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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Military| ▸ |Nike or Victory||View 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.


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Lampsacus was known as a center for worship of Priapus, who was said to have been born there.

Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos' largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SL89730. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 195, Müller 102, HGC 3 1750l, NGC VF, strike 5/5, surface 4/5, fine style, scratches (2490386-005), weight 16.859 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 30o, Amphipolis mint, 288 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of deified Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena Nikephoros enthroned left, Nike crowning name in extended right hand, left arm rests on grounded round shield decorated with lion head, transverse spear against right side, kerykeion with handle inner left field, YE monogram outer right; $1725.00 SALE |PRICE| $1553.00
 


Vetranio, 1 March - 25 December 350 A.D.

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In 312 A.D., Constantine the Great dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin, "In this sign, you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL92012. Billon maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 287 (S), LRBC II 1174, Voetter 9, SRCV V 18905, Cohen VIII 4 (25 Fr.), EF, one of the finest Vetranio bronzes we have ever seen, weight 4.857 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N VETRANIO P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Vetranio standing left in military dress, labarum (Christogram standard) in right hand, scepter in left hand, crowned by Victory behind, A left, •ASIS• (A resembling H) in exergue; ex FORVM (2009); ex Scott Collection; ex H.D. Rauch auction 75 (6 May 2005), lot 923; scarce; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Thompson notes that Pyrrhus held Pella until 286 B.C. It was one of the last, if not the last, mint opened by Lysimachos. Twenty-six obverse dies are known for the tetradrachms.
SH93849. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 248, HGC 3.2 1750p (S), Müller 353 var. (monogram in ex.), VF, superb high relief portrait, light toning with some darker spots, bumps and marks, weight 16.645 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 180o, Pella mint, 286 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram outer left, monogram inner left, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; scarce; $750.00 SALE |PRICE| $675.00
 


Zeno, 18 January - 17 November 474 and August 476 - 11 April 491 A.D.

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In 474, Zeno's oppressive rule resulted in a revolt which forced him to flee to Isauria. Verina, the widow of Leo I, claimed the Empire and installed her brother, Basiliscus, on the throne. The following year, Basiliscus was deposed and Zeno reclaimed the Empire. He didn't change and new rebellions were frequent. In 491 A.D., after a turbulent reign of seventeen years, he died. He was succeeded by Anastasius, who married his widow Ariadne.
SH93491. Gold solidus, Hunter V 8 (also 3rd officina), RIC X 910, DOCLR 631, Depeyrot 108/1, SRCV V 21514, Tolstoi 14, Ratto 279, VF, well centered on a broad flan, flow lines, bumps and marks, die wear, weight 4.435 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 2nd reign, Aug 476 - 9 Apr 491 A.D.; obverse D N ZENO PERP AVG, helmeted bust facing, pearl diademed, cuirassed, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with horseman riding down enemy; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG Γ (victory of the three emperors, 3rd officina), Victory standing left, long jeweled cross in right, star right, CONOB in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $700.00 SALE |PRICE| $630.00
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Thompson notes that Lampsacus was Lysimachos largest mint in Asia Minor, with approximately 150 known obverse dies. Output from Lampsacus declined when Amphipolis began its extensive coinage c. 288 B.C.
SH93850. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 47, Müller 401, SNG BnF 2540, HGC 3.2 1750b, VF, spectacular high relief portrait, light tone, well centered, bumps and scratches, porosity, weight 16.739 g, maximum diameter 28.6 mm, die axis 0o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 297 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, HP monogram inner left, crescent with horns left in exergue, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left; ex Divus Numismatik; $650.00 SALE |PRICE| $585.00
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Lysimachus, one of Alexander the Great's personal bodyguards, was appointed strategos (general) in Thrace and Chersonesos after Alexander's death. He became one of the diadochi (successors of Alexander) who were initially generals and governors, but who continuously allied and warred with each other and eventually divided the empire. In 309, he founded his capital Lysimachia in a commanding situation on the neck connecting the Chersonesos with the mainland. In 306, he followed the example of Antigonus in taking the title of king, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia. In 281, he was killed in battle against Seleucus, another successor of Alexander.
GS94259. Silver tetradrachm, HGC 3.2 1750, VF, well centered on a broad flan, nice portrait, toned, bumps and marks, weight 16.424 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 135o, obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse Athena enthroned left, Nike crowning name in her right hand, resting left arm on grounded round shield behind, transverse spear against right side, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ΛYΣIMAXOY downward on left, no control marks; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 83 (1 Sep 2019), lot 87; $550.00 SALE |PRICE| $495.00
 


Side, Pamphylia, c. 145 - 125 B.C.

