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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Athletics & Games||View Options:  |  |  | 

Atheletics and Games on Ancient Coins
Roman Republic, L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |L.| |Calpurnius| |Piso| |Frugi,| |90| |B.C.||denarius|NEW
Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi's massive issue was struck to support Rome in the Social War against the Marsic Confederation, the Marsi, Peligni, Piceni, Vestini, Samnites, Frentani, Marrucini, and Lucani. Despite making up over half the Roman army, the Italians had been denied Roman citizenship and denied a fair share of the booty and lands taken in Rome's conquests. In 91 B.C., they rebelled with an army of 100,000 battle-hardened soldiers, most Roman army veterans. In 90 B.C., Rome only just managed to stave off total defeat. After some Roman victories and citizenship concessions, the war was nearly over by 88 B.C. The type has numerous variations and control marks, indicating the enormity of the issue. The head of Apollo and the horseman refer to the Ludi Apollinares, games which were first held in 212 B.C. The following year, the praetor C. Calpurnius Piso, an ancestor of this moneyer, made the games a permanent annual event to honor of Apollo to maintain his support of the public health.
RR110663. Silver denarius, Sydenham, class IV, 671; RSC I Calpurnia 11a; BMCRR p. 255 type III, var. a (unlisted control letters); Crawford 340/1; SRCV 235, gVF, light toning, rev. slightly off center, mild die wear, weight 3.704 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 90 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, XVI ligature (mark of value) behind, E below chin; reverse naked horseman galloping right holding palm frond, H above, L PISO FRVGI below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 291 (8 Nov 2022), lot 3292; $220.00 SALE PRICE $198.00 ON RESERVE


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Neocaesarea, Pontus

|Pontos|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Neocaesarea,| |Pontus||AE| |28|
Neocaesarea (modern Niksar, Turkey) was a favorite residences of Mithridates the Great and later of King Polemon and his successors. Pompey made it a city and gave it the name of Diopolis, while Pythodoris widow of Polemon, made it her capital and called it Sebaste. Judging from its coins the city was probably renamed Neocaesarea during the reign of Tiberius. In 344 and again in 499 the city was destroyed by an earthquake.
RP110054. Bronze AE 28, RPC Online VII-2 2830 (10 spec.); Rec Gn I p. 93, 51; SNG Cop 218; SNGvA 6765; Waddington 77; Cizmeli 352, gF, green patina, well centered, porosity, weight 14.615 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 180o, Neocaesarea (modern Niksar, Turkey) mint, 241 - 242 A.D.; obverse AY K M ANT ΓOP∆IANO CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the rear; reverse KOI ΠONT MH NEOKAICAPIAC, prize table with curved legs holding agonistic crown with palm, ET / PO / H (year 178) in three lines between legs; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Tarsos, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Tarsos,| |Cilicia||AE| |27|
The title Neokoros, designating a guardian of a temple of the imperial cult, was highly prized and advertised on the coins of many cities. Tarsos was the first city in Cilicia to receive the title, during the reign of Hadrian, not long after 130 A.D. This first temple dedicated to the cult of Hadrian is named in the reverse legend. A second imperial temple was dedicated to Commodus during his reign, before August 191. The B (the Greek number two) indicates this second neokorie. The Kommodeios isolympic worldwide festival was held in honor of this temple. Commodus probably honored Tarsos because its chief god was Hercules, and Commodus had come to believe he was Hercules reincarnated.
RP97264. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online IV.3 T5845, SNG Levante Supp. 260, SNG BnF 1466, SNGvA 5997, Waddington 4636, VF, nice green patina, uneven slightly off-center strike with parts of legends weak or unstruck, weight 11.189 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 30o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC AYP KOMO∆OC CEB, mantled bust right, wearing demiurgic crown; club of Hercules behind; reverse A∆P KOM - TAP MHO (Hadrianeia, Kommodeios - Tarsos Metropolis), agonistic crown inscribed KOMO∆EI, OIKO/VME (Kommodeios worldwide) in two lines above, B / NEWKO (two neokorie) in two lines below; ex Zeus Numismatics, auction 11 (01 Aug 2020), lot 453; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II of Macedonia, 359 - 336 B.C.

