SELEUCIS & PIERIA, ANTIOCH, Caracalla, 198-217 AD, silver tetradrachm


SELEUCIS & PIERIA, ANTIOCH, Caracalla, 198-217 AD, tetradrachm, 4th consul (213-17 AD), Obverse: laureate head R, ΑΥ Κ ΜΑ ΑΝΤΩΝΕΙΝΟΣ ΣΕΒ, Reverse: eagle standing facing, head R, wreath in beak, ΔHMAΡX EΞ YΠATOC TO Δ, silver, 25mm, 11.83g, Prieur 230, SGI2650, crude, VF

1 in stock

SKU: 3097032 Categories: ,


Caracalla was a nickname for Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, for a kind of cloak he liked to wear. His reign was troubled from the beginning by the unfortunate antipathy between him and his brother Geta, who he eventually murdered. He did a bunch of civil building, and granted citizenship to all of the inhabitants of the Empire. He also liked war perhaps a bit more than he should have, picking unnecessary fights. Eventually he was assassinated on his way to a war with Parthia.

Antioch on the Orontes was a major hub of the caravan and sea trades in ancient times.

Seleucis and Pieria was an ancient region of “greater Syria” that inclued the northwestern part of modern Syria and southeastern Anatolia in modern Turkey. Pieria is the land surrounding the town of Seleucia, which was built around 300 BC by Seleukos (Seleucus) I Nikator, a general of Alexander the Great. Briefly conquered by Tigranes II of Armenia, Seleucia was then taken by the Roman general Pompey the Great, who gave it to Antiochos I Theos of Commagene, at which time the city was renamed Antioch. Antioch thrived for centuries as an emporium where the Arabian caravans met the Silk Road caravans met the Mediterranean maritime trade. Philip II was son of Philip I (the Arab), who was constantly fighting during his reign. At age 7 the son was made “Caesar,” the name of the famous dictator had been made into an administrative title meaning “junior emper. He was named co-Emperor at age 12. Of course he didn’t “do” anything other than follow his father around. Dad took him off to war and they both died, or maybe Philip II made it back to Rome and was assassinated by the Praetorian (palace) Guards.

The Romans, as they were building their empire, preferred to let the local coinage arrangements remain in place. As they developed their political system into the Cult of Personality that was the Empire, they started putting imperial portraits on the local coins. Later, as the Empire began to shrink, they preferred to centralize their coinage operations, eliminating local control. There were also allied and client states, some of which, at times, issued coins celebrating the alliance or subservience. The main catalog reference for these coins on this web site is Greek Imperial Coins and their Values, by David Sear.