Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Hanukkah Sameach! Tell them you want a coin from FORVM for Hanukkah!!!! Internet challenged? We are happy to take your order over the phone 252-646-1958. Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!! Tell them you want a coin from FORVM for Christmas!!!! Internet challenged? We are happy to take your order over the phone 252-646-1958.


FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Coins of mythological interest 0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 ... 18 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Coins of mythological interest  (Read 401762 times)
Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #150 on: September 22, 2006, 06:28:13 am »

Herakles with kantharos

There are rare depictions of Herakles showing him besides his usual attributes holding a kantharos, the typical attribute of Dionysos. This depiction we find in Imperial times at Smyrna for Domitian, Julia Mamaea, Julia Domna and Gordian III (I don't know wether this list is complete!). Here is my coin:

Ionia, Smyrna, Gordian III AD 238-244
AE 21, 5.69g
(without name of magistrate)
obv. A KM ANT - GORDIANOC
Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. CMVRNAIWN.G - NEWKORWN
Herakles, nude, stg. frontal, head l., holding club and lion-skin in l. arm, pouring from kantharos with r. hand
SNG von Aulock 2230; SNG München 3244; SNG Copenhagen 1397 (rev.); BMC Ionia, 445
rare, about VF/VF, oliv-green patina, usual light roughness

Mythology:
The story behind the depiction of this reverse plays in the time after the twelve labours, which Herakles had to do for Eurystheus (the so-called Dodekathlos). After having completed these labours he moved around the world performing heroic deeds everywhere. He rescued Prometheus, fighted against the Centaurs, defeated the Amazones, accompagnied the Argonauts and killed the Giant Antaios in Africa, to name only few of them.

At his journey he finally came to Spain after having digged (referring to some authors) the narrow passage between Africa and Europe and so connecting the Ocean with the Mediterrean (Diodor. Sic. I.c.c.17.18.p.157). During his journey the sun in Africa burnt so hard that due to his impatience he shot arrows to the sun. For this bold deed Apollo gave him a golden cup as a present which he used as ship and not only to go to Spain but to return back to Africa together with the raped cattle of the Sun-god. After that he gave the cup back to Apollo (Apollodor I.II.c.4.§10). This cup he is holding on some coins from Smyrna (Froel. sensam.p.355). The cup is seen on other monuments too but perhaps this may have different reasons.

Herakles and Dionysos:
Actually the kantharos beside the thyrsos  is the typical attribute of Dionysos. Now Herakles and Dionysos have a lot in common. Both are Half-Gods, who at last were incorporated in the circle of the Olympic gods. Both died and then rose from the dead. Therefore both were identified with Christ in later times. But here I will restrict on their relation to wine. Dionysos is known as cultivator of wine and for bringing the wine to the human beings all over the world.  But Herakles too was not an anti-alkoholist! So we know a coin where he is shown staggered drunk by wine and hold by two satyrs.

And then there is the famous drinking contest between Herakles and Dionysos. It doesn't belong to the classic deeds of Herakles but especially in the time of Hellenism this theme was very popular. There was found a famous mosaic in the house of atrium in Antioch from the 2nd century AD. God Dionysos is resting on a kline (a kind of couch), holding a drinking cup and the thyrsos. Beside him stands the dark-skinned Herakles with a wine-glass, his club leaning at his knees. Dionysos is accompagnied by a fluteplaying Mainad, the young satyr Komos and the old god Silen. The victorious Dionysos holds his cup upside-down to show that he has empted it first.

Background:
There is no known proof in mythology that Herakles had participated in the Dionysean thiasos; probably it is a hellenistic invention very popular in Imperial times, which was originated because of the well-known preference of the heroe for wine, his even proverbial dipsomania. In addition Dionysos and Herakles were children from mortal mothers and relative 'new' Olympics. This too is promoting a connection between both. The depiction of Herakles in a Dionysean context was popular during the entire Imperial time; a special meaning - f.e. for creating a new myth or an allusion to cult practices - can't deduced from these pictures. They expresse rather a common symbolic of happiness in the sense of an idea of paradisiacal conditions and of welfare where the presence of the drunk Herakles adds a humouristic note to all. The dipsomania and the unbridled appetite of Herakles were popular topoi of the comedy writers too, f.e. Aristophanes. 

The mosaic today is in the Worcester Museum in Worcester/Massachusetts, USA.

Sources:
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/2002/16/kap12.pdf

Best regards
Logged

moonmoth
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2495



WWW
« Reply #151 on: September 29, 2006, 06:25:45 am »

Referring to Jochen's post on Vejovis and Amalthea -

The figure on the obverse is wearing a wreath which seems to include berries.  I wonder what that is?  If it's an underworld figure it might not be the normal laurel.  Could it be mistletoe?

This coin is a slight variation of the one you showed, which has the caps of the dioscuri above instead of to each side.  Like Jochen's coin, the wreath on the obverse also has berry-like objects, though they are differently placed.
Logged

"... A form of twisted symbolical bedsock ... the true purpose of which, as they realised at first glance, would never (alas) be revealed to mankind."
slokind
Tribuna Plebis Perpetua
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6722


Art is an experimental science


WWW
« Reply #152 on: September 29, 2006, 11:47:49 am »

The Mediterranean laurel, laurus nobilis, produces berries in the fall.  On some red-figured vases, where a band of laurel is used as a border pattern, the berries are included, usually placed decoratively rather than botanically.  See the Pronomos vase in Naples, which, so far from funerary, is theatrical in subject matter.  I don't know whether the berries, if in the noonday sun they fell onto one's toga or onto the street, are among those that make a mess and stain.  This is also the laurel that can be used in cooking and medicine.  The look-alikes (as in California, where I come from) are some of them poisonous, but it was the true laurel that was used in Greco-Roman antiquityPat L.
Logged
Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #153 on: September 29, 2006, 06:17:01 pm »

Once more we learn that each closer look on the coins leads to new discoveries! Nice!

Now I want to contribute
Some notes on Pan

After getting the following coins with depictions of Pan I thought it should be time to read about Pan. Here are the results. I hope there is something new for the Forum members.

1. Coins:
Moesia inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Elagabal AD 218-222
AE 27, 13.03g
struck under legate Novius Rufus
obv. [AVT KM AVR] - ANTWNINOC (NO ligate)
bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. VP NOB[IOV ROVF]OV NIKOPOLITWN PRO / C ICTRW
Pan, bearded, with horns and legs of goat, standing frontal, head r., treading
with l. foot on panther, laying on back to right; holding with r. hand lagobalon
over r. shoulder and nebris (pipe) in l. hand
AMNG 1933; Moushmov 1436
very rare, good F, bluegreen patina

This type seems to imitate the coins of Hadrianopolis where it occurs for Caracalla (Pick).

BTW
Lagobalon (lat. pedum) was a kind of boomerang for chasing small game (lagos, gr. hare).
The word 'panther' reminds of Pan but has a very different origin. It probably is of Persian origin like Pardalis (lat. panther). Here the panther seems to be a symbol for Pan as hunter of wild beasts.

Mythology:
Referring to some writers Pan was the son of Zeus and Hybris or Kallisto, or son of Hermes and Penelope or the Nymph Dryope. Some writers allude to two Pans (probably because he sometimes appears several herdsmen at the same time at different places!). He was raised by Nymphs in Arcadia especially by Sinoe. Short after his birth he ran away but was catched by Hermes who showed him to the Gods on he mountain Olympos who burst out laughing when they saw him and his buffoonery.

Arcadia was a rural, uncivilized region in Greece and so Pan was the God of mountains, sheep and herdsmen, of hunters too, and he liked to hunt. He was the leader of Nymphs who liked to dance around him. He loved to stay in caves. Siesta was hold sacred to him. Whom who happened to awake him he scared by shouting loudly so that he terrified ran away (therefore called 'panic'!).

He is depicted with horns, goat-feet, a tail and ram's-skin. So he reminds strong of the image we have of the Devil. But he should not be seen as theriomorphic god, as Animal-Human-God. Together with Zeus he defeated the Titans. For this battle he invented the Triton's horns as instruments for acoustic noise, gave these to his people and so put the Titans to flight. He was a companion of Dionysos and teached him to arrange his army in regiments and wings.

He was famouse because of his horniness. So he was after the herdsmen and mated with goats too. Especially he was after the Nymphs. Once he followed Syrinx who coming to the river Ladon could save herself only by transforming herself into reed. Because Pan couldn't see the right Syrinx reed he cut off several of them and bound them to a flute, the so-called Pan's-flute. With it he challenged Apollo with his lyre for a competition. But like Marsyas he was underlying by the arbitrage of the mountain god Tmolos. Apollo took away his flute and donated it later to Hermes. Another Nymph he was after was Echo known for her loquacity. She was said to be even his wife who bore Iynx to him, but later came to a bad end because of her love for Narkissos. Once he tried to rape the caste Pitys who could escape only by transforming herself into a pine. From that time on Pan wears a pine wreath on his head. His greatest success was the seduction of Selene, the Moon Goddess. He has seduced her by turning himself into a snow-white ram.

Pan is the only god who died in historic times. The news of his death came to Thamos a sailor whose ship was on a travel to Italy. A divine voice shouted across the sea: "Thamos, are you here´? If you come to Palodes announce there that the Grest God Pan is dead!". Thamos did so an at all coast rose crying and moaning. This occurs in the time of the emperor Tiberus. Plutarch - from whom we know this story - found the following explanation: The Egyptian Thamos has probably misunderstood the ceremonial moaning 'Thamos Pan-megas tethneke (= the infinite-great Tammuz is dead!)' as 'Thamos, the great Pan is dead!'. It was suggested that this story was invented only to frighten the superstitious Tiberius who has called Thamus at his court. In any case Pan was worshipped one century later all over Greece as Pausanias reports.

2. coin:
Makedonia, Antigonos II Gonatas ca. 319-239 BC.
AE 17, 5.65g
srruck 277-239 v.Chr.
obv. (anepigraphic)
        Head of Athena with crested Corinthian helmet, r.
rev. Pan, nude, stg. r., erecting tropaion, holding wreath in l. hand
       M in l. field, ANT between feet
cf. SNG Copenhagen 1208-1209 (different letters in l. field)
about VF, brown patina
Pedigree: ex Freeman & Sear

The revers reminds of the victory of Antigonos Gonatas over the Celts 277 BC.

This coin is not rare, but historical interesting. About the time of Antigonos Gonatas (277/6-240/39 BC) we don't know much. This time belongs to the the times which are the worst documented of the Greek history at all. But we know, that the reverse of this coins where Pan erects a tropaion is referring to the victory of Antigonos over the Celts at Lysimacheia 277 BC. In this battle it is said that Pan has appeared - as at Marathon or at Salamis - and has the Celts put in panic fear by his loud shouting. By this victory Antigonos could overwhelm Pyrrhos, Lysimachos and Ptolemaios Keraunos in Macedonia. Thus Macedonia after a time of disturbances got a time of calm and order again.

3. coin:
Thracia, Pantikapaion, struck under Perisad II 275-265 BC
AE 17, 3.71g
obv. (anepigraphic)
        Head of bearded Pan or Satyr, laureate, l.
rev.  P-A-N
       Head and neck of a bull with big eye, l.
SNG Cop. 32; SNG BM Black Sea 890-893; Anokhin Bosporous 132
about EF/EF

 A note from the consignor, a prolific writer on ancient history: "In Greek mythology, satyrs were half-man half-goat creatures who roamed the woods and fields, drinking wine, playing panpipes, and in constant search of nymphs. Attic painted vases depict them with snub noses, pointed goat ears, and long wavy hair, with mature satyrs often shown with goat's horns and full beards. Satyrs closely resembled Pan, the Greek god of shepherds and fields, and were his devout companions. Because of the physical similarity between the satyr and Pan, there has been a long numismatic debate on whether the emblematic head appearing on Pantikapaion coins represents Pan or a satyr. The more traditional interpretation is to view the character as Pan, a view bolstered by the usual presence of the word PAN on the coins. However Bosporous specialist David McDonald, expressing the opposing point of view, notes that the Russian numismatist A.N. Zograph, in his massive work Ancient Coins (published in Russian in 1951, but written prior to 1941), considered the image to be the head a satyr. Zograph (and later Anokhin in 1986) noted that the first coins with a satyr appeared in the region around 390 BC, during the rule of Satyros I (433-389?). Satyros the First was a local leader who conquered neighboring cities and introduced a centralized Bosporian state. The Russian numismatists speculate that the coins show a satyr which may commemorate Satyros. Jerzy Gorecki nicely sums up this point of view: 'Perhaps we should change the traditional interpretation of Pantikapaion->Pan into satyr->Satyros I.'"

