A historical riddle

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear Friends of history!

    I mentioned that I am mapping wild plants for the Natural History Museum in Stuttgart. That gave me the idea for this riddle. Here I have 2 photos from my collections and would have liked to know what connects these two pictures. So I am looking for the tertium comparationis.


    Have fun solving
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  3. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    The tree is cornus officinalis and Alexander wears the horns of Ammon ?!

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  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    They are both horns.
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  5. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    I’m going to guess that the plant in the picture is a native plant of Greece and the Alexander the Great coin is also from Greece. Maybe this is too broad but it’s worth a shot ;)
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  6. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    the plant is a Lysimachia Vulgaris , the coin is a tetradrachma of Lysimachos , king of Thrace ,diadoch,former general & bodyguard of Alexander the great
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    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Andres2, I just Want you to be right!!!
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  8. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    I used plantnet to ID the plant image:


    It's most confident guess is Cornus Mas, aka Cornelian cherry (at an early flowering stage).

    WikiPedia has this to say about it:

    Cornus mas was used from the seventh century BC onward by Greek craftsmen to construct spears, javelins and bows, the craftsmen considering it far superior to any other wood.[5] The wood's association with weaponry was so well known that the Greek name for it was used as a synonym for "spear" in poetry during the fourth and third centuries BC.[5]

    But other than the loose Greek connection, I don't see any connection to the coin.
  9. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Hmmm the sarissa was made from κρανιά which is this tree but lysimachos was king of Thrace not Macedonia :pompous: on the other hand the coin depicts Alexander
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  10. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

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  11. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    If the riddle relates to Alexander the great and not lysimachos, then the gordian knot was made from this tree

    Ἀλέξανδρος δὲ ὡς ἐς Γόρδιον παρῆλθε, πόθος λαμβάνει αὐτὸν τὴν ἅμαξαν ἰδεῖν τὴν Γορδίου καὶ τοῦ ζυγοῦ τῆς ἁμάξης τὸν δεσμόν. Πρὸς δὲ δὴ ἄλλοις καὶ τόδε περὶ τῆς ἁμάξης ἐμυθεύετο, ὅστις λύσειε τοῦ ζυγοῦ τῆς ἁμάξης τὸν δεσμόν, τοῦτον χρῆναι ἄρξαι τῆς Ἀσίας. Ἦν δὲ ὁ δεσμὸς ἐκ φλοιοῦ κρανίας καὶ τούτου οὔτε τέλος οὔτε ἀρχὴ ἐφαίνετο. Ἀλέξανδρος δὲ ὡς ἀπόρως μὲν εἶχεν ἐξευρεῖν λύσιν τοῦ δεσμοῦ, ἄλυτον δὲ περιιδεῖν οὐκ ἤθελε, μή τινα καὶ τοῦτο ἐς τοὺς πολλοὺς κίνησιν ἐργάσηται, παίσας τῷ ξίφει διέκοψε τὸν δεσμὸν καὶ λελύσθαι ἔφη. Ἀπηλλάγη δ’ οὖν ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμάξης αὐτός τε καὶ οἱ ἀμφ᾿ αὐτὸν ὡς τοῦ λογίου τοῦ ἐπὶ τῇ λύσει τοῦ δεσμοῦ ξυμβεβηκότος. Καὶ γὰρ καὶ τῆς νυκτὸς ἐκείνης βρονταί τε καὶ σέλας ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐπεσήμηναν· καὶ ἐπὶ τούτοις ἔθυε τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ Ἀλέξανδρος τοῖς φήνασι θεοῖς τά τε σημεῖα καὶ τοῦ δεσμοῦ τὴν λύσιν.
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  12. Heliodromus

    Heliodromus Well-Known Member

    The name of the plant, Cornus Mas, is based on the Latin word "cornu" meaning horn, based on the hardness and density of the wood (making it good for weapon making).

    So, is the Latin word "cornu" (horn) the common factor - both the basis of the name of the plant, and a reference to Zeus Amun's horns?

    Incidently the hippocampal region of the brain, having the same curved shape as ram's horns, is known as the "Cornu Ammonis" (Amun's horn).
    +VGO.DVCKS and Roman Collector like this.
  13. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    You were close to the solution.

    (1) The coin shows a life-like portrait of Alexander III the Great.
    (2) The plant is the Cornelian cherry (Cornus mus).

    Philip II developed the tactics of the Macedonian phalanx, which Alexander III the Great then used to conquer the Persian Empire. His soldiers, the Phalangites, were equipped with a 6m(!) long lance (Sarissa). The lance was made of the wood of Cornelian cherry, which is related to the dogwood and is known to be extremely hard.

    Thank you for participating
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

  15. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Well-Known Member

    Not knowing you like plants. Thinking you were in coins and cartoons ?
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