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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Astrology||View Options:  |  |  | 

Astrology on Ancient Coins

Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 119 - 100 B.C.

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The comets depicted are almost certainly the comets described in Justin's epitome of the Historiae Philippicae of the Augustan historian Pompeius Trogus (Justin 37.2.1-2): "The future greatness of this man [Mithridates Eupator] had been foretold by heavenly portents. For both in the year in which he was born [134/133 B.C.] and in the year in which he first began to rule [120/119 B.C.], a comet gleamed so brightly for 70 days throughout each period that the whole sky seemed to be on fire. In its extent, each of these comets filled one quarter of the sky and surpassed the sun in brilliance. They took four hours to rise and four hours to set."
GB92131. Bronze AE 11, SNG BM 984; SNG Stancomb 653; Lindgren III 154; HGC 7 317, VF, dark green patina, tight flan, weight 2.204 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, Pontos, uncertain mint, c. 119 - 100 B.C.; obverse horse-head right, with star of eight points and central pellet on and below neck; reverse comet star of seven points, central pellet, and tail to right; ex Ancient Imports; rare; $160.00 (140.80)


Valerian II, Caesar, Early 256 - 258 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Located near Lampsacus, Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period, it was in the domain of Lysimachus and then the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia within the province of Asia. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, it was in the province of Hellespontus.
RP92066. Bronze AE 21, Apparently unpublished in standard references, SNG Righetti 743 var. (obv. legend), BMC Mysia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Tb -, SNG Hunt -, F, well centered, bumps an scratches, weight 3.806 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, Early 256 - 258 A.D.; obverse VALERIANVS NOBIL CAES, laureate, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right; reverse Capricorn swimming right, cornucopia on back, holding celestial globe between legs, C G I H P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) below; ex John Jencek; extremely rare, unpublished in standard references, two specimens known to Forum (from auctions); $140.00 (123.20)


Kingdom of Commagene, Epiphanes and Callinicus, 72 A.D.

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In 72 A.D., only two years after Antiochus IV, King of Commagene, sent troops, commanded by his son Epiphanes, to aid Titus in the siege of Jerusalem, he was accused by the governor of Syria of conspiring with Parthia against Rome. After a reign of thirty-four years from his first appointment by Caligula, Antiochus was deprived of his kingdom. He retired first to Sparta, and then to Rome, where he passed the remainder of his life and was treated with great respect. Antiochus' sons, Epiphanes and Callinicus briefly ruled the kingdom but after an encounter with Roman troops, fled to Parthia. They later joined their father in Rome.
SH90336. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 3861; BMC Galatia p. 110, 1 ff.; De Luynes 3440; SGICV 5515, F, dark patina, red earthen deposits, weight 7.954 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 45o, Samosata (Samsat, Turkey) mint, 72 A.D.; obverse Epiphanes and Callinicus riding left on horseback, each wearing chlamys, BACIΛEΩC / YIOI in exergue; reverse KOMMAΓHNΩN, Capricorn right, star above, anchor flukes left below, all within laurel wreath, border of dots; ex John Jencek; $90.00 (79.20)


Northern Syria, 2nd to 3rd Century A.D.

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This type has long been attributed to Pharaoh Nektanebo II. Butcher, however, notes it is quite common in the vicinity of Antioch and in Northern Syria and the obverse style is similar to third century Antiochene zodiacal type coins. He suggests they may have been struck under Hadrian.
RY90994. Bronze AE 15, Butcher p. 405, 11; Weiser p. 16, 1 (Nektanebo II, Memphis, Egypt), F, scratches and bumps, light earthen deposits, weight 3.383 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Antioch?) mint, 2nd to 3rd century A.D.; obverse ram (Ares) leaping left, head turned back right; reverse balance scale (Libra), weak countermark; $90.00 (79.20)


Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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A star or stars within a crescent with horns up probably represents a solar eclipse.
RP92884. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.22.48.4 (R2), Varbanov I 3214 (R4), AMNG I/I 1646, Moushmov 1195, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, green patina, edge crack, reverse slightly off center, edge a little ragged, weight 3.056 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 198 - 209 A.D.; obverse Λ AYP KAI ΓETAC, draped bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, five stars and crescent with horns up, three stars above, one star within, one star below; $90.00 (79.20)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum

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There are peculiarities about these Roman crescent and star reverse types that are difficult to understand. First, the crescents are almost always depicted with the horns up. The moon is never seen this way in the sky. Also, in the sky stars are never visible within the horns of the crescent moon because there they would be behind the shadowed yet solid and opaque orb. The crescent with horns up may represent a solar eclipse.
RP92881. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.48.37 (R2), Varbanov I 2474 var. (obv. leg.), AMNG I/I 1432, Moushmov 986, gVF, green patina, slightly off center, scratches, spot of corrosion on reverse, weight 2.928 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AY K Λ CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, five stars above and within crescent with horns upward; $80.00 (70.40)







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Catalog current as of Friday, November 22, 2019.
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Astrology