A Bull and a Boar

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Hispanicus, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    Among the coins that I purchased in 2016, these two are my favorites for a variety of different reasons.

    The Julian II AE is a recent auction win that caught my attention partly because of the sharp strike and partly because the reverse shows a large bull. Bulls have played an important role in Roman religion as sacrificial animals. This was especially true during the dark days of the second Punic war when not just bulls, but all sorts of animals were sacrificed to communicate with the gods as well as to gain divine favor in hopes of victory. Taurobolium, the practice of sacrificing bulls was performed up to the late 4th century AD. In my mind, the bull reverse represents Julian the Apostate’s not so subtle message of rejecting Christianity in favor of the old gods that had been discarded by Constantine I.

    Julian II, AE, 29 mm, 8.12 grams.
    Nicomedia Mint, 2nd officina, struck 361-363 AD.
    Obv: Pearl diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: Bull standing right, two stars above. Exergue: SMNB flanked by palm fronds.
    RIC VIII 121; LRBC 2319
    Ex: Thomas Bentley Cenderlind

    Julian II Obv.jpg Julian II Rev.jpg


    The second piece was an unintended pick-up and last purchase of 2016. I had dropped by a local dealer to get one of David Sear’s books and noticed a bowl of ancients at the counter. The running boar on the reverse got my attention and I nabbed it. Happily, it turns out that the reverse depicts imagery from the standard of Legio X Fretensis. This legion was stationed in Syria starting about 67 AD and remained in the middle east until the end of Caracalla's reign in 217 AD, where it was known to be stationed in Jerusalem. After that time little mention is made of Legio X other than one of its units being sent west during the time of the Gallic emperors. I’ve always wanted a coin tied to a legion and this one nails it.

    Herennius Etruscus, AE, 26 mm, 14.7 grams.
    Struck in Judaea, Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), 251 AD.
    Obv: C M Q DECIVS ETRVSCVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
    Rev: COL AEL CAP COM P F, boar running right; on his back a legionary eagle, Legio X above.
    Meshorer 169

    H Etruscus Obv.jpg H Etruscus Rev.jpg

    Feel free to post your bulls, boars or anything else that you feel will kick-off 2017 on the right foot.
     
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  3. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    I think I like the first one better, but the stories are cool for both.

    What does "SMNB" mean?
     
  4. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    Physics Fan,
    I'm still new at this, my understanding is that "SMN" is the mintmark for the Nicomedia mint in present day Turkey. "B" stands for the second officina or workshop of that mint.
     
  5. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Not sure if you've seen it already but I recently also got a bull... sort of...

    Neapolis, Campania
    AR nomos
    Obv: Head of nymph right, wearing broad headband, triple-pendant earring, and pearl necklace
    Rev: Man-headed bull walking right, head facing; above, Nike flying right, placing wreath on bull's head; NEOΠOΛITΩN in exergue
    Mint: Neapolis
    Date: Mid-late 4th century BC

    [​IMG]
     
    Pishpash, Jwt708, Theodosius and 6 others like this.
  6. dadams

    dadams Supporter! Supporter

    I'm still learning too but I think SMN is the mintmark indicating Nicomedia and B indicates the officina.

    Edited to add: jinx
     
  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    That Legio X boar is very cool, indeed!
     
  8. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    SM in the mintmark of Roman coins is an abbreviation for Sacra Moneta (sacred money). N = Nikomedia; B = second officina (workshop)

    https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Officina

    ...

    I like both of your coins, Hispanicus, but the Julian II is particularly appealing.
     
    Okidoki and Hispanicus like this.
  9. Alegandron

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

    GREAT coins @Hispanicus ! The Bull is sharp... like that! And who doesn't like a pissed-off pig (Boar)! :D


    Here are a couple random Bulls of mine:

    Thrace Byzantion AR Half-Siglos bull-dolphin-incuse 340-320 BC - o-r.JPG
    Thrace Byzantion AR Half-Siglos bull-dolphin-incuse 340-320 BCE

    HUNS Nezak Huns - Spalapati Deva AR Jital 750-850 CE Horseman-Bull Obv-Rev Tye 5.JPG
    HUNS Nezak Huns - Spalapati Deva AR Jital 750-850 CE Horseman-Bull Tye 5
     
  10. Alegandron

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

    Ooops, I forgot a couple random Boars of mine:

    Iberia - Castulo AE14 Quarter Unit Bust - BOAR w-star Obv-Rev 2nd C BCE.JPG
    Iberia - Castulo AE14 Quarter Unit Bust - BOAR w-star Obv-Rev 2nd C BCE

    Campania CAPUA AE Uncia 216-211 Diana Boar Hannibal capital Italia Obv-Rev.JPG
    Campania CAPUA AE Uncia 216-211 Diana Boar Hannibal capital Italia


    And Hercules in a BOAR HEADDRESS that has a BULL reverse:

    upload_2017-1-3_7-38-19.png
    RR Anon AE 28mm 19.2g Quadrans - Sicily mint 214-212 BCE Hercules-boar headress - Bull - ex RBW Craw 72/7
     
  11. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    VK,
    Man headed bulls are a great thing! Thanks for posting, I've been wanting one for a while, maybe 2017 will be the year...
     
  12. Hispanicus

    Hispanicus Stand Fast!

    Tif,
    Thanks for the link explaining officinas, it's all making more sense now.
     
    wmichael likes this.
  13. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes?

    Man headed bulls are terrifying!

    But good luck in your quest ;)
     
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