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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Nautical & Marine| ▸ |Ships||View Options:  |  |  |   

Galleys and Other Ships on Ancient Coins
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF II 299, Hunter I 39, Cohen I 37, SRCV 1953, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; an attractive example of a highly desired type!; SOLD


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, King Strato I (Adb'ashtart I), c. 365 - 352 B.C.

|Phoenicia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Sidon,| |Phoenicia,| |King| |Strato| |I| |(Adb'ashtart| |I),| |c.| |365| |-| |352| |B.C.||double| |shekel|
SH48909. Silver double shekel, Elayi 2004 1345-8; cf. Betlyon 21 & 35; cf. BMC Phoenicia p. 145, 29, gVF, weight 25.428 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 352 B.C.; obverse armed galley with oars, advancing left, standard in stern, small figure as figurehead on bow, Phoenician regnal date year 14 (IIII-) above; reverse King of Persia with charioteer in a biga left, horses waking, Sidonian king walks behind in Asian garb carrying a cultic scepter and votive vase, Phoenician letters BA (90) above; typical weak strike, nicely centered on a full flan, lightly toned, ex Goldberg Auction 55, lot 77, 29 Oct 2009; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

|Hadrian|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.||denarius|
From the Prof. Henry H. Armstrong collection. In 1910, the year when he acquired this coin, Professor Armstrong lived in Rome working as a Research Associate of the Carnegie Institution in Archaeology teaching at the American School for Classical Studies in Rome. From 1918 until his death in 1935 he taught at Beloit College as head of the Department of Romance Languages. Nicknamed "Sparky" by the students, his death after a two-week illness came as a shock to the college. His coins, inherited by his son, sat in a cigar box for the next 74 years, acquiring this beautiful iridescent toning.
SH84800. Silver denarius, BMCRE III 247, RSC II 1174b, Strack II 105, RIC II 113c var. (draped and cuirassed), SRCV II 3529 var. (same), gem EF, beautiful old collection "cigar box" rainbow toning, fantastic galley, handsome portrait, some light marks, small edge cracks, weight 3.212 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 122 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P COS III (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power, consul 3 times), galley rowed left, mast with furled sail in bow, rudder and cabin in stern; from the Prof. Henry H. Armstrong collection, handwritten envelope notes, "Purchase, Champion, 1910."; SOLD


Tyre, Phoenicia, 106 - 105 B.C., Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver

|30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver|, |Tyre,| |Phoenicia,| |106| |-| |105| |B.C.,| |Judas'| |30| |Pieces| |of| |Silver||shekel|
Judas' 30 Pieces of Silver
"Then one of the 12, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, 'What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?' And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver." Matthew 26:14-15. Shekels of Tyre were the only currency accepted at the Jerusalem Temple and are the most likely coinage with which Judas was paid for the betrayal of Christ.

The Temple Tax Coin
"..go to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them [the temple tax collectors] for me and thee." Since the tax was one half shekel per man the coin would have to be a shekel to pay the tax for both Jesus and Peter. Matthew 17:24-27
SH86384. Silver shekel, BMC Phoenicia p. 238, 99 (also with Phoenician letter nun between legs); HGC 10 357; Cohen DCA 919, EF, well centered and struck on a tight flan, toned, marks, encrustations, some light corrosion, weight 13.857 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 0o, Tyre mint, c. 106 - 105 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Melqart right, lion's skin knotted around neck; reverse TYPOY IEPAΣ KAI AΣYΛOY (of Tyre the holy and inviolable), eagle left, right foot on ship's ram, palm frond under wing, date AK (year 21) over club left, HAP monogram right, Phoenician letter nun (control letter) between legs; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 39 (26 Aug 2017), lot 340; SOLD


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

|Marc| |Antony|, |Mark| |Antony,| |Triumvir| |and| |Imperator,| |44| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |LEG| |VI| |-| |Ferrata,| |the| |"Ironclad"||denarius|
The VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad," was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It was retained by Augustus and later served in Syria and Judaea. The VI Victrix, on the other hand, was one of Octavian's legions. This Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH76382. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice EF, near perfect centering, light toning, slightly uneven strike, contact marks, areas of porosity and light corrosion, weight 3.664 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III •VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Forum (2005); SOLD


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

|Trajan|, |Trajan,| |25| |January| |98| |-| |8| |or| |9| |August| |117| |A.D.||sestertius|
Trajan's "bridge reverse" is usually identified as the monumental bridge built across the Danube by the famous architect Apollodorus of Damascus, an amazing example of Roman engineering. Apollodorus' bridge is believed to have differed greatly from the bridge on coin and G.F. Hill suggested the bridge is the Pons Sublicius, a revered ancient wooden structure in Rome, often damaged by floods and presumably restored under Trajan. We believe the Danube Bridge is a more likely subject. Architecture is notoriously schematized on ancient coins and both bridges required piers in the riverbed, so the artistic departure from reality would be the same in both cases.

