AR Drachm. 2.77g, 19.3mm
MINTED: CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea, RY 5 (AD 196/7)
REF: Sydenham Supp. 395a
OBVERSE: AV Λ CEΠ – CEOVHPOC, laureate head right.
REVERSE: MHTPO KAICAPI, Mt. Argaeus surmounted by star; crescent to upper left; ЄT Є (year 5 = 196/97) in exergue.
Very Fine. Excellent portrait style, and a scarce variety.
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.
SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS . CAPPADOCIA, Caesarea . AR Drachm . Mount Argaeus . *scarce*
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