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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.


The Magnetes, Thessaly, Greece, Mid 2nd - Mid 1st Centuries B.C.

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The Magnetes were an ancient Greek tribe living in Thessalian Magnesia who took part in the Trojan War. They later also contributed to the Greek colonization by founding two prosperous cities in Western Anatolia, Magnesia on the Maeander and Magnesia ad Sipylum.
GB89140. Bronze tetrachalkon, BCD Thessaly II 420.4; Rogers 339, HGC 4 64, BCD Thessaly I -, VF, near black patina, spots of corrosion, weight 8.132 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 270o, Demetrias(?) mint, mid 2nd - mid 1st centuries B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus; reverse MAΓNHTON clockwise from 9:00, centaur Cheiron advancing right, right hand extended, branch in left over shoulder, star below; $50.00 (44.00)


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

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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.
GB91912. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 639; BMC Pontus p. 211, 9; Rec Gen I p. 226, 26; HGC 7 629; SGCV II 7266, F, corrosion, weight 5.443 g, maximum diameter 21.1 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 animal skin cloak flying behind, monogram inner right under raised foreleg, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΠPOYΣIOY downward on left; $45.00 (39.60)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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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 was the tutor of Apollo and the first to teach him the medicinal use of herbs. The exact meaning of the globe and rudder are more obscure but likely allude to Apollo assisting Gallienus in steering the "ship of state."
RA92069. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 738b, RIC V-1 S164, RSC IV 73, Hunter IV 99 corr. (says trophy vice rudder), SRCV III 10178, F, dark patina with earthen highlighting, tight flan, weight 2.744 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, 8th officina, Rome mint, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate bust right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), centaur Chiron walking left, globe in right hand, rudder in left hand, H in exergue; ex Rusty Romans; $45.00 (39.60)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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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 was the tutor of Apollo and the first to teach him the medicinal use of herbs. The exact meaning of the globe and rudder are more obscure but likely allude to Apollo assisting Gallienus in steering the "ship of state."
RL88824. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 738b, RIC V-1 S164, RSC IV 73, Hunter IV 99 corr. (says trophy vice rudder), SRCV III 10178, F, double struck, tight flan, parts of legends unstruck, flan split/crack, weight 2.772 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, 8th officina, Rome mint, 267 - Sep 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate bust right; reverse APOLLINI CONS AVG (to Apollo the preserver of the Emperor), centaur Chiron walking left, globe in right hand, rudder in left hand, H in exergue; $19.00 (16.72)







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Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
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Centaurs