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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Hippo||View Options:  |  |  | 

Hippos on Ancient Coins

The word "hippopotamus" derives from the Greek hippos, "horse", and potamos, "river", meaning "horse of the river". The hippo was well known to the Greeks and Romans as the fierce Beast of the Nile. In Egyptian mythology, the hippopotamus-headed Tawaret was a goddess of protection in pregnancy and childbirth, because of the protective nature of a female hippopotamus toward her young. The Greek historian Herodotus described the hippo in The Histories (c. 440 BC) and the Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote about the hippopotamus in his encyclopedia Naturalis Historia (c. 77 AD). On Roman coins the hippopotamus was sometimes used as a reverse type to commemorate games at which they were displayed.

Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February or March 244 - September or October 249 A.D.

|Otacilia| |Severa|, |Otacilia| |Severa,| |Augusta,| |February| |or| |March| |244| |-| |September| |or| |October| |249| |A.D.||sestertius|
Struck for the 1000th Anniversary of Rome. In pure Roman style, lavish games took place during which numerous exotic animals were exhibited and slain.
RB08113. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV P200a (S), Cohen V 65, Hunter III 26, SRCV III 9170, aVF, weight 19.55 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 248 A.D.; obverse MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverse SAECVLARES AVGG (Secular games [provided by] the Emperors), hippopotamus standing right, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; SOLD


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