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

Astronomy on Ancient Coins
Roman Republic, Q. Pomponius Musa, 66 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Q.| |Pomponius| |Musa,| |66| |B.C.|, |denarius|
Many of the Roman moneyers had a solid sense of humor and word play with homonyms was very popular. Pomponius Musa, playing on his name, issued ten types each depicting Hercules Musagetes (Conductor of the Muses) or one of nine different Muses, creating one of the most interesting and sought after series of the Republican coinage. This coin depicts Urania, the Muse of Astronomy.
RR94286. Silver denarius, Crawford 410/8, Sydenham 823, RSC I Pomponia 22, RBW Collection 1488, SRCV I 359, gF, banker's marks, a little off center, weight 3.683 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 66 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, star behind; reverse MVSA on left, Q POMPONI on right, Urania, Muse of Astronomy standing left, pointing with rod in right hand at globe on tripod-stand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 77 (5 May 2019), lot 601; $280.00 SALE |PRICE| $252.00


Kroton, Bruttium, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

|Italy|, |Kroton,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |300| |-| |250| |B.C.|, |AE| |18|
In 295 B.C., Kroton fell to the Syracusan tyrant Agathocles. When Pyrrhus invaded Italy in 280 B.C., it was still a considerable city, with twelve miles (19 km) of walls, but after the Pyrrhic War, half the town was deserted (Livy 24.3). What was left of its population submitted to Rome in 277 B.C. After the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War, Hannibal made it his winter quarters for three years and the city was not recaptured until 205 or 204 B.C. In 194 B.C., it became the site of a Roman colony. Little more is heard of it during the Republican and Imperial periods.
GB92021. Bronze AE 18, SNG ANS 444; SNG Munich 1480; HN Italy 2234; BMC Italy p. 356, 117; Lindgren 339, aVF, green patina, porous, very nice for this rare type, weight 3.836 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, Kroton mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, wreathed in grain; reverse three narrow crescents with horns outward, K-P-O around clockwise, one letter within each crescent; ex CNG e-auctions 233 (26 May 2010), lot 106 (est. $250, realized $270 plus fees); rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00


Itanos, Crete, c. 320 - 270 B.C.

|Crete|, |Itanos,| |Crete,| |c.| |320| |-| |270| |B.C.|, |AE| |17|
The ancient Itanos was one of the strongest cities in Crete in Hellenistic and Roman times. The city flourished due to fishing, and its trade in glass and Tyrian purple die. Koufonissi Island, owned by Itanos, was famous the purple die made from shellfish. The nearby temple of Diktaean Zeus also brought pilgrims and the tourist trade. An earthquake in 795 precipitated a significant decline. An Arab attack in the 9th century destroyed much of the city, but Itanos was not abandoned until the 15th century, when successive Arab raids forced its residents to abandon the coast and move inland.
GB92189. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos Numismatique 42, SNG Cop -, BMC Crete -, F, brown patina, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 2.987 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, Itanos (near Paalekastro, Eastern Crete) mint, c. 320 - 270 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left; reverse sixteen-pointed star with pellet-in-annulet at center; ex CNG e-auction 246 (15 Dec 2010), lot 84; only two sales of this type (and one is this coin) recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00


Castulo, Hispania Ulterior, c. 150 - 100 B.C.

|Hispania|, |Castulo,| |Hispania| |Ulterior,| |c.| |150| |-| |100| |B.C.|, |quarter| |unit|
After a local princess named Himilce married Hannibal, Castulo allied with Carthage. In 213 B.C., Castulo was the site of Hasdrubal Barca's crushing victory over the Roman army with a force of roughly 40,000 Carthaginian troops plus local Iberian mercenaries. Soon after the Romans made a pact with the residents and the city became a foederati (ally) of Rome.
SL89030. Bronze quarter unit, Villaronga-Benages 2152; Villaronga p. 337, 48; SNG BM Spain 1358; SNG Cop 208, NGC Ch VF, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (2490384-007), weight 1.766 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 270o, Castulo (near Linares, Spain) mint, mid 2nd century B.C.; obverse diademed male head right; reverse boar standing right, star of 7 rays around a central pellet above, "Kastilo" in Iberian script in exergue; ex Den of Antiquity; NGC| Lookup; $220.00 SALE |PRICE| $198.00


