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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Provincial Coins (Moderators: slokind, jmuona, tjaart)  |  Topic: Interesting Deultum of Gordian 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Interesting Deultum of Gordian  (Read 9200 times)
gordian_guy
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« on: January 28, 2006, 03:18:09 pm »

I post here a recent member to my collection - a bronze of Gordian III. Jurakova identifies the female as Hygieia, but this does not match to what one normally expects for a Hygieia type. It is not Athena. It could be Demeter but I don't know what is being held in the right hand.

Does anyone with SNG Bulgaria (Deultum) have another description?

c.rhodes
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gordian_guy
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 03:28:33 pm »

Here is an example of a Demeter with snakes, wrapped around her torch and coming out of a basket. The ears of grain in her right hand are clearly shown and the flaming torch is easily recognized. Also, she does not seem as feminine as the Deultum coin of Gordo.

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kerux
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 03:59:43 pm »

Here is a Deultum issue with some similar design elements. It is described as Apollo leaning on stump with snake entwined.

http://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=22741&AucID=24&Lot=859


Joe W.

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Steve Minnoch
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 04:16:37 pm »

For me at the time of writing all the images on coinarchives seem to be unavailable.

Any chance you can post the image Joe?

Steve
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2006, 04:30:27 pm »

 Smiley
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gordian_guy
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2006, 05:46:46 pm »

It is interesting that Joe referenced this particular coin. This particular coin is in my collection! It is a typical Apollo type, nude, holding a laurel branch. He rests a hand on his hip. Like the Lykeios types there is a tree stump with a snake wrapped around it, but the pose is very different from the Lykeios coins.

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gordian_guy
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2006, 07:56:21 pm »

Forgot to include the picture? It appeared to be a bit big and was stripped!!  Undecided
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Tom Mullally
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2006, 09:11:43 pm »

I have found your coin in SNG Bulgaria.  It is #1264-1272 depending on size and weight.
The reverse description is as follows:

COLF LPACDEVLT - Salus (Hygieia) standing left, resting on column and holding branch, around which serpent is entiwined.

Jurokova 284, 296; Lischine 375

Although I can' t tell if your coin is a die match to any of the plate coins (I think you might), it fits the description perfectly. 

The diameter and weight range of the plate coins are 22-24mm and 5.2-6.8gm

Tom
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Tom Mullally

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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2006, 12:13:09 pm »

Thank you Tom for your research. I will add this information on my coin: It is an AE 22, 7.16 g, die axis 7h. 

Unfortunately, I disagree with the SNG description. I do not see a column, which I believe to be part of the gown that she wears, draping downward off her left arm. I think, though, that the SNG description is correct that her right hand is holding onto the tree (branch) around which the snake is wound. Is there a patera in her left hand??? My coin is too worn to tell.  Maybe if we could see what is in the left hand I could concede that it is Hygieia.

Do you have a way to post one of the SNG pictures? Thanks again for looking the item up in SNG.

I post the following coin from the same city and Emperor showing Athena.

c.rhodes
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2006, 03:22:43 pm »

Charlie,

I've tried to scan the plate page from SNG but it came out illegible.  (My scanner is quite poor.)  But all of the plate coins have her left hand empty, no patera.  I tend to agree with you that there is no column.  One of the plate coins looks like there could be a base to the column, but the others look like it is folded on the ground.  I agree that it is the fold of her gown dragging.

Based on your weight and diameter, yours is SNG Bulgaria 1264.  Your's is heavier than the heaviest plate coin.  1264 is 22.5 mm and 6.85 g.  All have a die axix of 6.

Tom
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Tom Mullally

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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2006, 03:28:59 pm »

So, if you don't think it's Hygieia, who do you think it is?  It is clearly female, so it's not Apollo. (And Apollo is depiced nude.)  There is no shield so it can't be Athena.  What other female personification has snakes like this?

Tom
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Tom Mullally

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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2006, 04:22:02 pm »

It is certainly not my idea of an Athena, but it also is not my idea of an Hygieia either. It is the tree that does not fit. Trees are associated with Apollo and Athena, but not Hygieia. Also, her interaction with the snake seems less personal - if such could be said of an interaction with a snake. Hygieia is depicted holding the snake, and giving it something from a bowl or patera.  If the engraver's intent is Hygieia then I know not what his inspiration was. If someone is aware of a statue or a fresco or a vase painting that has this depiction and it is deemed a Hygieia, well then one would have to surrender, but not until I see the evidence. I think that Jurakova was stumped and may have jumped a bit quickly to a conclusion. Her source may have done so previously and she just copied the identification, which has then been promulgated into other references. My hope is that someone will remember seeing a stature etc depicting this coins reverse and will post it for us to see.

