GORDIAN III 238AD Nicaea Bythinia Ancient Roman Coin Legionary STANDARDS i37426
Item: i37426 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Gordian III – Roman Emperor: 238-244 A. Bronze 20mm (2.93 grams) from the Roman provincial city of Nicaea in the province of Bythinia M ANT OPIANOC AV, radiate, draped bust right. NIKAEN, Four legionary standards, two inner ones topped with eagles, outer two topped with wreaths. The standards with discs, or signa (first three on left) belong to centuriae of the legion (the image does not show the heads of the standards – whether spear-head or wreathed-palm). Note (second from right) the legion’s aquila. The standard on the extreme right probably portrays the She-wolf (lupa) which fed Romulus , the legendary founder of Rome. (This was the emblem of Legio VI Ferrata , a legion then based in Judaea , a detachment of which is known to have fought in Dacia). Detail from Trajan’s Column, Rome. Modern reenactors parade with replicas of various legionary standards. From left to right: signum (spear-head type), with four discs; signum (wreathed-palm type), with six discs; imago of ruling emperor; legionary aquila ; vexillum of commander (legatus) of Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix , with embroidered name and emblem (Capricorn) of legion. Each tactical unit in the imperial army, from centuria upwards, had its own standard. This consisted of a pole with a variety of adornments that was borne by dedicated standard-bearers who normally held the rank of duplicarius. Military standards had the practical use of communicating to unit members where the main body of the unit was situated, so that they would not be separated, in the same way that modern tour-group guides use umbrellas or flags. But military standards were also invested with a mystical quality, representing the divine spirit (genius) of the unit and were revered as such (soldiers frequently prayed before their standards). The loss of a unit’s standard to the enemy was considered a terrible stain on the unit’s honour, which could only be fully expunged by its recovery. The standard of a centuria was known as a signum , which was borne by the unit’s signifer. It consisted of a pole topped by either an open palm of a human hand or by a spear-head. The open palm, it has been suggested, originated as a symbol of the maniple (manipulus = “handful”), the smallest tactical unit in the Roman army of the mid-Republic. The poles were adorned with two to six silver discs (the significance of which is uncertain). In addition, the pole would be adorned by a variety of cross-pieces (including, at bottom, a crescent-moon symbol and a tassel). The standard would also normally sport a cross-bar with tassels. The standard of a Praetorian cohort or an auxiliary cohort or ala was known as a vexillum or banner. This was a square flag, normally red in colour, hanging from a crossbar on the top of the pole. Stitched on the flag would be the name of the unit and/or an image of a god. An exemplar found in Egypt bears an image of the goddess Victory on a red background. The vexillum was borne by a vexillarius. A legionary detachment (vexillatio) would also have its own vexillum. Finally, a vexillum traditionally marked the commander’s position on the battlefield. The exception to the red colour appears to have been the Praetorian Guard, whose vexilla , similar to their clothing, favoured a blue background. From the time of Marius (consul 107 BC), the standard of all legions was the aquila (“eagle”). The pole was surmounted by a sculpted eagle of solid gold, or at least gold-plated silver, carrying thunderbolts in its claws representing Jupiter , the highest Roman god. Otherwise the pole was unadorned. No exemplar of a legionary eagle has ever been found (doubtless because any found in later centuries were melted down for their gold content). The eagle was borne by the aquilifer , the legion’s most senior standard-bearer. So important were legionary eagles as symbols of Roman military prestige and power, that the imperial government would go to extraordinary lengths to recover those captured by the enemy. This would include launching full-scale invasions of the enemy’s territory, sometimes decades after the eagles had been lost e. The expedition in 28 BC by Marcus Licinius Crassus against Genucla Isaccea, near modern Tulcea , Rom. In the Danube delta region, a fortress of the Getae , to recover standards lost 33 years earlier by Gaius Antonius , an earlier proconsul of Macedonia. Or the campaigns of AD 14-17 to recover the three eagles lost by Varus in AD 6 in the Teutoburg Forest. Under Augustus, it became the practice for legions to carry portraits (imagines) of the ruling emperor and his immediate family members. An imago was usually a bronze bust carried on top of a pole like a standard by an imaginifer. From around the time of Hadrian r. 117-38, some auxiliary alae adopted the dragon-standard (draco) commonly carried by Sarmatian cavalry squadrons. This was a long cloth wind-sock attached to an ornate sculpture of an open dragon’s mouth. When the bearer (draconarius) was galloping, it would make a strong hissing-sound. The Roman army awarded a variety of individual decorations (dona) for valour to its legionaries. Hasta pura was a miniature spear; phalerae were large medal-like bronze or silver discs worn on the cuirass; armillae were bracelets worn on