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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Medical & Health||View Options:  |  |  | 

Medical & Health on Ancient Coins
Kyrene, Kyrenaika, N. Africa, c. 325 - 313 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Kyrene,| |Kyrenaika,| |N.| |Africa,| |c.| |325| |-| |313| |B.C.||AE| |15|
Silphium, which is now extinct, was so critical to the Kyrenian economy that most of their coins depict it. The plant was used as a spice and to treat all kinds of maladies including cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, pain, and warts. It was so widely used as a contraceptive that it was worth its weight in denarii. The traditional heart shape, the symbol of love, is probably derived from the shape of the silphium seed due to the use of silphium as an contraceptive.

"By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." - Description of Greece, Pausanias 3.16.3, 2nd Century A.D.
GB96101. Bronze AE 15, Asolati 12/2 (same dies); cf. Müller Afrique 228 ff.; Buttrey Cyrene I 12, SNG Cop 1226; BMC Cyrenaica p. 45, 198, VF, porosity, some corrosion, tight flan, weight 3.799 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, 325 - 313 B.C.; obverse head of Apollo Carneius right, short curly hair, THP (magistrate) upward behind; reverse triple silphium plant, seen from above, K-Y-P around divided by members, all within a round incuse; rare; $580.00 (€533.60)
 


Roman Republic, Mn. Acilius Glabrio, 49 B.C.

|after| |50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Mn.| |Acilius| |Glabrio,| |49| |B.C.||denarius|NEW
Salus and Valetudo were honored on coins of the Acilia gens because they claimed to have introduced the first Greek physician into Rome. Valetudo, Hygieia to the Greeks, was the original Roman goddess of personal health. Over time, Salus, the goddess of safety and well-being (including welfare and prosperity in addition to health) assumed Valetudo's role. Few recognize Valetudo's name today.

On 10 January 49 B.C., Julius Caesar led his army across the Rubicon, which separated his jurisdiction (Cisalpine Gaul) from that of the Senate (Italy), and thus initiates a civil war. In October 49 B.C., Caesar was appointed Dictator of Rome.
RR97490. Silver denarius, Crawford 442/1b, RSC I Acilia 8a, Sydenham 922, BMCRR I Rome 3943, SRCV I 412, VF, uneven tone, light bumps and scratches, weight 3.844 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 49 B.C.; obverse SALVTIS (downward behind), laureate head of Salus right; reverse MN ACILIVS (straight downward on right, MN and TV in monogram) / III VIR VALETVS (curving upward on left), Valetudo (the old Roman goddess of personal health) standing left, snake in right hand, resting left elbow on column; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 374; $200.00 (€184.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

|Hadrian|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RS96580. Silver denarius, RIC II-3 231, Strack II 124, BMCRE III 207, RSC II 1151, Hunter II 76, SRCV III 3525, Choice aVF, excellent heroic bust, well centered with full borders, light marks, edge a little ragged with splits, weight 2.932 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 119 - mid 120 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, laureate bust right, bare chest, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse P M TR P COS III, Salus seated left, from patera in right hand, feeding snake rising from altar before her, resting left elbow on back of chair; $140.00 (€128.80)
 


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

|Commodus|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
Felicitas was the goddess of good luck and success. She was a prominent symbol of wealth and prosperity and, during the Empire, she played an important role in Rome's state religion. Since it was considered the duty of the emperor to promote public happiness, almost every emperor struck coins dedicated to Felicitas.
RS94666. Silver denarius, RIC III 66, BMCRE IV 113, Hunter II 18, RSC II 903 var. (obv legend, noted), SRCV II -, VF, tight flan with some legend off flan, flow lines, light marks, porosity, small edge cracks, weight 2.627 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTON AVG PIVS, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP VI COS IIII P P, Salus (goddess of health) standing facing, head left, with right hand feeding snake rising from altar on left, long scepter in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $120.00 (€110.40)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

