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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ InsectsView Options:  |  |  | 

Insects on Ancient Coins

Metapontion, Lucania, Italy, c. 300 - 250 B.C.

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Metapontum or Metapontion was an important city of Magna Graecia, on a plain of extraordinary fertility on the Gulf of Tarentum, between the river Bradanus and the Casuentus (modern Basento). It was distant about 20 km from Heraclea and 40 from Tarentum. The ruins of Metapontum are located in the frazione of Metaponto, in the comune of Bernalda, in the Province of Matera, Basilicata region, Italy.
SH70576. Bronze AE 14, Johnston Bronze 62, SNG ANS 574, SNG Cop 1261, SNG Fitzwilliam 534, SNG Forbat 55, SNG Lloyd 420, SNG Evelpidis 232, HN Italy 1698, BMC Italy -, gVF, nice style, well centered, weight 3.426 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 270o, Metapontion mint, c. 300 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, hair rolled and wreathed with barley, wearing pendant earring; reverse META (upwards on left), head of barley with leaf right, fly (bee?) on right flying right above leaf; $240.00 (213.60)


Ephesos, Ionia, c. 280 - 258 B.C.

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Ephesos, on the west coast of Anatolia, was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. It was famous for its Temple of Artemis, completed around 550 B.C., one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The cult image of the Ephesian goddess has a mummy-like body with the feet placed close together, is many-breasted, and from each of her hands hangs a long fillet with tassels at the ends. At her side stands a stag raising its head to the image of the goddess. The usual symbols of this nature-goddess are the torch, stag, and the bee. Coins of Ephesos most frequently depict a bee on the obverse. The high-priest of the temple of Artemis was called the King Bee, while the virgin priestesses were called honey-bees (Melissae). Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John may have been written there.
GB76117. Bronze AE 15, cf. BMC Ionia p. 58, 83 ff.; SNG Cop 268 - 269 var. (same), gF, nice green patina, weight 3.346 g, maximum diameter 15.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 280 - 258 B.C.; obverse bee from above, within laurel wreath, E−Φ flanking head; reverse stag feeding right, quiver above, magistrate's name (obscure) in exergue; $70.00 (62.30)


Erythrai, Ionia, c. 133 - 30 B.C.

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In 334 B.C. Alexander the Great made Erithrae a free city. According to Pliny (HN 5.116) and Pausanias (2.1.5), Alexander planned to cut a canal through the peninsula of Erythrae to connect Teos bay with the gulf of Smyrna. When Alexander returned to Memphis in April 331 B.C., envoys from Greece were waiting for him, saying that the oracles at Didyma and Erythrae, which had been silent for a long time, had suddenly spoken and confirmed that Alexander was the son of Zeus. Alexander was already thinking that he was of a more than human nature when he entered Greece, after all, the people of Didyma and Erythrae could not have known that Alexander was recognized as the son of Ra and wanted to be called "son of Zeus." Erythrae was later associated with Pergamum and with Rome, and after the death of Attalos III in 133 BC, when the Pergamene kingdom was bequeathed to the Romans, it flourished as a "civitas libera" attached to the Roman province of Asia. Erythrai_amphitheater
GB75487. Bronze trichalkon, BMC Ionia p. 140, 212; SNG Cop 721; SNG Tbingen 2873; SNGvA -; SNG Mnchen -, VF, green patina, weight 2.524 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 90o, Ionia, Erythrai (north of Ildiri, Turkey) mint, magistrate Herakleos, c. 133 - 30 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse Bow-in-bow case above, HPAKΛEOΣ / EΠIKOYPOY (magistrate's name and patronymic) in two lines across center, bee left lower left, club over EPY lower right; scarce; $60.00 (53.40)


"Kainon," Sicily, c. 367 - 340 B.C.

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This issue, assigned to Alaisa in many references, was perhaps produced by Thracian mercenaries operating in Sicily in the 4th century B.C.
GI75648. Bronze tetras, Calciati I, p. 252, 10; SNG Cop 134 (Alaesa); SNG Mnchen 218 (Alaisa); SNG ANS 1178 (Alaesa); BMC Sicily p. 29, 8 (Alaesa); HGC 2 509, F, scrapes, weight 9.108 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 45o, uncertain mint, c. 367 - 340 B.C.; obverse griffin springing left, wings open, grasshopper left below; reverse horse prancing left, loose reigns flying behind, KAINON in exergue, star with eight rays around a central pellet above; $60.00 (53.40)


Cherronesos, Thrace, c. 400 - 338 B.C.

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Cherronesos is Greek for 'peninsula' and several cities used the name. The city in Thracian Chersonesos (the Gallipoli peninsula) that struck these coins is uncertain. The coins may have been struck at Cardia by the peninsula as a league, or perhaps they were struck by lost city on the peninsula named Cherronesos. Cherronesos was controlled by Athens from 560 B.C. to 338 B.C., aside from a brief period during this time when it was controlled by Persia. It was taken by Philip II of Macedonia in 338 B.C., Pergamon in 189 B.C., and Rome in 133 B.C. It was later ruled by the Byzantine Empire and then by the Ottoman Turks.
GS75422. Silver hemidrachm, BMC Thrace p. 186, 49; SNG Cop 834; McClean -; Weber -; Dewing -; SNG Lockett -, SNG Milan -, SNG Berry -, SNG Dreer -, SNG von Post -, VF, toned, small flan cutting off much of the lion head and bee body, porous, light marks, weight 2.300 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, Cherronesos mint, c. 400 - 338 B.C.; obverse lion forepart right, head turned back left, tongue protruding; reverse quadripartite incuse with alternating shallow and deeper sunken quarters, pellet above X in one sunk quadrant, a bee in the opposite sunk quadrant; rare; $40.00 (35.60)


Cherronesos, Thrace, c. 400 - 338 B.C.

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Cherronesos is Greek for 'peninsula' and several cities used the name. The city in Thracian Chersonesos (the Gallipoli peninsula) that struck these coins is uncertain. The coins may have been struck at Cardia by the peninsula as a league, or perhaps they were struck by lost city on the peninsula named Cherronesos. Cherronesos was controlled by Athens from 560 B.C. to 338 B.C., aside from a brief period during this time when it was controlled by Persia. It was taken by Philip II of Macedonia in 338 B.C., Pergamon in 189 B.C., and Rome in 133 B.C. It was later ruled by the Byzantine Empire and then by the Ottoman Turks.
GS74253. Silver hemidrachm, BMC Thrace p. 184, 29; SNG Dreer 113; Winterthur 1199; McClean -; SNG Cop -; SNG Lockett -; SNG Ashmolean -; SNG Berry -; SNG Milan -, VF, reverse struck with a worn die, porous, tiny test cuts on edge, weight 2.416 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, Cherronesos mint, c. 400 - 338 B.C.; obverse lion forepart right, head turned back left, tongue protruding; reverse quadripartite incuse square with alternating shallow and deeper sunken quarters, pellet beside AY ligature in one sunk quadrant, bee in the opposite sunk quadrant; $40.00 (35.60) ON RESERVE







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Catalog current as of Monday, February 20, 2017.
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Insects