“Get to the “Point”, Spears in the ancient world... on coins!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Mar 4, 2020.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    I LOVE “things” on coins. I love trying to understand how the theme of the iconography was perceived by the original audience. I love getting to know what utilitarian purpose these things served for those long before us.
    So, sue me if I LOVE ancient weaponry on coins.
    I wonder how few things over the 130,000 years man has been around, disease and old age aside, have killed more men then the projectile? Be it bullet, arrow or Spear.

    EA6396D7-ECD7-4372-A60B-8DC32E519FE3.jpeg 7B80EA23-6B3D-4784-8982-A27873FDECB2.jpeg
    EPEIROS, Federal coinage (Epirote Republic). Circa 234/3-168 BC.Dichalkon (Bronze, 19 mm, 4.43 g, 12 h). Draped bust of Artemis to right, with bow and quiver over her shoulder; to left and right, elaborateAE monograms. Rev. ΑΠΕΙ / ΡΩΤΑΝ Spear head to right; laurel wreath with ties below. Franke 638 (V397/R495, same dies). Sharply struck and with an attractive, dark patina. Centering hole on the obverse, otherwise, extremely fine.

    Before we were here, Neanderthal was killing with spears over 400,000 years ago.
    Used in Africa for both hunting and war for hundreds of thousands of years, the spear was also the weapon of choice for the killing in the ancient epics of The Iliad and Odyssey to Gilgamesh.
    Heck, it’s still my favorite way to see my enemies driven before me.
    (If this name is new to you please go treat yourself to a read of R.E. Howard)

    Other funtastic examples I’ve are these:
    Philip V
    Æ Unit. Circa 211-197 BCE Head of Zeus r., wearing wreath of oak leaves / Athena standing r., holding spear and shield; in r. field, thunderbolt. Mamroth, Bronzemünzen 11a; SNG Alpha Bank 1075. 3.46g, 16mm, 4h. Good Very Fine, chocolate brown patina.

    Kings of Thrace. Pella. 305-281 BC. Tetradrachm AR
    27mm., 15,95g.
    Head of the deified Alexander the Great to right, wearing diadem with fluttering ends and with the horn of Ammon around his ear / ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ, Athena, wearing robes and helmet, seated to left on throne, holding Nike on her right hand and resting her left elbow on large round shield adorned with a gorgoneion; to left monogram.
    very fine. Thompson 253; Müller 471.

    Kings of Thrace. Uncertain mint. 305-281 BC. AE (19mm, 3.75g). Helmeted head of Athena right / Lion leaping right, spearhead below. Müller 61; HGC 3, 1758.
    Former: Kairos

    L. Cosconius M.f.
    118 BCE. AR Serrate Denarius (17 MM, 3.53g, 6h). Narbo mint. Helmeted head of Roma right; X (mark of value) to left / Gallic warrior (Bituitus, king of the Averni?)driving galloping bigaright, hurling spear and holding shield and carnyx. Crawford 282/2; Sydenham 521; Cosconia 1.

    With that said, I’m hopeful you all will pile on your favorite coins with examples of Spearheads, Spears in action or examples of Spears themselves!
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Cool, @Ryro !

    Dioscuri with Spears

    RR Anon AR denarius Roma 211-206 BCE ROMA incus Dioscuri single horn-helmet Sear-- Craw 68-1b SICILY ISSUE R

    RR Quinarius 212-195 BCE 1.8g Luceria mint Anon Roma Craw 98B-1


    Roman Sling Stone 200 BCE - 400 CE Almond Shaped PB lead 37x14mm 41.2g

    Roman Sling Stone 200 BCE - 400 CE Almond Shaped PB lead 34x14mm 42.4g
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  4. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    PISIDIA, Selge, AE12 1.77g Obv: Circula shield of Macedonian type
    Rev: ΣΕ; Spearhead within border of dots
    Ref: SNG von Aulock #5297, BMC 61-65, SNG Copenhagen 255
    ex Gorny & Mosch, Auction 126, October 2003, lot 1413 (part of).

