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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ AgricultureView Options:  |  |  |     

Agriculture on Ancient Coins

Leontini, Sicily, c. 207 - 200 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.

When the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus stormed the city in 214 B.C., Leontini was subject to Syracuse and the rulers of Syracuse actually resided there. Marcellus had 2000 Roman deserters who were hiding in the city killed, and then moved to lay siege to Syracuse itself.
GB65520. Bronze AE 16, Calciati p. 81, 9; SNG ANS 274; BMC Sicily p. 93, 66; SNG Cop 366, VF, weight 4.170 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 207 - 200 B.C.; obverse veiled head of Demeter left, plow behind; reverse ΛEON, bundle of grain; $175.00 (€152.25)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

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Ceres a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships, was listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
RB64531. Bronze quadrans, RIC II.1 243, Cohen 17, VF, weight 2.181 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, obverse IMP DOMIT AVG GERM, bust of Ceres (possibly with the features of Domitia) left, wreathed with grain; reverse bundle of three poppies and four stalks of grain, S - C flanking across field; rare; $170.00 (€147.90)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Ceres a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships, was listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
RS90427. Silver denarius, RSC II 1006 (S), Strack 312, RIC III 259, BMCRE IV 876, SRCV II 4127, Hunter II - (p. lxxix), gVF, well centered, nearly as struck, die wear, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 156 - 157 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II, laureate head right; reverse TR POT XX COS IIII, Ceres seated left, veiled and draped, seat without back, feet on footstool, right foot drawn back, holding torch over lap in right hand, left elbow resting on back of throne, two stalks of grain in left hand at hip; scarce; $170.00 (€147.90)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Egypt) and its distribution to the people.
RS90684. Silver denarius, RSC II 288b, BMCRE IV 765, Hunter II 84, RIC III 204 var (no rudder), cf. SRCV II 4068 (TRP XVII, etc.), EF, well centered and struck, ragged flan with small edge cracks, weight 3.472 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 151 - 152 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XV, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Annona standing half left, heads of grain in right hand, left hand rests on modius overflowing with grain and set a half-seen ship on right, rudder against the ship's side; $170.00 (€147.90)
 


Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS65783. Silver hemilitra, SNG München 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), F, toned, porous, crude style (perhaps a barbaric imitative), weight 0.297 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 225o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; very rare; $160.00 (€139.20)
 


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Ceres a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships, was listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
RS71603. Silver denarius, RIC III Pius 358, RSC II 93, BMCRE IV Pius 389, SRCV II 4581, VF, centered, nice reverse detail, scratch, weight 3.218 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 141 - 161 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right; reverse AVGVSTA, Ceres standing slightly right, long scepter vertical behind in right, two heads of grain in left; $160.00 (€139.20)
 


Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS65784. Silver hemilitra, SNG München 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), aVF, toned, crude style (perhaps a barbaric imitative), weight 0.280 g, maximum diameter 9.5 mm, die axis 0o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; very rare; $150.00 (€130.50)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.
RS90694. Silver denarius, RIC III 260, RSC II 1016, BMCRE IV 883, SRCV II 4128, gVF, struck with worn dies, weight 3.215 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 156 - 157 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS IMP II, laureate head right; reverse TR POT XX COS IIII, Annona standing right, left foot on prow, rudder in right hand, modius in left; $150.00 (€130.50)
 


Elaea, Aeolis, c. 340 - 300 B.C.

