Category Archives: Ancient Coin Profiles

Coins of Herod the Great – CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek ….. IN BIBLICAL HISTORY and popular legend, Herod “the Great”, Rome’s client king of Judaea from 40 to 4 BCE, is an evil tyrant. But ironically, the atrocity he is best remembered for–the “Massacre of the Innocents” (Matthew, 2:16–18)–probably never happened. Herod was born about 73 BCE. Herod’s wealthy father, […]

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Byzantine Coinage of the Empress Irene – CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek ….. ATHENS IN THE eighth century was a provincial small town living on memories of past glories. But its aristocrats were proud of their daughters, reputedly the most talented and beautiful women in the Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) empire. When Emperor Constantine V needed a bride for his son and heir, […]

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The Byzantine Anonymous Follis – CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series

  By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek ….. IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, gold and silver were the coinage of the elite, but humble copper was the coinage of the common folk. For over 120 years, the single denomination of copper coinage issued by the Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) Empire was “Anonymous”. The Anonymous follis did not bear […]

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The Gaius & Lucius Denarius of Augustus – CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series

By Mike Markowitz for CoinWeek …..   A BRILLIANT ORGANIZER and commander, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa[1] engineered Octavian’s rise to supreme power in the waning days of the Roman Republic. Agrippa’s two sons with his wife Julia, Octavian’s only daughter, were Gaius Caesar[2] (born 20 BCE) and Lucius Caesar[3] (born 17 BCE). Gaius and Lucius would […]

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Ancient Coin Profile – Faustina the Elder Roman Imperial Gold Aureus

The Five Good Emperors and Antoninus Pius From about the end of the first century (96 CE) to near the end of the second (180), the Roman Empire was ruled by what historians have historically called the “Five Good Emperors“. These emperors–Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius–are often presented as exemplars of competent […]

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Ancient Greek Coins – New Style Athens Tetradrachm

Attica, Athens AR Tetradrachm. New Style Coinage, circa 154-153 BC By Russell A. Augustin, AU Capital Management, LLC ……   Athens was once immensely powerful and independent, but its invincibility was ultimately disproved. It was conquered first by Sparta, then by Macedonia, and eventually by Rome. Athens’ value was well understood, and it was allowed […]

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Ancient Coin Profiles – Portrait of Alexander the Great

Macedonia, Philip II, struck under Philip III; Kolophon, c. 322 BC, Stater By Russell A. Augustin, AU Capital Management, LLC ……   With no mass media, ancient coins functioned as powerful tools for propaganda due to their portability and potential to circulate widely. Rulers would carefully choose their types and each element of the designs […]

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Ancient Coin Profiles – Portrait of Alexander the Great

Macedonia, Philip II, struck under Philip III; Kolophon, c. 322 BC, Stater By Russell A. Augustin, AU Capital Management, LLC ……   With no mass media, ancient coins functioned as powerful tools for propaganda due to their portability and potential to circulate widely. Rulers would carefully choose their types and each element of the designs […]

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Ancient Coin Profile – Decimus Albinus: The “Other Brutus” Who Stabbed Caesar

By Lorie Ann Hambly for Heritage Auctions …… Decimus Postumus Albinus Brutus was at first a loyal adherent to the great dictator Julius Caesar. The son of the consul for 77 BCE, D. Junius Brutus, he was later adopted into the Postumia gens (clan) and thus bore the names of two illustrious Republican families. He […]

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Ancient Coin Profiles: Roman Imperial Silver Denarius – Caligula & Agrippina the Elder

Overview: Caligula long ago entered the popular imagination as an archetype of the sadistic and depraved Roman emperor. From a distance of almost 2,000 years, it is hard to say to what extent the stories of incest, madness and murderous sociopathy that have come down to us are accurate or exaggerations of political expediency. But […]

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Ancient Coin Profile – Pompeia’s Pick: Gold Coin of the Great Kushans

By Lorie Ann Hambly for Heritage Auctions …… Pompeia’s pick this time is a departure from our usual run of Greco-Roman coins: A gold double-dinar of Vima Kadphises, Kushan ruler of northern and central India from 113 to 137 CE Considering the importance of Ancient India as home of one of the Ancient World’s great […]

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Ancient Coin Profiles: Greece – Kingdom of Macedon Gold Stater

Overview: Macedon The Kingdom of Macedon was considered a barbaric place by the cultivated Greeks of Attica (such as the Athenians) and the Peloponnese (such as the Spartans) to the South. In fact, a certain king of Macedon named Alexander I (ruled approximately 498-454 BCE) wasn’t even allowed to participate in the Olympic Games until […]

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Ancient Coin Profiles: Silver Stater of Tarsus

Overview: Tarsus Tarsus was an ancient city located on the southern Mediterranean shore of Asia Minor in what is now modern Turkey. It was already ancient when the Persians added it to their empire, with habitation going back to the Stone Age. It sat at the intersection of important regional and world trade routes, and […]

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