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Jochen
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« Reply #325 on: December 21, 2010, 08:53:40 am »

Pelops and the Curse of the House of Atreus

With this mythylogical article I want to say Good Bye for the rest of this year. I don't think it's a true Christmas gift because this coin leads us in a sequence of murders and atrocities over several generations which freezes the blood in our veins still today. It is doubtless the most important cycle of ancient Greek myths which has generated the interest of poets and dramatists until our days. I only mention Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Elektra, Jean Giraudoux, Electre, Eugene O'Neill, Mourning becomes Electra and Jean Paul Sartre, Les mouches.

The coin:
Lydia, Sardeis, Geta, AD 209-212
AE 26, 8.97g, 26.48mm, 180°
obv. PO CEB - GETAC KAI
        Head, laureate, r.
rev. CARDIANWN B NEW - K - ORWN
       Pelops, son of the Lydian king Tantalos, in short chiton and with chlamys running
       r. and seizing a prancing wild horse by the head; beneath horse, herbage
ref. cf. BMC 264, 168; not in Aulock, Copenhagen, Lindgren, Tübingen, Righetti.
very rare, F+, a bit rough olive-green patina

Mythology
(1) Tantalos:
Pelop's father was Tantalos, an important king in Phrygia or Pamphylia. Tantalos was a son of Zeus with the nymph Pluto, according to others a son of Tmolos. His residence was Sipylos. He was immensely rich. The pun 'Talents of Tantalos' was an ancient phrase for wealth. As son of Zeus he enjoyed the honour to dine at the table of the gods and invited them too to be guests in his palace. From his wife Euryanassa he had the sons Pelops and Broteus, and the daughter Niobe.

The myth reports a series of crimes done by Tantalos: He should have stolen nectar and ambrosia  from the gods and given to his companions, which later has been reinterpreted as breach of secrecy.
Another crime was theft together with perjury: When Zeus was still an infant on Crete Hephaistos has created a golden mastiff for Rhea to watch over Zeus. This mastiff has been stolen by Pandareos, son of Merops in Lydia, and brought to Tantalos who hid it on the Sipylos mountaín. When Pandareos wanted back the mastiff Tantalos swore by Zeus that he had never seen this dog. Zeus sent Hermes to him but Tantalos insisted on his oath. Hermes indeed found the dog and Zeus slew Tantalos with his thunderbolt under a rock of the Sipylos mountain.
His most atrocious crime and the most notorious of all was this: Once when he has invited the gods for a banquet, he - in his hybris - slaughtered, cooked and served his son Pelops to the gods. Their disgust prevented them to eat something. Only Demeter distracted due to the rape of her daughter Persephone has eaten a shoulder. Nemesis then put him together again and the gods breathed life into him. Demeter replaced the lost shoulder by an ivory one. From this time on the Pelopids, the descendants of Pelops, had all a white mark on their shoulder.

On the other hand Tantalos is described as a man pious and devoted to the gods, toward humans very kind and a great teacher. So we find the interpretation too that it was not an attempt to try the gods but an act of religious sense of duty and highest adoration that he gave them his most valuable possession which was his son Pelops.

His punishment was terrible: He was condemned to stay eternally in the Eridanos, the notorious underworld stream, but could never reach the water in his thirst, which sank everytime he tried to drink. In front of him lured wine grapes which went away every time he wanted to pick them in his hunger, and above him a big rock was hanging which threatened to come crushing down every moment. This rock was seen as punishment for his perjury against Zeus and was probably his oldest punishment. The other punishments seem to be added in later times. Tantalos is considered as the great penitent so at Dante too where he is located on the 6th terrace of the Purgatorium.

(2) Pelops:
When Pelops was reanimated again he became an exceedingly beautiful youth so that Poseidon fall in love with him at the first glance. He abducted him to the Olympos and made him his cup-bearer and lover like Zeus has done later with Ganymedes.

