SYRIA, Seleucis and Pieria. Antioch. Severus Alexander, 222-235.
Oktassarion (Bronze, 36 mm, 17.72 g, 12 h). AYT KAI MAP AYP CЄ AΛЄΞANΔPOC CЄ Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Severus Alexander to right. Rev.
ANTIOXЄΩN MHTPOΠΟ[...] / Δ - [Є] / S - C The Sanctuary of the Tyche of Antioch viewed in aerial perspective: central distyle temple containing Euthychides' statue of the Tyche of Antioch; stairway flanked by statues before; around, four smaller shrines; before stairway, sacrificial altar; all within large open square space surrounded by colonnades. BMC -. Butcher -. McAlee -. Unpublished and unique. A highly important discovery with a wonderful architectural reverse type. The obverse a bit weak and with light scratches, otherwise,
about very fine.
From a European collection, formed before 2005.
While Roman Provincial Coinage is known for producing new varieties on a regular basis, it is extremely rare to find a new reverse type as astonishing as this one, especially for a mint as well studied as the Syrian Antioch. The complex structure shown in aerial perspective on the reverse of our coin is clearly a sanctuary, most likely that of the Tyche of Antioch, whose famous cult statue was crafted in early Seleukid times by Eutychides, one of Lysippus' pupils. As the embodiement of the newly founded royal city of Antioch, Eutychides portrayed the city-goddess sitting on a rock symbolizing Mount Silpios, Antioch's akropolis. She wore a mural crown and held a bouquet of grain ears in her right hand in reference to the fertile lands of the Orontes valley that fed the city, with the river-god himself appearing below Tyche's feet, swimming in the water.
Unfortunately, the details on the cult statue in the central distyle temple on our coin are difficult to discern, however, her posture is akin to that of Eutychides' Tyche, and the head of the Orontes is also visible on the lower right. There is thus little doubt in this cataloguer's mind that what we have here is indeed our first and only rendering of the sanctuary of Antioch's city goddess, an elaborate architectural complex incorporating Tyche's own temple set on a podium with a stairway leading up, with four additional shrines, two statue groups, and a prominent sacrificial altar around; all erected on a large plaza enclosed by impressive colonnades. It is a most remarkable sight and gives us a glimpse of how visually impressive the temple complex must have looked in its heyday.