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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Animals ▸ Man-Faced BullView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins Depicting a Man-Faced Bull

Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 275 - 250 B.C.

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In angst at not seducing Ulysses with her voice, the siren Parthenope, threw herself into the sea and died. Her body washed up on the shore near Neapolis. There she was not envisioned as one of the insidious monsters of Homer, but rather like a dead hero, she was enshrined and deified and her name was given to an early settlement on the site. Neapolis held funerary torch-races to commemorate Parthenope and her nearby tomb and sanctuary were among the local places of interest. The river god Achelous was her father.
GS84679. Silver nomos, SNG Cop 440; SNG ANS 381; BMC Italy 100, 63; Sambon 483; HN Italy 586; SNG Cop -, Choice VF, fine style, toned, well centered on a tight flan, porous, weight 7.114 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 45o, Neapolis mint, c. 275 - 250 B.C.; obverse head of siren Parthenope left, wearing taenia, triple-pendant earring, and necklace, EY behind neck; reverse the river-god Achelous in the form of a man-faced bull, walking left, head turned facing, Nike flying left above, placing wreath on river-god's head, ΛOY below, NEOΠOΛITHΣ in exergue; $580.00 (516.20)


The Sileraioi, Sicily, c. 357 - 330 B.C.

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Sileraioi was not a city. The Sileraians were Campanian mercenaries who took their name from their proximity to the river Silaros. These rare coins have been found at the site of their settlement, Cozzo Mususino, a natural strong-hold in north central Sicily. The coins are often overstruck on coins from Syracuse minted c. 375 - 345 B.C.
SH68704. Bronze Calciati p. 301, 2; HGC 2 1243 (R1); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; SNG Munchen -; SNG Morcom -, VF/F, reverse rough, weight 7.521 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 90o, Sileraian mint, c. 340 - 330 B.C.; obverse ΣI−ΛEPAIΩ−N (retrograde counterclockwise from 3:00), man-faced bull forepart charging right; reverse SIL (retrograde, upward behind), warrior advancing right, spear in right hand, shield in left; rare; $300.00 (267.00)


Ziz (Panormos), Punic Sicily, c. 336 - 330 B.C.

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Panormos was the ancient Greek name (meaning, 'All-haven') for present day Palermo. Palermo was, however, originally a Phoenician colony and numismatists identify the city before Greek rule with the Punic name Ziz. It seems the only evidence for this ancient name is the coinage and some scholars believe that Ziz may have been another city.
GI76350. Bronze AE 12, Calciati I, p. 272, 10; HGC 2 1061 (R1); SNG ANS 5, III, pl. 44, 1362; SNG Cop -; SNG Munchen -; BMC Sicily -, gVF, dark green patina, light smoothing, light marks and corrosion, small edge split, obverse 1/5 off-center, weight 1.975 g, maximum diameter 12.2 mm, die axis 0o, Ziz (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 336 - 330 B.C.; obverse horse galloping right, barley-kernel above, linear border; reverse forepart of a man-faced bull right, Punic inscription above: ZIZ; all within a deep round incuse; rare; $225.00 (200.25)


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 317 - 280 B.C.

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Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GB85096. Bronze AE 17, MSP I 267, Sambon 636, Taliercio IIa 32, HN Italy 582, VF, tight flan, pitting, weight 4.325 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, c. 317/310 - 280 B.C.; obverse NEOΠOΛITΩN, laureate head of Apollo left, ∆P monogram behind; reverse Acheloios Sebethos as a man-faced bull standing right, head turned facing, lightning bolt over E above; from the Molinari Collection; rare; $150.00 (133.50)


Cales, Campania, Italy, c. 265 - 240 B.C.

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The Romans captured Cales in 335 B.C. and established a colony in 334 with Latin rights of 2,500 citizens. It was an important base in the war against Hannibal. Before 184 B.C. more settlers were sent there. After the Social War it became a municipium. Its fertile territory and manufacture of black glazed pottery, which was even exported to Etruria, made it prosperous. Inscriptions name six gates of the town: and there are considerable remains of antiquity, especially of an amphitheater and theater, of a supposed temple, a Roman necropolis, and other edifices.
GB73620. Bronze AE 20, SNG Cop 309; HN Italy 436, SNG ANS 183, cf. BMC Italy p. 79, 23 (star of eight rays vice O below), F, green patina, tight flan, weight 6.161 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 225o, Cales (Calvi Risorta, Italy) mint, c. 265 - 240 B.C.; obverse CALENO, laureate head of Apollo left, star behind; reverse man-faced bull right, star of sixteen rays above, Θ (or O?) below, CALENO in exergue; $140.00 (124.60)


Metropolis, Thessaly, Greece 3rd Century B.C.

