Featured Aristotle's Library and a Coin of Troas

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    It is somehow fitting that my post that eventually stumbles on an ancient library should start with a the vocabulary words that I've failed to learn before today, perhaps i need more time in a library:
    • Protomai or protome : προτομή, head and upper torso of a human or an animal as an ornament or adornment
    • Gigantomachy : in Greek and Roman mythology, the epic battle struggle between the gods and the giants The gods won with the aid of Heracles the archer and the giants were killed. Giants buried can be responsible for volcanic fires, earthquakes, etc.
    • Rhyton : an ancient Greek drinking cup formed in the shape of an animal's head or a horn with the hole for drinking in the bottom.
    • Metope: a square space between tryglyps in a Doric frieze
    • Tryglyph : best described with a picture - the highlighted in red, square panel is a tryglyph:
    • upload_2020-9-29_13-47-47.png
      modified image from MichaelMaggs / CC BY-SA
    And putting a few of those words in a sentence: this 5th century BC rhyton with protomai of Pegasus is embellished with scenes of gigantomachy and can be found in the Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces (VCM)

    A Small AE of Skepsis (aka Scepsis)
    Troas, Skepsis, AE (4th century BC)
    Size: 1.3g, 9.5mm
    Obv: Rhyton with forepart of Pegasos left
    Rev: Σ - Κ, fir tree within linear square border

    Where is Skepsis?

    Aristotle's Library
    Strabo writes this about Skepsis:

    "From Scepsis came the Socratic philosophers Erastus and Coriscus and Neleus the son of Coriscus, this last a man who not only was a pupil of Aristotle and Theophrastus, but also inherited the library of Theophrastus, which included that of Aristotle. At any rate, Aristotle bequeathed his own library to Theophrastus, to whom he also left his school; and he is the first man, so far as I know, to have collected books and to have taught the kings in Egypt how to arrange a library."
    -Strabo, Geographia, XII 1.54

    Strabo continues to explain how these books changed hands, traveled into the care of one Apellicon, a bibliophile, which apparently in Strabo's language is someone who doesn't fully appreciate the content of the books. Apellicon had the books badly copied, spreading content that was questionable. And of course - a familiar name pops up in the story:

    "Sulla, who had captured Athens, carried off Apellicon's library to Rome, where Tyrannion the grammarian, who was fond of Aristotle, got it in his hands by paying court to the librarian, as did also certain booksellers who used bad copyists and would not collate the texts—a thing that also takes place in the case of the other books that are copied for selling, both here and at Alexandria."
    -Strabo, Geographia, XII 1.55

    There is also a Trojan war link to Skepsis, on Mt. Ida, as the site of the palace of Aeneas. Skepsis founded by Aeneas, and later relocated by Ascanius, son of Aeneas, and Scamandrius, son of Hector (see Strabo XIII 1.51):

    "The Scepsian (Demetrius) supposes that Scepsis was the palace of Aeneas, situated between the dominion of Aeneas and Lyrnessus, where, it is said, he took refuge when pursued by Achilles. “‘Remember you not,’ says Achilles, ‘how I chased you when alone and apart from the herds, with swift steps, from the heights of Ida, thence indeed you escaped to Lyrnessus; but I took and destroyed it.’”
    - Strabo, Geographia, XIII 1.52
    Strabo further describes the conflicting stories across Homer, Roman tradition and Demetrius of Skepsis.

    Share coins that expanded your vocabulary, coins from Troas, and anything else that you find interesting or entertaining.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Wonderful write up, coin aaand resplendent wine drinking receptical:pompous:! Makes me want to take a drink write now... as a matter of fact, don't mind if I do:
    And my coin which I'd always identified as (with no idea it was a drinking vessel):
    Troas, Skepsis
    400-310 BCE. Forepart of Pegasos right / Palm tree, Σ-K across fields; all within linear square. SNG Copenhagen 474. 1.2 g, 12mm

    Also from Troas. And don't even think of eating it. :
    TROAS, Dardanos
    c. 450-420 BCE
    AR obol; 9 mm, 0.56 gm
    Obv: cock (or just cock head) standing left
    Rev: cross-hatch pattern
    Ref: Nomismata 3, 303; Demeester 98; SNG Ashmolean 1119
    Former: Savoca
    +VGO.DVCKS, ominus1, DonnaML and 9 others like this.
  4. ancientone

    ancientone Well-Known Member

    I had not heard of a plemochoe until this recent purchase.

    plom5.jpg Attica, Athens. AE10. Demeter/Plemochoe.
    Obv: Head of Demeter to the right.
    Rev: Plemochoe with ears of wheat on the handles, aphlaston.
    229/224 BC
    HGC 1701; Kroll 73
    +VGO.DVCKS, kaparthy, DonnaML and 9 others like this.
  5. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    @Sulla80 - excellent write up. My example of your coin


    and a silver drachm from Skepsis

  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    A very fine and informative write-up, Sulla80. I feel considerably smarter!

