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Music on Ancient Coins

Judaea, Bar Kochba Revolt, 132 - 135 A.D.

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In 134, the Romans captured Jerusalem. Simon bar Kokhba was killed in 135, at Betar, a fortress where he had taken refuge. Jerusalem, largely destroyed, was renamed Colonia Aelia Capitolina. Legio VI Ferrata rebuilt the legionary fortress in the city and constructed a Roman temple at Golgotha. An altar to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem. Although, resistance continued in Galilee, the Jewish diaspora began as Emperor Hadrian barred Jews from Jerusalem and had survivors of the massacre dispersed across the Roman Empire. Many were sold into slavery. The Jews remained scattered without a homeland for close to two millennia.
JD91403. Bronze AE 20, Mildenberg, group 3b, 33 (O2/R12); Meshorer TJC 297 (same dies); SNG ANS 584 (same dies); Hendin 1436a, VF, toned, light earthen deposits, flan adjustment marks, tiny edge cracks, tight flan, weight 6.625 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, undated (year 3?), 134 - 135 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription counterclockwise from lower right: for the freedom of Jerusalem, upright palm branch within laurel wreath, wreath with four groups of three leaves on each side, a medallion at the top and ribbon ties at the bottom; reverse Paleo-Hebrew inscription counterclockwise from lower right: Shimon, kithara-lyre with a long soundbox and three strings, no horn-like projections on lyre (present on most dies); from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Fairlane Collection; $450.00 SALE |PRICE| $405.00


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Sestos, Thracian Chersonesos

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Sestos was an ancient town of the Thracian Chersonesos, the modern Gallipoli peninsula in European Turkey. Situated on the Hellespont opposite Abydos, it was an Aeolian colony, founded by settlers from Lesbos, and the home of Hero in the legend of Hero and Leander.
CM89992. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 1740 (2 spec.; RPC online 6 spec., 2 with c/m), Varbanov III 2967 (R7); c/m: Howqego 460 (1 spec., same coin type, same placement), VF, tight flan, reverse a bit flattened opposite countermark, weight 3.485 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Sestos mint, obverse CEBACTOY, bare head right, countermark: six pointed star in a 7mm round punch; reverse CHCTI, lyre; very rare; $180.00 SALE |PRICE| $162.00


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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The Temple of Apollo Palatinus, on the Palatine Hill, was dedicated by Octavian on 9 Oct 28 B.C., fulfilling vows made for his victories over Sextus Pompeius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Ancient sources say, it was built where lightning had struck, Augustus' private house was directly connected to its terrace, the temple had ivory doors, and it held numerous works of sculpture. The remains were excavated in the 1960s.

Commodus dedicated this coin to Apollo, the god of medicine, in hopes that he would end a dreadful plaque raging in Rome. At the height of the plague, two thousand victims were dying each day. Apollo apparently did his job as no one in Rome died from this plague today.
RS94126. Silver denarius, Szaivert MIR 18 p. 165, 805; RIC III 197 (S) var. (obv. leg.); RSC II 30 var. (same); cf. BMCRE IV 271 (aureus); Hunter II - (p. clv), Nice F, nice portrait, toned, centered on an irregularly shaped flan, flow lines, edge splits and cracks, weight 2.095 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 189 A.D.; obverse M COMM ANT P FEL AVG BRIT P P, laureate head right; reverse APOLLINI PALATINO, Apollo Palatinus standing facing, head right, laureate and wearing long robe, plectrum in right hand, lyre resting on a column in left hand; there were only two specimens of this type in the Reka Devnia Hoard, and no sales of the type in the last two decades; extremely rare; $135.00 SALE |PRICE| $120.00


Alexandreia Troas, Troas, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
CM89991. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 96 (same countermarks); cf. BMC Troas p. 12, 29 ff.; SNG Mnchen 92 f.; SNGvA 1461, coin: obverse mostly obscured by countermarks, reverse flattened by countermarking; countermarks: mostly VF, weight 5.358 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo facing (only upper left side of face and left eye visible); c/m: 1) lyre in 7mm round punch, 2) female head right within 7mm round punch, 3) uncertain (mouse?); reverse lyre, AΛEΞAN (or similar) around, all within laurel wreath; c/m: horse head right; $120.00 SALE |PRICE| $108.00


Tarentum, Southern Apulia, Italy, c. 275 - 200 B.C.

