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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Olympians ▸ Hermes or MercuryView Options:  |  |  | 

Hermes or Mercury

Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.


Ainos, Thrace, c. 440 - 412 B.C.

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Aenus, Enez, Turkey today, was on the southeastern coast of Thrace, near the mouth of the Hebrus River, not far from the Melas Gulf (modern Gulf of Saros), which is formed by the Thracian Chersonesus to the east. The city was said to be founded (or at least settled) by Aeolian migrants from Lesbos. Its mythical and eponymous founder was said to be Aeneus, a son of the god Apollo and father of Cyzicus. Another mythical ruler, named Poltys, son of Poseidon, entertained Heracles when he came to Aenus. In the Iliad, Homer mentions that the leaders of Troy's Thracian allies, Acamas and Peiros, came from Aenus.
GS87868. Silver diobol, May Ainos 176 ff., AMNG II 303, SNG Cop 405, SNG Lockett 1164, Pozzi 1033, McClean 3892, VF, toned, well centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 1.133 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 90o, Ainos (Enez, Turkey) mint, c. 440 - 412 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse AIN, goat standing to right, coiled snake (control symbol) lower right, all withing incuse square; ex Pegasi Numismatics, ex Beast Coins; scarce; $260.00 (228.80)


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $140.00 (123.20)


Roman Republic, Anonymous (Corn-Ear and IC), c. 207 - 206 B.C., Overstruck on a Syracuse Bronze

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In 207 B.C., The Battle of the Metaurus, fought near the Metaurus River in Umbria, was a pivotal battle in the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians were led by Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal Barca. The Roman armies were led by the consuls Marcus Livius Salinator and Gaius Claudius Nero. The Carthaginian army was defeated and Hasdrubal was killed. This major Roman victory ended Hannibal's hopes for success in Italy.
RR88074. Bronze sextans, Russo RBW 294, Crawford 69/6b, Sydenham 310d, BMCRR Italy 280, SRCV I 1211; undertype: Calciati II 197, HGC 2 1550, VF, very unusual crude style, overstruck, weight 5.276 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 45o, Sicilian (probably Catania) mint, c. 207 - 206 B.C.; obverse head of Mercury right, wearing winged petasos, two pellets (mark of value) above; undertype: head of Poseidon left; reverse prow of galley right, grain ear above, IC(?) before, ROMA below, no mark of value; undertype: trident head; ; scarce; $105.00 (92.40)


Marathos, Phoenicia, 173 - 172 B.C.

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Marathos, the most northern coastal town in Phoenicia, was apparently under Ptolemaic hegemony when this coin was struck. The bust of Hermes is usually attributed to be also that of Ptolemy VI. Destroyed by its neighbor and rival Aradus, c. 145 B.C., Marathos was later rebuilt as a colony of Aradus.
GP73972. Bronze AE 21, Svoronos 1082 - 1085 (various controls); Duyrat Ateliers 252 - 261 (same); Cohen Dated 832; cf. HGC 10 194 (S); SNG Cop -; BMC Phoenicia -, F, black patina, rough, corrosion, weight 6.489 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Marathos (near Tartus, Syria) mint, 173 - 172 B.C.; obverse laureate and draped bust of Ptolemy VI as Hermes, kerykeion over shoulder; reverse Marathos standing left, apluster in right, Phoenician date IIIIIIINNNN (year 87) on left, Phoenician MRT (Marathos) right, Phoenician control letters low across field; $70.00 (61.60)


Aigai, Aiolis, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Aegae (or Aigai) means place of goats and was the name of many cities of antiquity. Aigai, Aiolis was also an important sanctuary of Apollo. It was within the Lydian Empire, then the Achaemenid Persian Empire, but had its brightest period under the Attalid dynasty, which ruled from nearby Pergamon in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. It changed hands from Pergamon to the Seleucid Empire, but was recaptured by Attalus I of Pergamon in 218 B.C. In the war between Bithynia and Pergamon, it was destroyed by Prusias II of Bithynia in 156 B.C. After a peace was brokered by the Romans, the city was compensated with 100 talents. In 129 B.C., the Kingdom of Pergamon became part of the Roman Empire. Aigai was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D. and received aid for reconstruction from Tiberius. The ruins are near the village of Yuntdagi Koseler in Manisa Province, Turkey.
GB85812. Bronze AE 16, Gorny & Mosch auction 160, lot 1477 (otherwise apparently unpublished); SNG Cop 14 var. (monograms); SNGvA -; SNG Mnchen -, BMC Troas -; Lindgren -, aVF, marks and scratches, encrustations, light corrosion, edge crack, weight 2.205 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 315o, Aiolis, Aigai (near Yuntdagi Koseler, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse draped bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse AIΓAEΩN, forepart of goat standing right, monograms (controls) above and right; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; extremely rare; $60.00 (52.80)


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 340 B.C.

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Trait III 894 says ΣI below and does not describe the AP in the exergue, but the plate appears to match our coin. The other referenced examples have only ΦE above the ram and nothing below on the reverse.

Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, the mythical birthplace Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for Hermes, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain, drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB85898. Bronze chalkous, Trait III 894 corr. & pl. CCXXV, 3; cf. BCD Peloponnesos 1603; SNG Cop 272; BMC Peloponnesus p. 193, 7, pl. 36, 5; Weber II 4320, F, rough, weight 2.162 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 370 - 340 B.C.; obverse head of young Hermes right, cloak tied tied around neck and petasos suspended by cord behind; reverse ram standing right, ΦE above, IΣ below ram, AP in exergue; ex Pecunem auction 33 (5 Jul 2015), part of lot 767, ex CNG, ex BCD Collection with his round tag; very rare; $45.00 (39.60)


Roman Republic, 211 - 158 B.C.

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Hermes, Mercury to the Romans, is the messenger of the gods. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of thieves and road travelers, of orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics, of weights and measures, of invention, of general commerce, and of the cunning of thieves and liars. His symbols include the tortoise, the rooster, the winged sandals, and the caduceus.
RR88437. Bronze sextans, aF, rough, weight 4.526 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain mint, 211 - 158 B.C.; obverse head of Mercury right, wearing winged petasos, two pellets (mark of value) above; reverse prow of galley right, ROMA above, two pellets (mark of value) before or below; $24.00 (21.12)







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Hermes or Mercury