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PB Hadrian - Lyra Syria


HADRIAN. Æ Half-Assarion ? Rome, 129 AD Obv. HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS Radiate head l., with aegis on l. shoulder Rev. COS III SC Lyra. RIC 688; Cohen 443 Bronze struck in Rome and shipped to Syria, or locally struck in Syria (probably Antioch) from dies engraved in Rome, for circulation in Syria. These Rome mint style coins don't bear the characteristics of imperial bronze denominations, Dupondius/As/Semis/Quadrans: weight doesn't match, reverses do show the normal senate approval 'SC' but much in the Antioch coins fashion, within a laurel wreath. Rather, these coins have to fit in the Greek coinage system, and would then be Assaria and their fractions. These coins were probably issued for the visit of Hadrian to Syrian in 129/130 AD. The lyra is the attribute of Apollo of Daphne. According to mythology, the nymph Daphne, fleeing the unwelcome attentions of Apollo, took refuge there and was turned into a laurel tree (Daphne in Greek). Much patronised by the emperors, Daphne became such a magnificent pleasure garden that it put Antioch in the shade, to the extent that certain works of literature refer to Antioch as Epidaphne, the city next to Daphne. Bought in Aleppo (Syria), 1997. Nice shiny black desert patina.

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Latin coinage for the East (Syria)

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