||PROVINCIA DACIA dupondius
Philip the Arab - Philippus Arabs
| ~22 mm diameter, ? grams, AE
Reverse: allegorical personification of Dacia, wearing pileus (Phrygian cap), holding a curved sword in the right hand (a typical Dacian weapon) and a military standard with number XIII in the other hand; at left a military standard with number V and an eagle with a crown in its beak - symbol of Legio V Macedonica - and at right a lion - symbol of al Legio XIII Gemina, inscription PROVINCIA DACIA, in exergue AN·I
|Obverse: draped bust of Philip the Arab to the right, with radiate crown, inscription IMPMIVLPHILIPPVSAVG, meaning
IMP[ERATOR] M[ARCUS] IUL[IUS] PHILIPPUS AUG[USTUS]
The coin corresponds to the description at position 2 in the Moushmov catalog (but with year I instead of II) and is described in AMNG I at position 5 (AMNG = Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, B. Pick, 1898).
About Dupondius (Dupondii at Plural)
The coin named dupondius was issued for the first time during the Rome's republican era, in the 3rd century BC, and, as the name proves, had a double weight in comparison with the measurement unit - the weight of the as. At that time the bronze coins were very heavy, and were cast and not struck. At the beginning the as weighed one libra, approximately 327 grams, but it slowly suffered succesive weight reductions. Such a heavy dupondius (the dupondii were issued after the first weight reduction of the asses) had the head of goddess Minerva or of Rome on the obverse, and a prow (forward part of the ship) of a galley and a mark of value - roman numeral II - on the reverse.
Durind the rule of emperor Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD) the dupondius was reintroduced into circulation, as a coin with rather small value, and it had ~27 millimeters in diameter and ~11 grams in weight. It was struck, like the sestertius, from orichalcum (a brass with golden colour). The dupondius was quite similar in size and weight with the as, the later having been struck from copper (reddish metal, cheaper than orichalcum), so these coin denominations can be distinguished by color. Emperor Nero (54 - 68 e.n.) introduced a small modification: his head was represented wearing radiate crown, sign that later became characteristic for dupondii. The radiate crown also became a symbol of double value, on the 3rd century antoniniani, that theoretically were worth two denarii, the emperor being represented with such a radiate crown. The issuing of dupondii ceased in the last part of the 3rd century. During the 1st, 2nd and 3rd century the coin named dupondius was valued at 2 asses, meaning half sesterce or one eighth of a denarius.
In Latin "dupondiarius", adjective meaning "of two asses" also had the sense of "worthless" (Guțu G., Dicționar latin-român. (Latin-Romanian Dictionary) Ed. Științifică și Enciclopedică, București, 1983). It must be mentioned that in the ancient Rome the sesterce - equivalent with two dupondii - was also used as account unit.
About the Denomonations of PROVINCIA DACIA Coins
It is commonly accepted that in Dacia were struck sesterces, dupondii and asses - classical denominations for the Roman monetary system . Asses and dupondii were struck only in the first three years of the mint existence and they are scarce.
In conformity with the date presented in , ~75% of Provincia Dacia coins with AN I are sesterces, ~20% dupondii, the rest being asses. The Provincia Dacia dupondius has 20-22 mm in diameter and a mass of approximately 4.5 grams. The asses have 19-20 mm in diameter and about 3.7 grams in weight.
It must be noted that, on Provincia Dacia dupondii, the emperor is represented with radiate crown instead of laurel wreath. The head of Philip the Arab is represented in conformity with the tradition of the imperial dupondii struck at Rome. Only a part of the Provincia Dacia dupondii that can be found as pictures on the Internet show small dimples on both sides. These dimples are typical for Roman provincial coins, but not for Dacian sesterces.
1. Alföldy-Găzdac Ágnes, Găzdac Cristian, The Coinage of "Provincia Dacia" - a Coinage for one Province only? (AD 246-257). Acta Mvsei Napocensis, 39-40/I, Cluj-Napoca, 2002-2003 (2004), p. 247-258.
2. Aldor Balazs, Monedele Provincia Dacia. (Provincia Dacia Coins) Colecționarul român, nr. 5, 2006, p. 1-3, http://www.colectionarul-roman.ro/stiri/148/monedele-provincia-dacia.htm.