Friday, November 15, 2013

Hadrian: Seated Tyche of Antioch Type

Seated Tyche of Antioch example from Rome under the reign of Hadrian.

AE23, As

Laureate but right, draped, seen from behind

Reverse: COS III
Tyche seated left on rocks, holding ears of wheat; below, river-god Orontes swimming left; in field to left and right SC

This is a rarer selection of the Seated Tyche of Antioch types, minted in Rome. Hadrian was a great traveler, traveling around the empire most of his reign. This coin was minted at Rome, most likely for circulation in and around Antioch, Syria, especially for his journeys to the area. He spent some time in Antioch, and it's suburb Daphne, and had built several monuments and public works. 

RIC 680 (Roman Imperial Coinage)
McAlee 544 (The Coins of Roman Antioch)

For those that are new to Tyche of Antioch types, this is a good conflation theme representing the fortunes of those who resided in or depended on the great ancient city of Antioch for their lives and livelihoods : 
  1. Tyche with turret crown represents the personification of the city and the protection the walls provide. Antioch was situated on the frontier between the Roman Empire and the empires of the Parthians, Sassanians, and Islamic Empires. It was constantly under threat so the city walls were all most had between them and invasion. 
  2. The rocks represent Mount Silpius, the mountain directly behind the city where much of the later city walls surmounted and where much water flowed down to the river Orontes and the city cisterns. 
  3. River-god Orontes represents the river Orontes flowing through the city, providing life giving water and transportation. 
  4. Tyche holding wheat ears represents the abundance of food. Remember, in ancient times the majority of people concentrated on just getting enough to eat to survive on a day to day basis, so famines could become catastrophic in a very short time. Relying on the city for food during the hard times could mean life or death for those less fortunate. 

(my first real post, wrote it in a hurry, so if anyone sees something wrong feel free to comment and correct it)



  1. Hi Rob - brief but informative ... thanks. As a complete newbie to the subject I would find it helpful to have a small glossary - perhaps on the side - like the side plate. That would also make my job easier if I was going to use this info in one of writing pieces. Great start.

  2. Thank you! The glossary is a great idea. I'll research that this week, too.