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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Animals| ▸ |Mule, Donkey or Ass||View Options:  |  |  | 

Mules, Donkeys, and Asses on Ancient Coins

Agrippina Senior, b. 14 B.C., d. 33 A.D., Wife of Germanicus, Mother of Caligula and Agrippa Jr.

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The carpentum was a type of state carriage, with two wheels, and commonly drawn by a pair of mules. The privilege of riding in a carpentum in public festivals was sometimes granted to females of the imperial family. Agrippina's, carriage on the reverse of this coin, was very richly adorned with painting or carving on the panels, and the cover was supported by caryatides on the corners. When Caligula instituted games and other solemnities in honor of his deceased mother Agrippina, her carpentum went in the procession (Suet. Calig. 13).
RB37533. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I Gaius 55, BMCRE I Caligula 81, Cohen I 1, BnF II Caligula 128, Hunter I Gaius 36, SRCV I 1827, F, rough, weight 26.453 g, maximum diameter 38.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 37 - 41 A.D.; obverse AGRIPPINA M F MAT C CAESARIS AVGVSTI, draped bust right, her hair tied in queue in back and one lock falling down side of neck; reverse S P Q R / MEMORIAE / AGRIPPINAE, carpentum drawn by two mules left; SOLD


Messana, Sicily, c. 317 - 311 B.C.

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Founded in the 8th century B.C., until the 5th century Messina was called Zancle, meaning "scythe" because of the shape of its harbor. Carthage sacked the city in 397 B.C. and then Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered it. In 288 B.C. the Mamertine mercenaries seized the city by treachery, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives. The city became a base from which they ravaged the countryside, leading to conflict with Syracuse. Initially Carthage assisted the Mamertines. When Syracuse attacked a second time, the Mamertines asked Rome for help. Rome was initially reluctant, but allied with the Mamertines to limit Carthaginian power.In 264 B.C., Roman troops were deployed to Sicily, the first time a Roman army acted outside the Italian Peninsula. At the end of the First Punic War, Messana was a free city allied with Rome.
GI90320. Bronze litra, Caltabiano 789 (D2/R5); Calciati I p. 53, 18 R1; SNG ANS 386; SNG Fitzwilliam 1082; SNG Morcom 619; HGC 2 831 (C); SGCV I 1134, VF, weight 9.941 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 180o, Messana mint, c. 317 - 311 B.C.; obverse MESSANIΩN, head of the nymph Messana left, wearing tainia, trident head behind; reverse Biga of mules standing right, driven by Messana, a long palm in her right hand, reins in left, T below; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; scarce; SOLD


Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D.

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Government officials, imperial contractors and local magistrates regularly requisitioned vehicles, animals and provisions from private citizens for government transport. Abuses were common. Municipal governments were expected to pay the costs but citizens were rarely fully compensated. On this coin, Nerva advertises reform, promising the imperial government will pay all the costs of imperial transport.
RB54879. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 93, Cohen II 143, BMCRE II 119, BnF II 108, SRCV II 3055, F, rough, weight 22.554 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; obverse IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse VEHICVLATIONE ITALIAE REMISSA (Italy exempted from the vehicularium tax), two mules grazing in opposite directions, the nearer facing left, high-wheeled cart behind the mules with its pole-and-harnesses trapping resting upright, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; exceptional examples of this type have sold for $46,000, $32,000 and $20,000!; rare; SOLD


Roman Republic, M. Junius Silanus, 145 B.C.

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In 145 B.C., Roma was sitting on top of the world. Corinth had been destroyed and Macedonia and Greece were now Roman provinces. Carthage had fallen and was completely destroyed. Rome was now the sole superpower in the Mediterranean world, a distinction it would hold for 600 years.
RR49919. Silver denarius, SRCV I 96, Crawford 220/1, Sydenham 408, RSC I Junia 8, aVF, weight 3.381 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 145 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right in winged helmet, ass head left behind, X below chin; reverse Dioscuri riding right, M∑IVNI below, ROMA in exergue, linear border; SOLD


Mende, Chalcidice, Macedonia, c. 510 - 480 B.C.

