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Jug of Priceless Ancient Roman Coins Discovered in Special Turkish City

Jug of Priceless Ancient Roman Coins Discovered in Special Turkish City

A “very special and unique collection” of ancient Roman coins have been unearthed at an equally special 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Turkey. More than 650 priceless coins were found at Aizanoi, which is located in the Kutahya province and has been compared to the famous ancient city of Ephesus.

A Jug of Rare Ancient Roman Coins

“These 651 silver coins, from the era of Emperor Augustus, constitute a very special and unique collection,” Elif Özer, a professor at Pamukkale University and the archaeologist in charge of the dig at Aizanoi, told Anadolu Agency .

One of the ancient Roman coins discovered in the ancient city of Aizanoi, Kütahya province, Turkey. ( Andalou Agency )

The ancient coin collection is comprised of 439 Roman silver denarius coins and 212 cistophorus coins which come from the ancient Greek city of Pergamon. The archaeological team believes that the coins may have belonged to a high-ranking soldier. “These silver coins are a ‘coin album’ of the last century of the Roman Republic period. It constitutes a very special and unique collection,” Özer said . The professor has also called this discovery “the most outstanding silver coin collection found in recent times.

Precious Roman coins that were discovered in the ancient city of Aizanoi, Kütahya province, western Turkey. ( Hürriyet Daily News )

Özer said the ancient Roman coins were found in a jug that was protected by terracotta plates. It was discovered and carefully unearthed in a waterway which runs through the 5,000-year-old site. The excavators found the jug while working on a riverboat project. According to Daily Sabah , the goal of the project is to provide visitors with the chance to explore the site’s ruins on sailboats which will pass through the waterways “just as the Romans did centuries ago.”

The ancient Roman coins were found in a jug that was protected by terracotta plates. (Aizanoi Excavation Directorate / Anadolu Agency )

Aizanoi, A Special Archaeological City

The ancient city of Aizanoi is located 57 kilometers (35 miles) from the Kütahya city center in western Turkey. It is fondly referred to as “the second Ephesus of Turkey” and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2012.

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A Turkish archaeological team led by Pamukkale University’s Archaeology Department has been working at the site since 2011 and they began restoration work there in June 2020 following the years of damage by landslides and earthquakes. Before then, archaeologists from the German Archaeological Institute worked at the site from 1970 to 2011.

The most famous feature at the site is the Temple of Zeus, which is said to be the best-preserved temple honoring the Greek god in all of ancient Anatolia. It also houses the ruins of an impressive ancient theater and stadium, a gymnasium, five bridges, a trade building, cemeteries, two public baths, and a sacred cave called Metre Steune, which was used before the first century BC.

The most famous feature at the Aizanoi archaeological site is the Temple of Zeus - the best-preserved temple honoring the Greek god in all of ancient Anatolia. ( ErdalIslak /Adobe Stock)

The excavations at the Temple of Zeus suggest that there has been a settlement at the site since 3000 BC. The Roman Empire captured the city in 133 BC and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry's website says that the city “experienced its golden age in the second and third centuries AD and became the center of the episcopacy in the Byzantine era.” The site was rediscovered in 1824 by European travelers.

The coins are now exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Özer told Anadolu Agency that the archaeological team is currently preparing journal articles and books in Turkish and English to promote the discovery of the rare and priceless ancient Roman coins.

The ancient Roman coins are now exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. ( Andalou Agency )


Collection of priceless Roman coins unearthed in Turkey

/>News Service 14:15 January 27, 2021 AA

Collection of priceless Roman coins unearthed in Turkey

Over 650 priceless Roman-era coins have been unearthed in an ancient city in western Turkey, researchers said Wednesday.

“These 651 silver coins, from the era of the Emperor Augustus, constitute a very special and unique collection,” Elif Ozer, senior archaeologist supervising the dig in the ancient city of Aizanoi, told Anadolu Agency.

The coins were found in an ancient jug, said Ozer, a professor at Pamukkale University.

A Turkish team took over the excavations in 2011 in Aizanoi, located in the Kutahya province, a settlement which draws comparisons to the famed ancient city of Ephesus, she added.

Aizanoi also boasts the best-preserved temple of the Greek god Zeus in Anatolia, and in 2012 was added to UNESCO’S tentative list of World Heritage.

Of the coins, 439 are standard Roman silver denarius coins, and 212 are cistophor coins from the ancient Greek city of Pergamom, she added.

Ozer also said her team is preparing to promote the collection by publishing journal articles and books in both Turkish and English.

The collection is now being exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in the Turkish capital, Ankara.


A Treasure Trove of Ancient Roman Silver Coins Was Discovered Inside a Jug in Turkey

Archeologists have stumbled across a collection of ancient Roman coins in western Turkey. Though the treasure trove was found in 2019, it wasn’t until this year that the researchers learned just how important their discovery was.

The haul of 651 silver coins was discovered inside a jug that was unearthed on a dig in the ancient city of Aizanoi, led by researchers from Pamukkale University, reports Smithsonian Magazine. Hidden by three terracotta plates, it was likely buried during the period of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, who ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD.

