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Anonymous Coins, the Great Persecution and the Shadow of Sossianus Hierocles



Sometime int he early fourth century CE an unusual and somewhat puzzling series of bronze coins was minted in the three cities of Antioch, Nicomedia and Alexandria. It is noteworthy that portraits of Emperors and Caesars are missing from these coins. Instead, they mostly depict city gods and goddesses, or in some cases the city tyche...They then appear to be civic coins (coins minted by a city for its own use).
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This article seeks to sketch the contribution numismatics has played in the study of Ephesus in a time of profound social and political change from Augustus' early principate (29 BCE) tot he end of Hadrian's reign (138 CE). Both Augustus and Hadrian were concerned about the currency available in Asia Minor and instigated large issues of cistophori (silver coinage), so of which were minted in Ephesus. The pictorial propaganda on this coinage, especially on the reverse, undergoes development from the Augustan issues through the Claudian issue to those of Hadrian, with the presence of Artemis growing with each numismatic step. When we turn to the bronze civic coinage minted by Ephesus for us in the city and its territory, the pictorial language and attending inscriptions shift in focus from the relationship with the Emperor to proclaiming Ephesian prestige in Asia Minor.
This book is about the reinvention of the Roman Empire during the eighty years between the accession of Diocletian and the death of Julian. How had it changed? The emperors were still warriors and expected to take the field. Rome was still the capital, at least symbolically. There was still a Roman senate, though with new rules brought in by Constantine. There were still provincial governors, but more now and with fewer duties in smaller areas; and military command was increasingly separated from civil jurisdiction and administration. The neighbours in Persia, Germania and on the Danube were more assertive and better organised, which had a knock-on effect on Roman institutions. The achievement of Diocletian and his successors down to Julian was to create a viable apparatus of control which allowed a large and at times unstable area to be policed, defended and exploited. The book offers a different perspective on the development often taken to be the distinctive feature of these years, namely the rise of Christianity. Imperial endorsement and patronage of the Christian god and the expanded social role of the Church are a significant prelude to the Byzantine state. The author argues that the reigns of the Christian-supporting Constantine and his sons were a foretaste of what was to come, but not a complete or coherent statement of how Church and State were to react with each other.
The religion of Mani arose from a Judaeo-Christian milieu in southern Mesopotamia in the third century – a time of both cultural and religious syncretism. When it was first proclaimed in the Roman empire by missionaries from the Syriac-speaking parts of the Persian empire it was attacked by pagan emperors as a Persian religion bent on destroying the moral fabric of the empire and by Christian leaders as a Gnostic-type heresy embodying a strong element of Marcionism as well as numerous pagan and foreign (mainly Iranian) features. The discovery of genuine Manichaean sources, from Turfan in Central Asia and from Medinet Madi and Kellis (Ismant el-Kharab in the Dakhleh oasis) in Egypt, has shown that Manichaeism was a universalist religion founded not to imitate but to surpass other major religions of late antiquity in order to absorb their followers into its fold. In an important mission statement preserved in a Coptic text from Medinet Madi, Mani declares:The church that I have chosen is superior in ten aspects over the first churches. So, one: [… the apostles] that were sent to them chose a church with much toil. Some of them came in … only; others among them have come in … alone; and each of them came in, [they chose the] churches that they chose in the places and the cities where they were disclosed. The one who chose his church in the west, his church did not reach to the east; the one who chose his church in the east, his election did not come to the west. Thus, there are some of them: Their name did not display in other cities.However, my hope, mine: It is provided for it to go to the west and also for it to go to the east; and in every language they hear the voice of its proclamation, and it is proclaimed in all cities. In this first matter my church surpasses the first churches: Because the first churches were chosen according to place, according to city. My church, mine: It is provided for it to go out from all cities, and its good news attains every country.
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