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Triple Temple Reverse

563035. SOLD $7500

MYSIA, Pergamum. Caracalla. AD 198-217. Æ Medallion (43mm, 39.81 g, 6h). M. Kairel(ios) Attalos, strategos. Struck AD 214. AYTKPAT K MAPKOC AYΡ ANTΩNЄINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right; gorgoneion on breastplate / ЄΠI CTP M KAIPЄΛ/ATT AΛO/V above, ΠЄ/PΓA/MHN/ΩN in three lines in central field, ΠPΩTΩN Γ NЄ/ΩKOPΩN in two lines in exergue, three tetrastyle temples; two seen in perspective facing left and right; upper one, containing statue of Zeus Aetophorus seated left, seen from front; AN in pediment; clippeus in pediments of left and right temples. Von Fritze, Pergamon, p. 85 and pl. VIII, 16 (only rev. illustrated – same die); SNG BN 2229 var. (legend breaks); SNG Leypold –; SNG von Aulock 1411-2 var. (same); BMC 37 and pl. XXXII, 1 (same dies). Red-brown and black-green patina, some light smoothing, two small scrapes on reverse. VF. Very rare.

Caracalla’s eastern tour of AD 214 included stops at several healing shrines, where he sought a cure for a chronic malady of an unknown nature, which his ancient biographers attributed to either hypochondria or guilt and anxiety over his murder of his brother, Geta. This impressive medallion of Pergamum commemorates one such visit to the famous temple of Asklepios in that city, extant since the second century BC. The reverse depicts three temples; the two flanking structures, shown in perspective, have been identified as temples for the deified emperors Augustus and Trajan. The raised central temple, with a figure of Asklepios shown within, is inscribed AN on the pediment, surely for Antonininus, Caracalla’s official name. The meaning of this is unclear, but it suggests the venerable temple of Asklepios has also been made into a shrine to the emperor’s own divinity.