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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Astronomy & AstrologyView Options:  |  |  |   

Astronomy & Astrology on Ancient Coins

Maximinus I Thrax, March 235 - May 238 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In Greek mythology, Selene is the goddess of the moon. She is the daughter of the Titans Hyperion and Theia, and sister of the sun-god Helios, and Eos, goddess of the dawn. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the mortal Endymion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, much as her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, but only Selene was regarded as the personification of the moon itself. Her Roman equivalent is Luna.
RP89035. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari (Savio) 4601; BMC Alexandria p. 228, 1775; Milne 3267; Kampmann 65.73; Emmett 3300.1; SNG Cop -; Geissen -, aVF, full border centering on a broad flan, dark brown patina, mild corrosion, edge cracks, weight 12.190 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 237 - 28 Aug 238 A.D.; obverse AVTO MAΞIMINOC CEV CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Maximinus I right, seen from behind; reverse head of Selene right, wearing tainia and chiton fastened on left shoulder with a fibula, L∆ (year four) behind, large crescent right with horns left; ex CGB mail bid sale 13 (30 Jul 2001), lot 557; $145.00 (127.60)


Pontic Kingdom, Mithradates VI Eupator the Great, c. 120 - 63 B.C., Anonymous Coinage

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Mithradates VI Megas (the Great) was king of Pontus in northern Anatolia from about 119 to 63 B.C. He was of both Greek and Persian origin, claiming descent from both Alexander the Great and King Darius I of Persia. Mithradates is remembered as one of Rome's most formidable and successful enemies, who engaged three of the most prominent generals of the late Roman Republic in the so-called Mithridatic Wars: Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompey the Great. After Mithradates VI was at last defeated by Pompey and in danger of capture by Rome, he attempted suicide. The poison failed because he had taken daily doses to build immunity. He then made his bodyguard and friend, Bituitus, kill him by the sword.
GB89057. Bronze AE 26, SNG Stancomb 649, SNG BM 973, SNG Cop 232, HGC 7 310 (S), VF, thick, heavy coin, marks, light earthen deposits, porosity, weight 19.569 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, uncertain (Amisos?) mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse male head left in a satrapal leather bashlik cap; reverse comet star of eight rays, bow right facing inward, possibly a monogram between the rays; ex Forum (2010).; scarce; $140.00 (123.20)


Pantikapaion, Tauric Chersonesos, Thrace, c. 109 - 105 B.C.

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Panticapaeum (Kerch, Ukraine) was an important city and port in Tauric Chersonesos on the western side of the Cimmerian Bosporus. It was founded by Milesians in the late 7th or early 6th century B.C. In the 5th century B.C. it became the capital of the Thracian kings of Bosporus. The last of the kings of Bosporus left it to Mithridates VI Eupator, king of Pontus. After his defeat to Rome, he committed suicide at Panticapaeum in 63 B.C. In that same year, the city was partly destroyed by an earthquake.
GB88987. Bronze dichalkon, SNG BM 941, SNG Cop 48, MacDonald Bosporus 161, Anokhin 203, SNG Stancomb -, VF, full legend, dark patina, marks, weight 2.029 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, c. 109 - 105 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays around central pellet, Π-A-N-T-I-K-A-Π between rays; reverse tripod lebes; ex Ancient Imports; scarce; $100.00 (88.00)


Kingdom of Commagene, Epiphanes and Callinicus, 72 A.D.

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In 72 A.D., only two years after Antiochus IV, King of Commagene, sent troops, commanded by his son Epiphanes, to aid Titus in the siege of Jerusalem, he was accused by the governor of Syria of conspiring with Parthia against Rome. After a reign of thirty-four years from his first appointment by Caligula, Antiochus was deprived of his kingdom. He retired first to Sparta, and then to Rome, where he passed the remainder of his life and was treated with great respect. Antiochus' sons, Epiphanes and Callinicus briefly ruled the kingdom but after an encounter with Roman troops, fled to Parthia. They later joined their father in Rome.
SH90336. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 3861; BMC Galatia p. 110, 1 ff.; De Luynes 3440; SGICV 5515, F, dark patina, red earthen deposits, weight 7.954 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 45o, Samosata (Samsat, Turkey) mint, 72 A.D.; obverse Epiphanes and Callinicus riding left on horseback, each wearing chlamys, BACIΛEΩC / YIOI in exergue; reverse KOMMAΓHNΩN, Capricorn right, star above, anchor flukes left below, all within laurel wreath, border of dots; ex John Jencek; $90.00 (79.20)


Pantikapaion, Tauric Chersonesos. Thrace, c. 109 - 105 B.C.

