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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Military| ▸ |Nike or Victory||View Options:  |  |  |   

Nike or Victory on Ancient Coins

Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Victory or Nike is one of the most common figures on Greek and Roman coins.

Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, 113 - 95 B.C

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Antiochus| |IX| |Cyzicenus,| |113| |-| |95| |B.C||tetradrachm|
After Antiochus IX's father died, his uncle Demetrius II Nicator took the throne. For his safety, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, sent him to Cyzicus (leading to his nickname). He returned to Syria in 116 B.C. to claim the throne from his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus, with whom he eventually divided Syria. He was killed in battle by the son of Grypus, Seleucus VI Epiphanes.
GY95956. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2384; Houghton CSE 725; Babelon Rois 1467; BMC Seleucid p. 92, 6; HGC 9 1288k (R2), gVF, well centered, dark old cabinet toning, old scratches, light deposits, weight 15.977 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, 2nd reign, 113 - 112 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos right; reverse Athena standing left, Nike in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, spear behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY in two lines downward on right, ΦIΛO−ΠATOPOΣ downward on left, ΣI∆Ω/IEP / AΣY in 3 lines over outer left, Σ (year 200) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $630.00 (€516.60)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 83 or 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |83| |or| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
There are many control symbol variations for Philip I tetradrachms, some are identified as lifetime issues, some as posthumous, and some as imitatives, including posthumous imitatives struck by the Romans. None of the published variations list this ∆I monogram exergue control symbol, without any other symbols outer left or inner left. Houghton-Lorber II 2464 is most similar, with this type of portrait and no controls left, but only N, Π and T exergue controls are listed. Also, this coin was part of a Leu auction lot that included other specimens of Houghton-Lorber II 2464 all in very similar condition, indicating the coins may have been found together.
GY97102. Silver tetradrachm, Unpublished control monogram; Houghton-Lorber II 2464 var. (control); SNG Spaer 2817 var. (control); HGC 9 1320 (R1); BMC Seleucid -, aVF, field cracks, weight 15.244 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, c. 88/7 - 83/75 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Philip I Philadelphos right, bulging eye, pouting lips, pronounced aquiline nose, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΦIΛIΠΠOY EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, no controls left, below throne, ∆I monogram (control) in exergue, all within laurel wreath; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (16 Aug 2020), lot 2121 (part of); unpublished control variant of a rare type; $250.00 (€205.00)
 


Decentius, Caesar, July or August 350 - 18 August 353 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit or Barbaric Imitative

|Decentius|, |Decentius,| |Caesar,| |July| |or| |August| |350| |-| |18| |August| |353| |A.D.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit| |or| |Barbaric| |Imitative||maiorina|
This interesting ancient counterfeit or imitative specimen combines the mintmark of the mint at Ambianum, and the reverse field control letters S-V which are only found on issues of Lugdunum. Also, Ambianum did not use this mintmark with AMB flanked on both sides with a palm. The Bastien MM specimen was found near Lyon. We know of about a half dozen specimens of this imitative, all from the same dies.
RL98410. Bronze maiorina, Bastien MM pl. XVII, 32 (same dies); RIC VIII -; LRBC II -; Cohen VIII -; SRCV V -, gVF, good centering, very sharp detail, areas of porosity, ragged edge, A's appearing as H (as normal on official issues of the era), weight 3.158 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, barbarous imitation of Ambianum (Amiens) mint, c. 351 - 353 A.D.; obverse D N DECENTIVS NOB CAES, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVG E CAE (victories of our lords, Emperor and Caesar), two Victory's standing facing each other, between them holding a shield resting on a short column, shield inscribed VOT / V / MVLT / + in four lines, S - V flanking column, palm AMB palm in exergue; very rare; $220.00 (€180.40)
 


Hierapolis, Phrygia, in Homonoia with Ephesos, 253 - 260 A.D.

