An interesting depiction of Apollo

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TIF, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The Roman Provincial section of any auction has become the first place I browse when a new auction is posted. This coin stopped me in my tracks. Glorious Apollo, holding his kithara, posing like a... well... posing like a Greek god atop a mythical beast :).

    TROAS, Alexandria. Trebonianus Gallus
    CE 251-253
    AE 21 mm, 4.76 gm
    Obv: IMP VIB TREB GALVS AV; laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: COL AV / TROA; Apollo, head right and holding kithara, seated facing on griffin springing right, head left
    Ref: RPC IX 407; Bellinger A403
    Only three others found in ACsearch. Sure, T-Bone's portrait is messed up but who cares when glorious Apollo is riding on a griffin? :D

    Apollo...god of music, song and poetry, archery, healing, prophecy and oracles, plague and disease, and the protection of the young. He appears on countless ancient Greek and Roman coins, testament to his importance in those societies. I had trouble recognizing him at first, frequently mistaking his portrait for a goddess. He's always depicted as a beardless youth, usually with curled hair, often twisted around a taenia at the front, with long curlicues hanging on the sides. Very feminine. Even though it's small, you can see that hairstyle on this coin's Apollo.

    What's with the position of his right arm? Is it just a pose? His arm wouldn't be curved above his head after drawing his bow or throwing a dart. It looks more like ballet position #4 :D

    Googling for similar depictions, I thought there might be some statues with him holding his arm arched above his head but the closest I found was a 16th century marble by Pietro Francovilla, "Apollo Victorious over the Python".

    a.k.a. "Subway Apollo" (she is not impressed)
    Silliness aside, is this arm-over-head pose a "thing" in Greek and Roman art? It looks so familiar yet I'm not finding abundant examples in ancient art.

    As for griffins, I didn't realize Apollo had any association with them nor do I see a logical link but there are other depictions of him on a griffin, such as on this kylix:

    Apollo riding Griffin, Athenian red-figure kylix C4th B.C., Kunsthistorisches Museum
    I'm too tired for a big "book report" project although this coin does generate many interesting questions and areas for research and learning.

    For now, please trot out your Apollos. Let's see just how pretty he can be :)
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Makes one believe all the things they say about Greeks, eh?

    How about the arm position on this Sep Sev provincial?
    Septimius Severus 20.jpg
    OBVERSE: AV K L CEPTI CEVHROC P, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right
    REVERSE: U FL OULPIANOU MARKIANOPOLITWN, Apollo standing facing, head right, bow in left hand, right hand over head, serpent-entwined tree before, altar or statue to left
    Struck at Markianopolis, Moesia, 145-211 AD
    12.5g, 27mm
    Varbanov 824
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Thanks, Bing! Maybe coins are the primary place I've seen him in this pose. Some of the Apollo Sauroktonos coins show him with arm raised high and ballet-like. Mine doesn't, though:

    MOESIA INFERIOR, Nikopolis ad Istrum. Caracalla
    Ovinius Tertullus, legatus consularis.
    AE 28, 13.05 gm
    Obv: AV K M AVP ANTΩNINOC; laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: VΠA OOVI TEPTOVΛΛOV ΝΙΚΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ ΠΡΟC Ι; Apollo Sauroktonos standing right, holding laurel branch and leaning hand upon a tree stump with a lizard climbing up it.
    Ref: H&J; Varbanov -.
  5. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Another fantastic coin TIF

    ra_003.JPG Project3.jpg 040.JPG
  6. IdesOfMarch01

    IdesOfMarch01 Well-Known Member

    That's a spectacular reverse! Wherever do you find these coins?

    Maybe he's just plucked the kithara, and his arm has flung itself into that position?
    Okidoki, Mikey Zee, Volodya and 2 others like this.
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Sorry @TIF, I also believe that coin is marvelous. Great reverse.

    Phokis Federal Coinage.jpg
    AR Triobol
    OBVERSE: Bull’s head facing
    REVERSE: Laureate head of Apollo right, Φ-Ω before, lyre behind
    Struck at Phokis 357-346 BC
    2.50g, 14mm
    SNG Cop 121
    OBVERSE: Head of Apollo right
    REVERSE: Lion right, head reverted, star above
    Struck at Miletos 350-300 BC
    4.69g, 17mm
    Lindgren 513
    AE 10
    OBVERSE: Laureate head of Apollo right
    REVERSE: Head and neck of a goat, AIΓAE behind
    Struck at Aigai, 300-200BC
    .9g, 10mm
    SNG von Aulock 1593; SNG Copenhagen 1
    Ex JAZ Numismatics
    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
  8. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Well I don't have any Romans with Apollo but here are my Greeks:

    Pontos, Amisos
    AE20, 8.2g, 12h; 85-65 BC.
    Obv.: Head of Dionysos with ivy wreath right.
    Rev.: AMIΣOY; Cista mystica with panther skin and thyrsus; monogram in left field.

