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Home > Coin Collecting Theme Galleries > The Pantheon - Gods, Goddesses and Personifications
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Octavian, AR Denarius of Eastern Mint (?), B.C.32-31

Obv: Bare head of Octavian right
Rev: Naked Mercury seated on a rock, petasus hanging down his back, playing a lyre. CAESAR DIVI F

RIC.257 Sear RCV I 1550 RSC I 61 BMCRE.596 BMCRR East 236

In addition to Mercury's position as messenger of the gods and patron of merchants there was another belief about him that on occasion he was a cunning thief, and was thus the patron of thieves. One story relates how he stole some oxen from Apollo. Whilst in hiding he found a tortoise in a cave. From the shell and some strings drawn across it he invented the lyre. As he was playing it Apollo heard the sound and was so charmed by it that he allowed Mercury to keep the oxen, and the lyre was from then on was also associated with Apollo. However, with this coin here the petasus denotes that the lyre is being played by Mercury.
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Jay GT4  [Apr 28, 2013 at 11:53 PM]
Nice bold strike!
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