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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ River GodView Options:  |  |  |   

River Gods

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4680.00 (€3978.00)
 


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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Otho ruled for just a few months. The mint of Alexandria struck coins with his name, though the portrait bears little resemblance to those of the other mints. It is possible that Alexandria produced coins without having an image of the new emperor.
RP84745. Bronze hemidrachm, RPC I 5364 (3 spec.); Geissen 257; Dattari 336; BMC Alexandria 217; Milne 376; SNG BnF 710; Kampmann-Ganschow 18.13; Emmett 189 (R4); SNG Milan -, F, attractive brown tone, flan crack, light scratches, smoothing, weight 16.768 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 69 A.D.; obverse AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, beveled edge; reverse bust of Nilus right, wearing papyrus diadem, cornucopia behind right shoulder, date LA (year 1) before; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; extremely rare; $1050.00 (€892.50)
 


Mytilene, Lesbos, c. 454 - 427 B.C.

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Mytilene revolted against Athens in 428 B.C. but was overcome by an Athenian expeditionary force. The Athenian public assembly voted to massacre all the men of the city and to sell the women and children into slavery but changed its mind the next day. A fast trireme sailed the 186 nautical miles (344 km) in less than a day and brought the decision to cancel the massacre.
SH85699. Electrum hekte, Bodenstedt 52 (c/η); Boston MFA 1700; SNG Cop 325; SNGvA 7731; SNG Fitzwilliam 4344; BMC Troas p. 121, 56 & pl. 32, 25; HGC 6 978 (R1), aVF, weight 2.573 g, maximum diameter 11.3 mm, die axis 0o, Mytilene mint, c. 454 - 427 B.C.; obverse young male head (river god?) right, short hair, wearing taenia; reverse archaizing bearded male head (Dionysos?) right, long pointed beard, within incuse square; $520.00 (€442.00)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Traianopolis, Thrace

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Hebros is the Romanized version of the original Thracian Ebros. Today it is the Maritsa river or, in Greece, the Evros. The river enters the Aegean Sea near Enez. The lower course of the Maritsa/Evros forms part of the Bulgarian-Greek border and most of the Greek-Turkish border. The upper Maritsa valley runs east-west in Bulgaria. The unnavigable river is used for power production and irrigation.

The Three Graces, named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia, were the attendants of Venus (Aphrodite).
SH74540. Brass AE 31, Schönert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 27 (V13/R24), Varbanov III 2739, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, cleaning scratches, smoothing, weight 11.934 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 15o, Thrace, Traianopolis mint, hegemon Statilus Barbarus; obverse AYK Λ CEΠ - CEYHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse HΓ CTATI BAPBAPOY TPAIANOΠO−ΛITΩN, River-god Hebrus reclining left on upturned urn; the Charites (the Three Graces) behind his legs standing facing; left and middle Charites with heads right, left Charis holding rod(?), middle Charis holding apple; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $460.00 (€391.00)
 


Leucas-Claudia (Balanea), Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, c. 45 - 150 A.D.

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This type is so rare that RPC is uncertain of the complete legends and questions if the standing god has his foot on a prow.

Baniyas (ancient Balaneais, Balanaea or Balanea, also called Leucas or Leucas-Claudia) is in northwestern Syria, 55 km south of Latakia (ancient Laodicea) and 35 km north of Tartous (ancient Tortosa). It was founded as a colony of Aradus. In Phoenician and Hellenistic times, it was an important seaport. On a nearby hill stands the Crusader castle of Margat (Qalaat el-Marqab), a huge Knights Hospitaller fortress built with black basalt stone.
RY86403. Brass AE 17, RPC I 4465A (2 specimens); de Saulcy 21, 3, VF, some flatness of high points, porosity, slightly off center on a tight flan; the best of the three specimens known to Forum, weight 4.142 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 45o, Leucas-Claudia (Baniyas, Syria) mint, c. 45 - 150 A.D.; obverse TWN KAI KΛAY∆IAIWN, male god standing facing, wearing tiara, long scepter vertical in right hand, left foot on small prow; reverse ΛYKA∆IWN, upper part of river god Chrysoroas swimming right; extremely rare; $430.00 (€365.50)
 


Gela, Sicily, 420 - 405 B.C.

