PAPHLAGONIA. Gangra-Germanicopolis. Caracalla, 198-217. Tetrassarion (Orichalcum, 30 mm, 15.46 g, 6 h). AYT•K•M•AYP• ANTΩNINOC Laureate and cuirassed bust of Caracalla to right, seen from behind. Rev. ΓANΓPΩN• // APX• / ΠAΦ• View of the akropolis of Gangra-Germanicopolis, with two smaller buildings, with pointed roofs, between two large towers; all buildings with entrances; between the left tower and the left building, masonry; the smaller building on the right seen in half-perspective. Bricault & Delrieux - (D42/R106). Price & Trell -, cf. fig. 517 (same reverse die, but with bust to left). Very rare and very likely the finest known. A beautifully struck example with an exceptional architectural reverse. Very minor smoothing on the reverse, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
Buried beneath the modern Turkish town of Çankırı, nothing has survived of Gangra-Germanicopolis to the present day and hence, we hence not know what the ancient city looked like, except for the unusual architectural images appearing on very rare Roman Provincial issues struck under Caracalla. Given the two towers on the left and right and the masonry emerging from the left tower, it seems likely that this is a rendering of the city walls, or more specifically, of the local akropolis. That Gangra-Germanicopolis was fortified follows from Strabo, who reports that the Galatian dynast Deiotaros '... possessed Gangra, the royal residence of Morzeüs, which was at the same time a small town and a fortress.' (Strab. XII, 3.41).
It is worth noting that this is the only issue of Gangra to omit its Roman name, Germanicopolis, leading Bricault & Delrieux to speculate that the depiction of the local, presumably very old akropolis and the focus on the city's native name may represent a deliberate accentuation of Gangra's antiquity, thus underlining the rather unsubtle epithet APX ΠAΦ (= APXEOTATH ΠAΦΛAΓONIAΣ), meaning 'the oldest (city) of Paphlagonia'.