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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Nymphs||View Options:  |  |  |   

Nymphs on Ancient Coins
Sinope, Paphlagonia, c. 330 - 300 B.C.

|Paphlagonia|, |Sinope,| |Paphlagonia,| |c.| |330| |-| |300| |B.C.|, |drachm|
Long used as a Hittite port, Sinope was re-founded as a Greek colony by Miletus in the 7th century B.C. Sinope flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. The city escaped Persian domination until the early 4th century B.C. In 183 B.C. it was captured by Pharnaces I and became the capital of the kingdom of Pontus. Lucullus conquered Sinope for Rome in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47 B.C. It remained with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines). It was a part of the Empire of Trebizond from the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 until the capture of the city by the Seljuk Turks of Rm in 1214.
SH91741. Silver drachm, SNG BM 1481; SNG Stancomb 770; SNG Pontus p. 97, 13 ff. var. (magistrate); SNG Cop 284 f. var. (same); HGC 7 399 (S), VF, centered on a tight flan, porous, dark areas, weight 4.748 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Sinope (Sinop, Turkey) mint, c. 330 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of nymph left, hair in sakkos, wearing triple pendant earring and necklace; reverse eagle left with dolphin left in talons, AΓPEΩΣ (magistrate) below wing, ΣINΩ below dolphin; scarce; $420.00 SALE |PRICE| $378.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Larissa,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |c.| |300| |-| |150| |B.C.|, |trichalkon|
According to mythology, Larissa was founded by Acrisius, who was killed accidentally by his grandson, Perseus; the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgu; Achilles was born at Larissa, and Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine"; died there. Today, Larissa is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly region and an important commercial, agricultural, and industrial center of Greece.
GB92063. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly 1172.1 (same countermark), BCD Thessaly II 394.1 (same countermark), SNG Cop 147, Rogers 309, HGC 4 530 (S), BMC Thessaly -, VF, well centered, attractive dark patina, interesting countermark, some flatness of strike, edge crack, beveled obverse edge; c/m: VF, weight 11.952 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 300 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa right, monogram behind; countermark on cheek: spiked helmet with visor, neck and cheek guards in a c. 6mm oval punch; reverse cavalryman prancing right, wearing spiked helmet, couched lance in right hand, star upper left, ΛA-PI/ΣNΩN divided above and below; ex Numismatik Lanz Mnchen, auction 112 (25 Nov 2002), 193; scarce; $400.00 SALE |PRICE| $360.00


Thasos, Thrace, c. 500 - 480 B.C.

|Thasos|, |Thasos,| |Thrace,| |c.| |500| |-| |480| |B.C.|, |stater|
Nymphs are nature spirits who appear as beautiful, young nubile maidens. They dwell in mountains, valleys and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and cool grottoes. Nymphs love to dance and sing and are the frequent target of satyrs. Satyrs are male companions of Pan and Dionysus with goat-like features, including a goat-tail, goat-like ears, and sometimes a goat-like phallus. As Dionysiac creatures, Satyrs are lovers of wine and women and ready for every physical pleasure. They are obsessed with nymphs.
SH91802. Silver stater, Le Rider Thasiennes 2; SNG Cop 1008; BMC Thrace p. 216, 2; McClean 4195; Svoronos HPM pl. X, 7; Dewing 1312; HGC 6 331, Choice F, very well centered, toned, typical flat strike, scratches, weight 9.155 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, Thasos mint, c. 500 - 480 B.C.; obverse nude ithyphallic satyr kneeling-running right, carrying in his arms a struggling nymph, raising her right hand in protest, both with long strait hair indicated with dots, she wears a long chiton, her arm fingers and thumb forming a Y shape; reverse quadripartite incuse square; $380.00 SALE |PRICE| $342.00


Methymna, Lesbos, c. 500 - 460 B.C.

|Lesbos|, |Methymna,| |Lesbos,| |c.| |500| |-| |460| |B.C.|, |hemiobol|
Methymna, the prosperous second city of Lesbos, was, According to myth, named after a daughter of Lesbos, the patron god of the island, and Macar, the island's first king. Methymna had a long-standing rivalry with Mytilene and sided with Athens during the Mytilenaean revolt in 428 B.C. All the other cities of Lesbos sided with Mytilene. After Athenians put down the revolt, only Methymna was spared from being made a cleruchy. After 427, Methymna and Chios were the only members of the Delian League to remain self-governing and exempt from tribute, indicating a privileged position within the Athenian Empire. Methymna was briefly captured by the Spartans in summer 412, but quickly retaken by the Athenians. When the Spartan Kallikratidas besieged Methymna in 406, the city stayed loyal to its Athenian garrison and held out until it was betrayed by several traitors.
GA89032. Silver hemiobol, HGC 6 893 (R2), Franke Methymna -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Kayhan -, Trait -, Klein -, Rosen -, BMC Troas -, Mitchiner ATAC -, VF, well centered, toned, etched surfaces, weight 0.287 g, maximum diameter 6.9 mm, die axis 180o, Methymna mint, c. 500/480 - 460 B.C.; obverse head of Nymph right, hair bound in sakkos; reverse chicken hen standing right, MAΘ above, square dotted frame, all within incuse square; very rare; $270.00 SALE |PRICE| $243.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Larissa,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |c.| |356| |-| |342| |B.C.|, |drachm|
When Larissa ceased minting the federal coins it shared with other Thessalian towns and adopted its own coinage in the late fifth century B.C., it chose local types for its coins. The obverse depicted the local fountain nymph Larissa, for whom the town was named, probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse depicted a horse in various poses.
GS95233. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly 1156, BCD Thessaly II 320, SNG Cop 123, aVF, attractive style, toned, porous, tiny edge crack, weight 5.612 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 135o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right preparing to roll over, plant below, ΛAPIΣ/AIΩN in two lines, starting above, ending in exergue; ex Forum (2013); $230.00 SALE |PRICE| $207.00