When Tantalos once raped Ganymedes, son of king Tros from Troy, a war occured. After the death of his father Pelops took the throne and continued the war. But the war passed off unhappily and finally Ilos from Troy compelled Pelops to flee fom Phrygia to Pisa on the Peloponnesos. For that Poseidon has given to Pelops as a present horse and cart by which he was able to go over the sea so fast that their feet stay dry.

In Pisa Oinomaos, son of Ares, was king of Elis. He had a beautiful daughter, Hippodameia. Pelops asked for Hippodameia. But Oinomaos has always  prevented a marriage because an oracle has predicted that he would be killed by the hand of his son-in-law or because he himself loved his daughter illegally. He required from the suitors to win a chariot racing against him. The racing went from Pisa to the temple of Poseidon at the Isthmos and back again. Oinomaos conceeded to the suitors an advantage - he always sacrificed a ram before he started, but they had to get Hippodameia in their chariots. The winner should get the bride and the entire kingdom. But nobody has succeeded. All were killed and with their heads he has decorated the roof of his palace.
Myrtilos, son of Hermes, was stable master in Elis and charioteer of Oinomaos. Pelops promised him half of the kingdom and the right to spend the wedding night with Hippodameia if he was willing to betray his master. Hippodameia who was fallen in love with the beautiful Pelops persuaded Myrtilos to change the iron posts of the wheels against waxen ones. And so he did, and in the racing the chariot of Oinomaos fell apart and he was dragged to death. Pelops got Hippodameia and became king in Elis.
It is told that Myrtilos was fallen in love with Hippodameia too and has claimed the wedding night for himself. But after the racing Pelops won't fulfill his promises, or Myrtilos tried to rape Hippodameia, and it came to a struggle. Pelops pushed Myrtilos over a cliff into the sea, were he drowned. After Myrtilos this sea was called 'Myrtoic' but certainly this name arose from a different version of this myth (Euripides). Before he died Myrtilos cursed Pelops and his descendants. This was the origin of the Curse of the Pelopids and Atrids, not the crimes of Tantalos as could be read sometimes. To absolve himself Pelops erected a temple for Hermes at Pheneos - the first in Greece - and Myrtilos was buried behind the temple, a heroon, at which annually was celebrated a nightly sacrifice to honour him. According to others Myrtilos was set by Hermes to the sky as 'waggoner'.

Pindar reports the version that Pelops has won the racing without fraud alone by the rapidity of his horses which he has got from Poseidon. So on the east pediment of the temple of Zeus in Olympia, where the racing between Pelops and Oinomaos is depicted Myrtilos couldn't be found. Nor on the chast of Kypselos, but on the attached pics.

When Pelops has become master of Elis he succeeded in conquering many of the neighboring realms so that the entire peninsula was named Peloponnesos after him, literally 'Isle of Pelops'. He his seen as one of the great Greek founder figures. Only king Stamphylos of Arcadia withstood him. So he invited him perfidiously, killed him, hacked him to pieces and scattered his parts over the land. This crime was so awfull that a great starving occured in all Greece.

Even so that he has erected a temple for Hermes because of the murder of Myrtilos and has in honour of Zeus considerably enlarged the Olympic Games and brought to hightest reputation, his desendants had to suffer from his crimes. They were compelled from Elis and spread over the Peloponnesos. Pelops himself died peaceful after 59 years of reign. After hid death he was highly venerated in Elis as demigod and had his own altar in the temple of Zeus where already Herakles made sacrifices.

It is said that the Greece were not able to conquer Troy without his ivory shoulder blade. But the ship which should have bring it to Troy has sank in a storm, and at the same time in Elis a plague broke out. The Eleians sent a delegation to the oracle of Delphi. Fortunately in the same moment Damarmenos, a fisherman from Eretreia, came to the oracle, asking for a big shoulder blade he has recently fished out of the sea. When they heard that this was the sought after bone of Pelops they overwhelmed the fisherman with gifts, took it back to Elis and made the fisherman and his descendants to guardians of the relic (Pausanias).