Best regards

Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #154 on: September 29, 2006, 06:21:59 pm »

Miletos - founder of Milet

Mysia, Miletopolis, Gordian III, AD 238-244
AE 23, 6.40g
obv. A[V] M ANT GORDIANOC [AVG]
       bust, draped (and cuirassed?), laureate, r.
rev. KTIC[TH] - C MEILHTOC
      The heroe Miletos, in short military cloak, stg. frontal on prora(?), head r., raising r. hand
      and holding in l. hand spear and round shield
Franke, Griechische Münzen von Kleinasien, p.48, no.153 (only rev., but with different break)
extremely rare, about VF
Thanks to Pat Lawrence and Curtis Clay for the attribution and the legends!

Mythology:
When Europa was left by Zeus - on Crete he has created with her the sons  Minos, Rhadamanthy and Sarpedon - she married king Asterios of Crete. This marriage was childless. So Asterios adopted Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon and made them his heirs. When the brothers grow up they came into conflict about the love to a young beautiful boy named Miletos. This boy was created by Apollon with the nymph Aireia, who is called by others Deione or Theia. Miletos has elected Sarpedon who he loved most. Because of that he was expelled by Minos from Crete. With an important armada he sailed to Karia in Asia Minor and there he founded the city and the reign of Miletos.This region - called Anaktoria - was ruled since two generations by the giant Anax, son of Uranos and Gaia, and his son Asterios, a giant too. Miletos killed Asterios and buried the body on a small island near Lade, where his bones recently were excavated; he must be have a length at least of ten ells. But some writers say Minos have suspected Miletos of having planned to dethrone him and to seize the reign. Only his fear of Apollon has kept Minos from doing more bad to Miletos than only warning him. After that Miletos has fled to Karia unsolicited. Others claim that not Miletos but Atymnios, son of Zeus and Kassiopeia or Phoinix, has been the reason for the conflict.

In Miletos he married the king's daughter Eidothea who bore him twins, Byblis and Kaunos. Cp. Parthen. 11. The adolescent Byblis fell in passionate love to her brother Kaunos. Even though she knew of the unnatural aspect of her love she wrote a letter to him declaring her love. Kaunos was enraged and highly disgusted and to avoid further meetings with her he fled to the borders of Karia and Lykia and there he founded the city of Kaunos.

Background:
Miletos, who came frome Crete, is said to be the founder (or re-founder) of Miletos. Referring to Apollon. 3, 5 ff. he was the son of Apollon and Areia, daughter of king Kleochos (whose tomb was found in the sanctuary of Didyma near Miletos), he choosed Sarpedon as lover against Minos and had to flee. Referring to Nikandros (Anton. Lib. 30) Apollon has created him with the Minos daughter Akakallis and she marooned him, wolfes fed him and herdsmen raised him up (whe know such stories!). Minos was after him when he was adolescent, he fled to Karia and founded Miletos. According to others he first had to slain te giant Asterios, son of Anax, and therefore the region formerly was called Anaktoria. Referring to Ovid met. 9, 443 ff. Miletos is the son of Apollon and an otherwise unknown Deione and married Kyanee, daughter of Maiandros. Referring to Cramer Anecd. Gr. 2, 123, 30 Miletos himself is autochthon in Karia. According to Ephor. FGr.H 70 F 127 (Strab.) miletos was founded by Sarpedon together with people from the Cretean city Milatos.

Ranke-Graves: Because Miletos is a male forename the well-kown myth where two brothers
fight for the love of a woman here is given a homosexual twist. Actually - during a period of anarchy following the destruction of Knossos by the Achaiae about 1400 BC - numerous Greek talking Cretean aristocrats of Aiolic-Pelasgean or Ionic origin seem to have emigrated together with their native domestics to Asia minor, especially to Karia, Lykia and Lydia. Herodot doesn't mention the passed down reports about the dynasty of Sarpedon and claimed, that at his time the Lykians (Heroot I, 173; Strabon XII, 8, 5) and the Karians (s. 75, 5) have accepted the matrilinear origin. Miletos originally could be a Cretean word or a transliteration of milteios, meaning 'the colour of red ocker or red plumb' and therefore a synonym of Erythros or Phoinix, because both meaning 'red'. The colour of the Cretean faces was more red then the colour of the Hellenic faces;  Lykians and Karians were partially of Cretean origin.

Miletos was one of the most famous cities of Asia minor. After Sardes here were struck the oldest Elektron coins. The city's famoust sons were Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes and Hekataios, to name only few.
Miletopolis, the city where the coin above was struck, is a city situated in the northern Mysia southwest of the Milesian colony Kyzikos near the Miletopolitis limne (todays Manias Göl). The localisation at todays Melde is not sure. Miletopolis belongs to a large number of cities which were founded by Miletos especially at the coasts of the Black Sea.

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Robert Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #155 on: October 07, 2006, 08:52:55 am »

Herakles and the Nemean lion

1. The coin:
Maximian AD 286-305, AD 308
AE - Antoninian, 23mm, 3.88g
       Lyon AD 289 (pre-reform)
obv. IMP C MAXIMIANVS P AVG
       Bust, draped and cuirassed, helmeted, r.
rev. VIRTV - TI AVGG
      Hercules, nude, stg. r., strangling the Nemean lion; behind him Victory flying and
      crowning him with a wreath, his club behind him on the ground.
RIC V/2, 462; C.654
scarce, VF, nice green patina

2. Mythology:
At the northern edge of the plain of Argos, in a short distance to Tiryns and Mykenai, mountains are rising over which the street goes to Corinth. The highest is the Apesas mountain where Perseus has sacrificed to Zeus the first time. Below the Apesas mountain the valley of Nemea is situated with several caves nearby. In this region a lion resided and made the whole landscape unsafe. The skin of this lion was immune against iron, bronze and stone. A god had sent him against the inhabitants as punishment. According to one of the tales the snake goddess Echidna was the mother of the lion from her own son, the dog Orthos. Thus he was the brother of the Thebean Sphinx. Hera is said to have him brought to her own land. Some say Selene has born him and has let him fallen on the Tretos mountain, or she has created him from the foam of the ocean and Iris has brought him to the Nemean mountains.

Certainly this lion was a very particular animal. He was well connected to death and the underworld in a special manner. The lions which were set on tombs by ancient artists remind on this ideas. As an hunter Herakles not has exterminated the usual animals of the earth like f.e. Orion and he never has played the role of a master of the underworld as hunting god but he seemed to have chased the death. He conquered and captured weird animals which belonged to gods sometimes to the gods of underworld too. When after his victory over the Nemean lion he took his head and skin over his shoulder he turned something evil which
previously has threatened the mortals with perdition into the promise of their rescue.

When Herakles moved out against the lion he came to the little town of Kleonai on the edge of the Nemean forests. According to a later tale his host was a poor farmer and peon named Molorchos originally probably an aborigine and founder of the city of Molorchia. His son was killed by the lion und now he wanted to sacrifice a ram for his guest. But Herakles gave order to wait for thirty days. If after this time he would not return then the lion has killed him too and he should sacrifice the ram to him as heroe. But if he would return then the ram would belong to Zeus Soter, the saver. Molorchos told him how he had to fight against the lion. It had to be a wrestling match because sword and spear would have no effect against him. To do that Herakles must enter in the lion's cave which had two entrances. One of them Herakles stopped up. After sword and spear proofed to be useless he gave the lion a bash with his club that it break apart. The lion tumbled and refused in his cave. In the following fight Herakles pressed the lion's neck so that the beast sufficated. In this fight the lion bit one of Herakles' fingers. Thirty days he needed for all. Not to go from Kleonai to Nemea. But probably to get the depth where the beast was living. Or was it the sleep in which he felt after struggling the lion? It is told about this sleep (Diod. Sic. 45. 4) and one should not forget it, the brother of death. The pictures of Herakles' works on the metopes of the Zeus-temple in Olympia shows the heroe almost half-sleeping, reminding of this dangerous slumber. When he awoke on the thirtieth day he crowned himself with celery like those who came out of a tomb; because the tombs were decorated with celery. The same wreath thereafter was borne by the winners in the Nemean games and later of Isthmos too.

Molorchos already wanted to sacrifice the ram to the heroe when he appeared alive. On his back he bore the lion. So the ram was sacrificed to Zeus Soter. On the next morning he went over the pass to Argos. From there he sent back a mulus to his host - as promised - and adored him highly. With the lion he came to Mykenai, the residence of Eyrstheus. The king frightened deeply about this uncanny deed and forbade Herakles to enter the castle with his prey now and in the future. Furthermore he let build an iron barrel under the ground and each time when Herakles approached he hid in this barrel. And from that time on he communicated with Herakles only by his herald Kopreus.

The invulnerable skin of the lion Herakles removed after he has cut it with the claws of the beast. Zeus put the beast as constellation to the sky to honor his son.

3. Background:
Hera was Herakles' great enemy because he was the son of Zeus who has betrayed her with Alkmene. When Kreon, king of Thebens, gave - after the death of Amphytrite - his daughter Megara as wife to Herakles Hera beat him with madness and Herakles killed his and two other children. Being conscious again he banned himself from Thebens to purify himself from his guilt. But the Pythia of Delphi added another punishment: He had to go as servant to his cousin Eurystheus and Hera challenged him with always new tasks. Various tasks are passed down. The order of the twelf workes today (the so-called Dekathlos) was invented by Apollodor and occurs first on the metopes of the Zeus-temple in Olympia 456 BC. The strangling of the Nemean lion is the first labor in this order and is at the same time the most often depicted. The rarest are the Stymphalic birds and the rape of Diomedes' mares.

4. Character and relevance of Herakles:
The figure of Herakles is disputed until today. On one side there is the noble-brave Herakles of the epos and the tragedy, on the other side the comical-bawdy Herakles of the comedy or the human-altruistic of the philosophers. Because of his human greatness he was the paradigm of the philosophers who made him a moral sufferer. He was a human being and then god again. Point of cristallyzation for the countless features which he got in the course of time seems to be the heros. The heros - originally anthropological conceived - was already in Mykenian times passed down in a more developed form as ti-ri-se-ro-e = tris(h)eros. The struggle with Kerberos and Hades, the tales of the apples of the Hesperids too, let gleam a myth of afterlife. His name means 'glory of Hera'. How does this match the hate by which he was pursuited by Hera? This antinomy could be understand better if it is suggested that it was originally Hera who sent out Herakles for his adventures to achieve fame and glory (kleos) for himself but for Hera too. The originally good relationship between both is confirmed by their joint fight against the Gigants and the Satyrs. The takeover of the Herakles figure by the Romans represents the completion of a long developement.

5. Herakles and Hercules:
Without any doubts the Roman Hercules came from Greece, perhaps about Graeca Magna, but that is not sure. In Middle Italy his cult can be verified since the 6th/5th century BC. It was widespread at the Osci (from where probably the name Hercules), the Latins and the Etruscans. He had a place already in Rome's first lectisternium 399 BC. In Rome he was a god of profit and the traders too and in this role he was a rival of Mercurius. Many inscriptions are evidence for his great worship. Often he is a interpretatio Romana for a local god. So he is Melqart in Africa, or Donar in Germania and Gallia or is called Hercules Magusanus, Saxanus or Deusoniensis.

In the Middle Ages Herakles was understood as antecipation of Christ because of his deeds (descent to the underworld resp. limbo, subdoing of Kerberos = Satan and so on) and because of its personal union of divine and human nature. Like Samson he too appears as one of the pre-Christian heroes.

It is well known that Commodus presented himself as Hercules, but it is known of Trajan too. And during the tetrarchy Diocletianus gave his Co-Emperor Maximianus the name Herculius and so keeping a distance to Iovius under which name he adopted himself into the family of Zeus. This Roman bildtradition (tradition of depiction) was later renewed during the Renaissance and kings like Henry IV and Louis XIV from France presented themself with club and lion-skin again.

6. History of art:
I have added a pic of the western metope from the Zeus-temple in Olympia, now in the Louvre/Paris like all other metopes.