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Aristophanes in Plutus makes a humorous comment on victorious athletes who are crowned with wreath made of wild olive instead of gold: "Why, Zeus is poor, and I will clearly prove it to you. In the Olympic games, which he founded, and to which he convokes the whole of Greece every four years, why does he only crown the victorious athletes with wild olive? If he were rich he would give them gold."
GB71614. Bronze AE 18, BMC Troas p. 125, 6; SNG Cop 171 var (plain helmet); SNGvA 1606 var (same and monogram in exergue); cf. SGCV II 4204 (AE10), gVF, green patina, light corrosion, weight 5.498 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 90o, Elaea mint, c. 340 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left in crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a snake, wearing necklace and cruciform earring; reverse grain kernel, flanked by E - Λ, all within olive wreath; $150.00 (€130.50)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people. By the Code De Naviculariis, the mariners appointed to carry grain from Egypt were capitally punished if they did not keep the proper course; and if they did not sail in the proper season, the master of the vessel was banished.
RS73537. Silver denarius, SRCV II 7858, RIC IV 187, BMCRE VI 496, RSC III 27, Hunter III -, aEF, well struck, well centered, frosty surfaces, weight 3.201 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 228 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head right; reverse ANNONA AVG, Annona standing left, heads of grain in right, cornucopia in left, right foot on prow; $150.00 (€130.50)
 


Roman Republic, L. Furius Cn.f. Brocchus, 63 B.C.

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The curule chair was for senior magistrates including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, censors, and the curule aediles. As a form of throne, it might be given as an honor to foreign kings recognized formally as friend (amicus) by the Roman people or senate. Designed for use by commanders in the field, the curule chair could be folded for easy transport. It had no back, low arms, curved legs forming an X, and was traditionally made of or veneered with ivory.
RR74516. Silver denarius, SRCV I 365, Crawford 414/1, Sydenham 902a, RSC I Furia 23a, VF, nice style, toned, weight 3.882 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 63 B.C.; obverse III - VIR / BROCCI, head of Ceres right, wearing wreath of grain, lock of hair falls down neck, between wheat-ear and barleycorn; reverse L•FVRI / CN• F, curule chair between two fasces with axes; $150.00 (€130.50)
 


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Berytos, Phoenicia

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Named for the daughter of Augustus, Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus was founded in 14 B.C. with veterans of the 5th and 8th legions. Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa I, and Herod Agrippa II built sumptuous monuments and sponsored gladiatorial combats at Berytos. After the siege of Jerusalem, Titus gave gladiatorial games at Berytos, in which the combatants were Jews.
RP55005. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 2045, Rouvier 513, F, weight 13.564 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Berytos mint, obverse IMP T CAESAR AVG F, bare head left; reverse COL IVL / [AVG], priest with yoke of two oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; $140.00 (€121.80)
 


Iaetia, Sicily, 4th Century B.C.

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Iaitas was located on Mount Jato, near modern San Giuseppe Jato, a village in a hilly region of Palermo's hinterland, 31 km from the Sicilian capital. The settlement dated back to prehistoric times, with influence of Greek culture from the 6th century B.C.
GB65643. Bronze AE 13, Calciati I p.383, 1; SNG ANS 1343; SNG Cop -; SNG München -, aF, rough, weight 1.332 g, maximum diameter 13.0 mm, die axis 180o, Iaetia mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse IATINΩN, man-faced bull right; reverse head of grain on left, grain kernel (or a second head of grain) on right; very rare; $140.00 (€121.80)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and the Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
GB68080. Bronze AE 13, Müller pl. XLII, 14; SNG Cop 1168, SGCV II 6822, VF, weight 2.519 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 0o, Kallatis (Mangalia, Romania) mint, c. 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right clad in lion's scalp headdress; reverse BAΣI/ΛYΣI within a wreath of grain; $135.00 (€117.45)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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In 193, Laodicea was sacked by the governor of Syria, Pescennius Niger, in his revolt against Septimius Severus. In 194, Septimius Severus reorganized Syria into five new provinces. One of these, Coele-Syria, including all of northern Syria, briefly had its capital in Laodicea before reverting to Antioch. Septimius sought to punish Antioch for having supported Pescennius Niger. Septimius Severus endowed Laodicea with four colonnaded streets, baths, a theater, a hippodrome, numerous sanctuaries and other public buildings in the city. The city was a key strategic seaport for Roman Syria.
RS90492. Silver denarius, RIC IV 511(a), RSC III 4 55a; BMCRE V p. 294, 712; SRCV II -, aEF, toned, nice style, good strike, weight 3.375 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 200 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse P MAX TR P VIII COS II P P, Fides standing facing, head left, raising a plate of fruits in right, two stalks of grain downward in left; $135.00 (€117.45)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.
RS73678. Silver denarius, RIC IV 188, RSC III 29a, BMCRE IV 674, SRCV II 7859, Hunter III -, aEF, both sides slightly off center but broad flan so only the tops of a few letters off flan, some die wear, die break below bust, weight 3.168 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 231 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head right, with neatly trimmed beard; reverse ANNONA AVG, Annona standing left, two heads of grain downward in right hand over modius overflowing with grain at feet left, grounded anchor in left hand; ex Forum (2004); $130.00 (€113.10)
 


