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Home > Coin Collecting Theme Galleries > The Pantheon - Gods, Goddesses and Personifications

Baal or Zeus (Interpretatio Graecia) on Cilician Stater of Satrap Mazaios
Circa 361-334 B.C. AR Stater (10.88g, 24mm, 5h). cf. SNG Levant-106; SNG Paris-. Obverse Baal of Tarsos enthroned left, head facing, holding club, bunch of grapes, wheat ear, and eagle in right hand, lotus-headed scepter in left hand, BLTRZ (Baaltarz) in Aramaic behind, M below throne, all within a circle of dots. Reverse lion bringing down bull, attacking with teeth and claws, MZDI (Mazdai) in Aramaic above, unlisted ankh symbol, wheat ear below, all within a circle of dots. Sharply struck on an excellent metal with areas of flat strikes on high points. Choice superb EF/EF. Toned, lustrous.

Ex Ponterio and Associates Sale No. 84, November 1996, lot 141. Ex Stacks Bowers and Ponterio Sale No. 172, November 2012, lot 11680. Ex Pars Coins.

The depiction of Phoenician-Canaanite god Baal on Cilician coinage suggests the preeminence of his cult in Tarsos. He is shown enthroned, most probably on Mount Zaphon. The symbols corn-ear/barley and grapes suggest Baals capacity as a god involved in the seasonal cycles of life and death, or a more specific reference to Cilicias fertile plains. The iconography of this late coinage is also a syncretic mixture of other cultures, including Greek. The treatment of the gods body gives us a hint of the extent of influence of Hellenic culture exerted in Eastern Asia Minor long before Alexanders conquest, and it is said that Baal could be equated with Zeus in the Greek context. After the conquest of Alexander III of the East, Mazaios was appointed governor of Babylon. The new coinage of Alexander was strongly influenced by Mazaios pre-Alexandrine coinage (the Zeus Aetophoros commonly found on the reverses of his tetradrachmai is a direct descendant of this). The reverse depicts the Citys Emblem and clearly has an underlying meaning now lost to us. Some say it symbolizes the victory of Day over Night, while others suggest military conquest and subjugation of the enemies by the Persian Empire. Marvin Tameanko has persuasively argued (see Celator, Jan. 1995, pp. 6-11) that the kneeling bull (without the lion) is symbolic of Zeus, as attested on scores of later Greek and Roman coins; and the lion is symbolic of the supreme god Baal of the Cilicians. This concludes the lion-over-bull motif on this coin delivers a message that is blatantly direct and simple, if the argument put forward is to be believed.
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Jay GT4  [Aug 04, 2013 at 12:20 AM]
A work of art!
Randygeki(h2)  [Aug 04, 2013 at 04:24 AM]
Awesome one man!
Lloyd  [Aug 04, 2013 at 04:49 AM]
Outstanding!
*Alex  [Aug 08, 2013 at 01:51 PM]
All coins are guaranteed for eternity
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