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

Atheletics and Games on Ancient Coins

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.
RS85566. Silver denarius, RIC IV 82, RSC III 348, BMCRE V 168, SRCV II 6317, Hunter III -, aEF, excellent portrait, fantastic elephant, tight flan, light marks, porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.676 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 197 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VIII, laureate head right; reverse MVNIFICENTIA AVG, elephant walking right; ex Solidus Numismatik auction 13, lot 257; $400.00 (340.00)


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, 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; $220.00 (187.00)


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.
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; $200.00 (170.00)


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.
GS73408. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, etched surfaces, porous, weight 5.509 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, 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. Sotheby's 7 March 96, lot 252 (part), the lot of 9 AR + 49 AE for 550 +%."; scarce; $200.00 (170.00)


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

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This coin commemorates an Olympic victory by Anazarbus. Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor. Beginning about two decades after this issue, the Olympics would begin a long decline. In 267, the German Heruli invaded Greece attacking Athens, Corinth, Argos, and Sparta. Although the invaders probably never reached Olympia, buildings were dismantled for material to build a wall around the Temple of Zeus and the Bouleterion. An earthquake, a failing economy, further invasions, and Christian antagonism probably caused further decline. The record of victors is very patchy after 261, with a gap of nearly a century from c. 277 to c. 369. Events may merely lack documentation or perhaps there was a moratorium. The last known Olympic victor was the Athenian boxer, M. Aurelios Zopyros in 385. In 393, Theodosius I outlawed all pagan festivals, including the Olympics, ending a thousand years of Greek tradition. Source: Eros and Greek Athletics by Thomas F. Scanlon.
RP84934. Bronze triassarion, Ziegler 744 (Vs 2/Rs 2, 4 spec.), SNG Levante 1495, SNG Pfalz 4732, SNG Leypold 2272, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, F, dark patina, interesting portrait, porous, weight 8.486 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 249 - 250 A.D.; obverse AYT K KVI TPAIAN ∆EKIOC CEB, radiate head right; reverse ANAZA EN∆OΞ ET HΞC (glorious Anazarbus, year 268), agonistic prize crown inscribed ∆EKIOC, containing palm frond, Γ − Γ (seat of 3 provinces, holder of 3 neocorates) flanking crown, OIKOVM/ENIKOC (Ecumenical = Olympic Games) in two lines below; very rare; $200.00 (170.00)


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; $180.00 (153.00)


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

Click for a larger photo
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; $180.00 (153.00)


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; $160.00 (136.00)


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

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Philippopolis today is Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
RP63960. Bronze AE 28, BMC Thrace p. 167, 44; Varbanov III 1712; Moushmov 5404; SNG Cop -, F, nice green patina, weight 13.097 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 225o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYPHΛ MA ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate bust of emperor right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛEΩC ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛE/ΩC NEΩKO/POY, two wrestlers grappling; ex Mark Staal Collection; scarce; $140.00 (119.00)


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.
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, 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; $140.00 (119.00)




  



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REFERENCES

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


Catalog current as of Sunday, November 19, 2017.
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Atheletics and Games