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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)
RS85086. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice near Mint State, well centered and struck, lustrous, very light rose-gold toning, some light marks and deposits, weight 3.606 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVIF, bare head right, dot border; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMPX in exergue, linear border; $2500.00 SALE PRICE $2250.00


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)
SH85057. Silver denarius, RIC I 167b, BMCRE I 455, RSC I 139, BnF I 1386, Hunter I 197 var. (head right), SRCV I 1610 var. (same), aEF, attractive dark toning, nice style, flat area near temple, weight 3.868 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVIF, bare head left, border of dots; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMPX in exergue, linear border; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 245, lot 1561; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00


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


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; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 440 - 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 and cap, 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.
GS73422. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 46, BCD Thessaly II 171, HGC 4 418 (S), BCD Thessaly I -, VF, well centered, obverse die wear, scrape on obverse, porous, weight 5.925 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 440 - 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 tied around neck flying behind; reverse ΛAP/IΣAI, bridled horse galloping right, all in incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his round tag noting, "T/ne ex Thess., Feb. 87, 26500 drs."; scarce; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00


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.
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, 45.-"; scarce; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Kings of Paphlagonia, Pylaimenes Euergetes, c. 140 - 89 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, Pylaemenes was the king of the Eneti tribe of Paphlagonia (a much earlier king, not the king named on this coin). He claimed to be related to Priam through Phineus, as the latter's daughter Olizone was married to Dardanus. He led his Paphlagonian forces to the Trojan War, as a Trojan ally. Pylaemenes was killed in battle by Menelaus of Sparta. He had a son named Harpalion who was killed by Meriones, son of Molus.

The King Pylaemenes Euergetes named on this coin may have been Pylaimenes II (ruled c. 140 - 130 B.C.), who bequeathed his kingdom to Pontus, or Pylaimenes III (ruled c. 108 - 89 B.C.), a son of Nicomedes III, King of Bithynia. The kerykeion symbolized peace and alliance and perhaps indicated that Pylaimenes III desired close relations with Rome.
GB77131. Bronze AE 18, SNG BM 1555; SNGvA 150; Rec Gen I, p. 127 and pl. XVII, 3; BMC Pontus p. 103, 2 and pl. XXIII, 12; SNG Cop -; BMC Stancomb -, VF, well struck, green patina, a little rough, weight 3.905 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, c. 140 - 89 B.C.; obverse head of bull facing; reverse winged kerykeion, BAΣIΛEΩΣ − ΠYΛAIMENOY / EΨEPΓEOY in three downward lines, the first line on the right, concave field; rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

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Durrs, one of the oldest cities in Albania, was founded as Epidamnos in 627 B.C. by colonists from Corinth and Corcyra. Located around a rocky harbor, surrounded by inland swamps and high cliffs, the city was difficult to attack from land or sea. After its defeat to Rome in 229 B.C., the new rulers renamed the city Dyrrachium. Epidamnos is similar to the Latin damnum, meaning "loss." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," likely referring to the nearby cliffs. Dyrrachium prospered under Rome and was made a naval and military base. Pompey made a stand there in 48 B.C. before fleeing south to Greece. Augustus made the city a colony for veterans of his legions following the Battle of Actium, proclaiming it a civitas libera (free town).
GS12075. Silver drachm, Ceka 374; BMC Thessaly p. 73, 118; SNG Munchen 433; SNG Cop -, VF, obverse slightly off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Dyrrhachium (Durrs, Albania) mint, 229 - 100 B.C.; obverse ΠEPIΓENHΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, head of Isis right above, grain over cluster of grapes right; reverse ∆YP − ΦA−NIΣ−KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square; rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00




  



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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 Thursday, July 20, 2017.
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