of gold and silver (in nugget form) known as “electrum”. The first large-scale silver mines were in Anatolia (ancient Turkey) and Armenia, where as early as 4,000 B.C. silver was extracted from lead ores by means of a complicated process known as “smelting”. Even then the process was not perfect, as ancient silver does contain trace elements, typically lead, gold, bismuth and other metals, and as much as a third of the silver was left behind in the slag. However measuring the concentrations of the “impurities” in ancient silver can help the forensic jewelry historian in determining the authenticity of classical items. From Turkey and Armenia silver refining technology spread to the rest of Asia Minor and Europe. By about 2,500 B.C. the Babylonians were one of the major refiners of silver. Silver “treasures” recovered by archaeologists from the second and third millenniums demonstrate the high value the ancient Mediterranean and Near East placed upon silver. Some of the richest burials in history uncovered by archaeologists have been from this time frame, that of Queen Puabi of Ur, Sumeria (26th century B.C.); Tuankhamun (14th century B.C.), and the rich Trojan (25th century B.C.) and Mycenaean (18th century B.C.) treasures uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann. The ancient Egyptians believed that the skin of their gods was composed of gold, and their bones were thought to be of silver. When silver was introduced into Egypt, it probably was more valuable than gold (silver was rarer and more valuable than gold in many Mesoamerican cultures as well). In surviving inventories of valuables, items of silver were listed above those of gold during the Old Kingdom. Jewelry made of silver was almost always thinner than gold pieces, as indicated by the bracelets of the 4th Dynasty (about 2,500 B.C.) queen Hetephere I, in marked contrast to the extravagance of her heavy gold jewelry. A silver treasure excavated by archaeologists and attributable to the reign of Amenemhat II who ruled during the 12th Dynasty (about 1900 B.C.), contained fine silver items which were actually produced in Crete, by the ancient Minoans. When the price of silver finally did fall due to more readily available supplies, for at least another thousand years (through at least the 19th dynasty, about 1,200 B.C.) the price of silver seems to have been fixed at half that of gold. Several royal mummies attributable to about 1,000 B.C. were even entombed in solid silver coffins. Around 1,000 B.C. Greek Athenians began producing silver from the Laurium mines, and would supply much of the ancient Mediterranean world with its silver for almost 1,000 years. This ancient source was eventually supplemented around 800 B.C. (and then eventually supplanted) by the massive silver mines found in Spain by the Phoenicians and their colony (and ultimate successors) the Carthaginians (operated in part by Hannibal’s family). With the defeat of Carthage by Rome, the Romans gained control of these vast deposits, and mined massive amounts of silver from Spain, stripping entire forests regions for timber to fuel smelting operations. In fact, it was not until the Middle Ages that Spain’s silver mines (and her forests) were finally exhausted. Although known during the Copper Age, silver made only rare appearances in jewelry before the classical age. Despite its infrequent use as jewelry however, silver was widely used as coinage due to its softness, brilliant color, and resistance to oxidation. Silver alloyed with gold in the form of “electrum” was coined to produce money around 700 B.C. by the Lydians of present-day Turkey. Having access to silver deposits and being able to mine them played a big role in the classical world. Actual silver coins were first produced in Lydia about 610 B.C., and subsequently in Athens in about 580 B.C. Many historians have argued that it was the possession and exploitation of the Laurium mines by the Athenians that allowed them to become the most powerful city state in Greece. The Athenians were well aware of the significance of the mining operations to the prosperity of their city, as every citizen had shares in the mines. Enough silver was mined and refined at Laurium to finance the expansion of Athens as a trading and naval power. One estimate is that Laurium produced 160 million ounces of silver, worth six billion dollars today (when silver is by comparison relatively cheap and abundant). As the production of silver from the Laurium mines ultimately diminished, Greek silver production shifted to mines in Macedonia. Silver coinage played a significant role in the ancient world. Macedonia’s coinage during the reign of Philip II (359-336 B.C.) circulated widely throughout the Hellenic world. His famous son, Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.), spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. For both Philip II and Alexander silver coins became an essential way of paying their armies and meeting other military expenses. They also used coins to make a realistic portrait of the ruler of the country. The Romans also used silver coins to pay their legions. These coins were used for most daily transactions by administrators and traders throughout the empire. Roman silver coins also served as an important means of political propaganda, extolling the virtues of Rome and her emperors, and continued in the Greek tradition of realistic portraiture. As well, many public works and architectural achievements were also depicted (among them the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus). In addition many important political events were recorded on the coinage. You can Romaan coins which depicted the assassination of Julius Caesar, alliances between cities, between emperors, between armies, etc. And many contenders for the throne of Rome are known only through their coinage. Silver was also widely used as ornamental work and in other metal wares. In ancient cultures, especially in Rome, silver was highly prized for the making of plate ware, household utensils, and ornamental work. The stability of Rome’s economy and currency depended primarily on the output of the silver mines in Spain