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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians||View Options:  |  |  |   

The Twelve Olympians on Ancient Coins

The Twelve Olympians, the principal gods of the Greek pantheon, residing atop Mount Olympus, included the following gods:

Greek

Roman

Zeus

Jupiter

Hera

Juno

Poseidon

Neptune

Demeter

Ceres

Ares

Mars

Hermes

Mercury

Hephaestus

Vulcan

Aphrodite

Venus

Athena

Minerva

Apollo

Apollo

Artemis

Diana

Hestia

Vesta

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |36|
See this type online:
RPC Online VI
Asia Minor Coins
ANS Mantis (No photo on ANS, but photo of this specimen is available on RPC Online.)
SH87621. Bronze AE 36, Karwiese MvE 5.2 p. 164, 750b (O3/R3, only 1 spec. of this variety); RPC Online VI T4956 (5 spec.); ANS Mantis 1972.185.5, Choice EF, excellent centering, olive green patina, some legend weak, small flaw/punch on reverse, porous, weight 25.344 g, maximum diameter 36.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEB AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse M-ONΩN - ΠPΩTΩN - ACIAC, on left: cult statue of Artemis standing facing, wearing ornate kalathos, flanked on each side by a stag, arms with supports; on right: Demeter enthroned left, wreathed in grain, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical in left hand; EΦECIΩN in exergue; only the second known of this variety with stags flanking Artemis, fantastic HUGE 36mm provincial bronze!; $2100.00 (€1722.00)


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

|Athens|, |Athens,| |Attica,| |Greece,| |c.| |454| |-| |404| |B.C.,| |Old| |Style| |Tetradrachm||tetradrachm|
This type was struck on thick flans, almost always with a diameter too small to fit all the details from the obverse die. Most of the helmet crest is usually off the flan, or Athena's nose is cut off on the right. The happy coincidence of this irregularly shaped flan allowed an unusual nearly full strike of Athena's head and crested helmet.
SH98708. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG Munchen 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, Choice aEF, near full helmet crest, well centered on an oblong flan, flow lines, light toning, small bumps and marks, mild die wear, weight 17.159 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 90o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; $1750.00 (€1435.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius III, c. 96 - 87 B.C.

|Seleucid| |Kingdom|, |Seleukid| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |III,| |c.| |96| |-| |87| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
The inscription on the reverse of this coin translates, "King Demetrios, the god, father-loving, savior." He was nicknamed Eucaerus ("the Timely") by the Syrian Greeks but was called Acaerus ("the Untimely) by the Jews. He defeated the Hasmonaean priest king Alexander Jannaeus but was forced to withdraw from Judaea by the hostile population. While attempting to dethrone his brother, Philip I Philadelphus, he was defeated by the Arabs and Parthians, and taken prisoner. He was held in confinement in Parthia by Mithridates II until his death in 88 B.C.
SL94920. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2450(2); HGC 9 1305; cf. BMC Seleucid p. 101, 1 (SE 217, same controls); SNG Spaer 2863 (SE 219, different controls), NGC Ch XF, strike 5/5, surface 3/5 (5771210-005), weight 16.501 g, maximum diameter 30.10 mm, die axis 0o, Damaskos (Damascus, Syria) mint, 97 - 96 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Demetrios III right, fringe of curly beard at jawline, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩS / DHMHTPIOY / ΘEOY - ΦIΛOΠATOPOΣ / ΣΩTHPOΣ, cult image of Atargatis standing facing, holding flower, barley stalk behind each shoulder, two monograms (controls) outer left, date CIS (Seleucid Era year 216) in exergue, ∆H monogram (control) in exergue on right, laurel wreath border; from the Ray Nouri Collection, NGC| Lookup; scarce; $900.00 (€738.00)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Irenopolis-Neronias,| |Cilicia||7| |assaria|
Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.
RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Düzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/θ>AΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $810.00 (€664.20)


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Kyrenaica, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), 163 - 145 B.C.

|Kyrenaica|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Kyrenaica,| |Ptolemy| |VIII| |Euergetes| |II| |(Physcon),| |163| |-| |145| |B.C.||hemidrachm|
Ptolemy VIII was made co-ruler of Egypt with his older siblings in 170 B.C. Soon after, Ptolemy VI was captured in the Sixth Syrian War and Ptolemy VIII became sole king. When the war ended in 168 B.C. Ptolemy VI was restored to joint rule. The brothers quarreled and in 164 B.C. Ptolemy VIII drove out his brother out and became sole king, but he was in turn expelled in 163 B.C. As a result of Roman intervention, Ptolemy VIII was awarded rule of Kyrenaica. After Ptolemy VI's death in 145 B.C., Ptolemy VIII returned to Egypt as co-ruler with his sister.
GP95307. Bronze hemidrachm, Svoronos 1641, pl. LVI, 14; Asolati 84; SNG Cop 651; BMC Ptolemies p. 94, 78; Malter 242; Weiser -; Noeske -, EF, some areas of weakness, reverse with some doubling, obverse edge beveled, central depressions, weight 36.92 g, maximum diameter 44.0 mm, die axis 0o, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 150 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus Ammon right, taenia with basileion above forehead; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY EYEPΓETOY, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, Φ right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 10 (7 Dec 2019), lot 619; rare; $700.00 (€574.00)


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Kyrenaica, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon), 163 - 145 B.C.

