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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; $270.00 (€240.30)
 


Vibo Valentia (Hipponion), Bruttium, Italy, c. 192 - 89 B.C.

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Vibo Valentia was originally the Greek colony of Hipponion. It was founded, probably around the late 7th century B.C., by inhabitants of Locri, a city south of Vibo Valentia on the Ionian Sea. In 388 B.C., the city was taken by Dionysius the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse, who deported the entire population. The population came back in 378 B.C., with the help of the Carthaginians. In the following years Hipponion came under the dominion of the Bruttii. The town fell to Rome and became a Roman colony in 194 B.C. with the name of Vibo Valentia. After a phase of prosperity during the late Republic and early Empire, the town was almost completely abandoned after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
GI76947. Bronze sextans, SNG ANS 494; SNG Cop 1856; SNG München 1395; SNG Tübingen 510; BMC Italy p. 363, 31; HN Italy 2266; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice green patina, reverse slightly off-center, bumps and marks, areas of light corrosion, weight 1.999 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 135o, Vibo Valentia mint, c. 192 - 89 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, two pellets (mark of value) behind; reverse VALENTIA, lyre, two pellets (mark of value) right; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


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; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


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; BMC Pontus p. 211 and pl. 38, 12; Rec Gén I.2 p. 225, 26; 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; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV, 323 - 317 B.C., Struck in the Name of Philip

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Struck in the name of King Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great's half-brother, under the regent Perdikkas. Philip III and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV, were made joint kings after Alexander's death. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule and both were selected only to serve as pawns. Perdikkas held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Philip was murdered by Olympias 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 (near Degirmendere Fev, Turkey) 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); $200.00 (€178.00)
 


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

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In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.
RB76166. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 303a, Hunter III 117, Cohen 262, SRCV III 8732, Choice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen fill, nice portrait, well centered, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th issue, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, laurel-branch in right hand, left forearm resting on lyre on back of his seat, S C in exergue; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Maximinus II Daia, Late 309 - 30 April 313 A.D., Antioch, Syria, Civic Christian Persecution Issue

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In 311, after the death of Galerius in late April or May, representatives from Nicomedia presented themselves before Maximinus, bringing images of their gods and requested that Christians not be allowed to live in their city. Late in 311, an embassy from Antioch, led by their curator Theotecnus, also requested permission to banish Christians from their city and its territory. Other cities followed with the same request. Maximinus support for Antioch's requests is advertised by this coin type. Fearing his co-emperors, however, Maximinus changed his mind. His edict in May 313 restored privileges and property to Christians. Later in 313, Licinius captured Antioch and executed Theotecnus.
RY77124. Billon quarter follis, McAlee 170(c), Van Heesch 3(a), Vagi 2954, SRCV IV 14927, Choice VF, black desert patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 1.508 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 312 A.D.; obverse GENIO ANTIOCHENI, Tyche of Antioch seated facing on rocks, turreted and veiled, stalks of grain in right; upper body of river-god Orontes below, standing facing in waist deep water, arms outstretched; reverse APOLLONI SANCTO, Apollo standing facing, head left, pouring libations from patera in right hand, kithara in left hand, Γ right, SMA in exergue; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Thourion, Lucania, Italy, c. 280 - 213 B.C.

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Thurii, also called Thourion, Thurion, Thurium, and for a time also Copia and Copiae, was a city of Magna Graecia, on the Tarentine Gulf, within a short distance of the site of Sybaris, whose place it may be considered as having taken. The ruins of the city can be found in the Sybaris archaeological park near Sibari in the Province of Cosenza, Calabria, Italy.
GI76338. Bronze AE 16, SNG ANS 1197; HN Italy 1926a; SNG Cop 1510 (monogram off flan); BMC Italy p. 301, 145 var. (magistrate); SNG Tübingen -; SNG Morcom -, gVF, attractive coin, reverse slightly off-center, small spots of light corrosion, weight 2.995 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thourion mint, c. 280 - 213 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left, with long hair, AP monogram right; reverse kithara, ΘOY/PIΩN in two lines, starting upward on left, downward on right, ΣΩΦI (Σ retrograde) below; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Leontini, Sicily, c. 405 - 402 B.C.

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Leontini was founded as by colonists from Naxos in 729 BC, itself a Chalcidian colony established five years earlier. It was the only significant Greek settlement in Sicily not located on the coast, being some 6 miles inland. The site, originally held by the Sicels, was seized by the Greeks owing to its command of the fertile plain to the north. The city was reduced to subject status in 498 BC by Hippocrates of Gela, and in 476 BC Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catania and Naxos to Leontini.
GI76342. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 77, 3; SNG Cop 360; SNG ANS 270; SNG Morcom 606; SNG Lloyd 1070; BMC Sicily p. 92, 56; Laffaille 169; HGC 2 709 (R1), VF, well centered, glossy dark patina, weight 1.891 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 180o, Leontini mint, c. 405 - 402 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, olive leaf and olive behind; reverse tripod lebes with loop handles, a barley kernel flanking on each side, kithara between legs of tripod, three pellets in exergue; $150.00 (€133.50)
 


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 (near Degirmendere Fev, Turkey) 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; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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