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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Mythology||View Options:  |  |  | 

Mythology and the Ancient Gods

Many ancient coins depict the gods and goddesses of the Greeks, Romans and other ancient cultures. Collecting as many different gods and goddesses as possible is a fun, educational and affordable collecting theme. Every ancient gods and goddesses has their mythical function, biography, lineage and other facts and fictions that make them interesting. Here we will present as many different gods and goddesses as we can and provide some of the stories about them that fascinate us. We hope they fascinate you too.

Julia Soaemias, Augusta 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Sebaste, Samaria, Syria Palaestina

|Roman| |Judea| |&| |Palestina|, |Julia| |Soaemias,| |Augusta| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.,| |Sebaste,| |Samaria,| |Syria| |Palaestina
||AE| |22|
Beautiful Persephone lived a peaceful life far away from the other deities, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. She was innocently picking flowers when Hades, god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Demeter searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Zeus, pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Hades to return Persephone. However, Hades had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, and because anyone who consumes food or drink in the Underworld is doomed to spend eternity there, she is forced return to the underworld for a period each year. Explaining the seasons, when Demeter and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Persephone returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.
RP110276. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online VI T8902 (16 spec.); Rosenberger 34; BMC Palestine p. 81, 18; SNG ANS 1084; Sofaer 39; Lindgren I A2438A; Meshorer City Coins -, VF, green patina, tight flan, some porosity, small edge splits, weight 11.087 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 235o, Sebaste (Sebastia, Israel) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse SVAEMIAS AVGVSTA SEB, draped bust of Julia Soaemias right; reverse COL L SE SEBASTE, Hades abduction of Persephone: Hades in quadriga right, looking back, holding reins and Persephone, Eros flying right above, Athena advancing right behind, holding shield and about to hurl spear; serpent right over basket before, cista(?) below; $240.00 SALE PRICE $216.00


Julia Soaemias, Augusta 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

|Julia| |Soaemias|, |Julia| |Soaemias,| |Augusta| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.||denarius|
Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.
RS111520. Silver denarius, RIC IV 243, RSC III 14, BMCRE V 56, Hunter V 7, SRCV II 7720, Choice gVF, well centered, light tone, luster in recesses, flow lines, weight 2.963 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 A.D.; obverse IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS CAELESTIS (heavenly Venus), Venus diademed seated left on throne, apple in right hand, scepter in left hand, child at her feet raising arms; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 124 (8 Jan 2023), lot 881 (part of); $220.00 SALE PRICE $198.00


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

|Bithynia|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Nicaea,| |Bithynia||hemiassarion|
According to myth, Hermes and Dionysos were sons of Zeus, but Hermes' mother was the princess Semele and Dionysos' mother was the minor goddess Maia. To protect the infant Dionysos from his wife Hera, Zeus entrusted him to Hermes, who together with a band of nymphs, hid the child near Mt. Nysa in Anatolia.
RP111796. Bronze hemiassarion, RPC Online IV 5875 (3 spec.); Rec Gen 79; SNG Cop 480 corr. (obv. leg., M. Aurelius), aVF, dark and earthen patina, weight 4.044 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, obverse AVT KAICAP ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKAIEΩN, Infant Dionysos seated right in cradle, extending both arms, thyrsus in cradle behind (not visible); Coin Archives records only one specimen of the type at auction in the last two decades; very rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Anazarbus, Cilicia, 114 - 115 A.D.

|Cilicia|, |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia,| |114| |-| |115| |A.D.||hemiassarion|
The torch is a symbol that can be related to either Artemis or Demeter. Although goddess on the reverse is usually identified in references as Artemis, we believe it is Demeter. In year 132, this type was struck at Anazarbus with larger denominations depicting Trajan on the obverse, some with reverses depicting Trajan's sister Marciana, and others with reverses depicting her daughter, Trajan's niece, Matidia. Circulating alongside the other coins, these coins advertised the importance of Marciana and Matidia to the imperial family and suggested that they, similar to Demeter and her daughter Persephone, were essential to the prosperity of the empire.
GB110042. Bronze hemiassarion, Ziegler 122; RPC III 3375; BMC Lycaonia p. 31, 3; SNG BnF 2026; cf. SNG Levante 1380 (year 132); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Righetti -, F, dark green patina, scratches, reverse edge beveled, weight 3.023 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 114 - 115 A.D.; obverse KAICAPIA ANAZAP, veiled bust of Persephone right, grain ears and poppy before; reverse veiled bust of Demeter right, wearing polos (resembling a pileus), flaming torch before, ET ΓΛP (year 133) upward behind; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Apameia, Phrygia, c. 88 - 40 B.C.

|Apameia|, |Apameia,| |Phrygia,| |c.| |88| |-| |40| |B.C.||AE| |16|
While playing the flute Athena saw her reflection in the water and disturbed by how her cheeks looked, puffed up while playing, threw away the instrument in disgust. The satyr Marsyas picked up the flute and since it had once been inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully on its own accord. Elated by his success, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. For the prize, the victor could do what he pleased with the vanquished. The Muses were the umpires. Apollo played the cithara and Marsyas the flute. Only after Apollo added his voice to the music of his lyre was the contest decided in his favor. As a just punishment for the presumption of Marsyas, Apollo bound him to an evergreen tree and flayed him alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and Apollo hung up his skin, like a wine bag, in the cave out of which that river flows.
GB110567. Bronze AE 16, BMC Phrygia p. 77, 47; SNG Cop 191; SNGvA 3472; SNG Tbingen 3973; HGC 7 674; SNG Munchen -, F, tight flan, weight 3.469 g, maximum diameter 16.2 mm, die axis 0o, Phrygia, Apameia (Dinar, Turkey) mint, c. 88 - 40 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Artemis right, bow and quiver on shoulder behind; reverse satyr Marsyas walking right on a meander pattern, nude but for nebris (skin of a fawn) tied on his neck and flying behind, playing Athena's double flute, AΠAMEΩN downward on right, APIΣT / KHΦIΣ (Aristo... and Kephis...) magistrates' names in two downward lines on left; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00







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