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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Hades or Pluto||View 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.


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.
SH34981. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 261c; RSC III 299a; BMCRE V 124, Choice EF, well centered on a broad flan, weight 5.154 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate and cuirassed bust 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, extending right hand, holding vertical scepter in left; at his feet to left, Cerberus seated left, turning his three heads right; unusual reverse type; rare; SOLD


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Stobi, Macedonia, The Rape of Persephone

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Beautiful Persephone lived a peaceful life far away from the other deities, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. She was innocently picking flowers when Hades, god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Demeter searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Zeus, pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Hades to return Persephone. However, Hades had tricked Persephone 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 Demeter and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Persephone returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.
RP55006. Bronze AE 26, Josifovski 153, Varbanov III 3934, Mionnet Supp III 691, AMNG III -, SNG Cop -, aVF, weight 9.766 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Stobi mint, obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse MVNICIPI STOBEN, Hades driving quadriga right, Persephone in right hand, scepter in left hand; scarce; SOLD


Nero and Agrippina Junior, 54 - 59 A.D., Orthosia, Caria

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The reverse alludes to the imperial family. Agrippina was the niece of Claudius, just as Persephone was the niece of Hades.
RY86714. Leaded bronze AE 18, RPC I 2825 (3 specimens, plate coin has NEPWN behind the busts); Imhoof-Blumer MG p. 313, 75, aVF, struck with high relief dies in the style of the "Laodicea" engraver, green patina, tight flan, bumps and marks, light corrosion/porosity, weight 5.214 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Orthosia (Donduran, Aydin, Turkey) mint, 54 - 59 A.D.; obverse ΣEBAΣT NEPΩN, bare headed, draped jugate busts of Nero Augustus and Agrippina Junior right; reverse OPΘOΣIWN, Hades carrying off Persephone in a quadriga right; none on Coin Archives; extremely rare; SOLD


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Amasia, Pontus

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Second example of the type known to Forum. Dalaison lists only one example with this reverse, struck with the same die.
SH58899. Bronze AE 35, Dalaison 54a (D23/R44), RPC Online -, Rec Gen -, Lindgren -, BMC Pontus -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, aVF, weight 24.655 g, maximum diameter 34.9 mm, die axis 180o, Amaseia (Amasya, Turkey) mint, 155 - 156 A.D.; obverse AY KAI T AI A∆PI − ANTΩNEINOC, laureate head right; reverse [...] M KAI PRW TOU - PONTOU, Hades-Serapis seated left, modius on head, wearing himation, with right reaching to Cerberus at his feet left, long scepter vertical behind in left, ET PNZ (year 157) inner left; big 34 mm bronze; extremely rare; SOLD


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

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The MFA Boston coin, accession number 62.428 has the same reverse type but was struck with a different reverse die and an obverse with a much older, bearded, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind. We did not find any other Caracalla type from Hadrianopolis with this heroic bust obverse.
RP68427. Bronze AE 28, apparently unpublished; cf. MFA Boston 62.428 (leg, bust), Jurukova -, Varbanov -, Moushmov -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, centered, weight 13.324 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 45o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse AYT K M AYPH ANTΩNINOX, laureate, heroic bust right, aegis on left shoulder; reverse A∆PIAN−OΠOΛIT,ΩN, Hades-Serapis seated left on throne without back, kalathos on head, reaching with his right to Cerberus (his three-headed hellhound) at his feet, long scepter vertical behind in left; extremely rare, possibly unique ; SOLD


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; SOLD


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia, The Rape of Persephone

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Beautiful Persephone lived a peaceful life far away from the other deities, a goddess within Nature herself before the days of planting seeds and nurturing plants. She was innocently picking flowers when Hades, god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Demeter searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Zeus, pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Hades to return Persephone. However, Hades had tricked Persephone 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 Demeter and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Persephone returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.
SH62529. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 2982, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Phrygia -, Weber -, VF, edges flaking, weight 4.493 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, c. 55 A.D.; obverse KAIΣAP NEPΩN, bare-headed, draped bust right; reverse MAΓYTHΣ NEΩTEPOΣ IEPAΠOΛEITΩN, Hades (Pluto) standing left in biga, horses leaping right, carrying away protesting Persephone; very 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.
RX76581. Billon tetradrachm, Kampmann 32.571, Geissen 1094, Dattari 1479, Milne 1399, Emmett 892, BMC Alexandria 623, SRCV II 6739 var. (date), aF, well centered, grainy and porous, weight 10.343 g, maximum diameter 13.74 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse Serapis seated left, reaching with right to Cerberus at feet left, long scepter vertical in right, LI - H (regnal year 18) across fields; SOLD


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 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.
RX72313. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 2975; Dattari 4361; SNG Cop 633; Geissen 2435 - 2436; BMC Alexandria p. 212, 1664; Emmett 3135, F , pitting, appears to have been successfully treated for bronze disease, weight 11.141 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 225 - 28 Aug 226 A.D.; obverse A KAI M AYP CEOYHP AΛEΞAN∆POC EY CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse L ΠEMΠTOY (year 5), Serapis seated left, kalathos on head, right hand extended over Kerberos at feet, long scepter vertical behind in left; SOLD


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 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.
RP72130. Bronze drachm, cf. Dattari-Savio 8907 - 8908, Dattari-Savio Suppl. pl. 20, 165, Geissen 1616/1620, Milne 2011, Kampmann-Ganschow 35.444, Emmett 1668, aF, porous, rough, flan cracks, weight 22.957 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 45o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 148 - 28 Aug 149 A.D.; obverse AVT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNINOC CEB EVC, laureate head right; reverse L ∆W∆EKATOV (year 12), temple with two columns, Serapis seated left within, right hand resting on a head Cerberus at his feet, long scepter vertical behind in left, orb in pediment; SOLD




  




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Hades or Pluto