Yothr CRP.28.2a

Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus
Reign: Commodus
Mint: Alexandria, Troas
Date: 180/191 AD
Nominal: Bronze
Material: AE
Diameter: 23mm
Weight: 6.33g

Reference: RPC IV.2 3172 (#5 this coin)
RPC Online: https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/4/3172
Rare: Specimens 5 (1 in the core collections)
Provenance: Sol Numismatics Maribor, Slowenia (Auction X, Lot 126)
Pedigree: –

Obverse: Laureate head of Commodus to right
Translation: Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Augustus Antoninus

Reverse: Temple with four columns in perspective enclosing statue of Apollo Smintheus standing on short column, right, having quiver at shoulder, holding patera over lighted tripod and bow
Inscription: COL AVG TROAD
Translation: Colonia Augusta Troad (Troas)

Comment: Alexandria Troas is an ancient city in the Asia Minor landscape of Troas, which today belongs to the Turkish province of Çanakkale. It is located about 30 km south of Troy in the district of Ezine on the Aegean coast. The city was founded shortly after 310 BC by Antigonos I Monophthalmos and named Antigonia, but was renamed Alexandria Troas by Lysimachus as early as 301/300 BC. The decisive factor was a distinction by name from Alexandria ad Issum (today İskenderun) and Alexandria. It is not clear whether this Hellenistic foundation was a new foundation or the renaming of an older settlement. However, the city only experienced its heyday in Roman times, as documented by written sources and buildings. Constantine the Great considered making it the capital of the Roman Empire, but chose Byzantium. Alexandria Troas also played a role in the spread of early Christianity. On three journeys, Paul visited Alexandria Troas. In his second letter to the Corinthians he refers to Troas by name (2 Cor 2:12-13 EU). Likewise, Ignatius of Antioch stayed in Alexandria Troas on his extradition journey to Rome, where he wrote three of the Epistles of Ignatius named after him. In 2003, a team of archaeologists from the Asia Minor Research Centre of the University of Münster, led by Elmar Schwertheim, found a stone slab in the city with a 90-line inscription from the time of Hadrian. It contains three letters from the emperor to the supra-regional association of competitors with regulations for various agons, specifying among other things the distribution of prize money to the winners as well as sanctions against those responsible for violations.

The reverse shows the temple of “Apollo Smintheus”. Homer refers to Apollo in the Iliad as Smintheus. The etymology of the non-Greek word is not certain. It is derived from the Cretan or Phrygian word sminthos for “mouse” or “rat” and can be translated as “mouse exterminator”. To what extent Apollo Smintheus can be equated with Apollo as a plague god is unclear. Mice or rats may indicate plagues, which according to Greek mythology emanated from Apollo. But the epiklese was also chosen for the expulsion of mice that had ravaged the vineyards. The temple of Apollo Smintheus is the only one of its kind in the Troas region due to its architectural design in the Hellenistic period. The sanctuary of Smintheus was one of the most important cult centres in antiquity. The reliefs on the temple take up themes from Homer’s Iliad epic. It was probably built in the Hellenistic period around 150 BC. The temple housed a large marble statue of the god, of which only a leg section has survived. At the feet of the statue, according to tradition, sat a mouse, which may symbolize the role of this god. On the grounds of the sanctuary, besides the temple, there are ruins of buildings that were necessary for the organisation of everyday life, even in a sanctuary. For example, a bath. More information and pictures you can find here: https://www.antike-orte.de/apollon-smyntheion

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