Coin Typology of

Deultum *

Topography and History

Deultum is the only Roman veteran colony south of the Balkans to have minted coins. 1  The city lay on the Black Sea coast on the modern Sredetska River, 2  in a marshy area on the Gulf of Burgas 3  that is not too far from the Strandzha Mountains. 4  The modern village of Debelt is in the immediate vicinity of the ancient ruins of the colony. 5  Pliny the Elder mentions Deultum in his Natural History, along with other Thracian coastal towns; 6  Ptolemy I counts it among the Thracian inland cities, despite its location on the Black Sea coast. 7  Additionally, the Via Diagonalis, a main road linking Rome and Byzantium, ran through the city. 8 

Deultum was founded under the rule of Vespasian by the settlement of veterans of the Legio VIII Augusta. 9  It can be assumed that the veteran colony was located on the territory of or in the immediate vicinity of an older Thracian settlement. 10  Its first coins were minted during the reign of Trajan 11  and date back to AD 100. 12  The reason for this could have been the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the city. 13  In the 2nd century, hardly anything is known about the colony apart from some fortifications constructed under Antoninus Pius. 14  According to the numismatic findings, Deultum probably reached its peak in the early 3rd century, which can probably be attributed to the quality of its streets and the existence of a port. 15  A number of researchers consider it possible that Caracalla, Diadumenian, Gordian III, and Philip the Arab also stayed briefly in Deultum. 16  Regular minting activity can be observed in the city starting from the year AD 212, i.e. after the murder of Geta and the beginning of Caracalla’s autocracy. 17  However, the invasion of Gothic tribes in Thrace and Moesia in the year AD 248 signalled a deep break in the economic life of the city and ultimately put an early end to the minting of its coinage. 18 

  1. Jurukova 1973, 1.
  2. Draganov 2007, 149.
  3. Oberhummer 1903, Sp.260.
  4. Jurukova 1973, 4.
  5. Jurukova 1973, 1.
  6. Nat. Hist. IV 45.
  7. Ptol. III 11,7.
  8. Draganov 2007, 32.
  9. Draganov 2007, 24; Jurukova 1973, 2; Varbanov (II) 2005, 187.
  10. Draganov 2007, 24; Jurukova 1973, 2.
  11. CN_Type3
  12. Draganov 2007, 25; Jurukova 1973, 18.
  13. Draganov 2007, 25; 30.
  14. Draganov 2007, 30; Jurukova 1973, 9f.
  15. Draganov 2007, 31-34.
  16. Draganov 2007, 32.
  17. Draganov 2007, 32.
  18. Draganov 2007, 34.

State of Research

Stamp studies have already been undertaken by J. Jurukova in 1973 and by D. Draganov 1  in 2007. These have been considered within the scope of our type compilation, and we could also add additional types, particularly those from commerce that have not yet been included in the studies of J. Jurukova and D. Draganov.

  1. Based on a volume on Deultum published in 2005 in the series Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum.

Minting System and Typology

Deultum minted its first coins under Trajan. This is followed by a longer gap in minting that extended into the Severan period. Subsequent minting activity in Deultum was limited to a period of almost 40 years and finally came to a close under Philip the Arab. 1 

As was the case in other Thracian cities during the Roman imperial period, the coinage in Deultum was minted exclusively in bronze. Apart from a medallion, which has proven to be fake, 2  there are two nominal values which we call four- and two-unit coins. 3  The smaller nominal value is rather the exception, which is also reflected in ist significantly smaller number of types. The larger nominal (Ø: 21–25 mm; weight: 3–5 g) correlates to the Roman dupondius, the smaller (Ø: 18–20 mm; weight: 6–11 g) to the Roman as. 4 

  1. Jurukova 1973, 21.
  2. See: Jurukova 1973, 52f.
  3. Jurukova 1973, 27 – here defined as “one-” and “three-” unit coins.
  4. Draganov 2007, 32.

The Coinage of the Late Classical and Hellenistics Periods

Only one type was minted under Trajan. The two-unit coins feature the laureate portrait of the emperor and his extensive titles on the obverse and a bull's head with the inscription C F P D on the reverse. 1 

After the aforementioned gap in minting activity, coins began to be issued again for Julia Domna and Caracalla. These are almost exclusively four-unit coins. 2  The quantity of reverse motifs on coins featuring Julia Domna on their obverse is readily comprehensible; the reverse types depict Artemis, Athena, Homonoia, Hygieia, Marsyas, the Capitoline wolf with Romulus und Remus, and a temple with a cultic statue of Heracles. The coins minted under Caracalla, on the other hand, have a wider range of reverse motifs, and varied portrait forms are used on the obverse. In addition a laureate or radiate bust of the emperor looking to the right, there are also types featuring the emperor with a shield and a spear,as well as a laurel wreath, looking to the left. 3 