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Gela, named after the river Gela, was founded by colonists from Rhodos and Crete around 688 B.C. In 424 B.C., the Congress of Gela established a "Sicily for the Sicilians" platform and formed a league that pushed back the Athenian attempt to conquer the island. The city had a history of internal strife between its plebs and aristocrats. When the Carthaginians arrived in 311 BC, they easily captured the Gela with the help of its elites. In 282 B.C., Phintias of Agrigento ruthlessly destroyed Gela to crush its power forever. In Roman times it was only a small settlement.
SH76948. Bronze tetras, Calciati III p. 17, 32/1; Jenkins Gela 516; SNG ANS 115; SNG Cop 283; SNG Munchen 314; BMC Sicily, p. 73, 66; HGC 2 379 (S), gVF, well centered on a broad flan, nice green patina, light marks and corrosion, weight 3.408 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 90o, Gela mint, 420 - 405 B.C.; obverse bull standing left, head lowered and turned slightly facing, barley kernel over ΓEΛAΣ above, three pellets in exergue; reverse horned head of beardless young river-god Gela right, no diadem, floating hair, barley kernel behind; scarce; $260.00 (€221.00)
 


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

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The Rhine and the Danube formed most of the northern inland frontier of the Roman Empire.
RA72656. Billon antoninianus, Cunetio 2371, RSC IV 355b, Schulzki AGK 88c, RIC V-2 87, SRCV III 10991, Elmer 123, Hunter IV - (p. lxxxviii), gVF, reverse scratches, weight 3.812 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 1st emission, 2nd phase, 260 - 261 A.D.; obverse IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS PROVINCIARVM (health of the provinces), river-god Rhenus (Rhine) reclining left, horned, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, resting right forearm on prow of a boat, reed cradled in left hand and arm, left elbow resting on urn behind; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


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; $115.00 (€97.75)
 


Julia Mamaea, Augusta, 13 Mar 222 - Feb/Mar 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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The Tyche of Antioch was a cult statue of the city goddess (fortune) of Antioch, venerated in a temple called the Tychaion. The statue was made by Eutychides of Sicyon (c. 335 - c. 275), a pupil of the great Lysippus. It was the best-known piece of Seleucid art, remarkable because it was sculpted to be viewed from all directions, unlike many statues from the period. Although the original has been lost, many copies exist, including the one in the photograph right, now at the Vatican. The goddess is seated on a rock (Mount Sipylus), has her right foot on a swimming figure (the river Orontes), wears a mural crown (the city's walls), and has grain in her right hand (the city's fertility).Tyche of Antioch
RY84567. Bronze 8 assaria, cf. McAlee 857(a) (scarce); Waage 665; BMC Galatia p. 209, 491; SNG Hunterian 3044; SNG Cop 257; Butcher 491b (all rev. leg. variants), aVF, broad flan, corrosion, weight 13.501 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse IVΛ MAMAEA CEBACTH, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse ANTIOXE-WN MH KO, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, chiton and peplos, grain ears in right hand, left hand resting on rock; ram above leaping left with head right; star inner right; river-god Orontes swimming left below; ∆ - E over S - C in two lines divided flanking across field above center; $105.00 (€89.25)
 


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; $105.00 (€89.25)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Fluss- und Meergötter auf griechischen und römischen Münzen (Personifikationen der Gewässer)" in RSN 23 (1923), pp. 173-421.
Malloy, A. "The Danubian Celts" in Alex G. Malloy Auction Sale XLVI, June 24, 1997. NumisWiki webpage
Molinari, N.J. & N. Sisci. Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity. (Oxford, 2016).

Catalog current as of Saturday, May 26, 2018.
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River Gods