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The coins themselves appear to date back as far as 75 BC. The collection likely belonged to a high-ranking Roman soldier and includes 439 denarii, a type of silver coin first introduced in third century BC, and 212 cistophori, silver coins from the ancient Greek city of Pergamum, according to a press release from the university. Most of the coins, which minted in southern Italy, feature the face of Augustus, but others bear the likeness of Julius Caesar, his great uncle and adopted father, and Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the ringleaders of Caesar’s assassination.

In the statement, lead archeologist Elif Özer referred to the cache of coins as a “very special and unique collection,” before going on to say it might be “the most special silver coin find of recent times.”

The jug containing the coins was discovered as part of a broader restoration effort that began back in 2011, according to the magazine. It’s unclear what will happen to the collection, but for now it will be put on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in the capital city of Ankara.

This isn’t the first time Roman coins have been in the news in recently months. Last October, a gold coin that was a “naked and shameless celebration” of the murder of Caesar sold for a stunning $3.5 million at auction. That coin, like some in the collection discovered in Aizanoi, featured the image of Brutus.

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In January 2021, archaeologists led by Dr. Elif Özer from Pamukkale University announced that they had discovered a cache containing 651 Roman coins dated about 2,100 years ago in a jug buried near a stream in Aizanoi. Researchers revealed a jug firstly in 2019. 439 pieces of coins were denarius (ancient Roman coins minted on silver), and 212 were cistophori, silver coins from Pergamum. Caesar, Brutus, Mark Antony and Augustus Young are engraved on the mostly well-preserved coins. Find is going to display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. [4] [5] [6] [7]

  1. ^"Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002 . Retrieved 2013-03-05 .
  2. ^
  3. "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute . Retrieved 2013-02-27 .
  4. ^
  5. Turkish Statistical Institute. "Census 2000, Key statistics for urban areas of Turkey" (XLS) (in Turkish) . Retrieved 2008-10-31 .
  6. ^
  7. "Collection of priceless Roman coins unearthed in Turkey". www.aa.com.tr . Retrieved 2021-02-17 .
  8. ^
  9. Agency, Anadolu (2021-01-28). "Rare collection of Roman coins found in Turkey's ancient Aizanoi". Daily Sabah . Retrieved 2021-02-17 .
  10. ^
  11. Jack Guy (2021-02-09). "More than 650 silver Roman coins found in a jug in Turkey". CNN Style . Retrieved 2021-02-17 .
  12. ^
  13. "Stash of more than 600 Roman-era silver coins discovered in Turkey | Live Science". www.livescience.com . Retrieved 2021-02-17 .

This article about an Aegean Region of Turkey location is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


Huge Trove of Roman Silver Coins Unearthed in Turkey

The 2,100-year-old silver coins found in the ancient city of Aizanoi, Turkey. Image credit: Pamukkale University.

A total of 651 silver coins were found in a jug in the ancient city of Aizanoi, which is located in the present-day city of Çavdarhisar in Kütahya province, western Turkey.

They were found in 2019 during archeological excavations led by Professor Elif Özer, an archaeologist in the Department of Classical Archeology at Pamukkale University.

“Most of these coins are extremely rare. One or two examples are known to exist in collections worldwide,” Professor Özer said.

“Most of them were minted in southern Italy. It is the most special silver coin find of recent times.”

The 2,100-year-old silver coins found in Aizanoi, Turkey. Image credit: Pamukkale University.

Professor Özer and colleagues identified 439 coins from the hoard as denarii and 212 as cistophori.

They think that the coins may have been brought to Aizanoi by a high-ranking Roman soldier.

Many of the coins depict the Roman emperor Augustus, while others show Mark Antony, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Brutus.

“Among these silver coins covering the century of the Roman Republic period, there is a fake coin from that period,” Professor Özer said.

“Coins belonging to Julius Caesar and Brutus make the collection more special.”

“One type shows a scene with Aeneas — the mythological ancestor of Remus and Romulus, the founders of Rome — entering Italy.”


A Treasure Trove of Ancient Roman Silver Coins Was Discovered Inside a Jug in Turkey

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Pamukkale University

Archeologists have stumbled across a collection of ancient Roman coins in western Turkey. Though the treasure trove was found in 2019, it wasn&rsquot until this year that the researchers learned just how important their discovery was.

The haul of 651 silver coins was discovered inside a jug that was unearthed on a dig in the ancient city of Aizanoi, led by researchers from Pamukkale University, reports Smithsonian Magazine. Hidden by three terracotta plates, it was likely buried during the period of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, who ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD.

Related Stories

Some of the Roman silver coins discovered by archeologists at Pamukkale University Pamukkale University

The coins themselves appear to date back as far as 75 BC. The collection likely belonged to a high-ranking Roman soldier and includes 439 denarii, a type of silver coin first introduced in third century BC, and 212 cistophori, silver coins from the ancient Greek city of Pergamum, according to a press release from the university. Most of the coins, which minted in southern Italy, feature the face of Augustus, but others bear the likeness of Julius Caesar, his great uncle and adopted father, and Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the ringleaders of Caesar&rsquos assassination.