Leontini, Sicily, c. 476 - 455 B.C.

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Leontini was founded by colonists from Naxos in 729 B.C. Six miles inland, it is the only Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, Originally held by the Sicels, the site was seized by the Greeks to gain control of the fertile plain to the north.
GS67480. Silver hemilitra, SNG München 548; Boehringer Leontini B; cf. HGC 2 688 (R2, obol); SNG ANS 216 (obol, finer style); BMC Sicily p. 88, 22 (same); SNG Cop 342 (same), VF, weight 0.282 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 225o, Leontini (or unofficial?) mint, c. 476 - 466 B.C.; obverse crude facing lion scalp, dot border; reverse LE/ON (retrograde), barley grain, within shallow round incuse; very rare; $125.00 (€108.75)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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The modius was a Roman measure, of wheat for instance, or for any dry or solid commodity. It contained the third part of an amphora, and four of these measures of grain per month was the ordinary allowance given to slaves. On Roman coins the modius with stalks of grain and sometimes poppy, hanging or rising from it, indicates the fertility of the empire and the Imperial liberality and providence in procuring, and in bestowing grain to the people.
RS70424. Silver denarius, RIC II 110, RSC II 215, BMCRE II 217, SRCV I 2293, aVF, excellent portrait, toned, weight 3.154 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse modius filled with stalks of grain, IMP - XIX flanking across field; $125.00 (€108.75)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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In 78 AD, Gnaeus Julius Agricola was made governor of Roman Britain. Before the end of the year he conquered the Silures and the Ordovices, in Wales. It's unclear whether the Silures were militarily defeated or simply agreed to terms. Tacitus wrote of the Silures: non atrocitate, non clementia mutabatur - the tribe "was changed neither by cruelty nor by clemency." According to Tacitus, Gnaeus Julius Agricola exterminated the whole Ordovices tribe. Although the tribe completely disappeared from the historical record, in view of the mountainous terrain of the area, it is unlikely Agricola could have wiped out the entire population.Pre-Roman Wales
RS70160. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 980; BMCRE II 216; RSC II 216; BnF III 190; SRCV I 2293, F, toned, weight 3.269 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul 77 - Dec 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse modius filled with stalks of grain and two poppies, IMP - XIX flanking across field; $125.00 (€108.75)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse refers to the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.
RS75003. Silver denarius, RIC IV 59; RSC III 13; Hunter III 26, BMCRE V p. 549, 126; SRCV II 7503, EF, excellent portrait, toned, slightly irregular flan, flan cracks, weight 3.249 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, c. late 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse ANNONA AVGVSTI, Annona standing left, grain ears in right hand over modius at feet, leaning with left arm resting on rudder behind set on globe; scarce; $125.00 (€108.75)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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Although Ares was viewed by the Greeks primarily as destructive and destabilizing, worthy of contempt and revulsion, for the Romans, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. The stalk of grain may refer to Mars' roll as an agricultural guardian.
RS90448. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 939 (R); RSC II 129; BnF III 179; BMCRE II 203, SRCV I -, VF, luster, well centered, weight 3.354 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse COS VIII, Mars standing left, nude but for helmet and chlamys, spear in right hand, trophy in left, grain ear on right; ex Heritage CICF World and Ancients Signature Auction 3032, part of lot 30530; rare; $120.00 (€104.40)
 


Assos, Troas, c. 400 - 241 B.C.