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The man-faced bull on the coinage of Metropolis is probably Acheloios Pamisos since Metropolis (modern Karditza) is located near the source of the Pamisos River. -- Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity by Nicholas J. Molinari & Nicola Sisci
GB85095. Bronze trichalkon, MSP I 497, BCD Thessaly I 1208.1, BCD Thessaly II 483.1-3, Rogers 411, HGC 4 257, Fair/Fine, rough, weight 7.229 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 135o, Metropolis (Karditsa, Greece) mint, 3rd century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛITΩN, forepart of Acheloios Pamisos as man-faced bull left, head facing, ribbons hanging from head, monogram below; from the Molinari Collection; scarce; $135.00 (120.15)


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, 317 - 270 B.C.

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Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GB85093. Bronze AE 12, MSP I 295, Sambon 581, Taliercio IId 1, SNG ANS 435, aVF, dark toning, nice style, reverse off center, bumps scratches, tiny pitting, weight 1.524 g, maximum diameter 11.8 mm, die axis 0o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, 317/310 - 270 B.C.; obverse NEOΠOΛITΩN, head of Apollo right; reverse forepart of Acheloios Sebethos as a man-faced bull right, dolphin swimming right above; from the Molinari Collection; $120.00 (106.80)


Agyrion, Sicily, c. 344 - 336 B.C.

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Agyrion (modern Agira) was a Sicel city ruled by tyrants, one of whom, Agyris, was the most powerful ruler in the center of Sicily. In 392 B.C., he and Dionysius the Elder, together successfully resisted the Carthaginians under Magno. Agira was not colonized by the Greeks until the Corinthian general Timoleon drove out the last Sicel tyrant in 339 B.C. and settled 10,000 Greeks.
GB63889. Bronze AE 14, Calciati III p. 125, 10; SNG ANS -; SNG Morcom -, VF, nice patina, weight 4.086 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 180o, Agyrion (Agira, Sicily, Italy) mint, c. 344 - 336 B.C.; obverse AΓYPINAI, young Herakles' head left, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress; reverse AΓYPINAI, forepart of a man-faced bull left, legend horizontal above; rare; $115.00 (102.35)


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 275 - 225 B.C.

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Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GI84867. Bronze AE 19, HN Italy 589, VF, green patina, slightly irregular flan shape, light corrosion, weight 3.865 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Campania mint, c. 275 - 225 B.C.; obverse NEOΠOΛITΩN, laureate head of Apollo left; reverse man-faced bull standing right, being crowned by Nike who flies above, IΣ(?) below; $85.00 (75.65)


Neapolis, Campania, Italy, c. 317 - 270 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Before it was refounded as Neapolis (meaning "new city"), Naples was called Parthenope, named for the daughter of the river-god Achelous and the Muse Terpsichore. Parthenope cast herself into the sea and drowned when her songs failed to entice Odysseus. Her body washed ashore at Naples. When people from the city of Cumae settled there, they named their city Parthenope in her honor. Roman myth tells a different tale, in which a centaur called Vesuvius was enamored with Parthenope. In jealousy, Zeus turned the centaur into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Thwarted in his desire, Vesuvius's anger is manifested in the mountain's frequent eruptions.
GB85092. Bronze AE 17, MSP I 259; Taliercio IIa 26; Sambon 625; BMC Italy p. 111, 164; HN Italy 582, F, blue-green patina, tight flan, reverse slightly off center, corrosion, weight 4.432 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 135o, Neapolis (Naples, Italy) mint, c. 320 - 280 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, E behind; reverse Acheloios Sebethos, as a man-faced bull, standing right, Phrygian helmet above, PMA monogram below bull, NEΠOΛITΩN in exergue; from the Molinari Collection; rare; $80.00 (71.20)




  



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Man-Faced Bull