Very little remains of the visual culture of Graeco-Roman festivals on civic monuments, especially the images celebrating the emperor in association with the games. Local coinage is the only surviving source that fills this gap. The extraordinary variety of images featured on the reverse of civic issues reflected the imagery designed to celebrate and advertise festivals on a monumental scale. Alongside the plethora of honorary titles used in coin legends, they document how the imagery of festivals was embedded into the visual language of local rivalries. This contribution will focus on coinage to discuss the example of Nikaia in Bithynia and its antagonism with Nikomedia: the parallel between the messages conveyed by the two rivals on their issues shows that local games were not only a manifestation of civic identity but were also used as a source of political propaganda.
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