In the statement, lead archeologist Elif Özer referred to the cache of coins as a &ldquovery special and unique collection,&rdquo before going on to say it might be &ldquothe most special silver coin find of recent times.&rdquo

The jug containing the coins was discovered as part of a broader restoration effort that began back in 2011, according to the magazine. It&rsquos unclear what will happen to the collection, but for now it will be put on display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in the capital city of Ankara.

This isn&rsquot the first time Roman coins have been in the news in recently months. Last October, a gold coin that was a &ldquonaked and shameless celebration&rdquo of the murder of Caesar sold for a stunning $3.5 million at auction. That coin, like some in the collection discovered in Aizanoi, featured the image of Brutus.


Contents

The manufacture of coins in the Roman culture, dating from about the 4th century BC, significantly influenced later development of coin minting in Europe. The origin of the word "mint" is ascribed to the manufacture of silver coin at Rome in 269 BC near the temple of Juno Moneta. This goddess became the personification of money, and her name was applied both to money and to its place of manufacture. Roman mints were spread widely across the Empire, and were sometimes used for propaganda purposes. The populace often learned of a new Roman Emperor when coins appeared with the new Emperor's portrait. Some of the emperors who ruled only for a short time made sure that a coin bore their image [ citation needed ] Quietus, for example, ruled only part of the Roman Empire from 260 to 261 AD, and yet he issued thirteen coins bearing his image from three mints. [2] The Romans cast their larger copper coins in clay moulds carrying distinctive markings, not because they did not know about striking, but because it was not suitable for such large masses of metal.

Roman adoption of metallic commodity money was a late development in monetary history. Bullion bars and ingots were used as money in Mesopotamia since the 7th millennium BC and Greeks in Asia Minor had pioneered the use of coinage (which they employed in addition to other more primitive, monetary mediums of exchange) as early as the 7th century BC. [3] Coinage proper was only introduced by the Roman Republican government c. 300 BC. The greatest city of the Magna Graecia region in southern Italy, and several other Italian cities, already had a long tradition of using coinage by this time and produced them in large quantities during the 4th century BC to pay for their wars against the inland Italian groups encroaching on their territory. For these reasons, the Romans would have certainly known about coinage systems long before their government actually introduced them.

The reason behind Rome's adoption of coinage was likely cultural. The Romans had no pressing economic need, but they wanted to emulate Greek culture they considered the institution of minted money a significant feature of that culture. However, Roman coinage initially saw very limited use. [4]

The type of money introduced by Rome was unlike that found elsewhere in the ancient Mediterranean. It combined a number of uncommon elements. One example is the large bronze bullion, the aes signatum (Latin for signed bronze). It measured about 160 by 90 millimetres (6.3 by 3.5 in) and weighed around 1,500 to 1,600 grams (53 to 56 oz), being made out of a highly leaded tin bronze. Although similar metal currency bars had been produced in Italy and northern Etruscan areas, these had been made of Aes grave, an unrefined metal with a high iron content. [5]

Along with the aes signatum, the Roman state also issued a series of bronze and silver coins that emulated the styles of those produced in Greek cities. [6] Produced using the manner of manufacture then utilised in Greek Naples, the designs of these early coins were also heavily influenced by Greek designs. [7]

The designs on the coinage of the Republican period displayed a "solid conservatism", usually illustrating mythical scenes or personifications of various gods and goddesses. [8]

Iconography Edit

The imagery on coins took an important step when Julius Caesar issued coins bearing his own portrait. While moneyers had earlier issued coins with portraits of ancestors, Caesar's was the first Roman coinage to feature the portrait of a living individual. The tradition continued following Caesar's assassination, although the imperators from time to time also produced coins featuring the traditional deities and personifications found on earlier coins. The image of the Roman emperor took on a special importance in the centuries that followed, because during the empire, the emperor embodied the state and its policies. The names of moneyers continued to appear on the coins until the middle of Augustus' reign. Although the duty of moneyers during the Empire is not known, since the position was not abolished, it is believed that they still had some influence over the imagery of the coins.

The main focus of the imagery during the empire was on the portrait of the emperor. Coins were an important means of disseminating this image throughout the empire. Coins often attempted to make the emperor appear god-like through associating the emperor with attributes normally seen in divinities, or emphasizing the special relationship between the emperor and a particular deity by producing a preponderance of coins depicting that deity. During his campaign against Pompey, Caesar issued a variety of types that featured images of either Venus or Aeneas, attempting to associate himself with his divine ancestors. An example of an emperor who went to an extreme in proclaiming divine status was Commodus. In AD 192 , he issued a series of coins depicting his bust clad in a lion-skin (the usual depiction of Hercules) on the obverse, and an inscription proclaiming that he was the Roman incarnation of Hercules on the reverse. Although Commodus was excessive in his depiction of his image, this extreme case is indicative of the objective of many emperors in the exploitation of their portraits. While the emperor is by far the most frequent portrait on the obverse of coins, heirs apparent, predecessors, and other family members, such as empresses, were also featured. To aid in succession, the legitimacy of an heir was affirmed by producing coins for that successor. This was done from the time of Augustus till the end of the empire.

