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

Music on Ancient Coins

Roman Republic, L. Marcius Censorinus, 82 B.C.

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The moneyer selected the design to play on his name, Marsyas sounds like Marcius.

Marsyas found Athena's flute. Inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully. Foolishly he challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Apollo won by singing to the music of his lyre. As a just punishment for his presumption, Apollo flayed Marsyas alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and his skin was hung like a wine bag in the cave out of which that river flows.
SH73011. Silver denarius, SRCV 281, Sydenham 737, Crawford 363/1, RSC I Marcia 24, VF, nice style, attractive iridescent toning, weight 3.650 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, 82 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse the satyr Marsyas standing left with wine skin over shoulder, L·CENSOR before, a column topped with Victory behind; scarce; $300.00 SALE PRICE $270.00

Olynthos, Chalkidian League, Macedonia, 420 - 348 B.C.

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In 432 B.C. Olynthos broke away from Athens and, with several other cities, formed the Chalkidian league. In 393, Amyntas III of Macedonia temporally transferred territory to Olynthos when he was driven out of Macedonia by Illyrians. When he was restored and the league did not return his lands, he appealed to Sparta. Akanthos and Apollonia, also appealed to Sparta, claiming league membership was not voluntary but enforced at the point of a sword. After a long war, in 379 these cities were made "autonomous" subject allies of Sparta. Weakened by the division, the league was destroyed by Philip II of Macedon in 348 B.C.
SH64053. Silver tetrobol, Robinson-Clement group D, 38 (same dies); Traité pl. 313, 10; SNG ANS -; SNG Cop -; BMC Macedonia -, VF, weight 2.043 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 0o, Olynthos mint, c. 420 - 348 B.C.; obverse OΛYNΘ (counter-clockwise), laureate head of Apollo left; reverse XAΛKI∆EΩN, kithara with eight strings, squared legend around, all within a shallow incuse square; scarce; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00

Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

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Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.
SH71012. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 636; Rec Gén 26; BMC Pontus p. 211, 12; SNGvA 256 var (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, VF, flan adjustment marks, weight 5.468 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 45o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠPOYΣIOY, centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak floating behind, ΠM monogram inner right under raised foreleg; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00

Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus, 323 - 317 B.C.

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Minted shortly after Alexander's death, under the rule his brother, Philip III Arrhidaeus. Philip III was mentally disabled and power was divided among his advisers and Alexander's generals. Philip was murdered in October 317 by Olympias, Alexander's mother, to ensure the succession of her grandson.
SH75320. Silver drachm, Price P43, Müller Alexander P50, SNG München 938, aEF, some die wear, weight 4.238 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Kolophon mint, c. 323 - c. 319 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne without back, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, right foot drawn back, feet on footstool, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, lyre left; ex Forum (2005); $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00

Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 250 - 225 B.C.

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Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the area in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and becoming a cultural center of the Roman Republic. During the Samnite Wars, the city, now a bustling center of trade, was captured by the Samnites; however, the Romans soon took the city and made it a Roman colony. During the Punic Wars, when this coin was struck, the strong walls surrounding Neapolis repelled the forces of the Carthaginian general Hannibal.
GI69729. Bronze AE 19, SNG ANS 524; SNG Cop 542; Sambon 730; BMC Italy, p. 116, 242; HN Italy 592, F, glossy near black patina, tight flan, some corrosion and encrustations, weight 6.083 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, 250 - 225 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left with long hair, helmet with cheek pieces (control symbol) behind; reverse lyre, on left, leaning against omphalos, on right, NEOΠOΛITΩN above ornamented trident head left and PO in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation; ex Lindgren; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00

Kolophon, Ionia, 330 - 285 B.C.