Under Macrinus, the only coins minted were those whose obverse shows either the emperor himself with a radiate crown or the bare head of his son, Diadumenian. The numerous types with depictions of the emperor on the reverse should also be emphasized, which may possibly allude to a stay of the emperor or his son in Deultum. 4  The iconographic repertoire was supplemented by further reverse motifs under Severus Alexander and Julia Mamaea; the representation of Cybele, for example, represents a novelty. 5  In addition, we encounter numerous coin types with depictions of temples and cult images on the reverse, which allows some conclusions to be drawn about religious life in Deultum and also allows for some speculation about intensive construction activity in the city. 6 

In the following years, a wide range of different types was created under Maximinus Thrax, Gordian III and Philip the Arab; the Caesars Maximus and Philippus II; as well as the emperors' wives, Tranquillina and Otacilia Severa, which bears eloquent testimony to the lively minting activity in Deultum. The number of two-unit coins increases considerably, which on the one hand requires the introduction of a multitude of new pictorial motifs, but on the other hand also leads to the reality that the same pictorial motifs appear on two different nominal values. The repertoire of motifs had been greatly expanded, including a new type of Dionysus under Philip the Arab 7  and a new variant of the depiction of the emperor under Caesar Philip II. 8  Maximinus Thrax was the first to depict the motif of a conically shaped object, which has been interpreted differently in research. 9  Despite this, old motifs, such as the bull's head used under Trajan, also reappeared. 10  Furthermore, there are clear shifts of emphasis in the selection of depictions of gods: Serapis, for example, enjoyed increasing popularity 11  and is characteristically also depicted as a cult image in a temple. 12  Furthermore, the different busts on the obverse––whether laureate or radiate, whether with a view to the right or to the left, or with a shield and spear in the hands or not––often seem to be used as a means of variation. This allows the same reverse stamps to be combined with different obverse stamps. This trend is particularly evident in the coinage of Philip the Arab.

  1. CN_Type3.
  2. Draganov 2007, 46; Jurukova 1973, 22.
  3. CN_Type11; CN_3535.
  4. Draganov 2007, 52; Jurukova 1973, 23.
  5. Jurukova 1973, 23.
  6. CN_Type73; CN_Type75.
  7. Jurukova 1973, 24.
  8. Jurukova 1973, 25.
  9. CN_Type115.
  10. CN_Type114; CN_Type160; CN_Type1039; CN_Type1077; CN_Type1078; CN_Type1136; CN_Type1137; CN_Type1216; CN_Type1217; CN_Type1269; CN_Type1271; CN_Type3584.
  11. Jurukova 1973, 24.
  12. CN_Type142.

The Coinage of the Roman Imperial Period

As with all Roman colonies, Deultum coins bear legends in Latin. 1  In the obverse legend, the sovereign titulature is indicated in different variants, with only one exception, 2  always in the nominative. Compared to other mints, ligatures are extremely rare in these Latin legends––only Otacilia Severa, for example, sometimes combines her Augusta title in a single ligature. Out of the ordinary is the obverse legend of the only coin type minted under Trajan, in which, in addition to the Augustus title and the usual attributes, the abbreviated victory name GERM, the ownership of the high priesthood (P M = pontifex maximus), the tribunicia potestas, the consulate count, and the honorary title P(ater) P(atriae) are mentioned. In the legend on the reverse, the city’s name is abbreviated for the larger denomination as follows: COL FL PAC DEVLT. For the smaller denomination, only the respective initials of the toponym are usually given, so the legend reads as follows: C L P D. The name Flavia is a clear homage to Vespasian, the founder of the colony, and the title Pacis could be a reminder of the ending of the civil war, which broke out after Nero's suicide, by Vespasian. 3 

In addition to the generally popular images of gods and demigods as well as personifications and depictions of emperors on the reverse of the coins from Deultum, significant individual motifs should be highlighted separately. A bull's head, the symbol of the Legio VIII Augusta, can be found on some two-unit coins. 4  An allusion to the founding of the city is reflected in the representation of the city founder as a priest or farmer standing behind a plough; 5  here, the origin of the sulcus primigenius of the colony is referred to specifically. Also noteworthy are coin types whose reverse depict the satyr Marsyas with his right hand raised and a wineskin in his left. It is both a common symbol of the freedom of the city and the independent municipal administration, 6  as well as an emphasis on the ius Italicum and its associated tax exemption. 7 