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Assos was a harbor city on the Gulf of Adramytteion, just north of the island of Lesbos. Hermias, a student of Plato, ruled Assos for a time during the 4th century B.C. He invited Plato's most famous student, Aristotle, who lived and taught in Assos for more than three years. When the Persians took the city, they executed Hermias and Aristotle fled to Lesbos. After visiting Alexandria Troas, Paul walked to Assos and visited the Christians there (Acts 20:13).
GB71817. Bronze AE 12, BMC Troas p. 38, 18; SNG Cop 237 - 240 var (different control symbols); SNGvA 7587 - 7589 var (same), VF, nice green patina, weight 1.502 g, maximum diameter 11.9 mm, die axis 90o, Assos mint, c. 400 - 241 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left; reverse AΣΣI, griffin reclining left, stalk of grain left (control symbol) in exergue; $120.00 (€104.40)
 


Neandreia, Troas, c. 300 B.C.

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Neandreia, Troas was located about 9 km east of Alexandria Troas. In 310 B.C., Antigonus I Monophthalmus founded Antigonia Troas (renamed Alexandria Troas by Lysimachos in 301 B.C.) and moved the citizens of nearby cities, including Neandreia to his new city. In the 1st century A.D., Pliny the Elder listed Neandreia among the settlements in the Troad which no longer existed.
GB71690. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 451 - 452; SNGvA 1558; BMC Troas p. 74, 8 - 10, VF, green patina, patina edge flaking (stable), weight 6.932 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 315o, Neandreia mint, 300 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse NEAN, horse grazing to right, grain kernel in exergue; rare; $120.00 (€104.40)
 


Trajan Decius, July 249 - First Half of June 251 A.D.

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Uberitas is the personification of fruitfulness, primarily agricultural fertility.
RS74469. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 28b, RSC IV 105, Hunter III 20, SRCV III 9384, Choice VF, excellent centering, weight 4.145 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jul 249 - Jun 251 A.D.; obverse IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VBERITAS AVG, Uberitas standing facing, head left, right leg forward, purse in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $120.00 (€104.40)
 


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, she was preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
RB63872. Copper as, RIC III 1169, SRCV II 4645, BMCRE IV 1566, Cohen 80, VF, nice portrait, green patina, weight 10.727 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 147 - 161 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right; reverse AVGVSTA S C, Ceres standing half left, veiled, grain-ears downward in right, long torch vertical behind in left; $110.00 (€95.70)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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In 77 or 78 A.D., Gnaeus Julius Agricola was made governor of Roman Britain, a post he occupied until 84. In his first year, Agricola subdued the Ordovices in Wales and pursued the remnants of the tribe to Anglesey, the holy island of the Druids. According to Tacitus, he exterminated the whole tribe. The Ordovices do completely disappear from the historical record, but considering the mountainous terrain, it is unlikely killed the entire population. Another tribe, the Silures, was either also militarily defeated or simply agreed to terms. Tacitus wrote of the Silures: non atrocitate, non clementia mutabatur - the tribe "was changed neither by cruelty nor by clemency." A Roman squadron, sent by Agricola, explored the north of Scotland for the first time, discovering the Orkney and Shetland Islands.Pre-Roman Wales
RS70120. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 981; BMCRE II 218; RSC II 216; BnF III 192; SRCV I 2293, F, toned, weight 3.259 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head left; reverse modius filled with stalks of grain, IMP - XIX flanking across field; scarce; $105.00 (€91.35)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Annona was worshipped in Rome as the goddess who prospered the year's supply of grain. She was represented on an altar in the capitol. The three principal granaries of Rome were Sicily, Egypt, and the African provinces. Annona civilis was the grain which purchased each year by the Roman state, then imported and put into storage, reserved and distributed for the subsistence of the people. Annona militaris was grain appropriated to the use of an army during a campaign.
RB65254. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 168a, Cohen 26, VF/F, grainy with some marks and encrustations, weight 15.635 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse ANNONA AVGG S C, Annona standing left, grain in right over modius at feet, cornucopia in left; $95.00 (€82.65)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, she was preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
RS72328. Silver denarius, RSC II 973a, Strack 294, RIC III 248 var (scepter not torch), BMCRE IV 844 corr (torch instead of scepter), Hunter II - (type listed p. lxxix), VF, toned, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 155 - 156 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II, laureate head right; reverse TR POT XIX COS IIII, Ceres seated left, veiled and draped, seat without back, left foot on footstool, right foot drawn back, holding torch over lap in right hand, two stalks of grain in left hand at hip; $95.00 (€82.65)
 


