[ancients] The Headless Medusa Club

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by zumbly, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Since coin-stalking TIF turned out to be a major bust, I figured coin-stalking Steve would be easier. What I didn't realize was that I was going to have to stand in line behind all the other Steve coin-stalkers. :eek:

    Nevertheless, with abit of luck and patience I managed to snag this Pontos Amisos Perseus/Medusa without too much competition. Granted, it's a few miles away from some of the truly excellent examples that have been shown here on Coin Talk, but it has pretty much everything I was looking for in this type and I'm very pleased with it. Best of all, I'm now officially a member of the Headless Medusa Club! Who's next?

    pontos amisos perseus400.jpg

    PONTOS, Amisos
    Time of Mithridates VI Eupator
    Circa 85 - 65 BC
    AE28 (19.3g, 28mm)
    SNG V Ash 109, SNG Stancomb 683 var. (right monogram).
    O: Head of Athena Parthenos right, wearing a helmet decorated with Pegasus springing right.
    R: AMISOY, Perseus standing facing, holding harpa and head of Medusa, Medusa's body at his feet gushing blood, monograms in left and right field.

    A little research reveals that this isn't just a coin with a pretty reverse; it very likely served a political purpose as well. CNG in some of their description notes for this issue suggest that "in the context of the period which this coin is from, Perseus and Medusa could be representations of Mithradates VI and Rome, respectively."

    Between 88 BC and 65 BC, Mithridates waged three wars against Rome, and at the height of his power was considered the most significant foreign threat faced by the Republic.

    When he began to transform his backwater Anatolian kingdom into a significant regional power, Mithridates sought to portray himself as a champion of Greek culture to the Greek cities that he was gradually bringing into his sphere of influence while also maintaining his dynasty's eastern roots as successors of the Persian Achaemenids in Asia Minor. As Greek tradition held that the legendary hero Perseus was the ancestor of both Heracles (and by extension Alexander the Great) as well as the rulers of Achaemenid Persia, his adoption into the royal cult of the Mithridatids served the purpose of this propaganda well.

    Unfortunately for Mithridates, his fairytale did not have a happy ending, for this particular Gorgon had three rather able generals doing her fighting - Lucius Cornelius Sulla (the proto-Julius Caesar), Lucius Licinius Lucullus ("Xerxes in a toga", according to Pompey the Great) and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ("the Great", according to himself). After his final defeat in the Third Mithridatic War, Mithridates fled across the Black Sea to a citadel in Pantikapaion. There, betrayed by his sons and with his enemies closing in on him, he committed suicide.

    Coins of this type were issued in a number of cities in the Kingdom of Pontos, but most common by far are those from Amisos, which seems to have been the most active of all the Pontic mints during this period. Second in order of frequency but much scarcer are those struck in Sinope. In Pontic coin hoards that have been studied, bronze issues from Amisos are 7 times more common than those from Sinope. Even rarer cities that struck this type include Amastris, Cabeira, Comana, and Chabacta.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
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  3. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Z-- I have PM'd you the secret handshake and date of our next clandestine meeting.

    Thanks for the interesting information! I didn't know that this type was issued by cities other than Amisos and Sinope.

    Here are my coins from Amisos. All except the beheaded Medusa were blind purchases from mixed lots. The first shows Perseus and may be modeled after Mithradates VI.

    Chris B, Jay GT4, Curtisimo and 19 others like this.
  4. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    That is a superb coin, Z. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous.

    I'm coin-stalking Bing myself, because somebody has to do it.
    Ryro, Eng, vlaha and 3 others like this.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    In the category "Best gushing headless body" TIF's coin is clearly the best I've seen. Part of my regrets not bidding higher on it but I was put off by the obverse style. That is the problem with collecting ancient coins. We never know when we should go big or whether we will see a better fit for our personal opinions of what is best. Most of these coins are centered in such a way that the uninformed observer is left unclear as to what is being shown. Almost none have facial details on the Medusa and Perseus. Who will post the perfect coin? Does it exist? My pair are hardly stalkable but the flan size of the Sinope suggests that the mint might be a good place to look for a fully detailed coin.

    g01470b00608lg.jpg g01505bb3106.jpg
    Chris B, Curtisimo, Ryro and 14 others like this.
  6. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Welcome aboard, brother (super cool coin!!)

