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Author Topic: No Water in Edessa  (Read 1591 times)

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leemjvd

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No Water in Edessa
« on: January 13, 2009, 09:30:53 am »
Dear All,


Having just acquired a new coin from Edessa, Mesopotamia, I starting roaming the internet for more information its curious reverse (to me anyway) . It brought me to "Cults and Beliefs at Edessa" by H. J. W. Drijvers at Google Books. The pages I read have an interesting story which has parallels with this coin (Pages 29 - 33 & 72 - 73). He formulates that the reverse is not Aquarius but Nebo, the city goddess of Edessa. For Tyche to hold up a statue and gaze at it, it clearly must be sufficiently important. I have enclosed two pics, both luckily enough NOT from my scanner :-) (the 2nd one is mine)

Data : Bronze - 27-28 mm - 14,5 grams - Die axis 12:00.

Obv. [AVTOK K M ANT GORDIANOC CEB]
Draped and cuirassed bust of laureate emperor facing right

Rev. MHT KOL EDECCHNWN
Bust of Tyche, draped, veiled, wearing turret crown, facing left. Before her at left standing on altar Aquarius, draped, facing her. (Possibly Aquarius before burning altar)

Suggestions, comment etc always welcome !

Greetz !
Michael van der Lee - NL

Offline archivum

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 10:43:46 am »
On your coin the city-goddess is surely the turreted Tyche and not the small statue she's facing.  So is Drijvers suggesting that here a big Tyche is reverencing a wee Nebo-Apollo? Even if that's not so, is there any clear basis for calling the statue Aquarius?  (People sometimes call what the statue's holding a wineskin, which might or might not help connect him with Ganymede-Aquarius; what's the wineskin in Drijvers' account of this?).
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

leemjvd

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 11:15:23 am »
To put it as clear as I can. He states that Hierapolis & Edessa had many Gods in Common (as Haddad & Atargatis). Aquarius is too 'different' to be identified as the person on the statue (page 31).
It seems to be known that the town had a God on a large pedestal at it's city centre.
Apollo-Nebo was also revered at Hierapolis

Sorry to be so brief, but time lacks. Maybe more later.

I hope this links works !

http://books.google.com/books?id=69YUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=Edessa+Mesopotamia+Gordianus+Tyche+Aquarius&source=web&ots=EGO1dHHOhg&sig=7Hg4InrxMT9hQZdCcqzwXQuG9cg&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA32,M1

Offline archivum

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 11:31:28 am »
Your first message should be changed to read city-god rather than city goddess, I think; though your link is a help, neither Drijvers nor Hill has a very compelling detail-explanation for this curious diminutive figurine.
Temper thy haste with sloth -- Taverner / Erasmus.

Offline Jochen

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2009, 09:57:06 am »
The same small figure on a narrow column stg. before Tyche is known from Carrhae too (1st pic).
The 2nd pic is my coin from Edessa. I always have thought it is Marsyas usually depicted on coins for colonias. Why should it not be Marsyas? For comparison a Republican denarius showing Marsyas.

Best regards

leemjvd

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2009, 04:50:50 am »
Hi Jochen !

Funny you mention that because in Google Books etc on page 32, one of the Gods mentioned is Marsyas. How much I would like to give you all the credit, I personally have the idea that the statues are not quite comparable. Another idea (book stories again) is that it might be Azizos, one of the Dioscuri , who was revered at Edessa. But I am very THANKFUL for your beautiful pics. Not only because I now see what level of quality I really wanted to have :-) but (all joking aside) your pics are the first in wich the statue can clearly be seen. It seems to carry a shield (?) . 
One of the main arguments for it not being Aquarius according to mr Drijvers is that much more star signs were revered in this neighborhood and from the coin one gets the idea that this must have been a statue special to Edessa.
Having read in connection with Sandan (my other posting at the moment, but read on the i'net) that in those days (too) there was fierce competition between cities to draw as many pilgrims to one's local god or prophet as one could. I think we must agree then that the God was special to them and this coin is a nice case of PR. What we really need is a good dig at Edessa !

Greetz & Thanks !
Michael

Offline Gert

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 07:30:11 pm »
Jochen, let me turn the question around: why would it be Marsyas? It seems to me that the city goddesses in Mesopotamia are further identified by a star sign, perhaps referring to the month of founding (?). Edessa and Carrhae have Aquarius, Nisibis Aries, Rhesaena and Singara Sagittarius accompanying Tyche. I think that for the correct identification of the figure one has to firstly take into account the numismatic conventions and peculiarities of the region and the city (something mr. Drijvers decides not to do). When doing so, the logical conclusion is that the figure on the pedestal is another star sign: Aquirius pouring liquid from a skin or more probably a vessel. This might not be clear on the Gordian III coins you show, but on the well engraved coinage of Trajan Decius from Rhesaena the figure cannot be confused with Marsyas carying a wine sack, in my opinion (see photo, the Tyche on the right is identified with the sagittarius figure of Rhesaena. The Tyche on the left has to be Edessa or Carrhae).
And if the figure is so important - why has Tyche her back turned to it on this coin? Clearly, it is just an attribute of Tyche.
Regards
Gert

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2009, 07:14:23 am »
Hi Gert!

What a wonderful coin. I hope that it is yours. I have voted for Marsyas because these Mesopotamian cities were Roman colonies and Marsyas was often the symbol for Roman Colonies. Your coin clearly shows that sagittarius and the figure behind Edessa are parallelized and this can be an evidence for the meaning as star sign. But the depiction of this figure is different: On your coin the figure is pouring water from a vessel. The coins before have another attitude: Here the figure seems to carry a bag over his shoulder. Do you know from any written source about the star sign under which Edessa was founded?

Best regards

Offline Gert

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2009, 09:59:46 am »
Sadly the coin is not mine. I am sure that on both these issues the same figure on the same pedestal is intended, regardless of the minor differences in engraving. No, I don't know if there's a written source with such detailed information - I doubt it - but I haven't studied the matter extensively. I read the possibility in Castelin's study of the coinage of Rhesaena. He, in fact, refrains from identifying the figure on the column, but he does refer coins of Carrhae and Edessa as having 'almost the same figure'.
Regards
Gert

Offline Jochen

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2009, 02:19:53 pm »
Yes, the suggestion of Castelin has a high probability.

Jochen

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Re: No Water in Edessa
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2009, 04:21:47 pm »
Oh, have you looked at the rev. legend? It is mixed Greek and Latin: CEP KOL RHCAINHCIWN LIIIP! LIIIP means 'legio tertia Parthica'.

Best regards
Jochen

 

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