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


Cybele was the Phrygian deification of the Earth Mother.

Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 412 - 378 B.C.

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Mytilene was famous in ancient times for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late 6th through mid - 4th centuries B.C. The usual denomination was the hekte (1/6th stater). Warwick Wroth noted in the British Museum Catalog, "The Sixths of [this Lesbos electrum series] form one of the most beautiful coin-series of the ancient world. This will be evident from a glance."
SH86296. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 75; SNG Cop 327; SNGvA 1725; SNG Fitzwilliam 4358; BMC Lesbos p. 163, 69; Boston MFA 1714; Weber 5644; HGC 6 1001 (R1), VF, fine style, toned, tight flan, light marks, obverse off center, weight 2.547 g, maximum diameter 10.5 mm, die axis 90o, Mytilene mint, c. 412 - 378 B.C.; obverse head of Kybele right, wearing a pendant earring and a turreted crown ornamented with a scanthus pattern; reverse head of Hermes right, wearing petasos, tied around chin, strap around back of head, in linear square within shallow incuse square; SOLD

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Ankyra in Abbaitis, Phrygia

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Ancyra means anchor in Greek. There were two cities named Ancyra in Anatolia, the one in Abbaitis, Phrygia that issued this coin, and another larger city in Galatia, now the capitol of Turkey. Ankyra in Abbaitis may have struck autonomous coins as Abbaetae Mysi in the 2nd century B.C. Under Rome, Ankyra in Abbaitis struck civic coinage from the rule of Nero to the rule of Philip the Arab.
SH26656. Orichalcum AE 32, RPC Online IV 1721 (2 spec.); BMC Phrygia p. 62, 25; SNG Mnchen 96, Choice aVF, large flan with full circle strikes on both obverse and reverse, weight 15.418 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 180o, Ankyra in Abbaitis mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse AY KAI T AIΛIOC ANTΩEINOC, bare headed and draped bust right; reverse EΠI ΛIKINIOY APX ANKYPANΩN, Cybele enthroned left, patera in right, left arm resting on drum, lion at feet; very rare; SOLD

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis, Cilicia

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Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle the senate brought her worship to Rome in 204 B.C. as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. After approval, they were dismayed to learn that the priesthood required voluntary self-castration, which was abhorrent to the Romans. Romans were barred from entering the priesthood or even entering the priest's sanctuary. The eunuch priests, recruited from outside Rome, were confined to their sanctuary, leaving only to parade in the streets during festivals in April. Claudius removed the bans on Roman participation, making worship of Cybele and her consort Attis part of the state religion.
RP11446. Bronze AE 28, SNGvA 5600, VF, weight 17.083 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 180o, Irenopolis mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE ZS, Cybele seated left on rock, resting hand on drum right, two lions at feet; nice green patina and interesting portrait; very rare; SOLD

Roman Republic, A. Plautius, c. 55 B.C.

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In 67 B.C., Aristobulus II rebelled against his older brother Hyrcanus II, the king of Judaea. Both brothers appealed to Pompey's deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, who, bribed by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus. When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 B.C., both brothers sent delegates to Damascus, but Pompey did not make an immediate decision. Aristobulus' followers refused to open the gates of Jerusalem and Romans forces besieged and captured the city. Pompey deemed Hyrcanus II, the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally. Hyrcanus was restored as high priest, but not as king. Aristobulus was taken to Rome as a prisoner. In 57 B.C. Aristobulus escaped to Judaea and instigated another rebellion. A young cavalry commander, Marc Antony, led several men to scale Aristobulus' fortifications leading to his recapture. At the time this coin was struck in 55 B.C., Aristobulus was a prisoner in Rome. Julius Caesar released him in 49 B.C., hoping to turn Judaea against Pompey, but on his was to Judaea he was poisoned by a Pompey supporter. With help from the Parthians, Aristobulus' son Antigonus rebelled against Rome and became king in 40 B.C. He was defeated by Rome and killed in 37 B.C.

This special issue was struck by an Aedile Curule. Aediles supervised public works and staged games. Since this issue bears turreted Cybele, we may speculate it was to finance a building project.
SH56043. Silver denarius, RSC I Plautia 13, Sydenham 932, Crawford 431/1, BMCRR Rome 3916, Russo RBW 1540, SRCV I 395, VF, banker's mark, weight 3.335 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse AED CVR S C downwards on left, A PLAVTIVS downwards on right, turreted head of Cybele right, wearing cruciform earring, hair rolled and in knot at the back, locks falling down neck; reverse Bacchius Judaeus (Aristobulus II High Priest and King of Judaea) kneeling right, with left hand holding reins of camel standing right on his far side, raising olive branch in right hand, IVDAEVS upward on right, BACCHIVS in exergue; SOLD