c.rhodes
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2006, 05:24:03 pm »

I raised the question: which goddesses, created when, may be willowy and wear rather thin under drapery on the upper body.  When you want to know what Mary looks like, you go to a church (one that has images).  When you want to know what people thought deities looked like, you go to votive reliefs.  Eleusis and the Athenian Asklepieion, as well as Epidauros, both yielded many, the richest series of the fourth century BC.  Then there's that Fashion Book, the statue base in Praxitelean style from Mantinea in Arcadia.
Here is what I found:
Athens, Nat.Arch.Mus.  #215–217  Detail of #216, muse at right: The Mantinea Base, assuredly from the workshop of Praxiteles, assuming that the famous master did not carve the base-reliefs himself.  Pausanias Book 9, sect. 1: "…a sanctuary of Leto and her children [Apollo and Artemis], and their images were made by Praxiteles two generations after Alcamenes.  On the pedestal of these are figures of Muses together with Marsyas playing the flute."  So.  For once a perfectly clear and concrete testimonium! 

Athens, NAM  #3917  Votive relief showing Leto (their mother, the type copied in the 1st c. AD in the Theater of Dionysos) between Apollo, represented like his statue, the Apollo Patroos of Euphranor, at left, and Artemis (not with crisscrossed drapery this time--that wasn't her only guise) at right.  Karouzou (catalogue 1968) dates it to the end of the 4th century.  Its findspot is not known.

Athens, NAM  #1330 (not in Karouzou 1968).  Votive relief to Asklepios, with inv. no. in same series as those from the Athens Asklepieion.  The goddess, Hygieia more usually in Athens, is comparable with Kore, Artemis, and Hygieia statues of the 3rd quarter of the 4th century--a terminus post quem, since quoted statuary types need not be brand new.

Pat Lawrence

So. Muses, and Artemis, and Hygieia may be willowy and thus draped in Athenian Late Classical images, the period and the city that the Empire doted on.  Furthermore, there is in Athens a votive relief to Asklepios where Hygieia, though more heavily draped and fuller-bodied, leans on a tree, but a very sturdy one, which I don't think relevant.  Also, I couldn't find a snake crawling up a slender tree trunk except for Athena.  There is, of course, Erichthonios, and any Acropolis nymph who tended him could well have his tree.
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slokind
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2006, 12:40:35 pm »

In periodicals like Scientific American (and even in weekly news magazines), one regularly sees articles comparing the male and female minds, and pointing out the male's greater facility in visualizing things shown from one vantage point as they would look from another, rotating them, tilting them; from teaching history of architecture, I know that on the whole that is true.  But there are exceptions, and training also is effective.  Anyhow, one old female brain just realized that Gordian Guy's coin of Apollo (above in this thread) probably represents approximately the same agalma (sanctuary statue) type as the favorite Apollo of many of us, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 611, which is on line right in the middle of Doug Smith's Apollo page (http://dougsmith.ancients.info/apollo.html), only seen the other way around.  We do not know (at least, I do not know) a name or an attribution for this statuary type, but it probably has to do more with the laurel Apollo than with the Delphic aspect of him.  Pat L.
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gordian_guy
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2006, 08:54:11 pm »

The coin that slokind is refering to is one that I have an example of in my collection, Jurakova 611. It is one of the more beautiful examples from Hadrianopolis, which produced many wonderful coins. This example could well be compared ot the Deultum example, less the snake.

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slokind
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« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2006, 11:16:21 pm »

