An exceptional cistophorus of Hadrian showing the Temple of Augustus in Nicomedia
Lot 262
Hadrian, 117-138. Cistophorus (Silver, 27 mm, 11.13 g, 6 h), Nicomedia. IMP CAES TRA HADRIANO AVG P P Laureate head of Hadrian to right. Rev. S P - Q R / COM BIT Octostyle temple on podium of three steps and with a round shield in pediment; ROM AVG on entablature. Metcalf -. RPC III online 981A (one example recorded). Of the highest rarity, apparently the second known example. A wonderful piece with an exceptional portrait of the finest Hadrianic style. Cleaned and with a very minor scrape on the reverse, otherwise, extremely fine.

From a European collection, formed before 2005.

In identifying the temple on this wonderful cistophorus of Hadrian, Cassius Dio helps us by reporting that Octavian, in 29 BC, granted different honors to the two most important Bithynian cities, Nicaea and Nicomedia: the former was allowed to erect a temple for Roma and Divus Julius Caesar, while the latter was granted a sanctuary for Roma and the living Caesar, namely Octavian himself (Cass. Dio. 51.20.6-7). This reflects a clear hierarchy between the two cities even in the late 1st century AD, whose rivalry became proverbial, especially since the speeches of the orator Dion Chrysostomos (circa 40-115 AD), as undoubtedly the erection of a temple for the current ruler of the Empire was far more significant than a sacred building for his deceased adoptive father. The legend on our cistophorus leaves no doubt as to which temple is meant, namely that of ROM(a) and AVG(ustus), which was erected in Nicomedia by the COM(mune) BIT(hyniae), the Bithynian Koinon.
5000 CHF
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