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Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #475 on: April 12, 2022, 01:43:18 pm »
Thanatos - Brother of Sleep

The beautiful image of death as the brother of sleep already occurs in Homer's Iliad, where death is described as "brazen sleep", or in the Odyssey, where the Phaiaks "bring their husband home in a deep sleep quite similar to death". This is in accordance with the Homeric doctrine of the soul, according to which the soul, as a double of the living human being, leaves the body during sleep and death. The only difference is that during sleep it returns to the body, whereas at death it leaves it for good.

The ancients imagined the soul as a "soul bird". In the drawing of the Piot Amphora from Capua (today in the Louvre in Paris), the body of Memnos is carried away from Troy by two warriors, whom the artist has given wings as a reminiscence of the twins Thanatos and Hypnos. Above the mouth of the dead man rises the "soul bird". A conception that existed similarly with the soul bird Ba in ancient Egypt. This pre-Homeric ghost of the soul was originally probably the soul of someone else coming to take that of someone else (Roscher).

Later the soul was seen as a butterfly, and in representations it was given into the hand of Thanatos, which is often seen in vase paintings. This may come from the fact that in Greek the butterfly is called psyche.

In fact, Thanatos (Latin mors, feminine by the way!) is not a mythological figure.  He belongs to a group of pre-Olympic deities, such as Moira, Ate, Ker (the doom of death) or Nemesis, who were regarded by the Greeks as more powerful than the gods and whom the gods also had to obey. The great Wilamowitz writes: "Thanatos is not a person of faith, neither as the twin brother of Sleep, nor as the henchman of Hades who wrests Alcestis from Heracles, nor as the comic person in the tale of Sisyphus."

Only Hesiod invents a lineage so that everything has its order. He gives Nyx (the Night) as mother to Death and Hypnos, who brings forth evil fortune from within herself, as well as Moros (the male form of Moira) and Ker. Hyginus gives him Erebos ín addition as father, and Sleep and Death receive Tartarus as their home. They were δεινοί θεοί (terrible gods) whom the shining sun never looks upon; but while the one walks over the earth calm and friendly to men, the mind of the other is of iron. Whom he has once seized, he holds fast without pity. Therefore he is also hateful to the immortal gods.

Since Homer said that his twin brother was Hypnos, sleep, they are depicted side by side on statues (Pausanias). Thanatos with black wings and in black clothing (Horace), Sleep in white. In his hand he has a wreath and a butterfly. An actual cult is not known. According to Pausanias, there was a temple only in Sparta, and a temple is known from Gades where animal sacrifices were also made to him.

In the dramatists, Thanatos also became the redeemer from suffering, for example in Sophokles' "Philoktetes", who longed for death. And even in the death of Socrates, he did not frighten him, but was seen almost as a friend. Life is illness, death is recovery.

Nevertheless, Thanatos, probably "because of the transparency of his name", always retained "something of a pale abstraction, something wavering and, as it were, bloodless" (Heinemann). He writes of the dramatists: "it is as if the process of personification in Thanatos had to be carried out anew by the poet in each individual case, and he never becomes a truly formed figure to such a degree as even Nike and Eros".

In popular belief, Thanatos increasingly takes a back seat to Charon. In mythology, Charon was originally the ferryman across the Acheron. In later times he became the Greek god of death par excellence. It is he who is found in large numbers on the sarcophagi.

Outsmarting death:
The outwitting of death, which has fairy-tale features, occurs in all the fairy tales of the world. In Greek mythology there are the following tales:

Asklepios was so well instructed in healing by Cheiron that he was even able to bring the dead back to life. Among them were Glaukos and Lykurgos. This angered Hades, who saw his kingdom threatened, so that he complained to Zeus about him. And Zeus killed Asklepios with his thunderbolt. Angered by the murder of his son, Apollo then killed the Cyclopes from whom Zeus had received his thunderbolt.

The tragedy "Alkestis" by Euripides is about vicarious death for another and being brought back from the underworld. After the murder of the Cyclopes, Apollo had been condemned by Zeus to tend the flocks with King Admetes. Since Admetes proved to be benevolent, Apollo rewarded him with being able to postpone his death by having a deputy go to his death for him. When Death goes to fetch his beloved consort Alkestis, Apollo announces to him that Herakles will free Alkestis again. Despite reproaching Admetes for not having gone to her death himself instead of Alkestis, Herakles succeeds in bringing Alkestis back from the underworld. Euripides tells how Herakles defeats Thanatos in a wrestling match at Alkestis' grave.

Sisyphus is said to have entered the underworld 2x. It is said that before his death he asked his wife not to bury him. After his death, he then complained about this injustice to Hades, who finally allowed him to return to the upper world to call his wife to account. Sisyphus, however, did not think of going back to Hades, so Hades had to commission Hermes to bring Sisyphus back. Thereupon he was punished to roll a stone up a high mountain for eternity, which then rolled down again.

According to Eukleides of Megara, Thanatos is said to have been deaf and blind so that he could not be dissuaded from his duty by beauty or entreaty. This was also true of Charon, who once spared a beautiful girl on Lesbos and was therefore punished by Zeus with blindness, deafness and lameness.

Art history:
(1) Vase images of Thanatos were numerous in antiquity, where death was man's constant companion. One of the most famous images is found on the so-called, "Euphronios krater", a red-figure calyx krater signed by Euxitheos, the potter, and Euphronios, the painter, ca, 515 BC, formerly in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, now back in Cerveteri, the original site. It shows a scene from the Trojan War in which the body of the Lykian king Sarpedon is carried away by Hypnos (left) and Thanatos (right) while Hermes looks on. This scene from Homer's Iliad Book XVI, is the source for the idea of sleep and death as twin brothers.

(2) Something special is found on the column relief of the Artemision of Ephesus. Thanatos is depicted on the left with his sword sheathed and a butterfly(?) in his right hand, and Hermes Psychopompos (the soul guide) on the right with his kerykeion lowered, both escorting Alkestis between them into the underworld. Here Thanatos is depicted for the first time as a youth in the pose of Eros!

This depiction takes up the beautiful coin from Berytos in the collection of featherz (Forum Ancient Coins). Thanatos in the depiction of the youth from the Ephesian Artemision and Hermes Psychopompos have accompanied a soul to the underworld and are now resting. This is the only coin that actually depicts Death.

1st coin:
Phoenicia, Berytos, Elagabal, 218-222
AE 30
Obv.: IMP CAES M AVR - ANTONINVS AVG
         Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind laureate, r.
Rev.: COL - IVL - AVG FEL BER
         Thanatos, nude, winged, standing r., left foot on rock, holding burning torch down in right hand, left resting on left thigh, facing Hermes standing left, nude, right foot on rock, holding kerykeion down in left hand
coll. featherz, Forum Ancient Coins

(3) The numerous genii of the imperial period with the torch lowered or extinguished and the putto-like representations of Eros on coins no longer have anything to do with the Thanatos of legend and popular belief (Pauly).

2nd coin:
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Septimius Severus, 193-211.
AE 16, 2.24g, 16.09mm, 225°.
Obv.: AV KAI - CEVHPOC
        Laureate head r.
Rev.: NIKOΠOΛI - T ΠPOC ICTP.
         Eros, winged, with crossed legs srg. r., leaning on an upturned torch.
Ref.: a) not in AMNG:
            Rev. AMNG I/1, 1368 (depiction)
                   AMNG I/1, 1384 (legend)
            Obv. e.g. AMNG I/1, 1348
         b) not in Varbanov
         c) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2021) No. 8.14.16.11   

Francis Jarman: Eros and Thanatos
A major annoyance is that the figure of the putto-like Eros with the torch is still referred to as Thanatos or the Genius of Death, even by eminent numismatists. Francis Jarman, to whom we owe the fundamental work on Eros on coins, has traced the history of this misunderstanding. And in doing so, he has come across the German classical period, which had developed an idealised idea of ancient Greece since Winckelmann's "Edle Einfalt und stille Größe". The significance of the prevailing aestheticism played a major role in this. The idea of death as the twin brother of sleep was so fascinating that it pushed aside the brutal reality of death. Important personalities such as Lessing and Herder ensured the widespread dissemination of this reception, which then radiated through German Romanticism, and not only in Germany.  But Death is not a cherubic angel, apart from the fact that his representation on the Severan coins would make no sense.

Superstitions:
An interesting side note: Since Θ (= 9) was an abbreviation for the Greek thanatos, it was subject to a taboo, like 13 in our days, which also does not exist as the number of a hotel room. So on this coin from Antioch Θ, the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet, was replaced by ΔE, which as 4+5 also makes 9. But there were also AH and IX, or N (for novem) in Rome.

3rd coin:
Constantine I the Great, 307-337
AE 3, 2.63g, 18.56mm, 330°.
Antioch, 9th Offizin, 329-30
Obv.: CONSTANT - INVS MAX AV
         Bust, draped and cuirassed, wearing rosette diadem, r.
Rev.: PROVIDEN - TIAE AVG
         So-called. Camp gate, with 2 towers and without gate
         above star
         in l. and r. field Δ - E (for officina 9!)
         in ex. SMANT
Ref.: RIC VII, Antioch 84
Very rare (R5), almost SS, sand patina, patina damage on top of Rev.

Notes:
(1) The Aithiopis was an epic poem describing events at the end of the Trojan War that Homer had not covered. These include the battles of the Amazons before Troy, Penthesilea's fight with Achilles, the intervention of the Aithiopians under King Memnon in the war, and the quarrel between Ajas and Odysseus after the death of Achilles. Unfortunately, it has not been preserved.
(2) Eukleides of Megara (c. 450 - between 369/367 BC) was a Greek philosopher and founder of the Megarian school. He was a student of Socrates and is said to have been present at his death. The central theme of his philosophy seems to have been goodness, but his writings are lost. 

Sources:
(1) Homer, Iliad
(2) Homer, Odyssey
(3) Aithiopis
(4) Hesiod, Theogony
(5) Hyginus, Fabulae
(6) Pausanias, Periegesis
(7) Cicero, De Natura Deorum

Literature:
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythology (also online)
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (also online)
(3) The Little Pauly
(4) Patricia Lawrence, Wings, Daimonia, Asomata: The Embodiment of the Bodiless (more relevant to numismatics than they may seem)
(5) Francis Jarman, Eros and Thanatos, 2011

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #476 on: April 15, 2022, 01:58:02 pm »
The myth of Apollo and Daphne

The myth of Daphne is probably one of the best-known stories of ancient Greece. But first my coin:

The coin:
Mysia, Apollonia ad Rhyndacum, Commodus, 177-192.
AE 27, 6.91g, 26.5mm
Obv.: [AV KAI M AVPHΛIOC - KOMMOΔOC]
Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, laureate, r.
Rev.: A - ΠOΛΛΩNI - ATΩN.
Apollo, nude, with waving chlamys advancing l., holding bow(?) in lowered left hand, grasping branch with raised right hand; on left before him Daphne kneeling l., head turned r., embraces a laurel tree with both arms
Ref.: RPC online IV.3 No. 450.3 corr. (this coin, but mistakenly adopting the description of No. 450.2); von Fritze Mysia 268; F.W. Haslick, NC 1907, 440, no. 20 Very rare (1 of 3 known specimens), F+/almost VF, brown patina.
Pedigree:
Lanz Numismatik

Notes:
The RPC IV.2 coin has a slightly different rev. design and legend separation. The obv. legend also appears to be slightly different: possibly AVPHLIOC?
The coins all show the scene where the transformation of Daphne has not yet begun.

Mythology:
There are several versions of this mythology. The most beautiful and poetic one is by Ovid. Therefore, I will at least put its content at the beginning:

Apollo is known in mythology for liking to chase nymphs. Daphne was his first love. The reason for this, however, was the wrath of Cupid. Apollo had seen him draw his bow after his victory over the python and made fun of him: he should leave archery to real men. Cupid replied: "You can hit anything with your bow, but I can hit you!" Then he drew two arrows from his quiver with opposite effects: the gold-plated one produced passionate love, but the leaden one disgusted love. With this one he hit the nymph Daphne, the daughter of Pineus. The gold-plated one he shot at Apollo. Daphne roamed the woods with the virgin Phoebe (Diana) and hunted animals. Many suitors sought her, but she fled them all. Her father urged her to marry because he wanted grandchildren. She finally got him to recognise her wish for lifelong virginity.

When Apollo caught sight of her, he was immediately enamoured of her. With flattering speeches he tried to beguile the terrified woman who was fleeing from him and raved about her beauty. These seductive speeches during his chase are the focus of Ovid's verse. When Apollo reached her on the banks of the Pineus and she saw no way out, she called desperately to her father to destroy her beauty. At the same moment she was transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo's love, however, was still not finished. He embraced the branches and kissed the tree, which avoided him. Then he put the laurel on his head in memory of Daphne.

The versions report different origins of Daphne:
(a) The nymph Daphne is the daughter of the river god Pineios (lat. Pineus) of the river of the same name in Thessaly and of Gaia (Hyginus; this was adopted by Ovid).
b) She is the daughter of the river god Ladon in Arcadia and of Gaia (Tzetzes ad Lycophr.)
c) She is the daughter of Amyklas, king of Sparta and founder of Amyklai (Parthenios of Nikaia).
d) In her flight she had reached Antiocheia in Syria, where her transformation then took place.

Notes:
(1) Since all the river gods are sons of Okeanos and Tethys, in this case she is a granddaughter of Okeanos.
(2) Amyklai is one of the oldest ancient cities on the Greek mainland. Already in Mycenaean times Hyakinthos, the lover of Apollo, was cultically worshipped there. After the conquest by the Spartans around 800 BC, the "Throne of Apollo" was erected there with a colossal statue of Apollo (Pauly).
(3) The inhabitants of Antiocheia in Syria claimed that Daphne was a native of their country and still displayed in their suburb the laurel tree into which she was transformed. This suburb is called Daphne after her and was in ancient times a city of the rich and beautiful. Pausanias still saw the sanctuary of Apollo Daphnaios there. The "Grove of Daphne" still exists there today.
(4) Johannes Tzetzes (c. 1110 - c. 1180) was a Byzantine grammarian. The Allegorias mythologicas, physicas, morales are known from him. He is also said to have been the author of the Commentary on Lykophron. Through his extensive commentary on classical authors, much information on Greek literature of the Classical and Hellenistic periods has been preserved.

The version by Parthenios:
The oldest version of the Daphne myth is by Parthenios from Nikaia, who refers to Diodorus and Phylarchus. Later it was adopted by Pausanias.

In Parthenios, Daphne was the daughter of Amyklas, the king of Sparta (in Pausanias, the daughter of the river god Ladon). Her only pleasure was hunting and therefore she was especially loved by Artemis. She had sworn virginity to her and kept away from men and love.

Leukippos ("the one with the white horses"), the son of Oinomaos, king of Pisa, a countryside in the western Peloponnese, fell in love with her and, seeing no other way to approach her, he let his hair grow long and disguised himself as a woman. In this way he managed to win the friendship of Daphne. She did not see through the deception and he became her best friend.

But Apollo had also fallen in love with Daphne and was jealous of Leukippos. He gave Daphne the idea of bathing with her playmates. When they came to a river, the girls undressed, but Leukippos refused. When they forcibly undressed him, they saw that it was a man who had been living with them and immediately killed him with their spears. The story then continues with Apollo chasing Daphne as in Ovid, except that at the end Daphne begs Zeus, who turns her into a laurel tree.

Etymology:
Daphne is Greek for laurel. The explanation that daphne itself comes from δαιω (= I burn) and φωνη (= voice), because the laurel crackles in the fire (Eustath. ap. Gyrald), is only folk etymology.

Background:
The mythology of Daphne is quite clearly aetiological, i.e. it is meant to explain why the laurel is sacred to Apollo and why he has epithets such as Daphnaios, Daphnephoros or Daphnites. The river god Pineios may have entered the story because the area around the Pineios was known for its abundance of laurel. The quintessence that a virgin can gain eternal glory through chastity, as Hederich writes, sounds too much like Christian morality. Ultimately, this is also a story that shows the power of Eros, which is stronger than even the gods.

Palaiphatos
Palaiphatos tells us that Daphne, the daughter of the river Ladon and Gaia, at the end of her flight from Apollo, asked her mother to take her back to her and keep her as she had always been. And a rift opened and Gaia took her daughter to herself. In that place a plant (the laurel) sprang up immediately. It was taken up by Apollo who adorned his head with it

Art History:
The myth of Daphne has inspired numerous artists, usually focusing on the moment of transformation. I have chosen

(1) the floor mosaic from the house of Menander in Antioch, late 3rd century AD, today in the Princeton University Art Museum.
Daphne is depicted in the midst of transformation with branches of laurel reaching up from the earth to enfold. Apollo, reaching out to catch her, wears a radiant aureole, like a halo.

(2) The famous marble group "Apollo and Daphne" (c. 1625) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), which today stands in the Roman Villa Borghese.
The work was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese as the finale of Bernini's mythological sculpture group. It is worth circumventing this sculpture from behind in the opposite direction to the clockwise direction. Daphne is in the beginning of the transformation.

What is remarkable is the progression of the transformation, the further one follows the direction of the group of figures. Around her legs, rising up to her left hip, there is already tree bark.

(3) The painting "Apollo and Daphne", 1734/44, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, today in the Louvre/Paris.
Here the transformation into a laurel has already begun on the fingers. In the foreground is her father, the river god. In Apollo, Tiepolo has taken a liberty: Apollo is already wearing a laurel wreath!

Sources:
(1) Hyginus, Fabulae
(2) Nonnus, Dionysiaka
(3) Ovid, Metamorphoses
(4) Pausanias, Periegesis
(5) Parthenios von Nikaia, Erotica pathemata
(5) Plutarch, Parallelbiographien
(6) Palaiphatos, Unglaubliche Geschichten

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Literatur
(3) Der Kleine Pauly
(4) Karl Kerenji, Die Mythologie der Griechen
(5) Robert von Ranke-Graves, Griechische Mythologie
(6) Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague,Reclams Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst, 2000

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

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #477 on: April 20, 2022, 08:02:31 am »
Enodia - The Thessalian Hekate

Already in our school days we have read with pleasure in Goethe's Faust, Part 2, the scene in the laboratory:

MEPHISTOPHELES leering.
Thessalian witches!  Well!  They are people,
For whom I have long inquired.
To dwell with them night after night,
I don't think it would be pleasant;
But to visit, try -


You can see Mephistopheles licking his lips! The following coin takes us right into this Thessalian witch world:

The coin:
Thessaly, Pherai, 353-352 BC (National Museums in Berlin).
AE 21 (trichalcone), 6.55g, 30°
Obv.: Head of the water nymph Hypereia with wreath of reeds 3/4 n. l.; in left field fish swimming upwards.
Rev.: ΦEPAIΩN
          Enodia, in long chiton, seated lady on horse, riding r.; holding long torch in front of body; in upper left ield, fountain in form of lion's head with water flowing from its mouth
Ref: BMC 22; SNG Copenhagen 247; BCD Thessaly II, 716; Hoover HGC 4, 565
VF, somewhat rough

Note:
The en face effigy of the nymph on the obverse is inspired by Syracusan coin designs. There the famous die engraver Kimon first showed the local nymph Arethusa in frontal view with her hair open.

Pherai:
Pherai was an ancient city in the Thessalian landscape of Pelasgiotis. Due to its location, Pherai dominated the port city of Pagasai and the Pagasitic Gulf, the only large bay in Thessaly connected to the Aegean only by a narrow strait. The city profited from the grain trade and trade in other goods, so that a prosperous middle class was able to form, in contrast to the other more agrarian cities of Thessaly.

Towards the end of the Peloponnesian War it became the seat of tyrannical rule. Lykophron of Pherai was the first to establish a thoroughly popular tyranny. In 404 BC, he succeeded in defeating the noble family of the Aleuads of Larissa. The Larissaians, however, enlisted Persian support and returned. These ongoing conflicts between the Larissaians and the tyrants of Pherai subsequently determined the political development of Thessaly. Later, Antiochos III of Syria conquered Pherai, but was soon forced to surrender it to the Romans. Today, only sparse remains of the ancient city can be seen, e.g. the Hypereia spring.

According to mythology, Pherai was founded by Pheres, the son of King Cretheus of Iolkos and Tyro. He was the father of Admetos, Lykurgos and the daughter Idomene. Admetos succeeded him on the throne. He is known among other things for the fact that Apollo had to serve him for 10 years after his banishment from Olympus. He was followed by his son Eumelos, who fought as leader of the Pheraeans and Iolians before Troy.

Hypereia:
Hypereia was the source nymph of the famous water spring of Pherai. She is already mentioned by Homer (Iliad 6, 457). Sophokles (Fragm. 911) writes of the water "which the gods love". Hera is said to have bathed in its crystal-clear, healing waters to restore her virginity. She is usually depicted as a lion's head from whose mouth the water emerges. This lion's head, which represents the spring's enclosure, also exists as a single depiction on coins:

2nd coin
Thessaly, Pherai, ca. 404-369 B.C.
AE 19 (dichalcon), 3.78g
Obv.: Laureate head of Enodia r.
Rev.: Fountain in the shape of a lion's head r.
Ref.: BCD Thessaly II, 689; HGC 4, 577
London Ancient Coins, Vcoins

This spring has been there since people settled there, from about 3000 BC, and since those times it bubbled in abundance until 1998, when it suddenly dried up. I have attached a picture from Ottoman times and a sad picture of the spring today, north of the town of Velestino.
(1) The "Hypereia krini" in Ottoman times
(2) The "Hypereia krini" near Velestino today.

According to Pindar, the name of the spring comes from Hyperes, the son of Melas and Eurykleia. Melas, in turn, was a son of Phrixos, the brother of Helle, after whose death the Hellespont was named.

Enodia:
For a long time it was assumed that Enodia was simply an epiklesis of Hekate. However, it is now believed that it is the ancient Thessalian goddess Enodia who took the name Hekate

Mythology:
Enodia is closely associated with Pherai. In the time of Pheres, the founder of Pherai, shepherds are said to have found her in the field and brought her to the city. So she grew up together with the city and became its patroness.

Her name comes from the Greek εν (= in, on) and οδος (= way), thus as much as "the one on the way". She is also spelled with Gemmination Ennodia I will stick with Enodia here though.

Her name says that she was a goddess of the streets, standing at crossroads and on the main road, watching over the entrances to the city, but also over the entrances to private houses. In this sense she was apotropaic as a tutelary goddess, as were Hekate or Hermes. She was even supposed to keep pestilence away. The fact that she is often found in cemeteries underlines her chthonic character. She was worshipped together with Zeus Meilichios, in some places even in a common sanctuary. Meilichios was also a chthonic deity, the Zeus in the underworld.

Her main place of worship was Pherai, especially before the 5th century BC. Since Pherai was an important city at that time, the cult of Enodia quickly spread to Thessaly, Southern Macedonia and even Thrace, where the epithet thea (Lat. dea = goddess) was often attached to her, a sign that she was actually an "immigrant goddess" there. But she became a Panthessalian goddess during this time. This was also related to the striving for a Thessalian sense of belonging. According to Polyainos, Enodia was a national deity during the Ionian migration. She was worshipped until Roman times, as can be seen from votive offerings to her.

The use of Enodia for the new Thessalian identity, which was to be created with the refoundation of the Confederation by Flaminius 196, failed, however, as it was not suitable for this purpose. It is completely absent on Thessalian coins from the post-Flaminian period. Thus the resolutions of the new covenant were also not published in a sanctuary of Enodia, neither in Pherai nor elsewhere in Thessaly. Nor is there any evidence of possible investment in one of her sanctuaries, and no month of the Thessalian calendar used after 196 seems to acknowledge and honour the goddess.

Identification with Hekate
Because of many similarities between the two goddesses, Enodia was identified with Hekate. They have in common the protection of the crossroads, the warding off of evil and animals such as the dog. Thus, Lucian describes the rites of Hekate as "rites of Enodia". Pausanias reports how a black puppy was sacrificed to Hekate-Enodia by the Spartans at night. In the 4th century, Hekate-Enodia was associated with spirits and seen as the cause of the "holy disease (perhaps epilepsy)".

According to Wilamowitz, however, Enodia belongs to the ancient Hellenic deities before the time of the Olympians. It was not until the spread of the cult of Hekate from Asia Minor to mainland Greece that she was worshipped in certain sanctuaries along with Hekate. He also pointed out her connection with children and the underworld, which was expressed in a variety of epithets. This was used especially by writers to establish a connection with Persephone, Hekate and Artemis.

But Wilamowitz already recognised the independent existence of a goddess Enodia, especially because she was common in Thessaly, where Hekate was absent. Her syncretisation with Artemis or Hekate took place outside Thessaly. There she was also referred to simply as Artemis Pheraia or just Pheraia.

Chrysostomou suspects that although the original character of the goddess was terrifying, she already developed in the classical period into a deity who served her worshippers in a variety of ways. And so Hekate, Artemis et al. were assimilated with Enodia and not Enodia with these goddesses.

The Enodia priestess Chrysame
In his "Strategemata", the Macedonian writer Polyainos tells the following about the wartime stratagem of the Thessalian Enodia priestess Chrysame: When, during the colonisation of Ionia by the Greeks, the Greek conqueror Cnopus of Kodridae fought the Ionians at Erythrai, he received the oracle saying "to take Chrysame the priestess of Enodia as general of the Thessalians." This he did, and Chrysame chose a large bull and mixed into its feed poisonous herbs that caused madness. When the two armies faced each other, she had an altar built and brought the magnificently decorated bull. But the bull broke out and attacked everything in its path. The Erythraeans took this as a good sign, caught the bull and sacrificed it to their gods. They divided the meat among themselves. But this was also poisoned and produced the same madness that afflicted their whole army. Then Chrysame ordered the enemy to attack, and the Erythraeans were cut down. Thus Cnopus came into possession of Erythrai. Thessaly was known for its witches, and especially for the use of herbs. Thessalian witches were said to be able to conjure up even the moon

Note:
Polyainos (Latin Polyaenus), * c. 100, was a Macedonian rhetor, lawyer and writer in Rome. Of his works, only the "Strategemata" have survived in their entirety, in which he dealt with military strategies and which he dedicated to Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus so that they would avoid the mistakes of earlier commanders in their campaign against the Parthians.

Art History:
The iconographic type of Enodia appears regularly in Upper Macedonia from the Hellenistic to the late Roman period. It is identical to the images on the coins.
 (1) The first image shows the votive relief for Enodia from the 3rd century AD from Hagia Paraskevi (Elimeia) [Chrysostomou (1998), pl. 14Α]. Depicted is Enodia on a horse sitting side by side with a short torch and a dog accompanying her. The dog is a typical attribute of Hekate as well.

(2) The second picture shows a consecration gift with an inscription, also from this sanctuary. It is a marble relief from the time between the 2nd and 1st century B.C. Here Enodia stands in a long chiton (chiton pederes), which is girded cross-shaped under the breast, and with long sleeves and 2 torches in 3/4 view. A horse and a dog can also be seen. It was donated by a Ma (Μα[ς Μενάνδρου), today in the archaeological collection of Kozani.

Sources:
(1) Homer, Ilias
(2) Sophokles, Fragments (Loeb Classic Library)
(3) Apuleius, Metamorphoses
(4) Goethe, Faust 2.

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie
(3) Head, Historia numorum
(4) Der Kleine Pauly
(5) Wikipedia
(6) C.D.Graniger, The Regional Cults of Thessaly, 2006 (Dissertation)
(7) Kalliopi Chatzinikolaou, Locating Sanctuaries in Upper Macedonia According to Archaeological Data, in Kernos, Revue internationale et pluridisciplinaire de religion grecque antique, 23/2010
(8) Chrysostomou, P., Η θεσσαλική θεά Εν(ν)οδία ή Φεραία θεά, 1998
(9) Wilhelm Gemoll, Griechisch-deutsches Schul- und Handwörterbuch, 1954

Best regards
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #478 on: April 25, 2022, 05:17:34 am »
Hades

Hades, Ploutos, Pluto, Pluton and then Serapis are an almost inextricable group of underworld gods. Here I will try to untangle this tangle a little.

Hades was the eldest son of Kronos and Rhea and a brother of Zeus, Poseidon and Hera (Homer). Hesiod added Hestia and Demeter to him. He was swallowed by Kronos, as were all his children except Zeus, but was then broken out again by an emetic of Metis. According to some, it was also a stone that Zeus then had erected for worship at Delphi.

In the battle of the Titans, Hades sided with Zeus. He used the Hades cap, a camouflage cap that made him invisible. According to an older legend, he had been given this by the Cyclopes in gratitude for their liberation, just as Zeus was given the bundle of lightning and Poseidon the trident. After that, the world was divided: Zeus got the sky, Poseidon the sea and Hades the underworld. Earth and Olympos were common property.

According to Homer, he was the implacable god of the underworld, his kingdom a place of terror and horror. It was as closed off as Zeus' heaven. That is why he was also called Zeus katachthonios, the subterranean ZeusHis attribute was the sceptre.

His wife was Persephone, who was an equally implacable judge. But they only became judges in Aeschylos. Later genealogists also named Radamanthys, Minos and Sarpedon (or Aiakos) as judges of the underworld (Cicero, Ovid).

They did not form a family. The Furies were close to them, but could not have been his daughters, which they were later made to be.   

Hades does not actually appear in myths, since he knows nothing of Earth and Olympos in the underworld. He does not intervene in the human world.  There are only 2 stories in which he comes to the upper world, whereby the robbery of Persephone also only takes place at the command of Zeus.

(1) In the Homeric Hymns, the story is told of the robbery of Persephone, which had happened near Nysa, but whose geographical location is unclear. When Persephone/Kore was playing there in a flower meadow, the earth suddenly opened up and Hades came in a chariot with his 4 immortal black horses and abducted her into the underworld. Claudius Claudianus even knows the names of the horses:  Aethon, Alastor, Nykteus and Orphnaios.

Note:
Claudius Claudianus, born c. 370 probably in Alexandria - died after 404, was a late ancient Greek writer, court poet under Honorius and Stilicho. One of his most important works is the mythological epic "de raptu Proserpinae". Around 400, a statue was even erected for him on Trajan's Forum in Rome, the pedestal of which is still preserved.

1st coin:
Lydia, Maionia, Marcus Aurelius, 161-180.
AE 35, 24.70g, 0°
struck under the archon Quintus, who was 1st archon for the second time
Obv.: AVT KAIC - ANTΩNEINOC AVP
         Laureate bust r.    
Rev.: E-Π-I KVEINTOV B - AP - X A - MAIONIΩN.
         Hades, with clothes blowing in the wind, charging in quadriga  r., head turned l.,
         embracing the struggling Persephone, who has spread her arms in despair; r. beneath
         the horses  her fallen basket of flowers; above them the flying Eros.
Ref.: SNG by Aulock 3018
VF, pretty blue-green patina, flan crack at 7h.
Pedigree:
ex coll.  Marcel Burstein, Nevada
ex auction Peus 366, 2000

The second time there was a fight with Herakes at the gate to the underworld when he brought up Kerberos. In the process Hades was hit on the shoulder by an arrow from Herakes and had to be healed on Mount Olympos by Paion, the physician of the gods.

2nd coin:
Bithynia, Herakleia Pontika, Septimius Severus, 193-211.
AE 30, 17.23g, 30.09mm, 195°.
Obv.: .AV - T. - K.Λ.CEΠ.  - CEVHPOC Π
          Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
Rev.: HPAKΛHAC - EN ΠON - TΩ.
        Herakles, nude, lion skin over left arm, holding club with left hand over arm, standing frontally, head turned l., holding in his lowered right hand by a rope the three-headed Kerberos, who is sitting l.  beside him  r.  and looking up at him
Ref.: SNG of Aulock 378 (Obv. same die, Rev.  however different type; for Rev. cf. 397 for Macrinus); not in SNG Copenhagen, SNG Tübingen, SNG Lewis; not in Rec. Gen.
extremely rare, fig. almost SS, roughness on Vs.
Pedigree:
ex lanznumismatik, Ebay, 2007.

Later Ovid tells us that Hades fell in love with the nymph Menthe, who was transformed by Persephone out of jealousy into the spearmint (Mentha spicata). Another nymph, Leuke ("the White"), is said to have been transformed into the white poplar (Populus alba) after her death.

In the Suda, another daughter Makaria is given as the daughter of Hades and Persephone, who does not appear anywhere else. In contrast to Thanatos, she stands for blessed death. Etymologically (but not mythologically!) related is the Island of the Blessed, where today the Macaronesian Islands are understood to mean the Canary and surrounding islands. 

It is understandable that the fearfulness of his nature made him shy and afraid to speak his name. This gave rise to a multitude of euphemisms, e.g. "the many-absorber", where the many were the dead. Or "the great host". In the Odyssey, he was also the psychopompos who guided the dead into the underworld with his staff, like Hermes later on. He was also called Zagreus (= the great hunter), a name that later stood for Dionysos, "the honourable one" or even Euboulos the "benevolent one". As "gatekeeper" he possessed the key to the underworld, which he later gave to Aiakos.

These euphemisms are connected with the Eleusinian Mysteries. Under their influence, there was a complete transformation of the conception in the 5th century. Through the important role of Persephone, the god of the dead became a god of fertility and vegetative wealth. And this also required a new name: Hades became Plouton! He was the god who was responsible for grain, the source of prosperity, but also for the metals in the earth. He first appeared among the poets of the 5th century, where he was later also called Plouteus. His iconography included the cornucopia. Ploutos now represents the milder side of the chthonic powers and displaces Hades from this aspect until it sinks to a mere place name. In contrast to Hades, there were numerous cults for Ploutos and also theoxenia, guest banquets with the god.

Ploutos, the son of Demeter and Iasion (Hesiod), is to be strictly distinguished from Plouton. He is the figure of abundance and wealth, originally of the grain store stored underground. In Eleusis he had a naiskos and was worshipped as a "divine child", probably as an inheritor of Minoiscan ideas. His birth was one of the Eleusinian dromena (cultic acts). Here it was a child of Gaia, as there was no room for another son besides Plouton and Persephone. Since after the emergence of trade and commerce a more effortless and also more dishonest profit was possible, Ploutos was readily attributed with injustice and blindness (Pauly). Although he is depicted as a child, according to Roscher he is not a personification but only an allegory of wealth.

3rd coin
Phrygia, Hierapolis, pseudo-autonomous, 3rd century AD.
AE 27, 11.72g, 27.07mm, 180°.
Obv.: IEPAΠOΛEI - TΩN (from upper left)
         Head of Dionysos with wreath of ivy  r.
Rev.: EUBO - CIA (from lower left)
        Eubosia as Demeter, standing in long robe and cloak l., holding in raised right hand
        2 ears of grain and in left arm cornucopiae on which little Ploutos sits and holds out his
        arms to her.
Ref: Numismatics Naumann Auction 44, June 2016, lot 693 (at Wildwinds, same dies!)
         unpublished in the larger works
Very rare, F+ to near VF, greenish brown patina
Pedigree:
ex Bertolami Fine Arts E-Auction 49, 12.11.17, Lot 484.
(mislabelled as SNG of Aulock Pisidia I, 891-7; RPC IX 997. But that is  Decius and from Isinda!)

Notes:
(1) Personification is the conception and representation of non-human objects as persons, as human beings of definite character.
(2) Allegory (from Greek = "to speak otherwise"), for a long time understood in art only as a sensual representation of something abstract. In 1928, W. Benjamin detached it from its subordination to the symbol and placed it alongside the symbol as its own form of expression. Through his study of Baroque art, he found that it is, in terms of the philosophy of history, an art form of the decaying times (Wörterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe).

Cults:
The triad Demeter, Kore, Hades/Pluto is certainly already known Pelasgic. Strabon writes that Hades was originally the king of the Cauconians, a pre-Greek people on the Peloponnes, who only gradually became the underworld god of the Greeks. The only sanctuary specifically dedicated to Hades was in Pylos, because Hades came to the aid of Pylos when it was attacked by Herakles.

Especially in Asia minor there were several plutoniums, which were mostly seen as entrances to the underworld, e.g. in Aphrodisias or Hierapolis.
The photo shows the Plutonion in Hierapolis/Phrygia (Wikipedia). Here, carbon monoxide leaked from a fissure in the earth, forming an invisible lake that was deadly to those who did not know their way around. This was passed off as a miracle by the initiated priests.

Pausanias describes most of the places of worship in the Peloponnese, always together with Demeter. Male and female animals of black colour were sacrificed to him, especially piglets, which were thrown into pits. Such a sacrifice is also described in the Odyssey, when Odysseus wants to question Teiresias in the underworld. Kirke advises him to sacrifice one female and one male black sheep, but necessarily with their faces turned away.

Art History:
Because of Hades' unpopularity, there is little evidence and depictions are not consistent throughout. He is usually depicted like Zeus or Poseidon with flowing hair on his head. After Bryaxis created his famous statue of Serapis in Alexandria, all subsequent images resemble him, as can be seen beautifully on the following coin.

4th coin
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Caracalla, 198-217
AE 28, 14.47g, 28.24mm, 0°
struck under the governor Aurelius Gallus
Obv.: AV.K.M.AVP - ANTΩNIN
        Laureate head r. , slight drapery on l. shoulder.
Rev.: VΠA AVP.ΓAΛΛOV N - I - KOΠOLEITΩN / ΠPOC ICTPO
        Hades/Serapis, in himation, with Kalathos, enthroned  l., resting on long sceptre with
       raised l. hand and holding outstretched r. hand over three-headed Kerberos at his feet.
Ref.: a) not in AMNG
        b) Varbanov 3092
        c) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2021) 8.18.6.1 (this coin) 
not common, almost VF, black patina

In 212 Carcalla had consecrated a temple of Serapis on the slope of the Quirinal.

I have added a photo of the Roman marble copy of the cult statue of Serapis from Alexandria, found in 1750 in Pozzuoli during the Bourbon excavations, today in the Archaeological Museum in Naples.

It is clearly visible that the image on the coin is based on the statue of Bryaxis. It is the blessing giver related to the Plouton with Kalathos. It is therefore Serapis with charges to the benevolent side of Hades.

Sources:
(1) Homer, Odyssey
(2) Hesiod, Theogony
(3) Pausanias, Periegesis
(4) Strabon, Geographika
(5) Cicero, de natura deorum
(6) Ovid, Metamorphoses

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (also online).
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführlichen Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (also online).
(3) The Kleiner Pauly
(4) Karl Kerenyi, Mythology of the Greeks
(5) Robert von Ranke-Graves
(6) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov, The coins of Nicopolis ad Istrum, Blagoevgrad 2021
(7) Kirchner/Michaelis, Wörterbuch der philosophichen Begriffe, WBG 1998
(8) Wikimedia

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #479 on: May 01, 2022, 07:24:28 am »
The Pantheion

The starting point for this article was the following coin.

1st coin:
Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius Cestianus, gens Plaetoria
AR - Denarius, 18.52mm, 3.86g, 60°.
         Rome, 67 BC
Obv.: Draped bust of a winged goddess, r., with helmet decorated with plume, lotus
          blossom and ears of grain on forehead, bow and quiver over right shoulder,
          cornucopiae under chin.
          behind CESTIANVS, in front S.C
Rev.: in ex. M PLAE, then TORIVS F AED CVR
          Eagle with spread wings standing on bundle of lightning .r., head turned l. 
Ref.: :Crawford 409/1; Sydenham 809; BMCRR 3596; Plaetoria 4
VF+
 
Pedigree:
ex M&M AG Auction 38, Basel 6/7.12.1968, coll. Dr. August Voirol, lot 181

Notes:
(1) Plaetorius Cestianus was a friend of Cicero ("Pro Cluentio"). He was a Curulian Aedile and has struck as Mint Master for the final battle against Mithridates.
(2) Dr. August Voirol (1884-1967) was a gynaecologist in Basel. In 1933 he discovered numismatics by chance through some coins of the Adlerbank. He met Herbert Cahn and assembled a small but select collection of ancient coins. From 1942-1954 he was vice-president of the Swiss Numismatic Society.

The goddess depicted on the obv. is regularly but incorrectly called Vacuna. Vacuna is a Sabine goddess and identical with the Roman Victoria. She had an ancient sanctuary (Vacunae nemis) near Hadrian's villa at Tibur, today's Tivoli. The Romans, however, derived her name from Vacuus and thought that she was a deity to whom the country people offered sacrifices when the harvest in the fields was over and the fields were empty (Schol. ad Horat. Epist. I.10.49; Ovid Fast.VI.307; Plin. H.N. III.17). Her festival, the Vacunalia, took place in December. From Horace's Scholiast we also hear that some identified her with Diana, Ceres, Venus, Minerva, Bellonan and Victoria. However, these scholarly interpretations were not yet fully available at the time of the Mint Master, so that this view is untenable (Roscher).
 
Today her name is etymologically derived from *vacu- (= lacus, with alternation of l>v, like Umbrian 'vaper' = Lat. lapis) and she is determined as 'dea del lago'. Their Sabine cult centre was probably at the sulphurous springs Aquae Cutiliae (Evans) near present-day Rieti. A village called Bacugno in the region there still points to the worship of Vacuna.

The traditional identification of the female bust on the obv. of this coin as Vacuna is impossible, writes Crawford, citing the work of J.P.Morel, MEFR 1962, pp.25-29. An identification as Isis, according to the work of A.Alföldi, S 1954, pp.30/31, may be correct. But she carries not only the lotus-flower of Isis but also
(1) the helmet of Minerva adorned with a plume of feathers,
(2) on her forehead the ears of grain of Ceres,
(3) over the right shoulder the bow and quiver of Diana,
(4) under the chin a cornucopiae and is
(5) winged like Victoria!
In summary we have to state that the identification of the obv, type is still uncertain. She is a real "multi-culti" goddess!

The Pantheion
The Pantheion (Lat. Pantheon) was the totality of the gods, just as the Panellenion was the totality of the Greeks. In a polytheistic religion, people were used to invoking the deity responsible for them or their concerns each time. It was not always easy to choose the right deity. Sometimes the oracle had to be consulted first. At large festivals, several gods were in charge, and sacrifices had to be made to them. In order not to incur the wrath of the forgotten gods, the other gods or even "all the gods" were also invoked. This custom already appears in Homer, where oaths were supposed to be given the strongest confirmation. This was especially true when there was a hurry and there was not enough time to find out which deity was responsible. In such cases, pantes theoi (= all gods) were used, e.g. for oath formulas. In the 4th century, these calls became more frequent, but there was no cult of the gods as a whole. According to Herodotus, when the Ionians, Dorians and Aiolians founded Naukratis in the Nile delta, they built a common sanctuary for all the gods they had brought with them (Pauly), but only as a defence against the foreign cults surrounding them.
 
This changed in Hellenistic times, when there is an increase in inscriptions referring to consecrations, festivals, priesthoods and cults, especially in Asia Minor, where the formula theoi pantes kai pasai (= all gods and goddesses) also accumulates. The famous Pergamon altar was probably also dedicated to the community of gods, as indicated by the fact that its four sides depict the entire family of gods. Antiochos IV Epiphanes organised a great triumphal procession in Antiocheia, in which the images of "all the gods named among men" were carried along. After the Pantheon in Rome, the most important was the one that Antiochos of Pergamon had erected on the summit of Mount Tauros, which was dedicated to all the gods, including himself and his family (Pauly). Such a Pantheion is also known from Ilion, Pergamon, Erythrai, Antiocheia ad Maiandrum and Alexandria.

A significant influence on the increasing spread of these cults had been Alexander's campaign to the Orient, through which the Greeks became acquainted with a large number of new gods and foreign cults. Their own traditional views became weaker and they were no longer convinced that they were the sole helpers in emergency situations. Worshipping many deities at once made people feel safer. It is said that there were even altars dedicated to the agnostoi theoi (= the unknown gods) in order not to neglect any god. According to Acts 17:13, there was such an inscription on an altar in Athens, to which Paul linked his Areopagus speech.

But a monotheistic tendency was already emerging, that all gods were only the expression of a single higher being. There was probably no goddess named Panthea (Roscher). But more and more often different deities were syncretistically linked with each other, as we know from coins, e.g. Zeus/Ammon, Dea Mater, Aequitas/Nemesis, Tyche/Demeter etc. Caligula had his beloved sister Drusilla consecrated as Diva Drusilla Panthea! Pantheus is found among the Romans as an epithet of many gods. As the name suggests, Pantheus represented a deity who united the various divine powers and personalities within himself. Inscriptions from the 1st and 2nd century A.D. prove that the ideas that led to the worship of a god Pantheus were already present among the Romans relatively early (Roscher). Serapis was also regarded as a universal god. In Carthage there are inscriptions as Serapis Pantheos. The next coin shows him as Serapis Pantheos:

2nd coin
Egypt, Alexandria, Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161
AE 33mm, 26.42g, 33.4mm, 0°
struck 141/42 (year 5)
Obv.: ΑVΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟϹ EVϹEΒ
        Laureate head r.
Rev.: Bust, of Serapis Pantheos, draped, wearing kalathos and radiate crown, ram's
          horn over ear, before him trident around which serpent coils.
          In field L - E
Ref.: Dattari-Savio Pl. 148, 2867 (this coin; RPC IV.4, 15340.6 (this coin)
Shanna Schmidt Numismatics, Vcoins, April 2022.
Pedigree:
Naville Numismatics 53, 3 Nov 2019, lot 303.
ex Dattari coll.

The Pantheon in Rome:
The grandest and most perfectly preserved ancient building in Rome is undoubtedly the Pantheon on the Campus Martius. It was long believed to have been built by Agrippa in 25 BC in honour of his friend Augustus. This is also written as a monumental inscription on the epistyle of the vestibule: M. Agrippa L. f. consul tertium fecit. This is also attested by Pliny and Cassius Dio.

The round building contained the statues of many gods and the huge dome resembles heaven. The Pantheon was destroyed several times by lightning and fire and rebuilt each time, so in 89 by Domitian and then by Hadrian, but also in 202 by Septimius Severus and then by Caracalla. In 608, it was converted into the church beatae semperque virginis Mariae et omnium martyrum by Pope Boniface IV under the reign of Emperor Phocas. In the process, of course, all the images of the gods were removed.

In the meantime, archaeological facts have proven that the circular building we see today was not erected by Agrippa, but by Emperor Hadrian. It has been shown that almost exclusively bricks from the Hadrianic period were used in the construction of all structurally important parts. The inscription that names Agrippa as the builder goes back to the fact that Hadrian had a traditional aversion to his name being mentioned on his buildings, and the reason for this almost "quirky reverence" (Pauly) was his endeavour to avoid anything that would have made him appear similar to the hated Domitian. The latter had passed off the buildings he had only restored as his own original creations.

Sources:
(1) Homer, Iliad
(2) Herodotus, Histories
(3) Pliny, Naturalis historia
(4) Cassius Dio, Roman History
(5) New Testament
(6) Ovid, Fastes

Literature:
(1) Crawford
(2) The Little Pauly
(3) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Detailed Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology (also online)
(4) Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (online)
(5) Benjamin Hederich, Thorough Mythological Dictionary (also online)
(6) Elizabeth C. Evans, The Cults of the Sabine Territory, 1939.

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Tracy Aiello

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #480 on: May 01, 2022, 02:32:22 pm »
Jochen,

I enjoy reading these threads of yours. Great work. Informative and interesting.

Cheers,

Tracy

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #481 on: May 02, 2022, 03:53:31 pm »
Thank you for your comment!

Cheers,
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #482 on: November 25, 2022, 12:14:49 pm »
Lykurgos and the nymph Ambrosia

Dear friends of ancient mythology!

The botanical season, in which I roamed through meadows and forests almost daily as a volunteer mapper for the Stuttgart Natural History Museum to discover new plants, is coming to an end. Now I have more time again to take care of numismatics and ancient mythology. And finally I have found a coin worthy of being presented here. Its condition is suboptimal, but it is one of the rarer ones.

The coin:
Syria, Coele-Syria, Damascus, Trebonianus Gallus, AD 252-253
AE 25, 9.20g
Obv.: [IMP C] VIB TREB GA[LLO AVG]
         Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, laureate, r. 
Rev.: COL ΔAMA CO METRO.
        The nymph Ambrosia, nude, standing frontally, head n. r., holding in both hands   
        Vines, her feet growing out of the earth.
Ref.: RPC IX, 1949 (there are several slight variations of the rev. image, here e.g. the 
         grapes below the elbows)

The Hyades
The Hyades, from Greek. Hyades (= "who make it rain"), were nymphs of Greek mythology, already mentioned by Homer in the Iliad. As a constellation, the Hyades are found as a V-shaped star cluster in the constellation of Taurus. The largest star among them is Aldebaran at the bottom left.
(see picture)
There were already different views in antiquity about their number and their lineage. In Hesiod there were five. According to Hygin, the Okeanide Pleione (or Aithra) gave birth to 12 daughters and the son Hyas to Atlas. When the latter was killed in the hunt, Zeus placed seven of them in the starry sky as Pleiades, and the other five, who had especially wept for him, as Hyades.

Pherekydes knows seven:  Ambrosia, Eudora, Pedile, Koronis, Polyxo, Phyto and Thyone. Their mother was Boiotia. Among them we now find our Ambrosia. They looked after Dionysus in his childhood and their role was probably thought to parallel that of the nymphs Adrasteia and Ide, who raised and guarded little Zeus on Crete

The nymph Ambrosia
In describing the coin, Barclay Head writes to the reverse "Maenad(?)" and indeed, for certain identification, a reference to the terrible fate of Ambrosia, who is not depicted on the coin, is missing. Nevertheless, I adopt here the description from RPC IX, 1949, which Leu Numismatik also did. That the nymph's legs grow out of the earth is very unusual and could be a reference to Gaia, who plays a not insignificant role in the tale of Nonnos.

There are also different genealogies for Ambrosia, Greek Ambrosia (= "immortal", with emphasis on the i(!). In Hygin she was the daughter of Pleione and Atlas. She became a Dodonaean nymph and a nurse of Dionysus. In Nonnos she became the companion of the wine god Dionysus, a maenad.

The most impressive description of her fate is found in Nonnos (Dionysiaka, lib. 21). These events took place after Dionysus had passed through Thrace on his way east or on his return from India.

Lykurgos, King of Thrace
Lykurgos appears in all mythologies as a fanatical opponent of Dionysus. Most often, Lykurgos is used to refer to the mythical king of the Edonians in Thrace. When Dionysus wanted to go from Asia across the Hellespont back to Europe, Lykurgos offered him his friendship. But when Dionysus translated his maenads first, Lykurgus ordered them all to be killed along with Dionysus. Dionysus, however, was warned by a man called Tharops and just managed to escape to the other side of the Hellespont. His companions, the Maenads, were all killed on the orders of Lykurgus. Here the name Ambrosia already appears. After Dionysus had crossed with his army, a battle took place in which Lykurgos was defeated and captured. Dionysus had his eyes gouged out and crucified. He handed over his kingdom to Tharops (Diodorus Siculus).

In another version it is said that Lykurgus taunted Dionysus and finally chased him away, but captured his companions. Then Dionysus struck Lykurgus with madness, so that he mistook his son Dryas for a vine, struck him down with an axe and cut off his own feet until he regained his senses. A great barrenness then came over his land and the oracle answered that it would only end when Lykurgus had shed his mortality. Then the Edons led him to Mount Pangaios and had him torn apart by horses (Apollodor).

Others tell that he did not want to acknowledge Dionysus as a god, and when he was drunk with wine and wanted to rape his own mother, he thought the wine was poison and ordered all the vines to be uprooted. Then Dionysus drove him mad, so that he slew his wife and son and cut off one of his own feet, which he thought was a vine. Then Dionsos throw him ro his panthers on the mountain of Rhodopes (Hygin. Fab.).

There are other versions of his end. But even though Dionysus always had to flee from him at the beginning, he was able to capture him afterwards. He had him bound and scourged with vines so violently that Lykurgos had to shed tears. These fell to the ground and cabbage grew from them. This is still today an enemy of the vine.(Schol. Aristoph. in Equis.)

In the oldest story (Homer, Iliad) he pursued the nurses of little Dionysus on Mount Nysa. These threw their thyrses to the ground, while Lykurgus wounded them with his hatchet. Little Dionysus threw himself into the sea, where Thetis picked him up and comforted him. The gods were enraged by the atrocity and struck Lykurgos with blindness. Shortly afterwards he died.

There was a tragedy about him by Aeschylus, but it has not survived.

Already Diodoros, who reports the battle between Lykurgos and Dionysos, states that Antimachos transferred this battle to Arabia. This was taken up by Nonnos in his extensive work "Dionysiaka". He narrates:

On its way to India, his army reached Arabia via Tyros, Byblos and Lebanon. There a son of Ares ruled, the terrible Lykurgos, who slew all strangers and wanderers, slaughtered them and decorated his palace with their limbs. Lykurgos pursued the female companions of Dionysus, here called Bassarides (after Greek "Bassaris" = "fox fur", which they wore like the Nebris, the deer skin) and took up the fight against them. In particular, the maenad Ambrosia, one of the Hyades, resisted him valiantly; almost overcome, she was transformed into a vine by Gaia, Mother Earth. With her tendrils she inextricably entwined herself around Lykurgos, and since by Rheia's grace human speech was preserved for her, she mockingly addressed her opponent. Ares could not free his son, but at least took the divine battle-axe from him. The Maenads surrounded the bound opponent and scourged him cruelly. At Rheia's request, Poseidon caused an earthquake in Arabia. At the same time, the inhabitants of Arabia, the "Nysaeans", were seized with madness, so that they killed and slaughtered their own children. The maltreated Lykurgos did not bow to Dionysus, but persisted in his defiance of all the gods. At last Hera took pity on him, cut the tendrils of ambrosia and thus freed Lykurgos. He was later blinded by Zeus, but the Arabs worshipped him as a god with sacrifices. Ambrosia, however, ascended from the earth into the sky and was transferred to the constellation of the Hyades.

This would have been a nice theme for Ovid's "Metamorphoses", but Nonnos lived almost 500 years after Ovid!

And now it also becomes geographically understandable that this motif with Ambrosia was struck precisely on coins from Damascus. Otherwise Damascus only appears once: On his way to India, the king of Damascus confronted him on the Euphrates. He was flayed alive (Ranke-Graves). But I have not been able to find out anything more about this.

Art history:
The motif of Ambrosia has been taken up several times in ancient art. I have selected the following pictures:

(1) This image is from an Apulian red-figure vase from the Late Classical period, c. 330 BC, and is now in the Staatl. Antikensammlung, Munich.
King Lycurgus holds the body of Ambrosia, whom he has just slain with his sword. The angry god summons an Erinnye to drive him mad. She is depicted as a winged huntress whose arms and hair are draped with poisonous snakes. Dionysus wears elaborate clothing with high boots and holds a tree branch in his hand.  Behind him, the thyrsos of a maenad is still visible. This vase does not have the vine tendrils that are present on our coin and so typical of the Nonnos narrative.
(see picture)

(2) The mosaic pictured above was found in Herculaneum and is now in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. It shows the king of Thrace, Lycurgus, the enemy of Dionysus, attacking the nymph Ambrosia. The latter is in the process of transforming herself into a vine and binding Lycurgus with her shoots to deliver him to the vengeance of Dionysus. It seems to grow out of the earth, which is reflected in the depiction on our coin. So at this time the version that Nonnos later adopted is already known!
(see picture)

Ambrosia, the food of the gods
We already know that Ambrosia means "immortal" in Greek. And so Ambrosia was the food reserved for the immortals. Whoever ate it became immortal himself. This happened to Tantalus, for example, and Thetis anointed her son Achilles with Ambrosia to make him immortal.

The first to receive ambrosia was Zeus, to whom it was brought by wild doves from the mountain tops of Crete. In Homer, the terms "ambrosia" and "nectar" are still interchangeable. Later, ambrosia was used to refer to food and nectar to refer to something to drink.

Ambrosia was used as food, drink, balm, ointment and as a remedy. It was famous for its fragrance and would have tasted sweet. Rationalists thought it was honey, e.g. Roscher: "This fits wonderfully with honey, which was also conceived as a gift from the gods." The nymph Ambrosia would then have been the personification of honeydew.

The immortal horses were also fed with ambrosia. This has also been inferred the other way round: since horses are usually fed oats, ambrosia could simply have been oatmeal!

The idea of nectar and ambrosia serves the human desire for immortality, present from early on in all cultures, and for a magic cure to achieve it. This is back in a big way today, when ageing is seen as a disease, as seen in the billions spent on anti-ageing products. Behind the desire for eternal life, however, the present is too often forgotten.

Ragweed, an allergenic neophyte
As an amateur botanist, I would like to conclude by mentioning the mugwort ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), or ragweed for short. This is an invasive neophyte and originates from the Mediterranean region. It has been known in Germany since 1860, but as a field weed it was always tied to humans. Since the 1990s, it began to spread under its own steam and has now become a major threat. Typical features are its strong branching and tall inflorescences. Its pollen has a strong allergenicity that is 5x higher than that of grass pollen. Truly no food of gods!

Notes:
(1) Pherekydes of Syros (* between 584 and 581 BC on the island of Syros, one of the Cyclades) was an ancient Greek mythographer and cosmologist in the time of the Pre-Socratics. .
(2) Nonnos of Panopolis was a Byzantine poet of the 5th century. He is considered the author of the Dionysiaka, the last great epic of antiquity. In 48 books or cantos and approx. 21,300 hexameters, he describes the triumphant march of Dionysus to India.
(3) Dodona in Northern Greece was an ancient Greek sanctuary and oracle. It was considered the oldest oracle in Greece and, after Delphi, the largest supra-regional oracle in the Greek world. The rustling of an oak tree sacred to Zeus was used for divination, and later the flight of doves was also used for divination.
(4) Antimachos of Kolophon was a Greek poet and grammarian who lived around 450 BC.  He is considered one of the founders of the epic.
(5) Nysa is considered to be the place where Dionysus was raised and nourished by nymphs. This is probably only a figment of the imagination. Later, various places were called Nysa. Nonnos relocates Nysa to Arabia.
(6) A neophyte is a plant that only naturalised in Europe after 1492. A neophyte is invasive if it spreads uncontrollably.

Sources:
(1)  Homer,  Ilias
(2)  Apollodor,  Bibliotheka
(3)  Hyginus,  Fabulae,  De  astronomia
(4)  Nonnos,  Dionysiaka

Secondary literature:
(1) Heinrich-Wilhelm Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, 1884
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon,  1770  (Nachdruck)
(3) Barclay  HeadHistoria  Numorum (online Version von  Ed  Snible)
(4) Der  Kleine  Pauly

Internet sources:
(1)  Wikipedia
(2)  theoi.com
(3)  RPC  IX

Best regards
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #483 on: December 03, 2022, 03:46:43 pm »
Eos and her unhappy loves

The coin
Roman Republic, L. Plautius Plancus, gens Plautia
AR - Denarius, 3.54g, 17mm, 210°.
        Rome, 47 BC
Obv.: Mask of Medusa with dishevelled hair ending in coiled serpents.
         below L.PLAVTIVS   
Rev.: Victoria (or Aurora), winged, holding palm branch, head slightly left., flying
         right, holding the reins and leading the 4 sun-horses
         below PLANCVS
Ref.: Crawford 453/1a; CRI 29; Sydenham 959; Plautia 15
CNG, 19.9.2012 (my own coin was too eccentric).

About the coin:
Lucius Plautius Plancus was the brother of L. Munatius Plancus, who was Praefectus Urbi under Caesar in 45 BC and 2 years later, as Proconsul of Gallia Comata, founded the Colonia of Lugdunum (now Lyon). Plautius Plancus was born Gaius Munatius Plancus, but then adopted by Lucius Plautius, whose name he took retaining only the cognomen of his original name. The unusual elegance of the reverse type of his silver denarii suggests that their design was based on a special work of art and this may have been a painting by the celebrated painter Nicimachus of Thebes, which was hung in the Capitol by L. Munatius Plancus on the occasion of the celebration of his Gallic triumph in 43 BC. This remarkable painting may have been in the possession of the mintmaster during his tenure and was then reproduced as a coin type to celebrate Caesar's military successes in 48 and 47 BC. In the course of Plautius' proscription during the triumvirate of 43 BC, which led to his execution and the confiscation of his property, it may have come into the possession of his brother Munatius Plancus; there is a strong suspicion that Munatius was responsible for Plautius' tragic end. The significance of the head of Medusa on the obverse still awaits a convincing explanation, although it is probably related to the history of the family into which the mintmaster was adopted (CNG).

Ehymology:
Eos (Greek ηως) is linguistically and factually related to the Indian ushas and the Latin aurora from the root -us (= to burn, to shine), in that a Graeco-Italic form ausos is assumed.

The parents of Eos are the Titan Hyperion and the Titan Theia (Hesiod, Apollodor), or Aithra (Hygin), also Titan and Earth, or she is the daughter of Pallas (Ovid Fasten). Her siblings are Selene and Helios, Sleep and Death.

Picture #1:
Detail from the ceiling painting in the Villa Ludovisi in Rome with the Sun Chariot of Aurora (1621), Guercino. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (1591-1666), better known as Guercino, was an Italian painter of the Baroque period. The frescoes of the Aurora in the casino of Villa Ludovisi date from his period in Rome.

Every morning she rises from the camp of her husband Tithonos and ascends from the Okeanos (according to Homer Odyssey 12,4 she has her dwelling on Aiaia) with her team of horses Lampos (bright shine) and Phaeton (the radiant one) and rides across the sky in front of her brother Helios. She only finishes her orbit in the evening and thus signifies not only the morning, but also noon and the whole day (hemera). Her beautiful poetic epithets, the rose-fingered and the saffron-robed, correspond to the colours of the sky at dawn, when the sun covers the sky in long stripes. The horse-drawn carriage is an expression of her speed.

Eos is notorious for her love affairs. Later it was even said that Aphrodite had put a curse on her because she had surprised her in a love affair with Ares.

1) The myth of Tithonos
Tithonos was a Trojan prince, the son of the Trojan Laomedon and thus brother of Priam, but by a different mother, Rhoio (also called Strymo), a daughter of Scamander. He is the only one who, unlike her other loves, was called her husband.

According to the Lesser Iliad, Ganymedes is a brother of Tithonos. Eos also kidnapped him. But he was taken away from her by Zeus, who brought him to Olympus as a lover and cupbearer.

Since Tithonos did not take part in his brother's affairs of government, his main occupation was hunting, to which he set out every morning before sunrise. Then he left Phrygia and offered himself to Teutames in Assyria. Teutames received him kindly and made him his commander.  According to Diodorus, he had founded Susa.

When Eos once saw him in battle, she was so overcome by his beauty that she fell in love with him and carried him off in her golden chariot to Ethiopia, where they lived happily in Aiaia or Aethiops on the eastern edge of the Okeanos.

Picture #2
Eos pursues the young Tithonos, who holds a lyre. From an Attic red-figure kylix, Classical period, 470-460 BC, attributed to the Penthesilaos painter.  Today in the British Museum/London.

Eos loved him so much that she asked the gods to grant him immortality. But she forgot to wish him eternal youth as well. So he grew older and weaker. Nevertheless, she remained tenderly attached to him. Finally he had to be locked up in a room, put in a cradle and nursed and fed like a little child. He finally begged Eos to be allowed to die, but she could not grant him this request. Instead, she turned him into a cicada and hung him in a basket in the air so that she could at least still hear his voice.

Picture #3
Aurora and the old Tithonus (1634-1635), painting by Giovanni da San Giovanni, today in the Uffizi/Florence. Giovanni da San Giovanni (1592-1636) was an Italian Baroque painter who worked mainly in Florence.

Tithonos is the allegory of the freshly beginning, then wearily ending day (Preller), the decrepit old man. The cicada is a symbol of the old people who can no longer do anything themselves, but who constantly talk about all the things they used to do. The motif of the incomplete request is a fairy-tale motif (Pauly).

Eos begat Memnon and Emathion with Tithonos. Both were kings of Aethopia. Emathion was killed by Heracles. Memnon was given a golden vine by Priam to help him against the Greeks before Troy, and then went to Troy with a huge army. In a duel he was killed by Achilles with a spear. Eos wept for him so much that her tears fell to the earth as dew. After his death, he was worshipped especially in Egyptian Thebes. His particular statues were made of black marble and were famous for making a graceful sound at sunrise, as if rejoicing in the presence of Eos, but a deeply sad sound at sunset, as if mourning her departure. In fact, these statues are images of Amenophis III, one of which was split. When Severus had them restored, they fell silent.

2) The legend of Kephalos and Prokris
Kephalos was the son of Hermes and Herse, or Dejoneus, king of Phocis, and Diomede. He was of immense beauty, so that when he was once hunting on Mount Hymettos, Eos robbed him and carried him off to Syria.

Picture #4
Eos abducts the young Cephalus holding a lyre
Attic red-figure lekytos, Classical period, 470-460 BC, attributed to the Oinocles painter. Today in the Museo Arqueologico Nacional de Espana (MAN)/Madrid.

But his real wife was Prokris, the daughter of Erechtheus and Praxithea, whom he loved so much that he could not forget her. This angered Eos and she released him, but told him that the time would come when he would not wish to see his Prokris. Then he suspected that she had been unfaithful to him, and he wanted to put her to the test. With the help of Eos, he disguised himself and wooed his own wife with rich gifts until she did his bidding. When he revealed himself, she was so ashamed that she fled and went to Crete to King Minos. When she cured him of a serious illness, he gave her the dog Lailaps, from which no one could escape, and an infallible spear. According to another version, she received both miraculous weapons from Artemis, to whom she had taken refuge. With these she went back to Attica, reconciled with her husband and gave him the dog and the spear. But when Kephalos went hunting incessantly, she became suspicious that he was cheating on her again with Eos. She crept after him and heard him calling for "Aura", which confirmed her suspicions. When she rustled in the bushes, Kephalos thought it was a deer and threw his spear at her, killing her. For this murder he was exiled by the Areopagus and finally came with Amphitryon to the island of Kephalonia, which was named after him. He is also said to have gone with Lailaps, the wonder-dog, in pursuit of the Teumessian fox that was ravaging Thebes and that no one could catch. To escape the dilemma, the fox and the hound were then turned into stone by Zeus.

This non-homeric story is told at length by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (Ovid met. 7, 672). In fact, Kephalos called in Greek for "Nephele", a cooling cloud, which Prokris misunderstood as a girl's name.

In general, the story of Kephalos and Prokris is the fusion of various independent sagas (Roscher).

Picture #5
Piero the Cosimo (1461-1512), The Death of Prokris (c. 1490). Today in the National Gallery in London.

3) Astraios
With the Titan Astraios, son of Krios and Eurybia, Eos begot the main winds Argestes, Zephyros, Boreas and Notos (Hesiod), a myth based on the observation that the winds seem to come from above, i.e. from the stars. According to Apollodorus, she also fathered the stars with him, including the morning star Eosphoros (= Lucifer), who walks before her in the morning and sets with her in the evening.

4) Orion
It is said (Apollodorus) that Eos also once abducted the mighty hunter Orion and brought him to Ortygia, the island where Artemis was born. There are many, also contradictory, stories about his death. In one, the gods envy her possession and Artemis is said to have killed him with an arrow out of jealousy of Eos (Homer, Odyssey). There Calypso laments the jealousy of the celestials.

Other lovers included
5) Kleitos, the son of Mantion and father of Koiranos, who was abducted by Eos because of his beauty to dwell among the immortals (Homer Od. 15, 249).

Eos plays no cultic role. Even the ancients had difficulty distinguishing between a personification and the actual natural phenomenon.

Literature:
Of the many literary adaptations of the Tithonos theme, I list only two here:

(1) The Tithonos poem by Sappho.
This poem belongs to the late work of Sappho. It was first published in 1922 after a papyrus fragment was discovered at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. The fragments of the Cologne papyri from the 3rd century BC, published in 2004, contain only 12 lines of the poem, but complete it almost in its entirety and attracted international attention. This poem is one of very few essentially complete works by Sappho and deals with the effects of ageing, which must have been of great concern to Sappho:
"Often I sigh over it. But what can I do? Ageless, if one is human, one cannot become."

 (2) In "Tithonus" by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), Tithonus complains that he is neither mortal nor immortal.

Notes:
(1) Nikomachos of Thebes, famous for his rapid painting, worked in the middle and 2nd half of the 4th century B.C. Among his pupils was the even more rapid Philoxenos of Eretria. Nothing is known of his style, although the Victoria quadrigam in sublime raptens (called "Aurora" by Sydenham) on denarii of L. Plautius Plancus is related.
(2) Little Iliad ("Ilias mikra"), belonging to the Epic Cycle. This cycle includes the epics which represent the prehistory of the Iliad and the stories of the homecomings (Nostoi). The time of origin is the 7th/6th century BC, the authorship is disputed.
(3) Aiaia, mythical islands in the west and east of the Okeanos. The western one was considered the residence of Kirke and the dancing place of Eos after her demise in the west.

Sources:
(1) Homer, Odyssey
(2) Hesiod, Theogony
(3) Apollodor, Bibliotheka
(4) Hyginus, Fabulae
(5) Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
(6) Pausanias, Periegesis
(7) Ovid, Metamorphoses
(8) Vergil, Aeneid

Secondary literature:
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, Teubner 1889.
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (also online)
(3) Ludwig Preller, Greek Mythology, 1894-1926
(4) Karl Kerenyi, The Mythology of the Greeks, dtv
(4) Der Kleine Pauly, dtv

Internet sources:
(1) theoi.com
(2) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Virgil H

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #484 on: December 07, 2022, 07:54:12 pm »
Jochen,
I know I have said this before, but I just love these entries. Thank you once again.

Virgil

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #485 on: December 12, 2022, 09:04:43 am »
Thank you, Virgil. It's nice to read a feedback. Now a new article:

Priamos, King of Troy

The coin:
Troas, Ilium, Crispina (wife of Commodus), AD 178-182.
AE 25, 13.7g, 24.6mm, 30°.
Onv.: KPICΠEINA - CEBACTH
Bust of Crispina with Stephane, topknot at neck, draped, r.
Rev.: ΠPIAMOC - IΛIEΩN.
      Priamos in long robe and wearing Phrygian cap enthroned r., leaning 
       with raised left hand on long sceptre.
Ref.: Bellinger T193; von Fritze, Ilion 92; BMC 72; RPC IV/2, 193 (#10).
This specimen is an electrotype copy of the coin from the Bibliotheque National in Paris from the 19th century.


What is an Electrotype Copy?
This procedure is a galvanic impression of a model. A model is made from the original, usually from plaster, the surface of which is then made conductive. This model is placed in a galvanic bath. Under the influence of electricity, the metal atoms of the bath are deposited on the surface of the model. The model itself remains inside (so-called core electroforming). This process was invented at the end of the 18th century by the anatomy professor Luigi Galvani and then further developed in the 19th century. Shortly after the development of the process, it was made usable for arts and crafts purposes. Large museums used this method to produce copies of coins to exhibit or sell to collectors. Our coin was produced in the 19th century by the Bibliotheque National de France for collectors. The groove on the edge of the coin is always typical.

Name:
Priamos' original name was Podarkes. After the treacherous Laomedon, the second king of Troy, cheated Apollo and Poseidon, who had built him the walls of Troy, of their deserved reward, probably the famous horses of the gods, Apollo sent him the plague and Poseidon a huge sea monster. The oracle advised that Hesione, the daughter of Laomedon, should be sacrificed to the monster in order to save the city. She was abandoned on the beach and Laomedon promised her saviour the divine horses. Heracles killed the monster. But again Laomedon resorted to deceit and refused him the prize. Then Heracles made war on Troy, ravaged it to the walls and killed Laomedon and his sons, except Priam, the youngest. Him Hesione bought (Greek πριασθαι) with her veil interwoven with gold (Apollodor). After a short time as a slave, Heracles set him free.  Hesione, however, was kidnapped by Telamon to Greece, which was one of the main reasons for the Trojan War. This story, however, is a folk etymology. It is more likely that the name Priamos comes from the Aiolian per(r)amos (= basileus, king) (Hesych).

Genealogy:
Priamos, the last king of Troy, was the youngest son of the Trojan king Laomedon and Strymo, a daughter of Scamander, according to others of Plakia, a daughter of Atreus. His brothers were Tithonos, Lampos, Klytios and Hiketaon (Homer Iliad), his sisters Hesione, Killa and Astyoche (Apollodor). After the death of Laomedon, Heracles left him the kingdom, although he was still a child then (Hygin), and he succeeded his father on the throne. He rebuilt the destroyed Troy, stronger and more formidable than it had been before.

(Pic #1) Priamos as oriental ruler enthroned l. Detail from the painting "Helen and Priam at the Skaean Gate" (1808) by Richard Cook (1784-1857).

Family:
Priamos founded the most child-rich royal family in the history of heroes. His first wife was Arisbe, the daughter of Merops. With her he begat Aiakaos, but later left her to Hyrtakos and took Hekabe (lLat. Hecuba), a daughter of Kisseus or Dymas, as his wife. With her he had 19 children. In addition, he had 50 concubines, from whom he had a myriad of other children. Hygin lists 54! Homer speaks of 50 sons, of whom he is said to have had 19 by Hekabe alone, together with 12 daughters who were married, apart from the unmarried ones. All of them were raised by Hekabe. After the death of Hector, 9 sons were still alive.

Hekabe
According to Hygin, Hecabe became a slave to Odysseus after the fall of Troy. In the end she threw herself into the sea and was transformed into a dog. Today this is interpreted as a sign of kinship with Hekate.  The fall of Troy plunged Hekabe from the highest maternal happiness and pride of a queen into deepest misery and slavery, depriving her of her husband and all her children. She is the embodiment of the deepest misfortune and misery of women in war. Her fate was not only treated by Euripides ("The Trojan Women"), but also by Sartre ("Les Troyennes, 1965).
 
"That's Hecuba to me!" in the sense of "I don't give a damn!" goes back to Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2. It was used by Bismarck, among others, in 1887 when the Oriental question was at issue.

Of the 22 daughters, the most mythologically significant is Kassandra. It is said that Apollo promised her the gift of prophecy if she gave herself to him. She rejected the god's love and Apollo condemned her, saying that she should only ever prophesy impending disaster, but that no one should believe her.

The curse was fulfilled at the birth of Paris, when she demanded that Hekabe's child be killed because in a dream of Hekabe the city perished in a firestorm.

In the Iliad, Priamos tells that in his youth he fought against the Amazons at Sangarios together with the Phrygians Otreus and Mygdos. Virgil mentions visits to Salamis and Arcadia. At the beginning of the Trojan War, Priamos was a powerful and wealthy king. His empire stretched from Lesbos through Phrygia to the Hellespont. Phrygians and Thracian neighbours were his confederates (Pauly), perhaps also his vassals. Aineias, who always had a tense relationship with him, joined him only in the 10th year of the war. Due to its strategic position, Troy controlled the access to the Black Sea and thus controlled the Greek grain transports.

During the Trojan War
Priamos did not play a major role during the Trojan War. He was the venerable head of a numerous family and a mild, just king (Roscher) to the point of weakness, appearing at the end as a life-weary old man who rarely intervened in the course of events. This corresponded to his view that this was a war of the gods, which was also decided by the gods. Because of his piety, he was a favourite of Zeus. In the Agora he presided as king, but was ruled by his sons. These he angrily insulted as cowards, liars, gluttons who robbed the people of their cattle. The real ruler was his eldest son Hektor.

At a teichoscopy (wall show), where he looked down from the wall on the battlefield in front of the city, he admired the courage and bravery of the Achaeans. He was held in high esteem by them.

Priamos tries to persuade Hector to turn back.
Priamos does not emerge again until the end of the Iliad, when he sees the Greeks raging among the Trojans and they turn to wild flight. He orders the gates to be opened. Only Hektor remains outside. When Achilles rushes at him, he begs Hektor to come in too. He curses Achilles, who had already murdered so many of his sons. If only the last hope of Troy would not sink. Therefore Hektor should come in, for he must preserve his own. He tells him of his own fate, how his corpse will be torn apart by dogs. He uses all his eloquence to persuade his son to return to the city by pointing out the disaster threatening the city. This is Priamos' longest speech. But it was in vain, the inexorable fate was fulfilled.

The supplication of Priamos to Achilles
After Achilles had killed Hektor in single combat, he tied his body to his chariot and dragged it three times around the walls of Troy. Then, out of grief over Patroklos' death, he dragged Hektor's body three times a day around Patroklos tomb. But Apollo protected him from rot and injury. Now followed the most difficult walk of the unhappy king. Guided by Hermes, he went to the camp of the Greeks and sank down at the feet of the unforgiving victor. But Achilles received him with dignity and succeeded in releasing Hektor's body. This event has remained a popular subject in poetry and art ever since.   

The Death of Priamos
After the conquest of Troy, he was dragged away from the altar of Zeus by Neoptolemos, the son of Achilles, despite assurances that he would be spared, and after killing their son Polites while she was still watching, he was brutally murdered in front of Hekabe. This is only one of the terrible crimes the Greeks committed against the defeated Trojans.

The Treasure of Priamos
The so-called Treasure of Priamos was discovered by Heinrich Schliemann on 31 May 1873 during his excavations in Troy. It was named after the mythical king. It contains a total of over 8000 objects. Schliemann donated the treasure to the German people in 1881 and since 1885 it has been in the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. After the Second World War it was brought to the Soviet Union as looted art, which was confirmed in 1993. Until then, it was considered lost or destroyed. In the meantime, Turkey has also registered property rights (Wiki).

But Schliemann was under an illusion. In fact, the "Treasure of Priamos" dates from the early Bronze Age and is more than a thousand years older than the presumed reign of the Troy king described by Homer.

(Pic #2) Sophia Schliemann with the Great Hanger from the "Treasure of Priamos", 1873.

Art history:
Depictions of Priamos are not common in antiquity. Mostly the supplication to Achilles and then his murder by Neoptolemos are depicted. This also applies to depictions from modern times, as the selected depictions show.

(Pic #3) Priamos before Achilles
Attic red-figure scyphos, Classical period, c. 490 BC, attributed to the Brygos painter, found in Cerveteri, today in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

(Pic #4) Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (1806-1859):
"Priamos asks Achilles to hand over Hektor's body", 1824.

(Pic #5) The death of Priamos
"Priamos is killed by Neoptolemos, the son of Achilles", detail of an Attic black-figure amphora, Late Archaic, ca. 520-510 BC, from Vulci

Sources
(1) Homer, Iliad
(2) Apollodor, Bibliotheka
(3) Hygin, Fabulae
(4) Euripides, The Trojan Women
(5) Virgil, Aeneid

Secondary literature
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Literatur, Leipzig
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (also online)
(3) Karl Kerenyi, The Mythology of the Greeks, dtv
(4) Robert von Ranke-Graves, Greek Mythology, rororo
(5) Der Kleine Pauly, dtv
(6) William Shakespeare, Hamlet
(7) Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Troyennes
(8) RPC IV.2
(9) Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Reclams Lexikon der antiken Götter und Heroen in der Kunst, 1994

Online sources
(1) Wikipedia
(2) theoi.com

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #486 on: December 18, 2022, 07:49:46 am »
Mutinus Titinus

In addition to the well-known Roman gods, especially the Olympic ones, which are part of our educational heritage, there were a multitude of "lesser gods" that are not generally known. It is with these that I wish to deal here.

Coin:
Roman Republic, Q. Titius Mutto, gens. Titia
AR - Denarius, 19mm, 4.08g
       Rome, 90 BC
Obv. Bearded head (Mutinus Titinus?) with winged diadem r.
Rev. Pegasus leaping r., on a base with inscription Q.TIT
Ref. Crawford 341/1; Sydenham 691; Albert 1180; Sear 238; Titia 1
Rev. Somewhat eccentric

RE Pauly (Titius 33): This representation does not point to the gentile name Titius, as was previously thought, but to the byname of Q. Titius, who was called Mutto, according to Cichorius. So Q. Titius Mutto! It is known of him that he was accused by L. Aelius in 100 BC and was Sulla's mint master as a partisan in 87 BC. 

The head of Mutinus is modelled on the head of Priapus on the coins of Lampsakos in Mysia. Lampsakos was the centre of Priapos worship.

Coin #2
Mysia, Lampsakos, pseudo-autonomous, 190-85 BC.
AE - AE 20, 7.90g
Obv. Bearded head of Priapos r., wreathed with ivy.
Rev. Forepart of Pegasos r.
        Above and below ΛAMΨA - KHNΩN.
Ref. BMC 69; SNG France 1245-2248; SNG Copenhagen 224-226; Bompois coll. 1396; SNG   
         von Aulock 7405; Lindgren III, 259; SNG Tübingen 2311.

Mutinus Titinus
Also known as Mutunus, Tutunus, singly or as a double name. Etymologically, Mutinus comes from Latin mutto (= male limb, occasionally also the female equivalwnt), Titinus from *tou (= to swell). Thus it is also related to muttonium, the name for a phallic amulet. This was used as a fascinum to protect against evil, e.g. on houses and paths.

Varro compared Mutinus to the Greek Priapos. According to Augustine, the ithyphallic image of Mutinus was used at the wedding (confarreatio) to break the taboo of the beginning, in that the bride had to sit on the phallus and thus symbolically deflower herself. However, the ritual could only be served by the image, which was kept in a shrine (sacellum) at the Velia in the temple of the Vesta. The women with veiled heads also sacrificed there. The fate of the shrine is unclear. It is likely that this venerable shrine was torn down by Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus in the time of Augustus and a bath complex was built in its place (Wikipedia).

Indigetes Dii
Mutinus belonged to the so-called Indigetes Dii, a controversial collective name used by the Romans from antiquity to the present day for a group of gods under which heroes such as Aeneas and Romulus were classified, however misleadingly. Actually, Indiges was the name of every god who had become a man (Serv. ad Virg.).

In particular, it was Aeneas who received the honour of being called Iupiter Indiges or Pater Indiges. This was worshipped in a grove by the river Numicus. Since Aeneas had been carried away on the Numicus, he was identified with Jupiter Indiges. However, this identification took place only later, in Augustan times.

Later, all the gods were improperly called Indigetes. Actually, only the native, old Roman gods were to be called so (from Latin Indiges = native, old Roman). What is meant by Di Indigetes, however, was already unclear in antiquity. An etymological connection to the Indigitamenta is more than problematic (Pauly).

The Indigitamenta
Etymologically, "Indigitamenta" comes from Latin indigitare (= to point to something, to invoke). These were lists of divinities kept by the college of pontifices to ensure that the correct divine names were invoked for public prayers and that their correct order was observed. Given the fearful conscientiousness with which the Romans confronted the gods, they were not allowed to make the slightest mistake in doing so.

Like many other Roman rites, they were attributed to Numa Pompilius, the pious 2nd king of Rome. The modern standard list has been compiled by W. H. Roscher, although some scholars differ from him on some points. It contains over 150 names of deities, many of whom were responsible for conception, birth and child development, e.g. Vagitanus gave the first cry (vagitus) to the newborn. Others were agricultural gods. In this sense they would have been ancient special gods. But it may also be that they were only epithets for greater gods for certain functions. Some of these deities were already unknown in antiquity or their function was unclear. 

Unfortunately, the Church Fathers, e.g. Augustine and Tertullian, had no historical or scientific interest, but made fun of these deities and corrupted the original list by reversing their meaning or making silly additions.

Notes:
(1) Conrad Antonius Cichorius (1863-1932), German ancient historian, last at the University of Bonn.  Was the first German historian to publish the reliefs of Trajan's Column (1896).
(2) Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BC), from Rieti, important Roman polyhistor. He is quoted so often by Augustine that his theological writings could be partially reconstructed. From him comes the calculation of the year of the legendary foundation of the city of Rome ("Varronian count").
(3) Maurus Servius Honoratius, a late Roman grammarian from the 4th century who wrote, among other things, commentaries on Virgil.
(4) Ferd. Bompois, Medailles Grecques Autonomes 

I have added
(1) A pic of a stone block with the image of a fascinum from Burgos/Spain

(2) A pic of of a bas-relief of the Arch of Marcus Aurelius, today in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. "Marcus Aurelius (161-180) and members of the imperial family offer a sacrifice in gratitude for the success against the Germanic tribes. In the background, the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol."

Sources
(1) Plinius, naturalis historia
(2) Varro, Antiquitates rerum divinarum 
(3) Catull, Carmina
(4) Augustinus, De Civitate Dei
(5) Tertullian, Ad Nationes
 
Secondary literature
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (auch online)
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (auch online)
(3) Paulys Realenzyklopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (RE)
(4) Der Kleine Pauly, dtv
(5) Der kleine Stowasser, Lateinisch-deutsches Schulwörterbuch

Online Sources
(1) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Tracy Aiello

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #487 on: December 18, 2022, 03:38:48 pm »
Thank you Jochen. I really enjoy reading your posts in this thread.

Tracy

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #488 on: December 18, 2022, 05:10:28 pm »
Thank you very much! I think I will post another article before Christmas.

Best regards
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #489 on: December 22, 2022, 04:06:27 am »
The river god Acheloos

The Coin:
Akarnania. Oiniadai, 219-211 BC.
AE 22, 6.91g, 22.02mm
Obv.: Laureate head of Zeus r.
          Behind thunderbolt, below ΠPI.
Rev.: OINIAΔAN
          Head of river god Acheloos as bull with human head n. r.
          behind monogram AKAP
Ref.: BCD Akarnania 347; SNG Copenhagen 402
rubbers, otherwise almost SS.

Mythology
Its name probably comes from the old Greek word αχ (= aqua, related to the German Ach, Ache) for water, which is why its name was also used by poets for fresh water in general. In ancient times the river was also called Thoas, and Acheloos was king in Aetolia. It is said that the river only received its final name after Acheloos drowned in it in an accident. Others say that the river was originally called Thestios, after the son of Ares and Prisidike. 

The parents of Acheloos were Okeanos and Tethys (Hesiod), but there are also other accounts such as Okeanos and Gaia or Helios and Gaia. In favour of Okeanos and Tethys is the fact that according to the ancient greeks all rivers have their origin in the sea.

The Sirens
From the general meaning of Acheloos it is explained that he was the father of the Sirens (Pausanias), whom he had with the Muse Melpomene, Calliope, or Terpsichore (App. Rhod.). The Sirens, of whom there were two or three, were hybrid creatures of man and bird and could attract sailors by their beguiling song, who then killed them. It is known that Odysseus had himself tied to a mast. This way he could hear their song, but could not follow them. When the Argonauts came near them, Orpheus was able to drown them out with his lyre. At Hera's request, they are said to have competed with the Muses to see who could sing more beautifully, but they were defeated. In Hellenistic times, there is a legend that the Sirens then committed suicide.

The nymph Perimele
Ovid tells how Theseus, on his way to Athens, came to the Acheloos, which he could not cross because of its strong current. Acheloos invited him to a banquet and asked him to wait until the river had calmed down again. He told him about the fate of the Echinades: Four nymphs sacrificed on the banks of the river to all the gods, danced, jumped and sacrificed, but forgot Acheloos. Enraged by this, he swept away the riverbank and the nymphs with his stream and the naiads became the islands. The fifth island was his lover, the nymph Perimele, the daughter of Hippodamas. Because she had allowed herself to be seduced, her father pushed her off a cliff into the sea before she could give birth. Acheloos was able to keep her afloat and at his request she was turned into an island by Poseidon. These islands lie off the mouth of the Acheloos and were later named Echinades after a soothsayer Echinos. They were silted up early on (Strabo).

This banquet of Acheloos with Theseus has been depicted several times in paintings. Yes, in 16th century Italy it became very popular as an Italian midday meal in a garden grotto under a shady tree. In France, even dwellings were built in this style.

According to Apollodorus, Acheloos begat Hippodamas and Orestes with Perimede, the daughter of Aiolos and Enarete. He also had a daughter Kallirrhoe, who later became the wife of Alkmaion.

The battle for Deianeira
The Calydonian king Oineus had a daughter Deianeira with his wife Althaia, whose beauty attracted many suitors. Among them were Acheloos and Herakles. Since Oineus did not want to spoil things with anyone, he promised his daughter to the one who would remain the victor in a battle. Since no one wanted to take on Herakles and Acheloos, the two faced each other in battle. The battle was fought with the greatest violence. Finally Herakles had Acheloos on the ground. Since Acheloos could not fight him with his strength, he transformed himself into a snake (many river gods could transform themselves), Herakles could only laugh at this; he had already overcome two snakes in the cradle.  Then Acheloos turned into a roaring bull. But Herakles grabbed him by the shoulder and one horn and forced him into the sand, breaking off one of his horns. Full of shame, Acheloos threw himself into the river named after him and left Deianeira to Herakles, who was happy not to have to follow Acheloos. But the nymphs took the horn and made it into the horn of plenty (Ovid). According to others (Apollodorus), Acheloos was in possession of Amaltheia's horn of plenty and gave it to Herakles in exchange for his own. 

Background:
Oiniadai was a town in Akarnania on the western side of central Greece at the mouth of the Acheloos into the Ionian Sea.  The Acheloos is the second longest river in Greece, and still the one with the most water. It rises at Mount Lakmos in the Pindos Mountains and flows in a southerly direction until it turns southwest at Stratos, where it forms the border between Aitolia and Akarnania. There it flows through an extremely fertile plain, which is, however, interspersed with swamps due to flooding of the Acheloos, and then flows into the Ionian Sea near Oiniadai. Especially in the upper reaches, where it has a strikingly light colour due to the subsoil, it has a great gradient, so that it is very noisy, and many meanders. The comparison with a bull's roar and with a snake is therefore understandable. It brings a large amount of debris and has washed up the archipelago of the Echinades in its estuary.

The Acheloos, which was also called Thoas in prehistoric times, was the most revered river of the Greeks in antiquity, a fact recognised by all tribes. It naturally played a major role in the nearby sanctuary of Dodona, which contributed to its veneration.

Art history
Acheloos appears frequently in ancient art. He was a popular motif in Greek and Etruscan art and also appears in Graeca Magna, e.g. on coins of Metapontion, where games were held in his name because that was Aitolian populated, but also in Sicily. In literature, he remained popular as an example of the unfortunate lover until the Roman Empire.

(1) "Heracles and Deianeira and the disgruntled bull with the face of Acheloos", Etruscan wall painting from Tarquinia, c. 550 BC (Wikipedia).

(2) "Heracles fighting the river god Acheloos".
Side A of an Attic red-figure craters, Classical period, c. 450 BC, found in Agrigento, now in the Louvre in Paris. Heracles has seized Acheloos by the horn, Deianeira is on the left.

(3) "Hercules and Achelous", fresco from the Collegio degli Augustali, Herculaneum, Deianeira in the background.

(4) "The Feast of Acheloos" (c. 1615), Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), together with Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625), now in the Metropolitan Museum for Art, New York. After Ovid, Metamorphoses. It was these paintings that had such a great influence on lifestyles at the time.

Sources
(1) Homer, Odyssee
(2) Hesiod, Theogony
(3) Apollodor, Bibliotheka
(4) Apollonios Rhodos, Argonautika
(5) Macrobius, Saturnalia
(6) Pausanias, Periegesis
(7) Ovid, Metamorphoses

Secondary Literature
(1) Wilhelm Heinrich  Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Literatur, Leipzig 1889
(2) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon,  Leipzig  1770
(3) Der Kleine Pauly, dtv
(4) Aghion/Barbillon/Lissarrague, Reclams Lexikon der antiken Götter und Helden, 2000

Online Sources
(1) Wikipedia
(2) theoi.com
(3) metmuseum.org

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #490 on: December 31, 2022, 09:31:38 am »
Numa  Pompilius

Numa Pompilius was after Romulus the second mythic king of Rome.

The Coin:
Roman republic, L. Pomponius Molo, gens Pomponia
AE - denarius, 3.97g, 19.41mm, 210°
       Rome, 97 BC.
Obv. L.POMPON.MOLO
       Laureate head of Apollo l.
Rev. Numa Pompilius with lituus stg. r., before him burning altar, to which a victimarius is leading a goat
         in ex. NVMA.POMPIL (MA and MP ligate)
Ref. Crawford 334/1; BMCRR (Italy) 733; Sydenham 607
scarce, part. weakly struck

Note:
Victimarius is the assistant at sacrificing

The gens Pomponia
The Pomponia (from Etruscan pumpu) was a plebeian family, that leads back its origin like several other families to one of the sons of Numa Pompilius. This ancestry was constructed not until later and was expressed by coins that were struck by descendants (Pauly). Between them were remarkable many poets and writers. Titus Pomponius Atticus was a friend of Cicero with whom he kept up a yearslong correspondance. A Pomponia was mother of Scipio Africanus.

Numa  Pompilius
Numa Pompilius (supposedly 750 BC - 672 BC) was after Romulus the mythological 2nd king of Rome. But contemporary sources don't exist. First literally records we have from the 2nd half of the 3rd century BC. So it is not even certain that he is a historical person at all. Numa was a Sabine who lived segregated with his wife in Cures. When the Romans choosed him for their king he took this task only unwillingly. But then he became the wisest law-giver on the Roman throne.

He reorganized the people of Rome by classifying it in districts (pagi) and introduced guilds of craftsmen to overcome the steady conflicts of the tribes. He expanded the worship service of Vesta and introduced the vow of chastity. The vestal virgins had the duty to maintain the "eternal flame", to ensure the existence of the Republic. He founded the Fetiales, the class of priests responsible for the Roman foreign relations and the only ones which had the right to declare war against another nation.

He erected a temple for Janus and gave order to open the doors in case of war and to close them in peace. He let put up the palladium that Aeneas has brought from Troy and he induced the erection of the ancilia which were fallen down from heaven and should symbolize the eternal duration of the Roman empire.

At the border of the empire he let install boundary stones and he dedicated a temple to Terminus, god of boundaries. He interdicted the usual blood sacrifices at worship services. He was wherin all agree a very pious king.

He improved the calendar in that he introduced the months of Ianuarius and Februarius and so raised teir number from ten to twelve. The days he devided in holydays and non-holidays. To give more weight to his laws he claimed that he had secretly consulted with the goddess or nymph Egeria at a well.

His reputation was so great that even people of the neighbourhood call him as arbiter to settle differences. After his death he refused to be cremated and let bury himself in a stone coffin on the Ianiculum hill.

Numa  and  Pythagoras
Because of that in the late republic and in the early imperial time, e.g. at Ovid, there was the myth, that Numa has believed in a life after death and that he had been a scholar of Pythagoras. But already Cicero and Livius pointed out that this chronologically couldn't has been possible.

Egeria
Egeria was a nymph from which Numa Pompilius claimed he would meet her nightly where she told him which laws he should give the Romans (Livius). Some believed that he has fallen in love with her and she has been even his wife (Ovid). Because the Romans didn't believe all that he told them, once Numa invited the noblest of them to come for dinner and they found his house in the poorest state (Plutarch). He asked them to come back in the evening, where they found his house entirely altered. The rooms were decorated most splendid and the tables were covered with most precious dishes and the choicest meal impossible for a human being to acquire in such a short time. Thereafter thay did believe all that Numa told them about Egeria (Dion. Hal.). Other believe she only was a water nymph and Augustinus claimed that her relation to Numa Pompilius was only the manifestation of his knowledge in hydromantia, the art to forecast from water.

When Numa died Egeria withdraw to the grove of Aricia and wept for him so long that Diana transformed her into a well (Ovid).

The actual meaning of Egeria is not clear until today. She was a deity of the tributary of the lake of Nemi that flow through the grove of Aricia (Strabo). It is believed that she has been come to Rome together with the Diana of Aricia. There she become as lover or wife of Numa his adviser especially in matters of cult. This connection is very old but enigmatic (Pauly). In Rome she was worshipped together with other well deities in the grove of Camenae before the Porta Capena where the Ancilia, the sacred shields, were fallen down from heaven. This grove is said to be vowed by Numa on the advice of Egeria.

The interpretation as birth goddess has its origin by the affinity to Diana. As usual well nymphs are believed to be helpful at birth.

In ancien times Numa was seen as counter image to Romulus. While he has founded Rome with force and war (the murder of Remus was seen as primordial evil of Rome), Numa has implanted into the Romans the love for calm and piece. In his 18 years of reign the highest concord has dominated (Cicero). So he has become the second founder of Rome. Plutarch holds him for the example of a philosophically enlightened ruler in the sense of Plato. Especially Antoninus Pius is compared with him.

History of Art:
(1) The first picture shows the painting "Numa consults the nymph Egeria", ca. 1791, decribed to Jean Claude Naigeon (1753-1832), today in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Northern England

(2) The 2nd picture shows the painting of  Claude Lorrain (1604-1682) "Egeria weeping for Numa" (1669), today in the National Museum of Capodimonte

Sources
(1) Livius, ab urbe condita
(2) Plutarch, Numa Pompilius
(3) Plinius, Naturae  historia
(4) Vergil, Aeneis
(5) Cicero, de re publica
(6) Dionsysios von Halikarnassos, Antiquitates Romanae
(7) Ovid, Metamorphoses
(8) Augustinus, De civitate Dei

Literature:
(1) Der kleine Pauly
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Literatur
(2) Benjamin  Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

Online Sources:
(1) Wikipedia

Best regards and a Happy New Year
Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #491 on: January 06, 2023, 03:20:26 am »
Quirinus, the god of the Sabines

With Quirinus we dive deep into the earliest history of Rome.

The coin:
Roman Republic, C.Memmius c.f., gens Memmia.
AR - Denarius, 3.97g, 16.95x19.64mm, 210°.
          Rome, 56 BC.
Obv.: C MEMMI C.F.
        Bearded head of Quirinus with laurel wreath, r.
        behind QVIRINVS
Rev.: MEMMIVS AED CERIALIA PREIMVS FECIT
        Ceres enthroned r., holding torch in right hand and 3 ears of grain in left;
        in front of her a serpent erecting r.
Ref.: Crawford 427/2; Sydenham 921; Kestner3463; BMCRR Rome 3941; CNR 
         Memmia19; Memmia
VF, fine toning, oval cuirass, rev. off-centre.

Note:
The rev. legend reads "(The festival of) Cerialia was first hosted by the Aedile Memmius."

About this coin:
On the reverse Ceres is depicted, an allusion to Gaius Memmius C.f. Quirinus, a plebeian aedile before 210 BC who had introduced the Ludi Ceriales (Crawford).

The gens Memmia was a plebeian family that provided numerous tribunes from the Jugurthine Wars to the time of Augustus. The origin of their name is not known. Virgil associated the gens with the Trojan hero Mnestheus. The use of Quirinus on denarii of Gaius Memmius perhaps alludes to a Sabine origin of the name.

Quirinus:
Quirinus was the tribal god of the earliest inhabitants of the Roman hill, which was called collis Quirinalis after him, which according to ancient tradition were the Sabine Quirites. His worship was always confined to the Quirinal in Rome. He lacked characteristic special traits and individual functions because he was the divine exponent of all the wishes and interests of his congregation (Roscher). He was most likely to appear as a god of war, which is understandable at a time when warlike prowess and military success played an important role in these ancient Italian communities crowded together in a small space. Thus, he was early interpreted as a parallel deity to Mars of the mountain Romans.
The name Quirites was associated with the Sabine city Cures and with curis (Sabine = lance), according to Varro, Ovid and Macrobius. More recent authors prefer a derivation from covirites (= total manhood, citizenship).

In historical times, the Quirites are always identical with Romani. The official term populus Romanus Quiritium summarises both. Quirites was used as the name of the Romans when one wanted to honour them (Varro). The ius Quiritium is the ancient, ceremonial synonym of ius Romanum. Originally, however, the Quirites - linguistically inseparable from their god Quirinus - were apparently the inhabitants of the collis Quirinalis, the Sabines, who united to form a community, the city of Rome, after the much-discussed conflict with the inhabitants of the palatium (rape of Sabine women), the Romans.

Around the time of Cicero, two narratives emerged linking Quirinus to the prehistory of Rome. Both are incompatible, but existed side by side.

(1) Under the influence of M. Terentius Varro, who himself came from Reate, one of the main places of the Sabines, the Sabine origin of the Quirinal community had gained general acceptance. Now, of course, their god also had to become Sabine and come from Cures, or at least be a Sabine word derived from curis = quiris

The founding legend was also adapted to the Roman one by Dionysius of Halicarnassus: just as Mars begat Romulus with the Albanian king's daughter Rhea Silvia, Quirinus begat Modius Fabidius with a virgin from Reate, who then founded Cures together with other men. The introduction of a cult of Quirinus then took place through the Sabine Titus Tatius. Therefore, in the list of sanctuaries drawn up by Varro, there is an altar (ara) of Quirinus on the Quirinal, which had been donated by Tatius.

(2) But a second story became more influential, which linked the old legend of the Rapture of Romulus with Quirinus: Romulus had taken the name Quirinus after his deification!
Romulus had taken the name Quirinus after his deification! During a storm, Romulus had suddenly disappeared in a cloud. There were even suspicions that he had been eliminated (Livius) and there was great unrest among the people. This unrest was only settled when the highly trustworthy citizen Iulius Proculus declared to the senate under oath that Romulus had appeared to him in war clothing, identified himself as the god Quirinus and demanded the erection of a sanctuary on the Quirinal.
The oldest witness that this text of Varro refers to it was Cicero in de re publica, where he writes that he was worshipped on the Quirinal. He repeated this 10 years later, from which one can conclude that this view was not yet established at that time (Roscher). But in the following period, this idea gained complete victory, favoured by the rulers of the time, and since Augustan times, the identity of Quirinus with Romulus has been common knowledge in poetry and historiography (especially Virgil, Ovid).

Temples and worship
In 263 BC, the consul L. Papirius Cursor consecrated the temple of Quirinus on the Quirinal, which his father had vowed to build, and decorated it with the spoils of war he had taken from the Samnites (Livius, Pliny). This temple was struck by lightning in 206 and burnt down in 49 (Cass. Dio). It was provisionally restored and in 46 the Senate placed in it a statue of Caesar with the inscription θεω ανικητω (the invincible god). The choice of this place had as its premise the equation of the god with the founder of the city (Roscher). In 16 BC Augustus then erected the magnificent new building, which existed until the end of antiquity.

Before Papirius built the temple, the sacellum Quirini (small shrine) near the porta Quirinalis, mentioned by Festus, existed from the earliest times and was perhaps identical with the ara mentioned by Varro and donated to Quirinus by Titus Tatius.

The same applies to the fact that Octavian was occasionally referred to as Quirinus, i.e. as the old, venerable Romulus, before he assumed the title of Augustus, and was also expressed in the decoration of his temple of Quirinus in whose pediment the founders of the city, Remus and Romulus, were depicted. Naturally, the founder of the Quirinus cult was no longer Titus Tatius, but now Numa Pompilius. And since Virgil, Quirinus always appears as the name of the city founder of Rome, as the brother of Remus or the son of Mars, and bears the attributes of Romulus lituus and trabea. And the poets do not speak of Quirinus only after the deification of Romulus, but already of him as a man, child or in the womb (Ovid fast.). Since Cicero he has been regarded as a Roman example of someone who was raised to heaven because of his merits, like among the Greeks Herakles, Asclepios or others. In contrast to his role in poetry, he plays a rather modest role as a god in the cultus of the imperial period.

