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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     79000576
Type:     Roman Provincial
Region:     ARGOLIS
City:     Argos
Issuer:     Lucius Verus
Date Ruled:     A.D. 161-169
Metal:     Bronze
Denomination:     2 Assaria
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     AD 161-169
Weight:     6.93 g
Die Axis:     8 h
Obverse Description:     Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Reverse Description:     Elaborate multi-storey structure composed of central rounded arch flanked by distyle pedimented bays joined to the central structure by an arch; above, central architrave supported by four columns and surmounted by two standing figures; on either side, two lower architraves, each surmounted by an equestrian statue
Primary Reference:     BCD Peloponnesos 1195 (same obv. die)
Reference2:     V. Grigorova, “Les reprÉsentations des monuments sur les monnaies d’Argos,” SNR 78 (1999), 18
Reference3:     BMC -
Reference4:     Price & Trell -
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     Near VF, brown surfaces
Notes:     Sale: CNG 79, Lot: 576 Extremely rare, only the third known specimen. From the J.S. Wagner Collection.The architectural feature on the reverse of this coin has been variously described as a city-gate or triumphal arch. The lack of city walls, present in other city-gate types, undermines the hypothesis that this is a city-gate, and, while this may be a triumphal arch, the composition of the structure, particularly of the upper storey, fails to comport with known triumphal arch types depicted widely on provincial coinage. A third possibility is suggested by a little-known 17th century French travel memoir of the area (M. Des Mouceaux,Voyages de Corneille Le Bruyn [Paris, 1668]). There, the author describes the then-extant remains of a nymphaeum, constructed of brick, encrusted with marble, and ending in a semi-circle. It consisted “many levels, with a platform, or terrace, which could be decorated with detached columns at right angles (p. 476).” Much later, this same structure was described as “present[ing] the aspect of a Roman temple’s faÇade (W. Volgraff, “Le flanc oriental de la Larissa,” BCH [1958], p. 542). The composition of the faÇade on this coin is similar to other known examples of nymphaea (e.g. the Septizonium in Rome and the Nymphaeum of Trajan in Ephesus), and it is more than likely that such a structure is depicted on this coin.