Featuring the portrait of an individual on a coin, which became legal in 44 BC, caused the coin to be viewed as embodying the attributes of the individual portrayed. Dio wrote that following the death of Caligula the Senate demonetized his coinage, and ordered that they be melted. Regardless of whether or not this actually occurred, it demonstrates the importance and meaning that was attached to the imagery on a coin. The philosopher Epictetus jokingly wrote: "Whose image does this sestertius carry? Trajan's? Give it to me. Nero's? Throw it away, it is unacceptable, it is rotten." Although the writer did not seriously expect people to get rid of their coins, this quotation demonstrates that the Romans attached a moral value to the images on their coins. Unlike the obverse, which during the imperial period almost always featured a portrait, the reverse was far more varied in its depiction. During the late Republic there were often political messages to the imagery, especially during the periods of civil war. However, by the middle of the Empire, although there were types that made important statements, and some that were overtly political or propagandistic in nature, the majority of the types were stock images of personifications or deities. While some images can be related to the policy or actions of a particular emperor, many of the choices seem arbitrary and the personifications and deities were so prosaic that their names were often omitted, as they were readily recognizable by their appearance and attributes alone.

It can be argued that within this backdrop of mostly indistinguishable types, exceptions would be far more pronounced. Atypical reverses are usually seen during and after periods of war, at which time emperors make various claims of liberation, subjugation, and pacification. Some of these reverse images can clearly be classified as propaganda. An example struck by emperor Philip in 244 features a legend proclaiming the establishment of peace with Persia in truth, Rome had been forced to pay large sums in tribute to the Persians.

Although it is difficult to make accurate generalizations about reverse imagery, as this was something that varied by emperor, some trends do exist. An example is reverse types of the military emperors during the second half of the third century, where virtually all of the types were the common and standard personifications and deities. A possible explanation for the lack of originality is that these emperors were attempting to present conservative images to establish their legitimacy, something that many of these emperors lacked. Although these emperors relied on traditional reverse types, their portraits often emphasized their authority through stern gazes, [9] [ citation needed ] and even featured the bust of the emperor clad in armor. [10]

Unlike most modern coins, Roman coins had (at least in the early centuries) significant intrinsic value. However, while the gold and silver issues contained precious metals, the value of a coin could be slightly higher than its precious metal content, so they were not, strictly speaking, equivalent to bullion. Also, over the course of time the purity and weight of the silver coins were reduced. Estimates of the value of the denarius range from 1.6 to 2.85 times its metal content, [ citation needed ] thought to equal the purchasing power of 10 modern British Pound Sterling at the beginning of the Roman Empire to around 18 Pound Sterling by its end (comparing bread, wine and meat prices) and, over the same period, around one to three days' pay for a Legionary. [11]

The coinage system that existed in Egypt until the time of Diocletian's monetary reform was a closed system based upon the heavily debased tetradrachm. Although the value of these tetradrachms can be reckoned as being equivalent to that of the denarius, their precious metal content was always much lower. Elsewhere also, not all coins that circulated contained precious metals, as the value of these coins was too great to be convenient for everyday purchases. A dichotomy existed between the coins with an intrinsic value and those with only a token value. This is reflected in the infrequent and inadequate production of bronze coinage during the Republic, where from the time of Sulla till the time of Augustus no bronze coins were minted at all even during the periods when bronze coins were produced, their workmanship was sometimes very crude and of low quality.

Debasement Edit

The type of coins issued changed under the coinage reform of Diocletian, the heavily debased antoninianus (double denarius) was replaced with a variety of new denominations, and a new range of imagery was introduced that attempted to convey different ideas. The new government set up by Diocletian was a tetrarchy, or rule by four, with each emperor receiving a separate territory to rule.

The new imagery includes a large, stern portrait that is representative of the emperor. This image was not meant to show the actual portrait of a particular emperor, but was instead a character that embodied the power that the emperor possessed. The reverse type was equally universal, featuring the spirit (or genius) of the Romans. The introduction of a new type of government and a new system of coinage represents an attempt by Diocletian to return peace and security to Rome, after the previous century of constant warfare and uncertainty.

Diocletian characterizes the emperor as an interchangeable authority figure by depicting him with a generalized image. He tries to emphasize unity amongst the Romans by featuring the spirit of Romans (Sutherland 254). The reverse types of coins of the late Empire emphasized general themes, and discontinued the more specific personifications depicted previously. The reverse types featured legends that proclaimed the glory of Rome, the glory of the army, victory against the "barbarians", the restoration of happy times, and the greatness of the emperor.