(3) The Pelopids:
Pelops was by Hippodameia ancestor of a great house, called the Pelopids. His sons were Atreus, Thyestes and Alkathoos, his daughter Eurydike. Among them the atrocities continued. The brothers, instigated by their mother Hippodameia, killed their half-brother Chrysippos. They were cursede by Pelops and had to flee. They went to Argos/Mykenai. There Atreus bekame father of Agamemnon and Menelaos. When later Thyestes took away from Atreus the golden lamb and the golden scepter - both pledges of the reign over Argos - Atreus took revenge on him by slaughtering his children and serving them to him. A motive shift in mythology?
Thyestes - connected to Atreus in acrid hate - became father of Aigisthos who later killed Agamemnon, son of Atreus. I skip the chain of atrocities between Atreus and Thyestes. Alkathoos later became grandfather of Ajax the Great, the Telamonian. Eurydike (according to Diodor) married Elektryon, son of Perseus, and gave birth to Alkmene, mother of Herakles.

The descendants of Atreus are called Atrids. Here the curse culminated: After returning from Troy Agamemnon, who has marooned his daughter Iphigenia in Tauris, was killed by his wife Klytaimnestra and her lover Aigisthos. He was revenged by his children Orestes and Electra who took on a matricide because of that. In a famous trial on the Areopagos Orestes was absolved and after five generations finally the curse has been terminated. But that is another story.

I have added a pic of the so-called 'Throne of Pelops' on the Sipylos mountain, near Manisa/Turkey

(will be continued)
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« Reply #326 on: December 21, 2010, 08:58:10 am »

(continued)

Background:
Some words about the Greek tragedy:
The Curse of the Atrids means the begin and the zenith of the 'wonder of the Greek tragedy' (Käthe Hamburger). Before there was the epos were the action stood in the center. But now, 300 years after the epos, we have the drama. And here the main emphasis is on the acting persons and their conflicts. For the first time in the history of men the Greeks have discovered man as problem. That is why the conflicts in these ancient tragedies are exemplary and eternal, and were performed despite their age over and over, or adapted by modern poets and writers.

Driven to its height the conflict was not before the late Atrids, Orestes and Electra, children of Agamemnon. The slaughteries of Tantalos or Atreus seem - dramaturgically seen - not to serve so much. The tragedy covers questions like that for being, conflicts between individual and world, between human and gods, fault and expiation and the tension between character and fate. Fate or the gods bring the acting human in an undissolvable situation - the conflict which is typical for the Greek tragedy - which at last leads to the inner and outer breakdown of this person. There is no possibility to became not guilty without abandon ones own essential moral concepts, impossible for a tragic actor. The definition of tragic in this Greek sense is: The human being becomes guilty without its own guilt! This conception is lightyears away from the inflationary use of this term today. About each car accident it is said that it was tragic. It's horrible!

History of Art:
A group of figure on the east pediment of the temple of Zeus in Olympia depicts the chariot racing between Pelops and Oinomaos, a depiction in honour of Pelops, who should have founded the Olympic Games. We can see Pelops preparing for the racing sacrificing to Kydonian Hera. The racing itself we can see on Apulic vases, where sometimes Niobe is shown too, sister of Pelops, f.e. on the Apulic lutrophoros, c.350 BC, now in Malibu GM.
On Roman sarcophagi the depiction of the racing and the accident was preferred. A dramatical scene where the horses rear up over the dead Oinomaos is found on a sarcophagus in the Louvre, c.230-240 AD. Post-antique depictions of Pelops are rare. There is an oil sketch from Rubens. I wonder why not the scene was chosen were Pelops was reanimated. That would be an appropriate scene for a sarcophagus, I think. But may be that this scene doesn't fit their dramaturgical necessities.

