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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Centaur||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins Depicting Centaurs

In Greek mythology, the centaurs are a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse. This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron. Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

|Gallienus|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.||antoninianus|
This type commemorates vows made to Apollo invoking his protection against the revolt of Aureolus. During the siege of Milan, at a late hour but while he was still lingering with pleasures of the table, a false alarm was suddenly given, reporting that Aureolus, at the head of all his forces, had made a desperate sally from the town. Gallienus, who was never deficient in personal bravery, started from his silken couch, and without allowing himself time either to put on his armor or to assemble his guards, he mounted on horseback and rode full speed towards the supposed place of the attack. There he was ambushed by enemies from among his own officers. Amidst the nocturnal tumult, he received a mortal wound from an uncertain hand. Perhaps his request to Apollo was too specific and asked only for protection from Aureolus?

The centaur Chiron as the tutor of Apollo and the first to teach him the medicinal use of herbs.
RA76507. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 735b(1), RIC V-1 S163, RSC IV 72, Hunter IV S95, SRCV III 10177, Choice aEF, well centered on a broad round flan, flan crack, porosity, weight 3.715 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, 7th officina, Rome mint, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), centaur Chiron walking right drawing bow, Z in exergue; ex Forum (2007); SOLD

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Singara, Mesopotamia

|Roman| |Mesopotamia|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Singara,| |Mesopotamia||AE| |25|
In 242 A.D., Gordian III, along with his praetorian prefect and father-in-law Timesitheus, began a campaign against the Sasanian king, Shahpur I. After freeing Syria, a decisive battle secured all of Mesopotamia, including Singara and Nisibis. But after Timesitheus died in 243 the Roman advance stalled and they suffered a major defeat. In February 244, Gordian died and Philip was proclaimed emperor. Philip negotiated a truce in order to return to Rome for his Senate confirmation.
RP40032. Bronze AE 25, BMC Arabia 1, VF, weight 10.682 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, Singara mint, 242 - Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOΠ∆IANOC CEB, radiate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse AYP CEΠ KOΛCINΓAPA, turreted bust of Tyche right, Centaur Sagittarius above; scarce; SOLD

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Rhesaena, Mesopotamia

|Roman| |Mesopotamia|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Rhesaena,| |Mesopotamia||AE| |19|
Rhesaena, in the Roman province Mesopotamia Secunda, became a colony during the reign of Septimius Severus, when the Legio III Parthica was settled there. Rhesaena was an important town in the far north of Mesopotamia, on the way from Carrhae to Nicephorium, about eighty miles from Nisibis and forty from Dara, near the sources of the Chaboras (Khabur) River. Today, it is Ra's al-'Ayn, Syria. Gordian III fought the Persians nearby in 243, at the battle of Resaena. The Notitia dignitatum (ed. Boecking, I, 400) lists it under the jurisdiction of the Dux of Osrhoene. Hierocles (Synecdemus, 714, 3) also locates it in Osrhoene but it was renamed Theodosiopolis. It was fortified by Justinian. In 1393, it was nearly destroyed by Tamerlane's troops.
RP58430. Bronze AE 19, BMC Arabia p. 126, 9, SNG Cop -, aVF, edge chip, weight 3.846 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rhesaena (Ra's al-'Ayn, Syria) mint, obverse ... AΛEΞAN∆PO..., laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse Centaur Sagittarius standing right, vexillum inscribed LEG / III before him, ∆ below; rare; SOLD


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