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Ancient Greece and Asia Minor


Durotriges.JPG

37 files, last one added on Mar 13, 2019

Magna Graecia and Sicily


Pyrrhus.jpg

23 files, last one added on May 13, 2019

RJP


Price_3622.jpg

1 files, last one added on Aug 16, 2018

 

3 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - Nathan P's Gallery
Pyrrhus.jpg
Sicily, Syracuse. Pyrrhus (Circa 278-275 BC)9 viewsAE 23mm, 11.43 g

Obverse: Head of Heracles l., wearing lion's headdress; in r. field, cornucopiae.

Rev. Athena Promachos standing r., holding spear and shield; in l. field, thunderbolt.

SNG Copenhagen 811. Calciati 177.

Pyrrhus was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians (west coast of Greece) and later became king of Epirus. One of the greatest military commanders of the ancient world, Pyrrhus took a large army to southern Italy at the behest of the Greek colony of Tarentum in their war against Rome. With his superior cavalry, deadly phalanx, and 20 elephants, Pyrrhus defeated the Romans in a succession of battles but at great cost. After a victory at Apulia (279 BC) where Pyrrhus lost 3,500 men including many officers, he famously commented that, "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." It is from this semi-legendary event that the term Pyrrhic victory originates.

In 278 BC, the Greek cities in Sicily asked Pyrrhus to help drive out Carthage, which along with Rome was one of the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. While successful, his request for manpower and money from the Sicilians for a fleet to blockade Carthage’s final stronghold was met with resistance, forcing Pyrrhus to proclaim a military dictatorship of Sicily and install military garrisons in Sicilian cities. These actions were deeply unpopular and with Sicily growing increasingly hostile to Pyrrhus, he abandoned Sicily and returned to Italy to fight another inconclusive battle against the Romans. Pyrrhus soon ended his campaign in Italy and returned to Epirus.

In 274 BC he captured the Macedonian throne in a battle against Antigonus Gonatus II. But two years later while storming the city of Argos, Pyrrhus was killed in a confused battle at night in the narrow city streets. While fighting an Argive soldier, the soldier's mother, who was watching from a rooftop, threw a tile which knocked Pyrrhus from his horse and broke part of his spine, paralyzing him. His death was assured after a soldier beheaded his motionless body.

Athena Promachos ("Athena who fights in the front line") was a colossal bronze statue of Athena. Erected around 456 BC in Athens, the Athena Promachos likely memorialized the Persian Wars. The very first specific archaistic Athena Promachos coin image was depicted on coins that were issued by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. Ten years later, the Athena Promachos appeared on coins issued by Ptolemy in Alexandria. Pyrrhus' alliance with Ptolemy (I and II) and admiration of Alexander the Great (they were second cousins) undoubtedly inspired the design of this coin with Heracles on obverse (like Alexander's coins) and Athena Promachos on the reverse.
2 commentsNathan PMay 13, 2019
549120.jpg
Lucania, Metapontion (Circa 540-510 BC).12 viewsAR Nomos

28 mm, 7.82 g

Obv: META.
Barley ear.
Rev: Incuse barley ear.

Noe Class VI; HN Italy 1479.

Metaponion's neighbor, Sybaris, given its preeminence in the region, was most likely the originator of the incuse fabric. It seems to have been a spontaneous invention and to have been evolved without any evolutionary development. Of interest is that these coins have seldom or never been found in hoards unearthed outside Italy. This carries the suggestion that the consideration of preventing the export of money and, consequently, of restricting its circulation to South Italy must have been prominent in the minds of those responsible for originating the form. These incuse pieces are also rarely found overstruck and are significantly more difficult to counterfeit.
4 commentsNathan PMay 08, 2019
740.jpg
Lucania, Sybaris (Circa 550-510 BC)22 viewsAR Stater

29 mm, 8.14 g

Obverse: VM in exergue; bull standing left, head reverted.

Reverse : Incuse bull standing right, head reverted.

