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Horses on Ancient Coins

Carthage, Zeugitana, North Africa, 229 - 221 B.C.

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The Second Punic War, 218 - 201 B.C., is most remembered for Hannibal's crossing of the Alps, followed by his crushing victories over Rome in the battle of the Trebia, at Trasimene, and again at Cannae. After these defeats, many Roman allies joined Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade. Against Hannibal's skill on the battlefield, the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. More capable in siegecraft, the Romans recaptured all the major cities that had defected. The Romans defeated an attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus and, in Iberia, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the Battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the Battle of Zama in Africa where Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal, resulting in the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.Hannibal's route of invasion

GS92184. Silver shekel, Viola CNP 134, Müller Afrique 126, SNG Cop VIII 291, Macdonald Hunter 67, Villaronga NAH 201, Villaronga CNH 25, VF, toned, bumps and scratches, reverse a little off center, scattered porosity, small edge split, overstruck(?), weight 7.278 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 215o, Carthage mint, 229 - 221 B.C.; obverse head of Tanit-Kore left, hair wreathed with grain; reverse horse prancing right on short exergue line, star above with eight rays around central pellet; ex Ancient Imports (Marc Breitsprecher); scarce; $1480.00 (€1302.40)
 


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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"Trajan, having crossed the Ister by means of the bridge, conducted the war with safe prudence rather than with haste, and eventually, after a hard struggle, vanquished the Dacians. In the course of the campaign he himself performed many deeds of good generalship and bravery, and his troops ran many risks and displayed great prowess on his behalf. It was here that a certain horseman, after being carried, badly wounded, from the battle in the hope that he could be healed, when he found that he could not recover, rushed from his tent (for his injury had not yet reached his heart) and, taking his place once more in the line, perished after displaying great feats of valor." -- Roman History by Cassius Dio
SH92857. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 461b, BMCRE III 970, RIC II 598 (S), Cohen II 499, SRCV II -, Choice gF, excellent portrait, well centered, nice toned brass surfaces, legends and centers weak, closed crack, weight 25.570 g, maximum diameter 33.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 103 - 111 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate bust right, aegis on left shoulder; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan on horseback left, spear vertical in right hand, reins and small Victory in left hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $560.00 (€492.80)
 


Eastern Celts, Imitative of Philip II of Macedonia, "Dachreiter" Type, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Although the body and head of the horseman on the prototype drachm of Philip III of Macedonia have been replaced by an S-shaped line over three pellets, the horseman's leg can still be found on the side of the horse!
SH89462. Silver tetradrachm, Göbl OTA tf. 15, 170/4; Lanz 448, aVF, light toning, reverse slightly off center, light marks, weight 11.953 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, tribal mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse laureate and bearded head of Zeus right; reverse stylized horseman prancing left, rider's head and body reduced to an S-shaped line over three pellets, leg of horseman on side of the horse; $540.00 (€475.20)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

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According to mythology, Larissa was founded by Acrisius, who was killed accidentally by his grandson, Perseus; the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgu; Achilles was born at Larissa, and Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine"; died there. Today, Larissa is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly region and an important commercial, agricultural, and industrial center of Greece.
GB92063. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly 1172.1 (same countermark), BCD Thessaly II 394.1 (same countermark), SNG Cop 147, Rogers 309, HGC 4 530 (S), BMC Thessaly -, VF, well centered, attractive dark patina, interesting countermark, some flatness of strike, edge crack, beveled obverse edge; c/m: VF, weight 11.952 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 300 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa right, monogram behind; countermark on cheek: spiked helmet with visor, neck and cheek guards in a c. 6mm oval punch; reverse cavalryman prancing right, wearing spiked helmet, couched lance in right hand, star upper left, ΛA-PI/ΣNΩN divided above and below; ex Numismatik Lanz München, auction 112 (25 Nov 2002), 193; scarce; $400.00 (€352.00)
 


Belgic Celts, Bellovaci, c. 100 - 57 B.C.

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The Bellovaci, among the most powerful and numerous of the Belgian tribes of north-eastern Gaul, were conquered by Julius Caesar in 57 B.C. The name survives today in the French city of Beauvais, called by the Romans Caesaromagus. The Bellovaci territory extended from modern Beauvais to the Oise River, along the coast. When Caesar learned the Bellovaci intended to conquer the territory of their Suessiones neighbors, he decided to oppose them and prove Roman superiority. The Bellovaci were surprised by the arrival of Roman troops but, despite his force of about 30,000 men, Caesar was intimidated by the size of the Bellovaci forces. Neither initiated battle. The Belgic warriors set traps in the woods for Roman foragers. Caesar called for reinforcements and built a bridge across a marsh to position his troops within range of the Bellovaci camp. The Bellovaci retreated and then attempted an ambush. Caesar learned of their plan and had reinforcements ready to attack, but the Bellovaci were defeated and their general Correus killed, even before he arrived. After the battle, the Bellovaci were impressed by Caesar's clemency but some of their leaders fled to Britain. Belgae_Map
CE92095. Bronze AE 16, cf. Delestrée-Tache I 307, CCCBM III 1, Scheers Traité 601, De la Tour 7276, VF, attractive olive green patina, obverse off center, weight 2.676 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 270o, c. 100 - 57 B.C.; obverse figure running right, ornaments around; reverse human-headed horse galloping right, one large globule above and another below; ex CGB Numismatique Paris; rare; $230.00 (€202.40)
 


