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Birds on Ancient Coins

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RB82751. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 771(f), BMCRE III 1534, Cohen II 1035, SRCV II 3616 var. (laureate head), Hunter II 547 (draped, head bare), VF, well centered on a tight flan, dark green patina, some light corrosion, weight 25.535 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVG (piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, head left, praying with hands upraised, altar to left; stork to right, S - C (senatus consulto) across fields; $420.00 (Ä357.00)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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As Trajan's army advanced victoriously through Mesopotamia, Jewish rebels in its rear began attacking the small garrisons left behind. A revolt spread from Cyrenaica to Egypt, then Cyprus and Judea. The uprising threatened grain supply from Egypt to the front. The Jewish insurrection swiftly spread to the recently conquered provinces. Cities with substantial Jewish populations, Nisibis, Edessa, Seleucia, Arbela, joined the rebellion and slaughtered their small Roman garrisons. Alexandria was abandoned by the Roman governor, Marcus Rutilius Lupus (which might explain the rarity of this type). Jewish rebels set fire to it and destroyed the Egyptian temples and the tomb of Pompey. Rebels reportedly prevailed in a battle at Hermopolis in 116, as indicated in a papyrus. It took until autumn 117 to pacify the last of the rebels in Egypt and Cyrenaici. The Roman general charged with putting down the rebellion was Lusius Quietus. The name of the rebellion, "Kitos War," is derived from the corruption of his nomen, Quietus.
RX88079. Bronze dichalkon, Geissen 671, Kampmann-Ganschow 27.617, Emmett 709.18 (R5), Dattari-Savio 7334 (date obscure), BMC Alexandria -, F, weight 0.892 g, maximum diameter 12.5 mm, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 114 - 28 Aug 115; obverse laureate head of Trajan right, anepigraphic; reverse ibis standing right, LIH (year 18) above; ex Lindgren; very rare; $50.00 (Ä42.50)


Ionia, c. 600 - 550 B.C.

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In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women's heads, bird feathers, and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps. Later Sirens were sometimes depicted as beautiful women, whose bodies, not only their voices, were seductive.
SH84464. Electrum hemihekte, Unpublished in major references; Naville auction VII (1924), Bement Collection, lot 1435; CNG, Triton XI (8 Jan 2008), lot 253, aEF, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 1.367 g, maximum diameter 8.8 mm, Ionia, uncertain mint, c. 600 - 550 B.C.; obverse siren standing left; reverse incuse square punch; ex Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 92, part 2 (24 May 2016), lot 1476; this type is not published in the major references but many examples are known from auctions; rare; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Thursday, December 13, 2018.
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