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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Military ▸ CombatView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins Depicting Combat

Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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Mopsion issued only bronze coins, and only c. 350 - 300 B.C. In Nomos 4, BCD notes, "The bronzes of Mopsion are practically impossible to find in nice condition and without flaws or corrosion. They are also very rare and desirable because of the their spectacularly eloquent reverse. The nicest one to come up for auction realized $18,000..."

Mopsion, in the Peneus valley half way between Larissa and Tempe, took its name from the Lapith Mopsos, a son of Ampyx. Mopsos learned augury from Apollo, understood the language of birds, and became an Argonaut seer. As depicted on this coin, he was one of the Lapiths who defeated the Centaurs. This battle was a favorite subject of Greek art. While fleeing across the Libyan desert from angry sisters of the slain Gorgon Medusa, Mopsos died from the bite of a viper that had grown from a drop of Medusa's blood. Medea was unable to save him, even by magical means. The Argonauts buried him with a monument by the sea, and a temple was later erected on the site.
GB87120. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 484, BCD Thessaly I 1210, Rogers 412, McClean 4648, HGC 4 537 (R2), SNG Cop -, Pozzi -, BMC Thessaly -, gF, dark garnet and black patina, well centered, a little rough, weight 8.082 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, Mopsion (Bakraina(?), Greece) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus facing slightly right, vertical thunderbolt to right; reverse MOΨ-EI-ΩN, Lapith Mopsos standing facing, nude, his head turned right, raising club in right hand and extending his left hand, fighting centaur that is rearing left and raising a bolder over its head with both hands preparing to throw it; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "HK ex Thess., April 02, $275.-"; very rare; $450.00 (396.00)


Thebai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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The famous sanctuary of Protesilaos was about ten miles from Thebai, at Phylake. An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die. Protesilaos was the first who dared to leap ashore when the fleet touched the Troad. After killing four men, Protesilaos was slain by Hector, as prophesied, the first Greek to die.

