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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Medusa||View Options:  |  |  |   

Medusa, Gorgoneion & Perseus on Ancient Coins

Selge, Pisidia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Pisidia|, |Selge,| |Pisidia,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.|, |trihemiobol|
Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Kprcay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century A.D.
GS95236. Silver trihemiobol, BMC Lycia p. 257, 4; SNG BnF 1928 var.; SNGvA 5281 var., Klein 631 var., SNG Tb 4466 var., SNG Cop -, SNG PfPs - (all var. astragalos behind), EF, well centered, some die wear, light marks, weight 0.874 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 180o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), tongue protruding; reverse head of Athena right in crested Attic helmet, astragalos before on left; ex Forum (2018), extremely rare, an apparently unpublished variety and the only specimen known to Forum; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00


Kelenderis, Cilicia, c. 5th Century B.C.

|Archaic| |Origins|, |Kelenderis,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |5th| |Century| |B.C.|, |obol|
The Gorgoneion was originally a horror-creating apotropaic pendant showing the Gorgon's facing head. It was worn by the Olympian deities Zeus and Athena as a protective pendant. It was also worn, among other godlike attributes, as a royal aegis by rulers of the Hellenistic age and later on the busts of Roman Emperors. In Greek mythology, the Gorgon was a terrifying female creature. The name derives from the Greek word gorgs, which means "dreadful." While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld it to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus. Gorgons were a popular image of Greek mythology, appearing in the earliest of written records of Ancient Greek religious beliefs such as those of Homer. Because of their legendary gaze, images of the Gorgons were put upon objects and buildings for protection. For example, an image of a Gorgon holds the primary location at the pediment of the temple at Corfu. It is the oldest stone pediment in Greece and is dated to c. 600 B.C.
SL95877. Silver obol, SNG BnF Cilicia 465 (uncertain mint), Weber 7521 (Forrer notes, "Sir H. Weber notes against this coin: 'Dr. Imhoof says, indubitably Kelenderis'." , NGC Choice VF, strike 3/5, surface 4/5 (5872605-020), in NGC plastic holder, weight 0.70 g, Kelenderis (Aydincik, Turkey) mint, c. 5th century B.C.; obverse facing gorgon head; reverse forepart of horse right, incuse square; NGC| Lookup; $250.00 SALE |PRICE| $225.00


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

|Kamarina|, |Kamarina,| |Sicily,| |420| |-| |405| |B.C.|, |tetras|NEW
Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI93440. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins, type F, 195.12; BMC Sicily p. 40, 38; Calciati III p. 57, 24; SNG Cop 168; SNG Munchen V 410; HGC 2 547 (S), VF, green patina, tight flan, bumps and scratches, spots of corrosion, weight 2.927 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), smooth neatly waved hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead, dimpled cheeks, protruding tongue; reverse owl standing left, head facing, lizard with head down in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue, no control marks, KAMA downward on right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


Selge, Pisidia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Pisidia|, |Selge,| |Pisidia,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.|, |obol|
Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Kprcay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century A.D.
GS95237. Silver obol, SNG BnF 1933; SNGvA 5278; SNG Cop 246; BMC Lycia p. 259, 23 ff.; Klein 630; SGCV II 5478, EF, toned, weight 0.848 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 0o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), curly short hair, no protruding tongue; reverse head of Athena right in crested helmet, astragalos behind; ex Forum; $175.00 SALE |PRICE| $157.00


Kings of Bosporos, Polemo I, c. 14 - 9 B.C.

|Kingdom| |of| |Bosphoros|, |Kings| |of| |Bosporos,| |Polemo| |I,| |c.| |14| |-| |9| |B.C.|, |tetrachalkon|
The Bosporan Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch (it was not named after the Bosphorus beside Istanbul). The mixed population adopted Greek language and civilization. The prosperity of the kingdom was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The kingdom's golden age was 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. At the end of the 2nd century A.D., King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and expanded his state to include the entire Crimea. It was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, lasting until it was overrun by the Huns c. 375 A.D.
GB85937. Bronze tetrachalkon, Frolova-Ireland p. 52, pl. 33/1, pl. 34/1-5, MacDonald Bosporus 229, SNG Stancomb 961, Anokhin 256, HGC 7 347 (R2), RPC I -, SNG BM -, SNG Pushkin -, nice VF, bold strike, slightly off center, attractive near black patina with buff earthen highlighting, scratches, edge cracks, countermark, weight 9.295 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, c. 14 - 9 B.C.; obverse head of gorgon Medusa (or Perseus? - most references say a gorgon) right, winged, snakes (or drapery) around neck, obscure round countermark before; reverse monogram of Polemo I; very rare; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Amphipolis, Macedonia, c. 148 - 31 B.C.