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Tarentum's independence and power ended when the Romans expanded across Italy. Tarentum was aided by Pyrrhus, who surprised and defeated Rome with the use of war elephants. However, after Pyrrhus departed, the city surrendered in 272 B.C. In 209 B.C., Tarentum would suffer for supporting Hannibal. The commander of a Bruttian force betrayed the city to the Romans. Indiscriminate slaughter ensued and among the victims were the Bruttians who had betrayed the city. Thirty thousand of the Greek inhabitants were sold as slaves and the city's art treasures, including the statue of Nike (Victory) were carried off to Rome.
GI85894. Brass AE 14, Vlasto 1850, HN Italy 1092, SNG Morcom 259, aVF, rough, weight 2.212 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 180o, Tarentum (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 275 - 200 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse kithara; very rare; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


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

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In 251 A.D., a fifteen-year plague began in the Roman Empire. In Roman Coins and Their Values III, David Sear notes, "This unusual reverse type doubtless represents an appeal to the god of healing for deliverance from the pestilence which was afflicting Rome."
RS91605. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 32 (S), RSC IV 20, SRCV III 9627, Hunter III -, VF/F, toned, flow lines, porous, frosty surfaces, weight 3.207 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 252 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse APOLL SALVTARI (Apollo the Healer), Apollo standing left, nude, laurel branch in right hand, leaning with left on lyre set on rock; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Numismatique Archeologie, M. Platt (Paris); scarce; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 300 - 240 B.C.

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Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, mythical birthplace of the god Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for the god, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain and says it was drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB85884. Bronze chalkous, BCD Peloponnesos 1629; Imhoof-Blumer MG 257; Trait III 905 & pl. CCXXV, 13; HGC 5 995 (R2); SNG Cop -; BMC Peloponnesus -, F, dark olive green patina, reverse slightly off center, weight 2.693 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 300 - 240 B.C.; obverse head of Artemis Heurippa right, quiver behind; reverse hound running right, ΦE above, syrinx (Pan pipes) below; ex J. Cohen Collection; very rare; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


Thespiai, Boiotia, Greece, 146 - 27 B.C.

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Thespiae stood on level ground commanded by the low range of hills which run eastward from the foot of Mount Helicon to Thebes, near modern Thespies. During the Hellenistic Period, Thespiae sought the friendship of the Roman Republic in the war against Mithridates VI. It is subsequently mentioned by Strabo as a place of some size, and by Pliny as a free city within the Roman Empire, a reward for its support against Mithridates. Thespiae hosted an important group of Roman negotiatores until the refoundation of Corinth in 44 B.C.
GB93470. Bronze AE 16, BCD Boiotia 611; Head Boeotia p. 94, pl. VI, 13; BMC Central p. 92, 14, pl. XVI, 12; SNG Cop 406 - 407; De Luynes 2012; HGC 4 1408 (S), aVF, dark tone, highlighting chalky deposits, porous, weight 4.152 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 225o, Thespiai (near Thespies, Greece) mint, 146 - 27 B.C.; obverse female (Arsinoe III) head right, wearing veil, veiled bust right; reverse chelys, ΘEΣΠI/EΩN in two downward lines, starting on right, ending on left, all in laurel wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a citys status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tbingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY K - ΠOY ΛIK OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $70.00 SALE |PRICE| $63.00


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.
GB85881. Bronze tetrachalkon, cf. SNG Cop 470; BMC Attica p. 119, 12; BCD Peloponnesos 31; HGC 4 1791 (S-R1), F, near black patina, marks, porosity, reverse a little off center, weight 6.518 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, late 3rd - early 2nd century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse kithara (lyre), MEΓA/PEΩN in two flanking downward lines, the first on the right; ex J. Cohen Collection; ex BCD Collection with his tag, noting "AHB, May 1974, 2.-"; ex A.H. Baldwin, London; scarce; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00




  



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