    Seems to be scarce to rare; I can't recall seeing another.
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  5. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Here’s my favorite spear:


    Kings of Cappadocia, Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator, 163-130 BC., AR Drachm (17 mm, 3.99g), Eusebeia-Mazaca, circa 131 B.C. Diademed head of Ariarathes to right. Rev. BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ APIAPAΘOY EYΣEBOYΣ, Athena standing left, holding Nike, spear and shield set on ground.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Fun theme, @Ryro ! I got lotsa spears. Here's just a few.

    Spears in human hands, on obverses and reverses:

    Julian II, 361-363.
    Roman Silvered AE 3 Centenionalis; 3.16 g. 18.3 mm.
    Antioch mint, AD 362-363.
    Obv: D N FL CL IVLIANVS P F, helmeted and cuirassed bust, left, holding spear and shield.
    Rev: VOT X MVLT XX, legend within wreath; in exergue: ANTA between two palm fronds.
    Refs: RIC 220; Cohen 151; RCV 19181; LRBC 2642.

    Gallienus, AD 253-268.
    Roman Billon Antoninianus, 4.40 g, 23.5 mm.
    Samosata, AD 255-256.
    Obv: IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, radiate and draped bust, right.
    Rev: RESTITVT ORIENTIS, Tyche, left, presenting wreath to emperor, right, who holds spear in left.
    Refs: RIC 448; RSC 902; Cohen 902; RCV 10341; Hunter p. xlvii; Göbl 1677m.

    Spears wielded by gods and goddesses:


    Trajan, AD 98-117
    Roman AR denarius; 2.95 gm, 20 mm
    Rome, AD 114-117
    Obv: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC, laureate and draped bust, right
    Rev: P M TR P COS VI P P S P Q R, Mars walking right with spear and trophy
    Refs: RIC 337; BMCRE 536-40; Cohen 270; RCV --; Woytek 520v; Strack 230; BN 819.

    Clodius Albinus as Caesar, AD 193-195.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.12 g, 17.8 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 194.
    Obv: D CLOD SEPT ALBIN CAES, bare head, right.
    Rev: MINER PACIF COS II, Minerva standing left, holding olive branch and resting on shield, spear propped on left arm.
    Refs: RIC 7; BMCRE 98-102; Cohen/RSC 48; RCV 6144; Hill 119; ERIC II 10.
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Kings of Thracia.jpg
    AE 20
    OBVERSE: Helmeted head of Athena right
    REVERSE: BASILEWS LUSIMACOU, above and beneath lion running right, small caduceus, spearhead below
    Struck at Uncertain mint, Thrace 305-281 BC
    6.1g, 20mm
    SNG Cop1149-51
    Thessalian League.jpg
    AR Drachm
    Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right, ΓAYANA (magistrate) behind
    Rev: Athena Itonia standing right, with shield and about to hurl spear, ΘEΣΣA - ΛΩN to sides, bunch of grapes on vine right, Π-O / Λ-Y (magistrate) across lower fields
    Struck at Thessaly 196-146 BC
    4.0g, 16 mm
    BMC 36
    AEOLIS, KYME 4.jpg
    AE 15
    OBVERSE: K-Y across fields, Artemis standing right, holding torch and clasping hands with figure standing left, holding transverse spear
    REVERSE: Two figures in quadriga right; one holding long transverse spear
    Struck at Aeolis, after 190BC
    3.12g, 15mm
    SNG Cop 113; BMC 96
    AR Denarius Serratus
    OBVERSE: Helmeted head of Roma right, L . COSCO . M . F around, X behind
    REVERSE: naked Celtic warrior (Bituitus), brandishing a spear & holding a shield & carnyx, driving a racing biga right, L LIC CN DOM in ex.
    Struck at Rome, 118 BC
    3.72g, 19.13mm
    Cosconia.1. Cr.282 / 2
    Spear point.jpg
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  8. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    There are multiple Second Punic War-era Roman Republic types with the spearhead as a mintmark. Current thinking among most specialists is that this mintmark was used multiple times at different mints, and I suspect these three coins came from different mints or at least different times separated by a few months or years if the same mint. Why did the Romans reuse this symbol so much within a short time period? I can't be sure but I suspect this symbol was used by a specific commander or army in the field at multiple mints as the army moved, hence the variety of styles and denominations.

