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Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #450 on: January 27, 2021, 07:01:25 am »
Artemis Anaitis

We know that Phrygia in particular was exposed to the influences of Eastern cults. Artemis Anaitis is an excellent example of this.

Coin #1:
Phrygia, Apameia, 88-40 BC.
AE 22, 7.52g, 21.59mm, 0°
struck under the magistrate Heraklei Eglo
Av.: laureate head of Zeus n.r.
Rv.: r. from top to bottom AΠAM[E]
        l. in 2 lines from top to bottom HPAKΛEI / EΓΛO
        Cult statue of Artemis Anaitis wearing floor-length veil and polos
        standing frontal
Ref: SNG by Aulock 3470; BMC 67-71; Weber 7028; SNG Copenhagen 183;
         Mionnet VII, 127; SNG Munich 123; HGC 772
60.-, SS+, fine sand patina
Mionne writes "Junon Pronuba!"

Note:
Eglo(...) probably stands for Eklogistes, the title of the municipal financial supervisor.

Anaitis is the Greek translation of Anahita, the name of an Iranian goddess. So if we want to get at the meaning of Anaitis, we have to start with Anahita.

(1) Origin and meaning
The worship of Anahita goes back to the 4th millenium BC. Chr. In an Avestic Yasht she is called Ardvi Sur Anahita. This name seems to be compound and originally meant 2 different deities. Ardvi Sura is the Iranian name for the celestial river goddess of fertile water, called Sarasvati in the Rigveda. This is the Indus, the world river from which everything originates. But it is also said of her that she "flows mightily from Mount Hukarya to Lake Vorukasha" and that she "has a thousand arms and a thousand channels" (Roscher), a description that only fits the Pamir Mountains and the Oxus (today Amudarya) (Geiger). In any case, it is the immense mountains and the waters flowing from them that became the origin of these nature deities,

The other deity is Anahita. Her cult was particularly widespread in north-eastern Persia, but her origin is uncertain. Her name means "untouched, pure", both in the moral and physical sense. In the yashts, she is portrayed in detail, especially with regard to her clothing and jewellery, as if there had been a cult of dress. The emphasis on dressing in beaver fur is unusual. In any case, each of their places of worship included a water source. Thus, for a long time, their largest temple was considered to be the one in Kangavar in Kermanshah province. However, this is now questionable as, among other things, there is no water basin, which would be mandatory for an anahita temple.

Note:
The 21 Yashts form the 3rd section of the Avestas, the sacred scripture of the Zoroastrians. They contain hymns to ancient Iranian deities and found their way into the work of the Persian poet Firdausi (940-ca. 1020 AD). The 5th Yasht (Aban Yasht) consists of hymns to water and Anahita.

(2) Reformed by Zoroastrianism:

Zoroastrianism was a very abstract religion, without images or statues. Of all the pre-Zoroastrian deities, only Anahita survived the religious reforms of Zoroaster (c. 1500-1000 BC), but as an emanation of Ahura Mazda rather than the goddess she had been before. But she was also passed off as his daughter. This is evidence that in the religious, believers also want a sensual experience and not just the bloodless theory. This is also known, for example, from Christianity, especially Catholicism with its cult of Mary and the many saints.

(3) Spread by the Achaemenids
It is known that the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes II (404-358 B.C.), after conquering Babylonia, made sure that she spread throughout the Persian Empire. He had many images of her produced and distributed throughout the empire (Berosus). Important
temples were built in Susa, Ekbatana and Babylon. There will have been borrowings from the Mesopotamian Ishtar and there will also have been relations with the Sumerian Inanna. Ishtar and Anahita had similarities: Ishtar was the protector of the palace and Anahita was closely associated with kingship, especially in the post-Achaemenid period.

Note:
Berosus, also Berossos, (c. 290 BC), was a Chaldean priest of Bel in Babylon who wrote 3 books in Greek on the history and culture of Babylon and dedicated them to Antiochos I (324-261 BC). They were important for the knowledge of the Greeks about the origins of Babylon and were used e.g. by Eusebius of Caesarea or Josephus.

(4) The Parthians and the Sassanids
Under the Parthians, the character of Anahita changed. From a goddess of fertility, water and wisdom, she became a goddess of war, to whom sacrifices were made before the beginning of a war campaign. Since the Parthians did not rule their empire as strictly centralised as the Achaemenids, she became the goddess who symbolised the unity of the empire instead of a central power..She then played this role under the Sassanids as well.

Coin #2:
Kushan-Sassanid, Hormizd I Kushanah, ca, 265-295 AD.
AE 15, 1.85g, 15.15mm
Mint of Harid
Obv.: Crowned bust.r., with lion scalp on head, crescent moon in upper l. field
Rev.: Hormizd standing r., holding coronation wreath in r. hand over altar and
          has raised his left hand in a gesture of blessing to Anahita, who is rising to the l.
        from the throne, the coronation wreath in her raised right hand and the sceptre in her left hand (so-called investiture scene).
Ref.: Carter 10; Cribb 23; Mitchiner ACW 1269; Göbl KM 1044, Zeno #30921
rare, VF+

Note:
The Kushano-Sassanids were Sassanid princes who ruled the ancient Kushan country in Bactria, the Kabul Valley and Gandhara, as Sassanid vassals. For a time these Kushan shahs were more or less independent, such as this ruler, Hormizd I Kushanshah, who ruled c. 295-325 AD (or 270-295 according to Cribb). The mint will have been the Kabul Valley. The depiction on the reverse shows the close connection of Anahita to royalty and the Shah.

Ref.:
(1) M. L. Carter; "A numismatic reconstruction of Kushano-Sasanian history", 1985 (2) Joe Cribb; "Numismatic evidence for Kushano-Sasanian chronology".

(5) Spread in the West
Due to the expansion of the Persian Empire, the cult of Anahita spread further west. Numerous temples and places of worship were built, especially in Phrygia, Lydia, Pontus and Armenia. It should be noted that the development of her cult was subject to strong local influences. In Lydia and Cappadocia she was equated with Artemis Tauropolis, through which the Taurobolium came to Europe. In Philadelphia and Hypaipa, her cult was associated with games. The notorious temple prostitution, unknown in Persia, is described only for Armenia. Strabo tells: "If the girls had devoted themselves to her service for a time in the temple of the goddess, they would be married, and no one would think it shameful to choose such a girl, who for years had given herself up to anyone, as a wife."

When the Greeks met Anahita, they tried, as was customary, to identify her with a goddess of their own pantheon. This does not seem to have been easy. There are designations such as Aphrodite Anaitis, which indicates that she must have borne characteristics of Ishtar or the Phoenician Astarte. Mionnet calls her Junon Pronuba. Tacitus (Annals 62) refers to the syncretic goddess simply as "Persian Diana" who had a temple in Lydia "dedicated during the reign of Cyrus" (probably Cyrus the Great).

Finally she became Artemis. Her character as a virginal and warlike goddess had prevailed over the erotic fertility goddess. The depictions on the Greek coins are obviously modelled on Artemis Ephesia. That is why the lower sections of her floor-length veil often look like the supports of Ephesia. The interpretation as a moon goddess is thus also ruled out. However, she has never experienced the importance and spread as Mithras.

I have attached
(1) A picture of the so-called Anahita temple in Kangavar.
(2) A picture of the head of Aphrodite Anahita from a bronze cult statue from Satala, Armenia minor, Hellenistic, c. 200- 100 BC, now in the British Museum in London. It was found in a Roman legionary camp near Satala in Armenia minor, but probably came from Artaxata, the capital. She is depicted here in the figure of Aphrodite. This shows that in Armenia the (erotic/sexual) reference to the fertility goddess was predominant.

Sources:
(1) Tacitus, Annales
(2) Strabon, Geographia
(3) Pausanias, Periegesis
(4) Plutarch, Parallel lives
(5) Plinius, Naturalis Historiae

Literature:
(1) Der Kleine Pauly
(2) Vollmer's Mythologie aller Völker
(3) Realenzyklopädie
(4) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
(5) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Vollständiges Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
(6) Wilhelm Geiger, Ostiranische Kultur im Altertum, 1882
(7) Payam Nabarz, Anahita: Ancient Persian Goddess and Zoroastrian Yazata, 2013
(8) Manya Saadi-nejad, Anahita: Transformations of an Iranian Goddess, Dissertation 2019

Online Sources:
(1) Wikipedia

Best regards

Offline Andy Q

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #451 on: July 13, 2021, 08:33:34 am »
Hephaistos

Please note that the coins which I use as entrance for an article in this thread are in principle from my collection. Because of that there are unfortunately themes which I could not deal with. But the following coin I could catch in my net. I hope that there is something new for you in this contribution.

Ionia, Magnesia ad Maeandrum, Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161
AE 34, 26.53g
struck under magistrate Dioskourides Gratos
obv. T AILIOC KAICAR - ANTWNEINOC
Head, laureate, r.
rev. EPI DIOCKOVRIDOV GRATOV MHTR MAGNHTWN
Hephaistos, nude to hips, holding hammer, std. l., and holding shield set on narrow cippus inscribed with ..N/..N/OC; dog or lion at r. side
ref. cf. Schultz 100 (only obv., same die); unpublished
very rare, about VF, impressive rev.

There is a great probability that the animal on the r. side of the rev. is a dog (and f.e. not a lion), because the dog was invented by Hephaistos and therefore in the Greek mythology, f.e. at Homer, had a privileged position compared to other animals. If it is a lion then he should have some relations to the shield or the inscription on it.

Anyone who is able to decipher the inscription on the shield or has at least some suggestions?

Mythology:
It is said that Hephaistos was the son of Zeus and Hera, but another version says that he was the son of Hera alone who has conceived him without Zeus by the aid of a herb. He was the god of fire as it appears as subterranean natural power in vulcanos, but also of the fire which is used by men in handicraft and artistry. So he was the god of forgers too.

When he was born he was so ugly that his mother in disgust threw him down from the Olympos. The sea goddesses Thetis and Eurynome are said to have catched him. Then he lived for nine years in a concealed sea cave and made precious jewelry for them. He made a wondrous throne too from which nobody was able to get up without his permission. This throne he sent to his mother Hera as a gift to punish her for her iniquity. When she was fixed to the throne no-one could induce Hephaistos to let her free. It was Dionysos who made him drunken with wine and then led him from his cave back to the Olympos. Hephaistos freed Hera but never stopped to be cross with her. Another version reports that it was Zeus who has thrown Hephaistos down from heaven. When once again Zeus was at strife with Hera Hephaistos has taken Hera's part until Zeus caught him by the foot and threw him off the Olympos.He is said to have fallen down on the island of Lemnos where he has lacerated his foot. He was taken by the Sintians who nursed him. Another myth tells that he was lame from birth.

Referring to Homer he has a self-built workshop on the Olympos, where he has built domiciles for the other gods too, and made there the most wonderfull works. Later he was told to have his workshops deep in fire-spitting mountains like the Aetna or on Lemnos, and his attendants were the Cyclops Brontes, Steropes and Pyrakmon. According to the Ilias his wife was Charis, one of the Graces, according to the Odyssee it was Aphrodite, who betrayed him with Ares. This love affair has been detected by Helios and he brought the news to Hephaistos. Hephaistos made an artful invisible net, threw it over the deceptive pair and called the Olympians as wittnesses of this infamous deed.

He was a kunstsinniger (with sense for art) and an ingenious god, and like Athena he taught the humans handicraft and art. The Athenians erected statues for him together with Athena and festivals occured for both deities together where torch runnings were executed.

According to Homer Hephaistos had no descendants. But in later times he was given several children from different mothers: Eros, Erichthonios, Periphetes, Palaimon, Rhadamanthys, Olenos, the nymph Thalia and the Cabires.

Here I have list of some of his well-known works and deeds:
1) He has helped to give birth to Athena when he cleft the head of Zeus so that she could rise out of his head in full suit of armour. Her wonderful helmet too was made by him, and the Aegis, the magic shield of Zeus.
2) One of his most famous works are the shield of Achilles and his weapons, which he has forged for Thetis after they were lost by Patroklos' death at Troy.
3) Less known is Talos, the Bronzeman. He, quasi a predecessor of the robots of today, was made by Hephaistos and walked as guardian threetimes a day round Crete. He has made much trouble to the Argonauts.
4) The metallic rattle came from Hephaistos with which Herakles has scared the Stymphalian Birds so that he could kill them with his arrows.
5) It was Hephaistos who forged Prometheus in order of Zeus to a rock of the Caucasus Mountains because he had stolen the fire from the gods.
6) In order of Zeus he formed from clay the first wife, who then got the name Pandora by Hermes. She too should revenge the fire-rape. Therefore he gave her a vessel full of evil and maladies and sent her to Epimetheus, brother of Prometheus. Although he was warned by Prometheus never to take gifts from Zeus, Pandora opened the vessel for him and all evil spread over the world. Before hope, elpis, could escape too, she shut the vessel, but then let her free too. But the Golden Age was lost forever employee monitoring .
7) Then Hephaistos with the help of Athena chained Ixion to the eternal fire wheel in the Tartaros. Ixion, king of the Lapiths, once - drunken by wine - has tried to rape Hera. But Zeus has formed a figure shaped like Hera from a cloud, called Nephele, who then was raped by Ixion and has born the Kentauros.
This list is not nearly complete!

Background:
The name Hephaistos is unexplained until today. His apparent origin from Lemnos, known for its tectonic gas-fires, where he probably was genuine, speaks for the earthboundness of his elementary function. His local hypostases, Kedalion the dwarf forger and the bad smelling cripple Philoktetes, point to a numen resident in the subterranean sphere. That not only was active creatively and artisticly but curatively too. This type of goblin-shaped, magically and artfully working earth-demon had his firm position in the pre-Hellenic world. This is shown too by the Rhodian Telchines, the Lemnian Cabires and the Idaean Daktyles (look at the related article in this thread!). They all were strongly related to Hephaistos.

The treatment of ore evidently began in Asia Minor and the Pontic-Caucasic region. This art was partly connected to religion and like viniculture and breeding of mules it was a present of the Anatolic-Eastmediterranean culture. The passing on the Greek world is reflected in the myth of the Return of Hephaistos, who was brought back drunken on the back of a donkey to the Olympos by the wine-god Dionysos who has close relations to fire too.

The depiction of the ugly, lame and smutty god shows at first a clear arrogance against the banausos, the handicraftsman (who works with his hands), the technical specialist, the inventive mechanist, who despite of all his abilities remains socially of second rank. At Homer in contrast predominates the aspect of the fairy tales forger, who can made magic devices and as representative of a superior metal-art finally becomes equal-ranking with Athena and together with her becomes the guardian of arts and crafts.

With the diadochs Hephaistos came to India (Kaniska, Kushan), and in the West he
made himself the master of the Liparic volcanos. He replaced the Sicilian fire-demon Adranos and became the father of the Palikoi. Secondary he was equated with the Roman Volcanus.The Egypts identified him syncretistically with the Memphic creator-god Ptah, who has a similar shape and appearance, and so he became the Primal King, philosopher and protos eurethes (first inventor), yes, finally, the Megas Theos Hephaistos, the Great God Hephaistos.

History of Art:
We have ancient depictions of most of Hephaistos' deeds on bowls, vessels or metopes of temples. The favourite depiction was the return of the drunken Hephaistos to the Olympos by Dionysos, especially in the archaic art.

