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Author Topic: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"  (Read 492 times)

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Offline SC

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Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« on: November 20, 2021, 05:53:04 pm »
Help.  I am going crazy.  I have had this coin in my "to ID" pile for over a decade. Today I swore I would finally identify it.  However, I have looked through Price, Barclay-Head, Lindgren, Wildwinds, and several other references trying to identify this coin.  You'd think it would be easy......

Obverse: Head of Zeus right, within border of small dots.  No legend.  Could be Zeus Ammon, not sure if that is a horn or just an exaggerated curl.

Reverse: Eagle standing left, with wings open, on thunderbolt.  Vertical in left field  :GreeK_Sigma: :Greek_Omega: :Greek_Tau: :Greek_Eta: :Greek_Rho: :Greek_Upsilon: (not 100% sure about the Y).  M in right field.  Small countermark of radiate head right, with round punch, applied in centre.

AE, 5.0 grams, 17mm x 19mm.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline Steve Moulding

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2021, 06:38:42 pm »
Hi - I know very little about these coins, but it looks somewhat like a coin of Ptolemy Soter.
Looking for an similar example...

Steve
Steve Moulding
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Offline Akropolis

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2021, 08:17:29 pm »
Trouble is, there were several/a few of the Ptolemys that assumed the title of Soter.

Online Mark Fox

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2021, 11:25:00 pm »
Dear Shawn, Steve, Pete, and Board,

Fear not, Shawn, no one else (that I know of) has a very good handle yet on these enigmatic Greek bronzes which, as a group (consisting of two known denominations) are more or less known as Dios Soteros (ΔΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ) bronzes.  For a little more information on them, please see this earlier Forvm thread:

https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=117612.0

As for your particular specimen (of the large denomination), I would be very interested in seeing a closeup of the countermark!

Hope this helps.


Best regards,

Mark Fox
Michigan   

Offline Steve Moulding

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2021, 12:50:43 am »
Hi Mark - thank you...really very helpful and interesting! 

I've just read the earlier thread you mentioned. Apologies for my lack of knowledge - have these enigmatic bronzes been known for a long time...meaning would we have seen them in the sales of 100 years ago and only their attribution is uncertain? Or is it all more recent than that?

Thank you again,

Steve
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Online Mark Fox

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2021, 01:39:25 am »
Dear Steve and Board,

It is late here, but the oldest specimen that I am aware of (or can currently remember!) is the piece that the late Prof. Henry Clay Lindgren (1914–2005) donated to the San Francisco State University Museum: 

https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/classicscoins/

Unfortunately, the link to the coin in their online collection seems not to be public anymore.  However, going from memory, I believe it was misattributed as a Sicilian issue.  Also, I think the fuzzy picture of the coin was posted in this Lamoneta.it thread

https://www.lamoneta.it/topic/153277-misteriosa-monetina-greca/

I think most collectors/researchers only started noticing these enigmatic coins within the last decade, myself included.  But yes, a Dios Soteros bronze could most certainly be lurking in an old auction catalog or FPL!  I don't know of any such appearance, though (yet).  I also do not know what may be hiding in the world's major public collections (like Berlin, although I am guessing I must have, at the very least, searched the BnF a while back). 

Anyway, I do plan on properly tackling these coins eventually.  I am just simply swamped with other things to do at the moment, both numismatic and otherwise.     


Best regards,

Mark Fox
Michigan

Offline Altamura

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2021, 04:09:02 am »
Perhaps some additional remarks about this enigmatic coin emission from my side:

A special characteristic of these coins is the filleted border on the obverse, restricting a bit the dating. See some examples in the thread about these coins in the German Numismatikforum from 2014: https://www.numismatikforum.de/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=50269

The smaller of the two denominations has a star beside the eagle's head, the larger has not.

