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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ MythologyView Options:  |  |  | 

Mythology and the Ancient Gods

Many ancient coins depict the gods and goddesses of the Greeks, Romans and other ancient cultures. Collecting as many different gods and goddesses as possible is a fun, educational and affordable collecting theme. Every ancient gods and goddesses has their mythical function, biography, lineage and other facts and fictions that make them interesting. Here we will present as many different gods and goddesses as we can and provide some of the stories about them that fascinate us. We hope they fascinate you too.


Roman Republic, Marcus Herennius, 108 - 107 B.C.

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The Cantanaean brothers, Amphinomus and Anapias, saved their parents after an eruption of Mt. Etna, carrying them on their shoulders to safety. This was a favorite story among the Romans, for whom duty to family was among the most important virtues, fundamental to the Roman ideal of pietas. This moneyer had some connection to Sicily.
RR88377. Silver denarius, Crawford 308/1a, RSC I Herennia 1, Sydenham 567, SRCV I 185, BMCRR I Rome 1263 var. (control), RBW Collection 1149 var. (control), Choice gVF, well centered and struck, light marks, frosty surfaces with slightest porosity, weight 3.791 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 108 - 107 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Pietas right, PIETAS (TA ligate) downward behind, (control symbol) below chin; reverse one of Cantanaean brothers running right, nude, bearing his father on his shoulders, his father looking back and raising right hand, MHERENNI (HE ligate) downward on left; $225.00 (191.25)


Maionia, Lydia, c. 161 - 217 A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the Lydian Kingdom, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own. She bought Herakles from Hermes, who sold him after an oracle declared Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. Hercules had sought the oracle to learn what he must do to purify himself, after he murdered his friend Iphitus and stole the Delphic tripod. As a slave, Herakles was forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning. Meanwhile, Omphale wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Herakles' olive-wood club. But it was also during his stay in Lydia that Herakles captured the city of the Itones and enslaved them, killed Syleus who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard, and captured the Cercopes. He buried the body of Icarus and took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Argonautica. After some time, Omphale freed Herakles and took him as her husband. The Greeks did not recognize Omphale as a goddess. Omphale's name, connected with omphalos, a Greek word meaning navel (or axis), may, however, represent a Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude and marriage may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. This myth may have been an attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB86735. Bronze AE 20, SNG Leypold I 1053 (this scarcer rev. legend arrangement); RPC Online IV 1325; SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG Mnchen 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17, VF, rough, reverse scratches, weight 5.130 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Maeonia mint, c. 161 - 217 A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, draped in Hercules lion skin, carrying his club in her left hand over her left shoulder; $135.00 (114.75)


Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Damascus, Syria

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Telephus (or Telephos) was the son of Herakles and Auge, daughter of King Aleus of Tegea. An oracle told King Aleus that he would be overthrown by his grandson, so he forced his daughter Auge to become a virgin priestess. After she was violated by Herakles, their son, the infant Telephus, was hidden in the temple but his cries revealed him. Aleus ordered Telephus exposed on Mt. Parthenion. He was saved by a doe Herakles sent to suckle him.
RY86711. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online IX 1968 (11 spec.); SNG Hunter 3461; De Saulcy 7; Lindgren I 2153; Rosenberger 59 var. (ram running in ex.); SNG Mn 1025 var. (same), F, desert patina, parts of legends weak, porous, weight 10.109 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, c. Nov 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse D VIB GALLO VOLOSSIANO AVG, laureate head right, traces of drapery; reverse COL ∆AMA METR, hind (antlered doe) standing right, suckling infant Telephos seated left, ram's head right in exergue; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; scarce; $80.00 (68.00)







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Catalog current as of Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
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Mythology