The other pic shows a black-figure neck-amphora. The heroe is depicted nude except for baldric and scabbard. He holds the lion around the neck and strangles it to death. On the left, Ioalos, Herakles' companion, moves away looking back: on the right Athena, in peplos and helmet, holds a shield. This subject was especially popular during the middle and third quarter of the 6th century BC. The picture is origínated from the circle of Exekias, ca. 550-530 BC.
Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of Harvard University Art Museums, 1990

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Karl Kerenyi, Die Mythologie der Griechen - Die Heroengeschichten
Robert Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Reclams Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #156 on: October 15, 2006, 06:29:25 am »

Venus Verticordia

The coin:
Mn. Cordius Rufus, gens Cordia
AR - denarius, 19.5mm, 3.82g
         mint of Rome 46 BC
obv. conjoined heads of the Dioscuri r., wearing laureate pilei surmounted by stars.
        RVFVS III.VIR behind
rev. Venus Verticordia standing l., holding scales and scepter, Cupid on her shoulder.
       MN.CORDIVS on r. (MN ligate)
Crawford 463/1a; Sydenham 976; Cordia 2s
About VF
ex Harlan.J.Berk
from Forum Ancient Coins

Notes:
The Cordia family home, Tusculum, was a center of worship for the Dioscuri twelve miles from Rome. The reverse is a clever play on the moneyer's name and may also compliment Julius Caesar who claimed direct descent from Venus. The particular design of Venus may derive from a statue placed in the temple of Venus Genetrix in the year of issue (FAC).

This issue was struck on a scale commensurate with Rome s requirements at the time of Caesar s quadruple triumph when 5,000 denarii were paid to each legionary and 10,000 to each centurion. The Venus reverse is probably intended as a tribute to Caesar whose gens claimed descent from that goddess (Sear, The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators, p.45. The scales I think are a tribute to the just contribution of the denarii. Usually these are an attribute of Annona and not of Venus.

Mythology:
Verticordia is a cognomen of Venus (Serv. auct. Aen. 1, 720), who has a fanum in the myrtle grove of the vallis Murcia (ibid. 8, 636). During the Hannibalian war (216 BC?) Sulpicia due to the dictum of the Sibyll from Cumae was determined by an heavy examination as pudicissima (Plin. nat. 7, 120. Solin. 1, 126) and a simulacrum was erected by her, quo facilius virginum mulierumque mens a libidine ad pudicitiam converteretur (turned from libido to shamefaceness!) (Val. max. 8, 15, 12). This has happened: At this time three Vestals have broken the laws of virginity and were buried alive. To reconcile the gods the senate due to the instructions of the sibyllinic books picked out hundred matrones and from these ten by fortune, and from these Sulpicia, daughter of Servius Paterculus and wife of Q. Fulvius Flaccus, was found as the most chaste and therefore had to put the picture of the goddess to the simulacrum. AD 114 because of a lightning prodigium an aedes was built (Plut. mor. 284 ab. Oros. 5. 15, 20). Ovid fast. 4, 133ff. connects Sibyllinum and temple with the celebration on April 1st, which were applied to Verticordia and Fortuna virilis and were practized in the baths by matronae as well humiliores (= from low origin) decorated with myrtle wreaths with the purpose of forma, mores, bona fama[//i] resp. harmony and pudicity. The name Verticordia is derived from vertere only by popular etymology (Ov. a.o. 161 u.a.).Ovid, Fasti, book 4, 157-161: In the time of our ancestors, Rome had lost its sense of shame, so they consulted the venerable Cumaean Sibyl. She ordered a temple to Venus to be built; and, this done, the goddess took the name Verticordia.

Source:
Der kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

Best regards

Logged

slokind
Tribuna Plebis Perpetua
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6722


Art is an experimental science


WWW
« Reply #157 on: October 22, 2006, 01:59:18 pm »

It took me some time to find the images, because I didn't use this statue in course lectures, but it interested me, precisely because of the motif: Eros on Aphrodite's shoulder.  That means, simply, that this motif was available for Rome to adopt for V. Verticordia, just as the Old Silen dandling the infant Dionysos in his big hands was available for Baroque sculpture to adopt for St. Joseph dandling the baby Jesus.
It seemed worthwhile to hunt down the images, because this motif is not so common.
Pat L.
Logged
Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #158 on: October 22, 2006, 02:50:30 pm »

Your pics are phantastic! Thanks!

Logged

Cleisthenes
Comitia Curiata II
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 430


"not unlike a clamberer on a steep cliff," Newman


WWW
« Reply #159 on: October 24, 2006, 01:59:06 am »

It took me some time to find the images, because I didn't use this statue in course lectures, but it interested me, precisely because of the motif: Eros on Aphrodite's shoulder.  That means, simply, that this motif was available for Rome to adopt for V. Verticordia, just as the Old Silen dandling the infant Dionysos in his big hands was available for Baroque sculpture to adopt for St. Joseph dandling the baby Jesus.
It seemed worthwhile to hunt down the images, because this motif is not so common.
Pat L.

Pat L.

These images are very interesting.  Thank you for taking the time!

Cheers, Jim (Cleisthenes)
Logged

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Nullum Gratuitum Prandium!
"Flamma fumo est proxima!"--Plautus
 Chi-Rho
Arminius
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2413


carpe diem


WWW
« Reply #160 on: October 25, 2006, 02:48:12 pm »

The Love of Ares and Aphrodite

Amasea in PontusMarcus Aurelius,
Ĉ32 (31-32 mm / 19.02 g), 163–164 AD.,
Obv.: [ΑΥΤ] ΚΑΙΣ Μ ΑΥΡ ΑΝ - [ΤΩΝΙΝΟΣ ΣΕΒ] , laureate-headed bust of Marcus Aurelius wearing cuirass and paludamentum, r.
Rev.: [ΑΔΡ] ΑΜΑΣ ΝΕ-ΩΚ Κ ΜΗΤ Κ] ΠΡΩ ΠΟΝ / [Ε]Τ [ΡΞΕ] (year 165 of the era of Amasea = 163-4 AD.) , to l., Ares standing, facing, head, r., wearing military dress, holding spear, resting hand on shield; to r., nude Aphrodite standing, l., covering her breasts with r. hand and pudenda with l. hand.
RPC online temporary № 5288 (10 specimens listed) ; Waddington, Rec. Gen p. 36, 18 ; BMC 1929-10-13-394 .

Ares embodied the very essence of war, earning him a reputation as a violent God, an immortal of action and determination. He was the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Olympic Gods, who weren't too keen on their (legimite for a change) son. Ares was accompanied into battle by his uncle Hades (the Lord of the Underworld), his sister Eris (Goddess of Discord), her son Strife and his two sons Phobus and Deimos (panic and fear). Ares rode into battle on the side of the Trojans with his horses, Flame and Terror, pulling his war chariot. He swooped down to help Aphrodite defend her son Aineias and saved him from sure death at the hands of the Achaians. While Ares protected Aineias with his shield, Aphrodite made her escape to Mount Olympus to tend her wounds.
Love Life: Ares never married but had an ongoing affair with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. They had three children - Phobus, Deimos and Eros (Cupid).

Ares and Aphrodite

But the minstrel struck the chords in prelude to his sweet lay and sang of the love of Ares and Aphrodite of the fair crown, how first they lay together in the house of Hephaestus secretly; and Ares gave her many gifts, and shamed the bed of the lord Hephaestus. But straightway one came to him with tidings, even Helius, who had marked them as they lay together in love. And when Hephaestus heard the grievous tale, he went his way to his smithy, pondering evil in the deep of his heart, and set on the anvil block the great anvil and forged bonds which might not be broken or loosed, that the lovers might bide fast where they were. But when he had fashioned the snare in his wrath against Ares, he went to his chamber where lay his bed, and everywhere round about the bed-posts he spread the bonds, and many too were hung from above, from the roof-beams, fine as spiders' webs, so that no one even of the blessed gods could see them, so exceeding craftily were they fashioned. But when he had spread all his snare about the couch, he made as though he would go to Lemnos, that well-built citadel, which is in his eyes far the dearest of all lands. And no blind watch did Ares of the golden rein keep, when he saw Hephaestus, famed for his handicraft, departing, but he went his way to the house of famous Hephaestus, eager for the love of Cytherea of the fair crown. Now she had but newly come from the presence of her father, the mighty son of Cronos, and had sat her down. And Ares came into the house and clasped her hand and spoke and addressed her:

Come, love, let us to bed and take our joy, couched together. For Hephaestus is no longer here in the land, but has now gone, I ween, to Lemnos, to visit the Sintians of savage speech.

So he spoke, and a welcome thing it seemed to her to lie with him. So they two went to the couch, and lay them down to sleep, and about them clung the cunning bonds of the wise Hephaestus, nor could they in any wise stir their limbs or raise them up. Then at length they learned that there was no more escaping. And near to them came the famous god of the two strong arms, having turned back before he reached the land of Lemnos; for Helius had kept watch for him and had brought him word. So he went to his house with a heavy heart, and stood at the gateway, and fierce anger seized him. And terribly he cried out and called to all the gods:

Father Zeus, and ye other blessed gods that are forever, come hither that ye may see a laughable matter and a monstrous, even how Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, scorns me for that I am lame and loves destructive Ares because he is comely and strong of limb, whereas I was born misshapen. Yet for this is none other to blame but my two parents--would they had never begotten me! But ye shall see where these two have gone up into my bed and sleep together in love; and I am troubled at the sight. Yet, methinks, they will not wish to lie longer thus, no, not for a moment, how loving soever they are. Soon shall both lose their desire to sleep; but the snare and the bonds shall hold them until her father pays back to me all the gifts of wooing that I gave him for the sake of his shameless girl; for his daughter is fair but bridles not her passion.

So he spoke and the gods gathered to the house of the brazen floor. Poseidon came, the earth-enfolder, and the helper Hermes came, and the lord Apollo, the archer god. Now the goddesses abode for shame each in her own house, but the gods, the givers of good things, stood in the gateway; and unquenchable laughter arose among the blessed gods as they saw the craft of wise Hephaestus. And thus would one speak, with a glance at his neighbor:

Ill deeds thrive not. The slow catches the swift; even as now Hephaestus, slow though he is, has out-stripped Ares for all that he is the swiftest of the gods who hold Olympus. Lame though he is, he has caught him by craft, wherefore Ares owes the fine of the adulterer.

Thus they spoke to one another. But to Hermes the lord Apollo, son of Zeus, said:

Hermes, son of Zeus, messenger, giver of good things, wouldst thou in sooth be willing, even though ensnared with strong bonds, to lie on a couch by the side of golden Aphrodite?

Then the messenger, Argeiphontes, answered him:�Would that this might befall, lord Apollo, thou archer god-- that thrice as many bonds inextricable might clasp me about and ye gods, aye, and all the goddesses too might be looking on, but that I might sleep by the side of golden Aphrodite.�

So he spoke and laughter arose among the immortal gods. Yet Poseidon laughed not, but ever besought Hephaestus, the famous craftsman, to set Ares free; and he spoke, and addressed him with winged words:

Loose him, and I promise, as thou biddest me, that he shall himself pay thee all that is right in the presence of the immortal gods.

Then the famous god of the two strong arms answered him: �Ask not this of me, Poseidon, thou earth-enfolder. A sorry thing to be sure of is the surety for a sorry knave. How could I put thee in bonds among the immortal gods, if Ares should avoid both the debt and the bonds and depart?

Then again Poseidon, the earth-shaker, answered him: �Hephaestus, even if Ares shall avoid the debt and flee away, I will myself pay thee this.�

Then the famous god of the two strong arms answered him: It may not be that I should say thee nay, nor were it seemly.

So saying the mighty Hephaestus loosed the bonds and the two, when they were freed from that bond so strong, sprang up straightway. And Ares departed to Thrace, but she, the laughter-loving Aphrodite, went to Cyprus, to Paphos, where is her demesne and fragrant altar. There the Graces bathed her and anointed her with immortal oil, such as gleams upon the gods that are forever. And they clothed her in lovely raiment, a wonder to behold.

~Homer's Odysessy~

And in plain english:

Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, the God of the Forge. Hephaestus was lame and ugly, and Aphrodite was not very happy with the marriage. She had many lovers, but her favourite was Ares.

Ares and Aphrodite were dallying together when their interlude was rudely interrupted. You see, the god of the sun, Helios, from whom little, if anything, could be kept secret, spied the pair in enjoying each other one day. Helios promptly reported the incident to Hephaestus, who was understandably angry. Hephaestus contrived to catch the couple "in the act", and so he fashioned a net to snare the illicit lovers. At the appropriate time, this net was sprung, and trapped Ares and Aphrodite locked in very private embrace.

