PAMPHYLIA. Side. Gallienus, 253-268. 10 Assaria (Bronze, 30 mm, 17.54 g, 2 h). AYT•KAI•ΠOY•ΛI•ЄΓN•ΓAΛΛIHNOC CЄBA Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gallienus to right, seen from behind; before, I (value mark). Rev. CIΔHTΩN•NЄΩKOPΩN•NAYAPXIC• / AЄ Bird's-eye view of the harbor of Side in the shape of a horse-shoe with entrance to left; within, a galley with five oarsmen rowing left, military standard on stern; below the galley, a fish swimming right. BMC 112 and pl. XXVIII, 19 (same reverse die). SNG Copenhagen -. SNG Paris -. SNG PFPS -. SNG von Aulock -. Extremely rare. An important architectural type and in exceptional condition for the issue. Well struck and with an attractive green patina. Extremely fine.
Situated on a projecting peninsula, Side had always been orientated towards the sea and it was an infamous pirates' nest in the 1st century BC. Under Roman rule, the city became the dominant trading center of the fertile Pamphylian plain and exported large quantities of agricultural products to other parts of the Empire through its sizable harbor, shown here from a bird's eye view. The fact that the reverse of this remarkable issue proudly boasts Side as NAYAPXIC A (= ΠPΩTH) E(NΔOΞOΣ), the 'mistress of the sea, the first and famous', and considering that the ship about to leave the harbor is clearly of military nature, it is likely that the Sidetans were assisting the Roman authorities in the fight against Gothic invaders and pirates that were plaguing the eastern Mediterranean at the time.