which they had wrested from the Carthaginians. In fact many historians would say that it was the control of the wealth of these silver mines which enabled Rome to conquer most of the Mediterranean world. When in 55 B.C. the Romans invaded Britain they were quick to discover and exploit the lead-silver deposits there as well. Only six years later they had established many mines and Britain became another major source of silver for the Roman Empire. It is estimated that by the second century A.D., 10,000 tons of Roman silver coins were in circulation within the empire. That’s about 3½ billion silver coins (at the height of the empire, there were over 400 mints throughout the empire producing coinage). That’s ten times the total amount of silver available to Medieval Europe and the Islamic world combined as of about 800 A.D. Silver later lost its position of dominance to gold, particularly in the chaos following the fall of Rome. Large-scale mining in Spain petered out, and when large-scale silver mining finally resumed four centuries after the fall of Rome, most of the mining activity was in Central Europe. By the time of the European High Middle Ages, silver once again became the principal material used for metal artwork. Huge quantities of silver from the New World also encouraged eager buyers in Europe, and enabled the Spanish to become major players in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Unlike the ores in Europe which required laborious extraction and refining methods to result in pure silver, solid silver was frequently found as placer deposits in stream beds in Spain’s “New World” colonies, reportedly in some instances solid slabs weighing as much as 2,500 pounds. Prior to the discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World, silver had been valued during the Middle Ages at about 10%-15% of the value of gold. In 15th century the price of silver is estimated to have been around $1200 per ounce, based on 2010 dollars. The discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World during the succeeding centuries has caused the price to diminish greatly, falling to only 1-2% of the value of gold. The art of silver work flourished in the Renaissance, finding expression in virtually every imaginable form. Silver was often plated with gold and other decorative materials. Although silver sheets had been used to overlay wood and other metals since ancient Greece, an 18th-century technique of fusing thin silver sheets to copper brought silver goods called Sheffield plate within the reach of most people. At the same time the use of silver in jewelry making had also started gaining popularity in the 17th century. It was often as support in settings for diamonds and other transparent precious stones, in order to encourage the reflection of light. Silver continued to gain in popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and by the 20th century competed with gold as the principal metal used in the manufacture of jewelry. Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of any metal, and one of the highest optical reflectivity values. It has a brilliant metallic luster, is very ductile and malleable, only slightly harder than gold, and is easily worked and polished. When used in jewelry, silver is commonly alloyed to include 7.5% copper, known as “Sterling Silver”, to increase the hardness and reduce the melting temperature. Silver jewelry may be plated with 99.9% pure ‘Fine Silver’ to increase the shine when polished. It may also be plated with rhodium to prevent tarnish. Virtually all gold, with the exception of 24 carat gold, includes silver. Most gold alloys are primarily composed of only gold and silver. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. Precious minerals were likewise considered to have medicinal and “magical” properties in the ancient world. In its pure form silver is non toxic, and when mixed with other elements is used in a wide variety of medicines. Silver ions and silver compounds show a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. Silver was widely used before the advent of antibiotics to prevent and treat infections, silver nitrate being the prevalent form. Silver Iodide was used in babies' eyes upon birth to prevent blinding as the result of bacterial contamination. Silver is still widely used in topical gels and impregnated into bandages because of its wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity. The recorded use of silver to prevent infection dates to ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates, the ancient (5th century B.C.) Greek "father of medicine" wrote that silver had beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. The ancient Phoenicians stored water, wine, and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling. These uses were “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages, when silver was used for several purposes; such as to disinfect water and food during storage, and also for the treatment of burns and wounds as a wound dressing. The ingestion of colloidal silver was also believed to help restore the body's “electromagnetic balance” to a state of equilibrium, and it was believed to detoxify the liver and spleen. In the 19th century sailors on long ocean voyages would put silver coins in barrels of water and wine to keep the liquid potable. Silver (and gold) foil is also used through the world as a food decoration. Traditional Indian dishes sometimes include the use of decorative silver foil, and in various cultures silver dragée (silver coated sugar balls) are used to decorate cakes, cookies, and other dessert items. Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $15.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $19.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world – but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the “business” of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly – even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." TRANSLATE Arabic Chinese French German Greek Indonesian Italian Hindi Japanese Korean Swedish Portuguese Russian Spanish

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