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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ Hades or PlutoView Options:  |  |  | 

Hades or Pluto

Hades to the Greeks, Pluto to the Romans, was the god of the dead and the underworld. A fearsome figure to those still living; in no hurry to meet him, the ancients were reticent to swear oaths in his name, averted their faces when sacrificing to him, and rarely depicted him on coins or in art. The Secular Games, festivals held in his honor, were held in Rome every 100 years.


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Nysa, Lydia

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Diomedianos, named in the reverse legend, was a priest, probably of Pluto and Kore, and a magistrate, probably a grammateus. The celebrated Plutonion, a temple of Pluto and Kore, and the cave Charonion, were located on the territory of Nysa at Acharaka. Kore (Persephone) was innocently picking flowers when Pluto (Hades), god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Ceres (Demeter) searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Jupiter (Zeus), pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Pluto to return Kore. However, Pluto had tricked Kore into eating pomegranate seeds, and because anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there, she is forced return to the underworld for a period each year. Explaining the seasons - when Ceres and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Kore returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.
RP86875. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 2668 (4 spec.), Regling Nysa 60, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Lydia -, aF, dark patina, types clear but legends off flan/obscure, weight 6.166 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Nysa (near Sultanhisar, Turkey) mint, magistrate/priest Diomedianos, Oct 54 - Jun 68; obverse NEPΩN KAIΣAP, bare head right; reverse NYΣAEΩN ∆IOMH∆IANOΣ, Pluto (Hades) standing in galloping quadriga right, abducting Kore (Persephone) held in his right arm; extremely rare - missing from most major collections, Coin Archives records only one example sold at auction in the last two decades; $180.00 (Ä153.00)


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

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Cerberus, a multi-headed (usually three-headed) hound, guards the gates of Hades to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. Capturing Cerberus alive was the twelfth and final labor King Eurystheus assigned to Hercules. In the underworld, Hercules met Hades and asked his permission to bring Cerberus to the surface. Hades agreed to if Hercules could overpower the beast without using weapons. Hercules was able to overpower Cerberus, sling the beast over his back, and drag it out of Hades through a cavern entrance in the Peloponnese. Eurystheus was so frightened by the beast that, in return for releasing him from his labors, he asked Hercules to return it to the underworld.
RS79607. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 261a (S); RSC III 299; BMCRE V p. 455, 125; SRCV II 6838; Hunter III -, Choice EF, mint luster, well centered on a broad flan, excellent portrait, unusual reverse type, weight 2.825 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 18 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Pluto seated left on high backed throne, kalathos on head, extending right hand toward Cerberus at his feet on left, long scepter in left hand; rare; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The ancients did not agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. On this coin, Pluto's influence is evident with the fearsome Kerberos at Serapis' feet.
RX57438. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 32.456; Geissen 983; Dattari 1475; Milne 1255; Curtis 515; SNG Cop 342; BMC Alexandria p. 74, 615; Emmett 892, aVF, high relief bust, weight 12.516 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 345o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 127 - 28 Aug 128 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI TPAI A∆PIA CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse L ∆W∆E−KAT (year 12), Serapis enthroned left, right leg foward, feet on footstool, reaching with right to Cerberus at feet left, long scepter vertical behind in left; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Thursday, November 15, 2018.
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Hades or Pluto