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

Music on Ancient Coins

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

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These coins are usually overstruck on earlier denarii or drachms. This example is overstruck on a Trajan denarius.
SL89834. Silver zuz, Mildenberg 213 (O24/R137); BMC Palestine, p. 299, 79 (same dies, on Trajan drachm); SNG ANS 561 (same dies); Hendin 1435, Meshorer TJC 274, NGC Ch XF, strike 2/5, surface 3/5, overstruck [on a Trajan denarius] (4283488-001), weight 3.24 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Judaean mint, undated issue of year 3, 134 - 135 A.D.; obverse Paleo-Hebrew legend: Shim'on, bunch of grapes in three lobes hanging from branch, which has a tendril to the left and a leaf to the right; reverse Paleo-Hebrew legend: for the freedom of Jerusalem, kithara with three strings; $1000.00 (€880.00)
 


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

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In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.
RB76166. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 303a, Hunter III 117, Cohen V 262, SRCV III 8732, Choice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen fill, nice portrait, well centered, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th issue, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, laurel-branch in right hand, left forearm resting on lyre on back of his seat, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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 October 28 B.C. in return for vows made for his victories over Sextus Pompeius at the Battle of Naulochus in 36 B.C. and over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium 31 B.C. It was built on a site where a lightning bolt had struck. Augustus' private house was directly connected to the terrace of the sanctuary. Ancient sources state the temple had ivory doors and held numerous works of sculpture. The remains were excavated in the 1960s.
RS85050. Silver denarius, Szaivert MIR 18 p.165, 805; BMCRE IV 271, pl. 97, 17 (aureus); RIC III 197 (S) var. (obv. leg.), RSC II 30 var. (same), Hunter II - (clv), F, dark deposits, rough, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.082 g, maximum diameter 17.4 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 there are none on coin archives.; extremely rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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 city’s 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 Tübingen 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; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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; Traité 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; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


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; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Kolophon, Ionia, 330 - 285 B.C.

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Colophon was destroyed by Lysimachus c. 285 B.C., after which Colophon failed to recover and lost its importance. The name was actually transferred to the port village of Notium.
GB59094. Bronze AE 18, Milne Kolophon 140A-C; Waddington 1498; BMC Ionia -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG München -; SNG Tüb -; SNG Keckman -, VF, nice patina, weight 4.8191 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 315o, Kolophon (near Degirmendere Fev, Turkey) mint, magistrate Telegonos, 330 - 285 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse KOΛ, horseman prancing right, chlamys flying behind, spear in right hand, lyre upper left, magistrate's name THΛEΓONOΣ below; rare with this magistrate; $50.00 (€44.00)
 


Heliopolis, Coele-Syria, c. 198 A.D.

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Septimius Severus conferred the Jus Italicum upon Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) in 193, for supporting him against Pescennius Niger. Prior to that Heliopolis had been part of the territory of Berytus (Beirut) on the Phoenician coast since 15 B.C. This obverse of this coin is copied from a coin of Berytus.

Marsyas found Athena's flute. Inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully. Foolishly he challenged Apollo to a musical contest. Apollo won by singing to the music of his lyre. As a just punishment for his presumption, Apollo flayed Marsyas alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and his skin was hung like a wine bag in the cave out of which that river flows.
RP73451. Bronze AE 13, Sawaya 261 (D48/R100), Lindgren-Kovacs 2156, SNG Cop -, SNG München -, BMC Galatia -, VF, weight 1.988 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 90o, Heliopolis mint, c. 198 A.D.; obverse Marsyas right, wineskin over shoulder, C - HE (Colonia Heliopolis), border of dots; reverse COL / HEL in two lines at center within wreath, border of dots; scarce; $36.00 (€31.68)
 


Berytus, Phoenicia, 114 - 117 A.D.

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While playing the flute Athena saw her reflection in the water and disturbed by how her cheeks looked, puffed up while playing, threw away the instrument in disgust. The satyr Marsyas picked up the flute and since it had once been inspired by the breath of a goddess, it played beautifully on its own accord. Elated by his success, Marsyas challenged Apollo to a musical contest. For the prize, the victor could do what he pleased with the vanquished. The Muses were the umpires. Apollo played the cithara and Marsyas the flute. Only after Apollo added his voice to the music of his lyre was the contest decided in his favor. As a just punishment for the presumption of Marsyas, Apollo bound him to an evergreen tree and flayed him alive. His blood was the source of the river Marsyas, and Apollo hung up his skin, like a wine bag, in the cave out of which that river flows.
GB73439. Bronze AE 11, Sawaya 786 ff.; SNG Cop 89; BMC Phoenicia p. 56, 1 ff.; RPC I -, VF, weight 0.830 g, maximum diameter 11.3 mm, Berytus (Beirut, Lebanon) mint, 114 - 117 A.D.; obverse Marsyas advancing left, carrying wine skin over shoulder, CO-L divided across field; reverse forepart of galley right, BER above; $32.00 (€28.16)
 







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