In Renaissance the depiction of the forge was liked, f.e. 'The forge of Vulcan' by Tintoretto, 1576, now in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. Here comes Thetis, mother of Achilles, to beg for new arms for her son. Or here comes Aphrodite, begging the same for her son Aineias (f.e. Louis Le Nain, 1641, Reims, Musee St.Denis). The Netherlander M. van Heemskerck has 1540 dedicated a triptychon to the love-affair of Ares and Aphrodite. The right table (today in the Kunstmuseum in Vienne) shows in the foreground Hephaistos from back, the caught pair in the net, and right above the Olympians being convulsed with laughter.

Ich have added
1) A scene on a Attic red-figured Skyphos, c.430-40 BC, ascribed to the Kleophon painter. The scene depicts Hephaistos with hammer and tongue riding on the back of a donkey, led by Dionysos holding thyrsos. On the r. side Hera is seated fixed on the throne she had gotten by Hephaistos.
2) A pic of the painting of  Marten van Heemskerck.

Sources:
Homer, Ilias
Homer, Odyssee
Der Kleine Pauly
Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/K7.2.html
http://thanasis.com/hepha.htm
http://www.webwinds.com/myth/hephaestus2.htm
Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst

Best regards

This is the first time I hear this story, it's very interesting.

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #452 on: December 31, 2021, 05:41:57 pm »
Apollo and the Hyperboreans

The Hyberboreans and their relationship with Apollo has always interested me. It's time to get to grips with it. Most coins on this subject show the head of Apollo on the obverse and a swan on the reverse. The coin I took as a starting point is something special: it shows Apollo riding a swan! There are also coins, e.g. from Alexandria, on which he rides on a griffin, which also has a connection to the Hyperboreans. But these representations date from Hellenism, that is, from a much later period than that of Apollo and the swans.

1st coin:
Bithynia, Chalcedon, Tranquillina, 238-244.
AE 26, 7.30g, 26.28mm
Av.: CAB TPA - NKVΛΛEINAC.
       Bust, draped and wearing stephane, r.
Rv: KAΛXAΔO / NIΩN.
        Apollo, nude, head supported in r. hand, holding his lyre in l. hand, seated on the
        on the back of a swan, which carries him along in flight to l.
Ref.: Rec. Gen. 115; SNG Copenhagen 368; Corsten 42
Rare, near VF, green patina, patina damage especially on the rev.

Note:
Chalcedon, also Kalchedon, was a port city just opposite Byzantium at the entrance from the Sea of Marmara to the Bosporus.  The name comes from the Phoenician qart-hadasht, New City, just as at Carthage. It is known that Kalchedon had an Apol-lo temple with an oracle.

That Apollo is not a uniform god is assumed to be known. There is no other way to understand that he, as Delphios in the succession of Pytho, proclaimed predictions from the gases of a fissure in the earth, and on the other hand appears as the radiant sun god Phoibos. He was probably originally a god of the Dorians, whom they brought with them on their migrations from the north to Greece. This is also evident from his many epic readings, which were initially independent deities, such as Smintheus in the Troad, with whom he then merged. The connection with the swans and the Hyperboreans belongs to the Delic Apollo with the myths of the Letoids, i.e. of Leto and her twins.

Etymology:
The Hyperboreans were the inhabitants of Hyperborea. a legendary land at the very north of the inhabited world. The best known explanation for the name Hyperborea is its origin from the Greek hyper boreas. Boreas was the wintry north wind in Greek mythology. He was the son of the Titan Astraios and the goddess Eos. His homeland was Thrace, where he was cultically worshipped. He is already mentioned in Homer. Hyper Boreas therefore means "north of Thrace" in the narrowest sense.  However, this derivation is not scientifically proven. Another explanation comes from the northern Greek boris, mountain, which then means "beyond the mountains".  These are the Rihpaeans, a legendary mountain range between Europe and Asia.  Some scholars prefer a derivation from hyperphero (to deliver).  This refers to the story that the Hyperboreans had brought gifts to Delos since time immemorial and were therefore "bearers".

The Riphaeans:
The Riphaeans are a legendary mountain range of antiquity. It plays an important role as a border to the Hyperboreans. It was considered cold and snowy.  The Greek riphe means "stormy north wind".  At first it was located north of the Scythians. It was said to be the source of all large rivers, e.g. the Tanais (today's Don), but also the Ister, the Danube. Geographically, it meant either the Waldai Heights or, according to Ptolemy, where it also appears, the Northern Urals. But it was also identified with the Hercynian Forest or the Alpes. As the knowledge of the Greeks increased, its position shifted more and more to the north. It was said that north of the Riphaean Mountains the sun moved from west to east at night so that it could rise again in the east in the morning. This meant that the land of the Hyperboreans was very sunny and warm and could produce several harvests a year.

Mythology:
The swan is a symbol connected with the Hyperborean legend, sacred to Apollo since ancient times. Apollo is drawn to the Helicon on swans (Pindar) and in the Hyperborean legend he travels north on a swan chariot.

(1) Kyknos and the swans:
Various Greek mythologies tell of a Kyknos (Greek = swan). But only one of them mentions Eridanos and thus belongs to the hyperborean mythological circle. This Kyknos (Latin Cygnus), son of Sthenelos, was king of the Ligurians (therefore also called Kyknos Ligurios) and friend (or lover) of Phaeton, the son of the sun god. When Phaeton crashes his father's chariot and sinks burning in the Eridanos, Kyknos jumps into the river to save his friend. But in vain. Helios then transfers his faithful friend to the starry sky as a swan. The sisters of Phaeton, the Heliads, are said to have lingered a long time at Eridanos to weep for their dead brother. Their tears turned to amber, fell into the river and were washed up on the beach. But they themselves were turned into poplars. All this took place in the holy land of the Hyperboreans (Apoll. Rhod.).

Another version tells that Kyknos commemorated his dead friend with sad songs in a poplar grove on the banks of the Eridanos, until the gods, out of pity, transferred him to the starry sky as a swan. Since that time, the song of the swan has been associated with Kyknos and the death song has been called the swan song.

2nd Coin:
Ionia, Leukai, 350-300 BC.
AE 14, 3.01g
struck under magistrate Metrodoros
Obv.: head of Apollo n. l.
Rev.: li. MΗTROΔ, below ΛEO.
        preening swan standing n. l.
Ref.: BMC 2ff. var.; SNG Copenhagen 799 var.; Coll. Klein 395f.
Rare, F-VF, black patina.

Note:
Leukai, opposite Klazomenai, was founded in 352 BC by the Persian admiral Tachos and shortly afterwards fell into the hands of the Klazomenians. The swan motif bears witness to their influence. Metrodoros seems to have been a magistrate from Klazomenai.

The Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) breeds high in the European and Asian north and then spends the winter on inland waters further south or on the British and German seacoasts. If the swan plays a role in Greek mythology, its image as a bird not originally native to Greece must have been imported by immigrants.

The Eridanos is a legendary river. If it is identical with an earthly river, the legend points again to the European north: Amber is only found in northern Europe. It is not impossible that the German Eider river is meant by the Eridanos. Ovid speaks of the Tritonian pool as a bituminous swamp into which the Hyperboreans plunged, only to rise from it as swans. This is presumably the mythical swamp of Eridanos, and if we recall that Ovid mistakenly identifies Eridanos with the Po, it does sound strongly like the Wadden Sea.

(2) Leto and the twins
Leto was the daughter of the Titans Koios and Phoebe. According to Diodorus, Leto (lat. Latona) came from Hyperborea.  Zeus fell in love with her, transformed himself and her into quails and begat Apollo and Artemis with her. The jealous Hera sent the serpent Python to devour her, which Zeus was able to prevent. Thereupon she took from the earth the oath that she would not give the pregnant Leto a place to live that was ever illuminated by the sun. Then Poseidon caused the floating island of Delos to emerge from the water, where Hermes brought Leto by order of Zeus. After bribing Eileithya, the goddess of childbirth, Leto was able to give birth first to Artemis and then, with her help, to Apollo. The Kuretes struck their shields with their swords and made such a noise that Hera heard nothing. The swans, however, flew seven times around the island of Delos singing after his birth.

Leto was originally a goddess of Asia Minor in Lykia. Her name is related to Leda, which means "woman", and as the mother of twins she is an ancient fertility goddess. As her cult expanded, it came into contact with the Hyperborean Apollo cult of Delos. Thus the mythology of Leto also arose from two different sources, which can still be easily seen. The Romans adopted Leto as Lato from the southern Italian Dorians and made her Latona.

I have attached
(1) A Map of the world according to Herodotus, the Hyperboreans at the top right.

(2) This Renaissance map of Eastern Europe after Ptolemy's Geographia shows the Riphaean and Hyperborean mountains at the far upper right (Bernardo Silvano, Venice, 1511).

(will be continued)


Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #453 on: December 31, 2021, 05:59:06 pm »
(continuation)

(3) Ancient contacts with the Hyperboreans
Not only Athens, but especially Delos had good contacts with the Hyperboreans. Herodotus tells that on the first occasion two girls named Hyperoche and Laodike, accompanied by an escort of five men, brought consecration gifts from the Hyperboreans to Delos. But these never returned. To avoid this, the Hyperboreans used a different method from then on: they brought the gifts to their border and then asked the neighbours to bring them to the next country and so on until they arrived in Delos. And so, wrapped in straw(!), they were passed from tribe to tribe until they reached Dodona and from there to other Greek peoples until they finally reached the temple of Apollo in Delos.

Herodotus also tells of two other girls, Arge and Opis, who had come once before from Hyperborea to Delos to thank the goddess Eileithyia for the ease of childbearing. They had cult images of Apollo and Artemis with them. The virgins were highly honoured in Delos and the women sang hymns to them.  However, Orion is said to have tried to rape Opis, whereupon he was killed by Artemis (Apollodorus). When Opis died, her tomb was worshipped cultically.

(4) Visits of heroes to Hyperborea:
But great heroes also visited Hyperborea:

(a) According to Apollodorus, the garden of the Hesperides with the golden apples is said to have been in Hyperborea and Atlas is also said to have carried the celestial globe there, near the northern pole.
Herakles is said to have brought the olive tree to Olympia from the land of the Hyperboreans. Only since then have the victors in Olympia received their wreaths from the branches of the olive tree.

(b) According to Pindar, Perseus took part in the festivals of the Hyperboreans and received from them as a gift for his fight against the Gorgons winged sandals, a bag which was always as big as what was put into it, and a cloak which made invisible.

(c) Apollonius of Rhodes tells us that the Argonauts got as far as the sacred Amber Island, near the mouth of the Eridanos. In my edition, according to H. Fränkel, the Eridanos is drawn as the Po in northern Italy. What a misunderstanding: there was no sacred amber island there!

(5) Art history:

(1) The following picture shows a detail of the Attic red-figure crater depicting the "Contest between Apollo and Marsyas", attributed to the Meleager painter, Late Classical, c. 400-380 BC, now in the British Museum in London. It shows Apollo riding on the back of a large swan. He holds a lyre and is garlanded with a laurel wreath. Below him squats a hare and in front of him stands a palm tree (theoi.com).


(2) The next picture shows a votive chariot made of clay and decorated with an anthropomorphic deity from the Bronze Age (2000-600 BC). It was found in the 1930s near Dupljaja in Vojvodina in Serbia, today in the National Museum in Belgrade.

The water bird was a central element of the urn field symbolism. As it disappears with the frost each autumn and returns with the spring each year, it reflects the life cycle of an agricultural society. Its most common form was the "bird sun barque". This scene is usually associated with the myth of Apollo, who dwells 6 months of the year in the land of the Hyperboreans, far to the north in a misty region, and the other 6 months in the sunny Greek world (Bilic). According to Bilic, the land of the Hyperboreans could incidentally be found in Pannonia and the lower Danube region. According to Hikataios of Abdera, it is in southern England in the land of the Celts.

Sources:
(1) Herodot
(2) Diodoros, Bibliotheke
(3) Apollonios von Rhodos, Argonautika
(4) Plinius, Historia naturalis
(5) Strabo
(6) Ovid, Metamorphosen
(7) Claudius Ptolemaios
(8) Cicero, De natura deorum
(9) Hekataios von Abdera, Über die Hyperboreer (Fragmente)

Literature:
(1) Pauly, Realenzyklopädie
(2) Der Kleine Pauly
(3) Karl Kerenyi, Die Mythologie der Griechen
(4) Jürgen Spanuth, Die Atlanter
(5) Tomislav Bilic, The swan chariot of a solar deity, Documenta Praehistorica XLIII (2016)

Online Sources:
(1) theoi.com
(2) Wikipedia

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Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #454 on: December 31, 2021, 06:46:40 pm »
Hyperborea and the Nazis

We have heard that in Mycenaean times there was close contact between the Greeks and the Hperboreans. Girls brought gifts wrapped in wheat straw. But one must know that Thrace and even northern Greece was an unknown land far to the north for the Athenians. The greater the geographical knowledge grew, the more Hyperborea slid northwards. First behind the Ryphaean mountains (the Alps?), then, according to the report of Hikataios, to the south of England. But it was always connected with amber. And this is where Helgoland comes into play. Our Baltic amber only became known later. When the Romans conquered and got to know Britain, it migrated to Thule, which was assumed to be on Iceland or Greenland. It is a Utopia and the further north it was moved, the more it became a place of the blessed. But as a conclusion one must state with Pindar: "Neither by land nor by sea will you find your way to the Hyperboreans." 

Rousseau's notion of the "noble savage" also existed among the Greeks. Although Alexander wanted to grace the entire world to the farthest ocean with the achievements of Greek culture, science, technology, art and education, there was also a feeling among them that they had lost touch with natural life. There was already an ancient critique of cvilisation. And the Hyperboreans served them as a counter-image to their highly developed city culture (the polis). They were perhaps also identic with Plato's Atlanteans. But there was also the fear of not being a match for their youthful strength.

In the Renaissance and especially in the Enlightenment, the Hyperboreans were rediscovered. They served the tragic Weckherlin (1739-1792) as a model for an enlightened, peaceful and just world. But that soon changed.

After the French Revolution had promised the prospect of freedom, equality and fraternity, the lack of reform led the German bourgeoisie to turn away from politics and towards apolitical inwardness. Two different empires were formed (Schiller): The realm of reality and and the realm of imagination. In German Romanticism, the North became the myth par excellence. Only from there could come a light and clear reason, as represented by the Hyperborean Apollo.  This is where the Nordic racial ideology of National Socialism was later able to pick up seamlessly.

While the Hyperboreans were only a beautiful image for Nietzsche, a metaphor that helped him to accept the intolerability of existence, esoteric crackpots took up the Hyperboreans.

The most important representatives were the Theosophists, headed by the occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), who swore by seven root races. From the second root race, the Hyperboreans, the Atlanteans developed via the Lemurians. After the fall of Atlantis, some were able to save themselves, from whom the divine 7th root race would emerge in the future, the Aryans.

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the founder of anthroposophy, also drew his anthropology from this. Both are anti-civilisational and anti-scientific. Their theories stem from an inner vision, a kind of revelation that cannot be discussed rationally.
The Hyperborean, he writes, was a strange figure. As a sun-man, he stood on his head and the light shone on his head. On this level the plant had stopped. Only in the Atlantean epoch did it straighten up into the vertical. These Atlanteans could even fly through the organic seed power of the plant. But they succumbed to their arrogance and had to perish. Only the original Semites survived. The real future race, however, would be the whites.

Were they both racists? One must affirm that (Strohmeyer).  And that is what made them so interesting for the Ariosophs. They adopted from them the principle of leadership, the consciousness of belonging to a higher elite, racism and even racism itself. They adopted from them the principle of the leader, the consciousness of belonging to a higher elite, racism and even the swastika, the symbol of ancient spirituality among the Theosophists.