These general types persisted even after the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. Muted Christian imagery, such as standards that featured Christograms (the chi-rho monogram for Jesus Christ's name in Greek) were introduced, but with a few rare exceptions, there were no explicitly Christian themes. From the time of Constantine until the "end" of the Roman Empire, coins featured almost indistinguishable idealized portraits and general proclamations of greatness.

Although the denarius remained the backbone of the Roman economy from its introduction in 211 BC until it ceased to be normally minted in the middle of the third century, the purity and weight of the coin slowly, but inexorably, decreased. The problem of debasement in the Roman economy appears to be pervasive, although the severity of the debasement often paralleled the strength or weakness of the Empire. While it is not clear why debasement became such a common occurrence for the Romans, it's believed that it was caused by several factors, including a lack of precious metals and inadequacies in state finances. When introduced, the denarius contained nearly pure silver at a theoretical weight of approximately 4.5 grams, but from the time of Nero onwards the tendency was nearly always for its purity to be decreased.

The theoretical standard, although not usually met in practice, remained fairly stable throughout the Republic, with the notable exception of times of war. The large number of coins required to raise an army and pay for supplies often necessitated the debasement of the coinage. An example of this is the denarii that were struck by Mark Antony to pay his army during his battles against Octavian. These coins, slightly smaller in diameter than a normal denarius, were made of noticeably debased silver. The obverse features a galley and the name Antony, while the reverse features the name of the particular legion that each issue was intended for (hoard evidence shows that these coins remained in circulation over 200 years after they were minted, due to their lower silver content). The coinage of the Julio-Claudians remained stable at 4 grams of silver, until the debasement of Nero in 64, when the silver content was reduced to 3.8 grams, perhaps due to the cost of rebuilding the city after fire consumed a considerable portion of Rome.

The denarius continued to decline slowly in purity, with a notable reduction instituted by Septimius Severus. This was followed by the introduction of a double denarius piece, differentiated from the denarius by the radiate crown worn by the emperor. The coin is commonly called the antoninianus by numismatists after the emperor Caracalla, who introduced the coin in early 215. Although nominally valued at two denarii, the antoninianus never contained more than 1.6 times the amount of silver of the denarius. The profit of minting a coin valued at two denarii, but weighing only about one and a half times as much is obvious the reaction to these coins by the public is unknown. As the number of antoniniani minted increased, the number of denarii minted decreased, until the denarius ceased to be minted in significant quantities by the middle of the third century. Again, coinage saw its greatest debasement during times of war and uncertainty. The second half of the third century was rife with this war and uncertainty, and the silver content of the antonianus fell to only 2%, losing almost any appearance of being silver. During this time the aureus remained slightly more stable, before it too became smaller and more base (lower gold content and higher base metal content) before Diocletian's reform.

The decline in the silver content to the point where coins contained virtually no silver at all was countered by the monetary reform of Aurelian in 274. The standard for silver in the antonianus was set at twenty parts copper to one part silver, and the coins were noticeably marked as containing that amount (XXI in Latin or KA in Greek). Despite the reform of Aurelian, silver content continued to decline, until the monetary reform of Diocletian. In addition to establishing the tetrarchy, Diocletian devised the following system of denominations: an aureus struck at the standard of 60 to the pound, a new silver coin struck at the old Neronian standard known as the argenteus, and a new large bronze coin that contained two percent silver.

Diocletian issued an Edict on Maximum Prices in 301, which attempted to establish the legal maximum prices that could be charged for goods and services. The attempt to establish maximum prices was an exercise in futility as maximum prices were impossible to enforce. The Edict was reckoned in terms of denarii, although no such coin had been struck for over 50 years (it is believed that the bronze follis was valued at 12 + 1 ⁄ 2 denarii). Like earlier reforms, this too eroded and was replaced by an uncertain coinage consisting mostly of gold and bronze. The exact relationship and denomination of the bronze issues of a variety of sizes is not known, and is believed to have fluctuated heavily on the market.

The exact reason that Roman coinage sustained constant debasement is not known, but the most common theories involve inflation, trade with India, which drained silver from the Mediterranean world, and inadequacies in state finances. It is clear from papyri that the pay of the Roman soldier increased from 900 sestertii a year under Augustus to 2000 sestertii a year under Septimius Severus and the price of grain more than tripled indicating that fall in real wages and a moderate inflation occurred during this time. [12]

Another reason for debasement was lack of raw metal with which to produce coins. Italy itself contains no large or reliable mines for precious metals therefore the precious metals for coinage had to be obtained elsewhere. The majority of the precious metals that Rome obtained during its period of expansion arrived in the form of war booty from defeated territories, and subsequent tribute and taxes by new-conquered lands. When Rome ceased to expand, the precious metals for coinage then came from newly mined silver, such as from Greece and Spain, and from melting older coins.

Without a constant influx of precious metals from an outside source, and with the expense of continual wars, it would seem reasonable that coins might be debased to increase the amount that the government could spend. This explanation for the debasement of coinage is that it allowed the state to spend more than it had. By decreasing the amount of silver in its coins, Rome could produce more coins and "stretch" its budget. As time progressed, the trade deficit of the west, because of its buying of grain and other commodities, led to a currency drainage in Rome.