But Hephaestus was not yet satisfied with his revenge - he invited the olympian gods and goddesses to view the unfortunate pair. For the sake of modesty, the goddesses demurred, but the male gods went and witnessed the sight. Some commented on the beauty of Aphrodite, others remarked that they would eagerly trade places with Ares, and they all laughed.

Well, except for Ares, who was out of sorts, and Aphrodite, who, if goddesses can blush like maidens, surely did so.

- information from Mythography

"not even the God of War withstands him; for we hear, not of Love caught by Ares, but of Ares caught by Love--of Aphrodite. The captor is stronger than the caught; and as he controls what is braver than any other, he must be bravest of all."

from: http://www.geocities.com/the_temple_of_ares/areslove.html
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #161 on: October 26, 2006, 03:50:05 pm »

Hi Arminius!

A nice and interesting article! I have seen the coin too and I'm happy that you got it!

Best regards
Logged

Arminius
Procurator Caesaris
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2413


carpe diem


WWW
« Reply #162 on: October 28, 2006, 02:07:37 pm »

The fourth labor of Heracles, the Erymanthian Boar

For the fourth labor, Eurystheus ordered Heracles / Hercules to bring him the Erymanthian boar alive. Now, a boar is a huge, wild pig with a bad temper, and tusks growing out of its mouth. This one was called the Erymanthian boar, because it lived on a mountain called Erymanthus. Every day the boar would come crashing down from his lair on the mountain, attacking men and animals all over the countryside, gouging them with its tusks, and destroying everything in its path.
On his way to hunt the boar, Hercules stopped to visit his friend Pholus, who was a centaur and lived in a cave near Mount Erymanthus. Everyone knows that centaur is a human from his head to his waist, and a horse for the rest of his body and his legs. Hercules was hungry and thirsty, so the kindly centaur cooked Hercules some meat in the fireplace, while he himself ate his meat raw.
When Hercules asked for wine, Pholus said that he was afraid to open the wine jar, because it belonged to all the centaurs in common. But Hercules said not to worry, and opened it himself. Soon afterwards, the rest of the centaurs smelled the wine and came to Pholus's cave. They were angry that someone was drinking all of their wine. The first two who dared to enter were armed with rocks and fir trees. Hercules grabbed burning sticks from the fireplace and threw them at the centaurs, then went after them with his club. He shot arrows at the rest of them and chased after them for about twenty miles. The rest of the centaurs fled in different directions. One of the centaurs, Chiron, received a wound that no amount of medicine would heal...but what happened to Chiron is another story.
While Hercules was gone, Pholus pulled an arrow from the body of one of the dead centaurs. He wondered that so little a thing could kill such a big creature. Suddenly, the arrow slipped from his hand. It fell onto his foot and killed him on the spot. So when Hercules returned, he found Pholus dead. He buried his centaur friend, and proceeded to hunt the boar.
It wasn't too hard for Hercules to find the boar. He could hear the beast snorting and stomping as it rooted around for something to eat. Hercules chased the boar round and round the mountain, shouting as loud as he could. The boar, frightened and out of breath, hid in a thicket. Hercules poked his spear into the thicket and drove the exhausted animal into a deep patch of snow.
Then he trapped the boar in a net, and carried it all the way to Mycenae. Eurystheus, again amazed and frightened by the hero's powers, hid in his partly buried bronze jar.
( from http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/boar.html )

Sebastopolis-Heracleopolis in Pontus, Julia Domna,
Ĉ29 (27-29 mm / 10.47 g), 205-206 AD.,
Obv.: IOYΛIA - ΔOMNA [AV] , draped bust right.
Rev.: CЄBACTOΠ {HP}AK-ΛЄOΠO ЄT / HC (year 208 of the ity era = 205-206 AD.), Herakles standing right, nude but for lion's skin billowing out behind from his shoulders, holding Erymanthian Boar in his arms, about to cast it down on Eurystheus who is cowering in a bronze jar partly buried.
BMC 13.38, 1 ; Sear GIC 2343 .

About a similar coin from Nicaea:  (http://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=75702&AucID=80&Lot=1062) The canonical representation of the fourth labor of Heracles, the capture of the Erymanthean Boar, in sculpture, painting, and coins shows the hero carrying his prize "piggy-back" over his shoulder, sometimes in the act of surprising Eurystheos with it, who hides in a pithos in fright. The present, apparently unpublished piece, (BITHYNIA, Nicaea. Marcus Aurelius) has the hero, labeled "The Founder of the Nicaeans," carrying the beast in front of him. There seems to be only one numismatic parallel for this depiction: a medallion of Commodus (Gnecchi 34; Stoll 103), where Heracles is seen in a similar stance, but with the boar on a rock in front of him and the Nemean Lion behind. On this medallion the scene could be interpreted to show Heracles carrying the boar to the rock. The striking similarity of these two unrelated numismatic specimens implies that this particular scene was taken from a sculptural group or painting showing this version of the legend.
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #163 on: November 12, 2006, 04:37:50 pm »

Zeus Kasios

Syria, Seleukia and Pieria, Trajan AD 98-117
AE 23, 12.65g
obv. AVTOKR KAI NER TRAIANOC ARICT CEB GERM DAK
        Head, laureate, r.
rev. CELEVKEWN - PEIERIAC
       Perspective view of the tetrastyle temple of Zeus Kasios with canopy-like roof; on
       the roof eagle, within cult-stone.
       in the r. field D (= year 4)
       in ex. ZEVC / KACIOC (Z mirrored)
BMC 274, 39; SNG München vgl. 990ff. (dort ohne D); Price - Trell 212, fig. 445; Sear GIC 1081

Seleukeia was founded together with Antiocheia ad Orontes as its harbour 300 BC by Seleukos I. The history of Seleukeia was connected closely to that of Antiocheia, the capital of Syria. Due to the boom years in Roman times Seleukeia was a wealthy city demonstrated not least by its large coinage. Main deity was Zeus worshipped as Zeus Keraunos and Zeus Kasios. The depiction on this coin shows that Kasios was worshipped as Sacred Stone similar to that of Elagabal in Emesa. The canopy-like roof seems to be an advice that here we have a shrine for a procession. Zeus Kasios was worshipped too in Pelusium.

Mythology:
Some authors say that Kasios has been a particular man to whom Zeus once came as guest and whom he could convince to erect a temple and to pay divine honour to him. In turn Zeus got his name as cognomen (Lactans. Instit. divin. lib. I. c.22 §23).
Other authors however derived this name from Kasio, one of the Cycladic islands, or from Kasos, son of Klitomachos, so that there is nothing for sure. His usual shape was a rock or a steep mountain as we can see on several coins. On one of them we see a tetrastyle temple with a rock in the midth, an eagle on the roof and the inscription ZEVS KASIOS (Hederich).

Background:
There is no other Olympic god than Zeus where the idg. ethymology and its meaning - and so already the pre-mediterranean, from idg. religions derived origin and character attributes - is so doubtless. The basic meaning is something like 'who flashs up bright', 'who shines' or 'sheet lightning'. In Mycaenian time we have two phases in the development of the Zeus idea:
1) the 'conflict of two religious concepts' by assimilation of the idg.-greek Zeus, i.e. the patriarchal Zeus Pater and Zeus Athanatos with the quite heterogenous because to the matriarchal context belonging 'Cretic' Zeus Kretagenes and Megistos Kouros, i.e. the mediterranean type of the 'divine child'.
2) the genealogic adaptation of the Zeus mythos by its incorporation in succession and 'Kingdom in Heaven' mythologems of Asia Minor in the 2nd millenium BC. Through this Zeus became the 'son' of the ungreek pair of the gods Kronos-Rhea and so the first of the Kronids. The conflict between Zeus and Kronos, the battle of Zeus against the Titans, Typhos and others are crisises on the way to the Olympic Megistos Theos, reflectance of the religious conflict with mediterranean High-god, heaven, weather and mountain deities. So even Olympios - the famous name of  Zeus - is ungreek, and so the mythologem of the mountains as domicile of the families of gods. The famous Homeric epikleisis of Zeus nephelegereta (= 'Gatherer of Clouds') is Ugaritic and originally an epitheton of Baal! The religious displacements sometimes could be located exactly geographically, so f.e. in the case of the Northern Syrian Zaphon-Kasion mountain, the arena of the Typhon myth of the 2nd. millenium BC.

Kasion is the repitition of probably an Aramaeic quasju(n) ('peak of a mountain, end of a mountain, promontory'), which in turn has replaced at end of the 2nd. millenium BC a Canaanitic-Phoinician sapon: It is the name of the highest mountain (1770m) in Northern Syria (today gebel el-aqrac), seat of Baal Zaphon and his cult. It was the holy mountain of the Canaanits and is mentioned in the Bible (f.e. Jesaja 14 or psalm 48). It is discussed too wether this mountain is identical with Zion, the holy mountain of the Israelits. Seafaring devotees of this god have settled his cult probably before this mountain was renamed as Kasion on a 13m high sand-hill at the west-end of the Sirbonic sea (today sabhat el-bardawil) 15km east of Pelusion (today tell el-farama). This hill was named Zaphon too and because of its connections to the Syrian mountain then named Kasion when this mountain changed its name. Both places got in Hellenestic times - parallel to the displacement of Baal Zaphon by Zeus Kasion - the name Kasios mountain and in Roman times mons Casius. On it stood the temple of Zeus Kasios and here Pompejus Magnus was buried (Plin. H. N. lib. V. c. 12 & Strabo lib. XVI p. 760). This mountain until today is hold sacred by the Nusairians (Alawites).

The myth of Typhon:
This mountain plays a role in the myth of Typhon too. Typhon was a phantastic mixed creature with hundred dragon heads of old-greek mythology - influenced by the Orient - all with a terrible voice and snake-legs, child of Tartaros with Gaia, who wanted to have him as ruler of the world against Zeus after the fall of the Titans. In a terrific world burning caused by the thunderbolts of Zeus the heads of the rebel burned up, he was overthrown into the Tartaros. In the clamour of storms (Typhon was father of the bad winds) and in the eruptions of vulcanos the god became manifest. With Echidna he has created other monsters: Orthos, Kerberos, Hydra, Chimaira and others. The description of the Battle of Titans by Hesiod is topped by a 'cyclic' theogonia which is reported by Apollodor: Here the gods turned to animals in fear of Typhon and fled to Egypt, and Typhon in an infight at the mountain Kasion snatched from Zeus his sickle, cut his hand and foot tendons and dragged him to the Kerykaion cave in Cilicia; Hermes and Aigipan outsmarted his female guard, the dragon Delphyne, and so Zeus after a bloody struggle was winner and buried Typhon under the Aetna volcano.

For the connection with the stone cult I refer to the contribution 'Baetyl - the sacred stone' in this thread http://www.numismatikforum.de/ftopic11926-15.html

Sources:
Benjamin Hedrich
Der kleine Pauly

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #164 on: November 12, 2006, 04:43:50 pm »

Zeus Kataibates

And because we are at Zeus here another epikleisis:

Syria, Cyrrhestica, Cyrrhus, Marcus Aurelius SNG UK 660
Marcus Aurelius AD 161-180
AE 23, 12.9g
obv. AVTO KM A[VRH] - ANTWNINOC CEB
Bust, laureate, r.
rev. [DIOC] KATEBATOV - KVRRHCTWN
Zeus Kataibates, in himation, std l. on rocks, resting r. arm on knee, holding
thunderbolt in r. hand and leaning with l. hand on sceptre; l. in front of him eagle r.
SNG UK 1301, 660
extremely rare, with attractive red earthen patina

Kataibates (= descending) was an epikleisis of Zeus as the god of lightning (cf. Aischyl. Prom. 358), to whom places hit by lightning (called elusia, enelausia, lat. putealia, bidentalia) were consecrated. These places were surrounded by fences ore other enclosures and hold as sacred. Cults for Zeus Kataibates, the 'Descender', were found in Athens, Olympia (Paus. 5, 14, 9), on several Aegean islands, in Tarentos and in Kyrrhos in Syria.

Kataibates was a name for some other deities too:
1) for Acheron, the Underworld river, because the shadows on their way to the
    Underworld had to descend to him.
2) for Apollo, who was invoked under this name if he should assure a happy return.
3) and for Hermes in Athens and Rhodos as companion of the shadows on their way to
    the Underworld.