As far as I remember the specimen of the Lindgren collection has been attributed to Akragas, probably because there is a type from this city bearing also the legend ΔΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ (but being stylistically completely different):
http://www.magnagraecia.nl/coins/Area_II_map/Akragas_map/descrAkraC_123.html
https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=249873

The oldest "documented" example I know is in the ANS as part of the Newell bequest with an accession number from 1944 and attributed to Pergamon (what probably is wrong): http://numismatics.org/collection/1944.100.43288

But in former times the focus of collections mostly has been on shiny silver and heavy gold :), so the humble coins here could have been known but not esteemed :-\.

I also have seen two or three specimens with a countermark, as far as I rember always a head of Helios.


... Anyway, I do plan on properly tackling these coins eventually. ...
I hope you can really make it happen and that this is not only one of the usual "to be published" announcements :). The coins would be worth it :).

Regards

Altamura

Offline SC

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2021, 08:54:46 am »
Interesting.  Thanks for the help so far.

I will have to try to run the German thread through google-translate and see what I can pick up there.

The  :Greek_Delta:  :Greek_Iota: :Greek_Omicron: :GreeK_Sigma: is not legible on mine though I now see that what I though was an M in the right field is the  :GreeK_Sigma:.  All I was going by was the  :GreeK_Sigma: :Greek_Omega: :Greek_Tau: :Greek_Eta: :Greek_Rho:.  I had immediately eliminated the Ptolemies, despite the many similarities, as their legends are always around the circumference of the coin.  Likewise the Seleucids as the only one with similar legend placement (Demetrius I Soter) clearly doesn't match.

For what it is worth, this one is likely from Asia Minor too.  It comes from a small Dorotheum lot of about 10 AE coins with countermarks that I picked up in 2012 when I lived in Vienna.  All of those in the lot that I have been able to identify so far have been from cities in Asia Minor from the Roman Provincial / Greek Imperial era.  This coin is obviously earlier but probably from the same area.

Here is a close up of the countermark.  It is definitely Helios.

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SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline SC

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2021, 10:13:47 am »
I ran the German discussion thread through Google translate.

Mine is clearly the larger denomination (I weighed several more times and it seems to come out at 5.1g not 5.0).

Seems the consensus is that these are a temple issue coinage, from Asia Minor, during the Hellenistic era, possibly 2nd to early 1st century BC.  But ideas as to where exactly they come from range from Klazomenai in Ionia, though Lydia and Phrygia, to Cilicia.

(The other coins in my lot, not that that gives any weight as they are just an assembled collection, were from Bithynia, Phrygia, Cappadocia and Cillicia).

Anything by Le Rider detail the Helios countermark??

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Online Mark Fox

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2021, 05:26:58 pm »
Dear Shawn, Steve, Pete, Altamura, and Board,

An excellent close-up, Shawn!  However, are we certain that the countermark is of the head of Helios?  Attached are my two countermarked examples of the large denomination (I had a third, but it was supposedly lost in the mail).  Inside the mark that closest resembles Shawn's, I am wondering if at least some of the "rays" are in fact a hat.  I could be off about that though.  The head in the other countermark looks very much like Hermes to me, although I am also hesitant to be definite on that point.

Not all the borders on these coins (as a group) are filleted.  Some are also apparently beaded.  Again, I am attaching two more specimens from my collection.

I am not too familiar about the details of temple coins in the current context, but the fact that some are countermarked with different marks seems to imply that they were being treated more or less as normal coins.

I am not certain if anything Le Rider wrote could be of assistance here on the countermark, Shawn.  Were you possibly thinking of a specific work?


Best regards,

Mark Fox
Michigan           

Offline SC

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2021, 09:12:24 pm »
Looks like there were (at least) two countermarks used on this type.  A radiate head, cut-off at the neck, possibly of Helios.  And a bust wearing a petasos, possibly Hermes.  Mine definitely has rays and is not just streaks in the dirt or something.  Also one is a head, the other a bust.

