OCTOBER 18th 17 AD. The temple of Janus, near the Theatre of Marcellus and recently rebuilt, is dedicated.
The temple of Janus , Janus Geminus, is mentioned by a great number of ancient writers: Horace, Ovid, Plutarch, Cassius Dio, Servius etc. It's real origin remain unknown, but my favorite version is this one : according to legend, the orinal temple of Janus was built either by Quirinus or Romulus. The ancient writer Macrobius (400 AD) noted that, during the Sabine wars, the enemy were rushing into Rome through the Porta Janualis when they were overwhelmed by a vast torrent of boiling water which impetuously flowed from the Janus' temple. From then it was decreed that as Janus had come to their help during a time of war the doors should remain open...
The temple contained a statue of the god with the right hand showing the number 300 and the left the number 55—i.e., the length in days of the solar year. We can not situate its exact...
...And, between those of us who spend any time in the Middle Ages, who doesn’t need some of this? Enough drama; cut to the chase.
One unusually well-documented example demonstrates the political and cultural porosity of prototypically international borders, along with the initial hesitance or inability of the operant monarchs to intervene. To quote an easy encapsulation, from a much more extensive and incisive secondary source:
“On or about 1 November 1184, the county of Hainaut [ruled by Baldwin V, later VIII of Flanders] was invaded by the armies of [Baldwin’s brother-in-law] Philip Count of Flanders (1168-91), of Philip of Heinsberg, Archbishop of Cologne (1167-91), and of Godfrey III, Duke of Brabant (1142- 90), who was accompanied by his son Henry ([Duke] 1190-1235).” (France, pp. 97-8.)
This map shows borders as of 1477, but just manages to include all of the main protagonists, from the archbishopric of Köln (and the neighboring imperial capital of Aachen) in the...
Unmanned hot air balloons are popular in Chinese history. Zhuge Liang of the Shu Han kingdom, ca. AD 220–280, used airborne lanterns for military signaling. These lanterns are known as Chinese lanterns.
The first documented balloon flight in Europe was by priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão. On August 8, 1709, in Lisbon, he managed to lift a small balloon made of paper full of hot air about four meters in front of King John V and the Portuguese court.
Some important dates in ballooning history:
June 5th, 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers first demonstrated an unmanned hot air balloon.
September 19th, 1783 – The same balloon was used to lift a sheep, duck, and chicken. It rose to 1,500 feet and traveled roughly 3 kilometers before safely landing. The demonstration was performed for King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette.
October 19th, 1783 – First tethered flight with humans.
November 21st, 1783 – King Louis XVI had decreed that condemned criminals would be the first human...
I enjoy knowing something about the people who collected the coins from my collection before me. It’s fun to share a connection with someone from far away or long ago based on a common interest. This coin is fun because I can trace it to two past collectors who shared my enthusiasm for ancient coins.
Maximinus II Daia As Caesar
Æ Follis, Alexandria mint, 5th officina. Struck late AD 308-309.
Obv.: Laureate head right
Rev.: Genius standing left, holding patera from which liquor flows, and cornucopia; K-E/P//ALE.
Ref.: RIC VI 100a.
Ex Dr. Louis Naegeli Collection, Ex W. F. Stoeklin Collection. Obolos 9, March 25, 2018, Lot 437.
Tag from the W. F. Stoeklin Collection.
Dr. Louis Naegeli (1858-1951)
Dr. Naegeli was an Ophthalmologist who lived in Switzerland in the late 19th and early...
With the news that production of 2 penny coins is being paused, it’s tempting to think the humble penny’s time might be up soon. Its purchasing power is half that of the halfpenny when it was withdrawn. But it would be hasty to condemn it – it’s been England’s most resilient and long-lived coin.
The penny’s predecessors
The story begins, as it often does, with the Romans. When they invaded Britain in 34AD they put a stop to British coin production and brought their own coins. They also brought the ‘pound’ with them, although as a weight standard rather than a coin. Indeed, the ‘£’ sign is based on the Latin word for pound – ‘libra’ – which also provided ‘lb’ for the pound weight. The abbreviations for shillings and pence were also Roman, so that ‘l. s. d.’ stood for ‘librae, solidi and denarii’. These were used in Britain all the way to decimalisation in 1971.
