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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Greek Coins (Moderators: Dino, Taras)  |  Topic: Christianized Alexander tetradrachm 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Christianized Alexander tetradrachm  (Read 2518 times)
vercingetorix
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« on: January 25, 2005, 09:44:10 am »

I jave just acquired this intersting Alexander III postomous tetradrachm minted at Alabanda in Caria (2nd cent. BC). Obviously I was attracted by the Christogram (Chrismon) above the Pegasus. It appears to be a Christianized item, a very common practice during the early christian era (4th-6th c.). I believe it was held as a personal object with apotropaic significance, as the coin was out of circulation. Without having the means to prove that is a symbol scratched in ancient times, I have no doubt because the coin was found in Ephesus, as the seller told me, in modern muslim Turkey. Also it's highly unlikely for someone nowadays or even a few centuries ago to scratch such a symbol, specific for the given period (4th-6th)
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RogerH
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2005, 12:56:59 pm »

Assuming you are right in that the symbol was "scratched" in antiquity, what an interesting tie in between different eras!  Very nice!

Roger
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esnible
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2005, 09:58:18 pm »

This reminds me of Ken Steiglitz's page on mutilated coins with Christian significance.  Yours is more clearly a Chi-Rho than his.

http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~ken/mutilated.html
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vercingetorix
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2005, 06:39:27 am »

Interesting link. I have to notice though, that my coin is much older than others. It was minted around 180BC and the chi-rho was engraved probably sometime during the IVth century. Does anybody know when is the chi-rho symbol first mentioned as a Christian symbol? It would be interesting to know. Let's not forget that Ephesus, where the coin was found was Christianized during the first century AD, when Paul came with his mission in the '50s.
Also it might be possible that this christian person who had the coin to have mistaken the eagle for a pigeon, who was a notorious Christian symbol.
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synistamene
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2006, 09:31:50 am »

Hi,

Do not forget that in Ephesos and its region, as well as in all Asia Minor (actual Turkey), there lived millions of Armenians, Greeks and Syrians who were christians (orthodox or so) until the turkish genocides of the beginning of the 20th century. So that you may not exclude that one of them possessed and scratched the coin keeping it as a phylactery.

Cheers
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AlexB
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 09:01:35 pm »

Hi


Does the dark toning/patina run into the scratches? That might give an idea of age as patinas take a very long time to be as dark as on your coin.

Brgds

Alex
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wolfgang336
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 09:27:02 pm »

It looks like the scratches run through the dark spots in the toning... not so old I think.

Evan
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peterpil19
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2006, 11:05:17 pm »

It looks like the scratches run through the dark spots in the patina... not so old I think.

Evan

The coin would have undergone some cleaning at some point, so perhaps that's why there's no patina in the scratches?

--Peter
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virtvsprobi
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2006, 11:37:04 pm »

Also it might be possible that this christian person who had the coin to have mistaken the eagle for a pigeon, who was a notorious Christian symbol.

While not asking themselves what that winged horse is doing there?
Difficult to mistake Pegasus for anything Christian.

By the by, in English (while the words are sort of synonymous) I don't believe anyone refers to the symbol of the Holy Ghost as a "pigeon", but rather a "dove".
For some reason, all translations in that language render "quasi columbam de cælo" as "as a dove from heaven".
Perhaps it was thought to be a more genteel bird?
Then again, could be because "peristera" (Gr.) and "columba" (L.) are both feminine, whereas "pigeon" isn't.


Pax vobiscum,

G/<
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Numerianus
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2006, 01:35:29 am »

Grzegorz, you comment led me to some strange ideas.
Who was Zeus? The  senior of 12 Olympic gods, The Chairmen.
Jesus also was a chairmen.  The God Pantocrator enthroned - The Chairmen.
For Christian people, who forgot the meaning of the image, it may be
Christianity-consistent, with a dove (by the way, indeed, on some coins  the bird
resembles a dove rather than an eagle).    As for the horse, it could be interpreted as one
of  horses of the Apocalipsis...
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slokind
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2006, 11:55:05 am »

Sometimes folks just like to put THEIR mark on things, and sometimes they feel safer if something alien is marked.  This copy of the head of the Cnidian Aphrodite was found right in Athens:
Athens, NAM.  Large, painstaking version of the head of the Cnidia, at one time 'exorcised' on her brow.
The damage to her eyes, and probably also the nose, seems intentional and superstitious ('evil eye'), too.
Pat L.
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2006, 02:57:35 pm »

You're right; the Holy Spirit is never ever said to take the form of a pigeon. Probably just as well; someone could have ended up eating holy pigeon pie!

I'm not sure how meaningful it is actually; i don't think pigeon and dove are differentiated in Hebrew or Koine, so it could simply be a translators' convention to render it as 'dove'.
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2006, 07:04:30 pm »

Of course, here in South Texas we eat dove also.  But I imagine the Holy Spirit is just as adept at turning the course of lead shot as Athene to turn aside a spear cast at her favorite, Odysseus.  Perhaps that is what happened to Cheney's hunting partner?

Eugene
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