In Vienna, it was Guido von List (1848-1919) and Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels (1874-1954) who were united in their rejection of Western civilisation and wanted to replace rationalism and science with "hereditary memory". They celebrated the cult of the Aryan race and the Hyperboreans were their "Aryan ancestors". Here we find abundantly clear similarities with the SS state that Himmler had in mind. Liebenfels already called for the deportation, forced labour and extermination of mixed-race people and Jews. Lebensborn plans also already existed. Hitler probably read the "Ostara" booklets he published.

In the sphere of Blavatsky's ideas, folkish secret societies and lodges were formed which opposed every form of rationalism and enlightenment, liberalism, socialism and democracy, but especially the Jews, who for them represented all-destroying progress. The most important among them was the anti-Semitic Teutonic Order, from which the "Thule Society" emerged, which acted as its cover organisation. The name Thule was its programme (Strohmeyer). As the capital of the Hyperboreans, it was the original home of the blond, blue-eyed Aryans. The "Führer's" deputy Rudolf Hess was a member, the Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and Dietrich Eckart, the man who had "made" Hitler, frequented it. Hans Frank, the later notorious governor-general of Poland, also belonged to their circle,

Alfred Rosenberg ("The Myth of the 20th Century"), the Nazi ideologist of the regime, whom even members of the Nazi elite ridiculed, also drew his racial philosophy from "hyperborean depths". His ideal image was the Doric Apollo, who stood in contrast to the Near Eastern bastard Dionysos.

It is known that Himmler, in his obsession with Aryans, supported diving expeditions near Helgoland and in 1937 sent two expeditions to Tibet to find the last people of Atlantis, whose direct descendants were the Germans. But these delusions did not remain theory. In the war in the East, they became brutal reality. In the orgies of violence there, especially in Belarus, about 1.7 million people were killed: prisoners of war, Jews, partisans, entire village populations. The Hyperboreans: here they are the executioners of the Nazi murder machinery. Finally, everything ended in Auschwitz.

Of course, National Socialism was not an esoteric movement. Its political, economic and social social roots were too important.  But it can be seen that he possessed a clear esoteric component, which was expressed in the rejection of the "decadent" Western civilisation and its rationalism. This also included the rejection of scientific medicine, which was defamed as "school medicine" and as "Jewish", and the turn to the "völkisch" medicine of the alternative practitioners. All those who still use the term "school medicine" today should take note of this. The alarmingly high number of opponents of the Corona vaccine must also be classified in this group.

In 1945 Karl Jaspers said: "Unscientificness is the ground of inhumanity. And: "It was the spirit of unscientificness that opened the door to National Socialism."

Robert Charroux, for whom the Hyperboreans are of extraterrestrial origin, proves that these perverse ideologies have not died out today. Apollo is their supreme astronaut and their blond descendants - Charroux is French - are now the Celts. And then everything returns there that was already wafting before the 1st World War, but now in a modernised form, enriched with nuclear energy and guided rays.

Above the temple in Delphi, the temple of the Hyperborean Apollo, were the words: "Nothin in excess" and "Know thyself". Nothing could be further from the brown rabble than this demand for self-modesty! 

"The world of the Greek gods has long since slipped away from us. Olympus has become empty. What remains is the eternally young Apollo as the perfect image of Greekness. And wherever he came from, his wisdom - the spirit that creates order and the measure that sets boundaries, both of which come from harmony with nature and the cosmos - is needed more than ever in our time." (Arn Strohmeyer, Red Rock and Brown Myth, Epilogue)

Literature:
(1) Hekateios, On the Hyperboreans (Fragments).
(2) Plato, Timaios, Kritias
(3) Günther Kehnscherper, Trails of the North and Sea Peoples, 1969
(4) Pär Sandin, Scythia or Elysium? The Land of the Hyperboreans in Early Greek Literature,
(5) Jürgen Spanuth, Die Atlanter, Volk aus dem Bernsteinland, Grabert Verlag 1989
(6) Arn Strohmeyer, Roter Fels und Brauner Mythos - A German Journey to Atlantis, R.G.Fischer 1990
(7) Arn Strohmeyer, From Hyperborea to Auschwitz - Paths of an Ancient Myth, PapyRossa 2005
(8) Wikipedia

I have attached the photo "Helgoland during a storm" by  Schensky (own collection)

Note:
Franz Schensky (1871 - 1957) from Helgoland is one of the pioneers of black and white photography and has a firm place in the history of German photography. In 2003, 1400 of his glass negatives, thought to have been lost, were found in a cellar on Helgoland and have since been processed and digitised. The photo shown is probably his most famous.

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Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #455 on: January 04, 2022, 07:12:03 am »
Eros und the club of Herakles

The occasion for this article was this coin from Hadrianopolis. In the course of my research, however, it has slowly developed into a larger overview of the relationship between Eros and Herakles, so that the old title is actually too narrow. Nevertheless, I have decided to keep it.

Coin #1:
Thrace, Hadrianopolis, pseudo-autonomous, time of Commodus, ca. 181-192.
AE - AE 19, 2.92g, 18.92mm, 210°.
Obv.: TON KT-I-CTHN
          Bust of Herakles, bearded, r.
Rev.: AΔPIANO-ΠO-ΛEIT-ΩN.
         Eros standing l., holding club of Herakles, supported by a second Eros,
         bent right
Ref.: Jurukova Hadrianopolis, 711 (V299/R669); not in SNG Copenhagen.
rare, F+, green patina

The obverse shows the portrait of the adult Herakles, who is considered the founder (ktistes) of Hadrianopolis. The legend here is in the rare Accusativus in the sense of "(We honour) the Ktistes".

More interesting, however, is the depiction on the reverse. It shows 2 small Erotes playing with the club of Herakles, for them a huge object. This scene fits seamlessly into a series of pictures in which Eros or several Erotes occupy themselves with attributes of Heracles, play with them or even steal and appropriate them. What's behind it?

This typography was developed in Hellenism and the Roman period. But Eros was not the first to appropriate attributes of Herakles. Already in mythological prehistory, there were small creatures that stole from Herakles, for example the Kerkopes.

Mythology:
(1) The Kerkopes, sons of Theia and Okeanos, were small, ape-like creatures who assisted Zeus against the Titans.  They lived as thieves and swindlers. But their mother had warned them, "My little white butts, you must first meet the big black butt!". Once they came across Herakles sleeping under a tree and immediately tried to steal his armour. Herakles, however, caught the thieves and, to punish them, he carried them over his shoulder on a branch from which they hung down headfirst. As he did so, they could see his black and hairy buttocks and made fun of them. Herakles also had to laugh and finally he let them go. This happened at the time when he was a slave to Omphale.

(2) At the end of the archaic period satyrs appeared on the scene. There is even an opinion that the first satyr play was about the theft of Herakles' weapons; for this seems to be depicted on a krater of 510/500 BC.

In later depictions, the satyrs are not only shown stealing Herakles' equipment, but also disguising themselves as Herakles in possession of it. The fatigue and exhaustion of Herakles is often emphasised, which is not a consequence of his hard works, but of his gluttony and drunkenness.

Art history:
In the 5th century BC, Eros is shown with objects that do not belong to him. The most impressive was probably the shield of Alkibiades, which was adorned with an Eros carrying Zeus' bundle of lightning. This was of course meant as a provocation. The lightning bundle of the highest and most powerful god was of course not made for the delicate hands of this youthful god. The fact that an image could embody a logical contradiction was a great discovery at the time (Susan Woodford). This opened up a way for artists to reveal even previously hidden truths. In time, the novelty of it disappeared and such images became commonplace and simply decorative motifs. But in the 5th and 4th centuries they were still fresh and impressive.

The sculptor Lysipp was a very innovative artist who was known for seeing old motifs in a new way. Two poems in the Greek Anthology of Hellenistic Epigrams describe a statue of Herakles in which Lysipp is said to have depicted the hero sadly, without his lion skin, club and quiver. These had all been stolen from him by Eros.

Lukian writes that in the 4th century B.C. the painter Aetion designed a group of small Erotes playing with Alexander's weapons in his painting "The Marriage of Alexander and Roxane", two of them carrying his spear while two others drag his shield by the handles. This motif was taken up again in the Renaissance, for example by Giovanni Antonio Bazzo, called Sodoma (1477-1549) in his fresco of around 1511/18 in the Villa Farnesina in Rome.

Eros steals the weapons of Herakles
This theme is further developed in Pompeian wall paintings depicting Herakles and Omphale. The appearance of Omphale, whom Herakles had to serve as a slave, shows that the mightiest hero could be conquered by delicate deities as well as by a woman. Some erotes seem to be carrying the stolen weapons to an altar, and A. Greifenhagen (1965) thinks that they want to consecrate the weapons to Aphrodite, so that the paintings celebrate the triumph of love.

A third painting in the Casa del Sirico in Pompeii shows the seated figure of Dionysos above: the power of wine together with the power of love can disarm the hero and thus show us that even Herakles is not armed against the temptations of the flesh.

All 3 images show Herakles youthful, beardless, clothed and together with Omphale. But there is a third type of picture in which Herakles is deprived: There Herakles is older, bearded, naked and alone with the little robbers. In the oldest example from the 3rd -1st century BC Herakles is asleep, in the others he has woken up, sometimes trying to grab an Erot. As in the pictures with Omphale, contrasts are played with here: old and young, passive and active, big and small.

Eros with the weapons of Herakles
Over time, 3 main variants have developed:
(1) Several small Eros are dragging away or tampering with the armour of Herakles, alone or in the presence of the hero. Our 1st coin belongs to this type!

(2) Eros as an infant sleeping on the lion skin of Herakles with the club beside him, also torch! To this type belongs our next coin:

Coin #2:
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Commodus, 177-192.
AE 17, 3.89g
Obv.: AV M AVPH - KOMODOC
         Laureate head r.
Rev.: NEIKOΠOΛI / ΠPOC-I / CTPON
        Eros, lying crossed-legged on lion's skin l., resting his head in the
         l. hand; in front of him the torch.
Ref.: a) not in AMNG
         b) not in Varbanov
         c) not in Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2020):
             Rev. not listed
             Obv. e.g. No. 8.10.14.4
        probably unpublished
extremely rare, VF, dark green patina   
Pedigree:
ex Gorny&Mosch Auction 265, Lot 726
ex coll. Erwin Link (Stuttgart)

(3) The childlike Eros standing dressed in lion skin and holding the club, a type that also exists without wings and represents a child-Herakles in a non-mythological form. As an example, I show here the terracotta statuette from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA): Eros, winged, has disguised himself as Herakles. It dates from the Hellenistic or Imperial period, 1st century BC, - 1st century AD, and was found in Myrina, Turkey, in 1892.
This playful representation of Eros refers to a Hellenistic epigram describing a statue of Herakles by Lysipp (see above). Here Eros holds his hands behind his back like the famous Herakles Farnese with the apples of the Hesperides.

Of course, images of Eros with the attributes of Herakles can simply be playfulness, but on a deeper level they serve to bring to mind that Eros' all-dominating power is only masked by his small size and tender age. Terence: Omnia vicit amor!

I have attached:
(1) A photo of the fresco of Giovanni Antonio Bazzo, called Sodoma (1477-1549)
(2) A photo of the terracotta statuette from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA)

Sources:
(1) Nonnus, Dionysiaka
(2) Lukian

Literature:
(1) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov, The Coinage of Nicopolis ad Istrum, 2020
(2) Francis Jarman, Eros in Coinage
(2) Susan Woodford, Herakles' Attributes and their appropriation by Eros, The Journal
      of Hellenistic Studies, Vol. 109, November 1989
(3) Adolf Kaegi, Kurzgefasste griechische Schulgrammatik, 1957
(5) Wikipedia

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Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #456 on: January 09, 2022, 03:26:03 pm »
The Holy City Council

The Coin:
Caria, Trapezopolis, pseudo-autonomous, AD 150-250
AE 18, 3.29g, 18.44mm, 180°.
Obv.: IEPA - BOVΛH.
         Bust of Boule, draped and veiled, r.
Rev.: TPAΠE - ZOΠOΛI.
         Kybele, in girdled double chiton, wearing kalathos, standing frontal, holding
         outward-turned hands over 2 lions, seated r. and l. beside her with raised paws
         outward.
Ref.: SNG Tübingen 3505; Martin 12; Mionnet Supp.6, 554; RPC IV.2 online, 9243
rare, VF, brown-green patina

Our coin comes from Trapezopolis in Caria in the present province of Denizli in Turkey On the reverse the goddess Kybele is depicted with 2 lions at her side. What interests us here, however, is the front, which shows the female bust of Boule, draped and veiled to the right. The veil is the expression of her honour. The legend IEPA - BOVΛH translates as the "Holy City Council". Yes, those were the days when the local council was still holy! True, even today it often behaves as if it is sacrosanct and unassailable, but fortunately those days are gone. And one should remember that as a counterpart to the sacred city council there was also the IEPOΣ ΔHMOΣ, the sacred people of the state or the sacred community of citizens, from which our concept of democracy derives.

The Boule originated in Athens and belongs to the beginning of Attic democracy. At first it was exclusively for nobles, but then every unbowed citizen was allowed to become a member. It decided on the budget, the fleet and impeachments. In Roman times, the principle of oligarchy prevailed again, membership was only possible for a circle of wealthy citizens. And their powers were limited to local tasks. The meeting of the Boule took place in a special building, the Bouleuterion, a richly decorated building usually near the Agora, the market place and centre of the city.

In inscriptions, the Boule is always mentioned first, where it says, for example, "The Boule and the Demos have issued the following decree". But it is striking that on coins the Boule is always depicted on the smaller denominations than the Demos. Since nothing was random in this period, as is so often the case today, this can only mean that the Demos, the people, was above the Boule, the council assembly, in the hierarchy, which is actually understandable, since the latter consisted of only a part of the city people.

The coin depicted comes from Asia Minor at the time of the Roman Empire. The depictions of the Boule, the Demos and other institutions of the Greek polis were intended to convey the message that these late Hellenised (Martin) cities were also part of the great tradition of Greek history and, despite being part of the Roman provincial administration, did not need to hide from the famous classical cities.

The coin does not show the image of an emperor and is therefore called "pseudo-autonomous". It reflects an autonomy that had in fact long since ceased to exist. The terms "holy city council" or "holy community of citizens" still recall the old traditions, but in fact the rights of the cities and their institutions were severely curtailed. We know that today, too. There, the city council cannot decide for itself how wide a planned road can be, or whether or not cars may overtake each other on the road to the next town. Times do not seem to have changed after all. All the more reason for today's local councillors to take care that they fulfil their task of controlling the administration and do not degrade themselves to insignificance. I had this article published as a letter to the editor in view of the current situation, since our local council is known for its uncritical approval of all proposals from the administration.

I have attached the photo of the Bouleuterion of Aphrodisias in Caria (own photo from 2011)

Literature:
(1) Der  Kleine  Pauly
(2) Katharina Martin, Demos.Boule.Gerousia: Personifikationen  städtischer  Institutionen auf  kaiserzeitlichen  Münzen  aus  Kleinasien,  Münster  2013
     (The standard reference!)
(3) Katharina Martin, Demos und Boule auf Münzen phrygischer Städte. Überlegungen zu Ikonographie  und  Funktion  von  Münzbildern
(4)  Wikipedia

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #457 on: January 09, 2022, 03:50:13 pm »
Gerusia - the Council of Elders

The Coin:
Caria, Antiocheia ad Maeandrum, pseudo-autonomous, 3rd century AD.
AE 20, 4.93g, 19.68mm, 180°.
Obv.: IEPA Γ[E - POVCIA]
        Bust of Gerusia, draped, r.
Rev.: ANTIO - XEΩN.
        Athena in double chiton and helmet standing  l., holding in left arm shield and spear and in outstretched right hand patera.
Ref.: BMC 18; not in RPC
very rare, VF-

The Gerusia, the Council of Elders, originated in Sparta. It consisted of 28 citizens of Sparta, the gerontes (from Greek γέρων = old man), who had to be at least 60 years old. Thus it roughly corresponded to the Roman Senate (from Latin senex = old man). The two kings always belonged to it. In the 7th century, the Gerusia was made one of the central organs of state, along with the Ephores and the People's Assembly. The text of the oldest Greek constitution is attributed to Lycurgus and has been handed down to us by Plutarch. According to him, it was an oracle saying from Delphi that was presented to Lycurgus. Plutarch himself held a priesthood at the temple of Apollo in Delphi from 95. According to current research, Lykurg is probably not a historical but a mythical person.

