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

Persephone

Persephone was the embodiment of the Earth's fertility, Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Demeter and Zeus and the consort of Hades.


Syracuse, Sicily, Tyrant Agathokles, 317 - 289 B.C.

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With an army of mercenaries, through deceit, and after banishing or murdering some 10,000 citizens, Agathocles made himself master of Syracuse and later most of Sicily. Machiavelli wrote of him, "It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, and irreligious" and cited him as an example of "those who by their crimes come to be princes." According to the historian Justin, very early in life Agathocles parlayed his remarkable beauty into a career as a prostitute, first for men, and later, after puberty, for women, and then made a living by robbery before becoming a soldier and marrying a rich widow.
SH79280. Silver tetradrachm, Ierardi 40 (O7/R23), SNG ANS 639 (same dies), SNG Delepierre 701, SNG Lloyd 1479, Boston MFA 460, HGC 2 1348 (S), SNG Cop -, SNG MŁnchen -, gVF, superb classical style, excellent centering on a tight flan, toned, flan flaw on obverse, weight 16.954 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 317 - 310/305 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone (or Arethusa) left, crowned with grain, wearing triple-drop earrings and a pearl necklace, surrounded by three dolphins, NI below; reverse quadriga galloping left, young charioteer wearing long chiton, kentron in right hand, reins in left hand, triskeles above; ΣYPAKOΣIΩN over AI monogram in exergue; ex Helios Numismatik, auction 6 (9 March 2011), lot 345; scarce; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH73442. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 99; SNG Cop 321; SNGvA 1729; HGC 6 1025; Boston MFA 1735; Weber 5631, gVF, fine style, minor die wear, weight 2.564 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse head of Kabeiros right, wearing wreath and pileus, two stars flanking cap; reverse head of Persephone right in linear square; ex Triton XVII (6 - 7 Jan 2015), lot 599; ex CNG auction 72 (14 Jun 2006), lot 714; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH89443. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 88 (c/-); HGC 6 1014 corr. (same rev. die, R1); SNG Cop 314; SNGvA 7737; BMC Lesbos p. 162, 65; Traitť II 2185, VF, beautiful style, well centered on a tight flan, light toning, scratches, weight 2.525 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, die axis 180o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, wreathed in grain, wearing earring; reverse bull butting to left within linear square; Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 131; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH17933. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 88; HGC 6 1014 corr. (R1); SNG Cop 314; SNGvA 7737; BMC Lesbos p. 162, 65; Traitť II 2185, VF, weight 2.509 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 180o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right, wreathed in grain, wearing earring; reverse bull butting to left within linear square; SOLD


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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In 279 BC, Pyrrhus forces, supporting the Greek cities of southern Italy, met and defeated the Romans at the battle of Asculum in Apulia. Pyrrhus, however, lost many men, several close associates, and all of his baggage. When one of his soldiers congratulated him on his victory, he famously replied: "Another such victory and we are ruined!" From this we have the term Pyrrhic victory, a victory achieved at ruinous cost.
SH58950. Silver octobol, SNG ANS 829, SNG Cop 94, aVF, weight 5.280 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 315o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone left, wearing wreath of grain, uncertain symbols behind head; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΠYPPOY, Athena advancing left, seen from behind, spear in raised right hand, shield in left; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 454 - 427 B.C.

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Mytilene's most famous citizens were the poets Sappho and Alcaeus and the statesman Pittacus (one of the Seven Sages of ancient Greece). Aristotle lived on Mytilene for two years, 337-335 B.C., with his friend and successor, Theophrastus (a native of the island), after becoming the tutor to Alexander, son of King Philip II of Macedon. In 56 A.D., Paul the Apostle stopped at Mytilene on the return trip of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:14).
SH17930. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 49, aVF, good centering, weight 2.473 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 439 B.C.; obverse head of Persephone right; reverse head of lion right, tongue protruding; all in linear incuse square; very scarce; SOLD


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 377 - 326 B.C.

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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH86293. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 99; SNG Cop 321; SNGvA 1729; SNG Lockett 2763; BMC Lesbos p. 66, 98; Boston MFA 1735; Weber 5631; Pozzi 2331; HGC 6 1025 (R1), VF, light scratches, tight flan, weight 2.547 g, maximum diameter 10.7 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 377 - 326 B.C.; obverse head of Kabeiros right, wearing pileus wreathed with laurel, two stars flanking cap; reverse head of Persephone right, wearing round earring, hair rolled, within linear square; SOLD


Gortyna, Crete, 4th Century B.C.

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Gortyna in the southern part of central Crete, rivaled Cnossus in wealth and importance. A Gortynian decree of the third or second century B.C. required, under a penalty, the use of "the bronze money which the city has put in circulation," and established a fine to be paid by any one who "accepts in payment silver obols."
GS77556. Silver drachm, Svoronos Crete p. 161, 32, pl. XIII, 6; McClean II 7111; SNG Cop -; BMC Crete -; Seager -; Weber -, aVF, overstruck, weight 5.102 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, Gortyna mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse head and neck of bull right, head turned slightly facing, round object to right from undertype; reverse head Persephone right, wearing wreath of grain and cross-folded taenia, rosette-shaped ear ornament and necklace, part of dotted square border from undertype, concave field; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 233 (6 Oct 2015), part of lot 3109; SOLD


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 98 - 117 A.D.

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In the religions of the Orphics and the Platonists, Kore is described as the all-pervading goddess of nature who both produces and destroys everything, and she is therefore mentioned along with or identified as other such divinities including Isis, Rhea, Ge, Hestia, Pandora, Artemis, and Hecate. The Orphic Persephone is said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, Zagreus, and the little-attested Melinoe.
GB89729. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online III 1497 (13 spec.); BMC Mysia p. 40, 168; SNG BnF 520; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, VF, attractive style, broad flan, areas of mild corrosion, tiny edge crack, weight 5.904 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 195o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D.; obverse bust of Kore Soteira (the savior maiden) right, wreathed with grain, all within a wreath of grain and poppies; reverse flaming torch, a stalk of grain and a stalk of poppy emerging from the top flanking each side of the flame, K-Y/Z-I in two divided lines across field; very rare; SOLD


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 390 - 330 B.C.

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Beautiful Persephone lived a peaceful life far away from the other deities, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. She was innocently picking flowers when Hades, god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Demeter searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Zeus, pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Hades to return Persephone. However, Hades had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, and because anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there, she is forced return to the underworld for a period each year. Explaining the seasons, when Demeter and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Persephone returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.
SH26409. Silver drachm, cf. Imhoof-Blumer KM p. 243, 76; BMC Mysia p. 36, 131; SNG BnF 5410; SGCV II 3858, VF, weight 2.806 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 180o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 390 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣΩTEIPA, head of Kore-Persephone left, wearing wreath of grain, hair in sphendone and covered with veil; reverse KY−HI, head of lion left, monogram behind, tunny below; very rare; SOLD




  




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Persephone