    Troas, Skepsis - Rhyton Pegasus Apr 2018 (0).jpg

    Troas, Skepsis Æ16
    (c. 250-210 B.C.)

    Rhyton in form of forepart of flying Pegasos left, border of dots / Six-branch fir tree, Σ-Κ in linear square, thyrsos to left, H to right.
    Sear 4136 (var.)
    (3.78 grams / 16 mm)
  7. IanG

    IanG Active Member

    An interesting post, Sulla80, thank you. I have a number of coins from Troas. Here are 3 of them. Troas has a particular pull for me being the setting for the events recounted in the Iliad.

    Troas, Antandros, c.350-250 BC.


    Troas, Hamaxitos, c.400-310 BC.


    Troas, Larisa-Ptolemais, c. 400-300 BC.

  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Very attractive coin from Skepsis, @Sulla80, and an informative write-up.

    This is my latest acquisition from Troas, a tiny owl from the city of Sigeion.

    Troas, Sigeion, c. 335 BC.
    Greek Æ 12.2 mm, 2.37 g, 5 h.
    Obv: Head of Athena facing slightly right, wearing triple crested helmet and necklace.
    Rev: ΣΙΓΕ, owl standing right, head facing; crescent to left.
    Refs: BMC 17.86,7-10; SNG von Aulock 7637; SNG Ashmolean 1214–6; SNG Copenhagen 496–8; Sear 4145.
  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Great post and nice coin, @Sulla80. Here are a few from some other cities in the Troad not yet represented on the thread.

    Achiellion 91329_1486670648.jpg
    TROAS, Achaiion
    AE10. 0.92g, 9.7mm. TROAS, Achaiion, circa late 4th – early 3rd centuries BC. Ellis-Evans, Coinage, Issue 1; SNG Copenhagen 64 (Achilleion). O: Crested helmet left. R: Monogram.

    17431_0 Troas Neandriea.jpg TROAS, Neandria
    AR Obol. 0.60g, 8.5mm. Circa 4th century BC. SNG Copenhagen 446; SNG von Aulock 7628; Warren 1046 = BMFA 1663 (this coin). O: Laureate head of Apollo right. R: NEAN, Ram standing right.
    Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection; ex Boston Museum of Fine Arts (NFA VIII, 1980, lot 218); ex Edward Perry Warren Collection (purchased July 1902); ex Canon William Greenwell Collection (1820-1918)

    Troas Ophryneion400.jpg TROAS, Ophryneion
    AE12. 1.9g, 12mm. TROAS, Ophryneion, circa 350-300 BC. SNG Copenhagen 456-9; SNG von Aulock 1559; BMC p.75, 4-7. O: Bearded male head (Hektor?) three-quarter facing right, wearing triple-crested helmet with cheek guards raised. R: ΟΦΡΥ, infant Dionysos naked, kneeling right, holding out bunch of grapes in right hand.
    Troas Garg400.jpg TROAS, Gargara
    AE9. 0.62g, 9.1mm. TROAS, Gargara, circa 350 BC. BMC p. 53, 14; SNG Cop 330; Asiaminorcoins.com #7407 (this coin pictured). O: Laureate head of Apollo right. R: Horse trotting right; ΓAP above, bunch of grapes below.

    Troas Thymbra New.jpg TROAS, Thymbra
    AE17. 5.0g, 16.9mm. TROAS, Thymbra, circa 4th century BC. SNG von Aulock 158; BMC Troas pg. 89, 4. O: Head of Zeus-Ammon left. R: ΘΥ, star of eight rays; HP monogram below.
  10. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @Ryro, @Marsyas Mike, I didn't expect to see another Rhyton of Skepsis! fun to see your coins.

    @eparch : a nice coin, there seem to be two different styles of pegasus/rhyton between your coin and mine, and even within variations on the AE coin. I wonder if both are showing a rhyton or if they are different? (below: left has a clear cup/horn, right looks like forepart of Pegasos without cup/horn?)
    and I too add another word to my ancient coin vocabulary, Thanks!