|Carausius|, |Romano-British| |Empire,| |Carausius,| |Mid| |286| |-| |Spring| |or| |Early| |Summer| |293| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RA73475. Billon antoninianus, Beaujard and Huvelin 36, Webb Carausius 739, RIC V-2 666 (R), Hunter IV -, SRCV IV -, F, well centered on a tight flan, over-cleaned, porous, ragged edge, closed flan crack, weight 2.673 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 225o, Rotomagus (Rouen, France) mint, 2nd emission, c. 1st half 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front, continental portrait type; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing slightly left, head left, from patera in right hand feeding snake rising from altar, cornucopia in left hand, no mintmarks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; very rare; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Kibyra, Phrygia

|Other| |Phrygia|, |Sabina,| |Augusta| |128| |-| |c.| |136| |A.D.,| |Kibyra,| |Phrygia||AE| |18|NEW
Kibyra (Cibyra) near the modern town of Gölhisar in south-west Turkey, was possibly originally settled by Lydians. The city was in the far south of Phrygia adjoining Lycia. It is uncertain whether the city was part of the Province of Asia or of Lycia in the early imperial period. According to Strabo, the Lydian language was still being spoken by a multicultural population in the 1st century B.C. Thus Kibyra was the last place where the Lydian culture, by then extinct in Lydia proper, persevered.
RP92640. Bronze AE 18, RPC Online III 2301 (3 spec.), SNG Leypold 1610, SNGvA -, BMC Phrygia -, aF, brassy surfaces with uneven partial toning, porosity, legends weak, weight 3.428 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Kibyra (near Golhisar, Turkey) mint, 128 - c. 136 A.D.; obverse CABEINA CEBACTH, diademed and draped bust right, hair coiled above double stephane; reverse KIBYPATΩM, Asclepius standing facing, head left, leaning on serpent-entwined staff; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very rare; $100.00 (€92.00)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

|Carausius|, |Romano-British| |Empire,| |Carausius,| |Mid| |286| |-| |Spring| |or| |Early| |Summer| |293| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RA73489. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 165 (S), Webb Carausius 195, Bourne Carausius -, Linchmere -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester -, Carausian Hoard -, F, green patina, flan cracks, ragged flan, corrosion, encrustations, weight 3.219 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 180o, Londinium (London, England) mint, c. late 289 - 291; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, middle reign portrait type; reverse SALVS PVBLICA (the health of the public), Salus standing right, feeding snake held in right hand, from patera held in left hand, B - E across fields, MLXXI in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; scarce; $85.00 (€78.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

|Carausius|, |Romano-British| |Empire,| |Carausius,| |Mid| |286| |-| |Spring| |or| |Early| |Summer| |293| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Although the exergue is off flan, based on the portrait style, it is likely this is an early issue without a mintmark (unmarked). It may have been struck at a mint traveling with Carausius or perhaps at London.
RA73490. Billon antoninianus, cf. RIC V-2 983, Webb Carausius 1102, Hunter IV 75, Cohen VII 310, Linchmere Hoard 1102 (1 spec.), King Unmarked 13, SRCV IV -, Bicester -, F, nice green patina, centered on a crowded flan, minor edge chipping, weight 2.590 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 45o, London(?) mint, c. mid 286 - 287 A.D.; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, early reign 'moustache' portrait; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing slightly left, head left, from patera in right hand feeding snake rising from altar, long scepter vertical in left hand; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; $85.00 (€78.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

|Carausius|, |Romano-British| |Empire,| |Carausius,| |Mid| |286| |-| |Spring| |or| |Early| |Summer| |293| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RA73284. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 994 (S), Webb Carausius 1117, Linchmere 812A, King Carausius -, Burton Latimer -, Carausian Hoard -, Bicester -, aVF, tight slightly ragged flan, corrosion, weight 2.798 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 225o, unmarked mint, c. 288 - 291; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, middle reign portrait type; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus seated left feeding serpent and holding long staff, no field marks or mintmarks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; scarce; $60.00 (€55.20)
 







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