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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Athletics & GamesView Options:  |  |  |   

Atheletics and Games on Ancient Coins

Roman Republic, C. Marcius Censorinus, 88 B.C.

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The obverse refers to the claimed descent of the gens Marcia from the ancient kings of Rome. The reverse alludes to the Ludi Apollinares, games founded with the encouragement of the seer Marcius. During these games desultors raced vaulting between two horses. This moneyer perished opposing Sulla.
RR82683. Silver denarius, BMCRR Rome 2374 (also snake control), Crawford 346/1d, Sydenham 713a, RSC I Marcia 18, SRCV I 256, Choice gVF, centered, toning, far horse struck a little flat, weight 4.018 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 88 B.C.; obverse jugate diademed heads right of Numa Pompilius, bearded, and Ancius Marcius, not bearded; reverse desultor racing two horses right, seated on the nearer horse, nude but for a conical cap, whip in right hand, reigns in left hand, snake (control symbol) below horses, CCENSO in exergue; ex Pegasi Numismatics; $250.00 (212.50)


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

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In 197, Septimius Severus returned to Rome and executed about 30 of Albinus' supporters in the Senate. After his victory he declared himself the adopted son of the late Marcus Aurelius. This type refers to games held to celebrate the victory over Albinus.
RS82712. Silver denarius, RIC IV 82 (IMP VIII) or 100 (IMP VIIII, S); RSC III 348 (IMP VIII) or 349 (IMP VIIII); SRCV II 6317 (IMP VIII); Hunter -, VF, excellent portrait and elephant, toned, well centered on a tight flan cutting off much of the legends, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.764 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 196 - 197 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VIII(I?), laureate head right; reverse MVNIFICENTIA AVG, elephant walking right; $225.00 (191.25)


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

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During Philip's reign the 1000th anniversary of Rome (248 A.D.) was celebrated, and magnificent games were held. This coin was issued as part of that celebration and the reverse depicts one of the animals which was displayed during the games.
RA86812. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 22 (R2), RSC IV 188, SRCV III 8959 var. (antelope left), Hunter III 48 var. (same), Choice aEF, excellent centering on a broad flan, excellent portrait, light toning, some luster, strike slightly soft/flat, some die wear, weight 4.402 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG, antelope walking right, VI in exergue; very rare with antelope right (only two on Coin Archives and one sold for $700!; ex Beast Coins; $200.00 (170.00)


Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. The wreaths refer to the games sponsored by each of the two cities, the ΠYΘIA games held by Hierapolis, and the XPVCANΘINA games held by Sardes.
RP77256. Bronze AE 25, Franke-Nolle, type V, 838 (Vs. A/Rs. 11); cf. Lindgren-Kovacs 976; BMC Phrygia p. 260, 175, F, weight 7.301 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse M ΩT CEVHPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩN K CAP∆,IANΩN NEΩ/KOPΩN (ending in two lines in exergue), two wreaths side by side with inscriptions within, left wreath XPV/CAN, right wreath ΠVΘ/IA, OMONOI/A in the field above; very rare; $195.00 (165.75)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
SH73402. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 46, BCD Thessaly II 171, HGC 4 418 (S), BCD Thessaly I -, F, etched surfaces, weight 5.260 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both right, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos flying loose in the air behind him; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAP/IΣAI in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "V. ex. Thess., June 2009, 45.-"; scarce; $180.00 (153.00)


Roman Republic, C. Calpurnius Piso L.f. Frugi, 67 - 60 B.C.

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Gaius was married to Cicero's daughter, Tullia, in 63 B.C. and he was quaestor in 58 B.C. This type copies an issue of his father, Lucius Piso Frugi, c. 90 B.C. Crawford dates this type to 67 B.C. Sydenham and Grueber date it 64 B.C. Sear notes that hoard evidence indicates a date closer to 60 B.C.
RR82682. Silver denarius, Hersh Piso 397 (O299/R2121), BMCRR Rome 3733 (same dies), Crawford 408/1, Sydenham 855b, RSC I Calpurnia 24a, SRCV I 348, aVF, attractive style, nice toning with some iridescence, reverse off center, weight 3.942 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, c. 61 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo right, hair bound with fillet and falling in ringlets, stand topped with a ring (control symbol) behind; reverse naked horseman galloping right, palm frond over left shoulder, wearing a tall pointed cap, wing (control symbol) above (mostly off flan), C PISO L F FRV below; $180.00 (153.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73424. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 52, SNG Munchen 49, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, off-center, uneven strike, die wear, weight 6.075 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 315o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Thessaly Z hd. early '85."; scarce; $160.00 (136.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for 130.-"; scarce; $160.00 (136.00)


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

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In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.
RS84967. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, centered on a broad oval flan, a few legend letters weak, deposits, light corrosion, weight 3.136 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $140.00 (119.00)


Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

Click for a larger photo
This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. The wreaths refer to the games sponsored by each of the two cities, the ΠYΘIA games held by Hierapolis, and the XPVCANΘINA games held by Sardes.
RP77257. Bronze AE 25, Franke-Nolle, type V, 830 (Vs. A/Rs. 9); Lindgren-Kovacs 976; BMC Phrygia p. 260, 175, aF, obverse off center but on a broad flan, edge crack, porous, weight 6.144 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse M ΩT CEVHPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩN K CAP∆,IANΩN NEΩK/OPΩN (ending in two lines in exergue), two wreaths side by side with inscriptions within, XPY/CAN in the left wreath, ΠYΘ/IA in the right wreath, OMONOI/A in the field above; very rare; $125.00 (106.25)




  



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REFERENCES

Klose, D. & G. Stumpf. Sport, Spiel, Sieg. (Munich, 1996).


Catalog current as of Thursday, June 21, 2018.
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Atheletics and Games