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Phoenician, Greek and Roman Coins of Tripoli

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Abstract From the earliest times, Tripoli in North Lebanon, was an unusual city due to its configuration. It was not one city but 'three cities in one', hence it was named Tripolis or the 'Tri-city'; it was a federation of three Phoenician seaports, Aradus, Sidon and Tyre. The variety of coins issued by Tripoli's mints is evidence of its prosperity and importance as the financial center and main port of northern Phoenicia. Coins minted in Tripoli usually bear Greek and Latin inscriptions. During the Roman Period, Tripoli held a privileged geographic position midway on the imperial coastal highway, which led from Antioch to Ptolemais, therefore Roman Emperors encouraged and financed important building projects in the city. The early types of coins minted in Tripolis are nearly all of maritime significance, and are especially connected to the Dioscuri, known as Castor and Pollux in the Roman world, or as Gemini. A coin minted in Tripoli, believed to have been struck during the Reign of Emperor Severus Alexander (222-235 CE) and bears a mixed inscription in Latin and Greek, is the only evidence that Tripoli was granted the title 'Metropolis Phoenicia' by the Emperors of Rome. It is not surprising therefore when Tripoli, under Emperor Caracalla (211-217 CE) became one of the mints for silver provincial coinage, the mint mark of the city was the helmets of the Dioscuri.


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