Equivalences Edit

The first rows show the values of each boldface coin in the first column in relation to the coins in the following columns:


A rare treasure of 2000-year-old Roman silver coins discovered in Turkey

A shower of 651 ancient Roman silver coins has been documented by archaeologists at Pamukkale University who helped first discover this rare trove at an excavation site near the ancient Turkish city of Aizanoi back in 2019 in a water vessel buried near a stream.

In an official statement, researchers involved in the project, which was delayed due to the ongoing global pandemic and was just recently completed, indicated that 439 of these shiny coins were denarii, a type of silver monetary first minted in the third century B.C. The other 212 coins were cistophori, money originating from the ancient Greek city of Pergamum, in the area of what is currently western Turkey.

More archaeology

“The jug was aimed to be kept [in place] by three terracotta plates covering it,” lead archaeologist Elif Özer of Pamukkale University tells the Hurriyet Daily News, including the theory that the collection of coins was most likely buried during the reign of Emperor Augustus’ which lasted from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.

Per a statement, Özer also concluded that these coins produced in Southern Italy, were not simply “very special and unique collection,” but “the most special silver coin find of recent times.”

Engraved with dates ranging between 75 and 4 B.C., the simple coins mostly showcase the likeness of Augustus, but others display the images of Roman emperors and politicians such as Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony. While investigating the artifacts, museum researchers were surprised to see that most of the coins were amazingly well-preserved, with very little wear.

According to Live Science, Özer has further speculated that the denarii and cistophori were part of a 2,000-year-old private coin album, a compilation of money portraying rulers from the late Roman Republic, that belonged to an elite Roman soldier.

“A high-ranking soldier [likely] came to Aizanoi . and he must have buried these coins here for a reason we do not know yet,” Özer tells Live Science.

Each coin reflects a different story taken from mythology and popular lore. For example, one token portrays the Trojan hero Aeneas carrying his father, Anchises, on his back, which is a notable scene from Virgil's classic poetical work, The Aeneid.

For now, it's expected that this rich collection of Roman coins will be put on public display at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.


Contents

Settlement in the area is known from the Bronze Age. The city may have derived its name from Azan, one of three sons of Arcas and the nymph Erato, legendary ancestors of the Phrygians. [2] [3] During the Hellenistic period the city changed hands between the Kingdom of Pergamum and the Kingdom of Bithynia, before being bequeathed to Rome by the former in 133 BC. It continued to mint its own coins. [1] Its monumental buildings date from the early Empire to the 3rd century.

Aezani was part of the Roman province of Phrygia Pacatiana. It became a Christian bishopric at an early stage, and its bishop Pisticus (or Pistus) was a participant at the First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council, in 325. Pelagius was at a synod that Patriarch John II of Constantinople hastily organized in 518 and that condemned Severus of Antioch he was also at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. Gregory was at the Trullan Council of 692, John at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, and Theophanes at both the Council of Constantinople (869) and the Council of Constantinople (879). [4] [5] The bishopric was at first a suffragan of Laodicea but, when Phrygia Pacatiana was divided into two provinces, it found itself a suffragan of Hierapolis, the capital of the new province of Phrygia Pacatiana II. [6] [7] No longer a residential bishopric, Aezani is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. [8]

After the 7th century, Aezani fell into decline. Later, in Seljuk times, the temple hill was converted into a citadel (Turkish: hisar) by Çavdar Tatars, after which the recent settlement of Çavdarhisar is named. [1] [2] [3] The ruins of Aezani/Aizanoi were discovered by European travellers in 1824. Survey work in the 1830s and 1840s was followed by systematic excavation conducted by the German Archaeological Institute from 1926, resumed in 1970, and still ongoing. [1] [2] [3]

In January 2021, archaeologists led by Dr. Elif Özer from Pamukkale University announced that they had discovered a cache containing 651 Roman coins dated about 2,100 years ago in a jug buried near a stream. Researchers revealed a jug firstly in 2019. 439 pieces of coins were denarius (ancient Roman coins minted on silver), and 212 were cistophori, silver coins from Pergamum. Caesar, Brutus, Mark Antony and Augustus Young are engraved on the mostly well-preserved coins. Find is going to display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. [9] [10] [11] [12]

Temple of Zeus Edit

The Temple of Zeus, situated upon a hill, was the city's main sanctuary. Ceramic finds indicate local habitation from the first half of the third millennium BC. According to a recent reading of the architrave inscription, construction of the temple began under Domitian. [13] Inscriptions document imperial assistance from Hadrian relating to the recovery of unpaid rents as well as the euergetism of Marcus Apuleius Eurykles. Later the Çavdar Tatars carved equestrian and battle scenes on the temple. [2] [3] [14] [15] The temple is pseudodipteral, with eight columns at the ends and fifteen along the sides (35 m × 53 m (115 ft × 174 ft)). [2] [3] It was damaged by the 1970 Gediz earthquake and has since been restored. [16]