|Macedonian| |Kingdom|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |II| |of| |Macedonia,| |359| |-| |336| |B.C.||unit|
Philip II became the ruler of all Greece when he defeated the Athenians at the Battle of Chaeroneia in 338 B.C. Philip personally selected the design of his coins. His horse, on the reverse of this coin, won a race in the Olympic Games in 356 B.C., the year his son Alexander the Great was born.
GB110094. Bronze unit, SNG Alpha Bank 454, SNG ANS 850, SNG Cop 602, VF, broad flan, mild porosity, closed flan crack, obverse edge beveled, weight 5.566 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonian mint, c. 359 - 336 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo right wearing taenia; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, young male riding horse prancing to right, spearhead and part of shaft right below, all in a shallow round incuse; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


Salonina, Augusta 254 - c. September 268 A.D., Damascus, Coele-Syria

|Other| |Syria|, |Salonina,| |Augusta| |254| |-| |c.| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Damascus,| |Coele-Syria||AE| |24|
Saul (later known as Paul) was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was blinded by a light from the presence of Jesus. He spent three days in Damascus, blind, until Jesus sent a disciple named Ananias to Saul. Damascus was the city in which Paul began his work as a great evangelist, teaching people in Asia, Africa and Europe about Jesus.
RP110196. Bronze AE 24, SNG Mnchen 1027; Rosenberger IV p. 33, 63; De Saulcy p. 56, 2; Lindgren 2154; SNG Cop -; BMC Syria , aF, uneven strike with right side weak on obv. and rev. green patina, light earthen deposits, porosity, weight 8.793 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 225o, Damascus mint, 254 - c. Sep 268 A.D.; obverse CORNE SALONA AVG (blundered), draped bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind shoulders; reverse COL ∆AMAS METRO, agonistic urn between uncertain objects, all on ornate three-legged table with curved legs; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II of Macedonia, 359 - 336 B.C.

|Macedonian| |Kingdom|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |II| |of| |Macedonia,| |359| |-| |336| |B.C.||stater|
Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.
SH29161. Gold stater, Le Rider pl. 75, 63 (D31/R52), SNG ANS 251 (also same dies), SNG Cop 523, aEF, sculptural high relief obverse die, weight 8.591 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 90o, Macedonia, Amphipolis mint, 340/336 - 328 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, charioteer driving a racing biga right, wearing a himation, kentron in right hand, reins in his left hand, ivy leaf right below horses; SOLD


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III and Alexander IV, 323 - 315 B.C., Types of Philip II

|Macedonian| |Kingdom|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |III| |and| |Alexander| |IV,| |323| |-| |315| |B.C.,| |Types| |of| |Philip| |II||tetradrachm|
Philip II coin types remained prominent in the northern regions of the Macedonian Kingdom long after his death. This coin was struck after Alexander's death when the kingdom was nominally ruled by Alexander's mentally disabled half-brother Philip III Arrhidaeus, son of Philip II and Philinna, and Alexander IV, the great conqueror's young son. The two were made joint kings by Alexander's generals who only used them as pawns. Philip III was imprisoned upon his return to Macedonia, and in 317 B.C. he was executed under orders from Olympias. Alexander IV and his mother Roxana were executed by the boy's regent, Kassander, in 311 B.C.
SH72301. Silver tetradrachm, Le Rider p. 68 and pl. 22, 530 (D281/R437); SNG Lockett 1414, SNG ANS 450 var. (shield under foreleg), SNG Alpha Bank 276 var. (same), SNG Saroglos -, aEF, excellent centering, graffiti, weight 13.299 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 135o, Macedonia, Pella mint, c. 323 - 315 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, nude youth pacing right on horseback, palm frond in right, reins in left, coiled snake below, Boeotian shield in exergue; SOLD


