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Military, Combat & Arms on Ancient Coins

Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reigns in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stacks sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2520.00 (2142.00)


Maximus of Barcelona, Usurper in Hispania, 410 - 411 A.D.

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At the same time Honorius was clashing with the Visigothic King Alaric (who would sack Rome in 410), Picts invaded Britain, and Vandals, Alans and Suebi devastated Gaul. Honorius, in Ravenna, no longer even ruled the city of Rome; Visigoths had forced the Senate to appoint Priscus Attalus emperor. Out of desperation, the remnants of legions in the Britain elevated Constantine III and his son Constans II to the purple. Although Iberia was initially spared, in 409 Vandals and other barbarians laid waste to that land too. Constans II, who had been in Hispania, fled back to join his father in Gaul. Their general, Gerontius, remained in Spain, allied with the Vandals, and appointed Maximus as his own puppet emperor. Maximus was probably a senior staff officer, and may have also been a relative, possibly his son. Maximus was one of six men claiming to be Emperor in 410: Honorius (in Ravenna, the legitimate emperor of the West), Theodosius II (in Constantinople, the legitimate emperor of the East), Priscus Attalus (in Rome), Constantine III (in Arelatum), Constans II (in Vienne), and Maximus (in Barcino). Gerontius besieged, defeated and executed Constans II at Vienne. The general then besieged Constantine III at Arles, but the forces of Honorius joined the fight and defeated him. Gerontius was trapped and committed suicide. Maximus fled to his barbarian allies in Hispania who protected him until he was pardoned by Honorius. In 420, Maximus Tryannus rebelled in Hispania (it's uncertain that this was the same Maximus), but was quickly captured, taken to Ravenna, and executed by Honorius 422.
SL87405. Silver siliqua, RIC X 1601, RSC V 1b, Balaguer 1-37, King Fifth p. 291, Villaronga-Benages 4437, SRCV V 21081, NGC VG, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, clipped (4372590-001), weight 0.82 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 180o, Barcino (Barcelona, Spain) mint, 410 - 411 A.D.; obverse D N MAXIMVS P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTOR-IA AVGGG, Roma seated left on cuirass, Victory offering wreath, holding palm and standing on globe in Roma's right hand, inverted spear in her left hand, SMBA in exergue; ex Ira & Larry Goldberg auction 103 (20 Feb 2018), lot 2225; ex Edgar L. Owen; ex Gerhard Hirsch auction 284/285 (26 - 29 Sep 2012), lot 3076; very rare - only about 50 coins known of this emperor!; $1600.00 (1360.00)


Zeno, 18 January - 17 November 474 and August 476 - 11 April 491 A.D.

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Zeno, an Isaurian chieftain, married Emperor Leo I's daughter, Ariadne. Their son, Leo II, succeeded Leo I as emperor and shortly after declared his father Augustus. Unpopular, Zeno spent his 17-year reign fighting not only barbarians but also against many rebellions. He died after an epileptic fit.
SH87354. Gold solidus, RIC X 930 (pearl diadem, no jewel) var., DOCLR 632 var., Depeyrot 108/1 var., Tolstoi 16 var., SRCV V 21514 var., (none with this rev. legend error), near Mint State, lustrous, radiating flow lines, a few light marks, weight 4.496 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 2nd reign, Aug 476 - 11 Apr 491, 5th issue; obverse D N ZENO PERP AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed without jewel on crested helmet, cuirassed, spear in right hand over right shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with horseman riding down and spearing enemy; reverse VICTORI-A AVGGG ∆ (the final G appears to have been engraved as a T), Victory standing left, long jeweled cross in right, star right, CONOB in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 67, lot 660; $1180.00 (1003.00)


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
SH83947. Silver denarius, RIC I 55 (R), BMCRE I 83; RSC II 257, Hunter I 19, BnF II 224, Mac Dowall WCN 59, SRCV I 1944, Nice VF, excellent portrait, attractive toning, light bumps and scratches, areas of mild porosity, weight 3.281 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 - 66 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass, shields and grieve, helmeted, right leg drawn back and right foot on helmet, Victory offering wreath in her right hand, left hand on parazonium, ROMA in exergue; ex Mnzen & Medaillen auction 46 (15 Feb 2018), lot 700; ex Forum (2017); $1000.00 (850.00)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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In 134, Rome retook Jerusalem, the capital of the Bar Kokhba revolt. The following year, the largely destroyed city was renamed Aelia Capitolina. The Jewish diaspora began when Hadrian barred Jews from the city and dispersed survivors of the massacre across the Empire. Legio VI Ferrata rebuilt the legionary fortress in Jerusalem and constructed a Roman temple at Golgotha. An altar to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Jerusalem Temple. In 136, the Jews were chased from Galilee and Roman Iudaea plus Galilee became Syria Palaestina, the first use of the name Palestine as a designation for Judea.
SH82767. Orichalcum dupondius (or as), RIC II 910 (R2), Cohen II 238, BMCRE II p. 497, ‡ (refs. Cohen); Hunter II - (p. lxvii), SRCV II -, aVF, near black patina, scratches, some porosity, weight 14.285 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse Hadrian, standing right on platform, Praetorian Prefect behind him, addressing officer (centurion?) who stands right and four soldiers, the officer and first two soldiers hold oblong shields, the first soldier holds a vexillum, the following two hold standards, the final soldier unclear, COH PRAETOR S C in exergue; only two sales of the type recorded on Coin Archives, the last in January 2013; very rare; $900.00 (765.00)


Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

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193 A.D. - The Year of Five Emperors. On 1 January, the Senate selected Pertinax, against his will, to succeed the late Commodus as Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated him on 28 March and auctioned the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, who offered 300 million sesterces. Outraged by the Praetorians, legions in Illyricum select Septimius Severus as emperor; in Britannia the legions select their governor Clodius Albinus, and in Syria the legions select their governor Pescennius Niger. On 1 June Septimius Severus entered the capital, put Julianus put to death and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own troops. Clodius Albinus allied with Severus and accepted the title of Caesar. Pescennius Niger was defeated, killed and his head displayed in Rome
SH86628. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC VI 14 (R), BMCRE V 20, Hunter III 8, Cohen III 3, Cayon III 1, SRCV II 6075, nice F, attractive portrait for grade, legends not fully struck, encrustations on reverse, edge crack, weight 19.044 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - 2 Jun 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia Militum standing half left, head left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; rare; $870.00 (739.50)


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 465 - 420 B.C.

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In 467 B.C. the Athenian statesman and military commander Cimon, and his fleet of 200 ships, destroyed the Persian navy based at the mouth of the river Eurymedon in a surprise attack. In order to crush to Persian land forces, he tricked the Persians by sending his best fighters ashore wearing the garments of the hostages he had seized earlier. When they saw these men, the Persians thought that they were compatriots freed by the enemy and arranged festivities in celebration. Taking advantage of this, Cimon landed and annihilated the Persians. Aspendos then became a member of the Attic-Delos Maritime league.
SH87202. Silver stater, SNG BnF 13; SNGvA 4484 var. (turtle control symbol on obv. and rev.); BMC Pamphylia p. 94, 9 & pl. XIX,6; SNG Cop -, SNG Pfalzer -, VF, well centered, toned, bumps and marks, obverse struck with a very worn die, edge crack, weight 11.209 g, maximum diameter 21.53 mm, Aspendos mint, c. 465 - 420 B.C.; obverse warrior advancing right, wearing crested helmet, couched spear in right hand, round shield on left arm; reverse triskeles of human legs left, lion crouching left on far side, EΣT above, all within an incuse square; very rare; $800.00 (680.00)


Orthagoreia, Thrace, c. 350 - 330 B.C.

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All the references given, except SNG Cop, include Orthagoreia in Macedonia. See Psoma Maroneia, pp. 193204, for the redesignation of Orthagoreia from Macedon to Thrace.
SH86789. Silver hemidrachm, SNG ANS 7.1 564 (same dies); SNG Cop 690; SNG Ashmolean V.2 2356; AMNG III-2, 3; BMC Macedonia p. 88, 5; HGC 3.1 600 (R1), Choice aEF, attractive style, well centered, nice toning, slight porosity, weight 2.571 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 15o, Orthagoreia mint, c. 350 - 330 B.C.; obverse facing head of Artemis, facing slightly left,, wearing triple-drop earring and pearl necklace, quiver on left shoulder; reverse OΠΘAΓO−ΠEΩN, facing ornate Macedonian helmet with cheek pieces, and star ornament crest; scarce; $700.00 (595.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
SH86627. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, SRCV I 1479, Choice gVF, nice toning, some light marks and scratches, weight 3.622 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $580.00 (493.00)


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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In late summer or fall of 161, Vologases IV of Parthia captured the Roman client Kingdom of Armenia, expelled its king and installed his own; Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. In 162, Lucius Verus began the war to recover Armenia and exact vengeance for Parthia's invasions of Armenia and Syria. The Armenian capital Artaxata was recovered in 163. At the end of 163, Verus took the title Armeniacus, despite having never personally seen combat. Marcus Aurelius initially declined to accept the title, but accepted it in 164.
RS87291. Silver denarius, RIC III 122, BMCRE IV 366, RSC II 9, cf. SRCV II 4881 (TR P XVIII), Choice EF, perfect centering, bold strike, radiating flow lines, excellent portrait, attractive toning, a few light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.453 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 164 - c. Aug 165 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XIX IMP II COS III, Armenia in mournful attitude seated left on the ground, wearing a cap and draped, resting chin on right hand, right elbow on raised right knee, vexillum and shield on her right (far) side, left hand resting on quiver on the ground behind, ARMEN in exergue; ex Dr. Busso Peus Nachfolger, e-auction 420, lot 5306; ex Dr. Neussel Collection, nr. 772; $480.00 (408.00)











Catalog current as of Thursday, August 16, 2018.
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Military