Apameia Zeus and Artemis Anaïtis Æ 21

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    After more than a month making its way from London to the US, I received this little bronze of Apameia in Phrygia in the mail today. Coins of the first and second centuries BC of this city come in four main types:

    i. Bust of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet, r. /Eagle over Maeander pattern between the caps of the Dioscuri. I have written about one of these previously.
    ii. Head of Zeus wearing wreath, r./Cult statue of Artemis-Anaïtis.
    iii. Turreted bust of Artemis as city-goddess, r./Marsyas advancing right, playing double flute.
    iv. Laureate head of Zeus/Crested helmet, r., over Maeander pattern.​

    These coins also bear the name of the city and the magistrate under which the coins were issued. A magistrate may appear on coins of different types, suggesting the coins were issued during the same time frame but represent different denominations.

    Artemis Anaïtis was the result of syncretism between the Greek Goddess Artemis (Roman Diana) and Persian goddess Anahita. Tacitus (Annals 62) refers to the syncretic deity simply as the "Persian Diana," who had a temple in Lydia "dedicated in the reign in of Cyrus (presumably Cyrus the Great). On coins, she resembles the Ephesian Artemis, but has a tall kalathos on her head, supporting a veil which falls all the way to the ground on both sides of her body.

    The Greek and Roman historians transliterate Anahita as Anaïtis. The Wikipedia article about her states the goddess combined two independent elements. The first is a manifestation of the Indo-Iranian idea of the Heavenly River who provides the waters to the rivers and streams flowing in the earth while the second is that of a goddess with an uncertain origin, though maintaining her own unique characteristics, who became associated with the cult of the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Inanna-Ishtar, and therefore part of Zoroastrianism.

    Although this coin is from Apameia in Phrygia, east of Lydia, she seems to have been primarily a Lydian goddess. We know from numismatic evidence, Tacitus, and Pausanias that the Lydian cities of Hypaepa, Philadelphia, and Hierocaesarea were centers of the cult of Artemis Anaïtis in Asia Minor. According to Barclay Head (BMC Lydia, pp. lix ff.): "From the few notices of Hypaepa in ancient writers and from the inscriptions ..., we learn that the inhabitants were known as 'Persian Lydians', and that the veiled goddess whose effigy appears on the coins represents the Persian Anaïtis, whose worship is described by Pausanias (v. 27, 5) as consisting of a ritual chanted from a book by priests wearing the tiara, in a language unintelligible to the Greeks. The celebration included the miraculous kindling of fire upon the altar of the goddess."


    Post anything you feel is relevant!

    Apameia Artemis Anaitis.jpg
    Phrygia, Apameia, ca. 88-40 BC.
    Greek Æ 21.1 mm, 8.54 g, 12 h.
    Magistrate Attalos, son of Bianoros.
    Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right.
    Rev: AΠAM / ATTA / BIAN, Cult statue of Artemis Anaïtis facing.
    Refs: BMC 25.80, 61; SNG Cop 172; SNG München 122; HGC 7, 672.
    Notes: Ex Roma E-Sale 27, lot 1088, 28 May, 2016.
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  3. Carl Wilmont

    Carl Wilmont Supporter! Supporter

    Nice write-up, @Roman Collector. I like that olive example! Here's a similar one dressed in black.


    PHRYGIA, Apameia. Circa 100-50 BC. Æ (21 mm, 6.67 g).
    Andronikos, son of Alkios, magistrate.
    Laureate head of Zeus right / Cult statue of Artemis Anaïtis facing; AΠΑΜ[ΕΩN] downwards in right field, ANΔΡΟΝ[Ι] and ΑΛΚΙΟ[Υ] downwards in left field. Copenhagen 177.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  4. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    My only coin from Apameia is a bit younger than yours.

    It's one I wanted for years, was outbid on two times, then finally managed to track down the dealer who bought it this past January and gave them a reasonable profit:

    PHRYGIA. Apameia. Philip I, 244-249. Pentassarion (Orichalcum, 34 mm, 18.56 g, 7 h), Aur. Alexander, archon for the second time. •AYT•K•IOYΛ•ΦIΛIΠΠOC•AVΓ• Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Philip I to right, seen from behind. Rev. ЄΠ M AYP AΛЄΞANΔP//OY B APXI AΠ/AMЄΩN The story of Noah: on the right, half-length figures of Noah and his wife, in tunic and stola, standing left in square chest representing the Ark, inscribed NΩЄ and floating on waves; above to right, a seated bird; on the left, Noah and his wife standing left upon dry land, raising hands in supplication; above, a bird returning from land with olive branch in its talons. BMC 182. SNG von Aulock 3510 (same dies). Extremely rare, one of a very few known examples. Rough but with very clear details.