In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in 302 B.C., Thebai was one of the strongholds of Cassander. Thebai and Pelinnaeum are mentioned in 282 B.C. as the only Thessalian cities that did not take part in the Lamian War.
GB87154. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly II 760, Rogers 551, HGC 4 34 (R1), BCD Thessaly I -, aF, dark patina, tight flan, light pitting, weight 2.394 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebai Phthiotides (north of Mikrothivai, Greece) mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath; reverse ΘHBAIΩN, Protesilaos advancing right from the prow of a galley right behind him, wearing military garb, sword in right hand, shield on left arm; rare; $105.00 (92.40)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI87391. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 361, 193 Ds 40; HGC 2 1547 (S); SNG ANS 909 ff. var. (controls); SNG Cop 843 var. (same); BMC Sicily p. 215, 565 ff. var. (same), F, dark patina, tight flan, bumps and marks, corrosion, weight 20.012 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 230 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Hieron left, beardless, conch shell (control symbol) behind; reverse IEPΩNOΣ, cavalryman prancing right, holding couched spear, no control symbols; scarce; $105.00 (92.40)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. The obverse depicts Trajan as a military victor and probably copies an imperial statue. Artemis' most distinctive attributes were her bow and arrows but she was also called the torch-bearing goddess. This reverse likely depicts a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos. Artemis was honored at Amphipolis with torch-races called Lampadephoria.
GB90707. Bronze AE 20, Lindgren II 978 (same dies), Varbanov 7179 (R7), AMNG III 79, Hunterian I 37, Moushmov 6068, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tb -, BMC Macedonia -, F, weight 6.620 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse KAICAP TPAIANOC, emperor on horseback galloping right, brandishing spear to strike a prostrate foe below; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; rare; $85.00 (74.80)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. Artemis' most distinctive attributes were her bow, arrows and quiver, but she was also called the torch-bearing goddess. This reverse likely depicts a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos. Artemis was honored at Amphipolis with torch-races called Lampadephoria.
GB90406. Bronze AE 20, Lindgren II 978 (same dies), Varbanov 7179 (R7), AMNG III 79, Hunterian I 37, Moushmov 6068, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tb -, BMC Macedonia -, gF, centered, some porosity, weight 5.099 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse KAICAP TPAIANOC, emperor on horseback galloping right, brandishing spear to strike a prostrate foe below; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; rare; $80.00 (70.40)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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At the end of the 4th century, Sirmium was brought under the sway of the Goths, and later, was again annexed to the Eastern Roman Empire. In 441, Sirmium was conquered by the Huns, and after this conquest, it remained for more than a century in the hands of various other tribes, including the Eastern Goths and Gepids. For a short time, Sirmium was the center of the Gepid State and King Cunimund minted gold coins there. After 567, Roman rule was restored again at Sirmium. The city was finally conquered and destroyed by the Avars in 582.
RL88751. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Sirmium 48, LRBC II 1603, SRCV V 18274, Cohen VII 47, Hunter V -, F, dark green patina with coppery high spots, weight 2.079 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) mint, 353 - 355 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier standing left spearing fallen horseman, BSIRM in exergue; $14.00 (12.32)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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Constantius II, unlike his father, allowed Christians to persecute pagans and Jews. Christian clergy inspired angry crowds, which attacked and destroyed synagogues and temples. On 7 May 351, a Jewish revolt broke out in Palestine. The rebels destroyed the Roman garrison in a surprise night attack and acquired the garrison's weapons. The rebels destroyed Diopolis and Tiberias and killed the people of different ethnicities, including Greeks and Samaritans. In 352, Constantius Gallus sent his general (magister equitum) Ursicinus to put down the revolt. Diocesarea, the epicenter of the revolt, was razed to the ground. Ursicinus ordered the execution of thousands of Jews, even children. After the revolt, a permanent garrison was stationed in Galilee.
RL88752. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 104 & 110, LRBC II 2496, SRCV V 18285, Cohen VII 47, F, porous, a little rough, weight 3.049 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 28 Sep 351 - 3 Nov 361 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier advancing left, spearing fallen horseman wearing a pointed cap and raising hand, oval shield at feet, SMKA in exergue; $14.00 (12.32)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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On 7 May 351, after Constantius Gallus arrived at Antioch, a Jewish revolt broke out in Palestine. In 352, Gallus sent his general (magister equitum) Ursicinus to put down the revolt. The rebels destroyed Diopolis and Tiberias. Diocesarea was razed to the ground. Ursicinus gave the order to kill thousands of Jews, even children. After the revolt, a permanent garrison was stationed in Galilee.
RL88758. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Constantinople 109, LRBC II 2030, SRCV V 18150, Cohen VII 44, aVF, dark green patina, oval flan, light scratches, earthen deposits, weight 3.906 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 15 Mar 351 - 6 Nov 355 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, ∆ behind; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier advancing left, spearing fallen horseman wearing a Parthian cap, shield at feet, Γ left, CONS[...] in exergue; $14.00 (12.32)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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In 356, Constantius II published a decree ordering the closure of all pagan temples throughout the Empire.
RL88760. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Sirmium 73, LRBC II 1610, SRCV V 18298, Cohen VII 47, Hunter V -, F, centered, uneven strike with unstruck areas, weight 1.876 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 18.0o, 1st officina, Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) mint, 355 - 361 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier standing left spearing fallen horseman, M left, ASIRM in exergue; $14.00 (12.32)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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In 1972, a construction worker at Sremska Mitrovica (ancient Sirmium) accidentally broke into an old Roman pot, about 2 meters deep. Inside, in a leather pouch, were 33 Roman gold coins minted at Sirmium, including four coins of Constantius II. The pot was inside a Roman house wall and probably held the hidden savings of a wealthy Roman family. Ironically, the worker's name was Zlatenko (meaning Golden or Golden Man in Serbian).
RL88775. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Sirmium 75, LRBC II 1612, SRCV V 18298, Cohen VII 47, Hunter V -, F, green patina, scratches, rough cleaning, earthen deposits, edge splits, weight 2.126 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) mint, 355 - 361 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier standing left spearing fallen horseman, M left, ASIRM in exergue; $14.00 (12.32)




  



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