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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Birds ▸ Raven or CrowView Options:  |  |  | 

Ravens and Crows on Ancient Coins

Apollo's lover Coronis was pregnant with his child, Asclepius. A white raven (or crow) which he had left to watch her informed him that she had an affair. Angered that the bird had not pecked out her lover's eyes, Apollo flung a curse scorching its feathers, which is why all ravens (or crows) are black today. Apollo also had Coronis killed but saved his child.


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

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Apollo's most famous attribute is the tripod, the symbol of his prophetic powers. It was in the guise of a dolphin that Apollo brought priests from Crete to Delphi, explaining Apollo's cult title "Delphinios" and the name of the town. He dedicated a bronze tripod to the sanctuary and bestowed divine powers on one of the priestesses, and she became known as the "Pythia." It was she who inhaled the hallucinating vapors from the fissure in the temple floor, while she sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant.
RS35875. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 5; RSC II 552; BMCRE II p. 298, 4; BnF III 4; Hunter III -; SRCV I -, VF, weight 3.220 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 13 Sep - 31 Dec 81 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P COS VII, tripod lebes, ornamented with fillets, lion paw feet, loop handles above the bowl, surmounted by the Pythia's seat with arms in the form of ravens and a back ornamented with a dolphin on a laurel branch; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Friday, June 23, 2017.
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Ravens and Crows