    Thurium in Lucania.
    Æ13. 2.65 g, 12h; 270-240 AD.
    Obv.: Laureate head of Apollo left.
    Rev.: ΘOYPIΩN, Winged thunderbolt, TH monogram below.

    Thessalian League, 2nd-1st BC
    AE, trichalkon, 20mm, 5.3g; 12h
    Obv.: Laureate head of Apollo right
    Rev.: ΘΕΣΣ / ΛΩΝ; Athena Itonia striding right, hurling spear held in her right hand, shield on her left arm; ΘΡΑ in right field above, owl in left

    Thasos, Thrace, BC 168-148
    AR, tetradrachm, 16.12g, 31mm; 11h
    Obv.: Portrait of Dionysos
    Rev.: ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ to left, ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΥΣ to right, ΘΑΣΙΩΝ below; Hercules with lion pelt in arm resting on club. M monogram left
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Gorgeous coin and interesting write-up!
    TIF likes this.
  10. Volodya

    Volodya Junior Member

    The OP coin is really remarkable TIF, even to my very jaded eyes. Congrats! Since this thread seems to have drifted to more mundane Apollos, here's my favorite. An exquisite depiction; surely the best die out of hundreds of the type:

    Phil (63).JPG
  11. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    That's a really cool coin @TIF !
    TIF likes this.
  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I'm having a lot of luck with provincials in European auctions, but don't tell anyone ;)

    I think that's the most likely scenario. He plucked the last notes with a great flourish.

    The pose is also similar to some modern bodybuilder poses. Maybe bodybuilder poses were influenced by Greek and Roman statues and coins?

    Maybe the question I should ask is "On ancient Greek and Roman coins, are any gods other than Apollo shown in this pose?"

    Nice ones, Bing! All have that unmistakable Apollo hairstyle.

    More Apollos:

    Slender as a pre-teen girl; roll & locks hairstyle; examining his bow:
    KINGS of MACEDON. Antigonos III Doson
    struck 227-225 BCE, Amphipolis mint?
    AR tetradrachm, 32 mm, 17.1 gm
    Obv: wreathed head of Poseidon right
    Rev: Apollo seated left on prow left, holding bow; monogram below.
    Ref: Panagopoulou 50–3 var. (unlisted dies); EHC 436; Touratsoglou 52–3; SNG Saroglos 933; SNG Alpha Bank 1046; SNG Ashmolean 3266

    Looking wilder than usual:
    PHOKIS, Federal Coinage
    c. 357-354 BCE, under strategos Philomelos
    AR triobol, 15 mm, 2.76 gm, 12 h
    Obv: facing head of bull
    Rev: laureate head of Apollo right; branch to left; φ below, Ω right
    Ref: Williams – (O–/R193 [unlisted obv. die]); BCD Lokris 463.2 (this coin); HGC 4, 1046
    From the estate of Thomas Bentley Cederlind, ex BCD Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 55, 8 October 2010), lot 463.2

    Facing portrait but you can still see the trademark hairstyle:
    AEOLIS, Grynion (alt. spellings: Gryneion, Gyrnion, Grynium, others)
    4th century BC
    Æ 17 mm, 3.7 gm
    Obi: laureate head of Apollo facing slightly left
    Rev: ΓΥΡΝΗΙΩΝ; mussel shell
    Ref: SNG Ashmolean 1445-6; SNG Copenhagen 202-4

    A generic depiction from the Neronian "ramen noodle" era of Alexandrian style:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Nero
    year 13, CE 66/7
    Obv: NEPΩKΛAYKAIΣΣEBΓEP; radiate head right
    Rev: Laureate bust of Apollo right; AYTOKPA; LIΓ
    Ref: Emmett 110.13, R1, Milne 248
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  13. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    The OP coin is absolutely stunning. The reverse is incredible.
    Roman Collector and TIF like this.
  14. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    That reverse really is something. Certainly one of the most artistic depictions of Apollo I've seen. The denarii of Mn Fonteius are said to depict Apollo by some authors, Vejovis by others, but based on how the obverse looks quite similar to the Apollo of the slightly earlier issues of L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi on some dies of this issue I call it Apollo:


    Another very different apollo from a quinarius of C. Egnatuleius
  15. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Let's see if I can find some Apollos in my collection.

    Augustus Apollo denarius.jpg
    Augustus 27 BC - AD 14
    Roman AR Denarius
    Lugdunum (Lyon) mint,15-13 BC.
    3.42 gm; 17.8 mm
    Obv: AVGVSTVS DIVI F, bare head right
    Rev: IMP X, Apollo Citharoedus of Actium, wearing long drapery, standing facing, head left, holding plectrum in right hand and lyre in left.
    Refs: RIC 171a; BMCRE 461; RCV 1611; Cohen 144

    Gordian III Apollo seated sestertius.jpg
    Gordian III, AD 238-244
    Rome, 5th officina. 9th emission, AD 241
    20.01 gm; 28.2 mm
    Obv: IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: PM TRP IIII COS II PP SC, Apollo seated left, holding laurel branch and resting left arm on lyre.
    Refs: RIC 302; Cohen 252; RCV --; Banti 72.