In fact, however, it was not a single act, but developed gradually. As a result of the Messenian wars, the Spartan territory had expanded to such an extent that it required a new ruling and administrative structure. At the same time, it was intended to counteract a concentration of power in the hands of a few. The gerontes were elected for life. They decided which motions were submitted to the People's Assembly and which were not. They had the right to revoke or prevent decisions of the People's Assembly. Thus they formed an important political interface in the Spartan state. However, it is historically known that they were corruptible.

In the classical period, however, the Gerusia did not appear frequently. Through democratic developments, which also touched Sparta, their function became less and less important politically. Aristotle criticised the Spartan Gerusia in the strongest terms, in particular the much too high age of its members and the "childish" selection procedure (Wikipedia). This consisted of shouting as loud as possible! A procedure that was easy to manipulate.

The personification of Gerusia has no predecessor in Classical and Hellenistic art. Coins depicting her did not appear until the time of the Flavians, whereby these representations show a greater variety than those of the Boule (Martin). While on our coin Gerusia appears as an elderly matron, on other coins she is a youth. This also exists in Aphrodisias. It is possible that this different representation also denotes different institutions. In Ephesus, for example, a C. Vibius Saltutaris at the time of the Antonines consecrated a silver statue to the holy Gerusia, by whom he understood the Boule of the city (Martin).

I have attached a picture of the oil painting "Lycurgus of Sparta", 1791, by Jacques-Louis David (748-1825), Musee des Beaux-Arts de Blois (Wikidata).

Literature:
(1) Plutarch, Life of Lykurg
(2) Katharina Martin, Boule.Demos.Gerousia, Münster 2013
(3) Der Kleine Pauly
(4) Wikipedia

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #458 on: January 20, 2022, 05:24:58 am »
The turtle

The turtle is the characteristic image on the ancient coins of Aigina/Attica. But there are also others. For example, the following:

Coin #1:
Cilicia, Mallos, 440-380 BC.
AR - Obol, 0.73g
Obv.: turtle from above
Rev.: androkephalic bull protome n. l. in square incus
Ref.: not listed in the standard works
         Obv.cf. SNG Levant 186
         Rev.cf. SNG Ashmolean 1735; cf. Rauch 96, 2014, lot 107; CNG e-Sale 380, 2016, lot 272
Very rare, VF, some horn silver plating.

Mythology:
Chelone was a nymph who lived on the banks of a river at Mount Chelydorea in Arcadia in southern Greece. For his wedding with Hera, Zeus had Hermes invite all the gods, men and animals. All accepted this invitation except Chelone, who scoffed at the wedding. When Hermes noticed this, he went back to earth and threw her together with her house into the river, thus transforming her into a turtle that had to carry her shell on its back. Because of her mockery she was condemned to eternal muteness (Servius, Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid). The turtle was a symbol of silence in Greece.
Aesop knows more details in his fables: Zeus did not know why she was not present and asked Chelone the reason. She replied: "Be it ever so humble, there is no place like one's home".

Meanwhile feminists have also taken up this issue. Their explanation: Chelone saw through the fact that this marriage was meant to serve the patriarchal purpose of the mainland Greeks, and that it was meant to severely curtail the rights and importance of the all-embracing and ancient mother goddess Hera. Well, well. 

Hermes invents the lyre
Chelydorea was the name in ancient times for a 1759m high mountain range in Arcadia and in the Achaean Pellene, a part of the Kyllene mountain range that advanced to the north. The name means "de-shelter of the turtle". It was known for its abundance of tortoises (Pausanias). On it, the legend has Hermes inventing the lyre.

Hermes was born of Maja, who had been seduced by Jupiter, in a cave in the Kyllene Mountains. Already on the day of his birth he stole the tools of several gods, even Zeus' sceptre. He sneaked out of the cradle and drove away the cattle Apollo was tending. So that they would not make any noise, he put shoes on them. He slaughtered and ate two of them. On the way back to Kyllene he found a turtle, cleaned its shell and stretched the sinews of the slaughtered cattle over it as strings. Apollo searched for his cattle and learned that Hermes had been the thief. When Hermes, supported by Maja, denied the crime, Apollo brought him before Zeus, where he admitted nothing. Zeus then returned the cattle to Apollo. When Apollo heard Hermes play the lyre he had just invented, he liked it so much that he gave him his cattle in exchange for the lyre. Later Apollo gave the lyre to his son Orpheus. In Hellenism, the lyre was a symbol of poets and thinkers, from which the term lyricism later developed.

An ancient riddle read:
κριον εχω γενεθρα, τεκεν δε με τωδε γελωνη; τικτομενη δ'αμφω πεφνον ερνους γονεας.
Father to me is the ram, the tortoise is my mother, but at birth I gave death to both.
Answer: Of course this is Lyra, also called Chelys in Greek, which is poet. the turtle;  It is also the lyre made from the shell of the turtle. Its arms were often made of rams' horns. It is often difficult to distinguish from the cithara, but the latter, unlike the lyre, has a foot.

Coin #2
Syria, Antiochia ad Orontem, pseudo-autonomous, 54-68 (time of Nero).
AE 16, 4.55g, 0°
struck 59/60 (year 108 of the Caesarian era)
Obv.: Head of Apollo, wearing diadem and necklace, r., in pearl circle
Rev.: ANTIOXE - ET HP (year 108)
        Chelys
Ref.: BMC 88; RPC 4293; SNG Copenhagen 108; SNG Munich 679; SNG Righetti 1899 
VF+, sand encrustations on black patina

We have seen that Hermes is closely associated with the tortoise. Therefore, it is no wonder that he is often depicted together with her. A famous statue of Lysipp (around 330 BC) is the so-called "sandal-binder", a copy of which was found in the Villa Adriana in Tivoli. In the meantime, thanks to von Mosch, we know that it is not a "sandal-binder" but a "sandal-solver". He is depicted on large bronzes from Markianopolis.

Coin #3:
Moesia inferior, Markianopolis, Philip II as Caesar & Serapis, 244-247.
AE 27, 13.94g, 26.96mm, 30°
struck under governor Prastina Messalinus
Obv.: M I[OVΛIOC] ΦIΛIΠΠOC KAI / CAP AVΓ
         Facing busts of Philip II, draped and cuirassed,  r., and Serapis, draped, with kalathos, l.
Rev.:  VΠ ΠPACT MECCAΛEI[NOV MAPK]IANOΠOΛITΩN
        Hermes, nude,  standing left bent forward and facing front, the r. foot placed on
        a  ram's head, the left arm covered with the chlamys resting on the right knee;
        on the ground between his feet a turtle. l., behind him a tree stump with a kerykeion 
        before and a second indistinct object
        in the left field E (for Pentassarion)
Ref.: a) AMNG I/1, 1209, pl. XVI, 25  (2 ex., Philippopel, Sophia Tacchella revue num. 1893, 73, 23)
          b) Varbanov 2107
          c) Hristova/Jekov (2014) No. 6.44.10.3.
rare, almost SS, shiny, dark green patina.
Pedigree:
ex CNG electronic auction 215, lot 390
ex coll. J.P.Righetti, No. 10008

In the statue of Lysipp, the ram's head and the turtle are not present. Here the artist has thankfully added both!

The tortoise in the military:
The Greek chelone was a siege engine with a roof on top for protection against shelling. It was also used by the Romans.

The best known, however, is the Roman turtle formation (Latin testudo = "tortoise"), which was developed during the time of Gaius Iulius Caesar. It consisted of a square formation of soldiers with angular shields (scutum). The first row held their shields forward, the following ones high above their heads so that they overlapped. This allowed the formation to move forward even under heavy fire, but only slowly because it was very cumbersome. The testudo could only be exercised by carefully trained soldiers and, above all, had to be broken up again in good time; otherwise it would have become a helpless victim of the enemy in close combat. The picture is from Trajan's Column (Wikipedia, Cristian Chirita)

The Death of Aischylos
An unfortunate role was played by a tortoise in the death of Aischylos in 456 BC, according to Valerius Maximus.Aischylos (525 - 456 BC) was the oldest of the great Greek tragedian poets.  Unfortunately, most of his works have been lost. But his last ones (e.g. "The Eumenides") are dramas of world literature hardly surpassed in their tragedy and depth of thought. Because he had been prophesied to die by falling objects, he stayed in the fields near Gela on his last trip to Sicily. There he was killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle. The bird had mistaken Aischylos' head for a rock and used it to break open the tortoise's shell.

Sources:
(1) Pausanias, Travels in Greece.
(2) Aesop, Fables
(3) Pliny, Naturalis Historia

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770.
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Extensive Lexicon of Greek and Roman Mythology
(3) Hristova/Jekov, Marcianopolis (2014).
(4 Christian von Mosch, The Hermes of Lysipp(?) on the coins of Trapezous, Amastris and Marcianopolis, in Jahrbuch für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte 63, 2013.
(5)  K. Ohlert, Rätsel und Rätselspiele der alten Griechen, Berlin 1912.
(6)  Gemoll, Griechisch-Deutsches Schul- und Handwörterbuch, 1954
(7) The Kleiner Pauly
(8)  theoi.com
(9) Wikipedia

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Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #459 on: January 20, 2022, 05:29:49 am »
Excursus: The race between Achilles and the tortoise

Probably the best-known paradoxon from antiquity is the race between Achilles and the tortoise, known as "Achilles". This paradoxon  originates from Zeno of Elea (ca. 490 - ca. 430 BC), the founder of dialectics, and has been handed down to us by Aristotle in his "Physics".

Achilles was known as the fastest runner in antiquity. When he entered a race with the tortoise, he gave the tortoise a fair head start. He should not have done so, for Zenon could prove that he could then never catch up with the tortoise, let alone overtake it. For if he wanted to overtake the tortoise, he would first have to reach the place where the tortoise had been before. But every time Achilles reached the tortoise's place, the tortoise had crawled a little further. Although the turtle's lead became smaller and smaller, it always remained. This obviously contradicts our observation. But where is the error in Zeno's chain of evidence?

Now you can read in any better mathematics book how to calculate when and where Achill will catch up with the turtle with the help of series expansions or limit value considerations. But that misses the real problem. It is about logic! What is wrong with the logic that Achilles must always - and I mean always - first reach the point where the tortoise was before? This raises the question of whether space is infinitely divisible. In logic as a thought experiment it is, but not in reality. There is Planck's constant, which sets limits to reality. And this shows that this paradoxon  is not located in reality, but in mental space. And that is why it must be solved there.

In recent times, a number of philosophers have dealt with the "Achilles" and have achieved astonishing results. The British philosopher James Thomson (1921-1984) developed the theory of "supertasks" in 1954. For this purpose, he invented various "machines", which are of course only thought experiments. One of them is "Thomson's lamp": A burning lamp is switched off after a time t, then switched on again after a time t/2, switched off again after t/4 and immediately. We know that mathematically the lamp enters its final state after a finite time. (see "Achilles"). But we do not know what state it is in then.

Another thought led to the "Pi machine." A thought machine calculates the infinite number of decimal places of pi one after the other. In the process, it needs only half as much time for each additional digit as for the digit before it. We know that mathematically this machine must stop after a finite time. The paradox then consists in the last digit of pi, which mathematically cannot exist. That is quite exciting!

The French-American philosopher Paul Benacerraf refuted Thomson's considerations in 1962, which led to new interest in infinity-related problems.

In the meantime, it has turned out that this problem is not only philosophical, but also plays a role in the real world. This was demonstrated in 1994 by measurements at the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, which confirmed this paradox for measurements in the quantum world: the motion of a quantum system was shown to be brought to a standstill by a sequence of dense measurements alone, which led to the theoretical modelling of the quantum Zeno effect (Wikipedia)

Zeno's paradoxes challenged our notion of motion, time and space; the path to an answer was full of surprises.

The picture is taken from "Meinstein, school subjects simply explained". 

Sources:
(1) Hermann Diels, The Fragments of the Presocratics, Rowohlts Klassiker 1957.
(2) The Presocratics, edited by Wilhelm Capelle, Kröner 1968.

Literature:
(1) Adolf Grünbaum, Modern Science and Zeno's Paradoxes of Motion, in "Zeno's Paradoxes", edited by Wesley C. Salmon, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.
(2) William I. Laughlin, A Solution to Zeno's Paradoxes, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, January 1995.
(3) Nick Huggett, Zeno's Paradoxes, 2004, in "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy".
(4) Nicholas Falletta, Zenos Paradoxien, Hugendubel 1985
(5) Wikipedia

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #460 on: January 28, 2022, 12:36:08 pm »
Homonoia

One of the most frequently depicted deities on provincial coins is Homonoia, which alone proves its great importance.

1st coin:
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Elagabal, AD 218-222
AE 28, 14.32g, 26.97mm, 30°
struck under governor Novius Rufus
Obv.: AVT M AVP - [A]NTΩNEINOC
         Laureate head r.
Rev.: VΠ NOBIOV POVΦOV NI - KOΠOLITΩN ΠPOC ICTPW
         Homonoia, in long robe and mantle, wearing alathos, standing frontal, looking  l.,
         holding  cornucopiae in left arm and patera in her outstretched right arm.
Ref.: a) Not in AMNG:
            Obv. not in AMNG I/1
             Rev. AMNG I/1, 1913 var. (legend, other legend break)
                    AMNG I/1, 1968 (depiction)
         b) cf. Varbanov 4037 (cites AMNG 1968)
         c) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2021) No. 8.26.36.3 (this coin)
rare, VF+, black-green patina, portrait!

Notes:
(1) Cornucopiae = horn of plenty, symbol of abundance. On coins from Alexandria it is also sometimes depicted with double cornucopiae. But Egypt was also the granary of Rome.
(2) Kalathos: Originally a woven basket with fruits of the field, symbol of well-being and abundance.
(3) The patera here has an elevation in the middle. It is therefore a phiale mesomphalos, as it was used in sacrifice.

2nd coin:
Thrace, Tomis, pseudo-autonomous, 2nd century, Antonine(?) period.
AE 17, 2.71g, 16.81mm, 225°.
Obv.: EYETHPIA - OMONOIA
         Busts of Eueteria and Homonoia, behind each other,  r., both draped and with topknot
Rev.: TO / MI - TW / N
         Cornucopiae with grapes and fruits
Ref.: AMNG I/2, 2576 corr., pl. VI, 19 (legend not legible); RPC I 1823; Moushmov 1786
rare, F+

Notes:
(1) Regling (AMNG I/2) took the bust at the back for Augustus and therefore placed this coin to Augustus(?). Since his description was not correct, the chronological attribution to Augustus is of course also incorrect.This coin belongs to Group V. Coins of the Roman period without emperor's heads, probably to "b) Antonine period". 

