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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ ChimeraView Options:  |  |  | 

Chimera on Ancient Coins

The Chimera or Chimaera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing female creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of multiple animals: upon the body of a lioness with a tail that ended in a snake's head, the head of a goat arose on her back at the center of her spine. The Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term chimera has also come to mean, more generally, an impossible or foolish fantasy, hard to believe.


Anatolia (Lycia?), 5th Century B.C.

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Although unlisted in the major references, a similar hemidrachm type was first published by 1897. Six obols of this type, including this coin, are listed on Coin Archives having been offered at auction in the last two decades.

The chimera was, according to Greek mythology, a monstrous fire-breathing creature of Lycia, composed of the parts of three animals - a lion, a snake, and a goat or stag. Usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ending with a snake's head, the Chimera was one of the offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra. The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything perceived as wildly imaginative or implausible.
GS87477. Silver obol, 6 specimens known from auctions, otherwise unpublished; cf. Boston MFA 2325 (hemidrachm), Greenwell 1897, p. 281, 2 (= Boston MFA 2325), VF, well centered, toned, lightly etched surfaces, bumps and scratches, die wear, weight 0.662 g, maximum diameter 7.8 mm, die axis 270o, uncertain (Lycian?) mint, 5th century B.C.; obverse chimera standing (right?) with heads of a lion (in center with looking left), stag, and serpent, joined on one quadruped body at the center and radiating outward; reverse gorgoneion (facing head of Medusa), snaky locks, tongue protruding, within incuse square; ex Numismatic Naumann, auction 62 (4 Feb 2018), lot 127; extremely rare; $280.00 (Ä238.00)


Sikyon, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 334 - 330 B.C.

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Sikyon was located in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea. Sicyon was known in antiquity for its industries including wood sculpture, bronze work, and pottery. Its central location meant it was frequently involved in the wars of its neighbors, Thebes, Corinth, Athens and Sparta.
SH64029. Silver stater, BCD Peloponnesos 218 (same obverse die); Traitť 776; BMC Peloponnesus p. 40, 57, aEF, weight 11.740 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 225o, Sikyon mint, c. late 330s B.C.; obverse chimera advancing left, paw raised, wreath above, ΣE below; reverse dove flying left, N left, all within olive wreath; ex Helios Numismatik auction 7 (12 Dec 2011), lot 374; SOLD


Sikyon, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 335 - 330 B.C.

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Sikyon was located in the northern Peloponnesos between Corinth and Achaea. Sicyon was known in antiquity for its industries including wood sculpture, bronze work, and pottery. Its central location meant it was frequently involved in the wars of its neighbors, Thebes, Corinth, Athens and Sparta.
SH79677. Silver stater, BCD Peloponnesos 218; SNG Cop 48; Traitť III 776; BMC Peloponnesus p. 40, 57; HGC 5 201, gVF, well centered, toned, light marks areas of porosity, weight 12.150 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, Sikyon mint, c. 335 - 330 B.C.; obverse chimera advancing left on exergue line, right fore-paw raised, wreath above, ΣE below; reverse dove flying left, N left, all within olive wreath tied on right; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 5 (7 Jul 2013), lot 101; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Thursday, December 13, 2018.
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Chimera