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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Medical & HealthView Options:  |  |  |   

Medical & Health on Ancient Coins

Trikka, Thessaly, Greece, c. 400 - 344 B.C.

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Trikka, modern Tikala, is located in the fertile plain of Thessaly in central Greece. Trikka was the birthplace of three of the Argonauts and also claimed to be the birthplace of Asklepios. Epidaurus also claimed to be the birthplace of Asklepios and that city was the site of his main temple in antiquity.
GB86191. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 788; SNG Cop 266; BMC Thessaly p. 52, 17; Liampi Trikka 7; Rogers 556; Moustaka 181, gVF, attractive style,, weight 7.245 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, Thessaly, Trikka (Tikala, Greece) mint, c. 400 - 344 B.C.; obverse head of the Nymph Trikka right, wearing triple-drop pendant earring; reverse Asklepios seated right on a stool, bearded, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, transverse staff on far side leaning on left arm, feeding bird held in his right hand to snake coiled and rising up before him; rare; $340.00 (289.00)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85231. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online VI temp 3871 (unpublished in refs, 4 spec. listed from auctions); SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, SNG anakkale -, BMC Mysia -, aVF, centered on a tight flan, marks, scratches, corrosion, weight 6.228 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 45o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAEƧ L ƧEP ƧEV ALEXANDER, laureate and cuirassed bust, right from the front, wearing cuirass with Gorgoneion; reverse DEO AE ƧVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $150.00 (127.50)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85257. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online VI temp 3871 (unpublished in refs, 4 spec. listed from auctions); SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, SNG Hunt -, BMC Mysia -, Lindgren -, aVF, corrosion, marks, tight flan, weight 4.968 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 225o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAEƧ L ƧEP ƧEV ALEXANDER, laureate and cuirassed bust, right from the front, wearing cuirass with Gorgoneion; reverse DEO AE ƧVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $145.00 (123.25)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85221. Bronze AE 24, RPC online IV temp 624 (5 spec.); SNGvA 1337; Weber 5152; BMC Mysia p. 105, 104 var. (obv. leg.); SNG Cop 290 var. (same); cf. SNG BnF 1484 (obscure), F, well centered, light scratches, some legend weak, areas of corrosion, centration dimples, weight 8.321 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 195o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse IMP CAI(sic) Λ AV - COMODVS, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse DEO AESC SVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $135.00 (114.75)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.; Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Asklepios was the son of Apollo and a mortal woman named Coronis. Apollo killed Coronis for being unfaithful but rescued the unborn Asklepios from her womb. Apollo carried the baby to the centaur Chiron who raised Asclepius and instructed him in the art of medicine. In return for some kindness, a snake taught him secret knowledge of healing. Asclepius became so proficient as a healer that he surpassed both Chiron and his father, Apollo. Asclepius was even able to evade death and to bring the dead back to life. Zeus killed him to restore balance to the human population but later resurrected Asclepios as a god to prevent a feud with Apollo. Zeus instructed Asclepios to never revive the dead without his approval.
RP83933. Bronze tetrassarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.36.20.4 (R4), AMNG I/I 2059 var. (obv. leg.), Varbanov 4258 (R3) var. (obv. leg., same rev. die), Moushmov 1475, VF, well centered and struck, dark green patina, patina chipped and scratched, central dimples, weight 11.522 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Sabinius Modestus, 241 - 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANTW ΓOP∆IANOC AVΓ (AVΓ ligate), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VΠ CAB MO∆EΣTOV NIKOΠOΛEITΩN ΠPO, Asklepios standing facing, head left, wearing himation over left shoulder and arm and around hips and legs, leaning on snake entwined staff in right hand, I/C/T/P/O-N in five lines in right field; scarce; $110.00 (93.50)


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

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The Romans used poppy for cooking and medicinal purposes. For cooking, it was used mainly as a garnish or sprinkled on bread, perhaps also in desserts. Pliny sites the medicinal purpose: "...allow the poppy sap to thicken, roll it into pastilles and allow these to dry in the shade. It is a tranquilizer, but if you take too much, you will die in your sleep." (N.H. XX-lxxvi)
RS85761. Silver denarius, RSC II 172, RIC II 230a, BMCRE III 595, Hunter II 201, Strack II 227, SRCV II 3461 var. (laureate), VF, well centered, uneven toning, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.514 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse ANNONA AVG, modius with four stalks of grain and one poppy in center; $105.00 (89.25)


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

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RB87451. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 186a, Cohen V 211, Hunter III 75, SRCV III 9017, VF, excellent portrait, irregularly shaped flan (typical of the period), light corrosion, cracks, weight 15.469 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing slightly right, head right, feeding snake held with her right arm from patera in her left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $95.00 (80.75)


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 133 - 16 B.C.

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Asclepius, one of Apollo's sons, was the Greek god of medicine, sharing with Apollo the epithet Paean (the Healer). Pilgrims flocked to the Asclepieia, his healing temples, where the physicians and attendants were known as the Therapeutae. Ritual purification would be followed by offerings or sacrifices to the god, and the supplicant would then spend the night in the holiest part of the sanctuary, the abaton, where the non-venemous snakes slithered around freely on the floor. Any dreams or visions would be reported to a priest who would interpret the dreams and prescribe the appropriate therapy. The rod of Asclepius, a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine today.
GB87700. Bronze AE 15, BMC Mysia p. 128, 155; SNG BnF 1828 ff., SNG Cop 370 ff.; SNGvA 1373; Waddington 7097, SGCV II 3968, VF, blue green patina, crowded flan, scratches, earthen deposits, weight 2.459 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 133 - 16 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Asklepios right; reverse AΣKΛHΠIOY ΣΩTHPOΣ (to Asklepios the Savior), snake-encircled Asklepian staff; $90.00 (76.50)


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

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. According to Strack III, p. 129, the idea behind the type is that the safety of the state is dependent on the health of the emperor. "For that reason Salus holds the rudder of Fortuna in some of these types, as an indication that the fate of the empire rests in her hands."
RB73723. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV III 9016, Hunter III 76, Cohen V 206, RIC IV 187(a) var. (scepter vice rudder), VF/F, excellent portrait, grainy surfaces, light corrosion, weight 18.695 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing facing, head left, feeding snake coiled around altar, rudder vertical vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; $80.00 (68.00)


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

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Akrasa is not the same as Nakrasa. The cities were near each other, along with Germe and Stratonicea in northern Lydia.
RP84689. Bronze AE 18, Weber III 6777; Hunterian II p. 447, 2; SNG Cop 8 var. (obv. leg.); SNGvA 2886 var. (same); BMC Lydia p. 13, 22 var. (same); SNG Mn 22 var. (same), F, well centered, dark green patina, weight 3.169 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Akrasos mint, obverse AV KA Λ C CEOVHPOC, laureate head of Septimius Severus right; reverse AKPCIΩTΩN, Asklepios standing slightly right, head turned back left, snake entwined staff in right hand; rare; $70.00 (59.50)




  



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Medical & Health