Gallic Celts, Uncertain (Lemovices?), c. 100 - 50 B.C.

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The tribe and mint that issued this obol type are unknown, but the Lemovices struck quinarii with similar types, including a human head above the horse on the reverse. It is possible the Lemovices also issued this rare type.
CE89067. Silver obol, Delestrée-Tache 3699; cf. CCBM II S404 ff., De la Tour 4561 (Lemovices, severed head series quinarii), F, well centered, toned, etched surfaces, weight 0.633 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, c. 100 - 50 B.C.; obverse female head right in classic style; reverse horse galloping right, small human head right above; ex CGB Numismatique Paris; rare; $220.00 (€193.60)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, Usurper in Anatolia, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios (Achaeus) was an uncle of Antiochos III. In 223 B.C., Antiochus III appointed Achaeus to the command of Anatolia on the western side of Mount Taurus. Achaeus recovered all the districts which had been lost; but was falsely accused by Hermeias, the minister to Antiochus, of intending to revolt. In self-defense he assumed the title of king. Antiochus marched against Achaeus after he concluded the war with Ptolemy. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, Achaios was captured and beheaded.
GY89995. Bronze AE 18, Houghton-Lorber I 955(1)c, SNG Spaer 836, HGC 9 435 (R2), cf. Newell WSM 1441ε (same countermark, no control), F, dark patina, scratches, a little rough, light earthen deposits, weight 5.599 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, Lydia, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn/winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair in formal (corkscrew) curls; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, transverse palm frond on far side, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) downward on right, AXAIOY downward on left, X (control) outer right, countermark: horse head right in a 6.5mm round punch; scarce; $184.00 (€161.92) ON RESERVE


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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BCD Thessaly II notes this obverse die appears to have been altered (reworked).
GS73413. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 3 (O25/R6), BCD Thessaly II 197 (same dies), Lorber Early 11.- (same obverse die), F, etched surfaces, die wear, weight 5.793 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, partially radiate hair with hornlike locks of hair on crown above ampyx, drop earring, plain necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPI above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 2004, €55.-" ; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


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

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Struck in the name of King Philip III Arrhidaeus, Alexander the Great's half-brother, under the regent Perdikkas. Philip III and Alexander's infant son, Alexander IV, were made joint kings after Alexander's death. Philip was the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, allegedly poisoned her stepson Philip III as a child, leaving him mentally disabled, eliminating him as a rival to Alexander. Neither Philip III nor Alexander IV was capable of actual rule and both were selected only to serve as pawns. The regents held power, while Philip III was actually imprisoned. In 317, Philip was murdered by Olympias to ensure the succession of her grandson.
SL85510. Silver 1/5 Tetradrachm, Le Rider pl. 46, 24; SNG ANS 706; Troxell Studies Group 8, 378;, NGC XF, strike 5/5, surface 2/5 (2490378-001); NGC attributes it to Philip II, weight 2.558 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 0o, Amphipolis mint, struck under Polyperchon, c. 318 - 317 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Apollo right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOY, nude horseman cantering right, crescent horns right below; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Thessalonika, Macedonia, c. 96 - 117 A.D.

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Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
RP92038. Bronze AE 15, RPC III Online 625 (1 spec.), Touratsoglou G.I/D (horse left), AMNG III taf. XXIII, 2222 (same), SNG Hunt -, BMC Macedonia -, Lindgren -, et al., gVF, choice obverse, reverse crowded and die wear, weight 3.349 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, reign of Nerva or Trajan(?), c. 96 - 117 A.D.; obverse horse trotting right, right foreleg raised, star with six points above, palm frond (held in mouth?) on far side over star; reverse ΘE/CAΛO/NIKE/WN in four lines within laurel wreath; closed at the top with an eagle left, head right, wings closed; ex Sphinx Numismatics; extremely rare, the horse is normally trotting left, only one other specimen known to RPC Online and to FORVM (The Hague 2487 ) and RPC does not have a photo; $180.00 (€158.40)
 




  



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