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Panticapaeum (Kerch, Ukraine) was an important city and port in Tauric Chersonesos on the western side of the Cimmerian Bosporus. It was founded by Milesians in the late 7th or early 6th century B.C. In the 5th century B.C. it became the capital of the Thracian kings of Bosporus. The last of the kings of Bosporus left it to Mithridates VI Eupator, king of Pontus. After his defeat to Rome, he committed suicide at Panticapaeum in 63 B.C. In that same year, the city was partly destroyed by an earthquake.
GB89366. Bronze dichalkon, SNG BM 941, SNG Cop 48, MacDonald Bosporus 161, Anokhin 203, SNG Stancomb -, aVF, dark patina, off center, light corrosion, light marks, weight 3.390 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 90o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, c. 109 - 105 B.C.; obverse star of eight rays around central pellet, Π-A-N-T-I-K-A-Π between rays; reverse tripod lebes; scarce; $90.00 (79.20)


Crusaders, County of Tripoli, Bohemond V, 1233 - 1251

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Bohemond V was Prince of Antioch and Count of Tripoli from 1233 to his death in January 1252. Bohemond V was the son of Bohemund IV of Antioch and Plaisance of Gibelet. Like his father before him, Bohemond had a notorious dislike for the Knights Hospitaller and the neighboring Kingdom of Armenia, preferring an alliance with the Knights Templar. Peace with Armenia was assured only shortly before his death, with the mediation of Louis IX of France.
CR89571. Billon denier, Sabine type 5, 75 - 127; Malloy Crusaders 19; Metcalf 547 - 550; Schlumberger IV 17, F, uneven strike, tight flan, encrustations, weight 0.681 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 90o, Tripoli mint, 1233 - 1251; obverse + BAMVND' COMS, cross patte, three pellets in upper right quarter; reverse + CIVITAS TRIPOL, eight pointed star, annulets (pellets in crescents) between the rays; ex Forum (2010), ex Alex G. Malloy Collection, former dealer for 40 years and co-author of Coins of the Crusader States; scarce; $90.00 (79.20)


Northern Syria, 2nd to 3rd Century A.D.

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This type has long been attributed to Pharaoh Nektanebo II. Butcher, however, notes it is quite common in the vicinity of Antioch and in Northern Syria and the obverse style is similar to third century Antiochene zodiacal type coins. He suggests they may have been struck under Hadrian.
RY90994. Bronze AE 15, Butcher p. 405, 11; Weiser p. 16, 1 (Nektanebo II, Memphis, Egypt), F, scratches and bumps, light earthen deposits, weight 3.383 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, 2nd to 3rd century A.D.; obverse ram (Ares) leaping left, head turned back right; reverse balance scale (Libra), weak countermark; $90.00 (79.20)


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

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The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB84563. Bronze AE 12, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, VF, small flan, slightly off center, green patina with buff earthen highlighting, weight 1.623 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with comet star of eight points and central pellet on neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; ex Agora Auctions sale, lot 25; very rare; $85.00 (74.80)


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

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The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB89134. Bronze AE 12, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, gVF, weight 2.328 g, maximum diameter 11.2 mm, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with comet star of eight points and central pellet on neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; very rare; $80.00 (70.40)


Rhodes, Caria, c. 31 - 61 A.D.

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BMC Caria identifies the obverse bust as Alektrona (also called Electryone), a daughter of Helios and Rhodos. She died a virgin and was worshiped as a heroine on the island of Rhodes. She was possibly worshiped as goddess of the morning, or of man's waking sense, which causes him to wake up in the morning. The Doric form of her name, Alektrona, is akin to the Greek word for "rooster," while the Attic form Electryone is akin to the word for "amber," as in the amber color of sunrise. A marble tablet from the 3rd century B.C. found in Ialyssus contains an inscription about the regulations for visitors to the temple of Alektrona.
GB89138. Bronze AE 17, BMC Caria p. 266, 391; cf. RPC I 2771 (various control symbols); cf. Keckman 776 (control obscure); SNG Cop 900 (same); Lindgren 703 (prow control), aVF, attractive black patina with red earthen highlighting, weight 4.705 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rhodos (Rhodes, Greece) mint, c. 31 - 61 A.D.; obverse radiate head of Rhodos or Alektrona(?) right; reverse Nike advancing left, holding wreath and palm (or aphlaston or stylis), sunrise (control symbol) in left field; rare with sunrise; $80.00 (70.40)




  



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Astronomy & Astrology