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In 190 B.C. a fleet from Rhodes, supported by Rome and Pergamum, defeated the Seleucid fleet under the command of the fugitive Carthaginian general Hannibal. The Seleucid defeat freed Side from the overlord-ship of the Seleucid Empire. The Treaty of Apamea (188 B.C.) left Side in a state of uncertain freedom. It was during this period of autonomy that Side struck these tetradrachms. It would last until 36 B.C. when the city came under the rule of the Roman client King of Galatia, Amyntas.
GS92896. Silver tetradrachm, SNGvA 4796 (also with anchor c/m); SNG BnF 694; BMC Pamphylia p. 148, 46 (KΛE-YX), Choice VF, well centered, reverse strike a little flat, obverse flattened opposite of countermark, weight 16.505 g, maximum diameter 28.8 mm, die axis 0o, Side (near Selimiye, Antalya Province, Turkey) mint, magistrate Kleuch-, c. 145 - 125 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right in a crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Nike advancing left, wreath extended in right hand, pomegranate in left field, KΛ-E (magistrate's name) divided across field below center; countermark: anchor within incuse rectangle; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 77 (5 May 2019), lot 287; $500.00 SALE |PRICE| $450.00
 


Cappadocian Kingdom, Ariarathes VII Philometor, 116 - 101 B.C., In the Name and Types of Antiochos VII of Syria

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When Ariarathes VII Philometor was a child under the regency of his mother Laodice, Cappadocia was seized by King Nicomedes III of Bithynia, who then married Laodice. Laodice's brother King Mithridates VI of Pontus soon expelled Nicomedes and the restored the Cappadocian throne to Ariarathes VII. When Ariarathes VII learned that his father's assassin was under Mithridates' protection (Mithridates had arranged the murder), he prepared for war. Before the battle, the King of Pontus had him killed and put his own son Ariarathes IX on the Cappadocian throne.
GY91996. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2148; HGC 7 829; HGC 9 1069, gVF, areas a little rough, a few deposits, weight 16.604 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Eusebia-Mazaka mint, 107/6 - 104/3 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos VII right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APIAPAΘOY ΦIΛOMHTPOΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike right in extended right offering wreath, spear and grounded shield in left hand, monogram above A outer left, O inner left, Λ inner right; all within laurel wreath; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 227; $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00
 


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

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In 166, Marcus Aurelius appointed his sons as caesars, while he and Lucius Verus traveled to Germany.
RS92460. Bronze as, RIC III MA1448 (S), Cohen III 282, BMCRE IV 1307, Szaivert MIR 18 129, SRCV II 5416, Hunter II -, VF, nice portrait, light marks, some porosity, some earthen encrustation, weight 12.355 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 165 - summer 166 A.D.; obverse L VERVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate head right; reverse TR POT VI IMP III COS II, Victory standing facing, head left, crowning a trophy of arms with right hand, palm frond in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
 


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

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Nike is often found on coins minted by the Greeks. She is shown with wings, and is often in the action of flying. She is frequently shown crowning the victor of a battle, a victorious team of horses or charioteer (Sicily), and also crowning a king's name. Usually a wreath is held in her hand, with which she crowns the victorious subject. Sometimes she is shown alongside, erecting, or inscribing upon a trophy. She is nearly always shown with wings; a noteable exception is Athens, where they have a wingless Nike, in hopes she would not leave that city.
RP91181. Bronze AE 25, RPC II 1612 (7 spec.), vA Lykien 141, SNG BnF 2320, SNGvA 5399, Lindgren-Kovacs 1384, VF, dark green patina, bumps and marks, reverse a little off center, weight 9.779 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea Combusta (Ladik, Konya Province, Turkey) mint, 71 A.D.; obverse AYTOKPATWP KAICAP OYECΠACIANOC, laureate head right; reverse CEBACTH NEIKH KΛAY∆IOΛAO∆IKEWN, Nike standing slightly left, head left, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand; very scarce; $195.00 SALE |PRICE| $176.00
 




  



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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 Sunday, January 26, 2020.
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Nike or Victory