My Coins, Up For Sale Right Now

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Tufa bust of man, found in Yerevan, 200 A D

Below is my rendering from my sketch of a bust of a man, said to have been found in Yerevan and dated to 200 A D.
The stone was Tufa and of a purplish colour.
It was about 30 cm from the top of the head to the bottom of the neck.

What strikes me is the appearance it has to Antoninus Pius, particularly the eyes.

The clay statuettes I reckon are the work of Romans for Romans, occupying Armenia, at least during the time of Marcus Aurelius.
If this bust is meant to depict Antoninus Pius, it would make sense. Though Yerevan in that era did not exist, there were only the ruined Urartuan settlements of Erebuni, Garmir-Blur and Arinberd to the south-east and south.
However during the 1930's when the "Moscow Cinema" was built in Yerevan, two columns were found, underneath the church of St. Paul and Peter that was demolished to make way for the cinema.
So there was at least a temple in the Roman era, were Yerevan now is.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Cybele statuette, National Museum Of Armenia

My rendering of 1 of 5 statuettes of what was labelled as "Kibela/Artemis/Aphrodite" on display in the Roman section of the National Museum Of Armenia.
Two of them depicted her nursing an infant, as shown.
The statuettes were labelled as being found in three sites, Artashat (Artaxata), Armavir and Vagharshapat.
The dates given were 200 A D.
They were all around 180 mm in height.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Ionic column, fragment, Artashat, National Museum Of Armenia

Below is my sketch of two sections of an Ionic column from the National Museum Of Armenia, followed by a photo I took in July 2011 of a block of Limestone in situ at old Artaxata (modern Khor Virap), the only visable fragment left of the old city.

Also a screen shot from Google Maps© where I have marked the location of that Limestone block in relation to the modern church site of Khor Virap.
Note also in the screenshot a rectalingular shape on the ground to the north of that block, below the walls of the church.

The column sections were about 70 cm in diametre, that block was about 60 x 60 cm and likely formed the foundation of a temple, if not the same temple the column sections came from.

Mithra statuette, National Museum Of Armenia, Yerevan

Below is my rendering from my sketch of a clay statuette, 1 of 9 on display in the National Museum Of Armenia, Yerevan, said to be of the god Mihr (Mithra).

All of the statuettes were about 150 mm in height, with no paint remaining on them, if they ever were painted.

The statuettes were stated to have been found at various sites in Armenia, from the cities of Artashat (Artaxata), Armavir and Vagharshapat.
The date given was 200 A D, though it is obviously a rough guess for a date.

The god Mihr, a Parthian equivalent to the Avestan  god Mithra, never gained as much popularity in ancient Armenia as the god Vahagn (Avestan: Verethragna) had.
And he, along with other deities, Urartuan, Semetic and Avestan (with their Hellenic equivalents) were worshipped long before 200 A D.

The body and the head are combined from two fragments, though all of the statuette heads wore this "hood".
A few of the statuette were riding a horse that was rearing up, whilst the god had his head turned to the right, facing and smiling.
On those statuettes the costume seemed to be a type of loose silk garment with many folds.
On those and the few statuettes of him standing, he wears this "hooded-coat".

The sleeve of the coat, I am not sure if it is a complete sleeve or a long flap, as seen in the traditional male costumes of Armenia and Georgia.

Also of note, the sword is positioned in the Roman Legionary manner, on the right hand side of the belt.

This type of cloak is seen in Median art, such as in the tomb of Cyaxares, (585 B C) in the autonomous district of Kurdistan, Iraq.

Turquoise plate, Aramaic, Armenia

Below is my rendering from my sketch of the reverse of a plate in the National Museum Of Armenia, 2011.

The colour of the plate was Turquoise, yet it glistened.

On the reverse was an inscription in Imperial Aramaic.

The plate was about 170 mm in diametre.

Greek Tufa Plaque, from Vagharshapat, Armenia

Below is my rendering from my sketch taken of a plaque in the Roman section of the National Museum Of Armenia, Yerevan, in 2011.

The text is taken from what I wrote and could see.
Certain parts of the text have been worn off, but it looks more random, such as a fall, than deliberate chiseling off.
The plaque is in the typical Roman "notice board" style, so though the letters are Greek, it must date from the Roman occupation of Armenia, perhaps the occupation of 163 - 186 A D.

The museum description gave the location of its find as Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) with a dating of 165 A D, and if it is a reliable date, that era would be the campaign of Lucius Verus.

The stone is Tufa, and of an orange colour, the length was about 1.5 metres.

Legion XV Apollinaris, plaque, Vagharshapat, Armenia

You may recall a previous post of mine, my sketch of a fragmentary Roman plaque in the National Museum Of Armenia, Yerevan.
That turned out to be commemorating a work done by the Legion IIII Scythica in the Armenian capital, Artashat, which had come under Roman control in 116 A D.

The following is taken from another sketch of a Roman plaque in that museum, this was found in the old Arsacid town of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) said to be made by Legionaries and the date given was 185 A D.
It is about 1.5 metres in length, and about 1 metre in width.

The following is taken from my sketch.

_ = where a sentence has been deliberately chisiled away, defaced.

NINO AVG _                          GER

From what I could find, the emperor stated was likely to be Marcus Aurelius, rather than the other "Marcus Aurelius Antoninus" otherwise known as Caracalla.

Lucius Verus campaigned into Armenia and Parthia from 161–166 A D, and the Legio XV Apollinaris, based at Satala in Cappadocia, took a major part in that campaign.

The sentences "CAEIIOCM
MILEI AVRELIA BRA SEN EC EIV SOEM" did not make any sense, though I sketched them down.

The "VEX III" I think is actually "VEXILL" and that the plaque notes the work of a Vexillationes (detachment) from the Legion XV Apollinaris.

Still trying to figure out the rest of the wording, I wondered if the word "AVRELIA" may have been the Roman name for Vagharshapat.
After all, during the occupation of Armenia from 163 - 186 A D, the old Armenian capital, Artaxata, was renamed to "Kaine Polis".

On learning that Legion XV Apollinaris was based at the fort of Satala, I was curious to learn about this place, and came across the MAVORS Institute for Ancient Military History, website.

With thanks to Dr. Michael Speidel of MAVORS as he replied to my e-mail on what I thought was a new reference to Legion XV Apollinaris on a Roman plaque.
It turned out it was recorded over 100 years ago by an incredible scholar, Hermann Dessau, in his monumental work, "Inscriptiones latinae selectae".

Below is my rendering of what the plaque states. Rather than Marcus Aurelius, it is in the name of his son, Commodus.
However, like all his monuments and inscriptions, it got "Damnatio Memoriae".

A member (Sharum) on Forum Ancient Coins stated that the father of the emperor Balbinus is mentioned on this plaque, Caelius Calvinus.
He was the legate of Cappadocia in and around 184 A D.