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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; $275.00 SALE PRICE $248.00


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; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


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

|Apameia|, |Apameia,| |Phrygia,| |c.| |88| |-| |40| |B.C.||AE| |16|NEW
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


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 470 - 425 B.C.

|Italy|, |Rhegion,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |470| |-| |425| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Iokastos was the founder of Rhegion. He died of a snakebite. Iokastos was one of six sons of Aiolos, ruler of the Aeolian islands, all of whom secured their own realms in Italy and Sicily.

Of all the coins that have passed through my hands, this is one of my favorites - Joe Sermarini
SH33193. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Lockett 651; SNG ANS 640 var. (swan vice snake); BMC Italy p. 374, 14 (snake not mentioned); Pozzi -; SNG Cop -, Choice gVF, weight 17.312 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 150o, Rhegion mint, c. 470 - 425 B.C.; obverse facing lion's scalp, sprig with two olives right; reverse PHΓI−NOΣ (retrograde), Iokastos seated left, staff in right, left resting on seat, snake beneath seat, all within laurel wreath; toned, hairline crack, slightly bent, reverse lightly double struck; rare; SOLD


Carthage, Zeugitana, c. 310 - 290 B.C.

|Carthage|, |Carthage,| |Zeugitana,| |c.| |310| |-| |290| |B.C.||shekel|
SH30333. Electrum shekel, SNG Cop 137, SGCV II 6462, gVF, weight 7.439 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, obverse head of Tanit left, wreathed in grain, wearing necklace and triple-drop earring, dot border, pellet under chin; reverse horse standing right, three pellets in exergue; fine style; scarce; SOLD


Rhegion, Bruttium, Italy, c. 450 - 445 B.C.

|Italy|, |Rhegion,| |Bruttium,| |Italy,| |c.| |450| |-| |445| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Iokastos was the founder of Rhegion. He died of a snakebite. Iokastos was one of six sons of Aiolos, ruler of the Aeolian islands, all of whom secured their own realms in Italy and Sicily.
SH46848. Silver tetradrachm, SNG ANS 636, SNG Cop 1928, HN Italy 2477, VF/F, damaged reverse die, weight 16.915 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, Rhegion mint, obverse facing lion's scalp, sprig with two olives right; reverse PHΓI−NOΣ (retrograde), Iokastos seated left, staff in right, left resting on seat, snake beneath seat, all within laurel wreath; high relief sculptural obverse; SOLD


Roman Republic, Sextus Pompey, Imperator and Prefect of the Fleet, Executed 35 B.C., Portrait of Pompey the Great

|Pompeians|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Sextus| |Pompey,| |Imperator| |and| |Prefect| |of| |the| |Fleet,| |Executed| |35| |B.C.,| |Portrait| |of| |Pompey| |the| |Great||denarius|
The inscription PRAEF CLAS ET ORAE MARIT abbreviates Praefectus Classis et Orae Maritimae, which translates Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet and the Sea Coasts. This title was held by both Pompey the Great and his son Sextus Pompey. Although Sextus Pompey was the supreme naval commander, Octavian had the Senate declare him a public enemy. He turned to piracy and came close to defeating Octavian. He was defeated by Marcus Agrippa at the naval battle of Naulochus (3 September 36 B.C.) and was executed by order of Mark Antony in 35 B.C.
SH91677. Silver denarius, Crawford 511/3a, RSC I Pompey the Great 17, Sydenham 1344, BMCRR Sicily 7, Sear CRI 334, SRCV I 1392, VF, deep old-cabinet toning, slightly off center, banker's mark on cheek, weight 3.703 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Sicilian mint, 42 - 40 B.C.; obverse MAG PIVS IMP ITER, head of Pompey the Great right, between capis and lituus (augural symbols); reverse Neptune standing left, right foot on prow, nude but for chlamys on left arm, holding apluster, flanked by the Catanaean brothers, Anapias and Amphinomus, running in opposite directions with their parents on their shoulders, PRAEF above, CLAS ET ORAE / MARIT EX S C in two lines in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; SOLD


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

|Caracalla|, |Caracalla,| |28| |January| |198| |-| |8| |April| |217| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Cerberus, a multi-headed (usually three-headed) hound, guards the gates of Hades to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Capturing Cerberus alive was the twelfth and final labor King Eurystheus assigned to Hercules. In the underworld, Hercules met Hades and asked his permission to bring Cerberus to the surface. Hades agreed to if Hercules could overpower the beast without using weapons. Hercules was able to overpower Cerberus, sling the beast over his back, and drag it out of Hades through a cavern entrance in the Peloponnese. Eurystheus was so frightened by the beast that, in return for releasing him from his labors, he asked Hercules to return it to the underworld.
SH34981. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 261c; RSC III 299a; BMCRE V 124, Choice EF, well centered on a broad flan, weight 5.154 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 18 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Pluto seated left, extending right hand, holding vertical scepter in left; at his feet to left, Cerberus seated left, turning his three heads right; unusual reverse type; rare; SOLD


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

|Otho|, |Otho,| |15| |January| |69| |-| |17| |April| |69| |A.D.||denarius|
Vesta was originally a household spirit but was later personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins.
SH41731. Silver denarius, RIC I 24 (R3), RSC II 7, BMCRE I 11, BnF III 29, SRCV I 2161, Hunter I -, gF, weight 3.046 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse PONT MAX (high priest), Vesta seated left, veiled, patera in right hand, scepter in left hand; very rare; SOLD


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

|Vitellius|, |Vitellius,| |2| |January| |-| |20| |December| |69| |A.D.||denarius|
"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." - David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH21376. Silver denarius, RIC I 70, RSC II 155, BMCRE I 3, VF, attractive bold portrait, weight 3.349 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMANICVS IMP, bare head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC (fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters), Tripob-lebes with dolphin laying right on top and raven below; scarce; SOLD







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