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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89001383

Caracalla’s Visit to Pergamum

Triton XV, Lot: 1383. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $3000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MYSIA, Pergamum. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Medallion (43mm, 36.43 g, 12h). Marcus Caerelius Attalus, magistrate. AVTKPA K MA-PKOC AVP ANTΩNЄINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery; gorgoneion on breastplate / ЄΠI CTP M KAIPЄΛ AT-TAΛOV/ ΠЄPΓAMHNΩN/ ΠPΩT ΩN Γ NЄΩ/KOPΩN, the imperial entrance (adventus) into the city of Pergamum: emperor, wearing military attire, on horseback right, turning to left and raising right arm, being trailed by attendant; to right, cippus surmounted by statue of Asclepius. W. Wroth, “Asklepios and the coins of Pergamum,” NC (1882), pl. 3, 5; von Fritze, Pergamon pl. VII, 14 var. (distribution of rev. legend); SNG France 2231-2 var. (distribution of rev. legend); SNG von Aulock 1414 var. (smaller module, distribution of rev. legend); BMC 321. VF, reddish-brown surfaces, fields smoothed and details enhanced.


This medallion is part of a highly interesting series that has long fascinated numismatists. Taken as a whole, the group chronicles the major events of Caracalla’s visit to Pergamum en route to an eastern military expedition in AD 214. While this was only one stop on a trip that that included imperial visits to the major cities and religious sites of Asia Minor, Pergamum’s sanctuary of Asclepius (the Asclepion) was of particular appeal to Caracalla, whose health declined precipitously in the latter years of his reign. On other medallions from the series we see either Tyche (personification of the city) or a leading magistrate presenting the emperor with a miniature cult image of Asclepius upon his arrival, Caracalla visiting the sacred grove adjacent to the Asclepion, and various scenes of sacrifices being offered to Asclepius.