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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Nautical & Marine ▸ ShipsView Options:  |  |  |   

Galleys and Other Ships on Ancient Coins

Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $540.00 (€480.60)
 


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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Hadrian refounded a Thracian tribal capital, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, developed it, adorned it with monuments, and made it the capital of the Roman province. The city is Edirne, Turkey today. From ancient times, the area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
SH65237. Bronze AE 25, Jurukova p. 157 & pl. XXII, 244 (V137/R244); Mionnet, Suppl. II, 658; BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, VF, green patina, weight 7.837 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse IOYΛIA ∆O CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, galley left with four oarsmen and steersman in stern; very rare; $460.00 (€409.40)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XI

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
RS79795. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, VF, obverse slightly off-center, banker's mark on obverse, weight 3.714 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $360.00 (€320.40)
 


Phaselis, Lycia, 500 - 466 B.C.

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Partial brockage obverse. The obverse was re-struck off-center over a brockage of the reverse, leaving two clear impressions.
GA83588. Silver tetrobol, SNGvA 4396, SNG Berry 1200 var. (ΦA above galley, Σ below), SNG Cop -, SNG Fitzwilliam -, VF, toned, tight flan, die wear, die cracks, partial brockage, weight 3.507 g, maximum diameter 15.0 mm, die axis 90o, Phaselis mint, 500 - 440 B.C.; obverse prow of war galley right in the form of a boar's forepart, partial brockage with incuse letters ΦA visible on obverse; reverse stern right, ΦAΣ above, all in incuse square; ex Roma Numismatics, e-sale 21 (31 Oct 2015), 368; $260.00 (€231.40)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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A skilled general and administrator, Postumus rebelled against Gallienus, uniting Gaul, Spain, and Britain into a Gallic-Roman empire. Successful against the Germans, he kept his empire secure and prosperous. He was assassinated by his own troops after he refused to allow them to sack Moguntiacum (Mainz).
SH66364. Bronze double sestertius, Bastien Postume 87, RIC V 143 (Lugdunum), Cohen VI 177, VF, weight 13.981 g, maximum diameter 30.7 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Agrippinensis or Treveri mint, 261 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CASS LAT POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse LAETITIA AVG (the joy of the Emperor, AVG in exergue), galley left, four rowers and steersman; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Deultum, Thrace

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Colonia Flavia Pacensis (or Pacifica) Deultum was founded by Vespasian. The colony assumed his family name, Flavia, and on account of Vespasian's devotion to the goddess of Peace (to whom he built a temple at Rome); it was called Pacensis (or Pacifica).
RP77123. Bronze AE 22, SNG Deultum 1746-1749 (same dies); Jurukova Deultum 454, Varbanov II 3023(?); BMC Thrace -, gVF, nice patina, nice style, reverse die wear and crack, weight 6.695 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, Deultum (Debelt, Bulgaria) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, centration dimple; reverse CO-L FL PAC DEV,LT (LT in exergue), prow of galley left on waves, ram's head on point of ram, octopus and dolphin swimming left beside hull above waves; Pecunem Gitbud & Naumann auction 31 (3 May 2015), lot 313; rare; $240.00 (€213.60)
 


Roman Republic, Vergilius, Gargilius and Ogulnius, 86 B.C.

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The as is the only bronze denomination struck by these moneyers.
RR76801. Bronze as, BMCRR I Rome 2632, Crawford 350A/3c, Sydenham 722b, SRCV I 752, VF, encrusted areas, some spots of corrosion, weight 13.454 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 86 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Janus, I (mark of value above); reverse OGVL GAR VER (VL, AR, and VE ligate), war galley prow left, X (control letter) before prow; $225.00 (€200.25)
 


Roman Republic, L. Memmius Galeria, 106 B.C.

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Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions. Janus is believed to be one of the few major deities in Roman mythology that does not have a Greek origin or counterpart.
RR77516. Bronze as, Crawford 313/2, Sydenham 575 (very rare), BMCRR I Rome 1357, Russo RBW 1160, SRCV I 733, gF, well centered, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 24.804 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 106 B.C.; obverse laureate bearded head of Janus, I (mark of value) above; reverse Prow right, head of Venus decorating acrostolium (prow-stem), Cupid standing left before prow and placing wreath on head of Venus, L MEMMI (ME ligate) above, ROMA below; from the Andrew McCabe Collection; very rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Coela, Thracian Chersonesos

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Coela in Chersonesos Thraciae (on the Gallipoli peninsula) issued gold and silver coins under Alexander the Great and from the early 2nd century A.D. struck Roman provincial and colonial coins.
RP84057. Bronze AE 17, SNG Cop 872 (same dies), Varbanov 2888 (R6) var. (legends, grain above prow), SNG Tübingen -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Dreer -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, nice green patina, tight flan cutting off much of the legends, marks, weight 4.166 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 135o, Coela mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES - ANTONINVS (or similar), laureate head right; reverse AEL MVNI COELANI (or similar), war galley prow left; very rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Schaaff, Ulrich. Münzen der römischen Kaiserzeit mit Schiffsdarstellungen im Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum. (Munich, 2003).

Catalog current as of Saturday, March 25, 2017.
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