about ancient nomos

Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Provincial, Roman – 214 AD

Emperor Caracalla

From Ancient Galleries

Provincial, Roman – 214 AD

Obverse: Laureate bust of Caracalla facing to the right, wearing his cuirass ornamented with the facing head of Medusa.
Reverse: Asclepion Temple with Asclepius seated inside, Caracalla stands to the right, as a priest wields an ax in center.

Obv: AΥTKΡAT K MAΡKOC AΥΡ ANTΩNEINOC, Laureate bust of Caracalla to right, wearing cuirass ornamented with the facing head of Medusa. Rev: EΠI CTΡ M KAIΡEΛ ATTAΛOΥ / ΠEΡΓAMHNΩN ΠΡΩTΩN Γ NEΩKOΡΩN, Emperor Caracalla, togate, standing right, holding volumen and pouring sacrifice from patera over the head of a bull that is about to be sacrificed by a Victimarius. The Temple of Asclepion to the right seen in perspective, with god Asclepius seated left within the central intercolumniation; before it to left, an ax-wielding priest about to sacrifice a humped bull.

This fascinating coin is part of a highly interesting series of large bronze coins that chronicle Caracalla’s 214 AD visit to the provincial Roman city of Pergamum. The visit is chronicled through a variety ancient coin images depicting Roman political, cultural and religious scenes including; Tyche as personification of the city, leading Pergamum magistrates presenting gifts to the Emperor, miniature Asclepius statues, Pagan rituals, Caracalla’s visit to the sacred gardens adjacent to the Asclepion, and as depicted above, a Bull being sacrificed before the god Asclepius at his sacred Temple.

The last 4 words of the reverse legend read, ΠΕΡΓΑΜΗΝΩΝ ΠΡΩΤΩΝ Γ ΝΕΩΚΟΡΩΝ. This was an important declaration made by Caracalla during his visit to Pergamum which translates to mean, “Pergamum – First to have 3 Neocorates.” This very special inscription is seen as a declaration that refers to the City of Pergamum as being the first city in Asia Minor to be awarded a third neokorate. The third neokorate, while remaining an enigmatic reference today, likely refers to an official heightened city status as a “warden of a Temple.” This elevated status symbolically boosted both Pergamum’s reputation and power in the region. (Reference: Kelly Ward, Roman Provincial Coinage as Advertising for the Temple of Asclepius in Pergamum – 2011.)



The historical information for the above large Provincial Roman Bronze by Emperor Caracalla exhibits are currently in review. Please come back to visit this item again in the next few weeks.

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The ANAM Special Features gallery takes a closer look at this commemorative Caracalla medallion depiction of ancient Roman sacrifice and image iconography during his 214 AD worship of Asclepius in Pergamum. To view the Special Features coin exhibit commemorating Caracalla’s visit to Pergamum, please use the following link: Caracalla Commemorative Pergamum Iconography Exhibit

Value: Octassarion (8 Assaria). Metal: AE Bronze. Weight: 46.14 grams. Mint: Pergamum. Date: circa 214 AD.
Attribution: BMC 324; SNG Paris 2230 (same dies); Tkalec 8, 357 (this coin); Nomos 5, 245 (this coin).

Legend, Documentation and Attribution