    Crawford places all the spearhead quinarii in Apulia but I follow McCabe and believe most should be attributed to Sardinia given their stylistic similarities with Sardinian quinarius issues. This coin has an undeniable Spearhead symbol but the style is completely unlike the majority of spearhead quinarii you will find, and reminiscent of Roberto Russo's 88A spearhead symbol uncia, generally attributed to Apulia, so I also attribute this coin to Apulia.
    Roman Republic AR quinarius(1.62g, 15mm, 5h). Anonymous(Spearhead series), after 212 BC, Apulian(?) mint. Helmeted head of Roma right, V behind / The Dioscuri riding right; below, ROMA and Spearhead. Crawford 83/3 var(style)

    Ex Pegasi Spartan sale S77, 1/16/2018, lot 185, ex Naville Numismatics Auction 1, 6/15/2013, lot 62, ex Numismatica Ars Classica Auction R, 5/16/2007, lot 1263, ex Numismatica Ars Classica Auction M, 3/20/2002, lot 2422

    This victoriatus is attributed by Crawford to Apulia, which I agree with but the elongated spearhead is unlike for instance the quinarius above with its squat spearhead. In fact, the elongated spearhead occurs on no other spearhead issues. I suspect whenever and wherever this spearhead victoriatus was minted, it was the only silver of the issue:
    20160114011223-0963a4b8-me (1).jpg
    Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(17mm, 3.08g, 12h). Anonymous. ca. 211-210 B.C. Southeast Italian mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy; upright spearhead between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 83/1a; Sydenham 223; Ruso RBW 336; RSC 24m.

    Ex RBW Collection, purchased from Spink, September 1986.

    This sextans is from the Sardinian spearhead issue, a relationship first pointed out by McCabe. Its style is a match for the Sardinian praetor issues and there is likewise a silver quinarius that matches the quinarii of those issues. I the 83/2 spearhead Denarius also belongs to this issue.
    Roman Republic Æ Sextans(7.45g, 19mm, 7h). Anonymous, Spearhead series, circa 212-207 B.C., Sardinian mint. Head of Mercury right; above, two pellets / Prow right; above, ROMA; before, spearhead; below, two pellets. Russo, Essays Hersh, 52(same reverse die), Cf. Crawford 88/7. Cf. McCabe "The Roman Struck Bronze Coinage of Apulia in the Second Punic War", INC Taormina 2015, for attribution to Sardinia.
    Privately purchased from M. Ringsrud(MA-Shops Denarius), 1/11/2019
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  9. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    Bump for your thread! Seems it got buried.
    I won this sestertius the other day that has at least five spears on the reverse! I also think there might be a lance and a pole arm. Notice how the ground line / exergue is a spear as well. The coin celebrates the conclusion of the first Marcomannic war and Marcus Aurelius' victories over the Sarmatian Iazyges.
    4. Marcus Aurelius.jpg
    Marcus Aurelius Æ sestertius. Rome, 176-177 AD. M ANTONINVS AVG GER-M SARM TR P XXXI, Laureate bust of Marcus Aurelius right / IMP VIII COS III P P, Pile of arms consisting of Sarmatian scale cuirass, helmet; numerous shields, spears, trumpets, and vexilla; lance at 11h and pole arm at 1h(?), S-C in fields, DE SARMATIS in exergue which is a spear. RIC 1190; MIR 18, 373-6/30; Banti 67.