(2) Eueteria an abstract term formed from Greek "ευ = good" and "ετος = year", and literally means "the property of being a good year" (in German you can say in one word "Gutjährigkeit"), thus as much as "good, blessed year" or "abundance of food". Thus "Eueteria" has a similar meaning as "Eubosia", the "good harvest". The meaning is, of course, that there is prosperity only through unity. This puts it in line with the famous statue of Kephisodotos the Elder, the father of Praxiteles, "Eirene with the young Plutos on her arm", whose marble copy is now in the Glyptothek in Munich

This legend exists only one other time on a Seleucid tetradrachm, BMC 1, 126-125 BC, where Cleopatra Thea herself is called Eueteria.

Mythology:
Homonoia, from Greek "ομος = equal" and  "νους = sense, reason", was not a goddess in the proper sense, but the personification of concord and like-mindedness. Therefore, as is often the case with personifications, her mythology appears somewhat artificial. Our sources are the Orphic Hymns and the Suda, this great Byzantine work that sought to record all the knowledge of the time without much judgement. However, there are also traces in Aischylos. Here, then, are the complicated family relationships of Homonoia:

According to this, Homonoia was the daughter of Praxidike and Soter, her brother. Her siblings were Ktesios, protector of property, and Arete, virtue.

Her mother Praxidike, the enforcer of justice, was the daughter of Ogygos.  Ogygos was an ancient king of Boiotia and the founder of Thebes. The first great flood occurred under him. Originally he was probably a god and the father of the Praxidikai, the Boiotian oath-keepers. This oath was administered in the open air at Haliartos (Pausanias). Through this lineage, Homonoia was closely connected to the Theban Harmonia, the wife of Kadmos, who as the "unifier" was the patron goddess of the citizens' association (Plutarch).

According to Mnaseas, all three siblings together were named Praxidikai after their mother. In the Orphic hymns, Praxidike was identified with Persephone and the Praxidikai with the Erinyes, the goddesses of vengeance.

Menelaus, after his return from Troy, had erected a statue of Praxidike at Gutheion in Lakonia, where Paris and Helen, before they left for Troy, had spent their first night, but otherwise she was worshipped only in the form of a head (Mnaseas, Europa).

Her father was Soter, the personification of safety and salvation, later adopted by Dionysos and Christ as Saviour. According to Aischylos ("Seven against Thebes") he had another daughter Eupraxia, success by Peitharchia, obedience.  Soter, but also Ktesios, his son, were epicleses of Zeus. Epicleses are cult names under which a god was also invoked.

Notes:
(1) The Orphic Hymns are a collection of 87 religious poems composed in either the late Hellenistic or early Roman periods. They are based on the beliefs of Orphism, a mystery cult or religious philosophy based on the mythical singer Orpheus.

(2) The Suda, written around 970 AD, is the most comprehensive Byzantine encyclopaedia. It is arranged alphabetically and contains 30000 lemmata (entries). It was compiled by various authors.

(3) Mnaseas of Patara was a Greek historian and geographer of the late 3rd century B.C. He was a student of Eratosthenes in Alexandria. His geographical works ("Periegeseis") were arranged according to landscapes.

Homonoia as a political concept:
The concept of homonoia was an ancient Greek concept that was traditionally not applied beyond their own culture. This was in line with Aristotle's view.

In a short time, Alexander had conquered an empire that encompassed most of the then known world with a myriad of different peoples. If one asks what Alexander's relationship was to these Asian peoples, one must look at Alexander's concept of the unity of mankind, homonoia, and how he tried to realise this through the organisation of his empire.

The Greeks of the classical period divided humanity roughly into two classes: Greeks and non-Greeks; the latter called  barbarians and considered them inferior human beings, although occasionally someone like Herodotus or Xenophon noted that some barbarians possessed qualities worthy of consideration, such as the wisdom of the Egyptians or the courage of the Persians. Aristotle also held this view.

But in the 3rd century, new ideas emerged: All people were equal and should be brothers. This gave rise to the idea of homonoia. At first, however, this only applied to the factional struggles within the Greek cities.

Isocrates extended this concept to the entire Greek world, which should make wars among the Greeks impossible. He presented this concept to Philipp II, who adopted it for a holy war of the Greeks against the Persians. After Philipp's death, the influence of Aristotle grew again, who advised Alexander to treat Greeks as friends, but barbarians like animals. Alexander, however, was wiser than his teacher and preferred to divide people into good and bad without considering their race. He probably realised that it would be easier to deal with the problems of administration if he treated the inhabitants of the conquered countries not as slaves but as free people. And he wanted to spread the ideas of Greekism throughout the known world. Thus he subjected his actions entirely to the goal of homonoia. This was reinforced by his conviction that God had given him the task of harmonising humanity.

"Alexander was called the Great because of the things he did, but the greatest thing about him was this idea", Tarn writes at the end of his biography of Alexander.

His empire was to be "Greek-Oriental" in its essence, and as far as possible a joint enterprise. Thus he retained the Persian satrapies and filled them with Iraqis. The newly formed offices of taxation and finance, however, he filled with Macedonians. Of course, Macedonians were also at the head of the military units. But Persians and Macedonians served together in the same units.

His call to the Macedonians to marry native women he understood as an important step towards unity. In 324, there was a mass wedding of his officers in Susa, who took Persian women as wives. He himself married the beautiful Roxane, a Bactrian princess.

All this increased the discontent of his Macedonians, who could not see that they should be put on an equal footing with a conquered people. The climax, however, was when Alexander introduced proskynesis at his court, which by now resembled the court of the Great King. This refers to the Persian custom of prostrating oneself before the ruler in order to honour him. According to Greek opinion, only a god was entitled to do this.

In the sense of homonoia, the Greeks were to be introduced to Persian customs and the Persians to Greek customs. In fact, however, this "assimilation" amounted to the Persians being overrun by Greek culture, its art and literature and its science. The impact of Greek culture can still be seen hundreds of years after the collapse of Alexander's empire in Oriental architecture, which still reflects Greek influence.

In the end, his concept failed. But it was adopted and continued by the great world religions of Christianity and Islam. In the end, it is a utopian and - I believe - inhuman idea. Just think of the attempts of Bolshevism, the Mao era or the Pol Pot regime to "educate" people to equality and happiness. Freedom and equality are opposites. To demand both at the same time was the great mistake of the French Revolution, on which all later revolutions were based and which all ended in a bloodbath.

In Asia Minor under Roman rule, Homonoia played an important role as a symbol for settling inner-city tensions and for connecting with other poleis. Coins were struck with the legend "Homonoia" to proclaim regional alliances and to place them under the protection of local deities. They probably did not have great political significance. Here I have a nice example from my collection of the so-called Homonoia Coinage which was issued in Asia Minor for two joint cities as expression for their entente cordiale. This one was struck in Ephesos joint with Alexandria in Egypt. For more information for these interesting issues look at Franke/Nolle, Die Homonoia-Münzen Kleinasiens und der thrakischen Randgebiete.

3rd Coin:
Ionia, Ephesos, Gordian III, AD 238-244
AE 29, 8.47g
obv. AVT K.M.AN - T.GORDIANOC.
        Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. EΦECIΩN / TYXH / KAI A - ΛEΞ - ANΔPEΩN
       City goddess (Tyche), wearing high kalathos, leaning l., holding cornucopiae in
       l. arm and cult-statue of Artemis Ephesia in outstretched r. hand
Ref.: BMC 245, Nolle Homonoia 450 (only 1 ex.!)
very rare (possibly 2nd known!), VF, blue-green patina

Homonoia played a role in the 38th speech of Dion Chrystostomos (after 40 - before 120 AD). There was an old dispute between the cities of Nicomedia and Nikaia in Bithynia  which of them was the metropolis. In his speech, Dion tried to settle the dispute by establishing Homonoia.

Homonoia is said to have had a temple in Olympia (Pausanias).

Sources:
(1)  Aischylos,  Seven against Thebes
(2)  Orphic  Hymnes
(3)  Isokrates, Panegyrikos
(4)  Suda
(5)  Pausanias, Periegeseis
(6)  Dion Chrysostomos, Discourses

Secondary literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechisxhen und römishen Mythologie
(3) Henry M. de Mauriax, Alexander the Great and the Politics  of  "Homonoia",  1949
(4) William  Woodthorpe  Tarn, Alexander  the  Great, 1948 
(5) Der  Kleine  Pauly
(6) Gemoll,  Griechisch-Deutsches  Schul-  und  Handwörterbuch

Online sources:
(1) theoi.com
(2) acsearch.info
(3) Wikipedia

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Offline Virgil H

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #461 on: January 28, 2022, 04:30:08 pm »
Jochen,
I always enjoy these entries.
Virgil

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #462 on: January 28, 2022, 05:27:09 pm »
Dear Virgil!

I write these articles mainly for members like you.

Thanks
Jochen

Offline Virgil H

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #463 on: January 28, 2022, 06:06:43 pm »
You should think about putting some of these together into a book. It would make a fascinating book with cross over appeal outside the numismatic community.

Regards,
Virgil

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #464 on: January 29, 2022, 02:16:16 pm »
Hello Virgil,

The book was self-published by Jochen and it is absolutely marvellous.
You can find Jochens Book via ABEBooks or sometimes on Amazon - look for: 'Münzen und antike Mythologie" , more than 400 pages, German language.

Price varies, cheapest I find right now ist 140 € (around 160 USD) 

Best regards
Norbert

Offline Virgil H

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #465 on: January 29, 2022, 06:03:45 pm »
Thank you for that info, Norbert. I didn't know. I can usually deal with reading German, at least up to a point where I can get some use out of it, I used to be able to speak it a bit, never fluent, but I could get by most of the time.

Regards,
Virgil

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    • A Handbook of Late Roman Bronze Coin Types 324-395.
Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #466 on: January 30, 2022, 09:17:01 am »
Maybe we can all lobby for an English version......

SC
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(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline Virgil H

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #467 on: January 30, 2022, 06:04:55 pm »
I agree on English version especially since the two German copies I found for sale would require me to mortgage my home. Seriously, I would be willing to help with layout, etc. I have done this for a couple books in the past. A book like this would be of interest beyond coin collectors. Anyway, just thinking aloud.

Virgil

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #468 on: February 10, 2022, 05:44:23 am »
The Roman Concordia

After the article on Homonoia, now the article on its counterpart, the Roman Concordia.

Concordia is an ancient Roman concept of virtue, like Fides, Spes, Iustitia, Pax or Libertas, which was personified by the Romans. Originally, these deities were not worshipped in images or statues. The Romans first adopted the idea of gods in human form from the Greeks and Etruscans.

Concordia is the personification of concord and thus corresponds to the Greek Homonoia. She promotes and maintains the harmony and unity of the Roman citizens. Unlike the Greek Homonoia, however, the Roman Concordia always has a close connection to the Res publica.

The first temple (Aedes) is said to have been erected in 367 BC by M. Furius Camillus at the clivus Capitolinus and to symbolise the end of the class struggles between patricians and plebeians. The reconciliation was completed in 367 BC with the laws of Gaius Licinius Stolo and Lucius Sextus Lateranus, the so-called Licinian laws (leges Liciniae Sextiae). They established the broad political equality of both estates. Camillus had recognised the need for unification and contributed decisively to these laws.

Camillus, the first historically comprehensible figure in Roman history, was the most important personality in 4th century Rome. Because of his successes against Veji, the Faliscans and the Gauls, he was considered the "second founder of Rome". However, many things were attributed to him that were not historically true. Some of this was already doubted in antiquity (Livius). It is certain that he organised the Roman army in such a way that Rome was able to achieve supremacy in central Italy. But the construction of the 1st Temple of Concordia unfortunately belongs to the unproven narratives. Structural remains from this phase have not been preserved.

A second temple was vowed by Praetor L. Manlius Vulso in 218 BC during a mutiny of the army in the war against the Boians, built in arce (the castle) after the rebellion was settled and consecrated on 5.2.216 (Livius).

After the bloody persecution of the Gracchi, which ended with their murder, a temple of Concordia was built by L. Opimius near the sanctuary donated by Camillus. This temple building is often called a renewal of the temple of Camillus. But according to the sources it can only be a new temple.

It was richly furnished with numerous art treasures and the Senate met here at times. Cicero delivered his 4th speech against Catilina here.
The feast of Concordia was celebrated on 16 January. This was considered the foundation day of the 1st temple. Today, nothing remains of this temple except the podium. Even the podium is partly hidden under a staircase leading up to the Capitol (photo attached).

All these temples stood near the place where Romulus and Titus Tatius joined forces when the Romans and Sabines allied.  A Republican denarius of L. Mussidius Longus from 42 BC shows the shrine of Venus Cloacina (from Latin cluere = to purify). The cult of Cloacina played an important role in the reconciliation of the Sabines with the Romans. On the obverse the Concordia is depicted still veiled. Thus the political Concordia appears here as a secondary form of that covenant goddess, who for her part is nothing other than a form of Venus (Roscher). (Pic attached)

Later, the usually veiled Concordia joins the Venus Victrix. A denarius of L. Vinicius (Vinicia 1a), ca. 54 BC, with Venus Victrix on the reverse, shows her already wearing a laurel wreath. (Pic attaxched. The image comes from wildwinds.com)

It is reported that in 164 BC the Censor Q. Marcius had a statue of Concordia erected in public. This was brought to the Curia in 154 by the Censor C. Cassius. But when he wanted to dedicate the Curia to Concordia at the same time, the Pontifices prevented the dedication. 

After Iulius Caesar's victory over Pompeius, the Senate 44 vowed a temple to the Concordia Nova. Whether this temple was actually realised is uncertain.

In imperial times, the cult of Concordia was one of the most prestigious of all. Augustus erected an altar in 9 BC, on which sacrifices were made to Ianus, Salus, Concordia and Pax on 30 March. Livia dedicated a shrine to Concordia in the porticus Livia 7 BC on 11 June in honour of her marriage to Augustus (Ovid). Tiberius vowed in the same year to renew the sanctuary founded by Camillus and consecrated it on 16 Jan. 12 AD on the occasion of his triumph over the Pannonians and Dalmatians, but as a temple to Concordia Augusta. The image of the goddess in this temple wore a laurel wreath. Still in later times, the Senate restored the temple

After the discovery of the conspiracy of M. Libo in 16 AD, Concordia also received rich gifts along with other gods.

Concordia is mainly the patron goddess of imperial marriage and the imperial house in the imperial period. The connection of two cornucopias in the arm of the goddess seems to refer to the union of the two members of the imperial house and the blessing of children resulting from the marriage (Roscher). Especially in the arm of Concordia, the double cornucopiae has become a standing symbol. The hope placed in marriage is expressed by a statue of Spes accompanying Concordia, on which she sometimes places her left arm. (Pic of Sabina, RIC III, (Hadrian) 398 attached)
 
The emperors especially often praise the Concordia exercitum and the Concordia militum on the coins, this extraordinarily often on coins of the later imperial period. This was a time when emperors depended on the goodwill of their soldiers. Their fate depended on their armies. These deposed emperors and raised others to their shields. So this was more a wish than a description of facts. It is not for nothing that these legends are found particularly frequently among the soldier-emperors.

The standard depiction was Concordia Militum with a field sign in each hand. This is an Antoninian of Probus (276-282), RIC V/2, 480 (attached).

The next coin was minted by Aureolus under Emperor Postumus. Aureolus was dux equitum under Valerian, later attacked Postumus and took the imperial dignity himself in 268 AD. The legend Concordia Equitum says nothing other than that he was dependent on his cavalry and hoped for a good relationship with them. Significantly, Fortuna on the reverse was also supposed to be favourably disposed towards him. At the end of this year he was killed by his own praetorian guard. Aureolus under Postumus, RIC V/2, 373 (Pic attched)

According to a conjecture by Hübner, the expression Concordia Augusti expresses the concord of the emperor with the people. In the following solidus of Honorius with the legend Concordia Avggg, however, the promise or the wish for harmony among the emperors resonates. This was not self-evident even among brothers, as we know from the time of Constantine. I have attached the pic of Honorius, RIC X, (Arcadius 24)

Outside Rome, Concordia was mainly used in Spain, Africa and Gallia cisalpina (Pauly).

