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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Military| ▸ |Combat||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins Depicting Combat

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

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This is an extremely rare heroic bust variety of a scarce type. There is only one auction record on Coin Archives for this variety: NAC Auction 59 (4 Apr 2011), lot 968 (a beautiful near EF example). It sold for $48,717 including fees.
SH73454. Orichalcum sestertius, Woytek 203q+2 (same obv die), RIC II 535 (S, no belt), BMCRE III 838 var. (no belt), BnF IV 565 var. (no belt), VF, well centered, high relief bust, Tiber patina, porous, areas of corrosion, weight 25.631 g, maximum diameter 34.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 104 - 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate bust left, full chest exposed, with drapery on left shoulder, military belt (balteus) across chest; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Trajan in military dress on horseback right, thrusting spear at Dacian warrior trampled and falling under fore-hooves, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; extremely rare variety; SOLD


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

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RP80388. Bronze medallion, Gorny Auktion 147, lot 1839; Waddington Voyage 2; SNG Cop -; BMC Lydia -; SNGvA -, F, weight 30.672 g, maximum diameter 40.9 mm, die axis 180o, Bagis mint, 28 Jun 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse AYK MAYP AN - TΩNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse KAIΣAPEΩN, the Emperor wearing military attire and holding spear, astride prancing horse right, led by Nike, with two enemies below horse, BAΓHNΩN in exergue; attractive huge bronze medallion!; very rare; SOLD


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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In 288 or 289, Maximian prepared an invasion of Britain to oust Carausius, but it failed. A panegyric delivered to Constantius Chlorus attributes this failure to bad weather, but notes that Carausius claimed a military victory. Eutropius says that hostilities were in vain thanks to Carausius' military skill, and peace was agreed. Carausius began to entertain visions of official recognition. He minted his coins acknowledging and honoring Maximian and Diocletian.
RA73234. Billon antoninianus, Apparently unpublished, RIC V-2 -, Webb Carausius -, Hunter IV -, Carausian Hoard -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester Hoard, et al. -, aEF, weight 4.045 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Camulodunum (Colchester, England) mint, c. 287; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, early reign moustache portrait; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Mars standing right, in military dress, transverse spear in right hand, shield on left arm, foot on captive, C in exergue; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection, ex Forum (2009); ex Freeman & Sear mail bid 14 (21 Jun 2007), lot 456; ex Triton V (15 Jan 2002), lot 2142; possibly unique!; SOLD


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 302 - 281 B.C.

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Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nul|lified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
SH75332. Silver nomos, Vlasto 696 corr. (∆A not WA), SNG ANS 1071 corr. (same), HN Italy 967, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, gVF/VF, superb style, excellent centering, attractive toning, light corrosion, weight 7.302 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 302 - 281 B.C.; obverse warrior on horseback right, thrusting spear downward with right hand, holding two spears and shield in his left hand, ΣI upper left, ∆AKIMOΣ below right; reverse Phalanthos (or Taras) on dolphin left, small dolphin in his extended right hand, cradling cornucopia in left arm, TAPAΣ downward behind, ∆A below right; rare; SOLD


Roman Republic, P. Fonteius P.f. Capito, 55 B.C.

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The moneyer was likely a nephew of Manius Fonteius and possibly a friend of Cicero. The reverse probably depicts the exploits of his uncle while governor of Narbonese Gaul, 76 - 73 B.C. His uncle was also a moneyer, striking c. 85 B.C.
SH58589. Silver denarius, Crawford 429/1, Sydenham 900, RSC I Fonteia 17, SRCV I 392, VF, weight 3.875 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse PēFONTEIVSēPēF CAPITOēIIIēVIR, helmeted and draped bust of Mars right, trophy over shoulder; reverse MN FONT ē TR MIL, warrior on horseback thrusting his spear at a Gaulish enemy who is about to slay an unarmed kneeling captive; ex Harlan Berk; scarce; SOLD


Pharsalos, Thessaly, Greece, Late 5th-Mid 4th Century B.C.

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The tiny letters on the obverse and reverse are artist signatures. TH has been identified as Telephantos and MI as his "apprentice." The referenced BCD coin, near EF and well-struck with the same dies, sold for $90,000 plus fees.
SH68673. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 642 corr. (same dies, says signature is MHT on reverse) = Lavva 154 (V72/R90), VF, poorly struck with magnificently engraved dies, weight 6.024 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 45o, Pharsalos (Farsala, Greece) mint, late 5th-mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with Skylla on bowl, raising hand to shade her eyes, tiny TH over MI behind neck; reverse Φ−A−P−Σ (clockwise from upper right, Σ and P retrograde), Thessalian cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing petasos, chlamys, and chiton, brandishing lagobolon overhead in right, reins in left, horse branded with B on rump and Φ on shoulder, tiny MTH below horse; SOLD


Taras, Calabria, Italy, c. 272 - 240 B.C.

