AN ESSAY ON THE DIES OF COINS SIGNED BY
TERTULLUS AT NICOPOLIS AD ISTRUM
TERTULLUS AT NICOPOLIS AD ISTRUM
II. Acclamation of the Augusti
Behrendt Pick in 1898, AMNG I, 1, p. 361, knew that one of the coins with EYTYChÔS TOIS KYRIOIS in a wreath must have been issued by Tertullus, not only because some with Caracalla, now Augustus, and Geta, now Caesar, not only had the acclamation but were signed, but because one for Septimius, Pick's no. 1283, with an eagle reverse had the same obverse as his no. 1344, with the acclamation in a wreath. I have not seen either of these coins (HrJ 22.214.171.124 shows at least two obverse dies, so is hard to control), but we do now have Septimius's with the combined legends (HrJ 126.96.36.199):
That is important, because there are die pairs without the governor's name, and there is one actually signed by the next governor, Aurelius Gallus (HrJ 188.8.131.52), so in defining the "set" we shall want to use only those that can be linked or verified.
Fortunately, Caracalla's with the acclamation (HrJ 184.108.40.206) not only quite obviously goes with his father's, but though worn is extremely similar to the obverse die of his Apollo Sauroktonos, which has been discussed in an earlier essay under (e).
Septimius is paired with Caracalla on a coin with the governor's name on the circumference as well as the acclamation in a wreath on a coin known to Hristova and Jekov (HrJ 220.127.116.11) but not to Pick as well as on Pick's no. 1449 with Herakles holding a bow (HrJ 18.104.22.168-2, where preservation makes it hard to determine the identity of the dies). They also knew both specimens of this same obverse die, but with Tyche (the figure slightly recalls the statuesque one paired with Septimius's earliest Tertullus obverse die); here is one of them:
|The obverse of his coin may have been somewhat damaged in cleaning|
Julia Domna is absent from this set; the empress, after all, was not (or not yet) regarded as a ruling member of the Imperial family. Sharing a single obverse die, however, Varbanov shows one of Caracalla and Geta, with both the acclamation and the signature (p. 208, no. 3169), which I have not seen, but I do have images of the sons facing each other, Caracalla, laureate, to r., all in worn condition but apparently the self-same obverse, with a River, a half-draped standing Zeus, and Septimius (?) in armor, holding a Jovian eagle or a Nike. These are Pick's nos. 1623, for the river, and possibly nos.1624 and 1622 for the half-draped Zeus and the figure in armor. In this set of coins, I believe, the obverses with two portraits do not signify a larger denomination but are simply dynastic, even if the introduction of pentassaria was not related to the introduction of the antoninianus at Rome.
A very worn but clean Caracalla with a river-god reverse, signed by Tertullus, Pick's no. 1526 (Copenhagen, SNG 2, no. 273), may well belong here.
Some of the obverses of Septimius looking quasi-divine and with a bare bust are from the same die as the one with both signature and acclamation that headed this essay. Like Caracalla's (in the next post), when the coins are not well preserved they are not easy to sort by die identity. It is like the Caracalla with acclamation, above, compared with his Apollo Sauroktonos, which is not only a very fine specimen but seems to have some folds at the edge of the drapery, and in it, which I cannot identify on the acclamation coin.
For Septimius, the best preserved bare bust with a comparable wavy edge at the bottom and, of course, all the legible letters in the right place is that with the Lysippic Weary Herakles to r. on the reverse (HrJ 22.214.171.124). The slender neck, the proportions of the facial features, the protruding laurel-leaf tip at the top, and the lambda opposite the triangular bow of the laurel tie, all match (and on both of two differently preserved specimens).
The portrait die used with the reverse of Herakles wrestling with the Nemean Lion has, if one may say so, a slightly more assertive expression and kappa nearly opposite the bow of the laurel tie. The wavy edge at the bottom also is different. It is not as if one die succeeded the other but two anvils were working at once.
Again, with the same obverse die as the signed acclamation, we have the reverse with Nike alighting to bestow a wreath (HrJ 126.96.36.199)—for the moment identifying the dies only by reference to Hristova and Jekov's Nikopolis, where all of them are illustrated, as also in the Picasa Album.
By the same criteria, this River God (HrJ 188.8.131.52, a most generous gift for this project, and also with a less worn portrait) uses the same obverse die, besides preserving the reverse subject without damage done in the effort to 'clarify' it, but the second one, below, is surely from the same die pair.
The portrait die with bare bust, used with Athena (HrJ 184.108.40.206) and with the Emperor in Armor, holding Zeus's Nike (HrJ 220.127.116.11) may match that with Herakles and the Nemean Lion, above; it would help if the legends were better preserved.
|Rev, die may be that used with Caracalla >< Geta, above|
The decision to lay out these dies and types without numbering the dies or reaching final decisions is, of course, tentative. There are other dies, too, whose affiliation is more difficult. A subsequent essay does not imply that the dies are later. Indeed, I shall begin next by trying to identify and sort Caracalla dies with reference to his own solo acclamation coin, above.