Because I can't add the pictures to the text I have attached the following pictures:
(1) Remains of the Temple of Concord. The three columns on the left belong to the Temple of Vespasian. Of the Temple of Concordia, only the podium remains on the left behind these columns
(2) The republican denarius Mussidia 6b
(3) The republican denarius Vinicia 1a
(4) Aquilia Severa, RIC IV/2, 226
(5) Sabina, RIC III, (Hadrian) 398
(6) Probus, RIC V/2, 480
(7) Aureolus under Postumus, RIC V/2, 373
(8) Honorius, RIC X, (Arcadius) 24


Sources:
(1) Plutarch
(2) Sallust, Historiae
(3) Livius, Ab urbe condita
(4) Sueton, Kaiserviten
(5) Cassius Dio, Römische Geschichte
(6) Ovid, Fasti

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
(3) Der Kleine Pauly
(4) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #469 on: February 12, 2022, 08:12:31 am »
The peacock in antiquity

The peacock was an attribute of Hera in antiquity.

1st coin:
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Septimius Severus, AD 193-211.
AE 27, 11.61g, 26.69mm, 210°
struck under governor Aurelius Gallus
Obv.: AV.K.L.CEP.  - CEVHROC - P
         Laureate head  r.
Rev.: VP.AVR.GALLOV.NIKOPOLITWN / .PROC I.
         Hera , in long, girded double chiton, veiled, standing frontal, head l., resting with raised left
         hand on long sceptre and holding patera in outstretched right hand; peacock standing l. at
         her feet.
Ref.: a) not in AMNG
        b) not in Varbanov
        c) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2021) No. 8.14.3.19 (this coin)
rare, EF, dark green patina

The reverse was also struck for Caracalla. An example of parallel coinage for members of the imperial family,
Most spectacular is when Hera rides in a peacock biga, as here on a coin of Antoninus Pius from Kos: Image from Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Etymology:
In West Germanic the name is attested in Old-High-German as phao (9th century), Middle-High-German as phawe, pha, in Early Germanin as  pfaw(e), phow(e), New-High-German Pfae, Pfauw (until the 17th century). In Old-Saxon pao, Middle-Low-German as pawe, pauwe, as in English pawa, pea, English (older) pea (today folk-etymological peacock). These are all borrowed from Latin pavo, pavonis, which comes from an unknown, probably oriental language.

Mythology:
The peacock leads us to the mythology of Argos. Argos (from Greek "argos = the shimmering one") was a huge monster with 100 or more eyes all over his body (or around his head) so that he could see in all directions. That is why he was also called Panoptes (Greek = all-seer). Of the eyes, only one pair slept at a time, while the others were awake.

One myth tells that he was the son of Inachos, the first king of Argos and progenitor of the kings of Argolis, and of unusual strength. Thus he once slew an un-beastly ox that ravaged Arcadia. Afterwards he wore its hide as clothing. He also executed a satyr who plagued Arcadia. He even surprised Echidna, the daughter of Tartaros and Gaia, a terrible serpent and mother of many monsters, such as the hellhound Kerberos, the Hydra, the Chimaira, the Sphinx and the Nemean Lion, in her sleep and killed her. He should therefore know that sleep could be dangerous!
Argos had a son named Iasos, who became king of Argos.

It happened that Zeus fell in love with Io, a priestess of Hera, and seduced her. When his jealous wife Hera discovered this, Zeus turned Io into a white cow. But Hera saw through this and demanded the cow as a gift, which Zeus dared not refuse her. And she commissioned Argos to guard the cow. He tied her to an olive tree in the Mycenaean forests. When he drove her to pasture during the day, he sat on a high mountain to keep an eye on her.
Zeus, however, could not forget Io. He gave Hermes the order to kidnap the cow, even by force. Hermes went to Argos in the guise of a shepherd and played so sweetly for him on the pan flute that he made him sit down beside him. Through the conversation and the flute playing he finally put Argos to sleep. He then cut off his head and threw it down the rock. Since then Hermes has been nicknamed Argiphontes, the Argos slayer. Io, however, was able to escape. Afterwards, Hera sent her a gadfly that drove her around the world. But that is another story.

To honour her faithful servant Argos and to commemorate his treacherous murder, Hera planted his hundred eyes in the plumage of the peacock, her favourite animal.
The peacock is also in the starry sky. But it did not receive this honour in antiquity; for the constellation of the peacock lies so far south that it cannot be seen from the Mediterranean.  It is one of the constellations introduced at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman. Johann Bayer adopted it in his celestial atlas Uranometria, published in 1603.

In Homer's Odyssey, Argos is also the name of Odysseus' hunting dog, who waited 20 years for his master to return. When Odysseus returns home, he is too weak to rise from the dung heap on which he is lying. He just wags his tail and dies. Whether this dog was named after the giant because of his vigilance is not clear.

The peacock in Aesop:
In the fables of Aesop (6th century BC, a rather legendary figure) the peacock is mentioned a few times. In the fable of the peacock and the jackdaw, the peacock boasted about the shine and colour of its feathers. The jackdaw admitted all this, but noticed that all this beauty was not good for the main thing, flying, and flew away. At that time, the peacock was already a symbol of ostentation and vanity.
In the 25th fable, the peacock complains to Juno that he cannot sing as beautifully as the nightingale and is ridiculed because of his voice. Juno replies that all animals have a special gift. His was the beautiful plumage. And he must be content with that, for that is what the gods have given him.

The peacock in religion:
Hera was the patron goddess of marriage. If a wheel-beating peacock is depicted on this coin, then Hera is meant. And just as the emperor with the eagle on the coins wants to show his connection to Zeus, so here the empress's connection to Hera is meant.
The peacock played an important role as a symbol of Hera in the consecratio of the empress. While emperors entered the world of the gods after their death through the eagle of Zeus (or Zeus himself), empresses (or their souls) were elevated to the gods at the apotheosis through the peacock of Hera. The apotheosis was usually approved in a kind of senate resolution.

2nd coin:
Mariniana, wife of Valerian I, died before AD 253
AR - Antoninian, 3.49g, 20mm
       Rome 254
Obv.: DIVAE MARINIANAE
         Veiled bust r., behind shoulders crescent moon
Rev.: CONSECRATIO
         Peacock flying r., carrying seated figure of empress on back, r. hand raised, sceptre in left hand
Ref.: RIC V/1, 6, Pl. I, 12; C. 16

In Christianity, the beauty and splendour of the peacock was a symbol of the coming paradise (first in the Catacomb of Callist) and the joys of the afterlife. Augustine (de. civit. Dei 21, 4) wrote that the flesh of the peacock was incorruptible, thus making it a symbol of immortality. Since the peacock loses its feathers during the moulting season in late summer and regains them in the spring, it stands for resurrection and renewal. This is why we often find the peacock on ancient Christian tombs.

It thus resembles the phoenix, which is always reborn. The peacock symbolism also represented the "all-seeing" church and the holiness associated with it.

However, this idea changed in the Middle Ages, when the peacock became a symbol of arrogance and vanity because of its beauty and courtship behaviour.

History:
The peacock is already mentioned in the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 10:22 it says of King Solomon:

"The king had tarsis ships that sailed the sea together with the ships of Hiram. These came once in three years, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks."

So Solomon had peacocks, among other things, imported from other countries for his pleasure. It is not clear which place was meant by Tarsis, but it is usually identified with the Phoenician trading city of Tartessos in the Guadalquivir estuary in southern Spain. The name "Tarsis" is probably Iberian or "Tartessic". The Hebrew word for peacock "tukkiyyi" is very similar to "tokei", the native name for the peacock in Sri Lanka, which suggests that the peacocks came from their original homeland.

Probably in the 7th/6th century, the peacock reached Samos via Iraq and the Near East, where it was a sacred animal in the Heraion (Pauly). In the 5th century, peacocks were a precious rarity and were shown in Athens in the breeding yard of Pyrilampes and Demos at new moon for an entrance fee (Plutarch). The Romans, however, were not so scrupulous. For them, the peacock, introduced by Q. Hortensius, became the epitome of table luxury, surpassed only by peacock brains (Suetonius) and - next to nightingale tongues - by peacock tongues (HA, Heliogabal), the degenerate pinnacle of luxury. Here, it was not the taste but the difficulty of obtaining it that determined the value of a meal (Demandt).

Art history:
The story of Argos is not rarely depicted in art. I have chosen the following works:

(1) The oil painting "Juno and Argus" by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), which was painted around 1611 and is now in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne. Juno sets the eyes of Argus in the tail feathers of the peacock.

(2) By Antonio Belluci (1654-1726) "Juno orders Argus to guard Io". I have chosen this picture because a dog is lying next to Argus, a clear allusion to Argos, the faithful dog of Odysseus.

I have added the pictures of
(1) Antonius Pius, Kos,
(1) Severus, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov 8.14.3.18
(2) Christian sarcophagus (detail)

Sources:
(1) The Old Testament
(2) Suetonius, Biographies of the Emperors
(3) Ovid, Metamorphoses
(4) Aesop, Fables
(5) Homer, Odyssey
(6) Apollodorus
(5) Herodotus, Histories
(8) Plutarch, Parallel Biographies

Literature:
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (Detailed Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology).
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
(3) Seth William Stevenson, Dictionary of Roman Coins
(4) Alexander Demandt, The Private Lives of the Roman Emperors, 1997
(5) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Blagoevgrad 2021
(6) Der Kleine Pauly

Online sources:
(1) The Bible Dictionary
(2) The Warburg Institute Iconographic Database
(3) theoi.com
(4) Wikipedia


Best regards
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #470 on: February 20, 2022, 02:00:35 pm »
Bonus Eventus

From Nikopolis ad Istrum we know of a series of coins on which Apollo is depicted offering with a patera over an altar. In his lowered left hand he has a branch. This is a standard depiction and Pick (in AMNG) usually writes "Apollo (Bonus Evenus)". We have adopted this designation in Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov, The Coinage of Nicopolis ad Istrum, as well. While looking through my coins, paying attention to details, I stumbled upon the following coin:

1st coin:
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Elagabal , 218-222
AE 27, 13.16g, 27.27mm, 0°
struck under the governor Novius Rufus
Obv.: AVT M AVR - ANTWNINOC (NO ligate!)
          Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from front, laureate, r.
Rev.: VP NOBIOV ROVFOV.NIKOPOLITWN PROC ICTRON
          Apollo (Bonus Eventus), nude, standing l., holding in his lowered left hand
          branches of field crops and in right outstretched patera over burning altar
          decorated with taenia.
Ref.: a) not in AMNG
         b) not in Varbanov
         c) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2021) No. 8.26.7.10 corr.
             (same dies, but ligate NO not mentioned)
scarce, about VF, dark green patina

On closer inspection Apollo is not holding a laurel branch as usual but a bouquet of field fruits. Among other things, a poppy head and 2 large ears of grain are visible. This is completely untypical for Apollo and speaks clearly for Bonus Eventus. Therefore, the depicted deity should correctly be called Bonus Eventus, at least "Bonus Eventus (Apollo?)". In this time, when syncretistic deities were common (see Aequitas/Nemesis etc.), it could also be an Apollo/Bonus Eventus.

The first image of Bonus Eventus is found on a Republican denarius of L. Scribonius Libo from 62 BC.

2nd coin:
L. Scribonius Libo, gens Scribonia
AR - Denarius, 3.83g, 19.62mm, 120°
         Rome, 62 BC
Obv.: Head of Bonus Eventus, with broad taenia r.
          in front BON.EVENT, behind LIBO
Rev.: Puteal of Scribonius, decorated with garlands and a lyre on left and right; on the
          base a hammer.
          above PVTEAL, below SCRIBON
Ref.: Crawford 416/1a; Sydenham 928; Scribonia 8a

The puteal was a well enclosure or the site of a lightning strike. This was sacred to Jupiter if the strike occurred during the day, the nocturnal strike to a deity Summanus. The hammer is probably an allusion to Vulcanus as the smith of lightning.
The Puteal Scribonianum stood on the Forum and had been consecrated in 204 BC (or 149 BC). L. Scribonius Libo had renovated it.

The Romans loved to personify each virtue as a deity, thus holding the basic idea that the virtues were not inventions of man but of higher origin. They were the imprint of a divine being in the human soul.

The name Bonus Eventus comes from Latin "evenire" = to come forth, where "evenire" and "eventus" were expressions for the happy emergence and flourishing of crops (Cato).  He was a god of the Roman age of agriculture and originally purely agrarian. Varro lists him as one of the 12 gods who are the leaders of the farmers. Sometimes he was identified with Triptolemos. With the decline of the importance of agriculture, his significance expanded already in Republican times to the general conditions of life and he became the god of all happy success (Apuleius).

In imperial times, there was a temple to Bonus Eventus from an unknown time on the Campus Martius near the Baths of Agrippa (Ammian). There were also temples to him in the Roman provinces, for example at Mogontiacum, today's Mainz.

Pliny describes two famous statues to him on the Capitol, which would have shown a youth with a bowl, ears of grain and poppies in his hand. One is said to have been a marble statue of Praxiteles, which showed him together with Bona Fortuna. Adolf Furtwängler (1853-1907) concludes that it must have been Agathos Daimon. Winckelmann describes him "with a mirror in his right hand and a wreath of ears of corn in his left."
The other was a bronze statue of Euphranor. Both statues were probably Greek statues that had been renamed. The one of Euphranor was perhaps a Triptolemos.

Notes:
(1) Praxiteles (c. 390 BC - c. 320 BC) is considered one of the most important sculptors of Greek antiquity. He worked in the stylistic epoch of the Late Classical period. He overcame the sublime austerity of Phidias and from him came the youthful ideals of the gods that we all know and love.
(2) Euphranor was a Greek artist of the 4th century BC. Many works have been attributed to him, but only the incomplete statue of Apollo Patroos in Athens has survived. He was also a painter and wrote theoretical treatises on symmetry and colour theory.

3rd coin:
Septimius Severus, 193-211
AR - Denarius, 3.55g, 18.20mm
         Emesa, 194-195
Obv.: IMP CAE L SEP SE - V PERT AVG COS II
          Laureate head r.
Rev.: BONI - EVENTVS
Bonus Eventus in long girded double chiton, standing l., holding 2 ears of grain in his lowered left hand and a bowl of fruit in his outstretched right hand.
Ref.: RIC IV/1, (Emesa) 369; C. 68; BMCR 343 var. (different legend break)
Rare, VF

This coin had caused me problems because Bonus Eventus is depicted here as a female deity. But at that time it was not common for deities to change their gender as they wished, as is common today in the queer community. What is striking is that the deity is depicted as it is customary for Fides. We find this representation on coins of the Flavians and the adopted emperors. With the legend FIDES they are found on Commodus, Caracalla and even on Severus (here without the legend). And that the legend does not always designate the deity depicted can be seen on coins of Gallienus or Claudius Gothicus, on which despite the legend FIDES AVG Hermes is depicted. Thus the reverse on coin #3 also depicts Fides and not Bonus Eventus!

Fides means "trust, faithfulness, belief". She is depicted as a female figure with a bowl or basket of fruit in one hand and ears of grain in the other. Fides is a prerequisite of the Bonus Eventus. Without trust and faithfulness there can be no good fortune. Thus the two deities are closely linked.

