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

Ancient Coins Depicting Centaurs

In Greek mythology, the centaurs are a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse. This half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed nature, as in their battle with the Lapiths, or conversely as teachers, like Chiron. Centaurs were said to have inhabited the region of Magnesia and Mount Pelion in Thessaly, the Foloi oak forest in Elis, and the Malean peninsula in southern Laconia.

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Singara, Mesopotamia

|Mesopotamia| |&| |Babylonia|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Singara,| |Mesopotamia||AE| |26|
In 242 A.D., Gordian III, along with his praetorian prefect and father-in-law Timesitheus, began a campaign against the Sasanian king, Shahpur I. After freeing Syria, a decisive battle secured all of Mesopotamia, including Singara and Nisibis. But after Timesitheus died in 243 the Roman advance stalled and they suffered a major defeat. In February 244, Gordian died and Philip was proclaimed emperor. Philip negotiated a truce in order to return to Rome for his Senate confirmation.
RY93160. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online VII-2 U2186; SNG Cop 254; BMC Arabia p. 134, 1 - 2; Falghera 2235, aVF, earthen deposits, weight 11.921 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Singara (Sinjar, Iraq) mint, 243 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CEB, radiate bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse AYP CEΠ KOΛCINΓAPA, draped, veiled, and turreted bust of Tyche right, Centaur Sagittarius above; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


Kingdom of Bithynia, Prusias II Kynegos, 185 - 149 B.C.

|Kingdom| |of| |Bithynia|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bithynia,| |Prusias| |II| |Kynegos,| |185| |-| |149| |B.C.||AE| |23|
Prusias II, son of Prusias I, inherited his father's name but not his character. He first joined with Eumenes of Pergamon in war against Pontus, but later turned on Pergamon and invaded. He was defeated and Pergamon demanded heavy reparations. Prusias sent his son Nicomedes II to Rome to ask for aid in reducing the payments. When Nicomedes revolted, Prusias II was murdered in the temple of Zeus at Nikomedia.

Chiron was immortal but sacrificed his immortality. Herakles and the centaur Pholus were dining in Pholus' cave when Pholus opened a bottle of sacred wine given to him by Dionysus. The smell attracted other centaurs who attacked to take the wine. Heracles killed many of them using arrows poisoned with Hydra-venom. One of those arrows hit Chiron by mistake. Chiron could not die, but the wound was incurable and caused unbearable pain. Chiron gave up his immortality in exchange for Prometheus' freedom, when suggested by Heracles. Zeus then placed him amongst the stars as the constellation Sagittarius or Centaurus.
GB93822. Bronze AE 23, SNG Cop 640; BMC Pontus p. 210, 8; Rec Gen II.3 p. 225, 26; SNGvA 256 var. (monogram); HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, F, brown patina, well centered, corrosion, rough, flan adjustment marks, flan crack, weight 6.157 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Nikomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, c. 180 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wreathed with ivy; reverse centaur Chiron standing right, playing lyre, his cloak flying behind, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, ΠPOUΣIOY downward on left, NΦ monogram inner right under raised foreleg; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $60.00 (€49.20)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

|Gallienus|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.||antoninianus|
This type commemorates vows made to Apollo invoking his protection against the revolt of Aureolus. During the siege of Milan, at a late hour but while he was still lingering with pleasures of the table, a false alarm was suddenly given, reporting that Aureolus, at the head of all his forces, had made a desperate sally from the town. Gallienus, who was never deficient in personal bravery, started from his silken couch, and without allowing himself time either to put on his armor or to assemble his guards, he mounted on horseback and rode full speed towards the supposed place of the attack. There he was ambushed by enemies from among his own officers. Amidst the nocturnal tumult, he received a mortal wound from an uncertain hand. Perhaps his request to Apollo was too specific and asked only for protection from Aureolus?

The centaur Chiron as the tutor of Apollo and the first to teach him the medicinal use of herbs.
RA76507. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 735b(1), RIC V-1 S163, RSC IV 72, Hunter IV S95, SRCV III 10177, Choice aEF, well centered on a broad round flan, flan crack, porosity, weight 3.715 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, 7th officina, Rome mint, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), centaur Chiron walking right drawing bow, Z in exergue; ex Forum (2007); SOLD







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