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Taras, the only Spartan colony, was founded in 706 B.C. The founders were Partheniae ("sons of virgins"), sons of unmarried Spartan women and Perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta). These out-of-wedlock unions were permitted to increase the prospective number of soldiers (only the citizens could be soldiers) during the bloody Messenian wars. Later, however, when they were no longer needed, their citizenship was retroactively nul|lified and the sons were obliged to leave Greece forever. Their leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi and was told to make the harbor of Taranto their home. They named the city Taras after the son of Poseidon, and of a local nymph, Satyrion. The reverse depicts Taras being saved from a shipwreck by a dolphin sent to him by Poseidon. This symbol of the ancient Greek city is still the symbol of modern Taranto today.
SH75331. Silver nomos, SNG Cop 927, Vlasto 890, HN Italy 1037, gVF, fine style, well centered on a tight flan, toned, some marks, scratches, and light corrosion, weight 6.332 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, Taras (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 272 - 240 B.C.; obverse |−HPAK/ΛHTOΣ below, helmeted and cuirassed warrior on horseback right, shield on his back, transverse spear downward in right hand; reverse TAPAΣ, Phalanthos on dolphin left, flower in extended right, cornucopia in left hand, EΓ monogram and thymiaterion (incense burner) behind; SOLD


Persian Achaemenid Empire, Carian Satrapy, Synnesis, c. 425 - 401 B.C.

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Syennesis was a Persian satrap of Cilicia in the late 5th century B.C. In 401 B.C., Cyrus the Younger, marching against Artaxerxes, arrived at the borders of Cilicia. Syennesis was guarding the passes but when he received intelligence that Cyrus' advanced forces under Meno had already entered Cilicia, he withdrew and allowed Cyrus to pass. When Cyrus reached Tarsus, the Cilician capital, he found that Meno's soldiers had already sacked the city. Cyrus commanded Synnesis to appear before him. Syennesis had fled for refuge to a stronghold among the mountains, but he was induced by his wife, Epyaxa, to obey the summons. Synnesis received gifts of honor from the Cyrus, whom he supplied in his turn with a large sum of money and a considerable body of troops under the command of one of his sons. At the same time, however, Syennesis sent his other son to Artaxerxes, to represent his meeting with Cyrus as having been something he'd been forced to do, while his heart all the time was with the king, Artaxerxes. From Xenophon's telling it appears that Syennesis, although a vassal of Persia, affected the tone of an independent sovereign.
GA87789. Silver stater, Hunterian III p. 546, 4 & pl. LX, 7; cf. Casabonne D2, pl. 2, 10; SNG BnF 213; Traitť II 523; BMC -; SNGvA -; SNG Cop -; SNG Levante -, aVF, dark toning, well centered, struck with a worn obverse die, light scratches, weight 10.561 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 420 - 410 B.C.; obverse Horseman (Syennesis?) walking horse left, wearing kyrbasia, lotus flower in right hand, reins in left hand, bow in bowcase on saddle, Aramaic TRZ (Tarsos) in exergue (off flan); reverse Archer kneeling right, drawing bow, quiver over shoulder, ankh behind, all within dotted square border within incuse square; very rare; SOLD


Paeonian Kingdom, Patraos, 335 - 315 B.C.

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As discussed by Wayne Sayles in "Ancient Coin Collecting III, Numismatic Art of the Greek World," the obverse of this coin is minted in archaizing style, "with the frontal almond eye common to the art of a century earlier." This type was produced with both the archaic eye and the modern profile eye. "The contrast is not one of stylistic transition, but rather of artistic intention. In fact, the archaizing version seems to have been issued toward the end of the series."

Patraos was allied with Macedonia, and Paeonian light-armed cavalry were important in Alexander's campaign. Curiously, the fallen soldier has a Macedonian shield and wears Macedonian armor.
SH75324. Silver tetradrachm, Paeonian Hoard 204, Weber 2233, SNG Cop 1388 ff. var. (control), AMNG III/2 4 var. (same), SNG ANS 1031 var. (same), EF, obverse off-center, weight 12.644 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 90o, Astibos or Damastion mint, 335 - 315 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right with short hair right; reverse ΠATPAOY, armed warrior on horse prancing right, spearing fallen enemy who holds spear and shield, retrograde EM monogram in left field; ex Forum (2007); SOLD


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 465 - 420 B.C.

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In 467 B.C. the Athenian statesman and military commander Cimon, and his fleet of 200 ships, destroyed the Persian navy based at the mouth of the river Eurymedon in a surprise attack. In order to crush to Persian land forces, he tricked the Persians by sending his best fighters ashore wearing the garments of the hostages he had seized earlier. When they saw these men, the Persians thought that they were compatriots freed by the enemy and arranged festivities in celebration. Taking advantage of this, Cimon landed and annihilated the Persians. Aspendos then became a member of the Attic-Delos Maritime league.
SH87202. Silver stater, SNG BnF 13; BMC Lycia p. 94, 9 & pl. XIX, 6; SNGvA 4484 var. (turtle control symbol on obv. and rev.); SNG Cop -, SNG PfPs -, VF, well centered, toned, bumps and marks, obverse struck with a very worn die, edge crack, weight 11.209 g, maximum diameter 21.53 mm, Aspendos mint, c. 465 - 420 B.C.; obverse hoplite advancing right, wearing crested helmet, couched spear in right hand, round shield on left arm; reverse triskeles of human legs left, lion crouching left on far side, EΣT above, all within an incuse square; very rare; SOLD




  




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Catalog current as of Thursday, December 5, 2019.
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Combat