Art History:
I found the image of a statuette of Bonus Eventus at Bertolami Fine Arts. At the 32nd auction (lot 58) a bronze statuette from the 1st-2nd century AD was sold. It depicts a naked youth with a chlamys over his left shoulder, standing on a pedestal and holding a patera. On his left hand he had ears of grain and poppy heads, which are no longer present. This statuette certainly came from a private Roman house.

Agathodaimon
Agathodaimon, from Greek ἀγαθός = "good, noble" and δαίμων = "demon, spirit" is often referred to as the Greek counterpart of the Roman Bonus Eventus. But this is not correct. Although he also protected agriculture and viticulture, he was more related to the Roman genii. Pausauias even counted his name only as an epithet of Zeus. He was popular in Greek folk religion. Thus it was customary at a symposion or banquet to drink or spill a few drops of unmixed wine in his honour. In Aristophanes' comedy "Peace" (421 BC), the god of war Polemos had imprisoned Eirene, the goddess of peace, in a cave. When Hermes came to help her, he said: ""Now, O Greeks, is the moment when, freed from strife and fighting, we should rescue sweet Eirene and pull her out of this pit.... This is the moment to empty a cup in honour of Agathos Daimon."

On the road from Megalopolis to Mainalos in Arcadia there was a temple to him (Pausanias).

Agathos Daimon was the companion of Tyche Agatha (Latin Fortuna Bona).  "Tyche we know at Lebadeia as the wife of the Agathos Daimon, the Good or Rich Spirit".

In the syncretic period of late antiquity, he was associated with the Egyptian Agathodaimon. The latter was regarded as the patron god for a happy future and was worshipped in the form of a serpent. Thus one sometimes finds the name "Agathodaimon" in error in the description of the Glycon snake on northern Greek coins.

Around 1760, a headless marble statue of an Apollo (130-138 AD) was found in the Tiber River in Rome, which was completed with a head of Antinous found nearby. This statue was acquired by Giovanni Ludovico Bianconi in 1760. It was formerly exhibited in the Neues Palais in Potsdam and is now in the Altes Museum on the Museum Island in Berlin... From the snake coiling around the tree trunk, one can see the proximity to the Egyptian Agathodaimon.

I have added:
(1) A photo of he statue of Bonus Eventus of Bertolami Fine Arts
(2) A picture of the statue of Apollo with snake coiling around a tree stump.

Sources:
(1) Varro, De re rustica
(2) Pliny, Historia Naturae 
(3) Cato, De agri cultura
(4) Apuleius, Metamorphoses
(5) Ammian, Res gestae
(6) Pausanias, Perigeisis
(7) Aeschylus, Eirene

Literature:
(1) Johann Joachim Winckelmann, History of the Art of Antiquity, 1764
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexíkon, Leipzig 1770
(3) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Extensive Lexicon of Greek and Roman Mythology
(4) Seth W. Stevenson, Dictionary of Roman Coins
(5) The Kleiner Pauly
(6) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov, The Coinage of Nicopolis (2021), Blagoevgrad

Best regards
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #471 on: March 20, 2022, 05:48:19 pm »
Histiaia and her family

Here I want to tell something about the nymph Histiaia. Because there is only few to tell about Histiaia herself I have enlarged the topos to "Histiaia and her family":

1st Coin:
Euboia, Histiaia, 196-146 BC.
AR - Tetrobol, 2.3g, 13.37mm, 315°.
Obv.: Bust of Histiaia, draped, with necklace and ear-ring, hair rolled up in sphendone, wreathed with vine leaves and grapes.
Rev.: [IΣTI] - AIEΩN
The nymph Histiaia, in long dress, seated r. on the stern of a ship decorated with wings, leaning back with right hand and holding stylis in left hand.
Below ME(?) and trident.
Ref.: BMC 128, 30ff; BCD Euboia 382; SNG 517 var.
VF, old dark toning, rev. somewhat off-centre.

2nd Coin:
Euboia, Histiaia, 196-146 BC.
AR - Tetrobol, 1.32g, 13.91mm, 315°.
Ref,: BMC 128, 30ff; SNG 517var.
Small, irregular flan

Notes:
The stylis is a freestanding hasta with a transverse bar on the stern of ancient ships. It can be found on coins of Histiaia and others since 340 BC. Its origin is Phoenician and it is marked as a sacred standard in place of statues of gods at the stern (Pauly).
For this reason it cannot be a Prora. Earlier publications, even Mionnet and the great Eckhel, erroneously had Histiaia sitting on the front of the ship and mistook the aphlaston for a swelling sail. 

Problem of dating:
This coin type has been struck in different periods The first issue are thought to have begun around 340 BC to commemorate the expulsion of the pro-Macedonian tyrant Philistides. A second issue probably existed between 313 BC and 265 BC, thus beginning at the time when Euboia had declared itself independent.

The last period was from 196 to 146 BC, beginning before the Roman victory over Perseus in 168 BC. There are also a large number of Macedonian imitations from this period. These are of coarse style and easily recognisable and go under the name of Histiaika or Argyria Histiaika (Head).

In Pat Lawrence's opinion, my first coin does not date from the 4th century because of its style. Rather, it bears resemblance to the "Invitation to the Dance" group from the later Hellenistic period, the so-called "Hellenistic Rococo".

The second coin is probably one of the Macedonian imitations.

Mythology:
Histiaia was the daughter of Hyrieos. The city of Histiaia in northern Euboia is said to have been named after her. Hyrieos was a son of Poseidon and Alkyone and king of Hyria in Boiotia. He was married to the nymph Klonia, by whom he had the sons Nykteos, Lykos and Orion (Apollodor; Hygin. Fab.).

There is a mythology of the treasure-house of Hyrieos told by Pausanias: Agamedes and Trophonios, the sons of Erginos, king of Orchomenos, were architects and were considered specialists in the construction of temples and palaces. When King Hyrieos commissioned them to build a treasure house, they added a stone to the walls which they could remove without anyone noticing. Through this opening they kept crawling and stealing Hyrieos' treasures. The king saw his treasure getting smaller and smaller, even though the door locks were not broken. So he set traps to catch the thief. Agamedes got caught in these traps and, to prevent discovery, Trophonios cut off his head. But he himself was swallowed up by the earth at the same moment. 

Close to Histiaia was the village of Oreos, which was united with Histiaia in 445 BC. Oreos is said to have received its name from Orion, who was raised here (Strabo). For this reason, August Baumeister, for example, assumes that Hyrieos, the father of Histiaia, is Orion himself. But Histiaia and Orion, the representatives of the two sister cities, could also have been siblings, both children of Hyrieos.

Orion, the presumed brother of Histaia, is the well-known giant hunter of Greek mythology from Boiotia, who was placed in the sky as a constellation after his death. Palaiphatos gives an account of his conception, which I will quote here: his name comes from ουρησις, from piss, and he was initially called Ourion because he was created through urine. But since this name was a bit too indecent, they made an O out of the Ou and called him Orion.  And that's how it all happened:

Once Zeus, Poseidon and Hermes were visiting King Hyrieos. In gratitude for his hospitality, they allowed him to make a request. Thereupon the childless Hyrieos wished for a son. The gods took the skin of the ox sacrificed to them, let all their urine into it, ordered him to bury it in the earth and only take it out after 10 months. This he did and found Orion in it.

Roscher writes on this "an ugly fairy tale has arisen about its creation through etymological wit."

History:
Histiaia is situated on the northern coast of Euboia, the second largest island in Greece, and was founded as an Attic colony. It is already named in Homer's Iliad and described as πολυσταφυλος = rich in wine. Thus the vine leaves on the head of Histaia are easily explained. The ancient and modern name Εὔβοια is derived from εὖ 'good' and βοῦς 'cattle' and means. 'land of well-fed cattle'.

After the departure of the Attic colonists it united with the neighbouring town of Oreos, and so it was afterwards generally called by writers. They were given a common wall, 2 acropoleis and a common harbour. The territory of Histiaia included the whole north, a quarter of the whole island. It was occupied by the Persians in the Xerxes campaign. Afterwards it joined the 1st Attic League. In 446 B.C. there was an uprising because of the tribute payments, which was put down by the Athenians. The inhabitants were expelled and Attic colonists settled there. In 404 the inhabitants were allowed to return. In the Corinthian War it stood with the whole of Euboia against Sparta and came under Spartan occupation until its liberation in 377. Afterwards it was a member of the 2nd Attic League, interrupted only in 343-341 by the tyranny of Philistides, who was supported by Philip. In the Hellenistic period it was mostly under Macedonian rule until the conquest by the Romans and Attalus of Pergamon. It was declared free in 197 BC.

Its widespread coin finds testify to its great commercial importance in Hellenistic times.
Pliny already mentions it as an abandoned place in the 1st century AD. Today there are only a few archaeological remains, some walls and temple foundations (Pauly). Modern Oreoi lies slightly to the west of ancient Oreos.

I have added a photo of modern  Oreoi (Geotag  Aeroview,  Wikipedia)

Sources:
(1)  Homer, Ilias
(2)  Eustath. Ad  Homer
(3)  Palaiphatos, Unglaubliche  Geschichten
(4)  Strabon, Geographie
(5)  Apollodor, Bibliotheke
(6)  Hyginus, Fabulae
(7)  Plinius, Naturalis  historia

Literature:
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon  der  griechischen  und  römischen  Mythologie
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (Facsimile)
(3) August Baumeister, Topographische Skizze der Insel  Euboia,  1864  (Reprint)
(3) Der  Kleine  Pauly
(4) Barclay V. Head, Historia Numorum (Ed Snible, online)

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Tracy Aiello

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #472 on: March 20, 2022, 07:28:10 pm »
Thank you Jochen. That made for a great early evening read.

Tracy

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #473 on: March 28, 2022, 05:33:32 am »
Ops and Consus

Ops is a very rarely depicted deity. Because my coin is too poorly preserved, I have chosen a coin from Wildwinds here.

1st coin:
Antoninus Pius, 138-161
AE - Sestertius, 22.76 g, 33 mm
Obv.: ANTONINVS AVG PI - VS P P TR P COS III
         Laureate head r.
Rev.: OPI - AVG
         in ex. S C
        Ops enthroned l., left foot on footstool, holding long sceptre with right hand across right 
        shoulder and pulls the fold of her robe upwards from the shoulder with the left hand; left
        elbow bent and resting on the throne.
Ref.: RIC 612, pl.V, 105; C. 569; BMCR 1258; Sear 4197
rare, VF, brown patina

Pedigree:
ex Roma Numismatics Auction XII, Sept. 2016.

Finding out the true character of Ops turned out to be unexpectedly difficult. The reason was that her original meaning is obscured and that she was later connected to the Greek Rhea. I have therefore omitted all mythological references to Rhea.

Iconography:
Here Ops is correctly depicted seated, as befits a chthonic deity.

Etymology:
The Latin ops, opis (f.) is related to the Old Indian "apnas" = yield, belongings, and the Greek "ομπνη" = crops.  It means:
in the singular:  1. power, strength, fortune, 2. help, assistance, and in the plural: 1. means, fortune, wealth, 2. troop power, armed forces

Mythology:
Ops, with full name Ops Mater (Varro), is an ancient Roman deity of the oldest religious order. Her cult is said to have been introduced into Rome under Titus Tatius, the co-king of Romulus, and to be of Sabinic origin. She is a personification of the rich abundance of harvest blessings and is therefore cultically connected with the harvest god Consus.

This connection is, however, obscured by the fact that the ancient authors already transferred the Greek ideas of Kronos and Rhea to Ops and associated her with Saturnus. This was supported by the idea that the temple of Saturn on the Forum was dedicated to both deities. But today the inscription Opi(s) et Saturni has turned out to be a forgery.

The affiliation of Ops and Consus is proven by the fact that Consiva, the epithet of Ops, refers to her as Consus' comrade. Even if this epiclesis does not come directly from Consus, it is derived from the Latin condere (= to store, to save). Thus it is clear that Ops does not belong to the seed god Saturnus, but to the harvest god Consus. This is also proven by the position of her two festivals in the old Roman calendar. While the feasts of Consus fall on 21 August, the end of the harvest, and 15 December, the end of threshing, they are followed by the feasts of Ops, on 25 August Opiconsivia and on 19 December Opalia, both only 4 days apart.

A third feast day on 10 August was added to the festival calendar in 7 AD to commemorate the foundation of altars to Ceres mater and Ops augusta. The epithet augusta is only found on weight inscriptions (see below), on an inscription from Theveste in Numidia and on coins of Antoninus Pius.

Coins of Pertinax depict her as a seated woman with ears of corn in her hand and bear the legend Opi divin(ae), probably as a designation of the harvest wealth sent by the gods, if it is understood as "divine help". These very coins have given rise to a number of forged writings with the consecration Opi divinae (Roscher).

2nd coin:
Pertinax, 193 AD.
AE - Sestertius, 28.21g
Obv.: IMP CAES P HELV - PERTINAX AVG
         Laureate head r.
Rev.: OPI DIVIN - TR P COS II
         in left and right field S - C
         Ops enthroned l., holding ears of grain in her right hand and supporting
         himself on the throne with his left hand.
Ref.: RIC 20; Cohen 34; BMC 42; Sear 6054
Extremely rare

Pedigree:
ex Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 51, Lot 341, March 2009.

In the Roman provinces we know of only two places with the cult of Ops. Theveste, already mentioned, and Lambaesis, also in Numidia. Here, however, Ops Regina, just like Saturnus Dominus, is only the Latin name for a native Punic deity.

The unification of Saturnus and Ops into a pair of gods, which is not founded in Roman religion but is common in literature, dates only from the time when the Roman cult experienced a complete Hellenisation, from the beginning of the 2nd Punic War. After Saturnus had been identified with Kronos, it was obvious to equate Rhea with Ops. The December festivals of Saturnus and Ops were close to each other and Rhea was also an earth goddess.

The phrase Ops terra est (Ops is the earth) is found several times and means that Ops is called Terra because all human works are produced by the earth. Therefore Saturnus and Ops were regarded as principes dei, as heaven and earth, and Ops was also equated with other earth goddesses, especially with Bona Dea. The equation with Rhea, however, is as old as Roman literature.

Other interpretations, such as that she, as earth, belonged to the deities of the newborn, have nothing to do with actual religious practice. Also, that Ops was the actual patron goddess of Rome, whose name was kept secret, is only a learned construction based on the mystery surrounding the worship of Ops in the Sacrarium of the Regia.

Consus
Etymologically, Consus comes from Latin. condere (= to hide, and, as in German, to conceal). He is therefore not a god of sowing, but a god who hides the harvested crops in the barns.

Consus was an ancient Italian chthonic earth and seed god whose altar lay underground in Rome's Circus maximus and was only uncovered on his main festivals celebrated by shepherds and peasants, the Consualia, on 20 Aug (after the harvest) and 15 Dec (after the end of threshing!). On the former feast, the robbery of the Sabine women is said to have taken place (Livius); on the latter, the draught animals, horses and mules, also celebrated with the people. Their heads were wreathed and the pontifices held races in the circus, especially of mules. This is why Roman authors mistakenly equated Consus with the Greek horse god Poseidon. This is also the case with Livius, who speaks of a festival of Neptune in connection with the robbery of the Sabine women. He was even sometimes called Neptunus Equestris (Greek Poseidon Hippios).

According to the legend, Consus was the god who gave Romulus the advice to rob the Sabine women. Therefore he was considered the god of secret plots. But this is only one of the many misinterpretations. The Roman authors have mistakenly combined the name Consus with the Latin consilium = advice (so Servius).

