Are there Ancients with a Zodiac symbol?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Gallienus, Feb 12, 2024.

  1. Gallienus


    I'm interested in Ancients which depict one of the symbols of the Zodiac on the obv or rev. These can be either Romans, Greek Imperials, or regular Greek.

    I know for example that Augustus Caesar featured Capricorns on the rx of some of his denarii and cistophorii. I'm looking for other preferably clearly struck Zodiac creatures on Ancients.

    I've tried Googling but seem to only find modern fantasy coins. I really should look thru some of my reference books more diligently.
    Pickin and Grinin likes this.
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  3. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    There are lots of coins with zodiac signs. A few







    you may have to be creative
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    this one is not mine, but for Aquarius it is Ganymede on a coin of Geta from Troas , Dardanus


    Gemini-- Castor and Pollux


    Libra- scales

  5. The Meat man

    The Meat man Supporter! Supporter

    If you want the whole thing in one coin, you can always get one of these:
    CNG's description:

    EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (34.5mm, 24.71 g, 12h). Zodiac series. Dated RY 8 (AD 144/145). AYT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTωNINOC CЄB ЄYC, laureate head right / Zodiac wheel, with "Aries" at the top, around an inner circle with the conjoined busts left of Helios and Selene (with their typical attributes); not dated. Cologne–; Dattari (Savio) 2983 var. (obv. bust type); K&G –; RPC IV.4 Online 16967; Emmett 1705.8 (R5). Attractive dark green surfaces with touches of red, hint of smoothing on obverse. EF. Extremely rare "Zodiac wheel" variety, none in CoinArchives, and the authors of RPC IV Online cite only one specimen, which appeared in the Leo Hamburger sale of 19 October 1925, as lot 992 (the Niklovitz collection). Our coin is certainly the finest known for this extremely rare variety, and overall one of the finest known Zodiac wheel types from Alexandria.
    The Great Sothic Cycle was a calendrical cycle based on the heliacal rising in July of the star Sirius (known to the Greeks as Sothis) and lasting approximately 1460 years. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, in a Golden Age, the beginning of the flooding of the Nile coincided exactly with the rising of Sirius, which was reckoned as the New Year. Only once every 1460 years did Sirius rise at exactly the same time. Thus, the coincidence of this along with the concurrent beginning of the flooding of the Nile gave the event major cosmological significance by heralding not just the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new eon. This event also was thought to herald the appearance of the phoenix, a mythological bird which was reborn every 500 to 1000 years out of its own ashes. According to one version of the myth, each new phoenix embalmed its old ashes in an egg of myrrh, which it then deposited in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis. So important was the advent of the new Great Sothic Cycle, both to the realignment of the heavens and its signaling of the annual flooding of the Nile, that the Egyptians celebrated it in a five-day festival, which emphasized the important cosmological significance.
    In the third year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD 139/40), a new Great Sothic Cycle began. To mark this event, the mint of Alexandria struck an extensive series of coinage, especially in large bronze drachms, each related in some astrological way to the reordering of the heavens during the advent of the new Great Sothic Cycle. This celebration would continue throughout Pius' reign, with an immense output of coinage during the eighth year of his reign in Egypt, which included this coin type, part of the Zodiac series.

    The authors of RPC IV Online question the authenticity of the Hamburger specimen, but as the photo is most likely of a cast of the coin, typical of auction catalogues of that era, it makes it difficult to condemn the coin. Our specimen is undoubtedly genuine, so the type does exist.
  6. Broucheion

    Broucheion Well-Known Member

    Hi @Gallienus,

    Learn all about the Alexandrian Zodiac coins here
    Minting the Stars: The Alexandrian Zodiac Series under Antoninus Pius
    Gallienus likes this.
  7. Mr.MonkeySwag96

    Mr.MonkeySwag96 Well-Known Member

    The two most common Zodiac symbols on Roman coinage are Capricorn and Geminini (Dioscuri twins, Castor & Pollux).
    Gallienus likes this.
  8. Ryan McVay

    Ryan McVay Well-Known Member

    There are several different Roman emperors with the zodiac calendar on the reverses. @The Meat man has the AP version. I believe there is a Constantine I and Elagabalus version too. AP has a series with the individual zodiac symbols on the reverse. As you could expect these are pretty pricY coins to get hold of!
    The Meat man likes this.
  9. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    That would be news to me.
  10. Ryan McVay

    Ryan McVay Well-Known Member

  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Aries (incuse figure on reverse)

    Phoenicia, Bybos, Shekel, 435-425 BC.

    D-Camera Phoenicia, Bybos, Shekel,  435-425 BC jpeg CNG, 5-14-20.jpg
    Gallienus, Johndakerftw and Bing like this.
  12. Ryan McVay

    Ryan McVay Well-Known Member

    Here's the link to the Constantine the Great coin (AU) I was thinking about. - Auction research
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