This paper discusses the meaning of a reverse type featured on two third century issues (one of Julia Domna, the other of Severus Alexander) struck at Caesarea Germanica in Bithynia, which has been traditionally interpreted as the depiction of an amphitheatre crammed with spectators. Comparisons based on visual and material evidence suggest that this interpretation should be reconsidered, and that the object depicted on these coins is something completely diπerent. I argue that it is a ceremonial item formed by a staπ mounted with miniaturised busts of Roman emperors on a cylindrical support. If this interpretation is correct, it belongs to a class of objects (sceptres and batons) that used to be carried in processions at festivals and military triumphs by Roman or provincial magistrates and priests of the imperial cult.
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