The temples of Ops
There must have been at least 3 temples of ops in Rome:

(1) In the older times the only place of worship of the Ops was the Sacrarium of the Regia.  In ancient Rome the Regia was a building on the east side of the Forum Romanum next to the temple of Vesta. It originally belonged to the property of the kings, then around 509 BC, when the monarchy was abolished, it became the seat of the Rex sacrorum, who had taken over the sacral functions of the king, and then of the Pontifex Maximus. It was thus the site of the Collegium, the assembly of the pontifices.

According to tradition, the Regia was built under Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome. Today's remains come from a restoration in 36 BC. At that time, the Regia was a five-sided house. It burned down several times, but was always rebuilt.

Inside was a sanctuary of Mars in which the twelve lances and shields of the Salians (from Latin salire = "to leap") were kept. In addition, the Regia also contained a sanctuary of the Ops Consivia, which was so sacred that only the pontifex and the vestal virgins were allowed to enter. In honour of the goddess, a harvest thanksgiving festival was held every year on 23 August on the Capitol. The annals of the city were also stored here.

Photo:
Square of the former Regia on the Forum, Wikipedia (at the end of the article)

(2) Only later did the goddess receive a temple on the Capitol. It stood in the square in front of the temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus next to the temple of Fides. This temple was first mentioned in 186 BC as aedes in Capitolio in connection with a lightning strike (Livius). It collapsed several times and was rebuilt. According to a remark by Cicero, the statue of Scipio Africanus stood here.

Gaius Iulius Caesar deposited the state treasure of 700 million sesterces in the Temple of Ops on the Capitol. Marcus Antonius is said to have appropriated this treasure after Caesar's death. Georg Ürodgi 1978 wanted to disprove this by purely technical considerations.

During the secular celebrations (ludi saeculares) in 17 BC, the matronae gathered in the temple, and in 80 AD, the Arval brothers. On the walls of the temple hung civic awards to soldiers, and inside were kept the standard weights of the State, including a bronze weight with the inscription templ(um) Opis aug(ustae) (Roscher). This proves that the goddess worshipped here assumed the epithet augusta in the course of the imperial period.

The day of inauguration fell on the feast of Opiconsivia on 25 August. It was still in use during the 4th century and was finally closed during the persecution of the pagans by the Christian emperors in the late Roman Empire.

Remains found near the church of Sant'Omobono (along with column remains, remains of a podium and a large female marble head, probably from an acroterion) had previously been identified as parts of the Temple of the Ops. Now it is believed that they are more likely to be from the temple of Fides, as a bilingual inscription in Greek and Latin has been found next to it and parts of a contract between Asia minor and the Roman Senate - and Fides was the goddess of diplomatic relations.

Photo:
Aedes Opis in Capitolio, Wikipedia (at the end of the article)

(3) In addition, there must have been a third temple of Ops; for Pliny, in an account of L. Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus, who was elected pontifex maximus between 123 and 114 BC, writes of an aedes Opiferae. This is also evident from a note in the lists of the Fasti for 19 December: Opal(ia); feriae Opi . Opi ad Forum. Ops on the Capitol, however, was never called Opifera. Therefore this temple must have stood on the Forum.

Ops opifera is otherwise only mentioned once again at the Volcanalia (to ward off the conflagrations) appointed by Augustus on 23 August, when sacrifices are made to her on the Forum. This is understandable because a fire is especially feared when the harvest is already stored. Afterwards, the foundation day of the older temple on the Capitol with the Opiconsivia was combined with that of the younger temple of the Ops opifera [in foro] with the Opalia.

Nothing more is known about the festive customs for Ops. We only learn that the sacrarium of the Ops Consiva, located in the Regia, could only be entered by the vestal virgins and the pontifex maximus. Their cult was secretive and closed and had a parallel in that the altar of Consus, located at the Circus maximus, lay underground and was only uncovered at festival time. All typical characteristics for chthonic deities.

The statement that vows were made to Ops while sitting and touching the earth, however, probably refers not to the Roman goddess but to Rhea, who was later equated with her.

Art History:
I have added the following illustrations (both from Wikipedia):
(1) An image of the marble statue of Livia Drusilla as Ops, with sheaf of grain and cornucopiae, Roman, 1st century AD, now in the Louvre. Since Ops is depicted standing, it is not the old, original deity.  Here it has clear echoes of Abundantia.

(2) This is also the case with the following oil painting by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), "Abundantia", ca. 1630, today in the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, in which the putti are enjoying the fruits from the cornucopia. Under the right foot a purse. This painting is probably the preparatory study for a tapestry.

Sources:
(1) Livius, Ab urbe condita
(2) Macrobius, Saturnalia
(3) Cicero, de Natura deorum
(4) Cicero, Letters to Atticus
(5) Pliny, Naturae Historia
(6) Sextus Pompeius Festus, On the Meaning of Words.

Literature:
(1) The Kleiner Pauly
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (online too)
(3) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (online too)
(4) Theodor Mommsen, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (CIL)
(5) Georg Ürodgi, Caesar, Marcus Antonius and the Public Money Stored in the Temple of Ops, 1978.
(6) Der KleineStowasser, Lateinisches Schulwörterbuch,1960
(7) Gemoll, Griechisches Schul- und Handwörterbuch

Online sources:
(1) zeno.org
(2) theoi.com
(3) wildwinds.com
(4) nabkal.de/romtag.html
(5) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #474 on: March 31, 2022, 09:40:10 am »
Diktys and Danae 

I have already written about Perseus. Here is a rare coin showing him together with Diktys, who saved him and his mother Danae. This gives me the opportunity to write about this not so well known part of the mythology of Perseus, and about his mother, the beautiful Danae.

1st coin:
Cilicia, Tarsos, Caracalla, 198-217
AE 34, 18.3g, 33.64mm
Av.: AVT KAI M CEVHPOC ANTΩNEINOC CEB
        in left and right field Γ- B
        in r. field one below the other AM / K 
     Perseus stg. r., holding harpa in lowered right hand and statuette of Apollo Lykeios
     with 2 wolves in his raised left hand, greeting fisherman Diktys, who is walking r. and looking back to the left, carrying with both hands a long pole with a fish hanging from the lower end and a basket from the upper end.
Ref.: Cox Adana Museum 189 in ANS NNM 92, 189 (from where I have taken the legends)
F+, extremely rare, only 1 ex. listed in Ancient Coin Search, sold in 2011 at CNG Auction 88, lot 1009, for $4000!

Notes:
(1) Demiurge office: the Demiurge was one of the most important officials of the city in Tarsos. His main duty was to manage the financial affairs of the city. Caracalla held this office on an honorary basis on the occasion of a large grain donation in 216, because his troop deployments to the east had also placed a heavy burden on the provincial capital of Tarsos.
(2) Tarsos was probably the city that advertised its titles the most. Thus it received the additional designations
AΔPIANOC under Hadrian, CEVHPIANOC under Septimius Severus and ANTΩNEINIANOC under Caracalla. On coins even the name ANTΩNEINOΠOLIC appears!
(3) AM / K stand for the Greek A = ΠPΩTH (the first), M = MEΓICTH (the greatest) and K = KAΛΛICTH (the most beautiful).
(4) Γ B are the Greek numerical values 3 and 2 and mean: the 3 administrative districts of Cilicia, Isauria and Lycaonia which belonged to Tarsos, and the 2 tempels of the imperial cult which Tarsos possessed. 

The mythological background is clearly clarified by the image of Perseus. However, there are other coins of a fisherman, with exactly the same fishing gear.

2nd coin:
Cilicia, Anazarbos, Gordian III, 238-244.
AE 31, 17.94g, 201°.
struck 242/3 (year AXC = 261)
Obv.: AVT K M ANTΩNINOC ΓOPΔIANOC CE
          Bust, draped and cuirassed, radiate, r. 
Rev.: ANAZAPBO - V ENDOΞ MHTPO
          Fisherman, in working clothes and wearing Phrygian cap, seated on rock l.,
          head  turned r., supporting himself with left hand and holding fishing gear in '
          raised right hand.
          in l. and r. field Γ - B
          in ex. ET AΞC
Ref.: SNG of Aulock 8668; SNG Levante 1486; SNG Paris II, 2108; Lindgren 1441; BMC Lycaonia etc. 37, no.31
extremely rare, F+/ almost VF, attractive contrasting patina.
Legends taken from Ziegler, Coins of Cilicia from Smaller German Collections, p.143, no.1114/5 (same die!).
Without a mythological reference, this is a rare depiction of an ancient craft.

Danae:
Danae (Greek = the Danae) was the daughter of the Argive king Akrisios and Eurydike (Apollodor) or Aganippe (Hyginus). Since Akrisios wanted a son, but was already of advanced age, he consulted the Delphic Oracle. The oracle warned him against a male offspring: Danae would bear a son who would kill him. Thereupon he locked Danae in an iron room under the earth and had her closely guarded. This was to be seen for a long time in Argos, until the tyrant Perilaos had it destroyed (Pausanias). But Zeus, who had fallen in love with her, came to her through the roof as golden rain and seduced her, and she bore him Perseus.

When Akrisios once heard the voice of the boy Perseus playing from the Thalamos and thus learned that his daughter had nevertheless given birth, he killed the nurse, but carried the daughter with her son to the altar of Zeus, where she was to swear the truth about her father. He did not believe his daughter's statement that it was Zeus. He suspected his brother Proitos, with whom he had already quarrelled in the womb. Not wanting to kill his daughter, he had her and Perseus locked in a wooden box and thrown into the sea. But Zeus held his hand over them.

Diktys:
Diktys (Greek = the net) was a fisherman and brother of King Polydektes (Greek = the all-grabber) on the small Cycladic island of Seriphos in the Aegean Sea. Both were sons of Magnes with a naiad, Naias Seriphia, an unnamed spring nymph on Seriphos (perhaps a daughter of the river god Peneios in Thessaly). She had fled Magnesia in Thessaly together with her two sons. Through the water she brought with her, she made the island habitable for humans (Apollodor). According to others, Diktys and Polydektes were descendants of Poseidon with Kerebria (Joannes Tzetzes ad Lykophron) or of Peristhenes, the grandson of Nauplios, with Androthoe, the daughter of Perikastor (Schol. ad Apoll. Rhod.).

One day the sea washed a large box onto the beach. Diktys covered it with his net and when he opened it, he found Danae and her son Perseus safe and sound. He brought them both into his house and treated them like his relatives. Perseus he brought up as his own son and took care of Danae.

Their further fate:
There are several variants of the further story, for example by Hyginus. This is the version of Apollodor. 
But now Polydektes fell in love with Danae and tried to force her to marry him. Since Perseus stood in his way, he tried to get rid of him. He pretended to want to marry Hippodameia, for whom he still needed a wedding gift. Each guest was to donate a horse to him. Since Perseus had no horse, he promised to fetch him the head of Medusa, which was known to petrify all who saw it.

When Perseus happily returned to Seriphos sooner than expected with the head of Medusa and his wife Andromeda, who had been won in Ethiopia, he found Danae and Perseus begging for protection at the altars where they had had to flee from the violence and lust of Polydektes. Perseus freed them by showing the head of Medusa to Polydektes and his friends, who were sitting at a feast, and turned them all into stone. Since then, Seriphos has been one of the rockiest islands in the Cyclades. Afterwards, Diktys was installed as king of the island by Perseus (Pindar). Visitors to the island are still shown this circle of rocks (Pausanias).

Perseus went to Argos and Danae followed her son and stayed there with her mother Eurydike, while Perseus went in search of Akrisios. The latter had fled to Larissa in Pelasgia out of fear of the oracle. There Perseus had been invited to the funeral celebrations held by King Teutames in honour of his dead father and took part in the pentathlon. When he had thrown a discus into the air, it was deflected by the wind and the will of the gods in such a way that it fell on the foot of Akrisios and killed him. Thus the oracle had been fulfilled even against the will of Perseus. A heroon was erected to Akrisios.

In Athens Perseus had a sacred precinct (Temenos), in which there was an altar to Diktys and Klymene (about whom I have found nothing else), who had saved Perseus (Pausanias).

Background:
In Christian times, Danae was regarded on the one hand by the Church Fathers as the epitome of venal love, but in the Middle Ages as a symbol of shamefulness and as a prefiguration, a foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary, since she had conceived without a husband. This second conception is still alive in J. Grossaert's painting of 1527 (Munich, Alte Pinakothek), in which Danae is dressed in the blue that corresponds to the rules for Mary.

More often, however, Danae was seen as the woman who fell for the temptation of gold, with which everything can be bought.

In addition, this myth also shows that no human caution can help against fate. In-so-far, the fate of Akrisios is a tragedy in the ancient sense.

Literary history:
A poignant "Lamentation of Danae" by Simonides of Kos (557/6-468/7 BC) has survived.

Then, of course, the great tragedians took up this theme. Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) wrote the satyr play "Diktyoulkoi" (= The Net Pullers) in the first half of the 5th century, Sophocles (497/6-406/5 B.C.) composed an "Akrisios" and by Euripides (480 or 485/4-406 BC) there was a trilogy of tragedies of which "Danae" is lost and "Diktys" is only preserved in fragments.

Art history:
Art loved the Danae myth. Danae was depicted clothed in vase painting and naked in Pompeian wall painting (House of G. Rufus). In the Renaissance and Baroque, Danae was a popular subject in the visual arts, as it gave artists the opportunity to present an unclothed woman. Here is a small list of artists who have painted a "Danae":

(1) Correggio (1489-1534): "Danae", 1531 (Rome, Galeria Borghese)
(2) Titian (1488/90-1576) painted a whole series of 6 versions. 
(3) Tintoretto (1518-1594), "Danae", 1570, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
(4) Oracio Gentileschi (1563-1639), "Danae", 1623, Cleveland Museum of Art
(5) Rembrandt (1606-1669), "Danae", 1636, Hermitage,  St. Petersburg, later reworked by him. This  painting was the subject of a serious attack in 1985.
And from more recent times:
(6) Gustav Klimt (1867-1918), "Danae", 1907, Galerie Würthle, Vienna
By Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), there is the ornamental bronze figure "Danae and Perseus" at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence.

I have attached the following pics:
(1) The first image shows Danae and the golden shower of Zeus. It is found on a Boiot red-figure bell crater from the period 450-435 B.C. Today it can be seen in the Louvre in Paris.

(2) The second scene shows Danae and her little son Perseus exposed in a chest at sea. They are surrounded by a flock of seagulls. Attic red-figure leucythos, attributed to the Icarus Painter, c.490 BC, Late Archaic/Early Classical, now in the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design in New York (detail).

(3) The last ancient representation is an Attic red-figure Leukythus, attributed to the Providence Painter, c. 480-470 BC, Early Classical, now in the Museum of Art in Toldeo, Spain. King Akrisios is seen on the right, ordering his daughter and her son Perseus to be set adrift in a box at sea. The infant Perseus is already sitting in the box while Danae prepares to climb in.

(4) Of the Renaissance painters, I chose the painting by Corregio because I like so much the two putti checking the gold for authenticity at the bottom right.

Sources:
(1) Homer, Iliad
(2) Apollodor, Library
(3) Ovid, Metamorphoses
(4) Hyginus, Fabulae
(5) Pausanias, Periegesis

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Extensive Lexicon of Greek and Roman Mythology
(3) Karl Kerenyi, The Mythology of the Greeks
(4) Robert von Ranke-Graves, Greek Mythology
(5) Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Reclams Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen, 2000.

Online sources:
(1) theoi.com
(2) acsearch.info
(3) wildwinds.com
(4) Wikimedia

Best regards
Jochen

 

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