I have added
(1) the pic from a red-figured krater of the Oinomaos painter, Naples, c.380-370 BC.
      In the centre we see Oinomaos sacrificing, a ram is brought to him; above him   
      Poseidon and Athena; on the right side Pelops and Hippodameia already driving
      their chariot over the waves; on upper left Myrtilos guiding the horses of
      Oinomaos.
(2) the restaurated pic from an Apulic red-figured amphora from Ruovo, 360-330 BC,
      ascibed to the Varrese painter, now in the British Museum. In the centre Oinomaos
      (with helmet) performing a libation, on the left side Pelops (in Phrygian garment)
      resting on his spear, between them a column, dedicated to Zeus (inscription
      DIOS); above them the head of Periphas, a mythic ancient Attic king, who was
      because of his piety more worshipped than Zeus and then raised to heaven,
      possibly a former suitor of Hippodameia; on the right side a group consisting of
      Myrtilos, Eros and Aphrodite; on the left side Hippodameia led by a Muse (or her
      mother?)
      (A detailed description of this picture you find at Gaifmann, see bibliography)

Sources
- Apollodoros, Bibliotheke
- Homer, Odyssee, XI
- Ovid, Metamorphoses
- Diodor, Bibliotheke
- Pindar, Odes
- Pausanias, Description of Greece
Tragödien:
- Aischylos: Oresteia
- Sophokles: Electra, Antigone
- Euripides: Electra, Orestes
Moderne Bearbeitungen:
- Gerhart Hauptmann, Die Atridentetralogie
- Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Elektra
- Jean Giraudoux, Electra
- Eugene O'Neill, Mourning becomes Electra
- Jean Paul Sartre, Die Flies

Bibliography:
- Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen, 1994
- Milette Gaifman, The Libation of Oinomaos, in Dill/Walde, Antike Mythen: Medien,
  Transformationen, Konstruktionen, de Gruyter 2009
- Käthe Hamburger, Von Sophokles zu Sartre, Griechische Dramenfiguren antik und
   modern, 1962
- Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
- Karl Kerenyi, Die Mythologie der Griechen
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Die Geburt der Tragödie
- Der kleine Pauly
- Robert von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
- Wilhelm H.Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen
   Literatur, 1884
- Gustav Schwab, Sagen des klassischen Altertums, 1840
- Bruno Snell, Die Entdeckung des Geistes. Studien zur Entstehung des europäischen
   Denkens bei den Griechen. Hamburg 1946
- Kurt Steinmann, Meisterstücke der griechischen und römischen Literatur -
   Interpretiert, Reclam 998

Best regards
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« Reply #327 on: December 21, 2010, 09:23:04 am »

Priapos

I know this coin is in not so good condition. But I want to tell something about Priapos and for that this coin is qualified especially well. It is an AE21 of Trajan Decius from Lampsakos.

Trajan Decius AD 249-251
AE21, 4.15g
obv. AYT KOI TRAIAN DEK[IOC]
        bust draped, laureate, r.
rev. LANYAKHN / [W]N - EPI APOLL[WN?] - ETOY
       Priapos, stg. l., draped to hips, with Ithyphallos, holding Thyrsos l. and Kantharos
       r.
cf. SNG Paris 1294
vry rare, good F to about VF

This coin shows beside its mythology some numismatic anomalies:
1) LAN in error for LAM
2) KOI in error for
   a. KVI, as abbreviation for QVINTVS
   b. KAI, as abbreviation for KAICAR = Caesar (Curtis Cay)
3) For the magistrate Apollonius it is not pssible to find a reference

Priapos was the son of Aphrodite and born in Lampsakos in Mysia. Therefore Lampsakos the most important city of  the Priapos cult The special feature of this coin is the fact that Priapos here is not depicted as a dumb and horny garden dwarf as usually but with Thyrsos and Kantharos, the attributes of Dionysos!

