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Tomis - 4.5 assaria - Gordian III and Tranquillina / Tyche
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Gordian III and Tranquillina / Tyche - 4.5 assaria - obverse Gordian III and Tranquillina / Tyche - 4.5 assaria - reverse
27 mm diameter, 11.45 g, bronze
Obverse: confronted busts of Gordian III and Sabinia Tranquillina, cuirassed and draped Gordian III to the right, draped Sabinia Tranquillina to the left, wearing "stephane" crown, legend [AV]TKMANTΓOPΔIANOC AVΓ CE TPANKVΛ ΛEINA, outer pearl circle
Reverse: goddess Tyche standing, head to the left, crowned, wearing kalathos (hat), chiton (tunic) and himation (cloak), holding cornucopia in the left hand, right hand resting on rudder (the rudder has a globe at the upper end), legend MHTPOΠONT OVTOMEΩC, outer pearl circle
Gordian III and Tranquillina / Tyche - 4.5 assaria - obverse Gordian III and Tranquillina / Tyche - 4.5 assaria - reverse
~26 mm diameter, ~10 g, bronze
Obverse: confronted busts of Gordian III and Sabinia Tranquillina, cuirassed and draped Gordian III to the right, draped Sabinia Tranquillina to the left, wearing "stephane" crown, legend [AVTK]MANTΓOPΔIANOC AVΓ [·]CE TPANKVΛ ΛEINA, outer pearl circle
Reverse: goddess Tyche to the left, crowned, standing, wearing kalathos (hat), chiton (tunic) and himation (cloak), holding cornucopia in the left hand, right hand resting on rudder (the rudder has no globe at the upper end), face value D< (Δ<), legend MHTPOΠON TOVTOMEΩC, outer pearl circle

The first ancient coin on the page is present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. Pavlos S. Pavlou.

The pictures of the second coin above are present through the kind permission of an anonymous donor.

The first coin corresponds to the description at number 2284 in the Moushmov catalog and is described in AMNG I at position 3547 (AMNG = Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, B. Pick, 1898).

The second coin (also Moushmov 2284) is described in AMNG I at position 3551 (AMNG = Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands, B. Pick, 1898). In comparison with the first coin on the page, the second has no globe at the end of the rudder, has the face value inscribed into the field, and the legend on the reverse is split in a different way.

About the denomination of the coin

On the second coin coin we see the denomination value as the letter Δ together with sign <, placed in the field left to goddess Tyche. Letter Δ being the fourth of the alphabet, stands for the value of 4. The half of assarion was marked by an <, so the coin is worth 4.5 assaria.

Denomination assarion / assaria was used for the name of bronze coins issued by several towns on the western and northern border of the Black Sea (Tomis, Callatis, Chersones, Tyras, Olbia and plenty more). At Tomis coins of 1 assarion, 2, 3, 4 and 5 assaria were struck, bearing as digits Α, Β, Γ, Δ and Ε. Coins with intermediate values were also issued.

The coins of 4 assaria and a half are specific to Tomis, while the design with confronted busts is specific to the provincial large 5 assaria pieces. A possible explanation was proposed here. These coin were local coins. In spite of the fact that the value of 1 denarius was, officially, 16 asses, it is quite possible that in local money the denarius was worth more. If 1 Roman denarius was equal with 18 asses from Tomis, than it could be exchanged for four coins of 4.5 assaria. In that case the issue of coins having such unusual denomination can be explained by the need of coins fit for money exchanges.

About the legend on the obverse

The legend accompanying the busts of emperor Gordian III and of his wife Tranquillina is AVT K M ANT ΓOPΔIANOC AVΓ · CE TPANKVΛΛEINA, standing for the Greek translation of Latin IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCUS ANTONIUS GORDIANUS and AUGUSTA TRANQUILLINA. 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 most probably short for Kaisar, Caesar.


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