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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ River GodView Options:  |  |  |   

River Gods

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $940.00 (€799.00)
 


Poseidonia, Lucania, Italy, c. 470 - 445 B.C.

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Poseidonia was founded around the end of the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Sybaris. In the fifth century B.C., Poseidonia was conquered by the Lucani. Archaeological evidence indicates Greek and Oscan cultures thrived together. In 273 B.C., after the Poseidonians had sided with Pyrrhus against Rome, Poseidonia was refounded as the Roman city of Paestum.
GS87516. Silver nomos, SNG ANS 646, SNG Fitzwilliam 544, SNG Cop 1281, SNG München 1056 var. (inscription), HN Italy 1114 var. (same), SNG Tübingen -, SNG Lockett -, F, well centered, toned, some marks and scratches, etched surfaces, weight 7.712 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 90o, Poseidonia mint, c. 470 - 445 B.C.; obverse Poseidon advancing right, chlamys over shoulders, brandishing trident in raised right hand, left arm outstretched before him, ΠOMES retrograde downward on right; reverse bull standing right, within round incuse, ΠOMES retrograde above; $215.00 (€182.75)
 


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 7/6 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

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Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria as the where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RP87432. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 85; RPC I 4242; SNG Cop 90; BMC p. 158, 57; Butcher 48; Cohen DCA 402, aVF, well centered, a little rough, porous, obscure countermark (or flaw) on obverse, weight 6.267 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 7/6 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right, three pellets (mark of value) below neck; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, EK (Actian Era year 25) in the right field; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Ziz (Panormos), Punic Sicily, c. 405 - 380 B.C.

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Some authorities have identified the male head on the obverse as Apollo. Indeed, on some examples the head does resemble other depictions of the youthful sun god, but on other examples the god is horned. On this coin the head seems to better resemble traditional depictions of Herakles or Baal. The type usually has the Punic ethnic above the bull. Sometimes it is below. Most likely it should be above on this coin but is merely unstruck.
GS79961. Silver obol, cf. Jenkins Punic (SNR 50) 14; BMC Sicily p. 249, 27; SNG ANS 551; SGCV I 889 (all w/ Punic ethnic "sys" above bull), aVF, toned, reverse slightly off center, weight 0.547 g, maximum diameter 9.1 mm, die axis 45o, Ziz (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 405 - 380 B.C.; obverse male head left; reverse man-faced bull advancing left, head turned facing; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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The Rhine and the Danube formed most of the northern inland frontier of the Roman Empire.
RA72656. Billon antoninianus, Cunetio 2371, RSC IV 355b, Schulzki AGK 88c, RIC V-2 87, SRCV III 10991, Elmer 123, Hunter IV - (p. lxxxviii), gVF, reverse scratches, weight 3.812 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 1st emission, 2nd phase, 260 - 261 A.D.; obverse IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS PROVINCIARVM (health of the provinces), river-god Rhenus (Rhine) reclining left, horned, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, resting right forearm on prow of a boat, reed cradled in left hand and arm, left elbow resting on urn behind; $105.00 (€89.25)
 


Metropolis, Thessaly, Greece Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.

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The man-faced bull on the coinage of Metropolis is probably Acheloios Pamisos since Metropolis (modern Karditza) is located near the source of the Pamisos River. -- Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity by Nicholas J. Molinari & Nicola Sisci
GB87119. Bronze trichalkon, Potamikon 497; BCD Thessaly I 1208.1; BCD Thessaly II 483.1-3; Rogers 411; Pozzi 2828; BMC Thessaly p. 36, 3; HGC 4 257 (S), VF, well centered, dark patina, part of reverse legend weak, porous, weight 8.951 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Metropolis (Karditsa, Greece) mint, Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛITΩN, forepart of river-god Acheloios Pamisos as man-faced bull left, head facing, ribbons hanging from head, Ω/Z monogram (control) below; ex BCD with his tag noting, "Herc. ex Macedon, March 1987, 3000 drs."; scarce; $105.00 (€89.25)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 317 - 280 B.C.

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Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GB85096. Bronze AE 17, Potamikon 267, Sambon 636, Taliercio IIa 32, HN Italy 582, VF, tight flan, pitting, weight 4.325 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, c. 317/310 - 280 B.C.; obverse NEOΠOΛITΩN, laureate head of Apollo left, ∆P monogram behind; reverse Acheloios Sebethos as a man-faced bull standing right, head turned facing, lightning bolt over E above; from the Molinari Collection; rare; $100.00 (€85.00)
 


Danubian Celts, Serdi Region, Moesia, 168 - 31 B.C.

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Celtic imitative of a rare Macedonian issue struck under Philip V or Perseus, 187 - 168 B.C. The choice was appropriate for the Serdi Celts as the river Strymon runs through the Serdi region.
CE46730. Bronze AE 20, Malloy Danubian Celts type C3A; imitative of a Macedonian Kingdom (Philip V or Perseus) type, 187 - 168 B.C., SNG Cop 1299, VF, nice green patina, crude style, edge splits, weight 6.087 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, tribal mint, 168 - 31 B.C.; obverse reed-wreathed head of the river god Strymon right; reverse trident, stylized dolphin ornaments between prongs and flanking shaft, blundered illiterate inscription; ex Alex G. Malloy Serdi Celts Collection; rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Julia Mamaea, Augusta, 13 Mar 222 - Feb/Mar 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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The Tyche of Antioch was a cult statue of the city goddess (fortune) of Antioch, venerated in a temple called the Tychaion. The statue was made by Eutychides of Sicyon (c. 335 - c. 275), a pupil of the great Lysippus. It was the best-known piece of Seleucid art, remarkable because it was sculpted to be viewed from all directions, unlike many statues from the period. Although the original has been lost, many copies exist, including the one in the photograph right, now at the Vatican. The goddess is seated on a rock (Mount Sipylus), has her right foot on a swimming figure (the river Orontes), wears a mural crown (the city's walls), and has grain in her right hand (the city's fertility).Tyche of Antioch
RY84567. Bronze 8 assaria, cf. McAlee 857(a) (scarce); Waage 665; BMC Galatia p. 209, 491; SNG Hunterian 3044; SNG Cop 257; Butcher 491b (all rev. leg. variants), aVF, broad flan, corrosion, weight 13.501 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse IVΛ MAMAEA CEBACTH, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse ANTIOXE-WN MH KO, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, chiton and peplos, grain ears in right hand, left hand resting on rock; ram above leaping left with head right; star inner right; river-god Orontes swimming left below; ∆ - E over S - C in two lines divided flanking across field above center; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 317 - 270 B.C.

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Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GB85093. Bronze AE 12, Potamikon 295, Sambon 581, Taliercio IId 1, SNG ANS 435, aVF, dark toning, nice style, reverse off center, bumps scratches, tiny pitting, weight 1.524 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, 317/310 - 270 B.C.; obverse NEOΠOΛITΩN, head of Apollo right; reverse forepart of Acheloios Sebethos as a man-faced bull right, dolphin swimming right above; from the Molinari Collection; $80.00 (€68.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Fluss- und Meergötter auf griechischen und römischen Münzen (Personifikationen der Gewässer)" in RSN 23 (1923), pp. 173-421.
Malloy, A. "The Danubian Celts" in Alex G. Malloy Auction Sale XLVI, June 24, 1997. NumisWiki webpage
Molinari, N.J. & N. Sisci. Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity. (Oxford, 2016).

Catalog current as of Monday, May 20, 2019.
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River Gods