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Antiquity Edit

Stratonos pyrgos (Straton's Tower) was founded by Abdashtart, or Straton I, king of Sidon (r. 365-352 BC). [7] It was first established as a Phoenician colony and trading village. [1]

Hellenistic and early Roman periods Edit

In 90 BCE, Jewish ruler Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. [7] Straton's Tower remained a Jewish settlement for two more generations, until the area became dominated by the Romans in 63 BCE, when they declared it an autonomous city. [7]

Herodian city of Caesarea Maritima (22 BCE – 6CE) Edit

The site, along with all of Judea, was awarded by Rome to Herod the Great in 30 BCE. [8] The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod, who renamed it Caesarea in honour of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. [7] [2] Caesarea Maritima was built in Roman-ruled Judea under the Jewish client king Herod the Great during c. 22-10/9 BCE near the ruins of the small naval station of Straton's Tower. [7]

In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep-sea harbour named Sebastos (see below) and built storerooms, markets, wide roads, baths, temples to Rome and Augustus, and imposing public buildings. [9] Herod built his palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea, with a decorative pool surrounded by stoas. [2] [8] Every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, and theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. [ citation needed ]

Sebastos harbour Edit

Construction years and importance Edit

King Herod built the two jetties of the harbour between 22 and 15 BCE, [10] and in 10/9 BCE he dedicated the city and harbour to Emperor Augustus (sebastos is Greek for Augustus). [11] The pace of construction was impressive considering size and complexity. [12]

At its height, Sebastos was one of the most impressive harbours of its time. It had been constructed on a coast that had no natural harbours and served as an important commercial harbour in antiquity, rivaling Cleopatra's harbour at Alexandria. Josephus wrote: "Although the location was generally unfavorable, [Herod] contended with the difficulties so well that the solidity of the construction could not be overcome by the sea, and its beauty seemed finished off without impediment." [13] It was the largest on the Eastern Mediterranean coast. [ citation needed ]

When it was built in the 1st century BCE, the harbour of Sebastos ranked as the largest artificial harbour built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m 2 . [14] [12] [15]

Construction techniques Edit

The breakwaters were made of lime and pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash, set into an underwater concrete. Herod imported over 24,000 m 3 of pozzolana from the name-giving town of Putoli, today Puzzoli in Italy, to construct the two breakwaters: the southern one 500 meter, and the northern one 275 meter long. [12] A shipment of this size would have required at least 44 shiploads of 400 tons each. [10] Herod also had 12,000 m 3 of local kurkar stone quarried to make rubble and 12,000 m 3 of slaked lime mixed with the pozzolana.

Architects had to devise a way to lay the wooden forms for the placement of concrete underwater. One technique was to drive stakes into the ground to make a box and then fill it with pozzolana concrete bit by bit. [12] However, this method required many divers to hammer the planks to the stakes underwater and large quantities of pozzolana were necessary. Another technique was a double planking method used in the northern breakwater. On land, carpenters would construct a box with beams and frames on the inside and a watertight, double-planked wall on the outside. This double wall was built with a 23 cm (9 in) gap between the inner and outer layer. [16] Although the box had no bottom, it was buoyant enough to float out to sea because of the watertight space between the inner and outer walls. Once it was floated into position, pozzolana was poured into the gap between the walls and the box would sink into place on the seafloor and be staked down in the corners. The flooded inside area was then filled by divers bit by bit with pozzolana-lime mortar and kurkar rubble until it rose above sea level. [16]

On the southern breakwater, barge construction was used. The southern side of Sebastos was much more exposed than the northern side, requiring sturdier breakwaters. Instead of using the double planked method filled with rubble, the architects sank barges filled with layers of pozzolana concrete and lime sand mortar. The barges were similar to boxes without lids, and were constructed using mortise and tenon joints, the same technique used in ancient boats, to ensure they remained watertight. The barges were ballasted with 0.5 meters of pozzolana concrete and floated out to their position. With alternating layers, pozzolana-based and lime-based concretes were hand-placed inside the barge to sink it and fill it up to the surface. [16]

Demise Edit

However, there were underlying problems that led to its demise. Studies of the concrete cores of the moles have shown that the concrete was much weaker than similar pozzolana hydraulic concrete used in ancient Italian ports. For unknown reasons, the pozzolana mortar did not adhere as well to the kurkar rubble as it did to other rubble types used in Italian harbours. [12] Small but numerous holes in some of the cores also indicate that the lime was of poor quality and stripped out of the mixture by strong waves before it could set. [12] Also, large lumps of lime were found in all five of the cores studied at Caesarea, which shows that the mixture was not mixed thoroughly. [12] However, stability would not have been seriously affected if the harbour had not been constructed over a geological fault line that runs along the coast. Seismic action gradually took its toll on the breakwaters, causing them to tilt down and settle into the seabed. [13] Also, studies of seabed deposits at Caesarea have shown that a tsunami struck the area sometime during the 1st or 2nd century. [17] Although it is unknown if this tsunami simply damaged or completely destroyed the harbour, it is known that by the 6th century the harbour was unusable and today the jetties lie more than 5 meters underwater. [18]

Capital of Roman province Edit

When Judea became a Roman province in 6 CE, Caesarea Maritima replaced Jerusalem as its civilian and military capital and became the official residence of its governors, such as the Roman procurator Antonius Felix, and prefect Pontius Pilatus. [19] In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non-Jewish. [20] The city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade.