Claudius and Agrippina Junior, 50 - 13 October 54 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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Agrippina Jr. was daughter of Agrippina Sr. and Germanicus, sister of Caligula, and mother of Nero. She seduced and married her uncle Claudius, murdering him after she secured the thrown for Nero. A soothsayer prophesied if Nero became emperor, he would kill his mother, Agrippina replied "Let him kill me, only let him rule!" Nero executed her in 59 A.D.
RP70082. Bronze AE 21, Klose XXX; RPC I 2475; SNG Cop 1348; BMC Ionia p. 270, 281; Lindgren I A561A, VF, nice near black dark patina, small areas of light corrosion and encrustation, strike weak upper reverse, weight 5.197 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, 51 - 13 Oct 54 A.D.; obverse jugate laureate head of Claudius and draped bust of Agrippina Junior right, ΣMYP below; reverse EΠI ΦIΛIΣTOY EIKA∆IOΣ (stephanephoros Philistos and strategos Eikadios), Cybele seated left, patera in right, left arm resting on tympanum on seat beside her, small lion right under seat on exergue line; rare; SOLD

Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius M.f. Cestianus, 67 B.C.

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Struck by Cestianus serving as curule aedile by special decree of the Senate. Cestianus had also issued coins as a moneyer two years before.

The curule chair was for senior magistrates including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, censors, and the curule aediles. As a form of a throne, it might be given as an honor to foreign kings recognized formally as a friend (amicus) by the Roman people or senate. Designed for use by commanders in the field, the curule chair could be folded for easy transport. It had no back, low arms, curved legs forming an X, and was traditionally made of or veneered with ivory.
SH71031. Silver denarius, SRCV I 350, Sydenham 808, Crawford 409/2, RSC I Plaetoria 3, aEF, nice style, nice strike, polished, weight 3.777 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 67 B.C.; obverse CESTIANVS, turreted bust of Cybele right, forepart of lion behind, globe below chin; reverse M PLAETORIVS AED CVR EX S C, curule chair, hammer (control symbol) left; SOLD

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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This type indicates Severus granted a special favor to Carthage. Septimius Severus was of African origin and, favoring the land of his birth, conferred benefits (including the jus Italicum) on Carthage and Utica. The water may indicate that he improved the water supply, possibly construction of an aqueduct.
RS85801. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130a; RSC III 97; BMCRE V p. 208, 280; Hunter III 38; SRCV II 6806, Choice gVF, excellent centering, nice boy portrait, light toning, some very light scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.708 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 201 - 206 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse INDVLGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH, Dea Caelestis riding lion right over water gushing from rock, thunderbolt in right hand, scepter in left hand; SOLD

Roman Republic, M. Volteius M. f., 78 B.C.

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Attis (very similar to Adonis) was a Phrygian god of vegetation, considered to be the lover (or the son) of Cybele "the Mother of the Gods." Cybele's cult was brought to Rome because the Sibylline Books prophesied bringing in the cult would ensure Hannibal was driven out of Italy. For the Romans it was a success, for the next year Hannibal returned to Africa.
SH36424. Silver denarius, SRCV I 315, Sydenham 777, Crawford 385/4, RSC I Volteia 4, VF, weight 3.899 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 78 B.C.; obverse laureate helmeted head of Attis right, symbol behind; reverse M VOLTEI M F, Cybele seated in chariot drawn by two lions, control mark above; mint luster; SOLD

Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Cybele, called mother of the gods, was originally Anatolian mother goddess. In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater ("Great Mother"). Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele's cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.
RS85200. Silver denarius, RIC IV C382 (S); BMCRE V p. 432, 14; RSC III 137; SRCV II 7401, Choice EF, bold full circles strike, excellent style, light uneven toning, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.068 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 211 - 215 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse MATRI DEVM, Cybele standing facing, legs crossed, leaning with left arm resting on a column, head left, towered and veiled, drum in right hand, long scepter resting against left arm, lion left at feet half visible from behind legs to left; scarce; SOLD

Roman Republic, P. Furius Crassipes, 84 B.C.

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The clubfoot, crassipes in Latin, in a perfect example of typical Roman humor, replaces the moneyer's name in the obverse inscription. The chair refers to the moneyer's position as Aedile Curule. The turreted head probably indicates this special issue was authorized to finance a building project. Publius Fourius Crassipes is only known from his coins but he was probably the father of Fourius Crassipes who married Cicero's daughter, who became proquaestor in Sicily, and who struck bronze coins bearing his name at Panormus.
RR74525. Silver denarius, RSC I Furia 20, Sydenham 735, Crawford 356/1a, BMCRE I Rome 2604, SRCV I 275, VF, toned, obverse die wear, weight 4.155 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 84 B.C.; obverse AED CVR (downward on left), turreted head of Cybele right, clubfoot pointed upwards behind; reverse curule chair inscribed P FOVRIVS, CRASSIPES in exergue; SOLD


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