A Phrygian Cornucopia
Updated: 3 days ago
This year continues to add more coins of Asia Minor than Roman republic to my collection. Today a coin from Phrygia, Laodikeia - also spelled Laodicea, on the western edge of modern Turkey on the river Lycus, not Loadicea ad Mare, today a port city in Syria called Latakia.
Phrygia, Laodikeia, 133/88-67 BC
Obv: Diademed and draped bust of Aphrodite or the foundress Laodice right
Rev: Filleted cornucopia to right; filleted kerykeion to left
Size: 20mm, 6.55g
Ref: BMC 40-4, SNG Copenhagen 501-2
There are several variations of this coins with single and double cornucopiae, with and without kerykeion (the Greek name for the staff of Hermes that Romans would have called a caduceus). Laodicea was founded by Antiochus II Theos in 261-253 BC in honor of his sister/wife Laodice. It was part of Roman Asia minor when this coin was minted and a thriving city during the later years of the Roman republic. During the period in which this coin is attributed, the city also suffered through the Mithridatic war (of course a Sulla connection).
He [Mithridates] overran the rest of Phrygia, together with Mysia and those parts of Asia which had been lately acquired by the Romans. Then he sent his officers to the adjoining provinces and subjugated Lycia, Pamphylia, and the rest as far as Ionia. To the Laodiceans on the river Lycus, who were still resisting (for the Roman general, Quintus Oppius, had arrived with his cavalry and certain mercenaries at their town and was defending it), he made this proclamation by herald before the walls, "King Mithridates promises that the Laodiceans shall suffer no injury if they will deliver Oppius to him." -Appian, The Mithridatic Wars
Quintus Oppius managed to survive after being paraded around by Mithridates, and was eventually surrendered to Sulla. Here are a few other favorite Cornucopia coins.
Bruttium, Vibo Valentia, circa 193-150 BC, AE Semis, 5.6g
Obv: Diademed head of Juno right; S behind.
Rev: VALENCIA, double cornucopia; to left, S and star with six rays
Ref: HN Italy 2263
L. Cornelius Sulla Felix, as Dictator, AR Denarius
Italy, 81 BC
Obv: Diademed head of Venus right, wearing single-pendant earring and necklace
Rev: Filleted double cornucopiae; Q below
Ref: Crawford 375/2; Sydenham 755; Cornelia
Note: Marius claimed Apollo as his divine patron, Sulla invoked the goddess Venus and this is why she appears on the obverse of this coin.
T. Carisius, circa 46 BC, AR Denarius
Obv: Head of Roma right
Rev: Cornucopiae on globe between sceptre and rudder
Ref: Crawford 464/3
Kings of Mauritania, Juba II, 25 BC-AD 24, AR Denarius, Caesarea mint
Obv: Diademed head right
Rev: Cornucopia; transverse scepter in background, crescent to upper right]