The local coin club here in Charleston has a small show twice a year, usually in February and August. The show was this weekend, so I decided to go check it out yesterday after work. It is usually a very small show, only about 40 dealers or so. Friday afternoon is usually slower than Saturday, and it was chilly and rainy which dampened turnout even more. There were actually more collectors buying than I expected, with a fairly steady stream.
It is very interesting to compare the type of material at a small show like this, compared to a big show like FUN. At FUN, nearly every dealer has a table full of slabbed coins, and they might have a couple of boxes or folders of raw coins. At this show, nearly everything was raw. Many dealers didn't have any slabbed coins at all, or just a small portion of the case.
While looking around, this coin caught my eye. Very attractive, original dark grey surfaces, with the perfect cameo contrast that we all love so much. So I bought it. Go ahead...
Daughter of Zeus and Leto. She is Apollo's twin sister. Being Zeus's daughter she's basically every God's sister (Hera rolls her eyes and jabs Zeus in the ribs with her elbow). However, being Apollo's, God of idealized youthful male beauty, twin gives us a unique insight into what the Greeks ideal youthful female should be. Goddess of the hunt, wilderness, Wild animals, later on, the moon and chastity (why are the good girls always smoking hot?).
(A Roman copy of a Greek statue)
Though a maiden, she was known as a protector of young woman and a goddess of childbirth.
She was one of the most worshipped of all the Greek and later Roman deities.
At or Ta, Denarius, Rome, 74 BC;
AR (g 3,56; mm 18; h 5); Draped bust of Diana r., with bow and quiver over shoulder, Rv. Hound running r.; below, spear; in ex. C POSTVMI / AT (or TA). Crawford 394/1a; Postumia 9; Sydenham 785
So popular was she that her massive...
I have always wondered why it was so easy for the Arabs to sweep into Mesopotamia and Palestine in the 630's and 40's. The historical consensus is that both the Roman and Persian empires had exhausted each other after nearly 26 years of constant warfare. This argument makes logical sense, but does not show a complete picture of what happened.
Yersinia pestis, an gram negative bacteria found in rats and flea's, had been introduced to the western world in the early 540's during the Roman Emperor Justinian's reign. The subsequent plague of Justinian killed upwards to 40 million people and devastated the Eastern Roman empire, however it really never left. Yersinia pestis became endemic to the mediterranean and would continue to flare up from time to time in cities for well into the 800's CE. A similar scenario can be seen to this day in Madagascar, where every spring to fall a plague season erupts and kills countless people.
In 628 CE, after the Persian defeat by the Romans, Yersinia...
I found this piece at the NYINC in January. I went to buy coins and maybe a VNCIA coin weight. This piece jumped across the table and said: "Buy me!" The dealer did not have it in his stock at the show (dealers were told - NO ANTIQUITIES). When I asked about scale weights, he offered to bring the piece the next day. I said I was not interested. I said I had spent all of my $$$. I said I had an eye on a really neat cast coin. After that, it was like the flower at the Little Shop of Horrors, my eyes glazed over and I stepped into something new.
If you have a similar empress on a coin (or elsewhere), please post it. I estimate the date of this piece by the type of cloths on the empress, but I am not a women's fashion expert.
Bronze steelyard weight
Steelyard scale in the form of a late Roman or early Byzantine empress (400 to 600 AD). Most of the attributions call the empress anonymous. Byzantine empresses were used for weights to encourage the...
In January I received a PM from CT member tenbobbit, asking if I was interested in a batch of ancients. I told him I'd look them over, warning him I'm a cheapskate bottom-feeder and I didn't want to insult him with a lowball offer. He sent over the photos and said he wanted to send them to me for free! I was astonished - but agreed, of course. A few days later a huge envelope came in the mail...
In our PM's, tenbobbit asked that I don't get carried away on this post, so I will just say, as I told him, I haven't had this much fun opening a package since my 10th birthday when I got a Marx Blue & Gray Civil War playset (which I still have). Thank you, tenbobbit!
Each carefully, individually wrapped:
I've never had a big lot of ancients like this, and I found myself reacting in an array of ways as I opened up each one. I thought I would cover the various reactions I have to this collection - not necessarily the "best" coins, but the ones that...