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Mende was an ancient colony of Eretria, on the SW side of Cape Poseidion in Pallene. Its coins illustrate some forgotten myth of Dionysos, his companion Seilenos, and an ass. The wine of Mende was famous and is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. It is unlikely that Mende struck any coins after it was first captured by Philip in 358 B.C.
GA90295. Silver tritartemorion, AMNG III.2, 8; SNG ANS 307; SNG Berry 34, VF, porous surfaces, uneven tone, weight 0.292 g, maximum diameter 6.1 mm, die axis 0o, Mende mint, c. 510 - 480 B.C.; obverse head and neck of ass right, pellet at truncation; reverse mill-sail pattern incuse; ex CNG auction 249, lot 50; scarce; SOLD


Mende, Macedonia, 460 - 423 B.C.

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Mende was an ancient colony of Eretria, on the SW side of Cape Poseidion in Pallene. The wine of Mende was famous and is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. Its coins illustrate some forgotten myth of Dionysos, his companion Seilenos, and an ass. In Disney's classic film Fantasia, Dionysus rides a drunken donkey named Jacchus. Mende probably did not strike any coins after it was first captured by Philip in 358 B.C.
GA73132. Silver hemiobol, SNG ANS 365; SNG Cop 207; BMC Macedonia p. 82, 7; AMNG III/2 18, aF, weight 0.348 g, maximum diameter 9.2 mm, die axis 270o, Mende mint, 460 - 423 B.C.; obverse donkey forepart right, border of dots; reverse kantharos in a shallow incuse square; rare; SOLD


Julia Titi, Augusta c. 79 - 89A.D.

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RB16903. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV I 2890, RIC II 400, BMCRE II 458, Fair, weight 23.799 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 165o, Rome mint, 90 - 91 A.D.; obverse [DIVAE IVLIAE AVG DIVI TITI F], funeral cart pulled right by two mules, [S P Q R] in ex; reverse [IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GER P M COS X]V CENS PER P [P], around large S C; nice green patina; SOLD


Mende, Macedonia, 520 - 480 B.C.

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Mende was an ancient colony of Eretria, on the SW side of Cape Poseidion in Pallene. Its coins illustrate some forgotten myth of Dionysos, his companion Seilenos, and an ass. The wine of Mende was famous and is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. It is unlikely that Mende struck any coins after it was first captured by Philip in 358 B.C.
GA69023. Silver tetrobol, cf. SNG ANS 304, Traitť 967, SNG Cop -, SNG Ashmolean -, BMC Macedonia -; AMNG -, F, rough, weight 2.474 g, maximum diameter 12.9 mm, die axis 45o, Mende mint, 520 - 480 B.C.; obverse ithyphallic donkey walking right, eye(?) above; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Jean Elsen auction 106 (11 Sep 2010), lot 79; rare; SOLD


Mende, Macedonia, 480 - 460 B.C.

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Mende was an ancient colony of Eretria, on the SW side of Cape Poseidion in Pallene. Its coins illustrate some forgotten myth of Dionysos, his companion Seilenos, and an ass. The wine of Mende was famous and is frequently mentioned by ancient writers. It is unlikely that Mende struck any coins after it was first captured by Philip in 358 B.C.
GA32240. Silver tritartemorion, SNG ANS 317; SNG Ashmolean 2282; BMC Macedonia p. 81, 3, VF, weight 0.316 g, maximum diameter 7.6 mm, Mende mint, 480 - 460 B.C.; obverse donkey head left, with bridal; reverse incuse square divided diagonally; SOLD


Mende, Macedon, Greece, c. 500 - 480 B.C.

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This very small coin is greatly magnified in our photo. In hand and with the naked eye the surfaces look smoother. If you stand back about 8 feet from your screen you will probably get a better idea of how it looks in hand.
GA16362. Silver hemiobol, SNG Cop 202, cf. BMC Macedonia p. 81, 3 (type left), VF, some porosity, weight 0.360 g, maximum diameter 6.9 mm, Mende mint, c. 500 - 480 B.C.; obverse forepart of donkey right; reverse quartered incuse square; SOLD








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Catalog current as of Friday, December 13, 2019.
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Mule, Donkey or Ass