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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Medusa||View Options:  |  |  | 

Medusa, Gorgoneion & Perseus on Ancient Coins

Kings of Bosporos, Polemo I, c. 14 - 9 B.C.

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The Bosporan Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch (it was not named after the Bosphorus beside Istanbul). The mixed population adopted Greek language and civilization. The prosperity of the kingdom was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The kingdom's golden age was 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. At the end of the 2nd century A.D., King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and expanded his state to include the entire Crimea. It was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, lasting until it was overrun by the Huns c. 375 A.D.
GB85937. Bronze tetrachalkon, Frolova-Ireland p. 52, pl. 33/1, pl. 34/1-5, MacDonald Bosporus 229, SNG Stancomb 961, Anokhin 256, HGC 7 347 (R2), RPC I -, SNG BM -, SNG Pushkin -, nice VF, bold strike, slightly off center, attractive near black patina with buff earthen highlighting, scratches, edge cracks, countermark, weight 9.295 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Pantikapaion (Kerch, Crimea) mint, c. 14 - 9 B.C.; obverse head of gorgon Medusa (or Perseus? - most references say a gorgon) right, winged, snakes (or drapery) around neck, obscure round countermark before; reverse monogram of Polemo I; very rare; $160.00 (140.80)


Amphipolis, Macedonia, c. 148 - 31 B.C.

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Excavations of Roman Amphipolis have revealed traces of all the impressive architecture one would expect from a thriving Roman city. A bridge, gymnasium, public and private monuments, sanctuaries, and cemeteries all attest to the city's prosperity. From the early Christian period (after 500 CE) there are traces of four basilicas, a large rectangular building which may have been a bishop's residence, and a church. --
GB91465. Bronze tetrachalkon, SNG Cop 85, SNG ANS 147, BMC Macedonia -, HGC 3 -, VF, green patina, scratches, crude style, weight 13.246 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 30o, Amphipolis mint, c. 148 - 32/31 B.C.; obverse Winged gorgoneion facing slightly to right; reverse Athena Nikephoros standing half left, Nike in right hand, spear and grounded shield in left; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $120.00 (105.60)


Selge, Pisidia, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Selge, Pisidia on the southern slope of Mount Taurus where the river Eurymedon (Kprcay) forces its way through the mountains, was once the most powerful and populous city of Pisidia. Protected by precipices, torrents, and an army of 20,000 regarded as worthy kinsmen of the Spartans, Selge was never subject to a foreign power until Rome. In the 5th century A.D., Zosimus calls it a little town, but it was still strong enough to repel a body of Goths. The remains of the city consist mainly of parts of the encircling wall and of the acropolis. A few traces have survived of the gymnasium, the stoa, the stadium and the basilica. There are also the outlines of two temples, but the best-conserved monument is the theater, restored in the 3rd century A.D.
GS91762. Silver obol, SNG BnF 1933; SNGvA 5278; SNG Cop 246; BMC Lycia p. 259, 23 ff.; Klein 630; SGCV II 5478, gVF, light toning, slightly off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 0.797 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 0o, Selge (southern slope of Mount Taurus, Turkey) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), curly short hair, no protruding tongue; reverse head of Athena right in crested helmet, astragalos behind; $110.00 (96.80)


Constantine II, 22 May 337 - March or April 340 A.D.

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Constantine II was about eight years old when this coin was minted. Here he is draped and cuirassed as a powerful child Caesar with the world in his hands!
SH63721. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 382 (R3) corr. (no cuirass), SRCV V 17155, Cohen VII 23, gVF, well centered on a tight flan, nice green patina, weight 2.868 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 322 - 323 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, mappa in left, head of Medusa on cuirass; reverse BEATA TRANQVILLITAS (blessed tranquility), altar inscribed VO/TIS / XX, surmounted by globe, three stars above, STR in exergue; rare; $90.00 (79.20)


Selinous, Sicily, 450 - 440 B.C.

