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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Athletics & GamesView Options:  |  |  |   

Atheletics and Games on Ancient Coins

Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. The wreaths refer to the games sponsored by each of the two cities, the ΠYΘIA games held by Hierapolis, and the XPVCANΘINA games held by Sardes.
RP77256. Bronze AE 25, Franke-Nolle, type V, 838 (Vs. A/Rs. 11); cf. Lindgren-Kovacs 976; BMC Phrygia p. 260, 175, F, weight 7.301 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse M ΩT CEVHPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩN K CAP∆,IANΩN NEΩ/KOPΩN (ending in two lines in exergue), two wreaths side by side with inscriptions within, left wreath XPV/CAN, right wreath ΠVΘ/IA, OMONOI/A in the field above; very rare; $195.00 (165.75)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
SH73402. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 46, BCD Thessaly II 171, HGC 4 418 (S), BCD Thessaly I -, F, etched surfaces, weight 5.260 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both right, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos flying loose in the air behind him; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAP/IΣAI in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "V. ex. Thess., June 2009, 45.-"; scarce; $180.00 (153.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73424. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 52, SNG Munchen 49, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, off-center, uneven strike, die wear, weight 6.075 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 315o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Thessaly Z hd. early '85."; scarce; $160.00 (136.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for 130.-"; scarce; $160.00 (136.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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In April 248, Philip combined the celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary with the Ludi Saeculares. Festivities included spectacular games and theatrical presentations. In the Colosseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. Undoubtedly the festivities included elephants, as advertised by this coin.
RS84967. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 17, RIC IV 58, Hunter III 31, SRCV III 8921, VF, centered on a broad oval flan, a few legend letters weak, deposits, light corrosion, weight 3.136 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse IMP PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNITAS AVGG, elephant walking left, ridden by mahout guiding it with rod and goad; $140.00 (119.00)


Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. The wreaths refer to the games sponsored by each of the two cities, the ΠYΘIA games held by Hierapolis, and the XPVCANΘINA games held by Sardes.
RP77257. Bronze AE 25, Franke-Nolle, type V, 830 (Vs. A/Rs. 9); Lindgren-Kovacs 976; BMC Phrygia p. 260, 175, aF, obverse off center but on a broad flan, edge crack, porous, weight 6.144 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse M ΩT CEVHPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩN K CAP∆,IANΩN NEΩK/OPΩN (ending in two lines in exergue), two wreaths side by side with inscriptions within, XPY/CAN in the left wreath, ΠYΘ/IA in the right wreath, OMONOI/A in the field above; very rare; $125.00 (106.25)


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.
GB79600. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 264 var. (star and crescent), SNGvA 4583 var. (crescent vice star); SNG BnF 148 var. (no star), BMC Lycia p. 103, 74 (same), aVF, green patina, weight 3.565 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse free horse galloping right, star above; reverse slinger standing right, throwing bullet, A − Σ flanking across center; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; very rare; $95.00 (80.75)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Laodicea ad Mare prospered thanks to the excellent wine produced in the nearby hills and was also famous for its textiles, both of which were exported to all the empire. A sizable Jewish population lived in Laodicea during the first century. Under Septimius Severus the city was fortified and was made for a few years the capital of Roman Syria: in this period Laodicea grew to be a city of nearly 40,000 inhabitants and had even an hippodrome. Christianity was the main religion in the city after Constantine I and many bishops of Laodicea participated in ecumenical councils, mainly during Byzantine times. The heretic Apollinarius was bishop of Laodicea in the 4th century, when the city was fully Christian but with a few remaining Jews. An earthquake damaged the city in 494 A.D. Justinian I made Laodicea the capital of the Byzantine province of "Theodorias" in the early sixth century. Laodicea remained its capital for more than a century until the Arab conquest.
RP86245. Bronze AE 19, SNG Mnchen 944; SNG Hunterian 3226, SNG Cop 372 var. (bust); BMC Galatia p. 262, 105 var. (no clubs), VF, porous, reverse off center, weight 5.941 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVP - ANTONINVS - AVG, radiate bust right, bare shoulders seen from behind; reverse LAVDICEON, two naked wrestlers, standing confronted and grappling, wrestler on the left has his hand on his antagonist shoulder, clubs left and right, one behind each wrestler, ∆E exergue; scarce; $90.00 (76.50)


Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Damascus, Syria

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Hadrian promoted Damascus to the Metropolis of Coele-Syria about 125 A.D. Septimius Severus upgraded it to a colonia in 222 A.D. Damascus was an important caravan city with trade routes from southern Arabia, Palmyra, Petra, and silk routes from China all converging on it delivering eastern luxuries to Rome. The inscription on the prize urn names the sacred Olympia Sebasmia games, celebrated at Damascus as part of the local imperial cult.
RY86710. Bronze AE 25, RPC Online IX 1964 (same dies, 4 spec.); BMC Galatia p. 288, 32; Rosenberger 58; De Saulcy 6; SNG Hunter 3462 var. (bust); SNG Mn -; SNG Cop -, aF, porous, light earthen deposits, weight 7.860 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, c. Nov 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLO VOLOSSIANO AVG, laureate head right, traces of drapery; reverse COL ∆AMAS METRO, agonistic urn containing cypress, inscribed OΛYMΠIA / CEBACMIA, ram's head right between I E (IEPA - sanctuary) below; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; very rare; $90.00 (76.50)


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Damascus, Syria

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Hadrian promoted Damascus to the Metropolis of Coele-Syria about 125 A.D. Septimius Severus upgraded it to a colonia in 222 A.D. Damascus was an important caravan city with trade routes from southern Arabia, Palmyra, Petra, and silk routes from China all converging on it delivering eastern luxuries to Rome. The inscription within the wreath names the sacred Olympia Sebasmia games, celebrated at Damascus as part of the local imperial cult.
RY86733. Bronze AE 24, RPC Online IX 1961 var.; BMC Galatia p. 288, 31 var.; Rosenberger 53 var.; Lindgren III A1260a var. (no inscription on jewel, different rev. legends), aF, desert patina, weak legends, scratches on reverse, porous, weight 8.367 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Damascus mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP CI VIB TREB GALLO AVG, laureate head right, traces of drapery; reverse COL ∆AMAS METROP, CEB/ACM/IA (Sebasmia) in three lines within wreath, IEPA (sanctuary) inscribed on large jewel closing top of wreath, ram head right below between wreath ties; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; extremely rare variety; $80.00 (68.00)




  



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REFERENCES

Klose, D. & G. Stumpf. Sport, Spiel, Sieg. (Munich, 1996).


Catalog current as of Thursday, May 24, 2018.
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Atheletics and Games