Mythology:
Priapos was the son of Aphrodite and Dionysos, referring to other sources of Adonis or even of Zeus himself. When Aphrodite saw how ugly her child was looking, with big tongue, thick belly and exorbitant member, she threw it away and denied it. It is said that the reason for his deformity was the envy or jealousy of Hera. She should have touched the pregnant belly of Aphrodite with evil magic hand. A herdsman should have found the child and brought it up because immediatly he has assumed that this being could be important for the fertility of plants and animals. Not until Roman times he changed into a bizarre garden god and a kind of  scarecrow. So it was assigned to him that he tried to rape the sleeping Hesta but was betrayed by the cry of an ass. In Bithynia it is said that he has educated the young War God Ares whom he first has teached dancing and thereafter the war handcraft. So he rather was a warlike god, and one of the Titanes. For this reason he belongs probably to the series of pre-hellenic, semi-animal teachers of gods, like Kedalion, Chiron, Silen or Pallas.

Background:
Priapos is the ithyphallic god of animalic and vegetabilic fertility and generally a bringer of mercy and protector against evil, originated at the coast othe Helespont, especially in Lampsakos. The city of Priapos is named after him. His name is related to Priene, Priamos and the name of the Bithynean war god Prietos. Probably together with Alexander's Crusade his cult spread in the Greek world and absorbed various local deities like Phallos in Attica or Mutunus in Rome, which he replaced. Primarly coarse formed, red coloured wooden statues were sacrified to him, so-called Hermes columns (a bust on a column). Typically was his position in Lordosis (leaning back) with erected phallos.

In his function as fertlitity god he acted positively aiding as well as saving against harm. In Roman times his role was limited as garden god. But he was the protector of wanderers and in Greece patron of sailors and fishermen too. His sanctuaries were artless and imbedded in the landscape. As heir of the sepulcric Phalloi he was grave guardian too. This directs to a deeper meaning. Occasionally he became even an All God. In Lampsakos donkeys are sacrified to him which leads to mythological explanations, f.e. the proverbial horniness of donkeys. From the graffiti on the walls of his sanctuaries a separate poetic genre developed, the Priapea and the Priapean measure.

Naturally the depiction of Priapos stimulated to sarcasm but Priapos would not have been accepted  if not a serious belief would have been behind him. So even in Christian times there were Priests, Priestresses and whole societies which were addicted to him. He had mysteries too and had a strong support by Dionysos who has attracted and influenced him. Furthermore he is related to Aphrodite, Pan, the Nymphs, Silvanus and Herakles. Myths generating he became not until hellenistic times and this only marginal.

Sources:
Karl Kerenyi, Die Mythologie der Griechen
Der kleine Pauly

Best regards

Important thread for lovers of Mythology.
Priapus appears in this coin well represented.
Notas habemus quisque corporis formas:
Phoebus comosus, Hercules lacertosus,
trahit figuram virginis tener Bacchus,
Minerva ravo lumine est, Venus paeto,
in fronte cornua Arcados vides Fauni,
habet decentes nuntius deum plantas,
tutela Lemni dispares movet gressus,
intonsa semper Aesculapio barba est,
nemo est feroci pectorosior Marte:
quod si quis inter hos locus mihi restat,
deus Priapo mentulatior non est.

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« Reply #328 on: December 21, 2010, 11:26:48 am »

Jochen  .If  I continue browsing your thread,I'll have to change  my system of collecting Roman coins,and concentrate in mythology. I still miss the Muses and two
of Hercules labours. The golden girdle of Hyppolite and the clean up of the Augean stables.
They exist in coins (not too  difficult to get) but are much nicer in medallions. I own one from Gordian III
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-60962                                                                                                                                        and I would like to (eventually) complete the series with this same obverse.
No one ready to sell ?
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« Reply #329 on: December 21, 2010, 11:38:01 am »

This is the pic of the second Gordian medallion.
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« Reply #330 on: December 21, 2010, 12:32:01 pm »

Aren't those two the same coin?
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Robert Brenchley

My gallery: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/index.php?cat=10405
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Jochen
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« Reply #331 on: December 22, 2010, 11:36:52 am »

The same coins, indeed.

Dear benito!