BTW Demetrios Poliorketes too was called Kataibates in Athens (where he climbed down from his charriot).

Epikleisis = a name under which a god was invoked.

Best regards

Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #165 on: November 12, 2006, 04:45:40 pm »

Venus Cloacina

Roman Republic, L. Mussidius Longus, gens Mussidia
AR - denarius, 3.73g, 17.5mm
         Rome, 42 BC
obv. Bust of Concordia, veiled and diademed, r.
        behind CONCORDIA
rev. Round platform with balustrade and inscription CLOACIN, on which two femle
       figures are standing (probably Cloacina and Venus), resting with l. hand on
       cippus. Left figure holding branch (probably myrtle) in raised r. hand; a small
       stairway on the left side with porticus.
       above L.MVSSIDIVS.LONGVS
Ref.: Crawford 494/42a; Sydenham 1093; Mussidia 6b; BMCR 4242
nice VF, bankers mark on obv.

For a long time I have wondered how Venus, goddess of love and beauty, could have this cognomen, which have a special smell. Here I will try an explanation:

The rev. shows the shrine of Venus Cloacina whose fundaments could be seen today on the Forum Romanum in Rome at the South side of the basilica Aemilia. This sanctuary is one of the oldest on the Forum. It is so old that even the Romans didn't understand its real meaning and invented myths to explain it. Cloacina probably is derived from the ancient Latin word 'cluere', meaning 'to purify'.

Mythology:
After the rape of the Sabin women - look at the article in this thread - a war broke out between the Romans and the Sabins. The raped women bravely went between their fathers and their new husbands ans so stopped the slaughter. A reconciliation should have been occured at this very place with an expiation and purification (cluere!) ritual, as Plinius reports in his Roman history (NH X, 119-120). There Myrtles had played an important role. It is said that they were found here and they were used for purification because they should have great purification power. Furthermore they were sacred to Venus, the ancestor of the Romans.

Then at this place Vergina or Virginia, the beautiful daughter of Lucius Virgineus, a plebeian centurio, was killed by him to avoid the shame to become the slave of the tyrannic decemvir Appius Claudius Crassus. Appius Claudius was fallen in love to her and claimed that she was the daughter of a slave who had escaped from him. Due to the rigorous Laws of the Twelve Tables then she too was his property. This murder led to the abolishment of the decemviri (449 BC) and Lucius Virgineus became the first elected tribune. This story probably based on the myth of Lucretia who was raped by the son of king Tarquinius Superbus and because of that commited suicided. This event was the end of the Etruscian kings in Rome and the begin of the Roman Republic

Background:
The sanctuary of Venus Cloacina marks the place where the Cloaca Maxima reaches the Forum and takes the river Velabro. This river was the frontier between the region of the Romans and the Sabins where now the adversary parties have made peace. The sanctuary - known by its depiction on these coins - was not roofed but made by a round embracing wall and two cult statues. Originally it was probably the shrine of Cloacina (Liv. III. 48). The origin of her cult and the erection of her sanctuary probably belongs to the the first period of the history of the Cloaca Maxima, either of the time of its construction or of the time of an important renovation even though the tradition ascribed it to Titus Tatius (Lact. Inst. I. 20.11). In the course of time Cloacina was identified with Venus and called Venus Cloacina. In doing so the fact could have played a role that the myrtles were sacred to Venus. So this myth, the reconciliation of the Romans and the Sabins, could be the attempt to explain these unknown connection.

Before the Forum Roman became the center of the Roman Empire it was an unsane marsh, full of Malaria mosquitos, only crossed by cattle trails. It could not be populated before it was drained and dewatered by the Cloaca Maxima. The Lacus Curtius reminds on its watery past. The originally open sewer was built by Etruscians the great taskmaster of the Romans. Because of that Cloacina probably was an Etruscian goddess and the Romans - as so often - have absorbed her. So it is explicable that she too is responsible for the wedding bed. The Cloaca Maxima was a great revolutionary invention. It first made Rome habitably. It is not overstated to say 'Rome, that is the Cloaca Maxima'! And to have a goddess for it is well understandable!

The relicts of the shrine were found AD 1899-1901 in front of the Basilica Aemilia. It consists of a round marble base with a diameter of 2.40m, resting on a slab of Travertine and eight courses of various kinds of stone. The character of these courses shows that the foundation was gradually raised as the basilica encroached upon it. The shrine shows two female deities. The left one seems to raise a myrtle branch. This then would be a symbol of purification and of the wedding ritual of passage. The right one seems to be armored and then would be the guardian of the enclosure.

I have added two pictures: The first shows a model of the shrine of Cloacina, the other shows the fundament of the shrine how you can see it today on the Forum Romanum. I want to recommend warmly the following link to all interested in Roman history
http://home.surewest.net/fifi/index50.html Here you can find a nice 3D view of the Forum and naturally the shrine of Cloacina!

Sources:
Wikipedia
William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (online)
http://www.vroma.org/~jruebel/cloacina.html

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #166 on: November 18, 2006, 06:45:52 pm »

The struggle between Xanthos and Achilleus

Aeolis/Asia Minor, Kyme, pseudo-autonomous, time of Gallienus
AE 21, 4.2g
struck under magistrate Ermeias, AD 253-268
obv. IERA.CVN. - .KLHTOC
        Youthful bust of Senate, draped, r.
rev. AIL.ER - M[E]
       River-god Xanthos, bearded, wreathed, nude to hips, leaning l., resting l. arm on
       vase from which water flows, holding in r. hand long waterplant.
       KVMA / I in l. field
       in ex. [Y]ANTQO[C] (Y meaning Greek XI)
SNG von Aulock 1648; Franke KZR 204; SLG Prowe III, 724; BMC 13, 114

Looking closer at your coins everytime you can detect very interesting stories. This happened to me looking at this coin. First I was interested in it only because of the named river-god. This it rather rare. But researching more I found the following:

First: It is the Xanthos from Troas not from Lycia! Today it is called Kucukmenderes. The river Xanthos originates from the Ida mountains, runs through the plains of Troy and flows after 97km north of Troy into the Hellespont, today called Dardanelles. Several of its tributaries are river-gods too.

Mythology:
Homer says that only the gods called him Xanthos, yellow (because of the colour of his water), but men called him Skamandros. In Greek mythology he was an Oceanid, a son of Oceanos and Tethys. By Idaea he had a son Teukros.

This river played an important role in the Troyan War. During the siege of Troy the Achaeans had set up their camp near his mouth and most of the battles happened on the great plain of Skamandros. But at the end of the Troyan War Skamandros, the river-god himself, encroached upon the war!

In book XXI of his Iliad - near the end of the war, Achilleus again was engaged - Homer writes
how the Trojan troops flee in panic from Achilles. One portion of the army heads for the city while another group seeks refuge near the River Xanthos. Achilles cuts off the second group and kills many of them as they try to cross the stream. Achilles is pushing the Trojans back killing everyone in his way. He spares no one mercy. All these Trojans fall into the river Xanthos and Achilles follows to kill them. The river-god asks Achilles to stop killing people in his river because the water is getting all bloody. Achilles agrees but then Xanthos turns around and asks Apollo to help the Trojans. This enraged Achilleus so much that he began to fight against the river-god.

The god of the river is antagonized by all this bloodshed in his waters, and so he attacks Achilles with great waves and currents. Achilles begins to falter under this onslaught, but Poseidon and Athena reassure him, while Hera and Hephaistos attack the river with fire. Seeing his water boil away in great, mysterious heat, Xanthos relents.

After this began what is called 'theomachia': The gods also engage in combat, so excited are they by human warfare. Athena defeats Ares and Aphrodite, while Hera drives Artemis from the field. Poseidon challenges Apollo, but the younger god does not accept his uncle’s dare because of deference to his age. Achilles continues to chase the Trojans, and Agenor, a half-brother of Hektor, attempts to fight him in single combat; but Agenor is far inferior to Achilles, and Apollo finally rescues him. This diversion allows most of the retreating troops enough time to take refuge in the city.

A slightly ironic commentary on Achilles eventual death occurs in his battle with the river. The river, rising in flood against Achilles because of all the dead bodies thrown in it, sweeps Achilles away. Achilles, who is often an overpowering natural force against the Trojans, is here thwarted and almost killed by the natural force of the river. Achilles is so alarmed by the river that he becomes fearful of ignominious death by drowning rather than the glorious death in battle that has been prophesied. Only the intervention of Hera through Hephaistos, as God of Fire, saves Achilles. Symbolically, the two great elemental forces of fire and water are in conflict, with Achilles in the middle.

I have attached a map of Troas where you can see Troy and the Skamandros.

Sources:
http://www.theoi.com/Potamos/PotamosSkamandros.html
(here you find the original text of Homer!)
http://education.yahoo.com/homework_help/cliffsnotes/the_iliad/70.html
http://www.gottwein.de/graeca/maps/graeca_2mm.php#Skamandros_fl
(the map)
Wikipedia

Best regards
Logged

Cleisthenes
Comitia Curiata II
Caesar
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 430


"not unlike a clamberer on a steep cliff," Newman


WWW
« Reply #167 on: December 01, 2006, 02:56:47 am »

The Erymanthian Boar

Herakles fourth labor was to capture the Erymanthian Boar alive.

". . . now that animal ravaged Psophis, sallying from a mountain which they call Erymanthus. So passing through Pholoe he was entertained by the centaur Pholus, a son of Silenus by a Melian nymph. He set roast meat before Herakles , while he himself ate his meat raw. When Herakles called for wine, he said he feared to open the jar which belonged to the centaurs in common. But Herakles , bidding him be of good courage, opened it, and not long afterwards, scenting the smell, the centaurs arrived at the cave of Pholus, armed with rocks and firs. The first who dared to enter, Anchius and Agrius, were repelled by Herakles with a shower of brands, and the rest of them he shot and pursued as far as Malea, Thence they took refuge with Chiron, who, driven by the Lapiths from Mount Pelion, took up his abode at Malea. As the centaurs cowered about Chiron, Herakles shot an arrow at them, which passing through the arm of Elatus, stuck in the knee of Chiron. Distressed at this, Herakles ran up to him, drew out the shaft, and applied a medicine which Chiron gave him. But the hurt proved incurable, Chiron retired to the cave and there he wished to die, but he could not, for he was immortal. However, Prometheus offered himself to Zeus to be immortal in his stead, and so Chiron died. The rest of the centaurs fled in different directions, and some came to Mount Malea, and Eurytion to Pholoe, and Nessus to the river Evenus. The rest of them Poseidon recieved at Eleusis and hid them in a mountain. But Pholus, drawing the arrow from a corpse, wondered that so little a thing could kill such big fellows; howbeit, it slipped from his hand and ligting on his foot killed him on the spot. So when Herakles returned to Pholoe, he beheld Pholus dead; and he buried him and proceded to the boar-hunt. And when he had chased the boar with shouts from a certain thicket, he drove the exhausted animal into deep snow, trapped it, and brought it to Mycenae."
 
SOURCE: Loeb Apollodorus, translated by Sir James G. Frazer, 1921.
See: http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_apollodorus_herc4.htm

The following coin:
ROMAN REPUBLIC: M. Volteius M.f. Ca. 78 BC. AR denarius (3.68 gm). Rome mint. Head of young Hercules right, wearing lion´s skin /Erymanthian boar running right, [M.] VOLTEI M.F. in exergue. Crawford 385/2. Sydenham 775. RSC Volteia 2.

The sculpture:
Berlin-Tiergarten, Lützowplatz – "Herkules und der erymantische Eber", Bronzeplastik, 1904 von Louis Tuaillon / "Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar" 1904, by Louis Tuaillon.
Logged

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Nullum Gratuitum Prandium!
"Flamma fumo est proxima!"--Plautus
 Chi-Rho
Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #168 on: December 03, 2006, 02:25:29 pm »

Herakles and the giant Antaios

Cilicia, Tarsos, Philip I, AD 244-249
AE 37, 19.96g
obv. AVT KAI IOV FILIPPON [EVT] EVC CE
        bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r.
        P-P l. and r. in field
rev. TARCOV THC MHTR[OP]OLEWC
       Herakles stg. facing, head l., leaning l., wrestling Antaios; he lifts Antaios up
       into the air by the waist while Antaios tries to break his grip;
       B to left, A/M/K/G to right
SNG Levante 1153 (same dies); Hunter S.556, 59, pl. LX, 18 (rev. same die); Voegtli 17h
good F, usual roughness

Mythology:
Antaios, lat. Antaeus, son of Poseidon and Gaia, was a huge giant, who is said to have a length of 60 Greek cubits. He was king and ruler of Libya and forced all strangers who entered his empire to wrestle with him. Beause of his immense force it was easy for him to strangle all combattants. Their skulls he used to built a temple for his father Poseidon. He for himself lived in a gruesome cave under a big rock in which he slept on the bare ground because he got stronger and stronger by the power he gained from his mother Earth. His usual food were lions wich he catched alive. In doing so his land was stripped by people because he didn't save the life of his people more than the life
of the strangers. Otherwise he should be the founder of the city of Tingis.

