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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Military ▸ Nike or VictoryView Options:  |  |  |   

Nike or Victory on Ancient Coins

Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Victory or Nike is one of the most common figures on Greek and Roman coins.


Macedonian Kingdom, Philip III Arrhidaeus and Alexander IV, 323 - 317 B.C.

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Struck under Leonnatos, Arrhidaios, or Antigonos I Monophthalmos. Philip III Arrhidaeus, the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa, was Alexander the Great's half-brother. Alexander's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned him as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Incapable of actual rule, he was made king upon Alexander's death only to serve as a pawn for those who wished to grab power for themselves. Olympias had him imprisoned and then ordered his execution in 317 B.C.
SH86159. Gold stater, Price P38; ADM II Series XI, 159a; Müller Alexander P64, aEF, some luster, well centered, attractive style, edge bump, weight 8.519 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Troas, Abydos (near Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 323 - 317 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right in crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with a coiled snake, wearing necklace and long drop earring; reverse Nike standing slightly left, head left, wreath in extended right hand, grounded stylis in left hand at her side, MH monogram over pentagram outer left, coiled snake under left wing; ex CNG auction 108, lot 189; $3700.00 (€3145.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron I, c. 475-470 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86273. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 332 (V164/R232); Randazzo 504 (same dies); SNG ANS -, aEF, superb style, centered on a tight flan, attractive toning, some light marks, weight 17.315 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, c. 485 - 479 B.C.; obverse charioteer walking slow quadriga right, kentron in right hand, reins in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣYPAKOΣION, Head of Arethusa right, wearing earring, beaded necklace and beaded diadem, her hair tied in a krobylos, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 439; ex Comery Collection; $3500.00 (€2975.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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Following Heron's death, democracy was restored in 466 B.C. Similar to at Athens, the polis was governed by a council and popular assembly with an executive consisting of elected generals or strategoi. Syracuse fought against Athens 427 - 424 B.C. and again 415 - 413 B.C.; ultimately Syracuse was victorious. With further reforms by Diocles, the democratic nature of Syracuse's political structure was further strengthened.
SH86210. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XVIIa, 586 (V291/R396); SNG ANS 189 (same dies); McClean 2670 (same); Pozzi 582 (same); HGC 2 1313, gVF, fine style, lightly toned, well centered, tight flan as always for the type, light bumps and marks, light porosity, slight die shift on reverse, pre-strike casting sprue remnant, weight 16.999 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 440 - 430 B.C.; obverse Charioteer driving quadriga right, Nike flying right above crowning horses, ketos right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, hair bound with wide taenia, four dolphins swimming around; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 143; ex Allan Smith M.D. Collection; ex CNG auction 81 (20 May 2009), lot 162; rare; $3000.00 (€2550.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Second Democracy, 466 - 405 B.C.

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SH86312. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer Series XIVb, 489 (V258/R351); SNG ANS 156 (same dies); Weber 1583 (same obv. die); BMC Sicily, p. 156, 80; Jameson 762; HGC 2 1312, EF, mint luster in recesses, light tone, obverse die wear, uneven strike, reverse off center, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 466 - 460 B.C.; obverse charioteer driving slow quadriga right, holding reigns in both hands, goad in right hand, Nike above flying left crowning driver with wreath, Ketos (sea serpent) right in exergue; reverse ΣYPAKOΣON, head of Arethusa right, wearing pearl or bead necklace and earring with loop and finial pendant, thin band wound once around her head and tying back hair in queue, four dolphins around swimming clockwise; ex CNG auction 102 (18 May 2016), lot 135; ex Colin E. Pitchfork Collection; ex Dr. Neil Geddes (20 Nov 2002); ex Noble auction 54 (22 July 1997), lot 1640; ex Stack’s sale, 6 Dec 1995, lot 65; $2800.00 (€2380.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Deinomenid Tyranny, Time of Hieron, c. 478 - 467 B.C.