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, she was preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
RB73698. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1120, BMCRE IV 1517, Cohen II 91, Hunter II 123, SRCV II -, F, green patina, weight 24.895 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 147 - 161 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and banded, drown up at back and piled in a round coil at top; reverse AVGVSTA, Ceres standing half left, veiled, holding up two short lit torches, one in each hand; ex Forum (2006); $90.00 (€78.30)
 


Judaea, Coponius, Roman Prefect under Augustus, 6 - 9 A.D.

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Date cultivation in Judea declined after the Roman period, especially during the Crusades, and completely collapsed due to climate change around the 14th century. The Judean Date Palm fell extinct. Excavations at Herod the Great's palace on Masada in 1963-1965 uncovered a cache of date palm seeds preserved in an ancient jar. Radiocarbon dating confirmed the seeds were from 155 B.C. to 64 A.D. In 2005, three of the seeds were planted. Eight weeks later one of the seeds sprouted. By summer 2010 the sapling, named Methuselah, stood about 2 meters tall. Methuselah is grown from the oldest known successfully germinated tree seed, and is also the only living representative of the once extinct Judean Date Palm. Methuselah flowered in March 2011 and is male. The palm may be crossbred with its closest extant relative, the Hayany date from Egypt, to generate fruit by 2022.
JD74845. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1328, VF, nice green patina, weight 1.892 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 0o, 6 A.D.; obverse KAICAPOC (of Caesar), barley head curved right; reverse eight branched date palm tree bearing two bunches of dates, L - Λς (year 36); $90.00 (€78.30) ON RESERVE


Ilipense, Hispania Ulterior, c. 150 - 100 B.C.

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Ancient Ilipa is close to modern Alcala del Rio, Seville, Spain. It is best known for the battle of Ilipa during which Scipio Africanus crushed the Carthaginian army in the Second Punic War, bringing the whole Iberia under Roman control and paving the road for the invasion of Africa.
CE66777. Bronze AE 32, Villaronga-Benages 2335 (R2), Burgos 1531, SNG BM 1541 ff., SNG Cop 147, F, weight 21.397 g, maximum diameter 31.8 mm, die axis 0o, Ilipa mint, c. 150 - 100 B.C.; obverse grain stalk; reverse shad (fish) right, crescent with horns up above, ILIPENSE between two horizontal lines below; $80.00 (€69.60)
 


Leontini, Sicily, 2nd Century B.C.

