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    Rare Julius Marinus Bronze

    SYRIA. Trachonitis. Philippopolis.  Divus Julius Marinus, father of Philip I (died ca. AD 246/7). Æ 23mm (9.51 gm, 12h).  Struck at Antioch, ca. AD 247-249. ΘЄΩ MAPINΩ, bareheaded bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder, supported by eagle standing right / ΦIΛIΠΠOΠΛIT-ΩN KOΛΩNIAC, Roma or Allat standing left, holding patera in extended right hand and spear in left; shield at her feet; S C across field. SNG ANS 1402. BMC Arabia pg. 42, 2. Spijkerman 2. Very rare. Black patina with light earthen overlay. Good Very Fine.

     Ex S.C. Markoff Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica, 6 October 2011), lot 2059.

    Marcus Julius Philippus, also known as "Philip the Arab," was born during the reign of Septimius Severus (AD 193-211) in the Roman province of Arabia, in what today is the village of Shahba, roughly 55 miles south-southeast of Damascus. The village was obscure at the time of Philip's birth and its original name is unknown. Likewise, little is known of Philip's father, save his name, Julius Marinus. This name, however, indicates that the family held Roman citizenship, perhaps having attained it two and a half centuries before through the patronage of Julius Caesar himself. We have further evidence that Marinus and his family must have been locally prominent: One historical source refers to Philip as the "son of an Arab chieftain," which would mean Julius Marinus held a high tribal position in addition to his citizenship. After Philip reached the throne in AD 244, he renamed his hometown  Philippopolis (the original name is unknown) and embarked on a major building campaign to beautify it. He also deified his deceased father, Julius Marinus, and the local authorities began striking coins depicting his image being born to heaven on the back of an eagle, a visual depiction of deification. The coinage was quite limited, consisting of two bronze denominations, and confined to the immediate vicinity of Philippopolis, though the legend S C on the reverse indicates the issue had been authorized by the Roman Senate, perhaps as a show of respect for the new emperor. Coins of Julius Marinus remain quite rare today and the issue is of the few examples of a third century Roman coin depicting a personage who was not a Roman emperor or empress.


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