A small one from Etenna

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by cmezner, Nov 29, 2023.

  1. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Etenna minted coins with scenes from what was probably a local founding myth, like on this coin, which was also in a lot of mixed Roman and Greek coins. It's off-center, though the details are clear. It came with a flip from Forum Ancient Coins, GB84985 No. 596:

    Æ 16 (or Chalkous?)
    15.6 mm, 2.896 g, 45 degrees
    Pisidia, Etenna (Sirt, Antalya Province, Turkey), 100 - 1 BC

    BMC 1-3; SNG von Aulock 5017; von Aulock Pisidien II,425 ff; Imhoof KM 8-9; SNG Copenhagen 148-149; Waddington 3723; SNG BnF 1532; Paris 391-392; GCV (Sear) 5459

    Ob.: Anepigraphic. Two male figures running side-by-side, naked except for mantles over shoulders, one holding a harpa (sickle-shaped knife), the other brandishing a bipennis (double-headed axe). Border of dots
    Rev.: ET-EN, nymph in long dress standing to r., looking back shielding herself from a serpent with head erect for attack uncoiling before her at r. Oenochoe in lower l. field. Border of dots.

    Picture courtesy Forum Ancient Coins


    Please share your coins from Etenna or anything relevant:)
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  3. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    Great example of a very cool -- albeit mysterious -- type. This type is discussed on p. 16 in Nicholas Victor Sekunda's article on "Anatolian War Sickles and the Coinage of Etenna," pp. 9-18 in Aston (ed.) 1996, Studies in Ancient Coinage from Turkey [direct to PDF = SP 29 from the RNS Special Publications page].

    I would certainly like to know more about exactly who the obverse men are (described as "fighting" by von Aulock and Sekunda) and the woman (described there as defending herself from the serpent). These may have to do with Lycian mythology? Or something else? (Another CT thread gave an origin story; not sure if it's been supported by sources or not?)

    I don't have any coins of Etenna (or, if I do, they're in un-cataloged groups), but I have coins from its neighbors:

    Etenna was directly between Pamphylia, Side (to the south) and Pisidia, Selge (north and west). Its status as a border town on the road between those cities seems to have been central to its economy, wars, and eventual fate. (I believe it may have been destroyed as one point; it supported a Seleukid usurper against Selge. Information seems scarce, though.)

    Pisidia, Selge struck a long & vast series of Gorgon & Athena Obols that were the apparent inspiration for the small silver fractions of Etenna (you;ll notice the similarity if you compare to the examples here in a post by @Ed Snible):
    Pisidia Selge Obol Gorgon Ex Gorny Mosch 267.jpg
    Pisidia, Selge AR Obol (10mm, 0.82g), c. 300-190 BCE.
    Gorgon facing / helmeted head of Athena r., astragalos behind.
    cf. SNG von Aulock 5278 & Sear 5479.
    Ex Gorny 267 (Suddeutchem Sammlung H.I.??)

    Pamphylia, Side may be best known for its Pomegranate Staters. Here's mine, which was published in Sabahat Atlan's (1967: spec. 35.1) corpus & definitive study of the city's coinage:
    Pamphylia Side Stater.jpg
    Pamphylia, Side AR Stater (19mm, 8.71g), c. 430-400 BCE.
    Pomegranate / helmeted head of Athena r., branch before.
    Atlan 35.1 (this coin illustrated); cf. SNG von Aulock 4765
    Ex Kress 121 (4 Dec 1961), 198; Malloy XII (25 Apr 1978), 457; Malloy XV (30 Nov 1979), 313; CNG EA 487.
    Atlan 35 Side Stater.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2023
  4. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    @Curtis, your Selge Obol and your Pamphylia Stater are beautiful.haven't seen a staer from Pamphylia with a branch before Athena's head. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Regarding the OP coin, I have found some descriptions were she is said to be a nymph, Hygeia, or a Maenad.

    The myth of the foundation of Etenna is: A nymph, going to fetch water, was attacked by a snake. She was rescued by two young men, but they were not able to kill the snake because it was a god. The Etenna people were descendants from the union of the nymph and the snake.
    expat and Carl Wilmont like this.
  5. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's the one given by Forum and in the other thread here on Etenna (linked from my comment above), but is there any source for it? I didn't find that mentioned in Sekunda's essay (he does mention related mythology in Anatolia more broadly). There are very few ancient sources on Etenna (the main one, Polybius, doesn't mention this story). So, it should be easy to cite them, but I don't find anyone who has done so.
    expat likes this.
  6. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Barclay Head wrote "These types may represent a local myth of a nymph attacked by a serpent and rescued by a hero" citing Imhoof-Blumer, Kl. M., pp. 369 ff. The myth is an assumption from the surviving coins.

    Better depictions of the myth come from later coins. Here is an example that sold recently. I don't know who acquired it.
    cmezner, Curtis, expat and 1 other person like this.
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