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In 214 B.C., Roman forces lead by Marcus Claudius Marcellus stormed Leontini, which had been subject to Syracuse. Marcellus executed 2000 Roman deserters who were hiding in the city and then moved to lay siege to Syracuse. The siege would last for two years, thwarted in part by the military machines created by the famous inventor Archimedes.
GB69013. Bronze AE 22, Calciati III p. 85, 21; SNG Cop 362, SNG München 572, HGC 2 715 (R1); SNG Morcom -, aVF, green patina, uneven strike with weak areas, weight 8.810 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 45o, Leontini mint, Roman rule, 2nd century B.C.; obverse laureate bust of Artemis (or Apollo) right, quiver behind shoulder; reverse ΛEONTIN−ΩN (clockwise from upper right), Demeter standing left, grain ears upward in extended right, long long torch vertical behind in left, plough at feet left; rare; $80.00 (€69.60)
 


Kyrene, Kyrenaica, North Africa 300 - 277 B.C.

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The silphium plant, which appears frequently on the coins of Kyrene, was used to cure just about anything and the stalk was eaten as a vegetable. The fruits were considered both an aphrodisiac and a contraceptive. It apparently went extinct c. 1st century A.D. The story is that Nero ate the last one.
GB69665. Bronze quarti, Asolati 51Gi, BMC Cyrenaica p. 62, 316; SNG Cop 1264, F, rough, weight 5.069 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene mint, 300 - 277 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus-Ammon with short beard right; reverse K−Y/PA−I, palm tree with fruit, silphium plant on right, legend across fields; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $80.00 (€69.60)
 


Lysimachia, Thracian Chersonesos, c. 309 - 220 B.C.

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A barley kernel lower or leaf on the lower left is not described in the references and this could just be a die break. Some of the plate coins appear to have a similar object. Most examples are described with a monogram below.
GB69753. Bronze AE 15, cf. Lindgren II 873; SNG Milan 195; SNG Cop 918; BMC Thrace p. 196, 16 ff.; SGCV 1623; SNG Tübingen -; SNG ANS -, aVF, nice green patina, weight 3.039 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 180o, Lysimachia (Eksemil, Turkey) mint, c. 309 - 220 B.C.; obverse lion head right; reverse ΛY− ΣI, ear of barley on stalk, barley kernel(?) or leaf(?) lower left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; scarce; $80.00 (€69.60)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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Renamed by Trajan after his sister, Ulpia Marciana, Marcianopolis was an important strategic center for centuries. The city was repeatedly destroyed by barbarian raids (Goths, Huns, Avars and others) but also was repeatedly rebuilt and prospered. During Valens' conflict with the Goths, Marcianopolis was a temporary capital of the empire and the largest city in Thrace. An Avar raid destroyed the city in 614 or 615.
RP70504. Bronze pentassarion, H-J Marcianopolis 6.37.5.- var (R6, obv legend, reverse legend arrangement), Varbanov I 1976 ff. var (R3, same); SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, scratches, weight 11.799 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 0o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Tullius Menophilus; obverse M ANTΩNIOX ΓOP∆IANOC AY, confronted busts; Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed from behind; Serapis on right, draped, kalathos on head; AYT K M below; reverse YΠ MHNOΦIΛOY MAPKIANOΠOΛ,I/T/Ω/N (last four letters in right field), Demeter standing facing, wearing kalathos, grain in right, long torch vertical behind in left, E in left; an unpublished variation of a scarce type; $80.00 (€69.60)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Egypt) and its distribution to the people.
RS72329. Silver denarius, RIC III 239, RSC II 292, Hunter II 97, BMCRE IV 832, Strack 279, cf. SRCV II 4068 (TR P XVII), VF, superb portrait, well centered, toned, ragged flan with edge cracks, struck with a slightly worn reverse die, weight 3.295 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 154 - 155 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Annona standing half left, stalks of grain in right hand, left hand rests on modius overflowing with grain set on prow; $80.00 (€69.60)
 


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Ceres a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships, was listed among the Di Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.
RB57166. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III A. Pius 1116(a), Cohen 79, SRCV II 4614, F, weight 23.322 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 147 - 161 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right; reverse AVGVSTA S C, Ceres standing half left, grain-ears in right, long torch vertical behind in left; $75.00 (€65.25)
 