Lest I seem to be off on a tangent, or worse:
(1) a Deultum coin with a puzzling reverse; though Hygieia may be one of the less indefensible names for the graceful female in light drapery, it is not without real problems,
(2) a kindred coin, also with a significant-looking snake on a tree trunk, is posted, and Gordian Guy also posts his own photo of it; it is a young Apollo with one arm akimbo and the hand tucked behind the back, the other hand holding a laurel twig, and with drapery over one thigh,
(3) I post some images of the type of females traditionally dressed like the Deultum one, which do show that Hygieia may be dressed that way,
(4) I link to Doug Smith and thereby prompt Gordian Guy to post his own specimen of the Hadrianopolis reverse showing an also unnamed but analogous Apollo, but in 3/4 back view; this one does NOT have his chlamys on his thigh, and his tree does NOT have a snake, but the attitude, proportions, and posture are similar to the Deultum Apollo coin posted as kindred in feeling to the Deultum lady coin, possibly Hygeia.  The Apollo-and-Tree coins of Deultum and Hadrianopolis both have the character of pictorial reliefs.
(5) Here I'd like to post a print-out of the Deultum lady coin, with color added to the tree and the snake.  The snake, orange, is rendered large and curving, and its head reaches forward to the lady's face.  For all that Hygieia's snake is both mantic and iatric, intrinsic to her, I cannot think of a coin or other image of her where the snake behaves that way; there is no snake story to make it act that way.  Then a graduate student, whose thesis in progress brought her to read an article by François Chamoux with illustrations of Herakles in the Garden of the Hesperides, plucking the Apples, reminded me that there is one more snake tree, that one.  The Deultum coin, just possibly (it would be unique, I think), represents one of the Hesperides that guarded that snake-entwined tree.  Far fetched?  Perhaps so.  But Hygieia's snake is not a tree snake, and the ancients would not 'read' a tree snake as hers.  Hers is draped across her arms or hangs across her shoulders and wraps around her body.  The snake of Asklepios, on votive reliefs where they appear together, stays right by his throne or his legs; it doesn't come say hello to her!
(6) This is not posted as an answer.  But you see (or do you think otherwise?) that the Deultum coin should not go into LIMC as an example of Hygieia?   Pat Lawrence
I just received the references: "...the article by Francois Chamoux is "L'Herakles d'Anticythere," Revue Archeologique, 1968, pp.161-170... Chamoux says the coin comes from the Cabinet des Medailles and cites R. Brauer, Zeitschrift fur Numismatik, 28, 1910, p.90 sq and H. Cohen, Descr. hist. des monnaies.   Also the relief is 1st century A.D."
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2006, 12:23:10 am »

On the other hand, there are these.  I think that 'Antonine coin' Chamoux illustrates may be a medal, and I don't know how to find it in Cohen on line without a number.  Anyway, I looked through the Aes for Commodus and came up with the attached, which is itself very like the pictorial reliefs such as were found at Herodes Atticus's villa at Loukou and which also resembles the Marcianopolis coin of Athena which has exactly the same character of a post-Hadrianic pictorial relief.  In this visual world, is it any wonder that we have ID problems?  But what do you think of the coin labeled SALVS?  She does need a label.  Athena is lucky to have her owl and armor.  Mattingly says, by the way, that the support of Salus's armrest is a Spes figure, the same kind as we find on coins.  Pat L.
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2006, 01:22:39 am »

Sorry to go a llittle off-topic - but is it coincidence that both Salus and Athena seem to have a sphinx either depicted on or sitting by the chair?

Steve

P.S.
There is also an Athena with snake coiled around tree type from Deultum itself:
http://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=41084&AucID=15&Lot=157
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slokind
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2006, 01:40:50 pm »

First the P.S.  See also reply #8 above.  See AMNG I, 1, Taf. 15, 23, and there are lots more.  Also, I don't own BMCRE yet, but Geta has a sestertius with an Athena...
Now the throne: first, I remembered the priest's throne in the front row of the Theater of Dionysos, not that it has the sphinx.  And I was sure I knew a sphinx one.  Actually, Prof. H. R. W. Smith had presented me with a photo print in the late 1950s, in a seminar, challenging me to interpret it (he had a sense of humor in teaching, very English of his generation), and much later I had found the object in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.  Argument about its meaning still goes on, but since it comes from Herodes Atticus's Loukou villa I think it is fairly trivial and allegorically apt for a banker of 'refined taste'--this was Hadrian's friend in Athens, and the villa is early Antonine.  I attach a reduced snapshot of it.
When I got my beloved coin, AMNG I, 1, 736, which Ivan Varbanov also likes and put on the title page of Vol. I, I recognized its Attic subject and Attic (but not the Augustan kind of neo-Attic, but the Hadrianic-Antonine kind) styleCurtis pointed out the sestertius to me.  I haven't found any fancy marble thrones of either the square kind or that of a lady's chair dating from the earlier dynasties.  A little further reference to an article on the Loukou villa and reliefs from it led me to conclude, considering also the taste of new work at Tivoli, that these coins have as their models (not that they necessarily copy exactly) the decorative pictorial relief style of the 2nd century AD.  See also the Hadrianic to Commodan medals in Kent & Hirmer, Roman Coins.
Here is the note in File Info done for my students a decade ago:
Athens, NAM.  Relief, like a votive relief but possibly only referentially: it probably comes from the Villa of Herodes Atticus near the Loukou Monastery in Kynouria (Peloponnesos).  Therefore, it not only is Hadrianic-Antonine in date but belongs to a social set that a generation or so later would produce the Deipnosophistai of Athenaios.  Accordingly, it is not surprising that "the interpretation is obscure".  TELETE is inscribed in the center, EPIKTESIS on the block or container on which she rests her elbow, and EVTHENIA on the base supporting a small statue(?).
The type of prettiness is different from the more 'serious' style of the probably Julio-Claudian Hercules relief in the drawing above.  I think the coin that heads this thread as well as its Apollos of Deultum and Hadrianopolis and probably its snake-tree Athenas all have the same affinity with post-Hadrianic pictorial reliefs (good high-end merchandise and good ballast in Aegean commercial shipping), though not all equally true to the source.  I hope to find a better image of the coin or medal that Chamoux identified merely as Antonine.
Pat L.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2006, 02:19:05 pm »

Here Rufus for Elagabalus (i.e., his engraver) achieved somewhat the same maniera as on the Deultum at the head of the thread, while the engraver for Septimius's Pompous Manner (the Metro- period at Philippopolis) is not nearly so close to it.

