"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Coin of Roman Emperor Philip the Arab

datation
3rd century AD (242-249 AD)
provenance
Dura Europos
area
period
materials
themes

During the Roman Age, the people of Syria shared actively in the cultural and historical developments of the period. They offered a lot of expertise in the fields of art, culture, society, economy, and military. Syrians even occupied the place of the empire’s leadership, as can be seen in the reign of Philip the Arab. He was born in Shahba, south of Damascus, which was known as Philipopolis in Roman time. Philip the Arab’s father was one of the sheikhs of the Arab tribes of southern Syria, in an area called al-Jah.

Philip the Arab joined the Eastern legion of the Roman army and became recognized for his leadership and skill. He continued to rise up the military ranks and, when the Roman military revolted against the Roman Empire, during the reign of Emperor Gordian III, Philip assumed the title and responsibilities of Emperor and ruled from 242 till 249 AD.

Emperor Philip the Arab offered important contributions in the challenging state of Rome’s leadership at the time. He sought to improve the status of the army and also to strengthen the authority of the senate. New coins were minted in his name during the years of his rule. This item presented here is an example of such a coin. On the face is a realistic profile image of Emperor Philip the Arab, who appears bearded, frowning, and a wreath of laurels around the back of his head. His name in the Latin script is found around the face. On the back there is an image of an eagle opening its wings and carrying a branch in its beak.

see also