Elaea, Aeolis, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Elaea was the port of Pergamum; the site is not precisely determined but is near Zeytindag, Izmir Province, Turkey.
GB73449. Bronze AE 11, SNG Cop 169; BMC Troas p. 125, 11; SGCV II 4204, VF, green patina, weight 1.262 g, maximum diameter 11.1 mm, die axis 0o, Elaea mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left; reverse grain kernel, E-Λ flanking at sides, all within olive wreath; $75.00 (€65.25)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.
RS72331. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV p. 95, 658 (same legend breaks); RIC III 175; RSC II 284; Strack III 191; Hunter II 65; cf. SRCV II 4067 (TR P XI), VF, toned, scratches, weight 2.738 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 148 - 149 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XII, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Annona standing left holding stalks of grain over modius left and anchor; $75.00 (€65.25)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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RX75679. Bronze obol, Milne 1292, Dattari 1923, Emmett 166 (R5) , BMC Alexandria -, Geissen -, SNG Cop -, aVF, green patina, weight 3.9 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 160o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 129 - 28 Aug 130 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC TPAI − A∆PIACEB, laureate head right; reverse modius containing three poppies and two stalks of grain, flanked by two lit torches, LI∆ (year 14) in exergue; very rare; $75.00 (€65.25)
 


Sardinia, Punic Rule, 241 - 238 B.C.

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After the Roman fleet decisively defeated the Carthaginian fleet in 241 B.C., ending the First Punic War, Carthage was forced to agree to abandon all claims on Sicily, to refrain from sailing warships in Italian waters, and to pay an indemnity of 3,200 talents. In 238 B.C., Rome declared war on Carthage demanding control of Sardinia. To avoid war, Carthage abandoned Sardinia.
GB65898. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop I 1106; SNG Cop VII 252; Lindgren II 645 - 646, F, pitted, crude style, weight 3.748 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 225o, Sardinian mint, c. 264 - 241 B.C.; obverse head of Tanit wreathed in barley left; reverse three barley stalks, pellet in crescent with horns downward above; $70.00 (€60.90)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

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Annona with a modius and anchor suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces, especially from Africa, and its distribution to the people. When Severus Alexander was away on his Persian and German campaigns (231-235) he continuously struck Annona types. With the legend PROVIDENTIA AVG, "The Foresight of the Emperor," he assured that, though he was away, he would be carefully monitoring Rome's grain supply!
RB66646. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 645, BMCRE VI 815, Cohen IV 509, SRCV II 8013, F, flaw on obverse, weight 19.429 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate bust right with drapery on left shoulder; reverse PROVIDENTIA AVG S C, Providentia (or Annona) standing left, holding grain over modius in right, anchor in left; $70.00 (€60.90)
 


Elaia, Aiolis, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Demeter in Greek mythology is the goddess of grain and fertility, the pure; nourisher of the youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death; and preserver of marriage and the sacred law. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century B.C. she is invoked as the "bringer of seasons," a subtle sign that she was worshipped long before she was made one of the Olympians. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that also predated the Olympian pantheon.
GB90177. Bronze AE 17, BMC Troas p. 127, 20; SNGvA 7685; SNG Cop 181; SNG München 395; SGCV II 4206, VF, weight 2.581 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Aeolis mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath, dot border; reverse EΛ−AI/T−ΩN, lit torch within grain wreath; ex Gerhard Rohde; $70.00 (€60.90)
 


Judaea, Coponius, Roman Prefect under Augustus, 6 - 9 A.D.