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 275 - 250 B.C.

|Italy|, |Neapolis,| |Campania,| |Italy,| |c.| |275| |-| |250| |B.C.|, |didrachm|NEW
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the second millennium B.C. The city was refounded as Neapolis in the sixth century B.C. and became an important hub of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society. Naples remained influential under Rome and more so after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
SL94272. Silver didrachm, SNG ANS 1, 382; SNG BnF 6.1, 762-765; SNG Lockett 87; SNG Cop 441; HN Italy 586, NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 1/5 (5770028-012), weight 6.995 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the siren Parthenope left, wearing triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace, TAP behind neck, EYΞ below neck truncation; reverse river-god Acheloios as a man-faced bull walking right, head turned facing, crowned with wreath by Nike flying right above, EΠI below, NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue; NGC| Lookup; $195.00 SALE |PRICE| $175.00


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon and the Third Democracy, c. 344 - 317 B.C.

|Syracuse|, |Syracuse,| |Sicily,| |Timoleon| |and| |the| |Third| |Democracy,| |c.| |344| |-| |317| |B.C.|, |hemilitron|
Timoleon installed a democracy in 345 B.C. After the long series of internal struggles had weakened Syracuse's power, Timoleon tried to remedy this, defeating the Carthaginians near the Krimisos river in 339 B.C. Unfortunately the struggle among the city's parties restarted after his death and ended with the rise of another tyrant, Agathocles, who seized power in 317 B.C.
GI91325. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 211, 92 DS 25 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily p. 188, 304 var. (no helmet); SNG ANS 1384 var. (same); HGC 2 1505 (S); SNG Cop -; SNG Mn -, gVF, well centered, rough corrosion/encrustation, weight 2.588 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, Syracuse mint, c. 336 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of head of nymph Arethusa facing slightly left, Thessalian helmet (control symbol) left; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN, Pegasos forepart flying left, archaic curved wing; Ex Eric J. Engstrom Collection; scarce; $140.00 SALE |PRICE| $126.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, Late 4th Early - 3rd Century B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Larissa,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |Late| |4th| |Early| |-| |3rd| |Century| |B.C.|, |drachm|
The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73423. Silver drachm, Lorber Hoard pl. III, 27 (same dies); BCD Thessaly I 1158; BCD Thessaly II 316; SNG Cop 121; HGC 4 454, aF, struck with crude and worn dies, weight 5.808 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, late 4th early - 3rd century B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa slightly left, wearing ampyx, earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse right; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thess., total cost (Feb. 87) = 10000 drs."; $115.00 SALE |PRICE| $104.00


Kierion, Thessaly, Greece, c. 400 - 344 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Kierion,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |c.| |400| |-| |344| |B.C.|, |chalkous|
Kierion was originally named Arne for the Nymph on the reverse of this coin. Most references, including BCD, identify the male god on the obverse as Zeus. SNG Cop says Poseidon. Since, according to one myth, Arne became pregnant by Poseidon and bore the twins Aiolos and Boiotos, we think Poseidon is more likely.

This coin has potentially active corrosion. We have had the coin for over a year and it has remained stable and unchanged. It must, however, be stored in a humidity controlled environment.
GB79733. Bronze chalkous, cf. BCD Thessaly II 107.4; Rogers 173a; SNG Cop 35; BMC Thessaly p. 15, 1; SNG Evelpidis 1516; HGC 4 679 (S), VF, well centered, dark patina, corrosion, weight 2.494 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 315o, Kierion mint, c. 400 - 344 B.C.; obverse bearded head of Zeus right, fillet binding his hair; reverse KIEPIEIΩN, the nymph Arne kneeling right on right knee, looking left, her torso bare, leaning on right hand on the ground, tossing astragaloi with left; scarce; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, 380 - 337 B.C.

|Thessaly|, |Larissa,| |Thessaly,| |Greece,| |380| |-| |337| |B.C.|, |dichalkon|
The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well-known for its horses.
GB83507. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BMC Thessaly p. 32, 89; BCD Thessaly II 390; BCD Thessaly 1167.2; HGC 4 521; SNG Cop 142; SNG Munchen -, VF/F, green patina, marks and scratches, weight 4.040 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, 380 - 337 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa right, her hair rolled up around her head, wearing cruciform triple-drop pendant earring; reverse ΛAPIΣAIΩN, crouching horse right, about to roll, bent left foreleg; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00




  



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REFERENCES

Imhoof-Blumer, F. Nymphen und Chariten auf griechischen Mnzen in JIAN 11 (1908).

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