I have only written articles about coins from my collection. If you miss the Muses and you have a coin with one of them, please feel free to write an article!

Best regards
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« Reply #332 on: December 22, 2010, 12:58:32 pm »

The same coins, indeed.

Dear benito!

I have only written articles about coins from my collection. If you miss the Muses and you have a coin with one of them, please feel free to write an article!

Best regards

So sorry,I didn't realize that (great collection). I thought that the articles were on mythology  in ancient coinage (that's why I missed the Muses and the girdle).
Sooner or later I will come up with them.
As to the pics I sometimes get the threads wrong. In fact there are two ,one in my trays ( the hind)     http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-60962                                                                                                                                      other in an unknown collection ( the girdle, repeated pic).
Offers are welcome for the series.
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« Reply #333 on: February 10, 2011, 03:13:56 am »

Some notes on Aeternitas

After a longer period of rest now a new article.

AR - denarius, 3.33g, 17mm, 135°
       Rome, 119-121
obv. IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG
       so-called heroic bust, slightly draped on l. shoulder, laureate, r.
rev. PM TRP - COS III       
      Aeternitas, in long garment and mantle, stg. frontal, head l., holding in raised hands r. 
      head of Sol and l. head of Luna.
ref. RIC II, 812; C. 1114; BMCR 162
EF, nice details

Aeternitas is the Roman personification of eternity. Her attributs are the globe, the Phoenix, who permanently is resurrecting out of the fire, the snake, suggested as immortal because of its regular skinnning, depicted as biting itself in the tail and so forming an eternal circle, the elephant suggested as long-living animal, and astral bodies like stars or - like on this coin - sun and moon. Usually coins with Aeternitas were struck at the death of the emperor referring to his consecration. Naturally it was not meant that the emperor himself has an eternal life. That idea was not corresponding  to the Roman religious belief. As stellar bodies Sol and Luna  have a more cosmic universal meaning. They refer to the eternity of the (Roman) ordo and the Roman Empire. It's the matter of Aeternitas imperii. A connection with the emperor comes from the East. As pignus imperii, pledge of the Empire, the emperor himself has to be aeternus, eternal. This idea starts under Tiberius, reserved in the first time. But under Nero it was already possible to sacrifice pro aeternitate imperii or directly to Aeternitas imperii. That was not possible under Augustus. Indeed Aeternitas was worshipped as divine and under Augustus a coin from Tarraco in Spain is known with the legend AETERNITAS AVGVSTI but temples or altars couldn't be found.

Curiously enough the term aeternus initially occurs in the Roman law before it obtained its cultic denotation. But gods themselves rarely were called aeternus, most frequently gods which could be identified with the Syrian Ba'alim (like Zeus, Sol or Apollon). A deus Aeternus in inscriptions from the 2nd-3rd c.AD seems to be of Syrian origin (Pauly). This deity was found most often in Dacia probably brought their by Roman soldiers.

Many of the above listed attributs are taken from the East where we know from an old cult of eternity. Originally the Greek Aion means something like 'long space of time, or era'. The Aion-Cult in the East is based on the philosophical extension of this term to 'eternity'. In Hellenenistic Alexandria the idea of Roma Aeterna was already anticipated. And we find the separation of an everlasting, static, so to speek fixed eternity and chronos, the ongoing, moving time. Mathematical interested people are reminded of the two different conceptions of infinity: here the actual infinity and on the other side the potential infinity.
The roots of Aion are manifold - Phoenicians and Zoroaster played an important role - and could infiltrate other religions too (f.e. the cult of Mithras)

On the other side the dynastic reference of this coin is obvious: Sol and Luna can be taken as symbols for the emperor and his wife. And that stands naturally for the continuity of the dynasty, in one sense private-personally by the continued existance of the imperial family over the generations, but then too official-generally by the provided political stability. In this sense we see a close connection to Providentia who comes into play always if a heir to the throne was born. The heir to the throne ensures the continuity of the imperial family and - moreover - the continuity of Rome and the entire Roman Empire. This all in accordance with a cosmic-universal 'providence'. And with that we are back to sun and moon.