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When the Romans invaded ancient Judea, thick forests of date palms up to 80 feet (24 m) high and 7 miles (11 km) wide covered the Jordan River valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The tree so defined the local economy that Emperor Vespasian celebrated the conquest by minting the "Judaea Capta", a special bronze coin that showed the Jewish state as a weeping woman beneath a date palm. The Qur'an describes how Maryam (the Islamic parallel of Mary (mother of Jesus)) was advised to eat dates to ease her labor pains; presumably, this would have been a Judean date.
JD74844. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1328, aVF, green patina, off center, weight 2.058 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, 6 A.D.; obverse KAICAPOC (of Caesar), barley head curved right; reverse eight branched date palm tree bearing two bunches of dates, L - Λς (year 36); $70.00 (€60.90) ON RESERVE


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The Greek numeral sixteen (Iς) above Nilus refers to what was considered the ideal height of the annual Nile flood, sixteen cubits. Less could mean drought or famine. Even in modern times grand celebrations were held when the flood reached 16 cubits. In years when the flood failed to reach 16 cubits, the celebrations were canceled, and prayers and fasting were held instead. The peak flood occurred at the end of August, which explains why the Egyptian year began on 29 August.
RX59672. Bronze drachm, Geissen 992; BMC Alexandria p. 92, 786 cor (says elephant); Milne 1267; Dattari 1805; SNG Cop 346; Kampman and Ganschow 32.462, aF, weight 25.972 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 127 - 28 Aug 128 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TRA A∆PIA CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse Nilus reclining left, cornucopia from which genius emerges in right, reed in left, hippopotamus under elbow, Iς above, L ∆W∆EK (regnal year 12) in ex; big 34.5 mm bronze!; $60.00 (€52.20)
 


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Petra, Provincia Arabia

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The ceremonial founding of a new Roman colony included plowing a furrow, the pomerium, a sacred boundary, around the site of the new city.
RP90152. Bronze AE 19, SNG ANS 1373 ff., SNG Cop 150, Spijkerman 56, Rosenberger 35, BMC Arabia -, aF, weight 6.509 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Petra mint, obverse IMP C M AVP ANTONINOC, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PETΛA COLONIA, founder ploughing right with pair of oxen, togate, right hand raised; $55.00 (€47.85)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Nicomedia, Bithynia

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Nicomedia was the Roman metropolis of Bithynia. Diocletian made it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis in 324. Constantine resided mainly in Nicomedia as his interim capital for the next six years, until in 330 when he declared the nearby Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) the new capital. Constantine died in his royal villa in the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Due to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.
RP63209. Bronze assarion, RPC online 5588; Rec Gén II p. 523, 50; BMC Pontus p. 181, 12; SNG Cop 553 var (laur head, legends); SNGvA 744 var (same), F, weight 3.308 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, obverse ANTON KAI-CAP CEB (from upper right), bare-headed draped bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMHT - NEIKO, Demeter standing half left, wearing veil, chiton and peplos, two stalks of grain downward in right, long flaming torch vertical behind in left; from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; $50.00 (€43.50)
 


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, she was preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
RB57873. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1118, Hunter II 119, Cohen II 88, BMCRE IV 1514, aF, weight 28.776 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, 147 - 161 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right; reverse AVGVSTA, Ceres standing half left, torch raised in right, stalks of grain downward in left; $45.00 (€39.15)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Struck in the year that Faustina Senior died.
RX58856. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 1327; Dattari 2183; Kampmann-Ganschow 35.61; BMC Alexandria p. 109, 934 (poppy head(?) vice crescent); Milne 1655 var (obv leg); Emmett 1374, F, weight 12.362 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 140 - 28 Aug 141 A.D.; obverse AYT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNINOC, laureate head right; reverse bust of Demeter right, wearing kalathos ornamented with a crescent, veil, necklace, earrings and chiton, torch over right shoulder, L ∆ (year 4) in right field; $45.00 (€39.15)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and the Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
GB69763. Bronze AE 14, Müller pl. XLII, 14; SNG Cop 1168, SGCV II 6822, VF, weight 2.336 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 180o, Kallatis (Mangalia, Romania)(?) mint, c. 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right clad in lion's scalp headdress; reverse BAΣI/ΛYΣI within a wreath of grain; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $45.00 (€39.15)
 




    



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