Prince Henry, the only son of the great warrior king Henry V, was born on 06 December 1421 at Windsor Castle. Prince Henry’s maternal grandfather was Charles VI of France. Charles suffered bouts of mental illness that seriously undermined his position as King of France at times he would refuse to bathe or change his clothing for months, at other times he was unable to recall his name or recognize his wife. Charles also suffered from the delusion that he was made of glass and took steps to avoid bumping into people which he believed would shatter his body. Henry’s father provided a more hopeful ancestry as a string of successes during the Hundred Years War, including the victory at Agincourt in 1415 which brought the French to the brink of defeat. However, Henry V died of dysentery at the age of 35 leaving his 9 month old son as the youngest king in...
It is an impressive feet to be called a Greek "King" after Rome had taken in and taken over that realm geographicaly and spiritually. But Rhoemetalkes did just that. Though the land was, per Tacitus, "wild and savage with portions with enemies on its frontier."
(Ancient Thrace under the Romans)
Tacitus tells us that Rhoemetalkes was "attractive and civilized". The insinuation being that due to him being Thracian that this was fairly singular.
His lineage wag impeccable. He was a direct decent going all the way back to Cotys I (384-360 BCE). His great great great great great great grandpa was around when Amyntas III and Philip II were in charge of revitalizing Macedon!
That said, it's also about who you know. And this guy had an ace in his front pocket. This guy had a fan in Augustus! And this loyalty was reciprocated in Thracian Coinage if the time. Which is both plentiful and surprisingly appealing to the eye:
Dear Friends of ancient mythology!
Here I want to tell something about Tyros.
Phoenicia, Tyre, Elagabal AD 218-22
AE 27, 11.71g
Obv.: IMP CAES M AN - TONINVS AVG
Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
Rev.: TV - RI - O - RVM
Two baetylic stones (the so-called 'Ambrosial rocks'), each standing on a base, between them Holy Oil-tree
in ex: dog of Herakles, walking r., finding Murex Shell
Ref.: SNG Rughetti 2344; BMC Phoenicia, pl. XLIV, 7 and p.cxli, 2, citing a spec. from Berlin
The rev. of this coin refers to the founder myth of Tyre. It is reported in the 'Dionysiaka' by Nonnos of Panopolis. Here the Tyrian Herakles Astrochiton appears, a Light God and fire master in a star cloak on whose altar the thousand year old Phoenix is burning himself and then regenerated resurges again. This god reports of the 'Ambrosial rocks', which are floating on the sea. Between them entwined by a snake a mighty oil-tree was...
Usually, in my limited experience, although the cataloguing of tiny variations isn't nearly as prevalent or obsessive as it is for U.S. coins -- and I think that would be impossible, given the large numbers of different dies for each coin and the fact that no two are ever exactly alike in terms of what the portraits on the coin look like -- any significant variation in the obverse portraits on a particular type of Roman coin results in a separate catalogue number (or at least a sub-number, like (a), (b), (c), etc.) in RIC, RSC, and other catalogues. Thus, there are separate catalogue numbers assigned for left-facing vs. right-facing, head vs. bust, bareheaded vs. laureate, draped vs. cuirassed vs. draped and cuirassed, "seen from front [or back]" vs. "seen from right [or left]" vs. " vs. "seen half from [front or back]," etc., and even for more minor variations like "draped on far shoulder" and so on.
So one would think that a bearded vs. a clean-shaven portrait on a coin that's...
Post your coins of Liber or Dionysus!
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Liber Pater was a patron deity of Rome's plebeians, and the god of wine and wine-making, fertility and freedom. Liber was closely (often interchangeably) identified with Bacchus, Dionysus and their mythology but was not entirely subsumed by them. The Latin liber means "free," or the "free one": when coupled with "pater", it means "The Free Father," who personifies freedom. "The inventor of wine is called Liber," Seneca notes, "not from the licence which he gives to our tongues, but because he liberates the mind from the bondage of cares, and emancipates it, animates it, and renders it more daring in all that it attempts."
Oddly, this god appears only infrequently on Roman coinage. On coins, Liber is typically shown crowned with vine or ivy leaves and holding a wine cup and thyrsus and accompanied by his attendant panther.
Septimius Severus inaugurated his reign and dynasty with games to honor...
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