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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ Bull or CowView Options:  |  |  |   

Cattle on Ancient Coins

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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Strabo wrote, "The Romans possess Lugdunum, founded below a ridge at the confluence of the Arar and the Rhone. It is the most populous of all the other cities except Narbo; for it is a center of commerce, and the Roman emperors strike their silver and gold coinage there." (4.3.2)

SH85701. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice EF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, dark toning, light marks, slightest porosity, weight 3.630 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVIēF, bare head right, dot border; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMPēX in exergue, linear border; $2000.00 (Ä1700.00)


Eryx, Sicily, c. 344 - 339 B.C.

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Eryx was founded by Elymians on the summit of a mountain in northwest Sicily, about 10 km from Drepana (modern Trapani), and 3 km from the sea-coast, at the site of modern Erice. The Elymians maintained friendly relations and alliances with Carthage and came into frequent conflict with the Greeks. In 397 B.C., however, Eryx joined Dionysius I of Syracuse. It was speedily recovered by Himilco the following year. It again fell into the hands of Dionysius shortly before his death in 367 B.C., but was soon recovered by the Carthaginians, and probably was subject to their rule until the expedition of Pyrrhus in 278 B.C.
GS84640. Silver litra, Campana CNAI 47; Jenkins I pl. 24, 24; SNG ANS 1348; Jameson 1894; Winterthur 630; HGC 2 324 (????) corr. (male head/man-faced bull); SNG Cop -, VF, toned, tight flan, obverse slightly off center, weight 0.567 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 270o, Eryx (Erice, Sicily) mint, Punic rule, c. 344 - 339 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hair in a bun at the crown, wearing triple-pendant earring and necklace; reverse bull standing left, Punic "RK" above; from the Nicholas Molinari Collection; very rare; $765.00 SALE PRICE $689.00


Kephaloidion, Sicily, c. 307 - 289 B.C.

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Kephaloidoion, on Cape Cefalu, was under the influence of nearby Himera until c. 405 B.C. In 396 B.C., the town allied with General Himilco of Carthage against Dionysos of Syracuse but was defeated. Agathocles besieged and conquered the city in 307 B.C. Kephaloidion was again allied with Carthage at the beginning of the First Punic War but the citizens opened the gates when the Roman fleet appeared off the shore in 254 B.C. The city faded but survived at least into the second century A.D.
GI76952. Bronze AE 17, Calciati I, p. 371, 1; HGC 2 649 (R2); SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Tub -, VF, green patina, light marks, reverse off center, weight 4.367 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, die axis 135o, Kephaloidion (Cefalu, Sicily) mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C. (references vary greatly); obverse KEΦAΛOI∆I, Herakles head right, wearing Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse bull butting right, club above, linear border; very rare; $450.00 SALE PRICE $405.00


Gela, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Gela, named after the river Gela, was founded by colonists from Rhodos and Crete around 688 B.C. In 424 B.C., the Congress of Gela established a "Sicily for the Sicilians" platform and formed a league that pushed back the Athenian attempt to conquer the island. The city had a history of internal strife between its plebs and aristocrats. When the Carthaginians arrived in 311 BC, they easily captured the Gela with the help of its elites. In 282 B.C., Phintias of Agrigento ruthlessly destroyed Gela to crush its power forever. In Roman times it was only a small settlement.
SH76948. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 17, 32/1; Jenkins Gela 516; SNG ANS 115; SNG Cop 283; SNG Munchen 314; BMC Sicily, p. 73, 66; HGC 2 379 (S), gVF, well centered on a broad flan, nice green patina, light marks and corrosion, weight 3.408 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 90o, Gela mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse bull standing left, head lowered and turned slightly facing, barley kernel over ΓEΛAΣ above, three pellets in exergue; reverse horned head of beardless young river-god Gela right, no diadem, floating hair, barley kernel behind; scarce; $290.00 SALE PRICE $261.00


Thurium (Thurioi), Lucania, Italy, c. 410 - 350 B.C.

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Nearly 70 years after Sybaris was destroyed by the Crotoniats, a new colony was founded on the site on the Gulf of Taranto. Soon after, on the advice of an oracle, the settlers moved a short distance away near a fountain named Thuria, after which the new city was named.
SL85594. Silver nomos, HN Italy 1791c, SNG ANS 1041, SNG Cop 1442, SNG ANS 1028, SNG MŁnchen 1196, BMC Italy -, NGC VF, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (3987747-003), weight 7.67 g, maximum diameter 22 mm, die axis 180o, Thourioi mint, c. 410 - 350 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing necklace and crested Athenian helmet decorated with Skylla holding trident in right hand, rudder over shoulder in left hand; reverse ΘOYPIΩN, bull butting right, lashing tail, head lowered, HP monogram above, tunny fish right below; NGC certified (slabbed); ex Heritage auction 231729, lot 63004; $285.00 SALE PRICE $257.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
SH73402. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 46, BCD Thessaly II 171, HGC 4 418 (S), BCD Thessaly I -, F, etched surfaces, weight 5.260 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both right, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos flying loose in the air behind him; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAP/IΣAI in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "V. ex. Thess., June 2009, Ä45.-"; scarce; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73408. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, etched surfaces, porous, weight 5.509 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex. Sotheby's 7 March 96, lot 252 (part), the lot of 9 AR + 49 AE for £550 +%."; scarce; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


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; $190.00 SALE PRICE $171.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73424. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 52, SNG Munchen 49, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, off-center, uneven strike, die wear, weight 6.075 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 315o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Thessaly Z hd. early '85."; scarce; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for £130.-"; scarce; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00




  



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REFERENCES

Molinari, N.J. & N. Sisci. Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity. (Oxford, 2016).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 17, 2017.
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