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Colophon was destroyed by Lysimachus c. 285 B.C., after which Colophon failed to recover and lost its importance. The name was actually transferred to the port village of Notium.
GB59094. Bronze AE 18, Milne Kolophon 140A-C; Waddington 1498; BMC Ionia -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG München -; SNG Tübingen -; SNG Keckman -, VF, nice patina, weight 4.8191 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 315o, Kolophon mint, magistrate Telegonos, 330 - 285 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KOΛ, horseman prancing right, chlamys flying behind, spear in right hand, lyre upper left, magistrate's name THΛEΓONOΣ below; rare with this magistrate; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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After Apollo insulted him, Eros (cupid) shot Apollo with an arrow that caused him to fall in hopeless love with Daphne, a mortal woman. Eros shot Daphne with an arrow which made her incapable of loving Apollo. Nevertheless Apollo pursued her, and out of desperation Daphne escaped by having herself turned into a laurel. Ever after, winners of the games to honor Apollo wore wreaths of laurel in honor of Apollo's Daphne.
RS76088. Silver denarius, RIC IV 238A (S); RSC III 242; BMCRE V p. 448, 91; Hunter III p. 84, 23; SRCV II 6831, Choice, excellent portrait, attractive style, light contact marks, small areas of light corrosion, weight 3.114 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 214 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVII COS IIII P P, Apollo seated left, laurel branch in right hand, resting left elbow on lyre set on tripod; scarce; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00

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

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The inscription AMKΓB is a boast of Tarsos: Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful of the three (adjoining) provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). With a history going back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and a focal point of many civilizations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was the capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of Paul the Apostle.
RP72149. Bronze AE 34, SNG Levante 1162 (same dies), BMC Lycaonia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, F, green patina, corrosion, flan adjustment marks, weight 20.274 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsus, Cilicia mint, 249 - 251; obverse AY KAI Γ MEΣ KYIN ∆EKIOC TPAIANOC Π Π, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse TAPCOY MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, Apollo standing facing with legs crossed, head left, nude, laurel branch downward in right, leaning with left forearm resting on lyre sitting on a column base, A M K − Γ B in two columns in fields; big 34mm bronze!; very rare; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00

Herennius Etruscus, Early 251 - First Half of June 251 A.D., Kolophon, Ionia

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The Clarian sanctuary lies in a small valley between Colophon and its harbor city Notium, and was surrounded by a sacred grove, as were the shrines of Didyma and Gryneum and many other temples of Apollo and his son Asclepius. The priest of Apollo Klarion would drink water before giving oracles. Pliny insisted that the Clarian water, while it inspired the priest, also shortened his life. Christian writers would later cite Apollo Klarios in a collection of pagan arguments for monotheism. When asked, "What is God?," he answered in a long hexametrical text which begins: "Born from itself, teacherless, motherless, unshakable, not giving in to one name, but having many, living in fire: this is god, and we, his messengers (angeloi) are a tiny bit of God." -- Apollo by Fritz Graf
RP72150. Bronze AE 30, Milne Colophon 252; BMC Ionia, p. 44, 57 - 58; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG München -; SNG Tübingen -, aF, well centered, green patina, porous, pitted, weight 9.256 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 180o, Kolophon, Ionia mint, as caesar, 249 - early 251 AD; obverse KV EP ETP ME ∆EKIOC KAI, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, from front; reverse EΠI CTPA ΦΛ AΓAΘOKΛEOVC KOΛOΦO,NIΩN (ΠI and TP ligate, ending in exergue), Apollo Klarios seated left, laureate, nude to waist, himation around waist and legs, left leg drawn back, laurel branch downward in right hand, kithara resting on seat behind held with left; very rare; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00

Kyzikos, Mysia, 1st - 2nd Century A.D.

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In 74 B.C. Cyzicus, allied with Rome, withstood a siege by King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, it was made the capital of Mysia, afterward of Hellespontus. Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world.
RP72665. Bronze AE 13, RPC I 2239 (same dies); Von Fritz X 41; SNG BnF 515; SNG Cop 85; BMC Mysia, p. 41, 170; McClean 7592, Choice gVF, nice green patina, weight 2.344 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 1st - 2nd Century A.D.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse lyre, K-Y/Z-I flanking in two lines; ex Roger Liles Collection; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00



Catalog current as of Saturday, November 28, 2015.
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