    Salonina Side Decassarion.jpg
    Cornelia Salonina, wife of Gallienus
    AE decassarion
    Pamphylia, Side AD 254-268
    18.50 g; 29 mm
    Obv: ΚΟΡΝΗΛΙΑ CΑΛΩΝΙΝΑ CΕΒΑ, diademed and draped bust, r., I (=10) before.
    Rev: CΙΔΗΤΩΝ ΝΕΩΚΟΡΩΝ, Apollo standing, facing, head l., holding patera and resting on scepter surmounted by flower(?).
    Refs: BMC 163, 123 var.; SGI 4647 var.; SNG von Aulock 4861.
    Die match to lot #80, CNG electronic auction 137, 12/04/2006.
  16. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    Super coin TIF! Your eye for coins is top shelf!

    Apollo's femine traits seem to carry over to his breasts. Do you think this was intentionally done?

    Here are some epithets of Apollo.

    Thrace, Deultum. Gordian III. Phoebus Apollo
    Thrace, Deultum. Gordian III. 20mm.
    Obv: Gordian bust l., IMP GORDIANVS FEL AVG.
    Rev: Phoebus Apollo stg. r., holding branch in l. arm, bow under r., serpent coiled round stump of tree to l., COL FLP A C DEVLTVM.
    Varbanov (Eng.) 2617, R5.

    Ionia, Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Julia Mamaea AE26.
    Obv: IOYLIA MAMAIA CEB. Bust of Julia Mamaea r.
    Rev: MAGNHTWN E - PI GRA TYXIK, in l. and r. field O - Y. Apollo Kitharoedos standing r., clad in long chiton, holding lyre and plectrum.
    Grammatikos TYXIKOC.

    Troas, Alexandria. Caracalla AE23. Apollo Smintheus
    ANTON[....]. Laureate head right / COL ALEXAN AVG. Statue of Apollo Smintheus right on small base, holding bow and patera over lighted altar.

    Lairbenos / Kitharoedes
    Phrygia, Hierapolis. Pseudo-autonomous AE26. Apollo Lairbenos/Apollo Kitharoedos
    LAIRBHNO C; Bust of Apollo Lairbenos r., radiate, shoulders draped.
    IERAPO LEITWN; Apollo Kitharoedos (Archegetes) in long chiton and mantle, standing r., holding in lowered r. plectrum, and carrying lyre with l.
    26mm. 12.0 gm.
    Time of Caracalla (?) and later.
  17. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Holy crow!! => that coin is fricken amazing (you really are the Coin-Princess, eh?)

    Congrats on yet another solid Alexandrian TIF winner!! (chicken dinner)

    TIF likes this.
  18. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Congrats TIF , great Apollo riding a griffin and playing the kithara coin :singing:

    I think he's relaxing his arm and take the tension of his arm muscles after playing the kithara for hours on end :)

    Apollo in the same position on this Nero as:

    NERO as 68 AD Thessaly.jpg
  19. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Oh, and here are a few Apollo offerings from my humble coin-camp ...

    Thrace Abdera Gryphon.jpg Aeolis Gryneion.jpg Satraps of caria Pixodaros.jpg goat.jpg Campania Cales Manbull.jpg M caecilius.jpg c piso lf frugi.jpg

    Here's lookin' at you, my sweet coin-friend!! (fantastic OP-coin)

    C Piso lf frugi side a.jpg

  20. icerain

    icerain Mastir spellyr

    Interesting coin, really outstanding reverse. Here is my Apollo coin

    and his big head. :p
  21. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Turns out I was wrong, I have one from Caracalla! Also here are some others featuring Apollo.

    Caracalla, AD 198-217
    AE31, 16g, 12h; Serdica.
    Obv.: AVT K M AVR SEVH ANTΩNEINOC Laureate head right.
    Rev.: OVΛΠIAC CEPΔIKHC; Apollo standing facing, head left, holding patera in right hand and palm-branch in left.

    Antiochos I Soter, Seleucid Kings of Syria; 281-261 BC
    Æ, 16mm, 4.01 g; 3h; Antioch mint
    Obv.: Diademed head right
    Rev.: Apollo Delphios seated left; monograms to left and right

    Alexander Balas, 150-146 BC
    AE18, 5g, 12h; Antioch mint.
    Obv.: Head of Alexander right, in lion skin headdress.
    Rev.: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔΡOY; Apollo standing left, holding bow and arrows, palm branch in left field, monogram below.
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