the wrist; and torques were worn round the neck, or on the cuirass. The highest awards were the coronae (“crowns”), of which the most prestigious was the corona civica , a crown made oak-leaves awarded for saving the life of a fellow Roman citizen in battle. The most valuable award was the corona muralis , a crown made of gold awarded to the first man to scale an enemy rampart. This was awarded rarely, as such a man hardly ever survived. There is no evidence that auxiliary common soldiers received individual decorations like legionaries, although auxiliary officers did. Instead, the whole regiment was honoured by a title reflecting the type of award e. Torquata (“awarded a torque”) or armillata (“awarded bracelets”). Some regiments would, in the course of time, accumulate a long list of titles and decorations e. Cohors I Brittonum Ulpia torquata pia fidelis c. An aquila , or eagle , was a prominent symbol used in ancient Rome, especially as the standard of a Roman legion. A legionary known as an aquilifer , or eagle-bearer, carried this standard. Each legion carried one eagle. Roman ornament with an aquila (100200 AD) from the Cleveland Museum of Art. The eagle was extremely important to the Roman military, beyond merely being a symbol of a legion. A lost standard was considered an extremely grave occurrence, and the Roman military often went to great lengths to both protect a standard and to recover it if lost; for example, see the aftermath of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest , where the Romans spent decades attempting to recover the lost standards of three legions. A modern reconstruction of an aquila. The signa militaria were the Roman military ensigns or standards. The most ancient standard employed by the Romans is said to have been a handful (manipulus) of straw fixed to the top of a spear or pole. Hence the company of soldiers belonging to it was called a maniple. The bundle of hay or fern was soon succeeded by the figures of animals, of which Pliny the Elder H. 16 enumerates five: the eagle , the wolf , the ox with the man’s head, the horse , and the boar. In the second consulship of Gaius Marius (104 BC) the four quadrupeds were laid aside as standards, the eagle (Aquila) alone being retained. It was made of silver , or bronze , with outstretched wings, but was probably of a relatively small size, since a standard-bearer (signifer) under Julius Caesar is said in circumstances of danger to have wrenched the eagle from its staff and concealed it in the folds of his girdle. Under the later emperors the eagle was carried, as it had been for many centuries, with the legion, a legion being on that account sometimes called aquila Hirt. Each cohort had for its own ensign the serpent or dragon , which was woven on a square piece of cloth textilis anguis , elevated on a gilt staff, to which a cross-bar was adapted for the purpose, and carried by the draconarius. Another figure used in the standards was a ball (orb), supposed to have been emblematic of the dominion of Rome over the world; and for the same reason a bronze figure of Victoria was sometimes fixed at the top of the staff, as we see it sculptured, together with small statues of Mars, on the Column of Trajan and the Arch of Constantine. Under the eagle or other emblem was often placed a head of the reigning emperor, which was to the army the object of idolatrous adoration. The name of the emperor, or of him who was acknowledged as emperor, was sometimes inscribed in the same situation. The pole used to carry the eagle had at its lower extremity an iron point (cuspis) to fix it in the ground, and to enable the aquilifer in case of need to repel an attack. The minor divisions of a cohort, called centuries, had also each an ensign, inscribed with the number both of the cohort and of the century. This, together with the diversities of the crests worn by the centurions, enabled each soldier to take his place with ease. Denarius minted by Mark Antony to pay his legions. On the reverse, the aquila of his Third legion. In the Arch of Constantine at Rome there are four sculptured panels near the top which exhibit a great number of standards and illustrate some of the forms here described. The first panel represents Trajan giving a king to the Parthians: seven standards are held by the soldiers. The second, containing five standards, represents the performance of the sacrifice called suovetaurilia. When Constantine embraced Christianity, a figure or emblem of Christ, woven in gold upon purple cloth, was substituted for the head of the emperor. This richly ornamented standard was called labarum. The labarum is still used today by the Orthodox Church in the Sunday service. The entry procession of the chalice whose contents will soon become holy communion is modeled after the procession of the standards of the Roman army. Eagle and weapons from an Augustan-era funerary monument, probably that of Messalla (Prado , Madrid). Even after the adoption of Christianity as the Roman Empire’s religion, the Aquila eagle continued to be used as a symbol. During the reign of Eastern Roman Emperor Isaac I Komnenos , the single-headed eagle was modified to double-headed to symbolise the Empire’s dominance over East and West. Since the movements of a body of troops and of every portion of it were regulated by the standards, all the evolutions, acts, and incidents of the Roman army were