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

Astronomy on Ancient Coins
Kingdom of Pontus, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C.

|Pontic| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Pontus,| |Mithradates| |VI,| |c.| |120| |-| |63| |B.C.||AE| |18|
The star almost certainly depicts one of Mithridates comets. According to 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."
GB92048. Bronze AE 18, cf. SNG BM Black Sea 980; SNG Stancomb 645; SNG Cop 230, HGC 7 314 (S), VF, green patina, weight 4.930 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, Amisos(?) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse bashlyk (Persian satrap's leather cap with flat top and ear flaps), bow on left pointed right, monogram(?) on right, facing horned bust of Pan below; reverse comet or star of eight rays, bow on right facing inward; scarce; $125.00 (€115.00)
 


Kingdom of Pontus, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C.

|Pontic| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Pontus,| |Mithradates| |VI,| |c.| |120| |-| |63| |B.C.||AE| |22|
The star almost certainly depicts one of Mithridates comets. According to 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."
GB89059. Bronze AE 22, SNG Stancomb 651, SNG BM Black Sea 976, SNG Cop 230, HGC 7 311 (S), F, dark patina, weight 10.131 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, Amisos(?) mint, c. 120 - 100 B.C.; obverse bow case with strap; countermark: helmet right(?) in a c. 5.5mm diameter round punch; reverse comet or star of eight rays, bow right facing inward; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); scarce; $115.00 (€105.80)
 


Ephesos, Ionia, c. 500 - 420 B.C.

|Ephesos|, |Ephesos,| |Ionia,| |c.| |500| |-| |420| |B.C.||tritartemorion|
Ephesus was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League on the west coast of Anatolia. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written there.
GA95887. Silver tritartemorion, Karwiese Series IIIa, Type 24; cf. SNG Kayhan 135 (0.26); SNG Tüb IV 2759 (0.30g); SNR 42 97 (0.10); BMC Ionia -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; et al. -, F, toned, struck with an obverse die much too large for the flan, weight 0.180 g, maximum diameter 6.88 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 500 - 420 B.C.; obverse bee seen from above, its two large eyeballs on the top edge of the flan; reverse star of eight rays around a central pellet; scarce; $70.00 (€64.40)
 


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

|Pontos|, |Pontos| |(Uncertain| |City),| |c.| |119| |-| |100| |B.C.||AE| |11|
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 11, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, VF, earthen deposits, 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 and below neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; rare; $60.00 (€55.20)
 







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