AE Hexassarion. 13.68g, 27.5mm
MINTED: CILICIA, Anazarbus, CY 272 (AD 253/4)
REF: SNG Levante 1518-20
OBVERSE: AVT K M ΛIK OV-AΛЄPIANOC CЄ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: Six agonistic prize urns, A M K above, Γ ЄT BOC Γ between, ANAΞAP/BOY in exergue in two lines.
Almost Very Fine. Earthen green patina.
Sporting festivals and games were of great importance to the civic and religious life of the eastern Roman provinces. In cities such as Tarsus and Anazarbus in Cilicia, the prestige associated with their hosting such games was such that their coinage often featured agonistic reverses (agōn in Ancient Greece referred to a stadium or to sporting competitions). Amongst the variety of types are to be found those depicting the crown of the demiourgos (who organized the games), the gymnasiarch (who officiated), competing athletes, and agonistic urns (or prize crowns as they are sometimes called). This particular coin features six prize urns.
The legend A M K on the reverse abbreviates in Greek the declaration that the city of Anazarbus was "first", "greatest", and "most beautiful". Its rival in the region, Tarsus, also used A M K on their coins.
Anazarbus in Cilicia, located in southeastern Asia Minor, was a large city that reached the height of its prosperity during the 3rd century AD, when it rivalled in significance even Tarsus, the provincial capital of Cilicia. By the time of Diocletian (AD 285-305), its importance was such that the province of Cilicia was divided into two, and Anazarbus was accorded the position of capital of Cilicia Secunda. The city possessed a theatre, stadium, necropolis, a triumphal arch built during the Severan era, and also an acropolis set up on a crag six hundred feet high that towered over the city.
VALERIAN . CILICIA, Anazarbus . AE Hexassarion . Six Agonistic Prize Urns
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