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10.2 Legionary Countermarks - The East  (Judaea-Syria):

"LVIF", "Hadrian's Head", "VI", "X", "XF", "LXF", "LXF with wild boar and dolphin", "Galley", "XII", "Thunderbolt", "LXVA", "XVA", "Palmbranch"

plenty of countermarked coins are found in Judaea, learn more about them below ....

Coins marked with rbc are from the Richard Baker Collection

"LVIF"  of the Legio VI Ferrata from Judaea, usually combined with a small rectangular countermark with a male head. The LVIF countermark may be connected to the aftermath of the Jewish War, the uprisings late in Trajans reign or, even the Bar Kochba uprisings of 132-135A.D
rbc, the coin  is 22 mm, with a weight of 5.5g.
more examples

"Hadrian's Head" countermarks, sometimes associated with legio XII.
Three coins of Antioch with "Hadrian Head" countermarks.  The countermarks show a laureated, bearded head in a rectangle, to Right.  The first host coin
is  probably Claudius, the other two are of Domitian.  Their statistics, left to right, as in photo. #1. 25 mm, 15.1g. #2. 26 by 27 mm, 14.7g.  #3. 23 by 25 mm, 12.6g.

The next grouping is 4 coins of Titus from Samaria, Judaea Capta (in Greek) around trophy of Armour on reverse.  All 4 countermarks appear to have the laureated, bearded heads of Hadrian, to right in rectangle.  Going right to left, top row first, here are the statistics: #1. 22.5 mm with weight of 10.1g.  #2. 22 by 24 mm, with weigt of 10.6g.  #3. 22 mm, with a weight of 9.2g. and #4. 21 by 24 mm, with a weight of 8.5g.

"VI" for possibly Legio VI Ferrata on a provincial coin of Caligula


Countermarks of the Legio X Fretensis

Of the Legio X Fretensis there are multiple different countermarks (e.g. LXF, XFR, XF, X, LXF above boar, galley, head of Emperor), sometimes on the same coin. This legion was based in Jerusalem. The LEGIO X FRETENSIS acquired its nick name, Fretensis,  from the famous naval battle of 36 B.C.where the Tenth Legion under the command of Marcus Agrippa destroyed the forces of Sextus Pompey off the coast of Sicily.  The nick name is taken from "Fretum Siculum", which loosely translates to the Straits of Sicily, which were located off the Cape of Naulocus, where the naval engagement occured. The galley and the dolphin in some of the countermarks of this legion refer to its Naval victories.



"Judaea  Capta coin of Titus from Samaria.  The countermark is a large XF struck within a square.  22.5 mm by 23.5 mm, the weight is 10.4g.

"XFR"on a coin of  young Marcus Aurelius from Bythinia, This use of a Legio X Fretensis monogram is the "Latest" use to date found on coins.
26 mm, weight 11.0 g.

on a Domitian AE from Sebaste, struck 84/85 AD
Another example, though in better condition, of a coin of Domitian from Sebaste struck in84/85 A.D. (see 3 coins up).  25 by 27 mm, with a weight of 9.5g.

Countermark "L.X.F with wild boar and dolphin beneath"
in varying combinations with  "Galley to the right", "Emperor's Head", "Standing Neptune", and "LXF"
Reverse: Two countermarks on the reverse of this coin:  #1. A Wild Boar travelling to the right, with L.X.F. above, and a Dolphin beneath swimming to the right.  #2. A Galley travelling to the right, in a rectangle.  The letters L.X.F. stand for, Legio X Fretensis.
Obverse: The obverse shows three countermarks, two struck on the coins Portrait: #1. Emperors head to right, within a circle.  #2.  LXF in rectangle.  #3. A rectangle with a standing, facing "Stick-Figure" (Neptune? ), with staff(Trident?) in left hand and a Dolphin(?) in right.
The coin is of Domitian, from Samaria.  It is 24 by 27mm, with a weight of 12.5g.
The Dolphin, Galley and stick-figure (Neptune?) allude to the famous naval battle of 36 B.C. mentioned above.

rbc rbc
Reverse: The countermark on this coins Reverse shows a Wild Boar travelling right, with the letters L.X.F above, and a Dolphin swimming to right, beneath.
Obverse: On the obverse are two countermarks: #1. An Emperors head to right, within an oval.  #2. A rectangle with LXF within.
The coin is 22 by 24mm, with a weight of 12.4g.

another example

Another example with "emperor's head" in oval on the obverse, on the reverse "boar/dolphin/LXF" and "galley" countermarks

Here are 6 examples of the "Galley'' countermark. From left to right, top row first.  #1. 21 mm, with a weight of 5.4g.  #2. 21 mm, with a weight of
7.6g.  #3.  22 mm, with a weight of 6.0g.  #4. 18 by 22 mm, with a weight of 5.9g.  #5. 20.5 by 22 mm, with a weight of 6.3g.  #6. 19 by 21
mm, with a weight of 6.2g.  The shape and style of the "Galleys" vary. Some have rounded bottoms and three oars, while others are more
elongated with four oars.  All of them have on the reverse side a small rectangle with a male(?) head facing to right.

Countermark #1. Laureated Imperial male head in circle, to right.  #2. Rectangular stamp, within which is a standing facing "stick figure" holding staff (Trident?? ) in left hand and a dolphin (???)  in right. Possibly a figure meant to invoke Neptune, again alluding to the famous naval battle. # 3 LXF.
The coin is 24 mm, with a weight of 11.9g.

Many Many more countertmarked coins for Legio X Fretensis...

"XII"  and "Fulminata Thunderbolt" , both countermarks of the Legio XII Fulminata

Julio-Claudian Coin from Antioch, of either Augustus or Claudius. There are two countermarks but, they are as follows: XII struck OVER a Cornucopiae.   The coin is 26 mm, with a weight of 13.1g.

in this coin the two countermarks do not overlap

another XII countermark

XII countermark on unknown host coin

"Fulminata", the thunderbolt, symbol of Legio XII Fulminata
coin with the Fulminata Thunderbolt (symbol of Legio XII Fulminata), countermark.  It is on a very worn coin of Trajan, possibly from Syria and showing a city tyche seated to right, on rock. Coin is 24 mm, with a weight of 10.4g

"Fulminata" on a Commagene Dupondius of Vespasianus


"L XVA" of Legio XV Apollinaris  on a provincial AE of Antoninus Pius.

"XVA" of Legio XV Apollinaris  on Eastern provincial AE of Lucius Verus,  with a reverse showing Mt. Argaeus.  Probably struck in Cappadocia.  The coin is 20 mm, with a weight of 7.9g.

"Palmbranch" countermark on a prutah AE coin of the procurator Pontius Pilatus (yes, the one who washed his hands so frequently), from Judea, and likely linked to a roman military unit based in Judea. 13 prutahs of pilatus with this countermark are known. For more info on this topic, we recommend .


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