HN Italy 1729; SNG ANS 828-844

An Achaean colony dating from about 720 BC, Sybaris rapidly grew to be the wealthiest city in the area. The luxury enjoyed by its population was proverbial, hence the modern words sybarite and sybaritic. The bull may symbolize the local river god Krathis. The archaic coinage of Sybaris was brought to an abrupt end in 510 BC when the city was destroyed by the rival state of Kroton. The waters of the Krathis were diverted to flow over the site of the sacked city, thus obliterating all trace of its former splendor.
2 commentsNathan PMar 20, 2019
Durotriges.JPG
Celtic Britain, Durotriges (Circa 58 BC-45 AD)12 viewsStater, Abstract (Cranborne Chase) type

5.26g

Obverse: Devolved head of Apollo right

Reverse: Disjointed horse left; pellets above, [pellet below], pellet in lozenge above tail, [zigzag and pellet pattern between two parallel exergue lines].

Van Arsdell 1235-1; BMC 2525-54.

The Durotriges ("dwellers by the water" or, perhaps, "water-rat kings") were well known for their continental trade and hill forts. They were the only tribe who did not add inscriptions to their coins, perhaps indicative of decentralized rule among multiple hill-fort based tribes using a common currency, and the only tribe to strike a stater in silver.

The history of the Durotriges can be divided into two broad phases, an early phase, roughly 100-60 B.C. and a late phase from 60 B.C. until the Roman conquest. The early phase was a time of rapid development brought about by overseas trade, while the late phase was a time of retraction, isolation and economic impoverishment. The economic decline is dramatically portrayed by the progressive debasement of their coinage, particularly when you compare the magnificent white-gold Craborne Chase staters of ca. 50-40 B.C. with the crude cast bronze Hengistbury coins of ca. A.D. 10-43.

The Durotriges resisted Roman invasion in AD 43, and the historian Suetonius records some fights between the tribe and the second legion Augusta, then commanded by Vespasian. By 70 AD, the tribe was already Romanised and securely included in the Roman province of Britannia.
2 commentsNathan PMar 13, 2019
00165q00.jpg
Kings of Macedon. Alexander III ‘The Great’, (Circa 332-323 BC)11 viewsAR Tetradrachm

26 mm, 17.21 g

Salamis, struck under Nikokreon.

Obverse: Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress.

Reverse: AΛEΞANΔPOY Zeus seated left on low throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and eagle standing right with closed wings in his right; to left, bow.

Price 3139.

Nikokreon succeeded Pnytagoras on the throne of Salamis (Cyprus) and is reported to have paid homage to Alexander after the conqueror’s return from Egypt to Tyre in 331. In the war between Antigonos and Ptolemy (315), Nikokreon supported the latter and was rewarded by being placed in control of all Cyprus. He was the last of the Teucridai to rule in Salamis (upon his death in 310 BC, the city came under the rule of Ptolemy’s brother, Menelaos).

The Teucridai were kings of Salamis who claimed descent from Teucer, the mythical founder of the city. The bow in left field on the reverse undoubtedly references Teucer's fame as a great archer, who loosed his shafts from behind the giant shield of his half-brother Ajax the Great during the Trojan War.
2 commentsNathan PFeb 25, 2019
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Kings of Macedon. Antigonos I Monophthalmos (Circa 310-301 BC)27 viewsAR Drachm

18 mm, 4.22g

Struck in the name and types of Alexander III. Abydos(?)

Obverse: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin headdress

Reverse: Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, holding sceptre; head of Ammon right in left field, ivy-leaf beneath throne, AΛEΞANΔPOY to right.

Price 1551; SNG Copenhagen 970
Nathan PFeb 08, 2019
Kroton~0.jpg
Bruttium, Kroton (Circa 530-500 BC)19 viewsAR Nomos

28 mm, 7.82 g

Obverse: Tripod, legs surmounted by wreaths and terminating in lion's feet, two serpents rising from the bowl, set on basis of three lines, the center dotted, koppa-P-O (KRO - short for Kroton) to left

Reverse: Incuse tripod as obverse, but wreaths and serpents in outline.

HN Italy 2075; SNG ANS 231; Bement 272.

