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

Agriculture on Ancient Coins

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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This coin declares Caesar as dictator for the second time, consul for the third time, augur and pontifex maximus. The head of Ceres refers to the grain producing wealth delivered to Rome by his victory in Africa. The D (and on similar coins an M) indicates this type was struck to be distributed as a donativum (largess) or munus (gift) to his legions. Some may have been distributed at Caesar's quadruple triumph celebrated in 46 B.C., when celebrations included public banquets, plays and gladiatorial games, lasting forty days. Vercingetorix was paraded and executed. Also in 46 B.C., Caesar made his nephew Octavian his heir. Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, Caesar's mistress, and Caesarion, his bastard son by her, moved into one of his residences on the Tiber. They would remain in Rome as Caesar's guests until his assassination on 15 March 44 B.C.
SH84609. Silver denarius, Crawford 467/1a, Russo RBW 1637, Sydenham 1023, RSC I 4a; Sear CRI 57, BMCRR Africa 21, SRCV I 1403, gVF, dark toning, some marks and scratches, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.283 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, African, Utica(?) mint, 46 B.C.; obverse DICT ITER - COS TERT (counterclockwise from lower right, dictator for the 2nd time, consul for the third time), head of Ceres right, wreathed with grain; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), capis (jug), and lituus (wand), AVGVR (augur) above, below D (donativum = largess) to right, PONT MAX (pontifex maximus) below; from the James Campbell Collection, purchased in 2004 from Roma Numismatica (9A Via Barberini, Rome); $670.00 (596.30)


Dionysopolis, Moesia Inferior, Late 3rd - 2nd Century B.C.

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Dionysopolis was founded by Thracians and later colonized by Ionians who named it Krounoi. The city was renamed Dionysopolis during the second half of the 3rd century B.C., after a statue of Dionysus was found in the sea nearby. Most of the types from Dionysopolis are scarce or rare. Today it is Balchik, Bulgaria, a Black Sea seaside resort town. IΦI is the only magistrate Draganov lists for this type.
SH75655. Bronze AE 17, Draganov Dionysopolis 5, SNG Stancomb 115 - 116, SNG BM Black Sea -, SNG Cop -, AMNG I -, BMC Thrace -, aVF, tight flan, weak reverse center, weight 5.502 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 270o, Dionysopolis (Balchik, Bulgaria) mint, magistrate Iphia, c. 3rd - 2nd century B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right wearing veil and crown made of city walls; reverse ∆IONY / IΦIA, poppy head on stalk on left, stalk of grain on right; very rare, unpublished until 1997; $280.00 (249.20)


Ziz (Panormos), Punic Sicily, c. 336 - 330 B.C.

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Panormos was the ancient Greek name (meaning, 'All-haven') for present day Palermo. Palermo was, however, originally a Phoenician colony and numismatists identify the city before Greek rule with the Punic name Ziz. It seems the only evidence for this ancient name is the coinage and some scholars believe that Ziz may have been another city.
GI76350. Bronze AE 12, Calciati I, p. 272, 10; HGC 2 1061 (R1); SNG ANS 5, III, pl. 44, 1362; SNG Cop -; SNG Mnchen -; BMC Sicily -, gVF, dark green patina, light smoothing, light marks and corrosion, small edge split, obverse 1/5 off-center, weight 1.975 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ziz (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 336 - 330 B.C.; obverse horse galloping right, barley-kernel above, linear border; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull right, Punic inscription above: ZIZ; all within a deep round incuse; rare; $250.00 (222.50)


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. 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!
RS79823. Silver denarius, RIC IV 250b; RSC III 501b; BMCRE VI p. 201, 875; Hunter III 74; SRCV II 7922, Choice EF, excellent portrait, superb reverse detail, small edge cracks, weight 2.841 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 160o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse PROVIDENTIA AVG (the foresight of the Emperor), Providentia (or Annona) standing left, grain downward in right hand over modius overflowing with grain at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand; $250.00 (222.50)


