Ancient Greek Coins of Miletus

The ancient Greek city of Miletus in Asia Minor, on what is now the west coast of Turkey, was the intellectual and commercial center of the Greek world in the century before Athens rose to prominence. It has been called the birthplace of the modern world. These pages discuss the early history of coinage and present a detailed outline of Milesian coin types from the Greek and Roman periods.

PAGES: Illustrated table of contentsIllustrated numerical catalogueHistory and weight standardsChronological tableThe electrum lion coins of the kings of Lydia (1)The enigmatic “geometric” electrum series (1)The sixth-century electrum lion coins of Miletus (2)The electrum and silver lion/scorpion issues (3)The silver eye-swirl/quincunx fractions (12)The dotted lion-mask series (7)The archaic twelfth-stater series (21)The silver Milesian-style lion/bird fractions (14)The lion-head/lion-scalp series (2)Milesian imitatives of Hecatomnus, Mausolus, and Hidrieus (2)The fourth-century bronze lion/sun series (3)The Rhodian silver and bronze Apollo/lion series (7)Early silver and bronze of Alexander the Great (5)The reduced-Rhodian didrachms and their parallel bronzes (3)The later Diadochian and civic Alexander types (2)The third-century Persic silver and bronze Apollo/lion series (2)The bronze facing-Apollo coinage (6)The second-century silver Apollo/lion issues (5)The wreathed bronze Apollo/lion series (8)The bronze Apollo of Didyma series (2)Provincial bronzes of Nero (2)Provincial bronzes of Domitian (1)Provincial bronzes of Faustina the Younger (1)Provincial bronzes of Gordian III (1)The Ottoman silver akçes of fifteenth-century Balad (1)References and literature citedAncient coin resources online.

(1) Roman Provincial Bronzes of Faustina the Younger from Miletus

Contents of this page

The Greek city of Miletus was incorporated into Rome’s Province of Asia in 133 BC, and during the later Imperial period Miletus served as a provincial mint under a number of emperors and empresses, issuing coins in the name of Caligula (AD 37–41) and his sister Drusilla, Claudius (41–54), Nero (54–68), Titus (79–81), Domitian (81–96), Trajan (98–117), Hadrian (117–138), Antoninus Pius (138–161), Marcus Aurelius (161–180) and his wife Faustina the Younger, Lucius Verus (161–169), Commodus (180–192) and his wife Crispina, Septimus Severus (193–211) and his wife Julia Domna, Caracalla (211–217) and his wife Plautilla, Geta (211), Alexander Severus (222–235), Pupenius (238), Balbinus (238), Gordian III (238–244), Valerian (253–260), and Gallenius (253–268) (Metcalf, 1980; Sear, 1982; SNG Copenhagen, 1982).

Note: I have very few specimens available to illustrate the extensive Roman provincial coinage of Miletus, and I do not yet have access to any of the advanced Roman provincial references such as Burnett et al. (1992–1999). Further study is required before more extended descriptions and commentary can be provided here.

Annia Galeria Faustina, variously known as Faustina the Younger, Faustina Minor, Faustina Junior, and Faustina II, “daughter of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Senior, was originally betrothed to Lucius Verus, son of Aelius Caesar. On her father’s accession, however, she was betrothed instead to Marcus Aurelius, and the marriage took place in A.D. 145. She bore him at least twelve children, one of whom was the future emperor Commodus. On her death in 176 she was deified by her husband” (Sear, 1982: 159).

“The local coinages of Faustina Junior,” Sear continues, “are greater in extent than those of any other empress, with the sole exception of Julia Domna, whose massive issues are in a class of their own.”

(2) Miletus · Bust of Faustina Right / Statue of Artemis · Bronze · AD 161–176

On this Faustina/Artemis type see SNG Copenhagen (1982: #1019); Sear describes a Faustina/Apollo-Didymaeus issue from Miletus (1982: #1754) but does not list this Faustina/Artemis type. Compare also BMC #160 (not seen). I do not have any other references available that might provide additional information.

(2a) AE 15 mm (2.5–1.4 g)

In the absence of additional information, I don’t know whether this type was issued in more than one denomination.

RJO 118. Bronze 15 mm (1.42 g, ↑↓), AD 161–176; upper right portion missing. Obverse: bust of Faustina right; inscription around margin (illegible); dotted border. Reverse: statue of Artemis standing, holding patera and bow; stag at her feet; ΜΙΛΗϹΙ [ ]Ν around margin beginning at 0100; dotted border. [Image not yet available.]

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