The importance of the Delphic oracle to the founding of Kroton was celebrated on its coinage from the earliest days. Despite later myths ascribing the founding of Kroton to Herakles, the city's historical oikist is recorded as Myskellos of Rhypai who, on consulting the Delphic oracle about his lack of children was given the response that Apollo would grant children, but that first Myskellos should found the city of Kroton 'among fair fields'. After being given directions on how to locate the site, Myskellos travelled to southern Italy to explore the land that he had been assigned, but seeing the territory of the Sybarites and thinking it superior, he returned once more to the oracle to ask whether he would be allowed to change. The answer came back that he should accept the gifts that the god gave him. A further element of the story is that Myskellos was accompanied on his expedition by Archias of Corinth; the Delphic oracle gave the pair the choice between health and wealth. Archias elected wealth, and was assigned the site of Syracuse, while Myskellos chose health: the favourable climate of Kroton, the eminent skill of its physicians and the prowess of its athletes later earned its citizens this reputation for good health.
1 commentsNathan PJan 30, 2019
Velia2.jpg
Lucania, Velia (Circa 440-400 BC)16 viewsAR Didrachm

20 mm, 7.68 g

Obverse: Head of Athena l., wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with griffin and laurel wreath; Φ to r.

Reverse: Lion attacking stag; [Y]EL-HT-EW-N

Williams 159; HNItaly 1270; SNG ANS 1261. VF

The type of lion and its prey goes back to the earliest Velian drachms brought by its original Phocaean settlers from Asia Minor; in various forms the type is common in the East Greek and Persian world and may have originally represented the triumph of light over darkness or of the king over his enemies.
2 commentsNathan PJan 13, 2019
425864.jpg
Kings of Macedon. Alexander III 'The Great', (Circa 325-323 BC)16 viewsAR Tetradrachm

25 mm, 17.18 g

Babylon mint. struck under Stamenes or Archon.

Obverse: Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress, paws tied beneath chin.

Reverse: [Α]ΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, his feet resting on a low foot rest, holding long scepter in his left hand and, in his right, eagle standing right with closed wings, in left field, trident above M, monogram beneath throne.

Price 3635; Newell "Reattribution" 227
Nathan PDec 30, 2018
37103.jpg
Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Alexandria. Ptolemy I Soter (Circa 305-282 BC)27 viewsAR Tetradrachm

26.5 mm, 13.25 g

Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemy I right

Reverse: ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed; P / AΠP monogram.

Svoronos 255
2 commentsNathan PDec 11, 2018
00047q00.jpg
Sicily, Syracuse. Second Democracy(Circa 415-405 BC)14 viewsHemilitron

16mm, 3.82 g

Obverse: Head of Arethusa to left, hair in sphendone.

Rev. ΣY-PA Wheel of four spokes, dolphins in lower quarters.

CNS 22. SNG ANS 404-410.

Arethusa was a naiad (a water nymph) who frolicked in the vicinity of Olympia and was desired and pursued by the river-god Alpheios. She appealed for assistance from Artemis, goddess of the moon and the hunt and the protector of women. Aretemis transformed her into an underground stream emerging as a freshwater spring on the Sicilian island of Ortygia, the future site of Syracuse. Undaunted, Alpheios diverted his river’s flow underground to follow Arethusa, and both of their waters now mingle eternally in the Fountain of Arethusa in Ortygia. Arethusa’s image on coins is usually accompanied by dolphins, which were common in the sea around Ortygia in classical times.
Nathan PDec 11, 2018
113297.jpg
Pontos, Amisos (as Peiraieos). (Circa 435-370 BC)30 viewsAR Siglos

17 mm, 5.75 g

Persic standard. Aristeos, magistrate.

Obverse: Head of Hera left, wearing ornate stephane, earring, and necklace

Reverse: [ΠEIPA] in exergue, owl with spread wings standing facing on shield; across field in to lines, magistrate's name: A-PIΣ/TE-OΣ.

Malloy 1v; HGC 7, 229.

Amisos, situated on the southern shore of the Black Sea, was originally settled by the Milesians, perhaps as far back as the 8th century BC. The city was captured by the Persians in 550 BC and became part of Cappadocia (satrapy). In the 5th century BC, Amisos became a free state and one of the members of the Delian League led by the Athenians; it was then renamed Peiraieos under Pericles. In the 4th century BC the city came under the control of the Kingdom of Pontus.
2 commentsNathan PDec 10, 2018
Pontos_l.jpg
Pontos. Amisos (Circa 85-65 BC)35 viewsBronze AE

30mm, 19.53 g

Struck under Mithradates VI.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Athena right

Reverse: Perseus standing facing, holding harpa and head of Medusa; body of Medusa at feet, monograms to left and right.