expressed by phrases derived from this circumstance. Thus signa inferre meant to advance. Referre to retreat, and convertere to face about; efferre , or castris vellere , to march out of the camp; ad signa convenire , to re-assemble. Notwithstanding some obscurity in the use of terms, it appears that, whilst the standard of the legion was properly called aquila , those of the cohorts were in a special sense of the term called signa , their bearers being signiferi , and that those of the manipuli or smaller divisions of the cohort were denominated vexilla , their bearers being vexillarii. Also, those who fought in the first ranks of the legion before the standards of the legion and cohorts were called antesignani. In military stratagems it was sometimes necessary to conceal the standards. Although the Romans commonly considered it a point of honour to preserve their standards, in some cases of extreme danger the leader himself threw them among the ranks of the enemy in order to divert their attention or to animate his own soldiers. A wounded or dying standard-bearer delivered it, if possible, into the hands of his general, from whom he had received it signis acceptis. Battles where the Aquilae were lost, units that lost the Aquilae and the fate of the Aquilae. 53 BC – Battle of Carrhae. 19 BC – Cantabrian Wars at Hispania. Legio I Germanica (thought to have been lost, and stripped of its title “Augusta”). 9 AD – Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Legio XVII , Legio XVIII , and Legio XIX (all recaptured). 66 – Great Jewish Revolt. Legio XII Fulminata (fate uncertain). 87 – Domitian’s Dacian War. Legio V Alaudae (fate uncertain). 132 – Bar Kochva Revolt. Legio XXII Deiotariana (fate uncertain). 161 – Parthians overrun a legion commanded by Severianus at Elegeia in Armenia, possibly the Ninth Legion. Reconstruction of aquila on Roman vexilloid. Aquila clutching fasces, a symbol in Italy during the Fascist period. Aquila on the coat of arms of Romania. The place Nicaea is said to have been colonized by Bottiaeans , and to have originally borne the name of Ancore Steph. Hudson; but it was subsequently destroyed by the Mysians. A few years after the death of Alexander the Great , Macedonian king Antigonus who had taken control of much of Asia Minor upon the death of Alexander (under whom Antigonus had served as a general) probably after his victory over Eumenes , in 316 BC, rebuilt the town, and called it, after himself, Antigoneia Greek. 863 Several other of Alexander’s generals known together as the Diadochi (Latin; original Greek Diadokhoi / “successors”) later conspired to remove Antigonus, and after defeating him the area was given to Thessalian general Lysimachus (Lysimakhos) (circa 355 BC-281 BC) in 301 BC as his share of the lands. He renamed it Nicaea Greek. Also transliterated as Nikaia or Nicæa ; see also List of traditional Greek place names , in tribute to his wife Nicaea, a daughter of Antipater. According to another account Memnon, ap. Bekker, Nicaea was founded by men from Nicaea near Thermopylae , who had served in the army of Alexander the Great. The town was built with great regularity, in the form of a square, measuring 16 stadia in circumference; it had four gates, and all its streets intersected one another at right angles, so that from a monument in the centre all the four gates could be seen. This monument stood in the gymnasium, which was destroyed by fire, but was restored with increased magnificence by the younger Pliny Epist. 48, when he was governor of Bithynia. The city was built on an important crossroads between Galatia and Phrygia , and thus saw steady trade. Soon after the time of Lysimachus, Nicaea became a city of great importance, and the kings of Bithynia, whose era begins in 288 BC with Zipoetes , often resided at Nicaea. It has already been mentioned that in the time of Strabo it is called the metropolis of Bithynia, an honour which is also assigned to it on some coins, though in later times it was enjoyed by Nicomedia. The two cities, in fact, kept up a long and vehement dispute about the precedence, and the 38th oration of Dio Chrysostomus was expressly composed to settle the dispute. From this oration, it appears that Nicomedia alone had a right to the title of metropolis, but both were the first cities of the country. The younger Pliny makes frequent mention of Nicaea and its public buildings, which he undertook to restore when governor of Bithynia. It was the birthplace of the astronomer Hipparchus ca. 194 BC, the mathematician and astronomer Sporus ca. 240 and the historian Dio Cassius ca. It was the death-place of the comedian Philistion. The numerous coins of Nicaea which still exist attest the interest taken in the city by the emperors, as well as its attachment to the rulers; many of them commemorate great festivals celebrated there in honour of gods and emperors, as Olympia, Isthmia, Dionysia, Pythia, Commodia, Severia, Philadelphia, etc. Throughout the imperial period, Nicaea remained an important town; for its situation was particularly favourable, being only 40 km (25 mi) distant from Prusa Pliny v. 32, and 70 km (43 mi) from Constantinople. When Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire , Nicaea did not lose in importance; for its present walls, which were erected during the last period of the Empire, enclose a much greater space than that ascribed to the place in the