|Hierapolis|, |Hierapolis,| |Phrygia,| |in| |Homonoia| |with| |Ephesos,| |253| |-| |260| |A.D.||diassarion|
The title NEOKOPON on the reverse of this type, and other similar coins, has been the topic of debate for more than a century. Hierapolis was honored with a neokoros (imperial temple) either during the reign of Caracalla or Elagabalus. Caracalla rarely gave this honor, but if the honor was given by Caracalla, it would have lasted many decades. If the honor was given during the reign of Elagabalus, as many numismatists and historians believe, it would have been lost with his damnatio. Yet, the title appears here, on a coin struck long after Elagabalus' demise. This coin, however, was struck by Hierapolis honoring its alliance (homonoia) with Ephesos, Ionia. After Elagabalus, at Hierapolis, neokoros titles only appear on homonoia coinage. It seems odd, especially since the title is on the reverse with the name Hierapolis, but the most supported argument is that NEOKOPON refers to a temple at Ephesos, not one at Hierapolis.
RP97256. Bronze diassarion, Franke-Nolle, type IX, 760 - 763 (B/49); Weber HpH p. 74 (A/b); Johnston Hierapolis -; BMC Phrygia -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Mün -; SNG Tüb -, gVF, well centered and struck with full legends, nice dark green patina, some porosity, weight 5.120 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, time of Valerius and Gallienus, 253 - 260 A.D.; obverse OMONY/A - K EΦEC-IΩN (clockwise from 3:00), laureate, veiled, and draped bust of Boule right; reverse IEPAΠ-O-ΛEITΩN; NEOKO-PΩN in fields, clockwise from lower left, Nike advancing left, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond against left shoulder in left hand; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 August 2020), lot 886; this coin is one of only two specimens of this type listed in Coin Archives auction records spanning the last two decades; very rare; $180.00 (€147.60)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

|Postumus|, |Gallic| |Empire,| |Postumus,| |Summer| |260| |-| |Spring| |269| |A.D.||double| |sestertius|NEW
The radiate crown indicates the double denomination. The weights are sometimes no heavier than sestertii of the period, and they are frequently overstruck on coins of the first and second century emperors. Authorities do not agree on the mint. Also, there are also many imitatives or counterfeits, some of which are very crude style, carelessly struck, or both.
RA96316. Orichalcum double sestertius, RIC V-2 169, SRCV III 11065, Cohen VI 380, Hunter IV - (p. xcii), F, well centered on a tight flan, brown patina, weight 16.714 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 165o, uncertain (Cologne?) mint, c. 260 - 268 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG, Victory advancing left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand, captive seated left at feet on left with hands bound behind, S C in exergue; ex Errett Bishop Collection; $160.00 (€131.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 83 or 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |83| |or| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Philip I Philadelphus was the fourth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus. He took the diadem in 94 B.C. together with his twin brother Antiochus XI Epiphanes, after the eldest son Seleucus VI Epiphanes was killed by their cousin Antiochus X Eusebes. The next year Antiochus X killed Antiochus XI. Antiochus X was probably killed in 88 B.C. Philip's younger brother Demetrius III turned on Philip I and took the capital, but the Philip I prevailed and took Antioch. Their youngest brother Antiochus XII took Damascus. Philip I tried to take Damascus, after which he disappears from the historical record, which does not tell us how or when he died. His death is traditionally dated 83 B.C. but Numismatic evidence and clues in ancient literature indicate that Philip I might have died in 75 B.C. His coins remained in circulation when the Romans conquered Syria in 64 B.C. Roman authorities in Syria continued to issue coins modeled on Philip I's coins, including his portrait, until 13 B.C.
GY97099. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2464(c); SNG Spaer 2817; HGC 9 1320 (R1); BMC Seleucid -, VF, tight flan typical of the type, obverse off center, corrosion, weight 14.726 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, c. 88/7 - 83/75 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Philip I Philadelphos right, bulging eye, pouting lips, pronounced aquiline nose, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΦIΛIΠΠOY in two lines downward on right EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY in two lines downward on left, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, no controls left, (frozen control monogram) below throne, T (control) in exergue, all within laurel wreath; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (16 Aug 2020), lot 2121 (part of); rare; $160.00 (€131.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 83 or 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |83| |or| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Philip I Philadelphus was the fourth son of Antiochus VIII Grypus. He took the diadem in 94 B.C. together with his twin brother Antiochus XI Epiphanes, after the eldest son Seleucus VI Epiphanes was killed by their cousin Antiochus X Eusebes. The next year Antiochus X killed Antiochus XI. Antiochus X was probably killed in 88 B.C. Philip's younger brother Demetrius III turned on Philip I and took the capital, but the Philip I prevailed and took Antioch. Their youngest brother Antiochus XII took Damascus. Philip I tried to take Damascus, after which he disappears from the historical record, which does not tell us how or when he died. His death is traditionally dated 83 B.C. but Numismatic evidence and clues in ancient literature indicate that Philip I might have died in 75 B.C. His coins remained in circulation when the Romans conquered Syria in 64 B.C. Roman authorities in Syria continued to issue coins modeled on Philip I's coins, including his portrait, until 13 B.C.
GY97101. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Houghton-Lorber II 2463; HGC 9 1319, VF, tight flan as typical for the type, surface a bit rough from corrosion, obverse off center, weight 15.389 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 88/7 - 83/75 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΦIΛIΠΠOY in two lines downward on right EΠIΦANOYΣ / ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY in two lines downward on left, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, Nike presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, (frozen control monogram) below throne, monogram below throne, uncertain controls off flan, all within laurel wreath; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (16 Aug 2020), lot 2121 (part of); $160.00 (€131.20)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Philip I Philadelphos, c. 94 - 75 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Philip| |I| |Philadelphos,| |c.| |94| |-| |75| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
This rare type is distinguished from the more common Antioch mint types by a different portrait style.
GY97103. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2464c; HGC 9 1320 (R1); SNG Spaer 2817; BMC Seleucid -, VF, well centered, tight flan as typical for the type, surface crackled with corrosion (perhaps indicating a water find), weight 15.016 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, c. 88 - 75 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Philip I Philadelphos right, bulging eye, pouting lips, pronounced aquiline nose, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΦIΛIΠΠOY EΠIΦANOYΣ ΦIΛA∆EΛΦOY, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, no controls left, (frozen control monogram) below throne, T (control) in exergue, all within laurel wreath; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (16 Aug 2020), lot 2121 (part of); rare; $160.00 (€131.20)
 


