After 2 years found the answer to my BURNing question

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David@PCC, Mar 12, 2019.


Which is your favorite?

Poll closed Mar 19, 2019.
  1. No sideburn

  2. Short sideburn

  3. Long Sideburn

  4. Elvis baby

  1. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    2 1/2 years ago I posted a question about sideburns and this month someone (actually CNG) addressed the very question I asked. It appears that this ruler has 2, and now 3 types of sideburns. My original post Are these Elvis chops? questioned if there really was a 3rd type of hair style for this type. I know what you are all thinking, and that is this has to be the most important question in classical numismatics ever asked :hilarious:

    The first two are already known and published. Both from
    No sideburn
    350, Lot: 280. Estimate $200.
    Sold for $465. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

    SELEUKID KINGS of SYRIA. Antiochos X Eusebes Philopator. Circa 94-88 BC. AR Tetradrachm (28mm, 15.55 g, 1h). Antioch mint. First Reign, struck 94 BC. Diademed head right / Zeus Nikephoros seated left, holding lotus-tipped scepter; [monogram and A] to outer left, monogram below throne; all within wreath. SC 2429.1c; HGC 9, 1287 corr. (without sideburn). Good VF, toned, tight flan.

    Long sideburn
    367, Lot: 262. Estimate $300.
    Sold for $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

    SELEUKID EMPIRE. Antiochos X Eusebes Philopator. Circa 94-88 BC. AR Tetradrachm (27mm, 15.75 g, 12h). Antioch on the Orontes mint. First Reign, struck 94 BC. Diademed head right / Zeus Nikephoros seated left, holding scepter; monogram above A to outer left, monogram below throne; all within wreath. SC 2428 var. (unlisted upper left control and A below throne); HGC 9, 1287. Good VF, lightly toned. Unpublished variety.

    And thirdly my coin which has something between the two.
    Similar type as the other two except for the distinction of the hair. I only take notice because Arthur Houghton, Catherine Lorber, or Oliver D. Hoover make a clear differentiation between long or no sideburns.

    Then came this coin from this months auction showing an obverse similar to mine.
    439, Lot: 134. Estimate $200.
    Sold for $700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

    SELEUKID EMPIRE. Antiochos X Eusebes Philopator. Circa 94-88 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 15.55 g, 12h). Antioch on the Orontes mint. First reign at Antioch, 94 BC. Diademed head right, with short sideburn / Zeus Nikephoros seated left, holding scepter; to outer left, monogram above A; monogram below throne; all within wreath. SC 2428d var. (long sideburn) and 2429c var. (no sideburn); HGC 9, 1287 corr. (some without sideburn). EF. Unpublished variety.

    The authors of SC specifically note that the obverse portrait on this issue has a “long” sideburn (as SC 2428) or “no” sideburn (as SC 2429). The illustrations of the “long” sideburn show it extending far down the jawline, so this coin, with a sideburn extending just below the ear, certainly does not qualify under that description. At the same time, the illustrations of the “no” sideburn coins show not even a hint of a sideburn, so this coin also does not fall under that variety. Clearly, there is a need for a new variety, noting a “short” sideburn.

    So my question is answered, which is it is an unpublished variety. Here are the 3 side by side for comparison.

    For those of you that have read this far I congratulate you. In order to get more than 5 people to read this post I've attached a poll to see which of the 4 is their fave, to get some interest going. Of course #4 would have to be this one.

    Feel free to post any hair styles of rulers or of yourself if you wish.
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  3. BoonTheGoon

    BoonTheGoon Grade A mad lad

    I would post a picture of Hitler but my gut told me no XD
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  4. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    When I was young, I had no sideburns. Then in my senior year in HS, they started making me shave. After HS I started growing a beard which I had for many years. Then, after I shaved the beard, I grew mutton chop sideburns for a while, then I grew the Elvis style, then I had the medium, and now that my sideburns would be white if I grew them, I grow none.
    So, to answer your question, I like them all.
    But, since you didn't provide for that answer, I didn't vote.
    David@PCC likes this.
  5. paddyman98

    paddyman98 No Common Cents! Supporter

    Wise decision! Always follow your gut!
    Hookman, BoonTheGoon and Kasia like this.
  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Gallienus says, "Neckbeard, baby!"

    Gallienus Alexandrian tetradrachm close up.jpg
    Hookman, Hispanicus, zumbly and 12 others like this.
  7. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Cool observation!

    It is the most important question in classical numismatics to be answered today.


    David@PCC and Roman Collector like this.
  8. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on

    Now this is a sideburn that is attractive. Longer ones and thicker ones are not.


    But the long one you show is quite fine, if it represents more of a sidelocks thing (thin curls of long hair, similar to what happens in a rat-tail):

  9. Archilochus

    Archilochus Member

    Strange how the sideburns on all these Seleukid coins look less beardlike and more like sidelocks. Perhaps they are connected to this Egyptian tradition.