HGC 7, 238

This coin depicts two figures from the legend of Medusa, who was once a beautiful young maiden who dared to challenge Athena's beauty. As punishment for her impiety, Medusa’s hair was turned into hissing serpents and condemned to turn every living thing which gazed upon her to turn to stone. Perseus, son of Zeus and the mortal Danae, was given the task of slaying this monster. He was aided, in part, by Athena who gave her shield to him for the task. In the context of the period which this coin is from, Perseus and Medusa could be representations of Mithradates VI and Rome, respectively.
1 commentsNathan PNov 28, 2018
Coriosolites.JPG
Gaul, Northwest. Coriosolites (57-52 BC)29 viewsBI Stater

5.36 g

Obverse: Celticized head right, hair in large spiral curls, S-like ear; pearl strings flowing around

Reverse: Devolved charioteer driving biga right; ornaments around; below, boar right.

DT 2329; Slg. Flesche - (vgl. 198)

The Coriosolites (one among a number of tribes in the area) inhabited a region called Armorica in what is now northwest France. They were a mixture of Celts who had fled Germanic incursions across the Rhine and the original inhabitants of Armorica, a place where customs and beliefs of the megalithic age still lingered on.

The Coriosolite coinage appears to have constituted a confederate currency, manufactured at the time of the Gallic Wars between 57 BC, the date of the revolt of the Armoricans and 51 BC, the end of the war of the Gauls. For the Armoricans, the war began with invasion by the Roman General Crassus, who subjugated the tribes by fighting each individually and taking hostages. The Celts then formed an alliance to more effectively fight Rome and captured envoys sent by Rome to serve as their own hostages.

Aware of their efforts, Caesar sent three legions under Sabinus who routed the Celts. No more battles were fought in Armorica, but the Armorican resistance continued; some of the population, unwilling to live under Roman rule, banded together and hid in remote areas. Twenty thousand Armoricans (including many Coriosolites) were among the forces that attempted to relieve Vercingetorix at the siege of Alesia in 52 BC.

J.-B. Colbert de Beaulieu defined six classes of Coriosolite coinage. This coin is in Class VI, defined by a nose shaped like a backward 2 on the obverse and, on the reverse, a symbol resembling a ladder on its side in front of a pony with a boar underneath. John Hooker identifies five coin types within Group VI. The coin above is most likely the fifth type (evidenced by the placement of the curl at the bottom of the horse's mane on the reverse). While 1-3 types in Class VI are among the earliest Coriosolite coins (perhaps even preceding the Gallic wars), Hooker asserts that, based on the style of the driver's body on the reverse, types 4 and 5 may have been minted just prior to the forming of the Celtic coalition and capture of the Roman envoys.
1 commentsNathan PNov 22, 2018
Side.jpg
Pamphylia, Side (Circa 145-125BC)29 viewsAR Tetradrachm

29 mm, 15.94 g

Kleuch-, magistrate.

Obverse: Helmeted head of Athena right.

Reverse: ΚΛΕ - ΥΧ, Nike advancing left, holding wreath; pomegranate to left.

SNG BN 697.

In 333 BC, Alexander the Great occupied Side and introduced the population to Hellenistic culture, which became the dominant tradition until the 1st century BC. Ptolemy later overtook the city when he declared himself king of Egypt in 305 BC. Side stayed under Ptolemaic control until it was captured by the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BC. In 190 B.C., however, a fleet from Rhodes, supported by Rome and Pergamum, defeated the Seleucid fleet, which was under the command of the fugitive Carthaginian general, Hannibal (who was unskilled in naval warfare, but to his credit still almost won the battle). The Seleucid defeat solidified by the Treaty of Apamea (188 BC), left Side in an uncertain state of autonomy during which it minted its own money. This lasted until 36 BC when the city came under the rule of the Roman client King of Galatia, Amyntas.
2 commentsNathan PNov 06, 2018
Lysimachos_(2).JPG
Kings of Thrace. Lysimachos. (Circa 297-281)48 viewsAR Tetradrachm

16.04 g

Magnesia mint.

Obverse: Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon

Reverse: Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, spear behind; filleted torch to outer left, monogram to inner left.

Thompson 115; HGC 3, 1743

Among the mints in Asia Minor which Lysimachos acquired through his military conquests in 302/1 BC, Magnesia was a fairly prolific issuer of coinage. In 287 BC, however, the city, along with its neighbor, Sardes, was captured by Demetrios I Poliorketes, only to be retaken by Lysimachos the following year. While Sardes was apparently closed throughout the remainder of Lysimachos’ reign, the mint at Magnesia was allowed to continue striking.
2 commentsNathan POct 22, 2018

Random files - Nathan P's Gallery
740.jpg
Lucania, Sybaris (Circa 550-510 BC)22 viewsAR Stater

29 mm, 8.14 g

Obverse: VM in exergue; bull standing left, head reverted.

