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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.

Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

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"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH77386. Silver denarius, RIC I 86 (S); RSC II 114; BMCRE I p. 370, 17; BnF III 46; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, toned, marks and scratches, somewhat oval flan, slight edge damage, weight 2.972 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. May - Jul 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC, tripod-lebes with dome cover, dolphin right on top, raven standing right below bowl; ex CNG e-auction 221 (28 Oct 2009), lot 483; ex Jrg Mller Collection; scarce; $380.00 (338.20)

Krannon, Thessaly, Greece, 350 - 300 B.C.

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It was customary in time of drought to take a sacred chariot with Hydria in procession through the City to supplicate Apollo for rain, and if a crow settled on the wheels, that was the sign that Apollo would grant the prayers of the faithful. -- Rev. Edgar Rogers in The Copper Coinage of Thessaly
GB49226. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Thessaly 1085; SNG Cop 44 (obv Π upper left vice A/N); Rogers 191 ff.; BMC Thessaly p. 16, 3 (none with this ethnic arrangement), gF, weight 4.364 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, Krannon mint, 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse horseman galloping right, wearing petasos and chlamys, A right, N below; reverse hydria (water carrying vessel) mounted on cart, crow standing on right wheel, [K]PAN below; ex BCD collection with his handwritten round tag; unpublished variety; $55.00 (48.95)

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


Catalog current as of Sunday, February 19, 2017.
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Ravens and Crows