    => wow, what a sweet lookin' Harpa versus Medusa (great colour & overall eye-appeal)

    ... oh, and just for the record, I would totally stalk the Coin-Princess before I even considered stalking a simp like myself!! :cool: .... what a fantastic Pontos line-up, TIF (bravo)

    However, I will toss-in my examples (yah, I love these Perseus coins ... very cool)

    Pontos amisos number two a.jpg
    Pontos amisos number two b.jpg
    Pontos Amisos Version three a.jpg
    Pontos Amisos Version three b.jpg
    Pontos Amisos again a.jpg
    Pontos Amisos again b.jpg
    Jay GT4, Curtisimo, Ryro and 13 others like this.
  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks, JA. It has some faults like an incomplete harpa and body, but I LOVE the whole look of the coin. TIF really hit the nail on the head when she said these issues are abit like COL-NEMs in that they almost all have their problems.
    Ryro likes this.
  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Whoah, thanks... I'm really only here for the headless chicks, but the clandestine stuff sounds interesting too. We'll have to get Chrsmat to send us some of those Synaulia tracks. That creepy music just screams Black Sea-bbath to me. :p

    Of the other mints, I've only seen a couple of Amastris issues in sales records. The others have to be really rare.
    Ryro, TIF and stevex6 like this.
  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I truly wonder if the original designs even had facial details.
    Ryro likes this.
  10. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    I don't see any problems with your coin. The helmet has copious detail, the inscriptions are all there, the surfaces are clean, and it's got rich color. I would have collected it in a heartbeat.

    Wear is not a problem in my book.
    Ryro and zumbly like this.
  11. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    It is a very impressive line-up, indeed. I need more Pontos coins!
    Ryro likes this.
  12. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Wow, Z ... you've joined a pretty exclusive group, eh?

    Members of Club Med => Z, TIF, Doug & Simp .... who'll be the next to climb onboard?
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Let's not forget Eng!
    I eagerly await the next member and his coin.
    Ryro, stevex6, TIF and 1 other person like this.
  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Love your new coin Z. I've been wanting one ever since steve posted his a couple of years ago (has it been that long steve?).
    Man, if you're stalking me, you're going to be very disappointed. However, I did just purchase a coin minted at Amisos, but it's not even in the category of coins shown here. With shipping it cost me $8 even, so that should give you a clue of it's condition. When it arrives I will post it, because I think I will be needing help in identifying it. So far, I've struck out.
    Ryro and zumbly like this.
  15. John Anthony

    John Anthony Ultracrepidarian Supporter

    Not at all - I love snagging a good coin at rock bottom prices. My approach to auctions is, "What would Bing do?" :)

    You're not the only one that's got to stick to a budget.
    Ryro likes this.
  16. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Ooops, sorry Halibut ...

    Man, I hope that Eng posts his example (sadly, I have a bad memory lately ... *hic*)
    Ryro and zumbly like this.
  17. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    SO funny :D
    Ryro and zumbly like this.
  18. Eng

    Eng Senior Eng

    Awesome coin Zumbly, well centered and great color, mine is a low budget coin, some day i'll get a good one, but it nice to be in the headless group..:confused:
    I do have a Pontos city of Amisos, does that count...;)
    Curtisimo, Ryro, icerain and 11 others like this.
  19. stevex6

    stevex6 Random Mayhem

    Woooooo => that's some sweet Pontos, brother ... thanks Eng (awesome additions!)

    Oh, hey, West Coast => how's that flower count treatin' ya? (is it raining there today? ... yah, it's still minus -10 here today)

    => fanstastic coins, everybody!!

    Hey, have a great Friday night, coin-gang (I am goin' out to a Portuguese B-day party ... yah-yah, I know ... I've accidentally been invited to a party that freely hands-out glasses of wine ... OMG ... I feel like Fat-Eddie at an all-you-can-eat buffet!!)

    hopefully, I'll talk to you "tomorrow" ... ummm, but if I talk to you "tonight", then please don't be offended!!

    => Cheers brothers, and Sis!! (I love you dudes)
    Ryro likes this.
  20. vlaha

    vlaha Respect. The. Hat.

    Here in Portland it's nice and sunny.:D How is it in Washington Eng?o_O
    Heh heh, I might (not) have been pulling some strings there Stevey boy.;)
    Ryro and stevex6 like this.
  21. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Ryro and Eng like this.
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