|Ptolemaic| |Egypt|, |Ptolemaic| |Kingdom| |of| |Kyrenaica,| |Ptolemy| |VIII| |Euergetes| |II| |(Physcon),| |163| |-| |145| |B.C.||hemidrachm|
Ptolemy VIII was made co-ruler of Egypt with his older siblings in 170 B.C. Soon after, Ptolemy VI was captured in the Sixth Syrian War and Ptolemy VIII became sole king. When the war ended in 168 B.C. Ptolemy VI was restored to joint rule. The brothers quarreled and in 164 B.C. Ptolemy VIII drove out his brother out and became sole king, but he was in turn expelled in 163 B.C. As a result of Roman intervention, Ptolemy VIII was awarded rule of Kyrenaica. After Ptolemy VI's death in 145 B.C., Ptolemy VIII returned to Egypt as co-ruler with his sister.
GP95308. Bronze hemidrachm, Svoronos 1641, pl. LVI, 14; Asolati 84; SNG Cop 651; BMC Ptolemies p. 94, 78; Malter 242; Weiser -; Noeske -, EF, areas of weak strike, obverse edge beveled, edge crack, weight 36.82 g, maximum diameter 43.0 mm, Kyrene (near Shahhat, Libya) mint, c. 150 B.C.; obverse diademed and horned head of Zeus Ammon right, taenia with basileion above forehead; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠTOΛEMAIOY EYEPΓETOY, eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings open, Φ right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 10 (7 Dec 2019), lot 618; rare; $700.00 (€574.00)


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)


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

|Hadrian|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.||sestertius|
A coin this beautiful might sell for twice this price or more. This coin, however, was expertly smoothed and has an enhanced artificial patina. Here at FORVM we inform you of this issue, which might go unsubscribed by some sellers. This smoothing and patina were probably made necessary by active corrosion. It should be maintained in a climate controlled environment, waxed occasionally, and is at risk of returning active corrosion. This bargain priced coin is sold, as is, no returns.
SH98432. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II-3 2398, BMCRE III 1545, Strack II 702, Cohen II 1364, Banti 710, SRCV II 3645, Hunter II 561, VF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, smoothing, enhanced patina, at risk for active corrosion - sold as is, no returns, weight 24.764 g, maximum diameter 31.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 137 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse Diana standing left, arrow in right hand, bow in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; sold as is, no returns; $500.00 (€410.00)


Roman Republic, L. Papius, 79 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |L.| |Papius,| |79| |B.C.||denarius| |serratus|NEW
In Roman mythology, Juno was the daughter of Saturn and the wife of Jupiter and she had many attributes. Among these was Juno Sospita, who offered protection to women, accompanying them throughout their lives from birth to death. Women called upon her to aid in conception. Juno Sospita was characterized by her goatskin coat and headdress with the horns of a goat. The control marks on this type are normally paired related symbols. Each pair has only one set of dies.
RR98392. Silver denarius serratus, BMCRR I 3070 (same controls); Crawford 384/1, pl. LXVI 94; Sydenham 773; RSC I Papia 1; SRCV I 311, aVF, toned, bumps and scratches, banker's marks, weight 3.705 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 79 B.C.; obverse head of Juno Sospita right, clad in goat's skin, spindle (control symbol) behind, bead and reel border, bankers marks under ear and to right; reverse Griffin leaping right, distaff (control symbol) below, L·PAPI in exergue, bead and reel border; $400.00 (€328.00)


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Sebaste, Samaria, Judaea

|Roman| |Judea| |&| |Palestina|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Sebaste,| |Samaria,| |Judaea||AE| |23|
Sebaste was in the heart of the mountains of Samaria, a few miles northwest of Shechem. The city was called Samaria when it was a capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. According to Josephus, King Herod the Great renamed Sebastia in honor of emperor Augustus.
RP98118. Bronze AE 23, Sofaer p. 64, 8; RPC II 2227 (9 spec); SNG ANS 1072; BMC Palestine p. 78, 5; Rosenberger III 30, Choice aVF, nice style, attractive blue-green patina with highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, weight 9.992 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Sebaste (Sebastia, Israel) mint, Sep 81 - 82 A.D.; obverse IMP DOMITIANVS CAESAR, laureate head right; reverse CEBACTHNWN L ΘP (Sebaste, year 109), Zeus standing half right, nude to the waist, himation over arm and around legs, long scepter vertical in left hand, small Nike presenting a wreath in right hand; only one sale of this type recorded on Coin Archives for the last two decades; very rare; $350.00 (€287.00)




  



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The first ancient reference of religious ceremonies for the 12 Olympians is found in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes.

There was a great deal of fluidity when it came to who was counted among their number in antiquity. Around 400 B.C. Herodorus included in his Dodekatheon the following deities: Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Athena, Hermes, Apollo, Alpheus, Cronus, Rhea and the Charites. Herodotus includes Heracles as one of the Twelve.

Lucian also includes Heracles, and also includes Asklepios, as members of the Twelve, without explaining which two had to give way for them. At Kos, Heracles and Dionysus are added to the Twelve, and Ares and Hephaestus are left behind. However, Pindar, Apollodorus, and Herodorus disagree with this. For them Heracles is not one of the Twelve Gods, but the one who established their cult.

Plato connected the Twelve Olympians with the twelve months, and proposed that the final month be devoted to rites in honor of Pluto and the spirits of the dead, implying that he considered Hades, one of the basic chthonic deities, to be one of the Twelve. Hades is phased out in later groupings due to his chthonic associations. In Phaedrus Plato aligns the Twelve with the Zodiac and would exclude Hestia from their rank.

Hestia is sometimes displaced by Dionysus. Hebe, Helios and Persephone are other important gods, goddesses, which are sometimes included in a group of twelve.

The Twelve Olympians gained their supremacy in the world of gods after Zeus led his siblings to victory in war with the Titans. Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, and Hades were siblings. Ares, Hermes, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, the Charites, Heracles, Dionysus, Hebe, and Persephone were children of Zeus. Although some versions of the myth state that Hephaestus was born of Hera alone.


Catalog current as of Friday, January 21, 2022.
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