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Bithynia, Nicaea. Celebration of Games

This unrecorded coin provides a further expansion of the games-related legends of the coins of Nicaea. "τα μεγαλα" is otherwise unattested, and in conjunction with the full legend can be read as "Severeia Philadelpheia in respect to the great ceremonies of the Nicaeans," with the central band inscription reading "The Holy Game." In the late 3rd century a complex cycle of at least fifteen games and associated religious festivals is attested for Nicaea, honoring Dionysus the founder, Apollo Pythius, and various emperors from Augustus to Gallienus. Read along with the very young portrait of Caracalla as Augustus, the legend and type can be taken to indicate that Nicaea sponsored a grand series of festivals to celebrate the joint elevation of Caracalla to Augustus and Geta to Caesar in 198 AD.

BITHYNIA, Nicaea. Caracalla. 198-217 AD. Æ 34mm (27.92 gm). AVT K M AVPH ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC ΑΥΓΟΥ, youthful laureate and cuirassed bust right / CEOVHPIA ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΕΙΑ ΤΑ ΜΕΓΑΛΑ ΝΙΚΑΙΕΩΝ, ornate prize crown with two palms; IEPOC ΑΓΟΝ in central band. Waddington, RG -; cf. BMC Pontus pg. 166, 87 (similar type of Geta); SNG Copenhagen -; cf. Mionnet Supp. V, pg. 111, 603 (related reverse legend for Severus Alexander).