AE20. 6.95g, 20.1mm
MINTED: CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea, RY 3 (AD 163)
REF: RPC IV online 6867; BMC 198-200
OBVERSE: ΑVΤΟΚΡΑ ΟVΗΡΟС СЄ, laureate head right.
REVERSE: ΚΑΙСΑΡЄωΝ Τ Π ΑΡΓΑΙω, Mount Argaeus; ЄΤ Γ (year) in exergue.
Very Fine. Dark brown patina. Strong portrait.
Caesarea in Cappadocia was one of the most ancient cities in the central Anatolian plains. Located at the foot of Mount Argaeus, it was known originally as Mazaca and had been continuously inhabited since around 3000 BC, serving as a Hittite trading colony on the Great Silk Road, a Persian satrapy, a possession of Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and eventually as the capital of the Cappadocian kingdom. By the time Cappadocia came under the direct rule of the Romans, the city had been renamed Caesarea (in honour of the first emperor, Caesar Augustus), and was one of the largest and most important cities in the region. Caesarea was a major provincial mint, striking a large amount of both silver and bronze coinage that often featured on the reverse the sacred volcanic Mount Argaeus.
At the time of its seige by the Sassanian king Shapur I in AD 260, Caesarea was said to have around 400,000 inhabitants. Shapur had recently made Roman Emperor Valerian I a prisoner of war, and after he took the city of Caesarea, he butchered all the Roman soldiers within it, destroyed the city, and deported its entire population. It would be a long time before the city was rebuilt and repopulated.
LUCIUS VERUS . CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea . AE20 . Sacred Volcano, Mount Argaeus
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