While Apollodorus' own writings on the bridge are lost, it is depicted on Trajan's Column, and discussed in the writing of Cassius Dio and Procopius of Caesarea, among others. The bridge, constructed with wooden arches set on twenty masonry pillars, is estimated to have been 1135 meters long and the river about 800 meters wide. Each gateway was protected by a castrum. Procopius tells us that during construction the river was diverted and about half of the pillars were built on dry land. Cassius Dio tells us that Hadrian removed the wooden arches to protect Moesia from northern invasions. Since Dacia continued to be a province for about the next 150 years, the bridge must have been rebuilt. Aurelian likely demolished it when he abandoned Dacia. In 1856, when the Danube was at a record low, all twenty pillars were seen out of the water. In 1906 two were demolished to ease navigation. In 1982 archaeologists could only find the remains of twelve pillars. Both end pillars are still standing on the Serbian and Romanian shores.
SH54874. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 314bC4, SRCV II 3207, RIC II 569, Cohen II 542, VF, Tiber patina, weight 28.372 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 105 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust right, from behind, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI, arched single-span bridge over river, covered walkway separated by vertical bars and middle curved line, each gateway surmounted by statuary, right one with flight of steps; boat over S C (senatus consulto) below; SOLD


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||sestertius|
Annona was the goddess of harvest and Ceres the goddess of agriculture. This reverse refers to the transportation of grain by sea from the provinces (especially from Africa) and its distribution to the people. By the Code De Naviculariis, the mariners appointed to carry grain from Egypt could be executed if they did not keep the proper course; and if they did not sail in the proper season, the master of the vessel would be banished.
SH94037. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 137, BMCRE I 128, Mac Dowall WCN 119, BnF II 273 var. (NERO CLAVDIVS...), Cohen I 24 var. (same), Hunter I -, SRCV I -, VF, well centered on a broad flan, nice green patina, pin-prick pitting, weight 26.678 g, maximum diameter 35.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 65 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right wearing aegis; reverse ANNONA AVGVSTI CERES, Annona standing right, right hand on hip, cornucopia in left hand, facing Ceres enthroned left, holding grain-ears in right hand, torch in left hand, modius on garlanded altar in center between them, ship's stern in background, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Pegasi Numismatics; SOLD


Persian Empire, Sidon, Phoenicia, King Ba'lshallim II, c. 401 - 366 B.C.

|Phoenicia|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Sidon,| |Phoenicia,| |King| |Ba'lshallim| |II,| |c.| |401| |-| |366| |B.C.||double| |shekel|
Sidon, named for the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19), is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12) but Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with them, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24) where many came to hear him preach (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). After leaving Caesarea, Paul's ship put in at Sidon, before finally sailing for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).
SH96814. Silver double shekel, Elayi-Elayi Sidon 627 (D36/R48); Betlyon p. 9, 18 & pl. 2, 4; BMC Phoenicia p. 143, 17; Sunrise Collection 125; HGC 10 236 (C), gF, oval flan, porosity, obverse off center, weight 28.155 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 45o, Sidon (Saida, Lebanon) mint, c. 401 - 366 B.C.; obverse war galley rowing left, small figure figurehead in bow (off flan), row of round shields along bulwarks, standard and rudder at stern, Phoenician letter beth above, two lines of zig-zag waves below, cable border; reverse Emperor of Persia with charioteer in a biga left, bearded king wears kidaris and kandys and raises right hand, charioteer leans forward holding reigns, horses waking, king of Sidon walks behind in Egyptian crown and garb carrying a cultic scepter and votive vase, double exergue line, cable border, all in shallow round incuse; ex Superior Stamp and Coin (Beverly Hills, CA, 1990's); scarce; SOLD


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 283 B.C.

|Macedonian| |Kingdom|, |Macedonian| |Kingdom,| |Demetrius| |I| |Poliorketes,| |306| |-| |283| |B.C.||tetradrachm|
Demetrios was called Poliorcetes, "The Besieger" for his creative siege engines including a battering ram 180 feet long requiring 1000 men and a wheeled siege tower named "Helepolis" (or "Taker of Cities") which stood 125 feet tall and 60 feet wide, weighing 360,000 pounds.
SH21618. Silver tetradrachm, Newell p. 82, 72 and pl. VII, 2; S 6762 var, VF, weight 17.048 g, maximum diameter 26.86 mm, die axis 0o, Macedonia, Pella mint, c. 294 - 291 B.C; obverse Nike atop prow of galley left, blowing trumpet and holds stylis; reverse ∆HMHTPIOY / BA−ΣIΛE−ΩΣ, Poseidon stands left, naked save chlamys over extended left arm, about to hurl trident with right, ∆ left, monograms right; SOLD


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

|Elagabalus|, |Elagabalus,| |16| |May| |218| |-| |11| |March| |222| |A.D.||denarius|
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
SH33430. Silver denarius, BMCRE V277 - 278 var. (obverse legend), RSC III 27 ff. var. (same), RIC IV 188 var. (same), EF, weight 3.381 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS TEMP, galley with sail right, containing eight rowers and pilot holding rudder, acrostolium and standard at stern, sail or standard at prow; the finest example of the type FORVM has seen and a rare obverse variety (full spelling for FELIX instead of FEL); SOLD




  




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REFERENCES

Schaaff, Ulrich. Münzen der römischen Kaiserzeit mit Schiffsdarstellungen im Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum. (Munich, 2003).

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