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

Astronomy on Ancient Coins
Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria, 128 - 129 A.D.

|Antioch|, |Antioch,| |Seleukis| |and| |Pieria,| |Syria,| |128| |-| |129| |A.D.||trichalkon|NEW
Michael Molnar, an astronomer, believes this coin depicts Jupiter's occultation of Aries in 6 B.C., the most probable "Star of Bethlehem." We think it is unlikely; nevertheless, the type is very popular and somewhat expensive.
GB90244. Bronze trichalkon, RPC Online III 3729, Butcher CRS 266, McAlee 125(d), SNG Hunterian II 2950, F, dark near black patina, highlighting red earthen deposits, weight 5.145 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, reign of Hadrian, 128 - 129 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEΩN THC MHTPOΠOΛEWC, veiled and turreted head of Tyche right, weak countermark at chin; reverse ram leaping right, looking back, star within crescent above, ET ZOP (year 177 of the Caesarean Era) below; $110.00 (114.40)


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

|Pontic| |Kingdom|, |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."
GB99175. Bronze AE 11, SNG BM 984, SNG Stancomb 653, Lindgren III 154, HGC 7 317, VF, area of corrosion, light scratches, weight 1.110 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 180o, 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 horse/comet tail to right; rare; $70.00 (72.80)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.||denarius|
"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH84740. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a (S), BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, BnF I 1293, Hunter I 139, SRCV I 1607 var. (head left), Choice near Mint State, mint luster, well centered, excellent portrait, slightest die wear, some legend a little weak, weight 3.723 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; SOLD


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

|Augustus|, |Augustus,| |16| |January| |27| |B.C.| |-| |19| |August| |14| |A.D.||denarius|
"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH26033. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a, BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, aVF, banker's marks, graffiti, weight 3.520 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; ex CNG; SOLD







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