RPC-2259 Semis, 45BC Parium, colony founded by Julius Caesar, Female head C.G.I.L., Jug DD 2g90 AM#0853-29
Semis. 45BC. 2.9grams. Parium mint. Julius Caesar. Crawford P/2259 Parium Julius Caesar. Obverse: female hd r, CGIP. Reverse: jug, DD. Scarce.
So what does C.G.I.P. stand for, and what does the reverse DD legend indicate? A clue is provided by another similar set of coins also Imperatorial and from the Propontis, with the legends C.G.I.L. Michael Grant in From Imperium to Auctoritas considered the two series together. The portrait coins of Julius Caesar with the legend C.G.I.L. are of the earliest realistic Caesarian portraiture. Caesar's presence in Asia Minor after the defeat of Pompey in 46BC suggests that the C.I. stand for Colonia Julia, ie colony in the name of Julius Caesar. A clue is provided by the title of this essay.. twin cities. Grant hypothesised that G stands for Gemina or twin, and thus the two legends read "Twin Julian Colony of L..." and "Twin Julian Colony of P...". The colonies may have been jointly garrisoned by a single legion or by twin legions, perhaps even formed by ex-legionaries since historically land grants were used as end of service benefits. Thus the ties between the cities formed perhaps a much stronger bond than modern sister cities, that of current or ex comrades in arms. Whilst the L... coins are all rare, some of the P... coins are quite common, most notably this small denomination type RPC2259, likely a semis, which although not bearing the full legends is clearly associated by the female head / jug type as well as by the C.G.I.P. obverse legend, with larger denominations which have more detailed legends. The reverse letters likely stand for Decurionum Decreto (by decree of the decurions, i.e. the city senate).
The identification of P... is easier due its large coin volumes and the fact it struck later issues, it is Parium, a Greek city in Mysia on the Hellespont. Grant says "We must look for a Julian colony, with the initial L, near Parium. It has escaped notice that just such a colony existed, albeit for a very short time, at Lampsacus". The colonial venture (as distinct from the town itself which was a much more long lived entity) seems to have come to an end with the Asiatic adventure of Sextus Pompey in 35BC who occupied the town, and its very short existence as a Roman colony seems to have escaped the notice of previous numismatists. Finally, consideration of a colonial foundation scenario reveals the legend of the illustrated Parium, Twin Julian Colony of Parium, by Decree of the Decurions. QED.