Dupondius: coin of Tyras (Roman Province)


Dupondius, 211-217: Tyras (Roman Empire)

Dupondius, 211-217: Tyras (Roman Empire)

Wikipedia — Tyras was an ancient Greek city on the northern coast of the Black Sea. It was founded by colonists from Miletus, probably about 600 BC. The city was situated some 10 km from the mouth of the Tyras River, which is now called the Dniester. The ruins of Tyras are now located in the modern city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in the Odesa Oblast of Ukraine.

Ruler: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (born Lucius Septimius Bassianus, nickname Caracalla) — Roman emperor from 198 to 217. He was a member of the Severan dynasty, the elder son of Emperor Septimius Severus and Empress Julia Domna.

TYPANΩN: Tyras city.

An eagle with a wreath in its beak.

B (likely, incomplete image): inclined letter designation of the denomination above the eagle (from the term "Binarius" — double, the one that consists of two parts).

M AYPH ANTΩNINO (approximate legend): ΜAΡΚΟΣ ΑΥPHΛΙΟΣ ΑΝΤΩΝΊΝΟΣ — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

Portrait of the Emperor.

  • Copper: 20 mm - 3.68 g
  • Reference price: 40$
  • I would like to note that there are a number of questions regarding this interesting coin:

    1. The ancient city of Tyras was essentially a Greek settlement (it is considered part of Ancient Greece as one of the Black Sea Greek settlements). However, at the time this coin was minted, it was under the total influence of the Roman Empire (this is evidenced by the portrait of the Roman emperor on the demonstrated dupondius, the Roman denomination of the coin, and the legend in Latin). In addition, territorially, Tyras was the outskirts of Scythia (more precisely: it was located on the lands of Sarmatia — the western part of Scythia) — several ethnopolitical associations on the Eurasian continent. Considering all the above, various numismatic catalogs assign this coin to 3 different sections: Roman Empire, Ancient Greece, Scythia (sometimes Sarmatia). Be that as it may, the direct issuer is indisputable — the city of Tyras.
    2. There is also a question about the name of the denomination of the coin. On the one hand, the absolute majority of Roman bronze dupondius weighed significantly more than 10 grams. This particular coin is about three times lighter. But on the other hand, a number of print and online sources (mostly regional) still identify this coin as a dupondius. And I adhere to the same position (although on some sites the denomination of this coin is indicated as AE17, AE21 or even diassarion).
    3. When trying to find information about this coin, a third — mysterious question appears. The catalogs contain information about two coins that look as similar as possible, which at first glance (given the poor condition of most similar coins) cannot be distinguished due to the identical reverse and very similar portraits on the obverse. We are talking about the dupondius of the emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (the coin shown here is exactly the same identified) and the dupondius of his own brother, co-ruler during the years 209-211 — Publius Septimius Geta. These coins can be distinguished only by the not always preserved obverse legend. It is strange that some catalogs seem to identify the same coins as Geta's dupondius, while others only mention Caracalla's dupondius.

    COIN DUPONDIUS — WHERE & WHEN (coins catalog: by names & emitents)
    1. ANCIENT ROME (3th century BC — 3th century AD) — ROMAN REPUBLIC + ROMAN EMPIRE + ROMAN PROVINCES: dupondius = 2 as

    DUPONDIUS as coin name.
    Quite interesting and unexpected for me is the explanation of the etymology (origin of the name) of the dupondius coin. It is quite easy to find the following statement on the Internet: "Dupondius is a Roman coin worth two asses (from the Latin "dupondius" — "two-pounder")". But wait a minute, what are the pounds for? How are as and pound related?
    The fact is that the earliest ancient as had a weight of 1 Roman libra. Over time, the unit of measurement of the weight of libra was transformed through the expression "lībra pondō" ("the weight measured in libra") into a new name — simply pound. That is, the coin name dupondius reflects its most ancient essence — a weight of 2 libras / 2 pounds / 2 asses.