There are also some genuinely Roman motifs, such as the Capitoline wolf that suckles Romulus and Remus, 8  the Capitoline Triad, 9  or the Roman eagle with a wreath in its beak. 10  The representation of the Roman eagle between two vexilla is particularly expressive. 11  The two vexilla appear isolated without an eagle in a coin type from the reign of Gordian. 12  In addition, the large number of depictions of emperors on the reverse of coins in diverse variations should also be emphasized. 13 

Some coin images allow conclusions and assumptions to be made about the colony’s economic history: particularly noteworthy is the depiction of the previously mentioned conical object, which is interpreted by J. Jurukova as a beehive and by Draganov as a fountain or as a Meta Sudans, 14  respectively, but which could also represent a cult object that cannot be determined more precisely and is otherwise unknown. If Jurukova's interpretation is correct, this object could possibly be interpreted as an allusion to beekeeping in Deultum; 15  however, such an interpretation is by no means inevitable. Shipping and maritime trade are reflected in prow and ship representations; sometimes the lower part of the ship is decorated with octopuses and dolphins, which can be interpreted as an indication of trade relations between Deultum and the city of Anchialus due to the motif match of the coin design, 16  but this could also be explained by the production of the stamps by the same stamp cutter. Furthermore, the large number of representations of a river god is remarkable in this context; 17  sometimes the deity supports himself on a ship that is in front of him. 18  In addition, two coin types should be mentioned, the reverse of which shows Thalassa and the river god Oiskos, as well as a ship with inflated sails, 19  which emphasizes the economically favourable location of the city at the mouth of the modern Sredetska River at the Black Sea. 20 

Our type catalogue represents the state of research from August 2019 and does not take into consideration any coin types that have become known later. Further information, especially about new types, is always welcome.

  1. There are some exceptions where Greek words are transliterated in Latin letters: the coins with the bust of Tranquillina on the obverse sometimes have the inscription SAB TRANQVILLINA SEB in addition to the usual SAB TRANQVILLINA AVG. In the case of coins with the bust of Otacilia Severa on the obverse, the spelling of her name with an H borrowed from the Greek instead of the second E is also common in some coin types. Jurukova 1973, 31.
  2. CN_Type1290.
  3. Draganov 2007, 25; Jurukova 1973, 2.
  4. Draganov 2007, 43.
  5. Perhaps to be interpreted as a priest. Draganov 2007, 100f.
  6. Jurukova 1973, 35.
  7. Draganov 2007, 106.
  8. CN_Type5; CN_Type40; CN_Type100; CN_Type109; CN_Type882; CN_Type885; CN_Type897; CN_Type973; CN_Type1110; CN_Type1111; CN_Type1160; CN_Type1214; CN_Type1215; CN_Type1264; CN_Type1288; CN_Type2225; CN_Type3469; CN_Type3522; CN_Type3534.
  9. CN_Type1187.
  10. See: Draganov 2007, 107.
  11. CN_Type69; CN_Type97; CN_Type174; CN_Type204; CN_Type210; CN_Type1031; CN_Type7752; CN_Type7753; CN_Type7795; CN_Type7796; CN_Type7910; CN_Type8891.
  12. CN_Type3754.
  13. Jurukova 1973, 34.
  14. Jurukova 1973, 24; Draganov 2007, 294, Nr. 756-760.
  15. Jurukova 1973, 4.
  16. Draganov 2007, 34.
  17. CN_Type29; CN_Type64; CN_Type126; CN_Type137; CN_Type928; CN_Type994; CN_Type1086; CN_Type1128; CN_Type1258; CN_Type3472; CN_Type3544; CN_Type3719; CN_Type3720; CN_Type3721; CN_Type3722; CN_Type4122.
  18. Jurukova 1973, 36.
  19. CN_Type138; CN_Type3716.
  20. Draganov 2007, 149f.


  • Draganov 2005 = D. Draganov, Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum: Bulgaria, Ruse, Bobokov Bros. Collection, Thrace and Moesia Inferior, Vol 1: Deultum (Ruse 2005).
  • Draganov 2007 = D. Draganov, The Coinage of Deultum (Sofia 2007).
  • Jurukova 1973 = J. Jurukova, Die Münzprägung von Deultum. Text- und Tafelband, Griechisches Münzwerk (Berlin 1973).
  • Oberhummer 1903 = E. Oberhummer, Develtos, in: RE V,1, 1903, 260.
  • Varbanov (Vol. II) 2005 = I. Varbanov, Greek Imperial Coins. And Their Values, Vol. 2: Thrace. From Abdera to Pautalia (Bourgas 2005).