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

|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.||sestertius|
Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RB97216. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 337a, Cohen V 351, SRCV III 8741, Hunter III 155, Choice F, well centered, dark green patina, light earthen deposits, light scratches, edge cracks, weight 21.274 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AETER (eternal victory), Victory standing half left, head left, shield in right hand resting on captive seated left at feet on left, palm frond in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; $140.00 (€114.80)
 


Magnentius, 18 January 350 - 10 August 353 A.D.

|Magnentius|, |Magnentius,| |18| |January| |350| |-| |10| |August| |353| |A.D.||heavy| |maiorina|
In 352, Constantius II invaded northern Italy in pursuit of the usurper Magnus Magnentius, who withdrew with his army to Gaul. Constantius declared an amnesty for Magnentius' soldiers, many of whom deserted to him. By the end of the year Constantius entered Milan. After another defeat in battle, Magnentius committed suicide in 353.
RL93376. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Arles 179, Bastien MM 268, LRBC II 437, SRCV V 18824, Cohen VIII 68, Hunter V -, gVF, tight oval flan, uneven strike with small weak areas on edges, tiny deposits, tiny edge cracks, weight 4.424 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Arelatum (Arles, France) mint, spring 351 - August 353 A.D.; obverse D N MAGNENTIVS P F AVG, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, A behind; reverse VICTORIAE DD NN AVGG ET CAE (victories of our lords, the two emperors and two caesars), two Victories holding shield inscribed VOT V MVLT X, E over IS low center, PAR in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $120.00 (€98.40)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.
Marest-Caffey, L. "Seleukos I's Victory Coinage of Susa Revisited: A Die Study and Commentary" in AJN 28 (2016).

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