At the end of a principate - as we know - always a struggle for the succession was menacing. This could be prevented only if the princeps has already arranged his succession before his death. Only so riot and a civil war could be avoided. This connection of Aeternitas with Providentia occurs already on coins of Tiberius. The Adoptive Emperors didn't know a dynastic successor. Therefore the term Providentia Deorum was used, the providence of the gods. By the clever election of a successor the gods have ensured the stability of the Empire. This aspect of Aeternitas later was expressed by the astral symbolism of the 7 planets.

Sources:
- Der Kleine Pauly
- Wilhelm Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
  (online)
- Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon (online)
- Hildegard Temporini, Die Frauen am Hofe Trajans, 1978
- article about Aion in this thread

Best regards
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« Reply #334 on: April 12, 2011, 11:34:57 am »

Aphrodite Aphrodisias

In March 2011 we were in Turkey visiting several important ancient sites from Troy down to Hierapolis. One of the most impressive sites was Aphrodisias especially because of its museum with so many beautiful statues. It is excavated by a group of Turkish-American archaeologists. In ancient times it has an important school of sculptors. The marble quarries were nearby.

Caria, Aphrodisias, Gordian III, AD 238-244
AE 30, 14.13g
obv. AV KM AN - GORDIANOC
        Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. AFROD. - EI[CIE]EWN
       Cult statue of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, stg. r., in long garment and wearing
       mural crown, head flanked by crescent and star, both hands extended, l. beside her
       the small figure of a priestess std. on a sella, r. beside her a fountain with arched
       cover.
       in l. field number of local year(?)
ref. cf. MacDonald R432; cf. SNG von Aulock 2461; not in Leypold, Keckmann, coll.
      Karl, BMC
rare, F+, some encrustations of sand patina
Pedigree:
ex. Tom Vossen
note: The fountain is often called altar, in error I think.

Aphrodite was the main deity of Aphrodisias and the city was named after her. Aphrodite originally was a local deity with relations to Ishtar and was identified with the Greek Aphrodite later by interpretatio graeca
 
The main sanctum naturally was the famous statue of Aphrodite in the big temple of Aphrodite from the 1st century BC, of which we can still see today a series of impressive columns. Until the invasions of the Goths Aphrodisias has had no city walls because the inhabitants thought that they were guarded by Aphrodite herself. The actual cult statue of the temple was not preserved. The depicted statue, now in the museum of Aphrodisias, was found in a Byzantine wall. It illustrates the reckless handling of ancient art work by the early Christians.

Originally the Carian statue was naturalistic. Later - under Greek influence - the rendering has changed. Now with her ependytes, the sheath-like garment, she recalls other Anatolian cult images, f.e. the Ephesian Artemis. She stands in an upright and stiff position, with her upper arms pressed close to her body and her hands extended forward, as to give and to receive. She is decorated with necklaces and as city-goddess she wears a mural-crown together with a diadem and a wreath of myrtle. She wears a veil which frames her face and reaches down to the bottom. Beneath the upper tunica she wears a long chiton.

Her most distinctive attribute is her heavy overgarment (ependytes) that conceals most of her body. The front of this garment is divided into horizontal zones, each of which is filled with complex figural reliefs in bas-relief whose style and iconography reveal a deliberate design program and attest its Hellenistic date. It is this series of reliefs that distinguishes the Aphrodisian goddess and shows her individual significance. Each motif symbolizes part of the goddess's divine identity and mythological sphere of power; they include the three Graces as her most near attendants, then a maried pair, by Lisa Brody identified as Gaia and Uranos, earth and heaven ruled by the goddess (rather not Zeus and Hera), Helios and Selene, and Erotes, and at least Aphrodite herself, here shown not in her distinctive local guise but in a more traditional Hellenistic mode of presentation: half-nude and seated on a seagoat, accompanied by a dolphin and a triton. Furthermore, the particular division of Aphrodite's ependytes communicates the fundamental conception of Aphrodite as a goddess of earth, heaven, and sea. This interest in the natural divisions of the universe and the use of cosmic iconography are characteristic of the Late Hellenistic era and date the creation of the goddess's image to this time. The celestial aspect is shown on the coin by crescent and star in the upper field. Although the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias certainly had a long history of local worship, the Hellenistic iconography of her remodelled image gave the goddess a new universality by using concepts and motifs familiar throughout the Graeco-Roman world.
(Dr. Lisa Brody, New York University)