Trajan, silver denarius, 98-117AD, Rome. 19mm, 3.1g. IMP TRAIANO AVG GER...
In 2012 I decided to unload all my Chinese coins at auction, taking advantage of the surging prices at that time . I sent my coins to NGC to get encapsulated along with a group of ancient coins. Two of the Chinese coins came back in body bags ; one was an obvious FAKE (I posted that coin yesterday) & the other was labeled AUTHENTICITY UNVERAFIABLE, see label below. My first impression was WHAT ? No explanation was given as to why they couldn't verify the authenticity of this coin . The coin looked like a solid AU to me with no problems, & together NGC & PCGS had slabbed over 1,700 of these coins in AU50. So why was my coin rejected ? Did the graders get "gun shy" after finding a fake "Fat Man" dollar in my submission ? Who knows. Time was drawing near to get my coins off to Heritage Auctions for their 2012 Signature Auction in Chicago.
I sent Heritage a large...
Wanted to share a little bit:
A very pretty as well as practical idea has been suggested by Commissioner M. H. DeYoung, of California, and Captain Porter, of the United States Secret Service. It is to the effect that the United States shall issue a number of silver half dollars with a design that shall make them souvenirs of the World’s Columbian Exposition. These coins are to be legal tender, and it is thought that many people, in fact all who visit the Exposition, will wish to keep at least one as a souvenir of the greatest peaceable event in the history of the United States.
The United States Mint would, according to this plan, issue ten or twenty millions of these half dollars to be used as admission to the Exposition. But as most of them would, after the Exposition, be bought as keepsakes and withdrawn from circulation, the government would be a large sum ahead. For Director Leach, of the Mint, estimates that it will cost about thirty cents...
The ancient bronze and silver coins that we enjoy, with their colorful and often dramatic patinas, are the product of centuries, even millennia, of exposure to the elements, primarily air and water, but also other chemicals that might be present, especially if they are buried. Being the objects produced by humanity, they are, nonetheless, composed of naturally occurring elements, namely copper and silver.
Here are two bronzes from my collection:
Roman Empire, 238 AD
Obverse: Laureate bust, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Reverse: Victory standing left.
RIC 23a, BMCRE 58, Cohen 38
Deep green patina
29.5 mm, 1 h.
ex Harlan Berk
Byzantine Empire, 539/40 AD
Obverse: Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger and shield; cross to right.
Reverse: Large M, ANNO to left, XIII (year 13) to right, cross above, NIK in exergue.
Green/brown patina with...
This is a coin which I had almost given up hope of ever owning. However, it has finally happened and I am really happy to have found this example of a Santiago, Chile Mint 8 Reales Columnario.
Collectors of Latin American Colonial coinage will recognise Santiago Columnarios as one of the scarcest types in all of Spanish Colonial Numismatics. While the New World Spanish mints at Mexico, Lima and Potosi produced the 'Dos Mundos' coinage in very large numbers, production from Santiago was comparably tiny.
Today, a total of only 53 Santiago 8 Reales Columnarios are documented to exist with dates ranging from 1751 to 1770, for a total of 12 Different dates. Only a handful more are possibly unaccounted for. For some dates, only one or two examples are known.
The two most 'common' dates, 1768 and 1758, account for half of all examples known.
I was therefore excited when the opportunity to add this rare example from 1764 arose. Only Five coins are known for this date.
This example is...
My winnings from the Papillon Numismatic Auction 1 just arrived - quite pleased with this one
Lydia, Sardes for Diva Claudia Octavia, (d. AD 62)
Minted under Mindios, Strategos for the second time
Obv: ΘΕΑΝ ΟΚΤΑΟΙΑΝ, Head right
Rev: CΑΡΔΙΑΝΩΝ / ΕΠΙ ΜΙΝΔΙΟΥ / ΣΤΡ ΤΟ Β, Demeter standing right, holding scepter
Ref: RPC I 3000 (Var? There seems to be multiple legend layouts, many of which are probably not documented)
Born in about 39, Octavia was the middle child of Claudius, and his first child with Messalina, who was also the mother of Britannucus. Sadly always destined to be a pawn in the political games of her family, she was initially betrothed to the son of one of her father's political allies while still a young child, then finally married to her first cousin once removed, Nero.
Their marriage was never happy, but ancient historians mention that Octavia was a virtuous wife, and well beloved by the people. Nero eventually...
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