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A bronze coin of Anazarbus showing Demeter and Persephone, or similar figures Coin Type: Bronze AE19 of Anazarbus in Cilicia, 114 - 115 CE
Size and Weight: 18mm x 19mm, 4.4g
Veiled bust of Persephone right, two ears of corn and a poppy-head before. (But see the note below.)
Reverse: ЄT ΓAP (Year 133 of City Era = 114 to 115 CE)
Veiled bust of either Demeter or Artemis Perasia right, wearing conical head-dress; flaming torch before, date behind. (But see the note below.)
Provenance: Bart Lewis (Vcoins), February 2006
Ref: SNG Levante 1380; Zeigler 100.1
BW Ref: 001 029 093
Click on the picture for a larger scale view of the coin

Note: The figures shown on this coin can not be so easily identified. The seller had the reverse as Demeter. The attribution above comes from an example on the Coin Archives site, now no longer available to us without a disptoportionate annual payment.

On 24 November 2006, Patricia Lawrence, when asked her opinion of their identity and that of the headwear on the reverse, said on the Forum Classical Numismatics Discussion Board:

"First, Cilician iconic types are not quite like most Greek iconic types, and though the polos is not elusive (like kouros it is an ancient word that is used as a technical term, and I have repeatedly posted the wooden statuette of Hera from Samos to illustrate it), this headdress differs from what is called a polos, in any useful usage, being rather conical, not cylindrical.

Since we do not know what they called their goddess, we can only say that of the two on this coin she seems to be the elder, more matronly, goddess of the two, the other the 'corn maiden' (U.S. grain girl), so that as a pair they either are, or are like, Demeter and Persephone, both deities with identities much wider (and you might say deeper) than the Eleusinian narrative. Or else, they are a Demeter look-alike and an Artemis that herself looks like a Demeter.

And it is not only in Cilicia where there are forms of Artemis that look rather like Demeter. I think that to ask which name and epithet is 'right' and which 'wrong' is not an appropriate approach to this question. Rather, keep searching (there may be no real answer, however, since any religious texts that the Cilician cities had were not copied in monasteries that survived all the historical cleansings, if indeed there were anything like an Homeric Hymn in Cilicia.

I hate recommending something that demands so much scholarly control and updating on our part, but I'd look in the indexes of all seven volumes of A. B. Cook's "Zeus", if I were you, just to see if there's anything there. Don't be misled by the title; precious little of that work is specifically about Zeus. Even if there is a whole paragraph in the Kleine Pauly, it may only define the School of research that its author adheres to so would be only the beginning for research.

Pat L.

On the Greek peninsula, Persephone, as a girl, is usually unveiled, but at Locri (e.g.) as consort of Hades she is veiled...."

(Paragraph breaks inserted by me.)

The content of this page was last updated on 12 June 2007