When Herakles was on the way to capture the cattle of Geryon for Euristheus he came to Libya and came into conflict with Antaios. Both dropped their lion's skins which they wore, Herakles applied oil to his skin as the Greek did, Antaios threw sand over his body to double his strength. Then the fight began. Both were astonished about the strength of his combattant. But Antaios tired first and Herakles could threw him to the ground. But touching the earth Antaios recovered again and the fight moved on. Exhausted again Antaios dropped to the earth himself to get new power. There Herakles recognized the earth as source of his strength. He embraced him and lifted him up into the air and struggled him to death.

It is said that he was borrowed in Tingis. It is told that Sertorius has opened his grave and has found bones 60 cubits long. Horrified he sarificed and then closed the grave again. It had the shape of a laying man and it is told that everytime someone took earth from it raining starts and didn't stop earlier before this earth is put to the grave again.

Background:
Originally Antaios, referring to his name ('encounter'), was a spook, a ghost, compare 'Antaia', a spook from the circle around Hekate, finally Hekate herself. Naturally the spook wants to return to its habitation, the earth; not earlier than in hellenistic time it
was changed into the symbolical streams of power of the earth.

The oldest trace of the myth points to Irasa near Kyrene; there Antaios forced the suitors of his daughter Barke on a footrace, a motive known from other myths too. During the continuing discovery of North-Africa the Greek colonists pushed this legendary figure always farther to the West until it got a definite place in Tingis (Mauetania). At the same time in connection with the growing antagonism between Greeks and Libyans it got a pronounced evil character. As shown on vase paintings of the 5th century BC (f.e. the crater of Euphronios in the Louvre) the fight between Herakles and Antaios was interpreted as triumph of the scholastic Greek athletics over the barbarian power of nature.

In hellenistic time Antaios was identified with an Upper-Egyptian god and the city of Antaiupolis was named according to him. His tomb was worshipped in Tingis. The future ruler of Mauretania led back their origin to Sophax, son of Herakles with the widow of Antaios.

I have added two pics.
1) The pic of the famous crater of Euphronios showing the fight bewteen Herakles and
    Antaios; Attica, c.510 BC, toda in the Louvre/Paris.
2) The pic of the oil painting 'Hercules and Antaeus' of Antonio Pollaiuolo, AD 1460,
     today in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. During the Renaissance this theme
     was very popular.

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #169 on: December 03, 2006, 02:30:18 pm »

Anna Perenna

Roman Republic, Annius T. f. T. n., gens Annia, and L. Fabius L. f. Hispaniensis
AR - denarius, 3.76g
         mint in Spain or North-Italy, 82-81 BC
obv. C.ANNI.T.F.T.N.PRO COS EX S
        Bust of Anna Perenna, diademed and draped, r., caduceus behind, scales before,
        T beneath bust
rev. Victoria in biga r., Q above
       in ex L.FABI.L.F.HISP.
Crawford 366/1a; BMC Spain 1-12; Sydenham 748; Annia 2a
nice EF

This type belongs to an imperatorial coinage struck for the war against Sertorius in Spain. Sertorius became a supporter of Marius and fought against Sulla. 83 BC he was sent as Praetor to Spain and here for some years he erected a government in exile. 72 BC he was murdered in a complot. The Quaestor Fabius, named on this denarius, switched to Sertorius some time later and perished together with him.
The Ides of March, March 15., not only are the well-known day of death of Caesar but the Festival of Anna Perenna too! But who is Anna Perenna?

Mythology:
An older myth tells that Anna Perenna was an old woman from the city of Bollivae in Latium. In 494 BC the Plebeians moved out to the Mons sacer, c.3km north-east of Rome, because they denied to pay tax and to be conscripted to the army without having a vote in the Roman Senate. They even planned to separate frome Rome. As is generally known they were convinced to come back because they got the institution of the Tribunus plebis who should represent the vital interests of the Plebeians and defend their freedom against the Patricians. The myth tells that Anna Perenna brought bread and cakes to the Plebeians and so she saved them from starving. This is why she was popular on the common people and considered as goddes after her death.

A later tradition from the time of the myth of Aeneas made Anna the sister of Dido, queen of Carthage. After Dido has committed suicide Carthage was conquered by indigenes under Iarbas and Anna had to fly. First she found shelter by the king of Melite, a small island in front of the African coast. But when Pygmalion, the king of Syria, demanded her to hand over to him, she fled from the island. A heavy storm throw her to the coast of Latium. At this time Aeneas was the ruler of Laurentum, exactly where she was landed. Aeneas and his companion Achates went to the beach and he recognized her. Aeneas began crying when he welcomed her remembering the sad fate of Dido, and took her to his palace. But Lavinia the wife of Aeneas was not amused about that. In a dream Anna was warned to be alarmed at the traps that Lavinia would set for her and at the dead of night she fled from the palace.       
 
While she was wandering she met Numicius, the god of a nearby stream who carried her off to his bed. The servants of Aeneas searched for Anna and followed her tracks to the river bank, and, while they wondered where to go next a shape rose from the water and revealed to them that Anna, once an exile, had become a water nymph, whose new name, Perenna, signified eternity. Aeneas' servants in their joy scattered among the fields and passed the day in feasting and festivities, which became established as an annual celebration of the festival of Anna Perenna.
There is another opinion too that she committed suicide by drowning in the river Numicius because of her desperation.
 
In another myth she was an old woman again. Mars, god of war, was fallen in love to Minerva, goddess of war and art and a sworn virgin. Mars asked Anna Perenna for interceding on his behalf. But instead of this - knowing about the impossibility of his wishes - she dressed herself like Minerva and came to Mars veiled. When he tried to kiss her she lifted her veil, break out in laughter and mocked Mars. Minerva's main festival, the Quinquatrus, was celebrated 4 days after the festival of Anna Perenna so this could be reason of this story.

Background:
You see that the exact identity of Anna Perenna is unexplained. Even the ancients didn't know it! Possible is the derivation from 'anus = old woman'. The etymology from  annus (lat. year) and the interpretation as goddess of the ring of years is too even to be correct! Also her festival in March, the 1st month of the Roman calendar, is not sufficient because Mars, after whom the March is named, nevertheless was a god of the year! According to Aulus Gellius (in Noctes Atticae) Varro wrote 'Anna et Perenna', as if there were two persons! Ovid knows of together six variations but all are objected. For sure she is connected to earth and fertility but she is no  indigitation of Ceres!

The river Numicius was regarded as sacred to Anna Perenna. At his origin a temple was built for Aeneas as Jupiter Indiges, a title, which usually was given to deified mortals. At his mouth the city of Lavinium was situated, a name which is said to originate from Lavinia, wife of Aeneas, who was an old local deity too. So Anna Perenna and Lavinia could well be two aspects of one and the same deity. Lavinia is said to have prophetic abilities too, an attribute which usually was connected to water-nymphs. Her father was a certain Anius, the eponym (giver of the name) of the river Anio whose name sounds like Anna too. Furthermore you have to cross the river Anio to go from Rome to the Mons sacer!

But every etymology would be invalid if Anna Perenna has not a Latin, but an Etruscian or pre-indoeuropean origin! Then Anna could be a 'Lallname' (babble name), which later became a proper name.

What we know for safe is the following: The Festival of Anna Perenna was celebrated on the 15th of March and was beloved by the common people, though it was also an officially recognized holiday. We know from Ovid (Fasti, III. 523 foll.) how it was celebrated. On the evening of the 15th, people would gather at the 1st milestone on the Via Flaminia in her sacred grove of fruit trees (in bloom at that time of year) by the banks of the Tiber, and camp out, some bringing tents, others making little shelters from leafy tree branches. There they picnicked merrily into the night, feasting, dancing, singing, and celebrating with much wine, toasting to health and long life. It was believed that one would live as many years as the cups of wine one could drink, and so it was of course traditional therefore to get very, very drunk. The songs were full of obscenities. This festival connected the old and the new; it is interesting to note that the Via Flaminia was famous for its tombs and cemeteries. We know by Macrobius (Sat. I. 12.6) that sarifices were done in her name 'ut annare perannareque commode liceat', i.e. that the ring of years may should close happily.

In AD 1999 a fountain was unearthed in Rome which was devoted to Anna Perenna. He was found at the corner of the Piazza Euclide with the Via G.Dal Monte in the northern part of Rome. The fountain is originated from the 1st century BC and was used until the 6th century AD. A great number of magic objects were found in it: plates with formulas of conjuration, lead-boxes with anthropomorphic figures, innumerous coins and a copper-kettle. They all now could be seen in the National Museum and the Diokletian Museum. 

I have attached a photo of the archaeological place of the fountain, 10-13m under the street level.

Sources:
Ovid, Fasti 3, 517ff.
Macrob. Sat. 1, 12, 6
Der kleine Pauly
http://www.pierreci.it/do/show/content/0000010935

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #170 on: December 09, 2006, 04:44:57 pm »

Juppiter Optimus Maximus

This will be my last contribution to this thread for this year. I hope it is interesting for lovers of the Roman mythology!

The coin:
Roman Republic, Petillius Capitolinus, gens Petillia
AR - denarius, 18.1mm, 3.82g
         Rome, 43 BC
obv. Eagle with spread wings stg. half-right on thunderbolt
        above PETILLIVS, beneath CAPITOLINVS
rev.  Hexastyle frontside of the temple of Iupiter Capitolinus with three-stepped base;
        garlandes hanging down in the three middle intercolumnaries, on the pediment
        frontal seated figur(?), on acroteries horse-protomes, above figures stg. with
        sceptres, on top biga r.  with charioteer.
        S - F at sides
Crawford 487/2b; Sydenham 1151; Petillia 3
about VF

SF stands for Sacris Faciundis. Petillius Capitolinus doubtless was member of the XV viri sacris faciundis responsible for the religious ceremonies. His family seems to have one of the hereditary offices which were referring to the temple of Iupiter on the Capitolium (Iupiter Capitolinus).

Juppiter Optimus Maximus:
The name Iuppiter originates from the Vocativus *dieu-pater. The stem *dieu- means something like 'shining, divine heaven and lighting day'. Writing Iuppiter with two p's is correct. The reason is the gemination of consonantes. From obliques casus is generated another Nominativus: Iovis. So Iuppiter is the god of the heavenly light. His old cognomen Lucetius (the shining) point to that too.

Iuppiter isn't Zeus! In fact both have the same indoeuropean origin, but the Greek Zeus was mixed up very early with orientalic ideas and has been anthropomorphized. His numerous erotic adventures from which several children descended and his perpetual struggling with Hera are typical for Zeus. Nothing of that we find on Iuppiter! He was not the father of divine or half-divine beings.  He was not the husband of Iuno, and Minerva was not his daughter! But he was rather the divine principle of the highest being. The places struck by lightnings were sacred to him (puteals). However the assimilation between Zeus and Iuppiter happened already in the time of the Roman Republic.

In historical times Iuppiter Optimus Maximus was the main and state god of Rome. Optimus doesn't mean 'the best', but because it is originated from 'ops' (= power) it means the 'most powerful'. Increasing in honor Iuppiter became the protector of all of the Roman people. With the development of urbanization and the increasing importance of the city, it was only natural that this tutelary deity should have risen to greater pre-eminence, while his associate Mars shed agricultural associations for more bellicose dispositions. Under the name of Iuppiter Capitolinus, he presided over the Roman games, always an important feature of ancient city life. With the introduction of Emperor worship, a means of testing the loyalty of the subject as much as an official religion, Iuppiter's political function was somewhat decreased, though traitors were still thrown from Tarpeian rock on Capitoline Hill. Iuppiter was no longer the embodiment of the greatness and prosperity of the Roman Empire, but rather, he served as a divine guide of the world. Cicero, who in 43 BC had his head and hands cut off for advocating a return to republican principles, equated Jove with numen praestantissimae mentis, "the presence of a supreme mind." This was a conception not unlike monotheism of Christianity, to which the conversion of Emperor Constantine in 312 AD meant the beginning of the end of the European pagan era.

