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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ IsisView Options:  |  |  | 

Isis

Isis was an ancient Egyptian goddess of motherhood, magic, nature and fertility, worshiped as the ideal wife and mother. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden, and she listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats, and rulers. Worship of Isis spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, continuing until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era.


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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References disagree on the date of this type. Dates range from the rule of Hieron II beginning in 275 B.C. to the end of the 5th Republic in 212 B.C.
GS86619. Silver 2 1/2 litrae, SNG Cop 882, SNG ANS 903, SNG Mnchen 1439, HGC 2 420 (R2) corr., BMC Sicily -, VF, well centered, toned, light bumps and marks, ethnic weakly struck, weight 2.229 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 216 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIOI, Isis standing facing, looking up to heaven, veil billowing out behind around head, scroll in right hand, filleted palm frond in left hand, A upper right; very rare; $400.00 (340.00)


Melita, Malta, c. 150 - 146 B.C.

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Melite or Melita (present-day Mdina) Malta began as a Bronze Age settlement, which grew into the city Maleth under the Phoenicians, and became the administrative center of the island. The city fell to Rome in 218 B.C., and it remained part of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire until 870 A.D., when it was destroyed by the Aghlabids. The city was then rebuilt and renamed Medina, giving rise to the present name Mdina. It remained Malta's capital city until 1530. Only a few vestiges of the Punic-Roman city have survived. The most substantial are the ruins of the Domvs Romana, an aristocratic town house, in which a number of well-preserved mosaics and statues have been found. Sparse remains of other buildings and parts of the city walls have been excavated, but no visible remains of the city's numerous temples, churches, and other public buildings survive.
GI86525. Bronze AE 26, Calciati III p. 353, 7; SNG Cop VIII 463; SNG Dreer 607; Coleiro 3, F, red-black patina, reverse a little off center, light marks and corrosion, weight 12.228 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Melita (Mdina, Malta) mint, under Roman rule, c. 150 - 146 B.C.; obverse MEΛITAIΩN (clockwise on right), head of Isis (Coleiro says Astarte) left, wearing uraeus crown, composite of symbol of Tanit and caduceus in left field; reverse Osiris kneeling left on left knee, with four open wings, wearing double crown, short scepter in right hand, flail in left hand; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; very rare; $300.00 (255.00)


Byblos (Gebal), Phoenicia, 62 - 60 B.C.

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Byblos was strongly influenced by Egyptian art, culture and religion. In Egyptian myth, Byblos is where Isis found the body of her dead husband in the trunk of a tree which had grown around him after he was murdered by his brother Set. In Pharaonic times, Isis had nothing to do with the sea, and it was Hathor who protected sailors. The Greeks syncretized the two goddesses resulting in Isis Pelagia, mistress of the sea and protector of sailors.

Most recent studies conclude this type is dated to the Pompeian Era. Many older studies listed it as Actian Era, 28 - 27 B.C. RPC also notes the possibility that it is dated the third regnal year of Nero, 56 - 57 A.D.
GB87104. Bronze AE 25, Imhoof-Blumer MG p. 443, 23; Rouvier 670; SNG Righetti 2257; De Clercq p. 18 & pl. IV, 340; SNRIS Byblus 10 (7 spec.); RPC I -; Cohen DCA -, VF, overstruck, weight 8.395 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 45o, Byblos (Jbail, Lebanon) mint, 62 - 61 B.C. or 61 - 60 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse (Phoenician: of Gebal the Holy), Isis Pelagia standing right on a barge, wearing crown and long chiton, a sail swollen by the wind held under foot and with both hands, L - Γ (year 3 [Pompeian Era]) flanking head, large (Byblos monogram) behind; very rare; $250.00 (212.50)


Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius M.f. Cestianus, 67 B.C.

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This issue was struck by Cestianus while serving as curule aedile by special decree of the Senate. Cestianus had also issued coins as moneyer two years before. Grueber and Sydenham identify the goddess as Vacuna.
RR87415. Silver denarius, Crawford 409/1, Sydenham 809, RSC I Plaetoria 4, SRCV I 349, RBW Collection 1482, BMCRR I Rome 3596, Choice gVF, well centered, attractive style, light tone, some die wear, round flan with a slightly ragged edge , weight 3.95 g, maximum diameter 19 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 67 B.C. 57 BC; obverse CESTIANVS S C, bust of female deity to right, draped and wearing the helmet of Minerva, the laurel wreath of Apollo, the crown of Isis, the grain of Demeter, the wings of Victory and the bow and quiver of Diana on her back, cornucopia before, bead and reel border; reverse M PLAETORIVS M F AED CVR, eagle standing half-right on thunderbolt, head left, wings open, bead and reel border; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 341; $240.00 (204.00) ON RESERVE


Iol-Caesarea, Mauretania, North Africa, c. 25 B.C. - 24 A.D.