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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Metapontum or Metapontion was an important city of Magna Graecia, on a plain of extraordinary fertility on the Gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). It was distant about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 from Tarentum. The ruins of Metapontum are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera, Basilicata region, Italy.
SH70576. Bronze AE 14, Johnston Bronze 62, SNG ANS 574, SNG Cop 1261, SNG Fitzwilliam 534, SNG Forbat 55, SNG Lloyd 420, SNG Evelpidis 232, HN Italy 1698, BMC Italy -, gVF, nice style, well centered, weight 3.426 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley, wearing pendant earring; reverse META (upwards on left), head of barley with leaf right, fly (bee?) on right flying right above leaf; $240.00 (213.60)


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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A major feature of the festival of Apollo Karneios, celebrated in Sparta, Spartan colonies, and some cities of Magna Graecia, was the race of the staphylodromi. The staphylodromi were unmarried men, dedicated to the god for four years. During the festival they hunted a willing human victim who was adorned with woolen garlands and who had made special prayers for the city. If the victim was caught, it was a beneficial omen, but if he escaped, the city would not fare well.
GI83471. Bronze AE 11, Johnston Bronze 64, HN Italy 1700, cf. SNG ANS 587 (control), SNG Cop 1256 (same), SNG Morcom 287 (same), Macdonald Hunter 67 (same), VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, flan adjustment marks, weight 1.590 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, die axis 0o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse horned head of Apollo Karneios right; reverse barley ear with leaf to right, META upward on left, fly right (control symbol) above leaf upper right; $220.00 (195.80)


Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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Metapontum or Metapontion was an important city of Magna Graecia, on a plain of extraordinary fertility on the Gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). It was distant about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 from Tarentum. The ruins of Metapontum are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera, Basilicata region, Italy.
GI76341. Bronze AE 14, Johnston Bronze 59b, SNG Lloyd 421, SNG Forbat 56, HN Italy 1695, SNG Cop -, SNG ANS -, BMC Italy -, gVF, tight flan, porosity, weight 3.014 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley, wearing pendant earring; reverse head of barley with leaf left, META downward on right; rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 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
RS77144. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 972; RSC II 17; BMCRE II 319, BnF III 280, SRCV I 2436, VF, some flatness, small edge crack, weight 3.382 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 77 - 78 A.D.; obverse T CAESAR VESPASIANVS, laureate head right; reverse ANNONA AVG, Annona seated left, sack of grain in right, left elbow resting on throne behind, feet on a (prow?) footstool; $200.00 (178.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhos, 278 - 276 B.C.

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In 279 B.C., Pyrrhus' forces, supporting the Greek cities of southern Italy, met and defeated the Romans at the battle of Asculum in Apulia. Pyrrhus, however, lost many men, several close associates, and all of his baggage. When one of his soldiers congratulated him on his victory, he famously replied: "Another such victory and we are ruined!" From this we have the term Pyrrhic victory, a victory achieved at ruinous cost.
GB84500. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati p. 333, 187/3; BMC Epirus p. 113, 33 (Epirus); SNG Cop 99 (Epirus); SNG ANS 842 var. (obv owl behind); SNG Mnchen 620 var. (same, Epirus), VF, nice style, weight 4.355 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left, in crested Corinthian helmet; reverse grain ear, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΠYPPOY above and below, all within oak wreath; ex Forum (2014); $190.00 (169.10)


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.

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Annona was worshiped 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.
SH72366. Silver denarius, RIC IV 26a (S), RSC III 47a; BMCRE V p. 501, 41; Hunter III 20; SRCV II 7340 var. (also cuirassed), NGC XF, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (4160837-004), removed from plastic case; excellent portrait, weight 2.383 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 225o, Rome or Antioch mint, Dec 217 - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse IMP C M OPEL SEV MACRINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P II COS P P, Annona standing left, holding two ears of grain downward in right hand over modius overflowing with ears of grain at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand; NGC graded but removed from plastic case (slab) but comes with NGC tag; $180.00 (160.20)




  



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