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Crabs, Lobsters, Crayfish, and Shrimp on Ancient Coins
Apollonia Pontika, Thrace, c. 480 - 450 B.C.
A gorgoneion was a horror-creating apotropaic Gorgon head pendant. The name derives from the Greek word gorgós, 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. GS91395. Silver drachm, Topalov Apollonia p. 586, 41; SNG BM 153; SNG Cop 454; SGCV I 1655; HGC 3.2 1323, VF, desirable early archaic type, toned, light marks, reverse die wear, typical ragged flan, weight 3.201 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 135o, Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol, Bulgaria) mint, c. 480/478 - 450 B.C.; obverse anchor flukes up, curved stock, crayfish left, A right; reverse archaic Ionian style gorgoneion (facing head of Medusa), snakes for hair, large open mouth, visible teeth, long protruding tongue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $200.00 (€176.00)
Priapus, Mysia, 3rd Century B.C.
Palinurus Elephas is a spiny lobster, which is commonly caught in the Mediterranean Sea. Its common names include European spiny lobster, crayfish or cray (in Ireland), common spiny lobster, Mediterranean lobster and red lobster. Claws are much smaller than those of the American lobsters.GB76833. Bronze AE 19, cf. BMC Mysia p. 176, 3 - 5; SNG Cop 548; SNGvA 1435; SNG Tüb 2499; SNG BnF 2401 - 2402, F, centered on a tight flan, green patina, earthen encrustation, pin-prick pitting, weight 5.014 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 90o, Priapus (Karabiga, Turkey) mint, 3rd century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse ΠPIAΠHNΩN, lobster or crayfish right, control symbol below (off flan); rare; $85.00 (€74.80)
Motya, Sicily, c. 409 - 397 B.C.
Motya was an ancient and powerful city on an island off the west coast of Sicily, between Drepanum (modern Trapani) and Lilybaeum (modern Marsala). The island was renamed San Pantaleo in the 11th century by Basilian monks. It lies in the Stagnone Lagoon, and is within the comune of Marsala. The island is nearly 850 metres (2,790 ft) long and 750 metres (2,460 ft) wide, and about 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) (six stadia) from the mainland of Sicily. It was joined to the mainland in ancient times by an artificial causeway (paved road), by which chariots with large wheels could reach the town. The remarkable and exquisite Motya Charioteer marble sculpture found in 1979 is world famous and is on display at the local Giuseppe Whitaker museum. GI85822. Bronze onkia, Jenkins Punic pl. 23, 14; Campana 30; CNS 10 (Eryx); HGC 2 947, F, green patina, tight flan, weight 1.690 g, maximum diameter 10.6 mm, die axis 0o, Motya mint, c. 409-397 BC; obverse bearded male head right; reverse crab seen from above; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $60.00 (€52.80)
Priapus, Mysia, 3rd Century B.C.
Palinurus Elephas is a spiny lobster, which is commonly caught in the Mediterranean Sea. Its common names include European spiny lobster, crayfish or cray (in Ireland), common spiny lobster, Mediterranean lobster and red lobster. Claws are much smaller than those of the American lobsters.GB84157. Bronze AE 19, cf. BMC Mysia p. 176, 3 - 5; SNG Cop 548; SNGvA 1435; SNG Tüb 2499; SNG BnF 2401 - 2402, aF, well centered, rough, weight 4.392 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 90o, Priapus (Karabiga, Turkey) mint, 3rd century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse ΠPIAΠHNΩN, lobster or crayfish right, uncertain control symbol below; rare; $50.00 (€44.00)
Akragas, Sicily, c. 425 - 406 B.C.
Akragas was founded early in the 6th century by colonists from Gela. It was second only to Syracuse in importance on Sicily but was sacked by the Carthaginians in 406 B.C. It was renamed Agrigentum after it fell to Rome in 210 B.C. GI89172. Bronze tetras, Calciati I p. 181 ff., 55; SNG Cop 77; SNG ANS 1045; SNG München 133; SNG Morcom 523; HGC 2 140, aF, weight 8.356 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 180o, Akragas (Agrigento, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 425 - 406 B.C.; obverse AKPA, eagle standing right, wings open, head down, hare in its talons; reverse crab seen from above, three pellets over crayfish left below; ex CNG; $40.00 (€35.20)