04 09 02 AE 25  Nicopolis ad Istrum  Elagabalus, laureate, bust with mantle over armor, to r.  Obv., only the ANTONEINOS is really legible.  Rev., Athena stg. l., in helmet and probably aegis, tending the Snake on the Olive Tree, her shield behind her.  VP NOB[IOV ROVPhOV NIKO]POLITON and in exergue PROS IST.  The "dimple" coincides with whatever she held in her right hand.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 482, no. 1921, comparing Marcianopolis, no. 669, pl. XV, 23, of Caracalla and Domna, issued by Quintilianus.  The subject, of course, is the same as when Athena is seated, but the compositional prototype is different.

26 03 05  Æ30  Philippopolis.  17.50g  axis 6h.  Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  AVT K L SEPT    SEVEROS [P}.  Rev., Athena seated left on sphinx-relief throne leaning her l. arm on its back, feeding from a dish the Erichthonios snake winding up its olive tree; behind her, shield (interior facing) with owl perched on its rim.  In the exergue, MET PhILIP / POP OLE[I / TOmegaN or S].  Obv. as Varbanov III, 1128.  I find only stg. Athenas in his list.
Pat L.
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2006, 05:07:17 pm »

About the sphinx on the throne: Now that I have BMCRE V, I can report that the aureus and the sestertius show it; as an as (I think), Geta's is pl. 52, 8, p. 354, no. 863; the sestertius is listed at the bottom of p. 353, and it is very rare.  In RIC, where none is illustrated, the aureus is no. 58 on p. 321 (also R3 besides being an aureus), the sestertius is no. 145 on p. 335 and the middle bronze is no. 149.  RIC does not mention the sphinx on the last, nor do I see it on BMCRE pl. 52, 8, but the aureus and the sestertius do have it.  I am not certain, from the description, whether the owl is perched on the rim of the shield on the aureus, but it is on all the aes I know, both Rome and Danubian.
Pat L.
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« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2006, 09:14:18 pm »

Addendum to Reply #15.  The reference in Cohen is I(2) p. 389 nos. 1158-1159.  The engravings in Cohen are far superior to the 3rd or 4th generation photo from a scan of a photocopy.  For the relief, shown in a line drawing in Chamoux's article, see the photograph in LIMC sv Herakles, no. 1736; the relief is from Albano.
Pat L.
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2006, 03:48:55 pm »

Ahh! Now that I have seen a better image of the coins to which you referred in #15 it is easier to speculate that the lady in the Deultum coin may well be a redering of one of the Hesperides. Question, in order for this to be a correct interpretation, much there be present Heracles? Is the story of the Herperides independent of Heracles, in that there is a mythology of them that does not initially include Heracles or are the two intrinsically tied together - that I know does not preclude the possibility of a Hesperides depiction without Heracles, but I am just curious as to that possibility.

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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2006, 04:00:45 pm »

I ran across this interesting picture by Frederic, Lord Leighton: The Garden of the Hesperides, 1892.

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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2006, 04:30:53 pm »

Lord Leighton takes the cake!  Yet even he, with an original grouping of the Hesperides, is faithful to the tradition, of which the most frequently reproduced vase-painting is that by the Meidias Painter, in the British Museum, end of the 5th century BC.
I'll try to find an image I can post.  Herakles is seated off to the right of the sapling.  Pat L.
P.S. In reply to the question, whether Herakles must be present for the Hesperides to be tending the snake that guards the tree with the golden apples of immortality, the answer is really, No.  The Daughters of the West, of Hesperos, the West beyond Okeanos (beyond the world of the living), exist to tend the guardian snake, whether any Hero shows up or not, since mortals cannot taste of immortality.  But the only time when their doing so becomes a bedtime story is when Herakles obtains, shall we say, the precondition for his apotheosis, the ultimate Hero act.
Yes, of course, this story is cognate to the Garden of Eden story, except for being Immortality instead of Good and Evil, right down to the serpent that guards the tree.  And when in Medieval art you see the Genesis story represented, the composition is the same one as before had been used for the Garden of the Hesperides.
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