The temple on the Capitoline Hill:
The temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus was situated at the southern slope of the Capitoline Hill. Together with Iuno and Minerva they represent the so-called Capitoline Trias. His temple was the most magnificent in Rome.

It was vowed by king Tarquinius Priscus while battling the Sabines, completed by his successor Tarquinius Superbus and consecrated under the consul M. Horatius Pulvillus in 509 BC. Construction and consecration so fell in the time of the Etruscian kings a fact which later was obscured by the Romans. In the temple Iuppiter took the middle cella, Iuno Regina the left one and Minerva the right one. Especially Etruscian master builder have participated in the design and the construction of the temple. Erecting a statue - known already from the cities around Rome - constitutes a break in the history of the Roman religon: "It was the first step on the way which later led to the result that the old shapeless powers could be thought of only anthropomorphized and if this was impossible were forgotten." (Clavus)

The temple of Iuppiter was the centre of the national life. Here the consules took the oath of office and here always the first meeting of the senate took place. Here the military commanders sacrificed before the go to war and here always the elebration of triumphs ended. Thereby the triumphator colored his face with red lead to look like the clay of the statues.

Several times the temple burned down mostly by the stroke of lightning, but during the Civil War 69 AD too when the adherents of Vitellius assault the Capitoline Hill. At last it was in AD 86 when Domitian rebuilt the temple and founded too the agon Capitolinus which consisted in chariot races, sportive and musical competitions.

The temple was built on substructions. There were three cellae side by side. That in the middle was dedicated to Iuppiter and contained a terra cotta statue of the god, with a thunderbolt in his right hand, said to have been the work of Vulca of Veii, the face of which was painted red on festival days. The statue was clothed with a tunic adorned with palm branches and Victories (tunica palmata), and a purple toga embroidered with gold (toga picta), the costume afterwards worn by Roman generals when celebrating a triumph. The entablature was of wood, and on the apex of the pediment was a terra cotta group, Jupiter in a quadriga, by the same Etruscan artist as the statue in the cella. This was replaced in 296 BC by another, probably of bronze. There is no doubt that pediment and roof were decorated with terra cotta figures, among them a statue of Summanus 'in fastigio' (perhaps therefore an acroterion). In 193 BC the aediles M. Aemilius Lepidus and L. Aemilius Paullus placed gilt shields on the pediment. In 142 the ceiling was gilded. This temple became a repository of works of art of many sorts, the gifts of Roman generals and foreigners, as well as of dedicatory offerings and trophies of victory, of which the earliest recorded was a golden crown presented by the Latins in 459. The number of these became so great that in 179 BC it was necessary to remove some of the statues and many of the shields affixed to the columns. Sadly nothing remained of ths temple because of the chaos in the middle ages. So we are dependent on the description of Plinius and others and the depiction on coins.

The mintmaster:
It's interesting that the mintmaster - named as Petillius Capitolinus on the coin - occurs in the satires of Horatius (Sat. lib. IV)! Note 14 of the link below: Petillius charged with the controllership of the Capitolium once was accused of having stolen the golden crown of Iuppiter Capitolinus. Only because he was friend of Augustus the judges have found him not guilty. Another one added that this was the reason that he was named Capitolinus! But that seems to be unsubstantiated as Terentius already has noted. But that Capitolinus as friend of Augustus was absolved to honor the Emperor has added a negative touch, is a bit doubtful, because amicus here seems to be only a parvus amicus meaning a client, and in this case Augustus was not only legitimated but obligated to save his client as well he could. Indeed there was another reason too to do so; for it was his adoptive father, the great Iulius Caesar - as mentioned by Sueton - who has stolen three thousand pounds of gold from the Capitolium during his first consulate. And therefore Petillius could have said not without some right - like that of Terentius -: ego homuncio non facerem (Me as such a mediocre being would never have done that)!     

I have added two pics:
1) A diagram of the Capitoline Hill where you can see the ancient buildings in relation
     to Michelangelo's famous piazza.
2) A model showing the temple how it could have been looked. Clearly you can see
     the decoration of the roof.

Sources:
- Der kleine Pauly
- Rainer Pudill, Die Götter Roms, in 'Das Fenster', Oct. 2006
- http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/horaz/satiren/saho1043.htm (The theft of Petillius)
- http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/
  Rome/_Texts/PLATOP*/Aedes_Jovis_Capitolini.html (History and description of the
  temple of Iuppiter!)
- http://www.museicapitolini.org/ (Model of the Capitoline Hill)

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #171 on: December 15, 2006, 02:11:34 pm »

Ganymedes - the beautiful

Troas, Dardanos, Hadrian, AD 117-138
AE 21, 4.53g
obv. AVT KAI CEBA[...] TRAIANOC ADRIANOC
      Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. DARDAN - WN
      Eagle facing, head l., carrying Ganymedes, wearing chlamys and Phrgian bonnet,
      holding pedum in raised r. hand
unpublished?
very rare, about VF

Note: This is the companion piece to Bellinger T136 from Troas-Ilium and Bellinger describes the reverse as "Remarkable in the presentation of a scene of Trojan mythology anterior to the Homeric story".

Mythology:
Ganymedes was the son of Tros, founder and king of Troy, and his wife Kallirrhoe, daughter of Skamandros, according to others son of Laomedon. He was of unbelievable beauty. Once when he was hunting at the mount Ida, others say near the Dardanic promontory, Zeus sent an eagle to abduct him. In heaven he replaced Hebe and became the cupbearer of the gods. He handed the gods nectar and ambrosia. Hera was very angry with Zeus because Hebe was her daughter. According to other authors Zeus needed Ganymedes for his amorous plays. To Tros he gave later a golden grape-vine and  two immortal horses which later got Herakles who in return freed his daughter Hesione of the monster Ketos. Finally Zeus put Ganymedes as constellation to the sky.

But there is this story too: Eos the goddess of dawn has fallen in love with Ganymedes and has abducted him. Zeus then has stolen him from Eos.

This should be behind the myth: When Tros has erected the city and the castle of Troy and has all arranged well he sent his son Ganymedes with fifty men to Lydia to bring Zeus a thank offering. Tantalos, king of Lydia, regarded them as scouts or agents and put them to prison. But when he realized their peaceful purpose he set them free again. Meanwhile Ganymedes has fallen ill and died. Thereupon all returned home exept Ganymedes. Tantalos let him entomb in the temple of Zeus. Because of that the poets have invented the story of the abduction by Zeus.

According to other authors Tantalos was king in Phrygia and Paphlagonia. When he raped Ganymedes because of his great beauty he denied to give him back to Tros. So between both kings a great war originated, and Ilos, the other son of Tros, went on with the war against Pelops, son of Tantalos, so that he was forced to flee to Greece.

Others suggest that it was not Tantalos but Minos from Crete who was the robber of Ganymedes. Under the appearence of friendship he was guest of Tros and then has abducted Ganymedes when they were hunting and took him to Crete where he has committed suicide because of home sickness and mourning. When Minos entombed him in the temple of Zeus it was invented that Zeus has took him to heaven.

Some authors refer his beauty not to the beauty of his body but of his psyche, his intelligence and virtue.

Others claim that the whole story was invented only to euphemize unnatural desires.
 
Background:
Ganymedes, meaning such as 'the lustrous-happy' (actually the joyfull excited by erotic passion) was the son of the Dardanic king Tros (and Kallirrhoe), brother of Ilos and Assarakos. According to Homer Il. 20, 231ff. he was hold for the most beautiful of all mortals. He was raped by the gods to the Olympos to serve as cup-bearer for Zeus and to enjoy eternal youth. As compensation Tros got immortal horses. According to Homer h. 4, 2002 Zeus abducted him for the gods by a blast of wind. The Little Iliad (and Euripides) made Ganymedes the son of Laomedon, and he was given a golden rape-vine by Zeus. Since Ibykos and Pindar the motiv for the abduction was seen in pederasty which by this myth got a kind of heavenly apology. Platon (in his Phaidros) used the myth for his theory of love, but in his nom. 1, 8 he criticized the Cretans for their vice and their appointment to Zeus. In 4th century BC Ganymedes was a popular figure of comedies. At this time was introduced the motiv of the abduction by the eagle as messenger of Zeus, firstly in fine arts, much later literarily. Not until the Hellenism Zeus himself became the robber in the shape of an eagle. The motiv of Hera's jealousy was Hellenistic too. In the kind of Euhemeros Phanokles, Mnaseas and others replaced the divine robber by heroes: Tantalos or Minos. To put him as a constellation to the sky (aquarius) is from the late Hellenism, so it is too with the eagle (aquila). In imperial times the myth of Ganymedes has been mentioned by philosophers and church-fathers often very polemically. It is created literarily in Lukian's dialogues and in the Dionysiaka of Nonnos.

Only a short note here to the pantheistic hymne 'Ganymed' of the young Goethe belonging to his 'Sturm- und Drangzeit' (Wie im Morgenglanze du rings mich anglühst, Frühling, Geliebter!)

History of art:
Much more numerous are depictions in the fine art. Ganymedes was a popular theme in ancient times. The Attic vase painting depicts particularly the pursuit and seizure of Ganymedes by Zeus, f.e. the kantharos of the Brygos painter, c.450 BC, and the bell krater of the Berlin painter, c.490 BC, where Zeus is forced by Eros. Famous too is the terracotta group in Olympia, .470 BC, showing the seizing of Ganymedes. Not until post-classic times the abduction by the eagle, who takes him to heaven or to whom Ganymedes gave water, became the subject of depiction. 340/330 Leochares created a sulpture of the abduction. On tombs and sarkophaguses of early deads these doubtless have symbolic meaning.

The Renaissance has interpreted Ganymedes carried to heaven as an allegory of the elevation of the human soul to god (Scene of the bronze door of Filaretes, St.Peter, Rome, 1435-45). On the other hand by the variation of the eagles's posture the homosexual connotation of the motiv has been expressed (drawing of Michelangelo, c.1533). Rembrandt has satirized the theme by creating a Ganymedes who in fear is passing water (1635, Dresden). Corregio's depiction is the counterpart to the unification of Io with the cloud of Zeus (c.1530-32; Vienna). Thorvaldsen has depicted Ganymedes the cup-bearer several times (1804, 1816, 1817; Copenhagen). The elevation of Ganymedes as aquarius to the sky (and of the eagle as aquila) is found in Peruzzi's frescoes in the Villa Farnesina in Rome (1509-1511)
 
Notes:
(1) Nectar, which according to the later mythgraphs was a supranatural red wine which gave immortality, actually was a primitive brown met from fermented honey.
(2) Ambrosia, the delicious food of the gods, seems to have been a porridge of barley, oil and fruits. With that the kings were indulged whereas their subjects (before introducing grain)
had to feed on asphodel's roots, mallows and acorns (Robert von Ranke-Graves)

I have added the following pics:
1) A pic of the red-figured Attic vase of the so-called Berlin painter. Ganymedes here is depicted with a hoop, symbol of youth, and a cock, which was a symbol of homosexuality. It is now found in the Louvre.
2) The pic of the mosaic from the House of Dionysos in Nea Paphos/Cypros. This is the classic depiction which is found on my coin too.
3)The pic of Rembrandt's painting from the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden. Here Ganymedes is shown full of fear! I couldn't resist because of the charming details!

Sources:
Robert von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
Der kleine Pauly
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Reclams Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst
http://www.schwulencity.de/LukianGoettergespraeche.html

Best regards and a happy and healthy new year!

I have added a 2nd coin with the Ganymedes theme which I got after contributing this article. But  I want to share it here:

Thracia, Hadrianopolis, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211
AE 25
obv. AV KAI [...]
Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, laureate r.
rev. ADR - IANO - [POLEITWN]
Ganymedes, with Phrygian bonnet, stg. l. with crossed legs, holding lagobolon
in l. hand and resting with r. hand on eagle, stg. frontal with head r., on rocks;
r. on ground Pan flute.
Jurokova 920 (1 ex. in Istanbul); Varbanov (engl.) 3348 (citing Jurokova)
extremely rare, F/about VF, black-brown patina

This coin shows a scene right before the abduction. Wether the eagle is Zeus himself or only the messenger of Zeus can't be said for sure.