    Attached Files:

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  10. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Thanks! And what a stunning MA sest:woot: Maybe one of the most opulent piles of arms that I can recall seeing... AWESOME:jimlad:
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  11. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  12. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member


    Neat detail of spear forming exergue line!

    Apparently same rev. die as BMC 1603, pl. 87.6. Mattingly overlooked the detail in question, however, nor had I ever noticed it from the BMC illustration!
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  13. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter


    Kingdom of Macedon
    Philip II 382-336 BCE (Reign 359-336 BCE)
    AR Tetradrachm.
    Mint: Pella, lifetime issue, struck circa 353-349 BC.
    25 mm. 14.4 g
    Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right Rev: ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ,
    Rev: Philip on horseback left, wearing kausia and raising right hand; spearhead below, star below horse's raised foreleg.
    Le Rider 102 (D58/R82); SNG ANS 357
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  14. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Literally, one of my favorite coins on Coin Talk, right here. The masterful portrait. The movement and iconography in the reverse. Perfect centering (it’s even like the coin itself made room for his perfect beard). Always appreciate when you share this beauty.
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  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    More Philip Spears...

    Makedon Philip II AE 18 Apollo - Youth Horseback spear hd below 359-356 BCE 18mm 6.2g SNG ANS 850-1

    MAKEDON Philip II 1/5th Stater Apollo head r - Horseman r trident below as S6691
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  16. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thank you. As you know, I enjoy his impact on history. I celebrate and honor it by capturing that coin.
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  17. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

    No coins here - but some Western Asian spearheads, c. 1200-800 BC:

    ct_spearheads b.jpg
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  18. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Aerial Spear Heads

    CHINA, Xinjiang, WARRING STATES Period, 475-221 BC, arrowhead, socketed leaf shaped biblade with grooves, nailhole in socket, bronze, 36x10mm, 3.91g

    Scythia 2 AE Arrowheads 7th-3rd C BC Trilobate Lower Danube 21-25mm O-R.JPG

    Scythia bronze arrowhead ca 6th C BCE Convex angle triangular blade 2.4cm

    Egypt Neolithic Arrowhead 8000 BCE
  19. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    Here's something a little different: a dagger that was originally made as a spear head!
    An ancient European Bronze Age reworked dagger, dating to approximately 800 BC.

    Of rare and unusual form, with a long ridged handle, slender blade and prominent central rib. Unusually, this piece appears to have originally been made as a spear head, subsequently broken (possibly in battle), and reworked into a dagger. Beating marks from this process of reworking are still clearly visible.

    Length: 8 ½ inches.
    Ex-Collection of Henk Huffener (1923 – 2006)
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  20. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Phillip II, barbed spear on the reverse.


  21. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

    Hi All

    My contribution of a Ptolemaic spear:


    OBV: Ptolemy I head facing right, wearing diadem and scaly aegis tied by snakes. Dotted border.
    REV: Εagle on thunderbolt facing left, wings closed. In left field: ΑΡ Monogram. In right field: spearhead. Legend: [ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙO]Y ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ. Dotted border.
    Size: 25mm; Weight: 14.3 g; Die Axis: 11:00; Dies: O1-R5.

    Refs: Svoronos-1250, pl xli, 7-8 [8 listed]; SNG Copenhagen-528; ; BMC 06.073, #53; This coin noted in "The Spearhead and Monogram Coinage of Ptolemy V", AJN 31, pp 95-116 + pls 18-23; EH 105. The "Syria" 1981 Hoard (CH 7.90, 8.306, 8.311, 8.332, 8.344), # 883.

    Ex-HJ Berk 32, Sept 6, 1984, lot #118. Ex-Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles Inc. "The June 2-5, 2002, Pre-Long Beach Sale", Sale 14, lot # 4470; Ex Shirley Barr Sage Collection, published in her book "Biblical Numismatics: Thirty Pieces of Silver," coin #94. (Hardcover: 486 pages, Heritage Pubs; ISBN: 092969063X (Oct 2001)).

    - Broucheion
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