|Amphipolis|, |Amphipolis,| |Macedonia,| |c.| |148| |-| |31| |B.C.|, |tetrachalkon|
Excavations of Roman Amphipolis have revealed traces of all the impressive architecture one would expect from a thriving Roman city. A bridge, gymnasium, public and private monuments, sanctuaries, and cemeteries all attest to the city's prosperity. From the early Christian period (after 500 CE) there are traces of four basilicas, a large rectangular building which may have been a bishop's residence, and a church. --
GB91465. Bronze tetrachalkon, SNG Cop 85, SNG ANS 147, BMC Macedonia -, HGC 3 -, VF, green patina, scratches, crude style, weight 13.246 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 30o, Amphipolis mint, c. 148 - 32/31 B.C.; obverse Winged gorgoneion facing slightly to right; reverse Athena Nikephoros standing half left, Nike in right hand, spear and grounded shield in left; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.

|Constantine| |II|, |Constantine| |II,| |22| |May| |337| |-| |March| |or| |April| |340| |A.D.|, |centenionalis|
Constantine II was about eight years old when this coin was minted. Here he is draped and cuirassed as a powerful child Caesar with the world in his hands!
SH63721. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 382 (R3) corr. (no cuirass), SRCV V 17155, Cohen VII 23, gVF, well centered on a tight flan, nice green patina, weight 2.868 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 322 - 323 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, mappa in left, head of Medusa on cuirass; reverse BEATA TRANQVILLITAS (blessed tranquility), altar inscribed VO/TIS / XX, surmounted by globe, three stars above, STR in exergue; rare; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Parion, Mysia, 5th Century B.C.

|Parium|, |Parion,| |Mysia,| |5th| |Century| |B.C.|, |drachm|
A Gorgoneion was a horror-creating apotropaic Gorgon head pendant. The name derives from the Greek word gorgs, which means "dreadful." The Gorgons were three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying face that turned those who saw it to stone. Stheno and Euryale were immortal, but their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by Perseus. Zeus, Athena, Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors wore Gorgoneion for protection. Images of the Gorgons were also put upon objects and buildings for protection. A Gorgon image is at the center of the pediment of the temple at Corfu, the oldest stone pediment in Greece from about 600 B.C.
GA91779. Silver drachm, SNG BnF 1351, SNG Cop 256, SNGvA -, BMC Mysia -, F, well centered on an irregularly shaped tight flan, high points not fully struck, die wear, lightly etched surfaces, weight 3.596 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, Parion (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 5th Century B.C.; obverse gorgoneion (facing head of Medusa), with protruding tongue; reverse disorganized linear pattern within incuse square; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

|Kamarina|, |Kamarina,| |Sicily,| |420| |-| |405| |B.C.|, |onkia|NEW
Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI93439. Bronze onkia, Westermark-Jenkins, type A, 177; Calciati III, p. 48, 4; BMC Sicily p. 40, 41; HGC 2 552 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, VF/aVF, green patina, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 1.053 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, die axis 270o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), smooth neat hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead, protruding tongue; reverse KAMA (upward on left), owl standing right on right leg, head facing, lizard with head down in left talon, A (control mark) right, one pellet (mark of value) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Amisos, Pontos, c. 85 - 65 B.C.

|Pontos|, |Amisos,| |Pontos,| |c.| |85| |-| |65| |B.C.|, |AE| |23|
Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB95405. Bronze AE 23, BMC Pontus p. 20, 72; SNG BM 1187 var. (different monogram right); SNG Stancomb 688 ff. var. (different monograms); SNG Cop 167 ff. var. (same), aVF, dark patina, flan adjustment marks, scattered tiny pits, weight 7.765 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 85 - 65 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right, holding palm frond across shoulders behind, AMI-ΣOY across field, ΩΠA monogram lower left, AMTE monogram lower right; ex Forum (2012), ex Beast Coins, ex Marcantica; $85.00 SALE |PRICE| $76.00




  



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