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Selinus was once one of the most important Greek colonies in Sicily. In 409 B.C., the Carthaginians attacked with a vast army believed to include at least 100,000 men. Selinus, with a population of about 30,000 excluding slaves, was unprepared and an auxiliary force promised by Syracuse, Agrigentum and Gela did not arrive. The Selinuntines defended themselves with courage, and after the walls were breached, continued to fight from house to house. After tens days the city fell. Of the citizens, 16,000 were slain and 5,000 made prisoners, but more than 2,600 escaped to Agrigento.
GI83626. Cast bronze cast trias, Calciati I p. 233, 2; SNG Morcom 666; HGC 2 1231 (R1); BMC Sicily -; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Mnchen -; SNG Tb -, aF, green patina, weight 14.308 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Selinus mint, 450 - 440 B.C.; obverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion); with teeth displayed, four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; reverse facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion), with protruding tongue; four pellets (mark of value) in hair, anepigraphic; ex CNG e-auction 285 (22 Aug 2012), lot 14; ex L.C. Aes Grave Collection; rare; $90.00 (79.20)


Sinope, Paphlagonia, c. 105 - 85 B.C.

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Long used as a Hittite port, Sinope was re-founded as a Greek colony by Miletus in the 7th century B.C. Sinope flourished as the Black Sea port of a caravan route that led from the upper Euphrates valley. The city escaped Persian domination until the early 4th century B.C. In 183 B.C. it was captured by Pharnaces I and became the capital of the kingdom of Pontus. Lucullus conquered Sinope for Rome in 70 B.C., and Julius Caesar established a Roman colony there, Colonia Julia Felix, in 47 B.C. It remained with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines). It was a part of the Empire of Trebizond from the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 until the capture of the city by the Seljuk Turks of Rm in 1214.
GB89151. Bronze AE 24, SSNG BM 1536; BMC Pontus p. 100, 47 var. (M); SNG Stancomb 800 var. (ME monogram); SNG Cop 309 var. (monogram); HGC 7 419; SNGvA -, aVF, obverse off center, weight 7.886 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sinope (Sinop, Turkey) mint, c. 105 - 85 B.C.; obverse Aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike flying right, palm frond over shoulder in both hands, ΣIN−ΩΠHΣ divided across field, monogram lower right; $50.00 (44.00)


Amisos, Pontos, c. 85 - 65 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB91908. Bronze AE 20, SNG Cop 167 (no controls); cf. BMC Pontus p. 20, 69 ff.; SNG Stancomb 687 ff.; SNG BM 1177 ff.; Rec Gn I 44; HGC 7 242 (all cf. with controls), aVF, highlighting earthen deposits, weight 8.479 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 85 - 65 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse Nike advancing right, holding palm frond in both hands across shoulders behind head, AMI−ΣOY divided across field at center; $45.00 (39.60)


Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I Nikator, 312 - 281 B.C.

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Seleukos (Seleucus) founded the Seleukid Empire and the Seleukid dynasty which ruled Syria until Pompey made it a Roman province in 63 B.C. Seleukos was never one of Alexander the Great's principal generals but he commanded the royal bodyguard during the Indian campaign. In the division of the empire after Alexander's death Seleukos did not receive a satrapy. Instead, he served under the regent Perdikkas until the latter's murder in 321 or 320. Seleukos was then appointed satrap of Babylonia. Five years later Antigonus Monophthalmus (the One-eyed) forced him to flee, but he returned with support from Ptolemy. He later added Persia and Media to his territory and defeated both Antigonus and Lysimachus. He was succeeded by his son Antiochus I.
GY89551. Bronze AE 18, Houghton-Lorber I 22, Newell WSM 927, SNG Spaer 29, SGCV II 6852, HGC 9 107c (S-R1), F, dark green patina, tight flan, weight 4.061 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 90o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, late 280s B.C.; obverse winged head of Medusa right; reverse bull butting right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (king) above, ΣEΛEYKOY in exergue, no controls visible; ex Agora Coins; $40.00 (35.20)







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Medusa & Gorgoneion