book on boats

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Andrew McCabe, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Just bought a book printed in 1536 on Greek and Roman ships. Link to some pics here:
    Untitled 1.jpg Untitled 2.jpg

    blurb for book experts:
    BAÏF, Lazare de, and Antonio TELESIO. Lazari Bayfii annotationes in l[egem]. II de captivis, et postliminio reversis, in quibus tractatur de re navali; eiusdem annotationes in tractatum de auro & argento leg. quibus, vestimentorum, & vasculorum genera explicantur; Antonii Thylesii de coloribus libellus, a coloribus vestium non alienus. Paris, Robert Estienne, 31 August 1536. 4to, pp. [7], [1 (blank)], 168, [8], 203, [13]; printed in Latin and Greek, with numerous woodcut illustrations, of which several full-page, large criblé woodcut initials, woodcut device to title; very occasional small damp-stains to margins, title lightly thumbed; a broad copy in contemporary calf, panelled in blind with centre- and corner-pieces, gilt red morocco letteringpiece to spine; rubbed and scuffed, lightly bumped, old rebacking with lettering-piece relaid, sig. B a little loose at lower sewing stations; contemporary inscription deleted from title, a few neat marginal annotations in a contemporary hand. First edition of the De re navali, an important work on ancient nautics, and the first illustrated book from the press of Robert Estienne. Printed with Baïf’s earlier texts De re vestiaria and De vasculorum materiis, first published in 1526 and 1535 respectively, this treatise on ancient ships is heavily illustrated and prefaced by Charles Estienne. Printed with de Baïf’s texts is an early edition of Telesio’s treatise on colour, the first published work on the subject. First printed at Venice in 1528, the Libellus seeks to define the terms used in Roman literature to give a precise understanding of the ancient perception of colour. Its importance was recognised by Goethe, who quoted the treatise in full in his Farbenlehre (1810). USTC 147011; Renouard, Annales des Estienne 1536 19 (p. 44); not in Adams.
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  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    wow, great buy,congrats Andrew

    P1140461 (4).JPG P1140459 portraits.jpg
  4. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    A spectacular book, bought from the last catalog of a famous London bookshop, I presume. Congratulations!

    3196 Diadum s ct.jpg

    My best ship coin, not at all perfect, but it shows some of the intricate ins and outs of a Roman galley.

    AE26 Diadumenian (217-218), Aegeae, Cilicia. Obv. Bare-headed, draped, cuirassed bust right. Rev. Galley sailing to the right. Date ΓXC in exergue = 263 = 217 AD. 26 mm, 13.95 gr.
  5. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Indeed bought from Quaritch! Actually secured it before the catalogue went out as Quaritch had commented on twitter on the absurdity of the boars head on a prow and I pointed out that Roman coins indeed show a boars head at the front of the prow and one thing led to another....

    I believe many of the illustrations are from coins. After all there weren't many other illustrated books on the ancient world to copy them from in 1536! So double sestertii of Postumus, Republican asses and such like may have formed models
  6. Michael Stolt

    Michael Stolt Well-Known Member

    Great purchase Andrew. Taking the opportunity to post some fleet related coins (with boars lol).

    'L. Bibulus, Semis'

    800edited(5) (2).png

    'L. Bibulus, Semis'


    'M. Oppius Capito, Tressis'


    'M. Oppius Capito, Light As'


    'M. Oppius Capito, Heavy As'

    800edit(3) (1).png
  7. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    I'll share my Antony Legionary denarius which was published in a MUCH later (1975) book about Roman ships!


    Rome, The Imperators.
    Mark Antony, 31 BCE.
    Mint travelling with Antony.
    AR Denarius (3.69g; 18mm).

    Obv: ANT AVG III VIR R P C; Galley right.

    Rev: LEG III; Aquilia between two standards.

    References: Crawford 544/15; HCRI 350; Sydenham 1217; Viereck, