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Author Topic: Odd and Still Rare  (Read 18032 times)

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Offline slokind

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Odd and Still Rare
« on: March 30, 2006, 02:54:38 pm »
Not obviously spectacular, but see Pick's followed by my descriptive comment.  Also, this may be its first public appearance beyond the photogravure of a plaster cast of the reverse (known to most of us in the Forni reprint, which is not photogravure).
Now, a century later, who has an opinion as to the identity of the reverse figure or what he holds?
Pat L.
29 03 06  Æ25  11.45g  axis 12h  Marcianopolis.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, and Diadumenian, confronted heads.  [AVT K OPEL] SEV MAKREINOS K M OPEL ANTÔN[EINOS] (the unique Paris specimen s. die as 770, one of the Liberalitas).  Rev., Nude male in himation that leaves his r. shoulder bare, pouring libation on a burning altar; in his l. he holds a long, slightly bowed object.  As Pick says, the action is like a Zeus, but the beardless wavy-haired figure cannot be Zeus.  From the Paris specimen Pick says that though the not quite straight object could be a stripped branch it might owe its existence to a simple die break.  No, not on this one, I think; the long object has a sort of knob at its extremity.  I would take the youth, tentatively, for a civic genius of one kind or another, or Honos, maybe, since Bonus Eventus seems precluded by the absence of produce in his hand.  VP PONTIANO    V M ARK[IANOPOLIT and in exergue ÔN].  In the field at r., a lunate E.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 247, no. 777, Taf. XIX, 12.       

Offline whitetd49

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2006, 03:03:43 pm »
Could it be Herakles with his bow?  If so, pretty unique!
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Offline Jochen

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2006, 03:20:52 pm »
A musical instrument?

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2006, 03:28:52 pm »
Nice and unusual depiction!  The 'shouldering his mantle' type attitude is, as you say, very Zeus like - see attached - but there are a lot of obvious differences which make it extremely unlikely. I'm not sure what your genius is doing with his right arm/ hand - again there doesn't appear to be anything there (a one handed genius?)  and the long curved 'thing' does not appear to be a sceptre (surely not a thyrsos gone wrong either - even with that tiny pinecone type top.).  
(Unusual to have the reverse legend break between the O and V, they seen to generally prefer to do that combined OV if pushed for space) -


I hope we find out with reasonable certainty
Malcolm

Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2006, 04:42:00 pm »
Using the upscale scanner that is so good for photos and so bad for coins' appearance, I made these high-res (then compressed) details of the funny reverse.  The head and Pick's "not quite straight" object.  The scan of the latter shows that it does have a special knob of some sort at both ends!  That's why I'm posting it.  It eliminates things such as a misunderstood Roman fasces copied off a Rome coin, or the like.
It really is puzzle of the day, because the engraving looks sure-handed, even if, as one PM observed, it is rather pedestrian for an E coin, but it's hardly Art, except perhaps for Diadumenian's head.
FYI, the exact obverse legend (though not an exceptional-seeming one) was noted on Pick's nos. 715, 729, 730, 733, 740, [752], 777 (the last being this coin).
You all are so right: no right hand visible or deducible and not much suggestion of right arm, either.
Pat L.

Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2006, 05:50:33 pm »
Pick
715 is a Zeus Sacrificing, but not same dies as Malcolm's
729 is an Artemis stg. with torch, wearing long chiton, with her stag at the left of her feet--not native to Marcianopolis!
730 is an excellent Artemis Huntress, such as might have inspired Jochen's wonderful one of Elagabalus.
NOTE no. 729 and 730 are Taf. XV, figs. 11 and 10, respectively.
733 is an Ares, or as Pick says perhaps a Virtus, in helmet and armor, hand resting on shield.
740 is the first of five listings for the normal Hermes stg. with purse and kerykeion
[752] was in brackets, because Pick had not actually seen it.  But I think I have it, a wonderful coin, and if, as I think, the obv. die matches, it shows it in fresh condition.
The dies don't match, though they are related.
777 is our puzzle coin.
I'll post at least the Herakles for your use.
Pat
17 01 03 AE 26 Marcianopolis, issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r. facing Diadoumenian, bareheaded, head to l.  AV[T K OPEL SEV   MAKREIN]OS K M OPEL ANTONEINOS.  Heads as on no. 748 (which has stacked legend in obv. exergue, however).  Rev., Bearded Herakles, frontal, head to r., his right hand resting on his club (but so large and odd that Pick marks it ?), with the lion skin over his left arm, its tail hanging down to his feet.  VP PONTIANOV MAR  KIANOPOLEITON; the OV and the AR ligatures.  In the field at r. E.  Pick, AMNG I, 1, p. 243, no. 752, known to him only from the Sophia example, which does not preserve Pontianus's name and therefore not the ligate ending.  The head of Macrinus extremely refined.

07 07 03 AE 27  13.25g  Marcianopolis.  Issued by Pontianus.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r. and Diadumenian, head to l..  AVT K OPEL SEV MAKREINOS K M OPEL A[NTONEINOS].  Rev., Ares (see Pick's note) in armor, stg. l., r. hand on rim of shield, l. holding reversed spear.  E (erased from Pick's Philippopolis example) in field at r. [VP] PONTIANOV MAR (the AR ligate)    KIANOPOLEITON.  Pick notes that the obv. die = 729 and of the military figure, "It is uncertain whether the figure represented is Ares or a Hero or perhaps is meant to represent the Roman Virtus; a similar figure on a coin of Odessos, pl. XV, 13".  AMNG I, 1, p. 239, no. 733.  The Artemis with a little stag reverse of no. 729 also has the ligate AR in Markianopoleiton, but OmegaN as well.  This coin is uncommonly coppery and shows no centering pits.

I can't do any more without using the coins in hand.  The small heads on the Marcianopolis E coins are very difficult!  P.L.

Offline Steve Minnoch

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2006, 07:22:39 pm »
Although it's not clear on the Paris specimen in the AMNG plates, on your coin there is a clear gap between the M and the A at the beginning of MARKIANOPOLITWN - which to my mind precludes the die break, as the space left for the object is clearly intentional.

Steve

Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2006, 09:25:43 pm »
Indeed, and in hand the relief shape of the long thing in relief looks like that made in the intaglio by the same kind of tool work as other places, such as drapery folds.  Any die damage that I have seen looks more like NASA photos from Mars or the moon, so to speak.  It is truly odd.  P.L.

P.S. Comparison of all those facing-head dies and their legends will take some time, but it has to be done.  P.L.

Offline whitetd49

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2006, 07:39:42 am »
Certainly not Herakles as Pat's wonderful coin reveals.  I would suggest a different interpretation of this enigmatic coin.  Instead of holding the curved object, it appears that his left arm crosses his body (partially obscured by the centration dimple) with his empty hand in the vicinity of his hip on the left.  If so, the curved object and the partially obscured V object seems to be slung from his shoulder.  This would seem to reinforce the notion that the object is a bow.  Could this figure be Odysseus?
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Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2006, 09:00:00 pm »
I'm trying to study Greek bows...  Meanwhile, here's a better image and the Paris one beside it.  Pat

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2007, 05:01:59 am »
Pat,

This coin is probably of interest to you in your studies as it seems to be paired with a completely different obverse die.  That appears to be a rather unfortunate striking flaw at Macrinus' nose.  Nice detail on the side of the altar though.

I hope this is of interest - though I am still none the wiser as to what the object actually is - I think I favour a bow though

Malcolm

Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2007, 03:12:19 pm »
Oh, that is wonderful, Malcolm.  Another die link between one of the two-headers many of which, as here, have Diadumenian facing right, and one of the "regular" obverse dies.  And your specimen is excellent.  It also shows that our puzzlement, like Pick's, is fully justified: we just don't know what this not-bad engraver was representing.
Although a simple (not compound) long bow is the least difficult interpretation, it has its difficulties; the figure is not dressed like one who'd use a bow, he does not stand heroically, either.  But with the designed knobs on both ends, the slightly curved object cannot be some wild branch used as walking stick.  Besides, who ever heard of a figure in mythology or legend who featured such a stick, so as to make it an identifying attribute?
Apart from that practically absent right arm, the figure 'feels' to me like one such as a young priest or acolyte who might hold that curved thing during the performance of cult ceremonies.  Trouble is, I don't know of any such cult.  Naturally, it reminds us of some traditional objects that flamens, for instance, might carry in Rome.  Perhaps that is because of the youth on the Domitianic Cancellaria relief, whose fasces are natural, curved a bit (attached).  But these aren't fasces.
BTW, can you find this coin in Hristova and Jekov, or shall we both send them the images?  Pat L.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2007, 04:38:57 pm »
Hi Pat,

Thanks for your enlightened comments - I will send H/J a link to my diadumenian pages as I have a couple more to send them too.

...such as this one (another recent purchase)
http://www.diadumenian.com/marcianopolis%20mac%20dia%20herakles%20nude.html



I can see the problem with the image in that the subject is too clothed in hanging drapery to be very active in archery.  It is a puzzle - and one I would love to solve. I hope the "accorn" stye endings on the curved rod are really there and not just a product of a wobble in the die - obviously there is just one die to base all teh suppositions on - I don't recall seeing this reverse for any other emperors of the period either.  That statue is very suggestive though... more food for thought - thank you for posting

MAlcolm

Offline Rupert

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2007, 06:17:47 pm »
Could this figure be Apollon with a bow? At least, he looks more like Apollon than like Zeus or Herakles. And while sacrificing he would not need his bow momentarily, which could explain why it is unstrung (and only very slightly curved) here.

Rupert
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Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 07:15:40 pm »
If one could find:
(a) a figure with a bow that is not grasped, even if not gripped, near its middle
(b) an Apollo with a simple rather than composite (double curving) bow
(c) an Apollo half draped with the end of the himation over the shoulder (an athlete's or magistrate's or ordinary Greek's garment)
then I would be happy to deem him Apollo.
But just because he is long-haired and not bearded, and holds something that is bowed (but probably is not a bow), seems to me not a reason for calling him Apollo.
Asklepios wears, of course, such a garment, and so do Greek Hades and Zeus, because it is a regular Greek garment that is not working-class (Hephaistos is dressed as a blacksmith, of course).  Apollo does not belong the the civic tribe of deities.  They may have dreamed up an Apollo Iatros who is Askleipios' father, thus rationalizing the relationship, but as Apollo he is nude, buck naked (as middle Americans say).
• 22 06 01 AE29  15.45g  Thrace, SerdicaCaracalla, laureate, draped bust, to r.  AVT K M AVREta SEV M ANTOmegaNEINOS (the eta after Aur is critical to ID).  Rev. Apollo Iatros facing, head to left; with his right he leans on the snake-entwined staff, and his left arm is akimbo.  On the groundline, at our right of his feet, the legs of a small figure identified in SNG Cop 2, no. 794 (not illustrated) as a youthful Asklepios.  The hair style of the main figure is decisive: Asklepios can be young, nude, and beardless, but this specific hair style is Apollo's, strictly.  OULPIAS      SERDIKES.  Also listed Mushmov (big book), no. 4807, Taf. 6, 17.  This coin is LIMC 2, pl. 213, no. 374: "It is Apollo Iatros, a side of the father related to his son (cf. bronze medallion of Marcus Aurelius, W. Wroth, NC 1882, 301-305, Taf. 14, 3) and not an unbearded Asklepios."  This is not the only die.  One has an exiguous cloak around neck; not all have the little figure at right.  The little figure seems to be nude so can hardly be Telesphoros (it it were the main figure would be Asklepios), but it might be Caracalla, relating to Apollo Iatros as the little figures of SSev and Carac relate to Jupiter Tonans on denarii of Rome.
(I let stand the speculations of six years ago)
Pat L.

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 08:29:40 pm »
Pat L. et al - pardon my almost complete ignorance of this type of coin, as I throw out 2 ideas (again, please be gentle):
the "acorn' on the top of the stick is not on the stick - it is a period.
the stick is a divining rod. It does not seem anything like a bow to me. 
Humbly, Joe

Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2007, 11:42:29 pm »
Hurrah!  I also thought of a divining rod, but I don't know anything about how the ancients used them or what figure might hold one on a coin.  As for the 'period', however, it comes in the middle of a syllable, after the M and before the ARK... of Markianopolitôn, so it must, after all, be a knob  on the end of the whatever.  I, like you, cannot see it as a bow.
No one can be silly about this one: Hristova and Jekov, evidently not knowing any better than we do what to do with it, insert the reverse of the Paris specimen < Mushmov 1912 <AMNG (see above) in with a Tyche which has the same obverse die as mine.
Pat L.
Only, so near the Danube and its tributaries, and with so many springs coming down from the Haimos, why would they need to dowse for water?

Offline moonmoth

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2007, 01:31:30 am »
This is a fascinating thread, and can I ask two simplistic questions:

When referring to the practically absent right arm, you must be referring to the figure's left arm?

When referring to Apollo having a compound bow, do you mean a small recurved bow, like those shown on Roman coins of Valerian? Is this the type that Apollo was normally shown with?  (I can find plenty of modern versions of Apollo with a longbow, but that's not very helpful!)
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Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2007, 04:24:12 am »
I may be deficient in archery?  I thought, I think, that a bow like this one used by Apollo at Hadrinaopolis cannot be made of continuous wood, whether or not laminated, and that the term 'composite' designated a bow with a rigid grip in the center that holds in tension the recurving halves of the bow, as on this coin.  Ought I to have googled 'archery' first?
As to left and right arms, indeed, I made the usual booboo, and in my initial posting, I guess.  The figure's right arm holds the patera, and it is the left that gets lost, so to speak, somewhere. 
Pat L.

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2007, 01:19:11 pm »
Pat L. - my knowledge of Greek mythology rivals that of my knoweldge of themodynamics, but here goes my theory:
Its Apollo, but he's not dowsing. He's just "in garb" as the god of divination. As I understand it, some ways the ancients used divination was as means to determine routes of travel ,or to seek "truth" or answers to difficult questions. In one method (and I'm not sure this was done by Apollo), one sets the branch upright with its end on the ground, and lets it fall "in the direction" it wants to go. This could explain the knobbed end - it acts like a fulcrum, because if you stood a branch upright if it only had flat ends, it would stay there for a moment, and would most likely only fall in a limited number of angles.
Didn't Apollo teach others this art, if I recall?
Or, I may just be crazy.  joe

Offline Tiathena

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2007, 02:41:16 pm »
 
   .. Okay for my two silly questions?
 
  Please tell me again, why this object might not be an unadorned thyrsus?
  ( Perhaps it is Dionysus? ).
  I have of course seen the idea dismissed by Malcolm but, admittedly, I have no appreciation as to why.
 
  &nd for the seemingly ‘absent’ left arm – I find that all but impossible not to attribute to artist’s intentionality, which leaves me thinking – at-least wondering – perhaps it is simply crooked and held (just-above waist-level) behind the back?
  Actually, looking closely at the rev. posted by Malcolm (Reply #10), it seems even more so...
 
   Best,
   Tia
  
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Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2007, 06:21:27 pm »
Useful reminders, Tia and Joe.
The question, though, is never why something couldn't be what it just might be but why ought it to be, in this case a thrysos.  One reason that it ought NOT to be a thyrsos is that the figure doesn't look like a Dionysos, either, and again not why he couldn't be but whether that identity would be useful to pursue.
Fortunately, both Malcolm's and the Paris specimen show a more plausible left shoulder of the figure than mine does; mine may have had a bit too much corroded metal removed.  That leaves us with the slightly curved attribute, which could be something slung (by a thong or twine?) over his shoulder, with his forearm and hand behind his back.  That's a lot of "could", but this figure demands some.
In that case it certainly could and perhaps ought to be related to a coin that Freeman & Sear sold last year (no, didn't sell):
http://www.coinarchives.com/a/lotviewer.php?LotID=158790&AucID=194&Lot=35
for which I can take no credit, because it was moonmoth who tracked down simple, single-arc bows to Crete (for one) via the Plancia 1 ibex to this diobol.  Of course, neither the goddess nor the god is labeled, but it is the only thing anyone has found that is young, half draped, has a slightly bowed thing across his body.  Now how to get from Crete to Marcianopolis, over about half a millennium?
But this is too comparable to shrug off!  It's his discovery (sent me in PM), so I'll leave the next posting to him, if he wants it.  Pat
P.S. Which ancient sources speak of dowsing?  As sources for the ancients, one must dismiss modern enthusiasts, unless they cite chapter and verse.  And when I googled I found myself faced with over 90% fantasy or commercial pages, by which I mean that none of the assertions were sourced.  So I had to give up.

Offline Bacchus

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2007, 03:14:52 am »
Hi Tia,

I can't admit to having the breadth or depth of statuary knowledge of others (or anywhere near it) but I was nervous of attributing too much credence to the 'pine-cone' top as it was such a little blob of metal only seen on one or two examples.  At that scale the slightest slip of the engravor could have gave the appearance of something other than a simple smooth wooden (?) curved pole.  That nervousness coupled with a general feeling of 'it doesn't fit' led me to largely dismiss the thyrsus option.  I was taking the view that if it looked like a bow, was the size of a bow, was held like a bow then it probably was a bow - at least that would be my starting hypothesis but I could be convinced otherwise from there given the evidence - (I just don't know where to look for additional evidence  :) )  That said - it doesn't really 100% fit a bow either - it just looks more like a bow than any of the other options - that I have seen suggested.

With regards to the missing arm - could it be that the engravor just wanted to make sure the 'object' was seen in it's entirety, in it's 'proper place' - not obscured or confused with the odd arm in the way - and choose to engrave the image in that way.

all the best
MAlcolm

Offline slokind

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2007, 03:47:39 pm »
If the loosened string of a plain bow were slung over the shoulder, the left arm held well behind the back would help to keep it from slipping off--and then all but the top of the shoulder would disappear.  This is not true of the coin from Crete.  It is the rationalization that was the best I could do for my coin and Malcolm's.  Pat  (And because of the angle of the bow-thing I don't really believe it).

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Re: Odd and Still Rare
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2007, 12:23:23 pm »
Hi!

I found here a coin from Perinthos with the same strange object. Because of the position of the male figure, holding his hand over his hand like Lykeios, I think it is Apollo. If it is not a bow, could it be a container for a bow?

Best regards

 

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