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

Medusa, Gorgoneion & Perseus on Ancient Coins

Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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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.
GB91194. Bronze onkia, Calciati III, p. 56, 21.3 (same dies); Westermark-Jenkins, type F, 195.6; SNG Mn 410; BMC Sicily p. 40, 38; McClean 2159; Weber 1255; SNG HGC 2 547, VF, well centered, green patina with red-brown areas, buff earthen deposits, weight 3.513 g, maximum diameter 15.2 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, one pellet (mark of value) in exergue, no control marks, KAMA downward on right; scarce; $220.00 (193.60)


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

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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; $160.00 (140.80)


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

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Next to the Yesilirmak river (ancient Iris), 9 km from the town of Tokat (ancient Dazimon), A mound rising on a natural hill is believe to be the site of Komana Pontike. It is largely unexcavated and it is still uncertain if it was a city or a sanctuary.
GB89145. Bronze AE 22, cf. BMC Pontus p. 28, 2; SNG BM 1262; Rec Gen p. 79, 4; SGCV II 3657, gVF, attractive toned brassy metal, weight 7.106 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Komana mint, c. 120 - 63 B.C.; obverse Aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right holding palm across shoulder, KOMA-NΩN divided across field, monograms (controls lower left and lower right; $150.00 (132.00)


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

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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; $100.00 (88.00)


Selinous, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.

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Selinus was once one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians attacked with a vast army believed to include at least 100,000 men. Selinus, with a population of about 30,000 excluding slaves, was unprepared and an auxiliary force promised by Syracuse, Agrigentum and Gela did not arrive. The Selinuntines defended themselves with courage, and after the walls were breached, continued to fight from house to house. After tens days the city fell. Of the citizens, 16,000 were slain and 5,000 made prisoners, but more than 2,600 escaped to Agrigento.
GI83626. Cast bronze cast trias, Calciati I p. 233, 2; SNG Morcom 666; HGC 2 1231 (R1); BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Mnchen -; SNG Tb -, aF, green patina, weight 14.308 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); with teeth displayed, four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; reverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), with protruding tongue; four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; ex CNG e-auction 285 (22 Aug 2012), lot 14; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; rare; $100.00 (88.00)


Neapolis, Macedonia, c. 375 - 350 B.C.

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Neapolis, Macedonia (Kavala, Greece today), was founded by settlers from Thasos near the end of the 7th century B.C., to exploit the rich gold and silver mines of the area. At the end of the 6th century B.C. Neapolis ("new city" in Greek) claimed its independence from Thasos and struck its own silver coins with the head of Gorgon. A member of the Athenian League, Neapolis was besieged by the allied armies of the Spartans and the Thasians in 411 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War, but remained faithful to Athens. The Apostle Paul landed at Neapolis on his second and third missionary journeys.
GS91494. Silver hemidrachm, SNG ANS 444; SNG Cop 227; SNG Berry 41; BMC Macedonia p. 85, 17; HGC 3.1 588, VF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, holed in ancient times, edge chipped at hole, scratches and marks, etched surfaces, weight 1.654 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Neapolis mint, c. 375 - 350 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) tongue protruding; reverse N−E−O−Π (clockwise from upper left), diademed female (nymph?) head right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection ; $100.00 (88.00)


Neapolis, Macedonia, c. 525 - 480 B.C.

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Neapolis, Macedonia (Kavala, Greece today), was founded by settlers from Thasos near the end of the 7th century B.C., to exploit the rich gold and silver mines of the area. At the end of the 6th century B.C. Neapolis ("new city" in Greek) claimed its independence from Thasos and struck its own silver coins with the head of Gorgon. A member of the Athenian League, Neapolis was besieged by the allied armies of the Spartans and the Thasians in 411 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War, but remained faithful to Athens. The Apostle Paul landed at Neapolis on his second and third missionary journeys.
GA89340. Silver obol, SNG ANS 424; Rosen 106; Klein 155; BMC Macedonia p. 84, 13; HGC 3 585; SNG Cop -, VF, rough, scratches, etched, lamination defects, weight 1.090 g, maximum diameter 9.2 mm, Macedonia, Neapolis mint, c. 525 - 480 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); reverse rough incuse; $90.00 (79.20)


Amisos, Pontos, c. 105 - 85 B.C.

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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.
GB91473. Bronze AE 21, cf. SNG BM 1177 ff.; BMC Pontus p. 19, 69 ff.; HGC 7 242 (various controls), VF, nice patina, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 7.498 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 105 - 85 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right, holding palm frond across shoulders behind, AMI−ΣOY divided across field, monogram (control) lower right; $80.00 (70.40)


Sinope, Paphlagonia, c. 105 - 85 B.C.

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Long used as a Hittite port, Sinope was re-founded as a Greek colony by Miletus in the 7th century B.C. Sinope flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. The city escaped Persian domination until the early 4th century B.C. In 183 B.C. it was captured by Pharnaces I and became the capital of the kingdom of Pontus. Lucullus conquered Sinope for Rome in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47 B.C. It remained with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines). It was a part of the Empire of Trebizond from the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 until the capture of the city by the Seljuk Turks of Rm in 1214.
GB89151. Bronze AE 24, SSNG BM 1536; BMC Pontus p. 100, 47 var. (M); SNG Stancomb 800 var. (ME monogram); SNG Cop 309 var. (monogram); HGC 7 419; SNGvA -, aVF, obverse off center, weight 7.886 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sinope (Sinop, Turkey) mint, c. 105 - 85 B.C.; obverse Aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike flying right, palm frond over shoulder in both hands, ΣIN−ΩΠHΣ divided across field, monogram lower right; $50.00 (44.00)


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

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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.
GB91908. Bronze AE 20, SNG Cop 167 (no controls); cf. BMC Pontus p. 20, 69 ff.; SNG Stancomb 687 ff.; SNG BM 1177 ff.; Rec Gn I 44; HGC 7 242 (all cf. with controls), aVF, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 8.479 g, maximum diameter 19.8 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 in both hands across shoulders behind head, AMI−ΣOY divided across field at center; $50.00 (44.00)




  



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Medusa & Gorgoneion