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, Late 5th - Mid 4th Century B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Pharsalos,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |Late| |5th| |-| |Mid| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||drachm|
The tiny letters on the obverse and reverse are artist signatures. TH has been identified as Telephantos and MI as his "apprentice." The referenced BCD coin with the same obverse die and a reverse die by the same hand, near EF and well-struck, sold for $90,000 plus fees.
SH76215. Silver drachm, Lavva 153 (V72/R89); BCD Thessaly II 642 (same obv. die); cf. BMC Thessaly p. 43, 10; SNG Cop 221, gVF, full helmet crest on obverse, some die wear, weight 5.946 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 135o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, late 5th - mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with Skylla on bowl, raising hand to shade her eyes, tiny TH over MI behind neck; reverse Φ-A-P-Σ (clockwise from upper left, Σ and P retrograde), Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing petasos, chlamys, and chiton, brandishing lagobolon overhead in right hand, reins in left hand, horse wears beaded strand around neck, tiny TH below the feet of the cavalryman; SOLD


Kelenderis, Cilicia, c. 440 - 400 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Kelenderis,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |440| |-| |400| |B.C.||stater|
Kelenderis was a port town, one of the oldest in Cilicia, described in Hellenistic and Roman sources as a small, but strong castle. The land around Kelenderis was inadequate for farming but, apparently from the coins, suitable for raising goats. On the plateau behind the hills, there were vineyards and olive trees, rich sources of minerals, especially iron and woods, mainly pine and cedar, which were essential for ship building. The town was connected to the Central Anatolian Plateau with suitable passages in the valleys, but it was mainly a port, connected with Cyprus and other countries lying on the Mediterranean coasts. The rider on the obverse may be Castor, who was not only a horse trainer but also the protector of sailors, an appropriate type for a port town.
GS87203. Silver stater, Celenderis Hoard 3 (O15/R15); SNG BnF 46 (same dies); cf. BMC Cilicia p. 55, 27 (KEΛE); SNGvA 5617 (KEΛEN); SNG Cop -; SNG Levante -, EF, attractive style, well centered and struckradiating flow lines, irregularly shaped flan, some obverse die wear, weight 10.802 g, maximum diameter 24.68 mm, Kelenderis (Aydincik, Turkey) mint, c. 440 - 400 B.C.; obverse young man riding sideways on horse galloping left, nude, preparing to dismount, bridle in left hand on near side of horse, whip in left hand, A below before hind legs; reverse goat crouching left on solid exergue line, head turned looking back right, KEΛ over ivy spray with leaf and berries, all in a shallow round incuse; SOLD


Annia Faustina, Augusta, 221 A.D., Third Wife of Elagabalus, Hierapolis, Phrygia

|Hierapolis|, |Annia| |Faustina,| |Augusta,| |221| |A.D.,| |Third| |Wife| |of| |Elagabalus,| |Hierapolis,| |Phrygia||AE| |23|
In 221, after Elagabalus was induced to end his highly controversial marriage to the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa, he married the recently widowed Annia Aurelia Faustina. The marriage was intended to form an alliance with the powerful aristocratic Nerva-Antonine clan, resulting from her blood relation to the dynasty. Elagabalus gave her the title of Augusta. Supporters of Elagabalus had hoped that Annia, the mother of two small children from her previous marriage, would bear him a natural heir; however, she bore him no children. There are no surviving sources providing details of Annia Aurelia Faustina's short time as a Roman empress. Before the end of 221, Elagabalus divorced her and returned to Julia Aquilia Severa. After her marriage to Elagabalus ended, she returned with her children to her Pisidian Estate where she spent the final years of her life.

The AKTIA festival and games at Hierapolis were founded in honor of Augustus' victory at Actium.
RP77251. Bronze AE 23, Johnston Hierapolis 74; BMC Phrygia p. 242, 89; SNG Cop 444; Waddington 6128; SNGvA -; SNG Tb -; SNG Hunterian -; SNG Leypold -; Weber -; McClean -, aF, weight 7.085 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, c. 221 - 268 A.D.; obverse IEPACY-NKΛHTO-C, draped bust of the senate right; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩN NEΩKOPΩN, A/KTI/A in three lines within a demos crown (laurel wreath); very rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Klose, D. & G. Stumpf. Sport, Spiel, Sieg. (Munich, 1996).


Catalog current as of Friday, February 3, 2023.
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