The great age of the cult of Quirinus, however, is attested by the fact that he had a special public priest, the flamen Quirinalis, as otherwise only Juppiter had the flamen Dialis and Mars the flamen Martialis. Apparently this was the highest trinity of gods in Rome at that time, whose flamines appeared first in the order of priestly rank behind the rex sacrorum and were then replaced by the Capitoline trinity Iuppiter-Iuno-Minerva. The feast of Quirinus, the Quirinalia, fell on 17 February (Ovid fast.).

With the epithet Quirinus, Mars had a temple in the I. region. Under this name he was worshipped when he was calm (quies) and still, so that he had his temple within the city. As Mars Gradivus, god of war and unrest, he had his temple outside. The derivation from quies, however, was only a folk etymology.   

The last picture shows the "Quirinal", Luigi Rossini (1790-1857), "I Sette colli di Roma", etching, 1827. The Quirinal has always been the residence of rich Romans.

Sources:
(1) Plutarch, Romulus
(2) Dionysios von Halikarnassos, Antiquitates Romanae
(3) Titus Livius, ab urbe condita
(4) Ovid, Fastes
(5) Ovid, Metamorphoses
(6) Marcus Terentius Varro
(7) Cassius Dio, Roman History
(8) Macrobius, Saturnalia

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1770
(2) Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, Leipzig
(3) Der Kleine Pauly, dtv
(4) Michael Crawford, The Roman Republic Coinage

Online Sources:
(1) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #492 on: January 12, 2023, 04:24:28 am »
Titus  Tatius

Coin:
Roman Republic, L. Titurius L.f. Sabinus, gens Tituria
AR - Denaris, 3.96g, 29.92mm, 225°
        Rome, 89 BC
Obv.: Bearded head of king Tatius, bare-headed, r.
        behind SABIN, before monogram TA (for Tatius)
Rev.: 2 Roman soldiers each carrying away a Sabine woman
         in ex. .TITVRI
Ref.: Crawford 344/1a; Sydenham 698; Tituria 1
VF, slightly toned, somewhat excentric
Pedigree:
ex Lakeview coll.

Note:
The reverse shows the robbery of the Sabine women. The mintmaster L. Titurius had a son Q. T. Sabinus, who was Caesar's legate in Gaul. He distinguished himself in the battles against the Belgae, Venetians and the Venetians and its leader Viridovix. In 54/3 he was destroyed by personal failure with 15 cohorts by Ambiorix (Pauly).

Mythology:
Titus Tatius was the mythological co-king of Romulus. As with all figures of early Roman history, it cannot be determined whether he was actually a historical person. The mythologies mainly emerged in the 3rd-2nd centuries B.C. They owe their origin to the belief, deeply rooted in Roman thinking, that Rome had arisen from a fusion of different peoples, which in fact was not so (Mommsen). That the Etruscans had a great influence on the Romans is beyond doubt. But that there was a great influence of the Sabines on the Romans is very doubtful. If one disregards Varro, who was filled with local patriotism, there is nothing to suggest this (Roscher).

According to the mythology Titus Tatius was the king of the Sabines. After the theft of girls by the Romans, he led a campaign of revenge against the Romans. When he besieged the Capitol, where the Romans' castle was located, the daughter of the castle commander Spurius Tarpeius, Tarpeia, who was fetching water, met Titus Tatius. She fell head over heels in love with him and, out of love, promised to open the castle gates. Others said she had been bribed out of greed for gold. In any case, the Sabines were able to conquer the Capitol with her help. Tarpeia, however, was sentenced to death by the Sabines themselves for her treachery.

The next day, the armies of the Sabines and the Romans engaged in a battle on the plain between the Palatine and the Capitol, which surged back and forth. When the Romans were in the greatest distress, Romulus promised a temple to Jupiter Stator and the fortunes of battle turned against the Sabines. Then the Sabine women, led by Hersilia, threw themselves between the fighters and achieved a reconciliation (Plutarch; Dionysius of Halicarnassus). She is said to have become the wife of Romulus and had 2 children with him, a daughter Prima and a son Aollius (or Avillius). After his death and deification, she also became a goddess under the name Hora. According to others, she became the wife of the Roman Hostius Hostilius, the grandfather of Tullius Hostilius, the legendary third king of Rome.

Afterwards, Romans and Sabines formed an alliance (foedus) and Romulus and Titus Tatius ruled Rome together and decided on common laws. Since then, the Romans called themselves populus Romanus Quiritium or simply Quirites, which was considered a venerable name. In Mars and Quirinus they had 2 war gods side by side. And after the death of the first two kings, Sabine and Roman kings alternated, eventually being joined by Etruscan kings, which speaks for their influence on Rome.

Tatius lived in arce (the castle of Rome). He introduced Sabine cults in Rome, e.g. for Ianus and Volcanus. After him, one of the 3 tribus into which the Romans were divided after the foundation of Rome is called Titiensis, and, supposedly in order to preserve Sabine cults, he established the priesthood of the Titii sodales, which was later renewed by Augustus, who was himself Titii sodalis. After the death of Tatius, this cult was extended to himself. He had an only daughter, Tatia, who became the wife of Numa Pompilius.

Murder of Tatius:
One day, emissaries from Laurentium were mistreated by Tatius' relatives. When they were to be called to account by the Laurentians according to international law, Tatius put love for his family above the law. The evil consequence was that when he came to Lavinium to celebrate the sacrifice, he was slain by the Laurentians. Romulus, however, did not start a war because of this. It was said that he did not take this act as evil as it deserved (Livius). But the alliance between Rome and Lavinium had to be solemnly renewed. Tatius was buried on the Aventine.

Art History:
I have chosen the painting by Jaques-Louis David (1748-1825) "L'intervention des Sabines", 1799, now in the Louvre, Paris. In the centre is Hersilia holding the fighters apart, Titus Tatius with sword on the left, Romulus with spear on the right. David is famous for his historical paintings in the style of classicism. He was a great admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Notes:
Arx (lat. = castle) was the northern, higher hill of the Capitoline double hill, where the Ara coeli church is located today. After the unification of the seven-hill city with the Sabine settlement on the Quirinal, the heavily fortified citadel of Rome was located here (Pauly).

Sources:
(1) Terentius Varro, De lingua Latina
(2) Plutarch, Romulus
(3) Titus Livius, ab urbe condita
(4) Dionysios von Halikarnassos, Antiquitates Romanae
(5) Ovid, Metamorphoses

Secondary literature:
(1) Theodor Mommsen, Römische Geschichte, dtv
(2) Der Kleine Pauly
(3) Der kleine Stowasser, Lateinisch-deutsches  Schulwörterbuch

Online Sources
(1) zeno-org
(2) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

Offline Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #493 on: January 12, 2023, 04:28:28 am »
Excursus: The beginnings of Rome

On the bend of the Tiber, where today's Rome lies, moderately high hills rise on both banks, higher on the right, lower on the left. The latter were inhabited by the Ramnes in the most ancient times. But they were not the only ones. They were joined by the Titians and the Lucerians, from whom a common polity (synoikism) emerged.

This tripartite division is ancient, as can be seen from the Latin terms for part (tribus) and divide (tribuere).

The Ramnes were a Latin tribe and gave the name (Romani) and the Roman language to the newly emerged polity. The Titians seem to have been a Sabellian community and probably imposed synoicism on the Ramnes. They are considered the more venerable in the oldest traditions and had special rituals. These tribes inhabited the surrounding hills and cultivated their fields from there. Rome later emerged from these settlements. There was never an actual city foundation, as in the saga of Remus and Romulus. And certainly not an asylum on the Capitol as a collection point for all kinds of migrants and runaway slaves.

What is more interesting is why Rome developed precisely in the lowlands. This was less fertile, had fewer springs and was frequently flooded by the Tiber, so that the whole area became marshy, which of course also made it very unhealthy. This strangeness was already felt in ancient times.
But inland, one encounters narrow borders of powerful communities. Only on both banks of the Tiber could Roman settlement extend unhindered. The right bank with the Ianiculum was also part of the settlement area, and Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber was a citizen colony, a kind of suburb. This gave Rome the advantage of a firm trading post on the Tiber, the natural trade route of Latium, which was far enough away from the coast to protect it from pirates (Mommsen).

Literature:
(1) Theodor Mommsen, Römische Geschichte, dtv
(2) Der Kleine Pauly, dtv

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Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #494 on: January 12, 2023, 12:21:05 pm »
As always, great stuff, Jochen. Thanks again.

Virgil

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #495 on: January 12, 2023, 03:00:48 pm »
Thank you. These articles are for readers like you.

Jochen

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Re: Coins of mythological interest
« Reply #496 on: January 16, 2023, 07:58:12 am »
Felicitas

I will start with a rather rare provincial coin of Elagabal from Nicopolis ad Istrum, showing a Felicitas in her standard representation.

The coin:
Moesia inferior, Nicopolis ad Istrum, Elagabal, 218-222.
AE 27, 12.64g, 26.78mm, 0°
stuck under governor Novius Rufus
Obv:: AVT K M AVPH - ANTΩNEINOC
         Bust, draped and cuirassed seen from behind, laureate, r.
Rev.: VΠ NOBIOV POVΦOV NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠP / OC IC
        Felicitas in long robe and mantle, standing frontal, head l., resting with raised l. hand
        on long kerykeion and holding patera in right hand.
Ref.: a) not in AMNG:
            cf. AMNG I/1, 1970 (has laureate head)
            Rev. pl. XIX, 3 (1 ex., London, same die) 
        b) not in Varbanov:
             cf. 3897 (= AMNG 1970), as Eutychea!
        c) Hristova-Hoeft-Jekov (2013) No. 8.26.3.4 var
            (other obv. die: e.g. No. 8.26.38.8)
VF, nice shiny dark green patina

Felicitas is the Roman goddess of fertility and happy success. Originally, felix referred only to fertility. Fruit-bearing trees were called felices. In Ovid, felix is as much as child-bearing. Etymologically, felix is derived from dha (= to bear fruit), as are femina or fecundus. Later its meaning shifted more to the more general meaning of happy success. It is to be distinguished from the fleeting Fortuna, to whom it is opposed as permanent bliss.

The personification of Felicitas as a goddess seems to have occurred rather later. Nevertheless, her original meaning has not been forgotten. This is proven on the one hand by an inscription on the wall of a bakery in Pompeji "Hic habitat Felicitas" (= "Here dwells happiness"), but also by symbols attached to her on coins.

A temple was first erected for her by C. Licinius Lucullus because of his fortunate campaigns in Spain in the years 151 and 150 BC, and in front of the same he erected image columns, statues of Praxiteles, which Mummius had dragged away from Thespiä (Strabo, who here translates Felicitas with Eytychia). In any case, the dedication took place shortly after 146 BC. The delivery of a statue of Felicitas was entrusted to Arkesilaos by L. Licinius Lucullus, grandson of the founder of the temple, who was to receive 6000000 sesterces for it. But since both died, this statue was no longer executed (Pliny).

According to Dio Cassius, the axle of Caesar's triumphal chariot broke in front of this temple, and since Suetonius mentions that this happened when Caesar was driving at the Velabrum, the location of this temple can thus be determined precisely. This temple burnt down under Claudius

Perhaps to avert the bad foreshadowing of this event, Caesar had a second temple built to Felicitas in 44 BC on the site of the Curia Hostilia, which had been renovated by Sulla and his son Faustus, but it was not completed until M. Aemilius Lepidus.

According to a fragment, there was a sacrificial site of the goddess on the Field of Mars, which could be identical to the one where she was sacrificed on 12 August together with Venus victrix, Honos and Virtus. In any case, this refers to the theatre of Pompeius, which he had built as the first stone building in his 2nd Consulate, but had it dedicated as a temple in order to avoid conflicts with the Senate. Probably the veneration of Felicitas had already increased considerably, especially by Sulla, who called himself Felix and his patron goddess Venus Felix. Koch (RE) considers a sacrificial community of Felicitas with Venus Victrix already possible since Sulla.
 
With the waning of faith in the old gods, the cult of Felicitas seems to have expanded in imperial times. Thus Tiberius ordered a sacrifice to be made to her and the numen Augusti on 17 January. Because of Tiberius' descent from Fundi, a statue of Felicitas was erected there and a supplicatio established (Suetonius). The sacrifice offered was always a cow.

In inscriptions she followed either immediately after Iuppiter, Iuno, Minerva, or, if the Salus publica is especially mentioned, after this. Otherwise Felicitas herself is usually given the suffix publica. Other additions are Augusta, Perpetua, Italica, rei publicae, populi Romani, Romanorum, saeculi, temporum, imperatorum, Caesarum, and even deorum.

In the decisive battle of Thapsus, the slogan "Felicitas" was given to Caesar's troops (Bell. Afr.).

Most images of Felicitas are found on coins.  According to an antecedent in a quinarius of Lollius Palicanus, mint master under Caesar's dictatorship, Felicitas often appears as the embodiment of the blessings owed to the Emperor. Commodus first included felix in the official imperial titulary in 185 AD. She is depicted sitting or standing, often leaning on a column and thus resembling the Securitas, as on a Volusian sestertius.

As attributes she has the caduceus and the cornucopia, the bowl and sometimes a spear, but also a basket with ears of corn or a ship, which is supposed to indicate the secure supply of grain on which Rome depended, as on a denarius of Elagabal.


Otherwise, only a few personifications are found in poets and on inscriptions. Obscene reinterpretations (Felicitas as erotic happiness) seem to be indicated by an advertising plaque from Pompeji (Pauly): "Hic habitat felicitas" (= "Here dwells happiness").
The pic shows a copy from the Bible open Museum in Nijmegen. The original was found on the outside of a bakery (not a brothel!) in Pompeii and is now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, called "Gabinetto segrteo" in the erotic collection by the Bourbons.

Notes:
(1) Velabrum: The marshy area between the Palatine and the Capitol. Place of high mythological importance. Remus and Romulus were found here. Later drained by the Cloaca maxima, it served among other things as a market.
(2) Curia Hostilia: In the Roman Republic, the meeting place of the Senate on the Forum. Later replaced by Julius Caesar with the Curia Julia.
(4) supplicatio: Religious ceremony appointed by the state. A distinction was made between supplications and thanksgiving supplications.

Sources:
(1) Plinius, Naturalis Historia
(2) Caesar, Bellum Africum
(3) Strabo, Geographika
(4) Cassius Dio, Roman history
(5) Sueton, Vitae Caesarum
(6) Ovid, Fasti

Literature:
(1) Benjamin Hederich, Gründliches mythologisxhes Lexikon, Leipzig 1770 (online too)
(2) Wilhelm-Heinrich Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie (online too)
(3) Der Kleine Pauly
(4) Paulys Realencyklopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft  (RE)

Online Sources:
(1) Wikipedia

Best regards
Jochen

 

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