time of Strabo. Much of the existing architecture and defensive works date to this time, early 300s. Nicaea suffered much from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by the emperor Valens. During the Middle Ages it was for a long time a strong bulwark of the Byzantine emperors against the Turks. Nicaea in early Christianity. In the reign of Constantine , 325, the celebrated First Council of Nicaea was held there against the Arian heresy , and the prelates there defined more clearly the concept of the Trinity and drew up the Nicene Creed. The doctrine of the Trinity was finalized at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD which expressly included the Holy Ghost as equal to the Father and the Son. The first Nicene Council was probably held in what would become the now ruined mosque of Orchan. The church of Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian I in the middle of the city in the 6th century (modelled after the larger Hagia Sophia in Constantinople), and it was there that the Second Council of Nicaea met in 787 to discuss the issues of iconography. Marcus Antonius Gordianus Pius. , known in English as Gordian III , was Roman Emperor from 238 to 244. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and his father was an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known on his early life before becoming Roman Emperor. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238. Following the murder of emperor Alexander Severus in Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), the capital of the Roman province Germania Inferior , Maximinus Thrax was acclaimed emperor, despite strong opposition of the Roman senate and the majority of the population. In response to what was considered in Rome as a rebellion, Gordian’s grandfather and uncle, Gordian I and II, were proclaimed joint emperors in the Africa Province. Their revolt was suppressed within a month by Cappellianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax. The elder Gordians died, but public opinion cherished their memory as peace loving and literate men, victims of Maximinus’ oppression. Meanwhile, Maximinus was on the verge of marching on Rome and the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as joint emperors. These senators were not popular men and the population of Rome was still shocked by the elder Gordian’s fate, so that the Senate decided to take the teenager Gordian, rename him Marcus Antonius Gordianus as his grandfather, and raise him to the rank of Caesar and imperial heir. Pupienus and Balbinus defeated Maximinus, mainly due to the defection of several legions , namely the Parthica II who assassinated Maximinus. But their joint reign was doomed from the start with popular riots, military discontent and even an enormous fire that consumed Rome in June 238. Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian guard and Gordian proclaimed sole emperor. Due to Gordian’s age, the imperial government was surrendered to the aristocratic families, who controlled the affairs of Rome through the senate. In 240, Sabinianus revolted in the African province, but the situation was dealt quickly. In 241, Gordian was married to Furia Sabinia Tranquillina , daughter of the newly appointed praetorian prefect, Timesitheus. As chief of the Praetorian guard and father in law of the emperor, Timesitheus quickly became the de facto ruler of the Roman empire. In the 3rd century, the Roman frontiers weakened against the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and Danube , and the Sassanid kingdom across the Euphrates increased its own attacks. When the Persians under Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia , the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, and sent a huge army to the East. The Sassanids were driven back over the Euphrates and defeated in the Battle of Resaena (243). The campaign was a success and Gordian, who had joined the army, was planning an invasion of the enemy’s territory, when his father-in-law died in unclear circumstances. Without Timesitheus, the campaign, and the emperor’s security, were at risk. Marcus Julius Philippus, also known as Philip the Arab , stepped in at this moment as the new Praetorian Prefect and the campaign proceeded. In the beginning of 244, the Persians counter-attacked. Persian sources claim that a battle was fought (Battle of Misiche) near modern Fallujah (Iraq) and resulted in a major Roman defeat and the death of Gordian III. Roman sources do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died far away, upstream of the Euphrates. Although ancient sources often described Philip, who succeeded Gordian as emperor, as having murdered Gordian at Zaitha (Qalat es Salihiyah), the cause of Gordian’s death is unknown. Gordian’s youth and good nature, along with the deaths of his grandfather and uncle and his own tragic fate at the hands of another usurper, granted him the everlasting esteem of the Romans. Despite the opposition of the new emperor, Gordian was deified by the Senate after his death, in order to appease the population and avoid riots. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “GORDIAN III 238AD Nicaea Bythinia Ancient Roman Coin Legionary STANDARDS i37426″ is in sale since Sunday, February 2, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Provincial (100-400 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.