This city is the location of the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified. [21] It is likely that Pilate used it as a base, and only went to Jerusalem when needed. [22]

The city was described in detail by the 1st-century Roman Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. [23] Josephus describes the harbour as being as large as the one at Piraeus, the major harbour of Athens. [14] Remains of the principal buildings erected by Herod as well as the medieval town are still visible today, including the Crusader city, the city walls, the ruined citadel surrounded by the sea, and remains of the cathedral and a second church. Herod's Caesarea grew rapidly, in time becoming the largest city in Judaea, with an estimated population of 125,000 over an urban area of 3.7 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi).

According to Josephus, Caesarea was the scene in 26 CE of a major act of civil disobedience to protest against Pilate's order to plant eagle standards on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem. [24]

Emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a Colonia, with the name Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea.

According to Josephus, the outbreak of the Jewish revolt of 66 CE was provoked by Greeks of a certain merchant house in Caesarea sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue. [25] In 70 CE, after the Jewish revolt was suppressed, games were held there to celebrate the victory of Titus. Many Jewish captives were brought to Caesarea Maritima Kasher (1990) claims that 2,500 captives were "slaughtered in gladiatorial games". [26]

In 6 CE Caesarea became the provincial capital of the Judaea Province, before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 135, in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt. [27] Caesarea was one of four Roman colonies for veterans in the Syria-Phoenicia region. [28]

Caesarea is mentioned in the 3rd-century Mosaic of Rehob, with respect to its non-Jewish population.

Early Christian centre Edit

According to the Acts of the Apostles, Caesarea was first introduced to Christianity by Philip the Deacon, [29] who later had a house there in which he gave hospitality to Paul the Apostle. [30] It was there that Peter the Apostle came and baptized Cornelius the Centurion and his household, the first time Christian baptism was conferred on Gentiles. [31] When newly converted Paul the Apostle was in danger in Jerusalem, the Christians there accompanied him to Caesarea and sent him off to his native Tarsus. [32] He visited Caesarea between his second and third missionary journeys, [33] and later, as mentioned, stayed several days there with Philip the Deacon. Later still, he was a prisoner there for two years before being sent to Rome. [34]

In the 3rd century, Origen wrote his Hexapla and other exegetical and theological works while living in Caesarea. The Nicene Creed may have originated in Caesarea.

The Apostolic Constitutions says that the first Bishop of Caesarea was Zacchaeus the Publican, followed by Cornelius (possibly Cornelius the Centurion) and Theophilus (possibly the address of the Gospel of Luke). [35] The first bishops considered historically attested are those mentioned by the early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, himself a bishop of the see in the 4th century. He speaks of a Theophilus who was bishop in the 10th year of Commodus (c. 189), [36] of a Theoctistus (216–258), a short-lived Domnus and a Theotecnus, [37] and an Agapius (?–306). Among the participants in the Synod of Ancyra in 314 was a bishop of Caesarea named Agricolaus, who may have been the immediate predecessor of Eusebius, who does not mention him, or who may have been bishop of a different Caesarea. The immediate successors of Eusebius were Acacius (340–366) and Gelasius of Caesarea (367–372, 380–395). The latter was ousted by the semi-Arian Euzoius between 373 and 379. Le Quien gives much information about all of these and about later bishops of Caesarea. [38]

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem still has a metropolitan see in Caesarea, currently occupied by metropolitan Basilios Blatsos, since 1975.

Melkite Catholic Church [40] also consider Caesarea a titular see.

Theological library Edit

Through Origen and especially the scholarly presbyter Pamphilus of Caesarea, an avid collector of books of Scripture, the theological school of Caesarea won a reputation for having the most extensive ecclesiastical library of the time, containing more than 30,000 manuscripts: Gregory Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Jerome and others came to study there. The Caesarean text-type is recognized by scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types. The collections of the library suffered during the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, but were repaired subsequently by bishops of Caesarea. [41] The library was mentioned in 6th century manuscripts but it may not have survived the capture of Caesarea in 640. [42]

Byzantine period Edit

During the Byzantine period, Caesarea became the capital of the new province of Palaestina Prima in 390. As the capital of the province, Caesarea was also the metropolitan see, with ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Jerusalem, when rebuilt after the destruction in the year 70. In 451, however, the Council of Chalcedon established Jerusalem as a patriarchate, with Caesarea as the first of its three subordinate metropolitan sees.

Caesarea remained the provincial capital throughout the 5th and 6th centuries. It fell to Sassanid Persia in the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, in 614, and was re-conquered by Byzantium in 625.