Andreas Ruch
Philippus I., Philippus II.
and Otacilia Severa
Syrian Tetradrachms
of Antiochia ad Orontem
244 – 249 A.D.

Updated January 2018

About the project


Since the beginning of my passion for collecting Roman coins, I´ve especially been fascinated by the Syrian tetradrachms of Philippus I., his wife Otacilia Severa and his son Philippus II. At first the coins seem not very varied and maybe even boring. But a lot of of different details, errors and many bust variations belonged to the minting phase of the ruler. Based on the overwhelming catalogue of Michel Prieur* and inspired by him, the aim of this project is to gather all of the known and unknown variants and curiosities. By doing this, a preferably large overall view will be created – including all of the tetradrachms from Antiochia Ad Orontem from the reign of Philippus I. and his family.

The minting of tetradrachms in Antiochia extremely fell back under Elagabal and was totally suspended within the reign of Severus Alexander, Maximinus Thrax and the emperors Balbinus and Pupienus. The excess of drachms under Caracalla and Macrinus was reduced soon. Gordian III. rose the tetradrachms back to the emperors coinage and raised it´s status. Marcus Iulius Philippus, also known as Philip the Arab, was born in todays Syria and the first Roman emperor from Arabia. He increased the minting of tetradrachms. But even if the coins circulated around the entire province Syria, the tetradrachms obviously didn´t cross the border. All coins that have been discovered upto now, come from the eastern area of the empire – in contrast to the Antiochian antoniniani, circulating around the entire Roman empire.

The minting is devided into three phases. The first coins in the years 244 and 245 have no mintmark identifications, but the Sigle SC appears in exergue.

In the year 246 the SC moved to the fields, the sigle changed to MON VRB. This caused a lot of confusion, because it belonged exclusively to the mint of Rome (moneta urbis). After many interpretation attempts, Hans Roland Baldus** created the theory, that the Antiochian coin mint was closed completely in the year 246 and the money supply was guaranteed by Rome until the retreated mint resumed its activity. This theory is now widely recognized.

In the year 247 the third series of tetradrachms with the Sigle ANTIOXIA / SC was minted. This obviously happened, to differentiate the coins from the MON VRB series. This carries on in the fourth (248/249) and fifth series (249). The last coins were marked with up to four pellets. This is interpretated as mintmark identifications.

I would like to thank all dealers and friends around the globe for their friendly support and their permission to use their images. This project would not have been possible without you. Also a big kòbkûn kráb to Hans-Jürgen for the tireless wallowing of old auction catalogs. 

Most of the coins shown are in not in my possession, none are for sale! This website has no commercial background and is only operated for collectors and people of interest.

Do you have any questions, remarks or criticism? Or is there a specimen that hasn´t been listed yet?


* Michel Prieur
A Type Corpus of The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms
and Their Fractions from 57 BC to AD 253.
Lancaster, PA, 2000. 

** Hans Roland Baldus
Rom und Antiochia als Prägestätten syrischer
 des Philippus Arabs.
Frankfurt Dr. Busso Peus Nachf., 1969.