I have added 2 pics:
(1) a pic of tthe statue from the museum
(2) a pic of the temple of Aphrodite

Sources:
- Kenan T. Erim, Aphrodisias, 2010
- Lisas Brody, Aphrodite of Aphrodisias
- MacDonald, The Coinage of Aphrodisias

Best regards

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« Reply #335 on: May 17, 2011, 03:50:13 am »

Dear members interested in ancient mythology!

Now I have converted the Mythology Thread into a book. Here are the datas:
194 articles, many of them with new pics, in 3 groups: Greek, Roman, Egypt
detailed subjext index
405 pages from which 300 pages are in color
DIN A4
Hardcover
in German

The book is called 'Münzen und antike Mythologie' and is today in pdf-format on CD.  Now I'm in search of a print office. I have added the cover and the first 2 pages of the articles.

Anyone interested? The prize depends on the number of copies.

Best regards
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« Reply #336 on: May 17, 2011, 05:13:47 am »

Congratulations Jochen! I hope you get published, and consider an English version in the future! The thread is fine, but print rules! Grin


I will order a copy in German, but only if signed! Wink
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« Reply #337 on: May 17, 2011, 06:07:45 am »

Thanks! Your are on the list. Of course signed. But what do you mean with 'print rules'?

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« Reply #338 on: May 17, 2011, 06:22:41 am »

I think he means: it's great to have access to a resource online, but that resouce only becomes permanent, and also easier to consult, when it appears in printed form.
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« Reply #339 on: May 17, 2011, 07:19:43 am »

I think he means: it's great to have access to a resource online, but that resouce only becomes permanent, and also easier to consult, when it appears in printed form.

Curtis has accurately conveyed my meaning. And thank you Jochen! Looking forward to the book!
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« Reply #340 on: May 17, 2011, 10:56:23 am »


Jochen, 1 book for me. Signarure is welcome.

Pekka K
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« Reply #341 on: May 18, 2011, 10:30:31 am »

Thanks, Pekka K! Which text do you prefer?  Grin

Jochen
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« Reply #342 on: May 18, 2011, 11:12:56 am »


Printed version, if You mean between it
and CD.

Pekka K
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« Reply #343 on: May 18, 2011, 01:12:14 pm »

I was asking for the text of the signature!  Grin

Jochen
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« Reply #344 on: May 19, 2011, 12:37:37 am »

Nothing special, the author's
signature is most important.

Pekka K
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« Reply #345 on: May 19, 2011, 12:47:25 am »

I, too, would love to have it between covers and printed.  Good work!
Pat L.
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« Reply #346 on: May 19, 2011, 03:09:10 am »

Sure! And I have it dedicated to you.

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« Reply #347 on: May 19, 2011, 04:30:26 pm »

Nothing could ever please, and flatter, and humble me more than that.
Pat
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« Reply #348 on: May 31, 2011, 02:47:48 pm »

A great book, but not sure if I'd go for the German version since I'd be reduced to just looking at the pictures.
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« Reply #349 on: July 12, 2011, 09:25:25 am »

Because of a recommendation of moonmoth I have added to each copy of the book a CD with the PDF files. Each CD is handsigned and an unauthorized copy will be regarded as illegal with all its forensic consequences.

Because of capacity overload of the print office the copies will be ready in c. 2 weeks.

Best regards
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