    Athenaios, 11.496 a, b, defines the plemochoe as "a terra cotta vessel shaped like a top standing on a steady foot." Athenaios continues and states that it was used during the Eleusinian Mysteries when, on the last day " they filled two plemochoai and set them up one to the east, one to the west, and then overturned them, saying mystic words as they did.
    -Perseus Encyclopedia
    Easy to be seduced by the tales of ancient Troy and Homer, Aphrodite and Troy part of the Roman origin story as well. A nice trio of coins - thank you.
    Thanks RC, your latest coin has the perfect balance of age and detail that I find attractive. This year , I have been enjoying study of the geography of Anatolia/Asia Minor - interesting to see Sigeion ~50km northwest of Skepsis and ~7km north of the archeological site of Ancient Troy.
    Wonderful additions, @zumbly, and you open up the thought - how many more cities of Troas could we see....Antandros, Dardanos, Gargara, Hamaxitos, Larisa-Ptolemais, Neandria Ophryneion, Sigeion, Skepsis, Thymbra...(25 listed in this British Museum Catalog)...here's one more:
    Alexandria Troas.jpg
    Troas, Alexandria Troas, Circa 2nd-3rd centuries AD, AE
    Obv: ALEXA TRO, turreted head of Tyche right; vexillum inscribed in two lines behind CO/AV
    Rev: COL AVG / TRO, horse grazing right
    Ref: BMC Troas p. 16, 58
  11. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I dug up a few others...
    Troas Birytis 3 400.jpg TROAS, Birytis
    AE10. 1.46g, 10mm. TROAS, Birytis, circa 350 - 250 BC. SNG Cop 251. O: Head of bearded Kabeiros wearing pileus right. R: B-I, triskeles of three crescents within circle.

    Troas Kebren AE b400.jpg
    TROAS, Kebren
    AE10. 0.97g, 9.8mm. TROAS, Kebren, circa 4th century BC. SNG Cop 260; BMC p. 44, 16-17. O: Two ram's head back to back, facing outwards, floral ornament between. R: KE monogram.

    TROAS Assos - AE11 Griffin 308.jpg
    TROAS, Assos
    AE11. 1.27g, 11mm. TROAS, Assos, circa 300-241 BC. BMC 21-22 var (control below); SNG Cop 235 var (control). O: Head of Athena right, wearing Attic helmet. R: Griffin sitting left, [ΑΣΣΙ] above, uncertain control below.

    Troas Gergis400.jpg TROAS, Gergis
    AE16. 3.58g, 16.3mm. TROAS, Gergis, circa 350-241 BC. SNG Cop. 339-340 var (rev monogram); BMC Troas p. 55, 5-6 var (same); SNG v. Aulock 1514 var (same). O: Three-quarter facing head of Sibyl Herophile turned slightly right, wearing laurel wreath and pendanted necklace. R: Sphinx seated right, ΓEP to right, KE monogram (of Kebren?) to left, [grain ear] in exergue.

    TROAS Abydos - AE14 Eagle 303.jpg
    TROAS, Abydos
    AE14. 2.61g, 14.7mm. TROAS, Abydos, circa 3rd-2nd centuries BC. cf. BMC 40; cf. SNG von Aulock 1449. O: Turreted bust of Artemis facing slightly right. R: ABY, Eagle standing right with open wings, head left.

    TROAS Ilion - AE14 Athena 315.JPG TROAS, Ilion (Troy)
    AE14. 2.33g, 14mm. TROAS, Ilion, circa 159-119 BC. SNG Cop 354-5. O: Head of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet. R: IΛI, Athena Ilias, wearing polus, veil and long chiton, standing left; carrying a distaff in left hand, a filleted spear in right supported on shoulder; a thunderbolt before her.

    TROAS Zeleia - AE10 321.JPG TROAS, Zeleia
    AE10. 1.24g, 10.5mm. TROAS, Zeleia, circa 4th century BC. SNG Cop. 503-504; Babelon, Traite, (Mysia) pl. 172, 31-32. O: Head of Artemis right, wearing stephane. R: Z-Ε/Λ-Ε around a snake staff; all within a grain-wreath.
  12. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    I don't think we have had Tenedos yet
    Islands off Troas, Tenedos AR Hemidrachm. Circa 550-470 BC. (12mm, 1.82 g). Archaic janiform head, male on left, female on right (Zeus and Hera?) / Double axe (labrys), TEN-EΔIO-N across fields; all within incuse square. SNG Copenhagen 506-7 var.

    TROAS. Tenedos. Drachm (Late 5th-early 4th centuries BC).

    Obv: Janiform head of a diademed female left and laureate male right.
    Rev: TENEΔΙΟΝ. Labrys; grape bunch to left, kantharos to right.