Antiochia, Pisidia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Pisidia|, |Antiochia,| |Pisidia,| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.|, |tetrassarion|
Antiochia in Pisidia, also know as Antiochia in Phrygia, and under the Roman Empire as Antiochia Caesareia or Antiochia Colonia Caesarea, was on the border of Pisidia and Phrygia, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Central Anatolian regions. After the death of Alexander the Great, Seleucus I Nicator, founder of the Seleucid Dynasty, took control of Pisidia. Captured places were Hellenised and, in order to protect the population, nearly 60 fortified cities were founded at strategically important places, usually on an acropolis. Seleucus gave 16 of them the name of his father Antiochos. Colonists were brought from Magnesia on the Maeander to found Antiochia in Pisidia.
GB92188. Bronze tetrassarion, Imhoof KM p. 108, 5; SNG Cop 12 var. (magistrate); SNGvA 4914 var. (same, ethnic around), VF, green patina with earthen highlighting, weight 6.268 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 180o, Antiochia in Pisidia (near Yalva, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse eagle standing slight right on thunderbolt, wings open, crescent above, Γ (mark of value) lower right; reverse star of six rays around central pellet, ANTIO/ΞE-ΩN in two lines, ΘEAPI∆O (magistrate's name) below; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; extremely rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


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

|Mesopotamia| |&| |Babylonia|, |Marcus| |Aurelius,| |7| |March| |161| |-| |17| |March| |180| |A.D.,| |Carrhae,| |Mesopotamia|, |AE| |20|
This coin may refer to an eclipse at Carrhae on 4 September 164. Carrhae is the Haran of the Bible. Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians near Carrhae in 53 B.C. Emperor Galerius was defeated on the same site in 296 A.D.
RP92089. Bronze AE 20, RIC IV-3 Online T8037 (2 spec.), BMC Arabia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, aF, earthen encrustations, scratches, weight 6.171 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Carrhae (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, 164 - 169 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI[...], laureate head left; reverse KARHNWN ΦIΛOPWMEW, crescent horns upward, resting on a globe with fillets hanging from each side, star with six points above between the horns; ex Gerhard Rohde (9 Feb 2010); extremely rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $152.00


Thessalonika, Macedonia, c. 54 - 68 A.D.

|Thessalonika|, |Thessalonika,| |Macedonia,| |c.| |54| |-| |68| |A.D.|, |AE| |16|
Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
GB92061. Bronze AE 16, Touratsoglou G.I/A; RPC I 1607 (13 spec. online); SNG Hunterian I 682; McClean 3776; AMNG III taf. XXIII, 23; BMC Macedonia -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -, aVF, green patina, tight flan, weight 4.078 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, reign of Nero(?), c. 54 - 68 A.D.; obverse horse trotting right, crescent with horns upward above, star below raised foreleg; reverse ΘEΣ/ΣAΛON/IKEΩN in three lines within laurel wreath; ex CHS Basel Numismatics; very rare; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00


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

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Maximinus| |I| |Thrax,| |March| |235| |-| |May| |238| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt|, |tetradrachm|
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; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


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; $130.00 SALE |PRICE| $117.00


Miletos, Ionia, 352 - 325 B.C.

|Miletos|, |Miletos,| |Ionia,| |352| |-| |325| |B.C.|, |AE| |13|
Miletos was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River. Miletos, along with most of Anatolia, was taken from Persia by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. Miletos' greatest wealth and splendor was reached during the Hellenistic era and Roman times. Its ruins are located near the modern town of Balat in Aydin Province, Turkey. The symbols found on coins of Miletos include the lion, a star, and Apollo. The star may represent the Sun in association with Apollo.Miletus Bay
GB92003. Bronze AE 13, Deppert-Lippitz 270 - 272; SNG Cop 972; BMC Ionia p. 188, 45 ff. var. (magistrate), aVF, dark green patina, corrosion, tiny edge patina chips, weight 2.146 g, maximum diameter 12.7 mm, Miletos (near Balat, Turkey) mint, 352 - 325 B.C.; obverse lion standing left, looking back with open jaws, (Miletos monogram) above; reverse stellate ornament, EONOMI∆HΣ (magistrate) around divided by rays; ex FORVM (2009); rare; $105.00 SALE |PRICE| $95.00




  



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