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

Insects on Ancient Coins

Ephesos, Ionia, c. 340 - 325 B.C.

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Ephesos, on the west coast of Anatolia, was one of the 12 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 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.
SH75181. Silver tetradrachm, Pixodarus p. 192, class H (post-hoard, cites Berlin); Trait II p. 1106, 1183; SNG Cop -; SNG Mun -; SNG Tub -; SNGvA -; SNG Kayhan -; BMC Ionia -, aVF, well centered, die wear and breaks on the obverse, weight 15.057 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 340 - 325 B.C.; obverse bee with straight wings, E−Φ flanking head; reverse forepart of stag kneeling right, looking left, palm tree with two bunches of fruit on left, XIMAPOΣ downward on right; very rare; $800.00 (712.00)


Elaios, Thracian Chersonesos, c. 350 - 281 B.C.

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The city of Elaios in Thracian Chersonesos occupied a strategic position on what is now called the Gallipoli peninsula. In the ancient world, it was know for its sanctuary of the Trojan hero Protesilaos. Philostratos, writing of this sanctuary in the early third century A.D., speaks of a temple statue of Protesilaos standing on a base which was shaped like the prow of a boat. Of all the references listed in this coin's attribution, SNG Copenhagen is the only to list any coins of this rare city.
GB85370. Bronze AE 13, SNG Cop 898 (also same countermark); BMC Thrace -, Corpus Nummorum Thracorum -, SNG Tub -, SNG BM -, SNG Stancomb -, SNG Pushkin -, VF, well centered, highlighting earthen deposits, some marks, some corrosion, reverse slightly flattened by counter marking, weight 2.392 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, Elaios mint, c. 350 - 281 B.C.; obverse veiled female head (Demeter?) right (wreathed in grain?); countermark: lion forepart right in an round punch; reverse bee upward, seen from above, EΛAIOY/ΣIΩN flanking in two upward lines first on left, ΠA monogram below; extremely rare; $250.00 (222.50)


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. 390 - 320 B.C.

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In 356 B.C. the temple of Artemis was burned down, according to legend, by a lunatic called Herostratus. Ephesus planned a larger, grander temple and at once started rebuilding. When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus in 334 B.C., the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated. The pro-Persian tyrant Syrpax and his family were stoned to death, and Alexander was greeted warmly when he entered Ephesus in triumph. When Alexander saw that the temple of Artemis was not yet finished, he proposed to finance it and have his name inscribed on the front. But the Ephesians demurred, saying it was not fitting for one god to build a temple to another.
GS76154. Silver diobol, BMC Ionia p. 53, 53; SNG Cop 243; SNGvA 1835; SNG Mnchen 32; SNG Kayhan 194; SGCV II 4375, VF, some light corrosion, weight 1.004 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, c. 390 - 320 B.C.; obverse bee with straight wings, seen from above; reverse confronted heads of two stags, EΦ above; $140.00 (124.60)


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 Tub 2873; SNGvA -; SNG Munchen -, 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 Munchen 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)







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Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
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Insects