My Howgego, which ironically is Ex Libris Georges Le Rider, notes that the best survey of countermarks on Greek coins of the classical and Hellenistic period is G. Le Rider, "Contremarques et surfrappes dans l'antiquité grecque", in Numismatique antique, problèmes et méthodes, Nancy-Louvain, 1975, pp. 27-56. 

I don't have the article.

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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Online Mark Fox

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2021, 11:14:53 pm »
Dear Shawn and Board,

Thank you for the clarifications and the reference to the article!  It sounds very useful indeed!  It also appears to have been reprinted in another volume:

https://www.academia.edu/2437014/G._LE_RIDER_Etudes_d_histoire_mon%C3%A9taire_et_financi%C3%A8re_du_monde_grec._Ecrits_1958-1998_Athens_1999_3_vol._1443_p._edited_by_Eleni_Papaefthymiou_Fran%C3%A7ois_de_Callata%C3%BF_and_Fran%C3%A7ois_Queyrel_

I will see if I can dig up a copy somehow and share it with you and Altamura, if either of you are interested.

Ugh!  I am burying myself with too much to do this week.  I feel it already... 


Best regards,
 
Mark Fox
Michigan   

Offline Steve Moulding

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2021, 12:23:15 am »
Mark, thank you very much for your detailed reply late last night! Going forward, I will keep a passive lookout for these in the older materials I have on hand. Thanks to everyone for what's been a very interesting topic and I've learned a lot on this trip outside Italy/Sicily. Thank you all again.

Steve
Steve Moulding
New York

Offline Altamura

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2021, 04:09:11 am »
... I ran the German discussion thread through Google translate. ...
I hope the result was always understandable, my writing style in German is perhaps sometimes a bit nested :).
(Meanwhile I prefer https://www.deepl.com/translator . They don't have as much languages as Google, but for Englisch and German they are both prepared quite well :).)

... Seems the consensus is that these are a temple issue coinage, from Asia Minor, during the Hellenistic era, possibly 2nd to early 1st century BC.  But ideas as to where exactly they come from range from Klazomenai in Ionia, though Lydia and Phrygia, to Cilicia. ...
The minting places mentioned here just have been in discussion because they had produced coins with a deity's name as legend. At the end we had no idea where exactly the ΔΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ had been minted :(.

...  However, are we certain that the countermark is of the head of Helios?  Attached are my two countermarked examples of the large denomination ...  The head in the other countermark looks very much like Hermes to me, ...
That's really a Hermes, so we have a second type of countermark on these coins :).

... Not all the borders on these coins (as a group) are filleted.  Some are also apparently beaded. 
Interesting, I never have seen these. Do we have more examples of coinages with this kind of "mixed borders"?

... I am not too familiar about the details of temple coins in the current context, but the fact that some are countermarked with different marks seems to imply that they were being treated more or less as normal coins. ...
Yes, it seems that they have been.
See about these coinages in general
Selene Psoma, "Panegyris coinages", American Journal of Numismatics, 2008, vol. 20, pp. 227-255: https://www.academia.edu/15313243/Panegyris_Coinages_AJN_20_2008_227_255
Selene Psoma, "Profitable Networks: Coinages, Panegyris and Dionysiac Artists", Mediterranean Historical Review, 2007, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 237-255
Johannes Nollé, ""Panegyris Coinages" - Eine moderne Geisterprägung", Chiron 44, 2014, pp. 285-323

... the best survey of countermarks on Greek coins of the classical and Hellenistic period is G. Le Rider, "Contremarques et surfrappes dans l'antiquité grecque" ...
Some years ago I had a look into it at the library and did not scan it, being a hint that it does not contain many examples of countermarks but is more a general discussion of the phenomenon (otherwise I would have made a scan :)).

Regards

Altamura

Offline PtolemAE

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Re: Greek AE Zeus/Eagle "soteru"
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2021, 08:30:21 pm »
Trouble is, there were several/a few of the Ptolemys that assumed the title of Soter.

and, afaik, none like this.
doesn't look like any Ptolemaic coin I have seen or studied.


PtolemAE

 

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