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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ MusicView Options:  |  |  |   

Music on Ancient Coins

Lycian League, Masikytes, Lycia, c. 48 - 42 B.C.

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Masikytes (or Masicytes, or Masicytus) was a mountainous district in southern Lycia. The mint was probably at the town of Myra. The Greek citizens of Myra were devoted to Artemis Eleutheria, who was the protective goddess of the town. Zeus, Athena and Tyche were venerated as well. In the Roman period, Myra formed a part of the Koine Greek speaking world that rapidly embraced Christianity. Paul the Apostle changed ships at Myra during his journey from Caesarea to Rome for trial, arriving on a coastal trading vessel and departing on a sea-faring skiff secured by the Roman centurion responsible for Paul's transportation to Rome. One of its early Greek bishops was Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus).
GS89554. Silver hemidrachm, Troxell Period IV, Series 1, 86; RPC I 3301; cf. BMC Lycia p. 63, 3 (notes Λ on neck, star not indicated); McClean 8875 (no star), gVF, attractive toning with golden highlighting on the obverse, edge crack, weight 1.604 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 15o, Myra (Demre, Turkey) mint, c. 48 - 42 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair rolled, Λ-Y on and flanking neck; reverse kithara (lyre), small star above, M-A flanking low across field, all within a rectangular incuse; ex CNG e-auction 259 (6 July 2011), lot 127; $250.00 (220.00)


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

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In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.
RB76166. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 303a, Hunter III 117, Cohen V 262, SRCV III 8732, Choice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen fill, nice portrait, well centered, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th issue, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, laurel-branch in right hand, left forearm resting on lyre on back of his seat, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $110.00 (96.80)


Tarentum, Southern Apulia, Italy, c. 275 - 200 B.C.

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Tarentum's independence and power ended when the Romans expanded across Italy. Tarentum was aided by Pyrrhus, who surprised and defeated Rome with the use of war elephants. However, after Pyrrhus departed, the city surrendered in 272 B.C. In 209 B.C., Tarentum would suffer for supporting Hannibal. The commander of a Bruttian force betrayed the city to the Romans. Indiscriminate slaughter ensued and among the victims were the Bruttians who had betrayed the city. Thirty thousand of the Greek inhabitants were sold as slaves and the city's art treasures, including the statue of Nike (Victory) were carried off to Rome.
GI85894. Brass AE 14, Vlasto 1850, HN Italy 1092, SNG Morcom 259, aVF, rough, weight 2.212 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 180o, Tarentum (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 275 - 200 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse kithara; very rare; $110.00 (96.80)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle, the senate brought her worship to Rome in 204 B.C. as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. After approval, they were dismayed to learn that the priesthood required voluntary self-castration, which was abhorrent to the Romans. Romans were barred from entering the priesthood or even entering the priest's sanctuary. The eunuch priests, recruited from outside Rome, were confined to their sanctuary, leaving only to parade in the streets during festivals in April. Claudius removed the bans on Roman participation, making worship of Cybele and her consort Attis part of the state religion.
RS89456. Silver denarius, RIC IV S564; RSC III 123; BMCRE V p. 163, S51; Hunter III p. 42, S11; SRCV II 6593, Choice VF, well centered and struck, a few light marks, small coppery spots, edge cracks, weight 3.380 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 205 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse MATER DEVM (mother of the gods), Cybele seated left between two lions, wearing towered crown, branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, resting left arm on drum; scarce; $110.00 (96.80)


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

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The Temple of Apollo Palatinus, on the Palatine Hill, was dedicated by Octavian on 9 October 28 B.C. in return for vows made for his victories over Sextus Pompeius at the Battle of Naulochus in 36 B.C. and over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium 31 B.C. It was built on a site where a lightning bolt had struck. Augustus' private house was directly connected to the terrace of the sanctuary. Ancient sources state the temple had ivory doors and held numerous works of sculpture. The remains were excavated in the 1960s.
RS85050. Silver denarius, Szaivert MIR 18 p.165, 805; BMCRE IV 271, pl. 97, 17 (aureus); RIC III 197 (S) var. (obv. leg.), RSC II 30 var. (same), Hunter II - (clv), F, dark deposits, rough, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.082 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 189 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT P P, laureate head right; reverse APOLLINI PALATINO, Apollo Palatinus standing facing, head right, laureate and wearing long robe, plectrum in right hand, lyre resting on a column in left hand; there were only two specimens of this type in the Reka Devnia Hoard, and there are none on coin archives.; extremely rare; $100.00 (88.00)


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 300 - 240 B.C.

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Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, mythical birthplace of the god Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for the god, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain and says it was drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB85884. Bronze chalkous, BCD Peloponnesos 1629; Imhoof-Blumer MG 257; Trait III 905 & pl. CCXXV, 13; HGC 5 995 (R2); SNG Cop -; BMC Peloponnesus -, F, dark olive green patina, reverse slightly off center, weight 2.693 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 300 - 240 B.C.; obverse head of Artemis Heurippa right, quiver behind; reverse hound running right, ΦE above, syrinx (Pan pipes) below; ex J. Cohen Collection; very rare; $90.00 (79.20)


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a citys status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tbingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY K - ΠOY ΛIK OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $80.00 (70.40)


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.
GB85881. Bronze tetrachalkon, cf. SNG Cop 470; BMC Attica p. 119, 12; BCD Peloponnesos 31; HGC 4 1791 (S-R1), F, near black patina, marks, porosity, reverse a little off center, weight 6.518 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, late 3rd - early 2nd century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse kithara (lyre), MEΓA/PEΩN in two flanking downward lines, the first on the right; ex J. Cohen Collection; ex BCD Collection with his tag, noting "AHB, May 1974, 2.-"; ex A.H. Baldwin, London; scarce; $70.00 (61.60)


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

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The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. The kithara is a symbol of Apollo and he is credited with inventing it. Its true origins were likely Asiatic.. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."
RP89874. Bronze AE 26, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 547, Varbanov 3715 (R4), SNG Cop 588, Moushmov 2680, F, nice portrait, glossy dark patina, obverse slightly off center, reverse a little rough, central depressions, weight 10.328 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEIT,ΩN (last two letters in exergue), Apollo seated left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch downward in right hand, kithara (lyre) resting on seat behind in left hand; $70.00 (61.60)


Antioch, Syria, 128 - 129 A.D.

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In 129 A.D., Hadrian, on his voyages, inspected Caria, Cappadocia and Syria.
RP91940. Bronze dichalkon, RPC Online III 3750 (8 specimens); McAlee 127(a) (Rare), SNG Cop 120; BMC Galatia p. 164, 111, aVF, dark green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 1.817 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch mint, 128 - 129 A.D.; obverse ANTIOXEWN THC MHTPOΠOΛEWC (clockwise from upper right), laureate and draped bust of Apollo, seen from the front; reverse ETOYC A ZOP (year 177 Caesarean Era), lyre, A above; rare; $60.00 (52.80)




  



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