    SNG Copenhagen 511; HGC 6, 386.
  13. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    TROAS, ASSOS.jpg
    OBVERSE: Helmeted head of Athena left
    REVERSE: AΣ-ΣI, Bucranium
    Struck at Assos 400-300 BC
    1.18 g, 10.2 mm
    SNG Cop 241; BMC 8
    AR Obol
    OBVERSE: Archaic head of Apollo left
    REVERSE: Ram'S head left within an incuse square
    Struck at Troas, Kebren Circa 450 BC
    .56g, 7mm
    Rosen 534; Traité pl. xxxix, 25, SNG Ashmolean 1086
    ex. Aegean Numismaics
    ASSOS, TROAS.jpg
    AR Hemiobol
    OBV: Veiled female head left
    REV: Griffin right, A to left, in dotted linear square within incuse square
    Struck at Assos, 420-380 BC
    .3g, 6.88mm
    BMC Lycia, Pamphlia, and Pisidia p. 21, #100, plate 6 #4 (attributed to Lycia). Cf. CNG e-auction 287, September 2012, lot 128
    ex Saint Paul Antiques
  14. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Here's a provincial of Julia Domna from Pionia Troas with the reverse of emperor on horseback right, serpent entwined tree to right (28mm, 11.7gms)

    Not that great but you can't really be too picky with coins from this city.
    Pionia Troas Domna.jpg
  15. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    That's a quick representation of 19 cities, thanks @zumbly, @eparch, @Bing, @Brian Bucklan.

    19 Found:
    Abydos, Antandros, Assos, Birytis, Dardanos, Gargara, Gergis, Hamaxitos, Ilion (Troy), Kebren, Larisa-Ptolemais, Neandria, Ophryneion, Pionia, Sigeion, Skepsis, Tenedos, Thymbra, Zeleia

    Not seen : Colone, Gentinus, Lamponia, Larissa, Rhoeteum, Seamandria

    and one more from Gergis:
    Gergis sphinx.jpg
    Troas, Gergis,
    circa 350-300 BC, Æ (12mm, 1.72g, 6h)
    Obv: Head of Sibyl Herophile facing slightly right, wearing laurel wreath and pendant necklace
    Rev: Sphinx seated right, ΓEP downwards to right
    Ref: Corpus Num 24374; Traite des Monnaies Plate CLXVI.14
  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm particularly fond of this coin because of the reddish color of the horse:

    Anonymous colonial civic issue, AE 23, 251 - 260 AD (Trebonianus Gallus to Valerian I), Troas, Alexandria Troas Mint. Obv. Draped bust of Tyche right, wearing mural crown, vexillum inscribed CO AV over right shoulder, CO ALEX TR / Rev. Horse (of Erichthonius?)* grazing to right, COL AVG, TROAD in exergue. RPC IX 505 (see https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/9/505); Bellinger A486 [Alfred A. Bellinger, Troy, The Coins (Princeton 1961)]; BMC 17 Troas, 46 var. [diff. legends]; see also id. 45, 47-50 var. [Warwick Wroth, A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Vol. 17, Troas, Aeolis, and Lesbos (London 1894)]; SNG Copenhagen 108-113 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 20, Troas (1945)]. 23 mm., 5.80 g. Ex: Pars Coins; Ex: Kenneth W. Dorney.

    Alexandria Troas (Tyche-Horse) jpg version.jpg

    * See BMC 17 Troas at xviii, citing Cavedoni (Spicil., p. 151) for the suggestion that the grazing horse, first depicted on the coins of Alexandria Troas ca. 300 BCE, is one of the horses of Erichthonius, father of Tros, after whom Troas was named.
    Edessa, +VGO.DVCKS, zumbly and 6 others like this.
  17. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    The only one of the remaining cities I have is a small bronze from Colone (or Kolone)

    Colone Troas (400-300 BC ) Ae : 10mm, 1.1 gms

    Obv: Helmeted head of Athena left
    Rev: KOΛΩNAEΩN between the rays of an 8-rayed star
    Ref: SNG Cop. 281
    Kolone Ae Star ct.jpg
    Edessa, DonnaML, +VGO.DVCKS and 3 others like this.
  18. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    one from Lamponeia


    Troas, Lamponeia Hemiobol 480-450, AR 8mm., 0.39g.

    Bull's head facing.

    Rev. Quadripartite incuse square.

    Traité 2292, pl. CLXIII, 21. SNG Tübingen 2648
    Edessa, zumbly, Brian Bucklan and 4 others like this.
  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...'Kids, Don't try this at home!' (Cool coins, by the way.)
    Ryro likes this.
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