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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Thrace & Moesia| ▸ |Nikopolis||View Options:  |  |  | 

Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, the Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum

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There are peculiarities about these Roman crescent and star reverse types that are difficult to understand. First, the crescents are almost always depicted with the horns up. The moon is never seen this way in the sky. Also, in the sky stars are never visible within the horns of the crescent moon because there they would be behind the shadowed yet solid and opaque orb. The crescent with horns up may represent a solar eclipse.
RP92881. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.48.37 (R2), Varbanov I 2474 var. (obv. leg.), AMNG I/I 1432, Moushmov 986, gVF, green patina, slightly off center, scratches, spot of corrosion on reverse, weight 2.928 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AY K Λ CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, five stars above and within crescent with horns upward; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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A star or stars within a crescent with horns up probably represent a solar eclipse.
RP89583. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.18.48.1 (R2), Varbanov I 2999 (R3), AMNG I/I 1513.2, Moushmov 1118, aF, edge cracks, weight 2.055 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 195 - 28 Jan 198; obverse M AV KA ANTΩNIN, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, six-pointed star above and within crescent with horns up; $16.00 (€14.08)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by his cousin King Eurystheus, was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight, the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.
SH68062. Bronze assarion, Varbanov I 2347; H-H-J Nikopolis p. 83, 8.14.14.24 corr. (same dies, R2); cf. AMNG I/I 1390 (obverse) and 1389 (reverse), EF, sharp, beautiful patina, weight 4.220 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 225o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AV K Λ C CEVHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛIT ΠPOC I, Herakles standing right, wrestling with the Nemean lion; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Hristova, H., H.-J. Hoeft, & G. Jekov. The Coins of Moesia Inferior 1st - 3rd c. AD: Nicopolis ad Istrum. (Blagoevgrad, 2014).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins: European Mints. (San Mateo, 1989).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Moushmov, N. Ancient Coins of the Balkan Peninsula. (1912).
Pick, B. & K. Regling. Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Moesien. AMNG I/I. (Berlin, 1898).
Poole, R.S. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thrace, etc. (London, 1877).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 7: Taurische Chersones. Sarmatien. Dacia. Moesia superior. Moesia inferior. (Berlin, 1985).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. (London, 1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. (Oxford, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 1: Roman Provincial Coins: Spain - Kingdoms of Asia Minor. (Oxford, 2004).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Hungary, Budapest, Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, III: Moesia inferior. (Milan, 2000).
Varbanov, Ivan. Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior. (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005).

Catalog current as of Sunday, December 15, 2019.
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Nikopolis ad Istrum