Jochen
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #172 on: December 31, 2006, 11:23:06 am »

Protesilaos

Until today I have presented only coins from my collection. Today I must show another coin from CoinArchives because my coin is too worn to give a good scan. Beg your pardon in advance!

Thessaly, Thebens, 302-186 BC
AE 23, 7.63g
obv. head of Demeter, veiled and crowned with grain-wreath, l.
rev. QHBAIWN
      Protesilaos, in military cloak and helmeted, armed with sword and shield, jumping from
      a ship's prow to l. on the beach.
Rogers 550; BMC 50; Moustaka 92; SNG Copenhagen 261
extremely rare, VF

Mythology:
The depiction on the reverse is playing at the beginning of the Troyan War. It shows the heroe Protesilaos jumping as the first Greek on the Troyan beach where he was killed as the first of the Greeks. Protesilaos, who is said to have been a suitor of Helena, led the men of Phylake (which later was incorporated in Thebens) on forty ships to Troy, even though he was just married (Homer Il. 2, 695ff.). When the Greeks with their ships came into the range of sight of Troy they hesitated to go on land because Thetis has prophesized Achilleus that the first going on land would be the first being killed. Thereupon Odysseus is said to have thrown his shield on land and then haved jump on it so that his feet haven't touched the ground. So Protesilaos was the first one. After having killed several Troyans he was slain by Hektor or by a friend of Aineas.

Protesilaos, an uncle of Philoktetes and son of Iphiklos originally was named Iolaos, but due to the matter of his death he was renamed (Protesilaos = the first of the people). He was buried on the Thracian  Chersonnesos near the city of Elaios where he was whorshipped as god. High elm trees planted by nymphs stood inside the sacred area and shadowed his tomb. It was said that the twigs looking over the sea to Troy were early green but soon bare too whereas the twigs turned away from Troy stayed green still in winter. When the elm trees were grown so high that it was possible to see Troy from the tops they withered and new trees grew up.

In his temple were oracles especially for warriors. Severel deseases were hailed there too. His spirit once took revenge at the Persian Artyaktes. Artyaktes has disgraced his temple by whoring with broad and then from Xerxes requested the temple treasures. Soon after that Artayktes was besieged in Elaios and when he tried to flee captured. He promised the Greek to pay hundred talents for the stolen treasures and twohundred talents for himself and his son. But Xanthippos, leader of the Greek, refused his offer, and so his son was stoned to death and heself hung.
 
Protesilaos and Laodameia
Laodameia, wife of Protesilos, daughter of Akastos (according to others it was Polydora, daughter of Meleager), missed her husband so awesome that she - when he was on his joutney to Troy - made a statue of him from wax or bronze and took it with her in her bed. But that was only a poor consolation, and when she got the news of his death she asked the gods to have mercy and to allow Protesilaos to come back to her even for only three hours. Zeus allowed that and Hermes brought the spirit of Protesilaos from the Tartaros back to animate the statue. Protesilaos spoke through its mouth and conjured his wife to hesitate no longer and to follow him. As soon as the three hours were over she stabbed herself to death being in his arms. That's the reason that the depiction of Protesilaos and Laodameia was a popular motiv on  sarcophaguses.

Another myth tells that she was forced by her father Akastos to marry again. But she has
spent her nights rather with the statue of Protesilaos until once a servant looked through the gap of the door of her bed-room. He saw her embracing someone and hold it for her lover. He told that to Akastos and he broke into her bed-room and realized the truth. Akastos didn't want her tantalized by a fruitless desire and commansed to burn the statue. But Laodameia jumped into the fire and perished together with the statue.

There is another story too where Protesilaos survived the Troyan War and sailed home. He took Aithylla, sister of king Priamos, as captive on his ship. On the journey home he landed on the Macedonian peninsula of Pellene. While he went on land for seaking water Aithylla conceived the other captured women to burn the ships. So Protesilaos was forced to stay on Pellene where he founded the city of Skione. But that seems to be wrong: Instead of this Aithylla together with Astyoche and the other captives set the ships on fire at the bank of the Italian river Navaithos; this name means 'burning of ships'. And Protesilaos were not among those they kept imprisoned.

History of art:
I have added the depiction of a marble statue of a wounded warrior. This is the Roman copy of a Greek original from the times of the Antonines, c.138-181, today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Here the statue is supported by a tree stump. It was surely not seen at the Greek original. But it is remarkable, that it is a sword of Greek type. The headdress, the simplicity of the body, the quasi-parallel folds of the drapery and the complicated pose in momentary action, all point to a date around or a little before the mid-fifth century B.C. for the Greek original.
A second statue in the British Museum has a planklike form surrounded by waves, suggesting the statue might represent Protesilaos descending from his ship, ready to meet his fate. However, the Museum's statue was reinterpreted as a dying warrior falling backward, following the discovery of a wound carved in the right armpit. The Roman writer Pliny mentioned a so-called vulneratus deficiens ("falling warrior") as being among the works of the Greek sculptor Kresilas.

An additional note:
Ovid (Heroides 13) has invented a letter from Laodameia to her far lover. Within the vers Bella gerant alii, Protesilaus amet = Wars should be made by others, Protesilaos should love. This vers is said to be used by the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (AD 1440-21490) for the famous word Bella gerant alii, tu, felix Austria, nube! = Wars should be made by others, you, lucky Austria, marry!

Sources:
Robert von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
Karl Kerenyi, Heroengeschichten
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
Gerhard Fink, Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #173 on: January 05, 2007, 03:25:05 pm »

The three Graces

Thracia, Pautalia, Caracalla, AD 198-217
AE 28, 15.33g
struck under magistrate Caecina Largus (AD 198-201)
obv. [AVT M] AVRHLIOC - ANTWNEINOC
       Bust,draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, laureate, r.
rev. HGE KAIKINA LARGOV OVLPIAC
       in ex. PAVTALI / AC
       The three Graces, nude, embracing each other; the first one seen from the l. side,
       holding jar in the r. hand, from which water flows, the second one seen from
       behind, head r., with garment around the hips (crescent?), holding both arms on
       the shoulders of the other two; the third one seen from the r. side, holding jar in
       the lowered l. hand, from which water flows.
Ruzicka 503, pl.III, 13 (1 ex. in Sarajewo)
very rare, about VF

Pautalia is known as a famous bath, full of parks with tempels and statues. It is known that especially the die-cutters from Pautalia have taken statues for the reverses of their coins. So probably the depiction of these three Graces too is the copy of an original statue.

Mythology:
The Graces or Charites were daughters of Zeus and Erynome. They were quasi a trifold Aphrodite. In later times they were depicted nude. In their temple in Orchomenos in Boiotia they were worshipped in the form of three stones, which were fallen down from heaven to king Eteokles so it was suggested. It was said: The Charites were trifold, should they be a flower, the goddesses or maidens. Eteokles had three daughters, named Trittai, the Trifolds. While performing a dance for the Charites they fall into a fountain which they hadn't mentioned. But the earth had pity with them and let sprout a flower which was called Trittai too and which was trifold too. The myth of the three stones fallen from heaven shows the heavenly aspect of the Graces, the story from the disappesaring in the fountain the connection to the depth of water and the Underworld. This has been said by the mythographs too: the Charites were daughters of the Night and Erebos, or the daughters of Lethe, the River of Forgetting in the Underworld. Probably the daughters of Hekate and Hermes were the trifolds too.

Hesiod and Pindar in Boiotia sung about three of them. The three 'Queens' of Orchomenos were named Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia. Pindar celebrated the 'pure light of the Charites'. In Laconia they were named Kleta, the Called, and Phaenna, the Shining. These were typical names of the moon. The Atheneans too know two Charites: Auxo, the Growing, and Hegemone, the Advancing. They were called daughters of Uranos too.

Background:
The Graces, greek. Charites, meaning the 'lovely, friendly', were a trias of blessing issueing deities, originally probably without individual names and not determind in their function or number. This made easy the contact with female nature spirits of similar character  like Nymphs, Muses or Hores. The Attic cult titles Auxo (the growing), Thallo (the flourishing), Karpo (the fruit-bearing) show an early fusion with the Hores. The ambiguity in naming and numbering is affirmed by the replacement of Karpo by Hegemone in the oath of the ephebes on the stele of Acharnai. Their basic function was to donate vegetative fertility shown by their herbal attributs. A lunar relation should be denied, and as well a etymology of light. Rather the assignment of the Charites to the chthonic Charon alternatively of the Charis Hegemone to the Psychopompus Hermes Chthonios should be considered. Their ancient cult in Orchomenos, city of the Minyeans, which was connected to three aniconic meteorites (Pausan. 9, 38, 1) too has traces of agrarian-chthonic orientation. Its character of mysteries and the affinity of the Charites to the circle of Eleusis strengthens the suggestion that there is a relationship with the Eleusinian Potniai, particularly because Pindar gives them the epitheta basileiai, semnai, potniai, the Queens, the Venerables and the Mistresses..

Because obviously the Trias of Orchomenos was sanctioned not until the cult institution of Eteokles which was orientated to the baetyls priority should be addmitted perhaps to the dualism which is known from many other sources. Then the equalization with Damia and Auxesia, hypostases of Demeter-Kore, could get support. By the way here and in Elis somewhat points to a connection to Dionysos, whom the prayer of the Elisian women let approach in the shape of a bull together with the Charites. - The junction with powerful fertility deities has later relegate them to the second rank of elementary numina. So it was possible in Athens that Aphrodite together with her Charites epiklesis could adopt the leadership of the trias during the Kurotrophon-duty on the Attic ephebs. This is understandable because of the telluric side of the nature of the great goddess as we have seen so often. From Homer on the Charites - as companions of Aphrodite and together with their mistress - have made the transformation to the embodiment of grace and charm. This was initiated mainly by poetry and myths. The aesthetic and poetic valuation of charis coming from this transformation is expressed by the newer names of Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia. In this function the Homeric Charites fulfill the role of serving, decorating, music making and dancing companions of the Goddess of Love. Their genealogic incorporation into the series of Zeus daughters seems to be too schematic. To put the Homeric Charis at the side of the lame artist Hephaistos - where she later was replaced by Aphrodite, the first of the Charites - was a play with the contrast which was loved by the epos.
 
History of Art
In Fine Art the Charites appear as companions of the gods, who took part in the wedding ceremonies of Thetis and Peleus ('Francois-Vase', c. 570 BC; Florence, MA). On a late-archaic relief from Thasos (c. 480 BC; Louvre) they appear clothed in front of Hermes. Beginning in the 4th century BC the type of the three nude Charites, embracing each other, became very popular. The one in the midth is shown from back, the other two in varying profiles. According to Seneca their positions refer to the trifold aspect of a gift: donating, accepting, thanking. As most famous example of this type is considered a group of sulptures in the Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana of the cathedral of Siena (Roman copy of an Hellenistc original) and a fresko from the 1st century BC from Pompeji (Neapel, MN). The humanists of the Renaissance have taken up this motiv and have expanded it: They have added a trifold meaning of love - beauty, desire, fulfillment - or a trifold allegory - chastity, beauty, love. In Boticelli's 'Primavera' (1477/78; Uffizi, Florence) the three Graces - here clothed - are dancing as voluptuousness, chastity and beauty a round dance beside Venus. An obvious analogy to the three Graces could be seen in some depictions of the three goddesses at the Judgment of Paris. Because this motiv gave the artists the chance to depict three nude women at once it was so successful. There are four versions from Rubens and five from Boucher. 

I have added the following pics.:
1) A pic of the fresco from Pompeji
2) A cut-out from Botticelli's 'Primavera', showing the three dancing Graces

Sources:
Der kleine Pauly
Karl Kerenyi, Die Götter- und Menschheitsgeschichten
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst

Best regards
Logged

Jochen
Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
Procurator Monetae
Caesar
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11495


Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.


« Reply #174 on: January 12, 2007, 05:17:04 pm »

Hi jarhead!

I think there are better threads for your question on this Forum! F.e. this one http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?board=24.0

Best regards
Logged

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 ... 18 Go Up Print 
FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Coins of mythological interest « previous next »
Jump to:  

Recent Price Reductions in Forum's Shop


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 9.929 seconds with 71 queries.