    Obviously the curly appearance could have just been a stylistic choice adopted by the engravers. But there are plenty of other Hellenistic beards that don't look like this at all.
  10. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, I always took them for sidelocks like certain types of Jewish people wear today versus any sideburns.
    TIF, Kasia, David@PCC and 2 others like this.
  11. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Very interesting. I like the long sideburn variant, it looks special and you don't see it very often on portraits.
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  12. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    Something I haven't considered I remember that style from the 'The ten commandments'.
    Screenshot_20190312-084740_Samsung Internet.jpg

    It also reminds me of that, I believe they call it a payot.

    You're right is is a scarcer variety compared to the no sideburn variety. Maybe 60+ in archives of those versus just a few of the long sideburn.
    chrsmat71 and Archilochus like this.
  13. Archilochus

    Archilochus Member

    A bit more googling turned up some possible answers. There is a paper by Lorber & Iossif 2009 called "Seleucid Campaign Beards." It is well worth a read.

    (aside: get an account with if you don't have one, it's well worth it!!!)

    The gist of the paper is that the Seleukid kings often grew beards during military campaigns, and then represented it on their coinage. The authors link a number of Seleukid beards to specific campaigns. They point out that many other ancients did this as well, for example, Mark Antony & Octavian in their pursuit of Caesar's assassins.

    Quoting from the paper:

    Our inquiry involves a particular class of beards found on Seleucid coins – beards that suddenly appear on the face of a king who is normally portrayed clean shaven, and in most cases disappear with equal abruptness. These beards do not lend themselves to a classification according to neatness or neglect. They assume varying forms, sometimes close cropped, sometimes curly, sometimes long and full, and with some kings we can trace the growth of the beard from one form to another. In Seleucid Coins, Part II, such beards are called campaign beards and are explained, hypothetically, as the outward token of a vow to a god or gods to ensure the success of a particular military campaign. Queyrel approximated this idea when he identified the beard as the mark of a military commander on campaign. The full exposition of our hypothesis will reveal that Linfert captured another aspect when he interpreted the beard as a sign of mourning. But for us it is the assumed vow that can explain every instance of a temporary Seleucid beard.

    So the first possibility is that the longer sideburns are campaign beards.
    • action item: somebody please start a thread on campaign beards. That would be fascinating!

    However... footnote 28 on pg 90 of the paper may give an even better treatment of the sideburns:

    28. N. HIMMELMANN, Herrscher und Athlet. Die Bronzen vom Quirinal. Exposition Bonn, Akademishes Kunstmuseum, June 20th-September 5th 1989, Milan, 1989, p. 181. Two categories of beard are identified: the long, curly sidelocks which are interpreted as signs of an assimilation to the young Heracles and the long, full beard which is associated with older heroes.

    This sounds to me like what we're looking at on the Antiochos X coins. He was a young ruler, dying at the age of ~23. He didn't launch any major campaigns per se; his time was spent trying to stabilize his rule.
  14. David@PCC

    David@PCC Well-Known Member

    That's some good research @Archilochus , I will read the paper. Wasn't aware of it! This is very likely why we see the style we do. I will have to look at my examples and see if I have any bearded portraits that correspond to military campaigns.
    Archilochus likes this.
  15. ToppCatt

    ToppCatt ToppCatt

  16. ToppCatt

    ToppCatt ToppCatt

    It seems everyone is usurping "sideburns" as
    an ancient term referring to coins.


    Civil War General Ambrose Burnside was known for his unusual style of facial hair, which included a bushy beard and moustache along with a clean-shaven chin. These distinctive whiskers—originally dubbed “burnsides”—later inspired the term “sideburns.”
    Ambrose Burnside - HISTORY
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  17. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on

    This is interesting. I just was looking into what the tassels or tails were on the Roman coins I was looking at (City Commemoratives) and where Roma had on a crested helmet and the answer may be that 1) the crested helmets had horsehair as the crested part, and 2) the tassels/tails coming off there seem to also maybe be horsehair and represent actual hair for the person (virtual hair extensions) and represented manliness. This would fit in with the idea that the sidelocks were there in battle but not otherwise. Basicallly a battle decoration symbolizing maybe manliness and bravery and courage to face an enemy? Would love to hear any thoughts on this, and perhaps this was a longstanding 'tradition' that Constantine and other Roman era people continued.

    This (above) is just preliminary for me, I don't have much to back it up yet.
    David@PCC likes this.
  18. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Gordian III (238-244) often is clean shaven (or, too young to have sideburns). However, some of his last coins show sideburns and this one even hints at a beard:


    24 mm. 4.42 grams.
    Bold sideburns with a light beard halfway down to his chin.
    FORT REDVX, Fortuna seated left holding rudder and cornucopia [weak die and strike.] By the way, I wonder how NGC would number the strike? On this one the obverse and reverse have much different quality and it is not due to wear or surfaces, just the strike. But they give only one number to the strike. This coin is an argument that they should have individual numbers for each side. For me, this might be a "Strike 5/2."

    RIC 143. "244" [his last year]
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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