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

Hermes or Mercury

Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.


Ainos, Thrace, c. 440 - 412 B.C.

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Aenus, Enez, Turkey today, was on the southeastern coast of Thrace, near the mouth of the Hebrus River, not far from the Melas Gulf (modern Gulf of Saros), which is formed by the Thracian Chersonesus to the east. The city was said to be founded (or at least settled) by Aeolian migrants from Lesbos. Its mythical and eponymous founder was said to be Aeneus, a son of the god Apollo and father of Cyzicus. Another mythical ruler, named Poltys, son of Poseidon, entertained Heracles when he came to Aenus. In the Iliad, Homer mentions that the leaders of Troy's Thracian allies, Acamas and Peiros, came from Aenus.
GS87868. Silver diobol, May Ainos 176 ff., AMNG II 303, SNG Cop 405, SNG Lockett 1164, Pozzi 1033, McClean 3892, VF, toned, well centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 1.133 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 90o, Ainos (Enez, Turkey) mint, c. 440 - 412 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse AIN, goat standing to right, coiled snake (control symbol) lower right, all withing incuse square; ex Pegasi Numismatics, ex Beast Coins; scarce; $260.00 (228.80)


Roman Egypt, Antinoopolites Nome(?), Portrait of Antinous, c. 130 - 153 A.D.

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Antinous probably joined the entourage of Hadrian when it passed through Bithynia in about 124. He became Hadrian's constant companion and lover but in October 130 Antinous drowned in the Nile. Hadrian's grief knew no bounds; he enrolled him among the gods, erected a temple, and on 30 October 130 A.D., Hadrian founded the city of Antinoopolis on the very bank of the Nile river where Antinous drowned. It was the capital of a new nome, Antinoopolites. Artists vied with each other in immortalizing his beauty. Temples and statues to his memory were erected all over the Empire, and there began a Cult of Antinous. On this coin he is depicted in the guise of Hermanubis.
RX90575. Lead tessera, Dattari 6536, Geissen 3559 var. (11.23g), Emmett 4397 (R4), F, weight 4.666 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antinoopolis (or Alexandria?) mint, c. 130 - 153 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Antinous right, wearing hem-hem crown of Harpocrates, crescent before; reverse Serapis standing left, wearing chiton, himation, and kalathos on head, right hand raised, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $140.00 (123.20)


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.
GS92808. Silver hemiobol, Von Fritze II, p. 37, 21 & pl. V, 24; SNGvA 7338; SNG BnF -, VF, well centered, struck with attractive style high-relief dies, slightly porous, weight 0.320 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, die axis 90o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes right, wearing winged petasos; reverse KY-ZI, tunny fish right; very rare; $120.00 (105.60)


Marathos, Phoenicia, 173 - 172 B.C.

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Marathos, the most northern coastal town in Phoenicia, was apparently under Ptolemaic hegemony when this coin was struck. The bust of Hermes is usually attributed to be also that of Ptolemy VI. Destroyed by its neighbor and rival Aradus, c. 145 B.C., Marathos was later rebuilt as a colony of Aradus.
GP73972. Bronze AE 21, Svoronos 1082 - 1085 (various controls); Duyrat Ateliers 252 - 261 (same); Cohen Dated 832; cf. HGC 10 194 (S); SNG Cop -; BMC Phoenicia -, F, black patina, rough, corrosion, weight 6.489 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Marathos (near Tartus, Syria) mint, 173 - 172 B.C.; obverse laureate and draped bust of Ptolemy VI as Hermes, kerykeion over shoulder; reverse Marathos standing left, apluster in right, Phoenician date IIIIIIINNNN (year 87) on left, Phoenician MRT (Marathos) right, Phoenician control letters low across field; $70.00 (61.60)


Aigai, Aiolis, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Aegae (or Aigai) means place of goats and was the name of many cities of antiquity. Aigai, Aiolis was also an important sanctuary of Apollo. It was within the Lydian Empire, then the Achaemenid Persian Empire, but had its brightest period under the Attalid dynasty, which ruled from nearby Pergamon in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. It changed hands from Pergamon to the Seleucid Empire, but was recaptured by Attalus I of Pergamon in 218 B.C. In the war between Bithynia and Pergamon, it was destroyed by Prusias II of Bithynia in 156 B.C. After a peace was brokered by the Romans, the city was compensated with 100 talents. In 129 B.C., the Kingdom of Pergamon became part of the Roman Empire. Aigai was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D. and received aid for reconstruction from Tiberius. The ruins are near the village of Yuntdagi Koseler in Manisa Province, Turkey.
GB85812. Bronze AE 16, Gorny & Mosch auction 160, lot 1477 (otherwise apparently unpublished); SNG Cop 14 var. (monograms); SNGvA -; SNG Mnchen -, BMC Troas -; Lindgren -, aVF, marks and scratches, encrustations, light corrosion, edge crack, weight 2.205 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 315o, Aiolis, Aigai (near Yuntdagi Koseler, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse draped bust of Hermes right, wearing petasos; reverse AIΓAEΩN, forepart of goat standing right, monograms (controls) above and right; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; extremely rare; $60.00 (52.80)


Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Anubis, represented as a jackal or as a man with the head of a jackal, was the Egyptian god of the dead. He presided over the embalming of the dead and conducted souls into the underworld. The Greeks and Romans often scorned Egypt's animal-headed gods as bizarre and primitive (they mockingly called Anubis the Barker) but they also identified Anubis with Hermes, morphing them into Hermanubis.
RX91484. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5392; Geissen 3038; BMC Alexandria p. 303, 2327; Milne 4240; Curtis 1701; SNG Cop 847; Kampmann-Ganschow 104.25; Emmett 3883, F, tight flan, a little rough, weight 8.700 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 269 - 28 Aug 270 A.D.; obverse AVT K KΛAV∆IOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse bust of Hermanubis right, wearing modius with lotus-petal in front, himation over shoulder, date LB (year 2) in left field, winged caduceus over palm in right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $60.00 (52.80)


Termessos Major, Pisidia, 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.

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Alexander the Great likened Termessos, high in the Taurus Mountains, to an eagle's nest after he surrounded it but failed to conquer it in 333 B.C. An ally of Rome, Termessos was granted independent status by the Roman Senate in 71 B.C. Independence was maintained continuously for a long time, the only exception being an alliance with Amyntas king of Galatia (reigned 36 - 25 B.C.). This independence is documented also by the coins of Termessos, which bear the title "Autonomous." Termessos was abandoned after its aqueduct was destroyed by an earthquake (date unknown).
MA93726. Bronze AE 27, SNG Cop 320, SNG BnF 2181, SNGvA 5347, SNG PfPs 550, F, rough, central depressions, weight 10.444 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Termessos mint, 2nd - 3rd century A.D.; obverse TEPMH-CEΩN, draped bust of Hermes right, kerykeion across shoulder; reverse TΩN MEI-ZONΩN, Apollo standing half-right, head turned back; $60.00 (52.80)


Numerian, February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D.

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Mercury is the messenger of the gods. Hermes to the Greeks, an Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of thieves and road travelers, of orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics, of weights and measures, of invention, of general commerce, and of the cunning of thieves and liars. His symbols include the tortoise, the rooster, the winged sandals, and the caduceus.
RA91634. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 416; Cohen VI 57; SRCV III 12250; Pink p. 34, emission 3b; Hunter IV 22, F, well centered, encrustations, weight 2.804 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 283 A.D.; obverse IMP NVMERIANVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Mercury standing left, wearing petasus, nude but for cloak over left arm, purse in right hand, caduceus in left hand, KA∆ in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $50.00 (44.00)


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 370 - 340 B.C.

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Trait III 894 says ΣI below and does not describe the AP in the exergue, but the plate appears to match our coin. The other referenced examples have only ΦE above the ram and nothing below on the reverse.

Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, the mythical birthplace Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for Hermes, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain, drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB85898. Bronze chalkous, Trait III 894 corr. & pl. CCXXV, 3; cf. BCD Peloponnesos 1603; SNG Cop 272; BMC Peloponnesus p. 193, 7, pl. 36, 5; Weber II 4320, F, rough, weight 2.162 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 370 - 340 B.C.; obverse head of young Hermes right, cloak tied tied around neck and petasos suspended by cord behind; reverse ram standing right, ΦE above, IΣ below ram, AP in exergue; ex Pecunem auction 33 (5 Jul 2015), part of lot 767, ex CNG, ex BCD Collection with his round tag; very rare; $45.00 (39.60)


Ainos, Thrace, c. 280 - 200 B.C.

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Aenus, Enez, Turkey today, was on the southeastern coast of Thrace, near the mouth of the Hebrus River, not far from the Melas Gulf (modern Gulf of Saros), which is formed by the Thracian Chersonesus to the east. The city was said to be founded (or at least settled) by Aeolian migrants from Lesbos. Its mythical and eponymous founder was said to be Aeneus, a son of the god Apollo and father of Cyzicus. Another mythical ruler, named Poltys, son of Poseidon, entertained Heracles when he came to Aenus. In the Iliad, Homer mentions that the leaders of Troy's Thracian allies, Acamas and Peiros, came from Aenus.
MA93729. Bronze AE 21, BMC Thrace p. 81, 33; AMNG II, p. 192???, 381; HGC 3.2 1284; SNG Cop -, aF, centered, rough, weight 7.284 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Ainos (Enez, Turkey) mint, c. 280 - 200 B.C.; obverse head of Hermes left, wearing petasos; reverse caduceus, A-I/N-I/O-N in three divided lines, bunch of grapes (control symbol) in inner right field; $.99 (.87)







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Hermes or Mercury