    Borrowing from an auction description:

    "It has long been believed that the astonishing emergence of the story of Noah on 3rd century AD coins of the Phrygian Apameia grew out of a supposed Jewish character of the city, but the literary sources are extremely sparse, and the fact that no Jewish names and only a single Jewish inscription are known from the local necropolis urges caution. On the other hand, sources attesting a large early Christian community in Apameia are abundant: not only are Christian epitaphs numerous, but the bishop Julian of Apameia attested by Eusebios (Euseb. HE 5.16.17) proves that Christianity had gained a strong foothold in the city as early as the late 2nd century.

    The sudden appearance of Noah's Ark on the civic coinage of Apameia at a time when all sources point towards a growing influence of the Christian community in the area must thus, despite cultural overlapping, reflect the increasing importance of Christian traditions to a greater degree than those of a century-old local Jewish community. Apameia differentiated itself from other cities of the same name by its epithet ή Kίβωtός , literally 'the chest', a reference to its importance as a trading post. The fact that Noah's Ark was also known in Greek as Kίβωtός hence apparently led to a pseudo-etymological local myth, which proclaimed that the mountain behind the city was the true Mount Ararat, on which Noah's Ark landed after the flood.

    Our coin thus shows, on the right, Noah and his wife in the Ark - in the form of the locally enrooted ή Kίβωtός - and once more on the left, after the landing of the Ark on the Mount Ararat, with the land-seeking bird above holding an olive branch in its talons. It is the only Graeco-Roman coin type to show a scene from the bible and a most important testimony to the history of the early Judeo-Christian communities in Asia Minor."
  5. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Here's Artemis Anaïtis from Lydia, Hypaepa, twice. There is the cult statue on the reverse of the original host coin, and then a countermark of the same cult statue on the obverse. Rather redundant, but I'm sure they had their reasons.

    When I was researching this one, I saw quite a few of these - so I'd venture to say it is fairly common for a countermark.

    CM - Lydia Hypaepa J Domna cm artemis Jul 2018 (2).JPG

    Julia Domna Æ 21
    (c. 193-217 A.D.)
    Lydia, Hypaepa

    IOYLIA CEBACTH, draped bust right / YPAIPHNWN, cult statue of Artemis Anaitis wearing polos and veil.
    BMC 35-36; SNG Cop 196.
    Countermark: Artemis Anaitis in oval. Howgego GIC 233
    (6.65 grams / 21 mm)
    Alegandron, Curtisimo, Edessa and 5 others like this.
  6. cmezner

    cmezner Supporter! Supporter

    Won mine at Frank's last auction:happy:. It is much darker in hand, like the OP; guess this picture was taken with a lot of light:

    Phrygia, Apameia, ca. 88 - 40 BC
    22 x 21 mm, 7.623 g
    BMC 87; SNG Ashmolean 976; SNG Copenhagen 175; HGC 7, 672; Sear 5121

    Ob.: Laureate head of Zeus right
    Rev.: ΑΠΑΜΕ / MENEK / ΔIOΔ Magistrates Menek(leous) and Diod(dorus) in two lines. Facing statue of Artemis Anaïtis

    Alegandron, Curtisimo, Edessa and 6 others like this.
  7. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great post as always!
    Roman Collector likes this.
  8. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice one, RC. Here's one of the Artemis-Tyche/Marsyas types.

    PHRYGIA Apameia - AE17 Marsyas ex Klein 3992.jpg
    PHRYGIA, Apameia
    AE17. 4.0g, 17mm. PHRYGIA, Apameia, circa 88-40 BC. Philokrates, son of Aristeon, eglogistes. HGC 7, 674; SNG Cop 194; Klein 589 (this coin). O: Turreted bust of Artemis-Tyche right, bow and quiver over shoulder. R: AΠAMEΩN, Marsyas advancing right on maeander pattern, playing aulos; ΦIΛOKPAT/APIΣTEO in two lines on left.
    Ex Dr. W.R. Collection (acquired in December 2004 from Hauck & Aufhäuser, Munich); ex Dieter Klein Collection, No. 589
    cmezner, Curtisimo, shanxi and 7 others like this.
  9. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    @AncientJoe - fascinating coin - I failed to buy a less good example.

  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thanks for the great info, and nice coin, @Roman Collector ...

    Here is my only one from that town:

    PHRYGIA, Apameia


    Augustus 27BC-AD14
    Æ20 5.5g 12h
    Apameia Phrygia
    Magistrate Attalos c 15BC
    Two corn-ears above maeander pattern
    RPC I, 3125 scarce
  11. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I always wanted one of these, too, I will never have one. In fact there is a specific coin I would prefer and consider most beautiful because it has all three letters of the name Noah (ΝΩΕ) clear. The fact that it is a Septimius Severus is a bonus. When wishing for the impossible, there is no reason to compromise.
    Roman Collector likes this.
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