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Author Topic: The mountain Haimos  (Read 2916 times)

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Offline slokind

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The mountain Haimos
« on: April 09, 2005, 02:27:28 am »
I was pointing out in class today that, on the Arches (we were at Beneventum) not every reclining figure is a river god.  So too on the coins, of course.  My favorite is the mountain Haimos at Nicopolis ad Istrum.  I was fortunate to get last month the earliest Septimius Severus known to me of Haimos.  Pick knew it only for Julia DomnaVarbanov, too, knows one specimen.  It was issued by Ovinius Tertullus.  A few years later Aurelius Gallus issued another for Septimius.  Then Longinus and Agrippa in succession for Macrinus.  The last was for Elagabalus, issued by Novius Rufus.  Pick AMNG I, 1, Taf. III, illustrates three of them, but not the Tertullus, which I feel extremely fortunate to have obtained, for all the charms of my Gallus and Longinus ones.  Here it is:
23 03 05 Æ24  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  8.69g axis 7h.  Issued by Tertullus.
Septimius Severus, laureate, draped bust to r.--] KAI L SEPTI.    SEVEROS [?PER].
The mountian range Haemus, resting on a rock, like Hirt auf dem Fels, with his walking staff; a bit of plant life at right; in front the nuzzling bear; in left field AIMOS.  From above his l. foot, VPA OOVINI TERTV[LLOV]  NIKOPOLITOmegaN and in exergue EP ISTR[Omega].
Not in PickVarbanov 2186, apparently not quite so good as this one, also with obv. right legend incomplete.
Patricia Lawrence

Offline featherz

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2005, 01:15:36 pm »
I have the Elagabalus version of this coin, although it's in rotten condition!! :) So rotten I apparently don't have a scan of it. Will have to remedy this ASAP.. :P

Offline slokind

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2005, 02:15:03 pm »
I thought you might have it and even directed someone to Aequitas.  If you have time to scan it, I hope you will.  Pat

Offline tacrolimus

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2005, 06:57:16 pm »
Pat,

this is a very interesting reverse type. Thank you for posting it here. Nonetheless i've a couple of silly questions on the subject (readers are warned!).

I'm wondering what makes mountain Haimos so special at Nicopolis for representing him in form of a human figure.
It is as if mountain Haimos is somehow special if compared with the representation of the other mountains shown on provincial coins (lets say Argaeus or Gerzim); they are always depicted as real rocky peaks on the reverses, at least on those i'm aware of.
Haimos has a friendly look here, not the impressive shape of a mountain with a temple or a deity atop.

Can we say that this is just an engraver's license or a deeper meaning should be investigated?

How many mountains are shown as human personification on provincial coinage?

Thank you for your patience....
Luigi
I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member (Woody Allen paraphrasing Groucho Marx)

Offline featherz

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2005, 08:40:43 pm »
Here we are. As I mentioned, it's not pretty. :)


Offline slokind

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2005, 09:16:57 pm »
Heather: It's not that bad!  Not at all.  And thank you for posting it, showing its obverse die, too.  Have you ever considered where Elagabalus coins appear to be Severan / Antonine in choice of types?  Not that one can prove what they were thinking of, naturally.  But the Elagabalus, it is worth noting, has the deer at right, like the Gallus one for Septimius (attached), whereas the others have only a bear.
Here's my entry for the Gallus one:
28 11 01 AE 27 Nicopolis ad Istrum.   Issued by Aurelius Gallus.  Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  A[VT L SE]PT.    SEVE[R P]ER.  Rev., Nude youth (Haimos), with a light garment over his l. shoulder and knees, seated to l. on a rock and looking r., with his r. arm on his head, in the crook of his left arm a hunting spear; beside the rock springs a bear which pursues a fleeing stag at r.; in the background a tree; in the field at l. AIMOS.  VPA AVR GALLOV NIKOPOLEITON and in exergue PROS ISTR.
Luigi: I'll translate what Pick says (it's brief) and post it here.

Offline slokind

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2005, 10:34:24 pm »
Luigi, and others:
Here is what Pick said about the Haimos coins:
Pick on Haimos (AMNG I, 1, p. 342): The proximity of the Haimos range led to the representation of the mountain god Haimos (pl. III, 22, 24, 25) [respectively Longinus for Macrinus, Agrippa for Macrinus, Rufus for Elagabalus].  He appears as a nude youth with hunting boots and hunting spear, who looking backward and with his arm on his head sits at rest on a rock; besides the rock the mountain landscape is indicated by a tree and animals.  It is not at all likely that a statue served as a model for the type; the representation gives altogether an impression as if it specially devised for the picture on the coin, naturally observing the rules for personifications of topographical entities that had prevailed since Hellenistic times and were also followed for all other mountain divinities on coins.  [An ample footnote summarizes those noted by Wieseler in Göttinger Nachrichten 1876, pp. 53, ff.: Haimos, Rhodope, Peion, Idê, Olympos]  On the majority of our coins the name of the figure represented is given in small letter: AIMOS; that the die-engraver thought that an explanatory label was necessary also shows that the type does not show a reproduction of an artwork in the city but rather a new and special creation; it is only on the last Haimos coin (Elagabalus, pl. III, 25) that giving the name is omitted, but probably only because by that time the type was already understood.  On coins of Macrinus and Diadumenian (no. 1810, Pl. XVIII, 5) sits yet another seated figure of a youth, perhaps also to be regarded as a mountain god, but not certainly to be named; contrariwise, the female figure on contemporary coins (no. 1682, Pl. XVIII, 7), which has been illustrated as a mountain divinity, is more likely Gaia or still more probably the personification of the province.
[Then he goes on to the river gods, with vases and flowing lines.  I ought to have specified the HUNTING spear in describing mine.  The whole character, I think, suggests not a cult place as on Argaeus, but their beloved mountain range, which M. Grant’s entry for Moesia in Guide to the Ancient World calls the main Balkan range, where they hunt and, I daresay, mine and log.  I also think of Sofia’s Mt. Vitosha, almost a silent divine presence, or Athens’ Pentele and Parnes.]
Pat Lawrence

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Re: The mountain Haimos
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2005, 05:20:44 am »
Pat, I think I see the difference now.

This humanised representation of a mountain range has to be seen in parallel to the river gods’. As springs and rivers (water) are essential for human life, so the mountain.

It’s an exaltation of Haimos importance for the life of the area, for its wild forests, its animals and its mines. It’s not simply the cult to a sacred mountain which needs to be respected and adored (perhaps for fear), but a positive vision of the benefits the mountain has for life.

Thank you Pat, and thank you Heather for showing yours as well.

Luigi
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