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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Nautical & MarineView Options:  |  |  |   

Nautical & Marine Themes on Ancient Coins

Here we include coins that depict Poseidon, Neptune, ships, anchors, prows, dolphins, sea eagles, crabs, scallops, and all things related to the sea.

Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $680.00 (591.60)

Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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Hadrian refounded a Thracian tribal capital, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, developed it, adorned it with monuments, and made it the capital of the Roman province. The city is Edirne, Turkey today. From ancient times, the area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
SH65237. Bronze AE 25, Jurukova p. 157 & pl. XXII, 244 (V137/R244); Mionnet, Suppl. II, 658; BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, VF, green patina, weight 7.837 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse IOYΛIA ∆O CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, galley left with four oarsmen and steersman in stern; very rare; $600.00 (522.00)

Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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A skilled general and administrator, Postumus rebelled against Gallienus, uniting Gaul, Spain and Britain into a Gallic-Roman empire. Successful against the Germans, he kept his empire secure and prosperous. He was assassinated by his own troops after he refused to allow them to sack Moguntiacum (Mainz).
SH66364. Bronze double sestertius, Bastien Postumus 87, RIC V 143 (Lugdunum), Cohen VI 177, VF, weight 13.981 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Agrippinensis or Treveri mint, 261 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse LAETITIA AVG (AVG in exergue), galley left, four rowers and steersman; $370.00 (321.90)

Brettian League, Bruttium, Italy, c. 211- 208 B.C., Time of Hannibal

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The success of Hannibal at Cannae proved too much for the Bruttians' fidelity; they were among the first after the battle to declare in favor of the Carthaginian general. Some towns at first remained with Rome, but Petelia and Consentia were speedily reduced by other Bruttians and a small Carthaginian force, and the more important cities of Locri and Crotona followed not long after. Rhegium alone remained firm, and was able to defy Carthage throughout the war. The region became a Carthaginian stronghold, but the Romans, though avoiding any decisive engagement, continually gained ground by the successive reduction of towns and fortresses. The ravages of war were a severe blow to Bruttium. Punishment by the Romans after the war completed their humiliation. They were deprived of most of their territory, and the whole nation was reduced to near servitude. A praetor with an army was sent annually to watch over them. Colonies were established at Tempsa, Crotona, and Hipponium (renamed Vibo Valentia). A fourth was settled at Thurii on their frontier. From this time the Bruttians as a people disappear from history. All coinage of the Brettii was issued while they were allied with Hannibal.
SH72544. Bronze quarter unit, SNG ANS 120 - 122; Scheu Bronze 50; HN Italy 1990; BMC Italy p. 332, 106 var (no controls), Choice gVF, attractive green patina, weight 1.755 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 180o, Bruttium mint, 211- 208; obverse head of a sea goddess (Amphitrite or Thetis) left, with crab headdress, fulmen (thunderbolt) below neck; reverse BRET/TIWN, crab, bunch of grapes (control symbol) above between claws, linear border; rare; $350.00 (304.50)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG III

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This legion was probably Caesar's old III Gallica, which fought for Antony. Another possibility is III Cyrenaica, which was perhaps taken over from Lepidus. The III Augusta was probably an Octavian legion.
RS73643. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/15, Sydenham 1217, BMCRR II East 193, RSC I 28, aVF, weight 3.378 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis ,180o, Patrae(?) mint, fall 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - III, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $350.00 (304.50)

Macedonian Kingdom, Seleukos, Satrap in Babylon, 311 - 306 B.C., In the Name of Alexander the Great

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Struck in the name of Alexander, this coin also bears the personal badge of Seleukos, an anchor. Seleukos was first appointed satrap in Babylonia in 320 B.C. but was put to flight by Antigonus in 315. He returned in 311 only to be forced to evacuate later that year by a counterattack by Antigonus' son, Demetrius. Not long after, however, Seleukos again recovered the city.
SH60135. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber I 293, Price 3449 (Marthus), Mller Alexander 1512, aVF/F, weight 16.601 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain mint, c. 311 - 305 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right, long scepter vertical behind in left, anchor flukes up flanked by ∆ - I in left field, monogram under throne; $290.00 (252.30)

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people.
RB73007. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE III 1143 (also heroic bust), Hunter II 326 (same), RIC II 560a (S), Cohen II 180 var (no drapery), SRCV II 3576, VF, nice heroic bust, green patina, about 1/3 on each side a little rough, weight 26.172 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, late 118 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG, laureate bust right, bare chest, drapery on left shoulder; reverse ANNONA AVG (in exergue), PONT MAX TR POT COS DES III, Annona standing left, stalks of grain in right hand over modius at feet on left, cornucopia in left, prow behind on right, S - C flanking across field; scarce; $240.00 (208.80)

Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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This type has been attributed to "Mint II," which is believed to be Cologne, but it is quite crude and could also be imitative. See RIC V, Part II, p. 349, note 1, for comments on imitative of this and similar types.
RB90466. Bronze double sestertius, cf. CNG auction 109, lot 243 (same reverse die); Bastien Postume 313; Mricourt-l'Abb Hoard in TM XIII (1992) 95, VF, struck with damaged reverse die, corrosion, weight 9.446 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 90o, Mint II Cologne (or imitative) mint, c. 266 - spring 269 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse galley right, five oarsmen, AMV above, retrograde P left, Q(?) right, waves over palm frond left below; $200.00 (174.00)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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In 142, Antoninus Pius ordered the construction of the Antonine Wall. When complete the wall ran 39 miles (63 km) from Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire on the Firth of Clyde to Carriden near Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth (Scotland). The Romans built nineteen forts and smaller fortlets (milecastles), to protect the border against the Caledonians.
RB90470. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1315, Cohen II 819, RIC III 642(a), Strack III 863, SRCV II 4237, aF, weight 22.720 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 141 - 143 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head right; reverse TIBERIS, Tiber reclining left, wreathed with reeds, resting right hand on boat on his far side, reeds in left, left arm resting on urn on its side from which water flows, S C in exergue; rare; $200.00 (174.00)

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Annona was the goddess of harvest and her main attribute is grain. This reverse suggests the arrival of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people. By the Code De Naviculariis, the mariners appointed to carry grain from Egypt were capitally punished if they did not keep the proper course; and if they did not sail in the proper season, the master of the vessel was banished.
RB65292. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 981, BMCRE IV 2038, SRCV II 4254, Cohen II -, F, weight 21.364 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 157 - 158 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II, laureate head right; reverse TR POT XXI COS IIII, Annona standing slightly slightly left, stalks of grain pointed downward in her right over modius overflowing with stalks of grain at feet on left, rudder vertical behind in left resting on prow of galley right, S - C flanking low across field; $180.00 (156.60)



Catalog current as of Friday, July 31, 2015.
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Nautical & Marine