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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Medusa||View Options:  |  |  |   

Medusa, Gorgoneion & Perseus on Ancient Coins

Kamarina, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GB91194. Bronze onkia, Calciati III, p. 56, 21.3 (same dies); Westermark-Jenkins, type F, 195.6; SNG Mn 410; BMC Sicily p. 40, 38; McClean 2159; Weber 1255; SNG HGC 2 547, VF, well centered, green patina with red-brown areas, buff earthen deposits, weight 3.513 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 90o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), smooth neatly waved hair tied with ribbon, symmetrical locks on forehead, dimpled cheeks, protruding tongue; reverse owl standing left, head facing, lizard with head down in right talon, one pellet (mark of value) in exergue, no control marks, KAMA downward on right; scarce; $220.00 (193.60)


Thracians, Odrysian Kingdom, Hebryzelmis, c. 389 - 383 B.C.

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Hebryzelmis was a king of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace, c. 389 - 383 B.C. Hebrizelm Hill on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named for Hebryzelmis. Based on several other examples with the same countermark placement, the countermarks were carefully placed to fit well with the design. In addition, a similar punch is found on at least one other examples, also near the nose.
GB89989. Bronze AE 17, Topalov p. 239, 86 (same countermarks, same placement), F, green patina with red areas, some corrosion, punch on nose, weight 4.974 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 180o, c. 389 - 383 B.C.; obverse turreted head of Cybele right, countermark: PH monogram in rectangular incuse (on neck); reverse Two-handled cup with a round body and conical mouth, EB-PY divided across field, grain ear right below, countermark: gorgoneion in round incuse (on vessel side); very rare; $180.00 (158.40)


Kings of Bosporos, Polemo I, c. 14 - 9 B.C.

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The Bosporan Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch (it was not named after the Bosphorus beside Istanbul). The mixed population adopted Greek language and civilization. The prosperity of the kingdom was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The kingdom's golden age was 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. At the end of the 2nd century A.D., King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and expanded his state to include the entire Crimea. It was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, lasting until it was overrun by the Huns c. 375 A.D.
GB85937. Bronze tetrachalkon, Frolova-Ireland p. 52, pl. 33/1, pl. 34/1-5, MacDonald Bosporus 229, SNG Stancomb 961, Anokhin 256, HGC 7 347 (R2), RPC I -, SNG BM -, SNG Pushkin -, nice VF, bold strike, slightly off center, attractive near black patina with buff earthen highlighting, scratches, edge cracks, countermark, weight 9.295 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, c. 14 - 9 B.C.; obverse head of gorgon Medusa (or Perseus? - most references say a gorgon) right, winged, snakes (or drapery) around neck, obscure round countermark before; reverse monogram of Polemo I; very rare; $160.00 (140.80)


Komana, Pontos, c. 85 - 65 B.C.

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Next to the Yesilirmak river (ancient Iris), 9 km from the town of Tokat (ancient Dazimon), A mound rising on a natural hill is believe to be the site of Komana Pontike. It is largely unexcavated and it is still uncertain if it was a city or a sanctuary.
GB89145. Bronze AE 22, cf. BMC Pontus p. 28, 2; SNG BM 1262; Rec Gen p. 79, 4; SGCV II 3657, gVF, attractive toned brassy metal, weight 7.106 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Komana mint, c. 120 - 63 B.C.; obverse Aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right holding palm across shoulder, KOMA-NΩN divided across field, monograms (controls lower left and lower right; $150.00 (132.00)


Selge, Pisidia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Kprcay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century AD.
GS91762. Silver obol, SNG BnF 1933; SNGvA 5278; SNG Cop 246; BMC Lycia p. 259, 23 ff.; Klein 630; SGCV II 5478, gVF, light toning, slightly off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.797 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 0o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), curly short hair, no protruding tongue; reverse head of Athena right in crested helmet, astragalos behind; $110.00 (96.80)


Selge, Pisidia, c. 300 - 190 B.C.

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Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Kprcay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century AD.
GS92947. Silver obol, cf. SNG Cop 251; BMC Lycia p. 259, 23 ff.; Klein 630; SNG BnF -; SNGvA -, VF, toned, worn dies, small edge splits, weight 0.979 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 0o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 300 - 190 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) with long hair, resembling Apollo or Helios; reverse head of Athena right in crested Athenian helmet, astragalos(?) behind, snake(?) below; $110.00 (96.80)


Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.

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Constantine II was about eight years old when this coin was minted. Here he is draped and cuirassed as a powerful child Caesar with the world in his hands!
SH63721. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 382 (R3) corr. (no cuirass), SRCV V 17155, Cohen VII 23, gVF, well centered on a tight flan, nice green patina, weight 2.868 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 322 - 323 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, mappa in left, head of Medusa on cuirass; reverse BEATA TRANQVILLITAS (blessed tranquility), altar inscribed VO/TIS / XX, surmounted by globe, three stars above, STR in exergue; rare; $100.00 (88.00)


Selinous, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.

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Selinus was once one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians attacked with a vast army believed to include at least 100,000 men. Selinus, with a population of about 30,000 excluding slaves, was unprepared and an auxiliary force promised by Syracuse, Agrigentum and Gela did not arrive. The Selinuntines defended themselves with courage, and after the walls were breached, continued to fight from house to house. After tens days the city fell. Of the citizens, 16,000 were slain and 5,000 made prisoners, but more than 2,600 escaped to Agrigento.
GI83626. Cast bronze cast trias, Calciati I p. 233, 2; SNG Morcom 666; HGC 2 1231 (R1); BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Mnchen -; SNG Tb -, aF, green patina, weight 14.308 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); with teeth displayed, four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; reverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), with protruding tongue; four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; ex CNG e-auction 285 (22 Aug 2012), lot 14; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; rare; $100.00 (88.00)


Neapolis, Macedonia, c. 525 - 480 B.C.

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Neapolis, Macedonia (Kavala, Greece today), was founded by settlers from Thasos near the end of the 7th century B.C., to exploit the rich gold and silver mines of the area. At the end of the 6th century B.C. Neapolis ("new city" in Greek) claimed its independence from Thasos and struck its own silver coins with the head of Gorgon. A member of the Athenian League, Neapolis was besieged by the allied armies of the Spartans and the Thasians in 411 B.C., during the Peloponnesian War, but remained faithful to Athens. The Apostle Paul landed at Neapolis on his second and third missionary journeys.
GA89340. Silver obol, SNG ANS 424; Rosen 106; Klein 155; BMC Macedonia p. 84, 13; HGC 3 585; SNG Cop -, VF, rough, scratches, etched, lamination defects, weight 1.090 g, maximum diameter 9.2 mm, Macedonia, Neapolis mint, c. 525 - 480 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); reverse rough incuse; $90.00 (79.20)


Amisos, Pontos, c. 105 - 85 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB91473. Bronze AE 21, cf. SNG BM 1177 ff.; BMC Pontus p. 19, 69 ff.; HGC 7 242 (various controls), VF, nice patina, tight flan, earthen deposits, weight 7.498 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 105 - 85 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right, holding palm frond across shoulders behind, AMI−ΣOY divided across field, monogram (control) lower right; $80.00 (70.40)




  



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Medusa & Gorgoneion