PHRYGIA. Laodicea ad Lycum. Caracalla, 198-217.
Medallion (Bronze, 43 mm, 44.17 g, 6 h), CY 88 = 214/5 (?). AYT K M AYP ANTΩNЄINOC Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla to right, seen from behind. Rev.
ΦΡΥΓΙΑ TO ΠH KAPIA / ΛAΟΔIKЄΩN / NЄΩKΟPΩN Tyche seated left, holding small figure of Zeus Laodiceus in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left; to left, Phrygia standing right, holding grain-ears in her right hand; on the right, Caria standing left, holding branch in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left. BMC 228. SNG von Aulock 3856. Very rare. Somewhat rough and with minor deposits, otherwise,
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
This impressive medallion is interesting in two ways: first, it is part of a series of coins struck under Caracalla citing the 'year 88' of an otherwise unknown local era, which Imhoof-Blumer dated to 210/11. The mature portrait and the fact that Caracalla was travelling through Asia Minor in 214/5, however, make it more plausible that these coins were struck in that or the following years, which sets the beginning of the era at 126/7-129 AD (it is notable that in 129/30, Hadrian was travelling through Asia Minor, where he was hailed by many cities as benefactor: this may well have prompted Laodicea to come up with a new local era too). Secondly, the very unusual reverse places the Tyche of Laodicea in between the named personifications of Phrygia and Caria, thus boasting the city's importance as a regional administrative and economical center.