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Phoenicians from Carthage founded Iol as a trading station around 400 B.C. It became a part of the kingdom of Numidia under Jugurtha, c. 160 - 104 B.C. In 29 B.C., Roman emperor Augustus made the Numidian King Juba II and his wife Cleopatra Selene II (daughter of Marc Antony and Cleopatra of Egypt) king and queen of Mauretania. The capital was established at Iol, which was renamed Caesarea in honor of the emperor.
GB85358. Bronze 1/4 Unit, Alexandropoulos MAA 147; Falbe-Lindberg III, p. 177, 290 (uncertain mint); SNG Cop 684 var. (kerykeion obv. left), F, dark green patina, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 2.102 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 270o, Iol-Caesarea (Cherchell, Algeria) mint, c. 25 B.C. - 24 A.D.; obverse head of Isis left, wearing vulture crown and horned solar-disk headdress; reverse three ears of barley; extremely rare; $140.00 (119.00)


Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Isis was an Egyptian goddess, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshiped as the ideal mother, wife, matron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, the downtrodden, as well as listening to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers. Isis is the Goddess of motherhood and fertility.
RX87470. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari-Savio 4495; Kampmann-Ganschow 64.96; SNG Milan 1550; Geissen 2535 var. (obv. legend); Emmett 3211/12 (R4); SNG Hunt -, SNG Cop -, VF, well centered and struck, rough corrosion/porosity, edge cracks, weight 12.540 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 28 Aug 232 - 29 Aug 233 AD; obverse IOV MAMAIA CEB MHTE CEB K CTP, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse draped bust of Isis right, wearing crown of solar disk and plumes, L IB (year 12 of Severus Alexander) in left field, drapery knotted on left shoulder, upright palm frond before; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 41 (2 Dec 2017), lot 5; rare; $140.00 (119.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy VI Philometor, 180 - 145 B.C., Cleopatra I Thea as Regent

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The references given attribute this rare type to Ptolemy V. In Faucher, T. & C. Lorber, "Bronze Coinage of Ptolemaic Egypt in the Second Century BC" in AJN 22 (2010), pp. 35-84, this type is missing (overlooked?) from the identified series. Of this type they only note, "The Tebtunis hoard of 1900 (IGCH 1705) contained 104 specimens of Sv. 1426/27 together with two of Sv. 1237 and one issue of Cyrene (Sv. 1158), but not a single coin from Series 7." and "We can cite no other instances in which Sv. 1237 is associated with Sv. 1426/27." Dan Wolf suggests Ptolemy VI is most probable based on existing evidence.
GP87400. Bronze tetrobol, Svoronos 1237 (7 spec.); SNG Cop 253; SNG Milan 296, Malter 186, Hosking -, BMC Ptolemies -, Weiser -, Noeske -, F/aF, burgundy patina, earthen deposits, bumps, scratches, central dimples, weight 4.944 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 180 - 176 B.C.; obverse head of (Cleopatra I as) Isis right, wearing barley wreath, hair in long spiral curls down her neck; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, no control mark; very rare; $100.00 (85.00)


Syracuse, Sicily, Roman Rule, c. 212 - 133 B.C.

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This type was perhaps the last pseudo-autonomous issue of Syracuse.
RP79995. Bronze AE 19, Calciati II p. 434, 240/9 (same obverse die), SNG Morcom 838, SNG ANS 1099, SNG Munchen 1483, Fine/Fair, obv off-center, ragged flan, weight 4.933 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 345o, Syracuse mint, c. 212 - 133 B.C.; obverse diademed, bearded male (Serapis, Poseidon or Zeus) head right; reverse ΣYPAKOCIΩN, female (Isis?) standing left, wreath (or sistrum?) in right, long scepter vertical behind in left; ex Forum (2011); scarce; $70.00 (59.50)


Katane, Sicily, c. 216 - 206 B.C.

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As observed by Strabo the location of Katane at the foot of Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily was both a source of benefits and of evils. On the one hand, the violent outbursts of the volcano from time to time desolated great parts of the city's territory. On the other, the volcanic ashes produced fertile soil, especially suitable for the growth of vines. (Strab. vi. p. 269.).
GI85823. Bronze chalkous, Calciati III p. 109, 23; SNG ANS 1275; HGC 2 627 (R2), F, dark blue-green patina, obverse a little off center, weight 1.369 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, die axis 135o, Katane mint, c. 216/5 - 206 B.C.; obverse jugate busts right of Serapis (nearer), laureate and wearing atef crown, and Isis, wearing her crown with horns, orb, and plumes; reverse KATA-NAIΩN (starting upward on left, ending upward on right), two ears of barley, with leaves; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; very rare; $60.00 (51.00)







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Isis