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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.

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt, Zodiac Type - Jupiter in Sagittarius

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt,| |Zodiac| |Type| |-| |Jupiter| |in| |Sagittarius||drachm|
This coin is from the Zodiac series issued during year eight of the reign of Antoninus Pius, described by Emmett as "one of the more remarkable iconographic programs in the entire scope of Greek or Roman coinage. Jupiter is associated with luck and good fortune. According to alwaysastrology.com, those born with Jupiter in Sagittarius attract good luck as long as they are generous, tolerant and practice what they preach. If you would like to see if you were born with Jupiter in Sagittarius (or another sign), click here to visit alwaysastrology.com.
RP72129. Bronze drachm, cf. RPC Online IV 14873; Dattari 2972; Dattari-Savio Suppl. pl. 19, 148; Geissen 1502; Milne 1822; BMC Alexandria p. 128, 1087; Emmett 1692/8, aF, nice reverse, obverse rough, weight 20.668 g, maximum diameter 33.5 mm, die axis 315o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 144 - 28 Aug 145 A.D.; obverse AUT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNEINOC CEB EVC, laureate (and draped?) bust right; reverse Zodiac type - Jupiter in Sagittarius: laureate bust of Zeus (Jupiter) right above a centaur (Sagittarius) leaping right and drawing bow, a star above centaur's head, L H (year 8) below; last sale for this type on Coin Archives was in 2010; very rare; SOLD


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

|Kingdom| |of| |Bithynia|, |Kingdom| |of| |Bithynia,| |Prusias| |II| |Kynegos,| |185| |-| |149| |B.C.||AE| |22|
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.
SH71000. Bronze AE 22, 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, Choice VF, nice style, weight 6.393 g, maximum diameter 22.3 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; SOLD


Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Mopsion,| |Thessaly,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.||trichalkon|
Mopsion issued only bronze coins, and only c. 350 - 300 B.C. In Nomos 4, BCD notes, "The bronzes of Mopsion are practically impossible to find in nice condition and without flaws or corrosion. They are also very rare and desirable because of the their spectacularly eloquent reverse. The nicest one to come up for auction realized $18,000..."

Mopsion, in the Peneus valley half way between Larissa and Tempe, took its name from the Lapith Mopsos, a son of Ampyx. Mopsos learned augury from Apollo, understood the language of birds, and became an Argonaut seer. As depicted on this coin, he was one of the Lapiths who defeated the Centaurs. This battle was a favorite subject of Greek art. While fleeing across the Libyan desert from angry sisters of the slain Gorgon Medusa, Mopsos died from the bite of a viper that had grown from a drop of Medusa's blood. Medea was unable to save him, even by magical means. The Argonauts buried him with a monument by the sea, and a temple was later erected on the site.
GB85628. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 486 (same dies), BCD Thessaly I 1210 var. (MOΨEIΩN), Rogers 412 var. (same), McClean 4648 var. (same), SNG Cop -, BMC -, gVF, green patina, bold centered strike on a tight flan, small pits including one on tip of nose., weight 7.719 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, Mopsion (Bakraina(?), Greece) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus facing slightly right, vertical thunderbolt to right; reverse MOΨEI-ATΩN, Lapith Mopsos standing facing, nude, his head turned right, raising club in right hand and extending his left hand, fighting centaur that is rearing left and raising a bolder over its head with both hands preparing to throw it; ex BCD with his round tag; very rare; SOLD


Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Mopsion,| |Thessaly,| |c.| |350| |-| |300| |B.C.||trichalkon|
Mopsion issued only bronze coins, and only c. 350 - 300 B.C. In Nomos 4, BCD notes, "The bronzes of Mopsion are practically impossible to find in nice condition and without flaws or corrosion. They are also very rare and desirable because of the their spectacularly eloquent reverse. The nicest one to come up for auction realized $18,000..."

Mopsion, in the Peneus valley half way between Larissa and Tempe, took its name from the Lapith Mopsos, a son of Ampyx. Mopsos learned augury from Apollo, understood the language of birds, and became an Argonaut seer. As depicted on this coin, he was one of the Lapiths who defeated the Centaurs. This battle was a favorite subject of Greek art. While fleeing across the Libyan desert from angry sisters of the slain Gorgon Medusa, Mopsos died from the bite of a viper that had grown from a drop of Medusa's blood. Medea was unable to save him, even by magical means. The Argonauts buried him with a monument by the sea, and a temple was later erected on the site.
GB87120. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 484, BCD Thessaly I 1210, Rogers 412, McClean 4648, HGC 4 537 (R2), SNG Cop -, Pozzi -, BMC Thessaly -, gF, dark garnet and black patina, well centered, a little rough, weight 8.082 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, Mopsion (Bakraina(?), Greece) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus facing slightly right, vertical thunderbolt to right; reverse MOΨ-EI-ΩN, Lapith Mopsos standing facing, nude, his head turned right, raising club in right hand and extending his left hand, fighting centaur that is rearing left and raising a bolder over its head with both hands preparing to throw it; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "HK ex Thess., April 02, $275.-"; very rare; SOLD







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