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From the height of Syracuse preeminence amongst the Sicilian Greeks, shortly after the great victory over the Carthaginian invaders at Himera in 480 B.C.
SH86274. Silver tetradrachm, Boehringer 338 (V166/R236); Randazzo 507 - 509 (same dies); SNG ANS -, gVF, fantastic style, toned, centered on a tight flan, small areas struck a little flat, marks, pre-strike flan casting sprues remaining (as usual for the type), weight 16.971 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Syracuse mint, c. 478 - 467 B.C.; obverse slow quadriga driven right by male charioteer, kentron in right hand, reigns in left hand, Nike above flying right crowning horses; reverse ΣVRA-KOS-I-ON (Latin R upside down, N reversed), Artemis-Arethusa right, archaic eye, hair slightly waved in front turned up in a krobylos under a diadem of beads, wearing earring and necklace, surrounded by four dolphins swimming clockwise; ex Roma Numismatics, auction 6 (29 Sep 2013), lot 441; ex Comery Collection; $2500.00 (€2125.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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Issued to commemorate victory in Britain. Between 208 and 210 A.D., Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla campaigned into Scotland (then Caledonia) and also restored Hadrian's Wall. The victories in the north pacified the island for the remainder of the century, but the aged Septimius died at Eburacum (York) in 211 A.D.
SH83529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 332 (S); RSC III 727; BMCRE V p. 366, 51; Hunter III 108; SRCV II 6382, Choice gVF, some luster, perfect centering, nice portrait, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 - 211 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIAE BRIT (victories over the British), Victory advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; scarce; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

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Ephesus peaked during the 1st and 2nd century A.D. when it was second in importance and size only to Rome, with a population estimated at 400,000 to 500,000 in 100 A.D. The city was famous for the Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus, and its theater, seating 25,000 spectators. Ephesus also had several large bath complexes and one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world. Water powered numerous mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble. The city and temple were destroyed by the Goths in 263 A.D., marking the decline of the city's splendor.
RS86444. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, 1431; RSC II 276; RPC II 833; BnF III 351; BMCRE II 457, SRCV I 2270, gVF, attractive Eastern style, toned, bumps and marks, obverse slightly off center but full legend, weight 3.202 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesus mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS III TR P P P, laureate head right; reverse PACI AVGVSTAE, Victory advancing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, EPHE (PHE ligate) lower right; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 17 (25 Apr 2015), lot 588; $380.00 (€323.00)
 


Roman Republic, Pre-Denarius Coinage, 225 - 215 B.C.

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Crawford describes obverse as the laureate janiform head of the Dioscuri and explains, "the Dioscuri had acquired the role of protectors of the Roman people as a result of their intervention on the Roman side at the Battle of Lake Regillus. Explaining the reverse, he states, "Jupiter was the god in whose honour a Roman triumph was held." The depiction is probably based on the statue of Jupiter in a quadriga erected on the ridge of the Capitoline Temple in 296 B.C.
RR85557. Silver quadrigatus-didrachm, Crawford 28/3, pl. IV, 5; Sydenham 65 (S); RSC I 24; SRCV I 33; BMCRR I 101, VF, porous, reverse a little off center, weight 5.587 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, 225 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate beardless head of Janus, straight neck truncation; reverse Jupiter in fast quadriga galloping right, driven by Victory with reins in both hands, Jupiter hurling thunderbolt in his right hand, transverse lotus tipped scepter in his left hand, ROMA raised in a raised linear frame below, linear border; scarce; $360.00 (€306.00)
 


Himera, Sicily, 420 - 409 B.C.

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In 409 B.C., Carthage attacked Himera. The city was unprepared; its fortifications weak. At first they were supported about 4000 auxiliaries from Syracuse, but their general, Diocles, seized with panic for the safety of Syracuse itself, abandoned Himera. The city was utterly destroyed, its buildings, even its temples, were razed to the ground. More than 3000 prisoners were put to death by General Hannibal Mago as a human sacrifice to the memory of his grandfather General Hamilcar who had been defeated at the Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.
GB86306. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati I p. 41, 27; SNG Cop 318, SNG Munchen 365; SNG ANS 184 var. (grasshopper control), gVF, dark patina, bumps and scratches, areas of light corrosion, earthen deposits, a little off center, weight 6.039 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 90o, Himera (Termini, Sicily, Italy) mint, 420 - 409 B.C.; obverse Pan on a goat prancing right, nude but for chlamys fluttering in the wind behind, preparing to blow on conch in right, thyrsus in left over shoulder, Corinthian helmet (control symbol) below; reverse HIMEPAION, Nike flying left, apluster with dangling fillets in extended right, fold of long chiton in left, six pellets (mark of value) left below arm; $350.00 (€297.50)
 


Lot of 20 Roman Empire City of Constantinople Commemoratives Bronzes 330 - 346 A.D.

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On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. Coins were issued with types for Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
LT85418. Bronze reduced centenionalis, SRCV IV 16444 ff. (various mints), all VF, nice coins, 330 - 346 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINOPOLIS, laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis left, wearing imperial cloak, scepter over left shoulder; reverse Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, mintmark in exergue; one with soldiers with standard reverse, unattributed mint or issue, no flips or tags, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $300.00 (€255.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.
Marest-Caffey, L. "Seleukos I's Victory Coinage of Susa Revisited: A Die Study and Commentary" in AJN 28 (2016).

Catalog current as of Monday, December 11, 2017.
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Nike or Victory