Pontic coins are an important part of the Romanian numismatics.
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4 assaria - Elagabalus / Apollo
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coin from Tomis - Elagabalus / Apollo - reverse coin from Tomis - Elagabalus / Apollo - obverse
~26 mm diameter, ? grams, AE
Reverse: naked god Apolo standing, with laureate head to the right, holding laurel branch in the right hand and bow in the left hand; with a chlamys on the left forearm; at left nominal value D (Δ = 4 assaria); legend MHTPO ΠONT OVTOMEΩC
Obverse: laureate Elagabalus to the right, cuirassed and draped bust, legend AVTKMAVP AN[TΩNEINOC]

The ancient coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. GLV. The coin belongs to the category of provincial Roman coins, sometimes called Greek imperial. The coin corresponds to the description at number 2036 in the Moushmov catalog and is described in AMNG I at position 3056 (AMNG = Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, B. Pick, 1898).

About emperor Elagabalus

Elagabalus, also known as Heliogabalus, was named Varius Avitus Bassianus Elagabalus at birth. He was the son of Roman knight Sextus Varius Marcellus and of Julia Soaemias, being the nephew of Julia Maesa (sister of Julia Domna). On May 16th 218 he was proclaimed emperor at Emessa in Syria. Julia Maesa spread the rumor that Elagabalus was the son of Caracalla. So the name of the new emperor was changed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the name of Caracalla, his pretended father. Elagabalus was priest of Sun god Baal of Emessa, El Gabal. As emperor he proclaimed the Sun as the supreme god of the empire, and he brought at Rome the black stone of the god of Emessa. In 221 he adopted his cousin Severus Alexander, who followed him to the throne. In March 222 Elagabalus was assasinated by the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard.

About the legend on the coin's obverse

The legend accompanying the portrait of Elagabalus, AVT K M AVP ANTΩNEINOC, is the Greek translation of the Latin IMP[ERATOR] C[AESAR] M[ARCUS] AUR[ELIUS] ANTONINUS. The word imperator was translated by autocrator (autokrates in Greek meaning governing by one's self), IMP being replaced by AVT. Letter K following AVT is a short for Kaisar, Caesar.

About the small dimples on the coin

On the obverse as well as on the reverse some tiny dimples can be seen (also clearly visible on several provincial Roman coins present on our site). The signification of these dimples is not completely clear, the most common opinion being that they served a certain purpose during minting. So, they would be some sort of centering holes.


The History of Tomis
and More
The Ancient Pontic World
and Its Connection to Romanians (with Map)


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