Reverse : Incuse bull standing right, head reverted.

HN Italy 1729; SNG ANS 828-844

An Achaean colony dating from about 720 BC, Sybaris rapidly grew to be the wealthiest city in the area. The luxury enjoyed by its population was proverbial, hence the modern words sybarite and sybaritic. The bull may symbolize the local river god Krathis. The archaic coinage of Sybaris was brought to an abrupt end in 510 BC when the city was destroyed by the rival state of Kroton. The waters of the Krathis were diverted to flow over the site of the sacked city, thus obliterating all trace of its former splendor.
2 commentsNathan P
Durotriges.JPG
Celtic Britain, Durotriges (Circa 58 BC-45 AD)12 viewsStater, Abstract (Cranborne Chase) type

5.26g

Obverse: Devolved head of Apollo right

Reverse: Disjointed horse left; pellets above, [pellet below], pellet in lozenge above tail, [zigzag and pellet pattern between two parallel exergue lines].

Van Arsdell 1235-1; BMC 2525-54.

The Durotriges ("dwellers by the water" or, perhaps, "water-rat kings") were well known for their continental trade and hill forts. They were the only tribe who did not add inscriptions to their coins, perhaps indicative of decentralized rule among multiple hill-fort based tribes using a common currency, and the only tribe to strike a stater in silver.

The history of the Durotriges can be divided into two broad phases, an early phase, roughly 100-60 B.C. and a late phase from 60 B.C. until the Roman conquest. The early phase was a time of rapid development brought about by overseas trade, while the late phase was a time of retraction, isolation and economic impoverishment. The economic decline is dramatically portrayed by the progressive debasement of their coinage, particularly when you compare the magnificent white-gold Craborne Chase staters of ca. 50-40 B.C. with the crude cast bronze Hengistbury coins of ca. A.D. 10-43.

The Durotriges resisted Roman invasion in AD 43, and the historian Suetonius records some fights between the tribe and the second legion Augusta, then commanded by Vespasian. By 70 AD, the tribe was already Romanised and securely included in the Roman province of Britannia.
2 commentsNathan P
istros.jpg
Moesia, Istros. (Circa 340-313 BC)36 viewsAR Drachm

6.19 g

Obverse: Two facing male heads; the right inverted

Reverse: IΣTPIH, sea-eagle left, grasping dolphin left with talons; H behind, Δ below.

AMNG I 431. SNG BM Black Sea 245.

Istros was a Greek colony near the mouths of the Danube (known as Ister in Ancient Greek), on the western coast of the Black Sea. Established by Milesian settlers in order to facilitate trade with the native Getae, Scymnus of Chios (ca 110 BC), dated its founding to 630 BC, while Eusebius of Caesarea set it during the time of the 33rd Olympic Games (657 – 656 BC). During the archaic and classical periods, when Istros flourished, it was situated near fertile arable land. It served as a port of trade soon after its establishment, with fishing and agriculture as additional sources of income.
1 commentsNathan P
Price_3622.jpg
Kings of Macedon. Alexander III ‘the Great’. (Circa 324/323 BC)27 viewsAR Tetradrachm

25 mm, 17.15 g

Babylon mint. Struck under Stamenes or Archon (Appointed satraps of Babylonia from 328-323 BC)

Obverse: Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress, paws tied beneath chin

Reverse: [Α]ΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ (Of Alexander), Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, left leg drawn back, his feet resting on a low footrest, holding long scepter in his left hand and, in his right, eagle standing right with closed wings, sickle (or perhaps Persian fly whisk) in left field, below throne, monogram above M.

Price 3622.

This coin was minted in or near the time (323 BC) and place (Babylon) of Alexander's (likely) assassination. Long assumed by numismatists to be a sickle, the symbol in left field on the reverse may actually be a Persian fly whisk (hat tip to Forum member N.igma, for bringing this information to light here: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=94765.msg713305#msg713305) highlighting Alexander's increased adoption of Persian royal regalia and practice in the years following the death of Darius III in 330 BC (much to the chagrin of his fellow Macedonians).
1 commentsNathan P