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

Lizards on Ancient Coins

Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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A Gorgoneion was a horror-creating apotropaic Gorgon head pendant. The name derives from the Greek word gorgůs, 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.
GI86192. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins, type E, 194; Calciati III p. 55, 20; SNG ANS 1226; HGC 2 547 (S); BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -, EF, dark patina, some roughness, tight flan, weight 3.573 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 150o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) with radiating locks, fierce expression, knitted eyebrows, no hairband, chubby cheeks; reverse KAMA (downward on right), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, grasping lizard with head down in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; scarce; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00


Eion, Macedonia, c. 460 - 400 B.C.

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Eion was only about three miles from Amphipolis and from the late 5th century onwards served merely as a seaport of its much larger neighbor. The denomination is variously described as a diobol or trihemiobol. The significance of the obverse type is not clear, but presumably makes reference to the characteristic fauna of the region at that time.
GA85755. Silver trihemiobol, SNG ANS 281, SNG Berry 29, Klein 151, BMC Macedonia p. 75, 21, SNG Cop 180 corr. (says H below, none on plate); HGC 3.1 521, VF, well centered on a broad flan, etched and porous surfaces, edge cracks, weight 0.882 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 0o, Eion mint, c. 460 - 400 B.C.; obverse goose standing right, looking back, lizard above, no control letter; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GI65649. Bronze onkia, Westermark-Jenkins, type A, 182.5; Calciati vol III, p. 48, 4/1; SNG Munchen 414; BMC Sicily p. 40, 41; HGC 2 552 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, VF, nice green patina, weight 1.179 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), smooth neat hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead, protruding tongue; reverse KAMA (upward on left), owl standing right on right leg, head facing, lizard with head down in left talon, one pellet (mark of value) in exergue, A (control mark) right; $45.00 SALE PRICE $40.50







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Catalog current as of Monday, February 19, 2018.
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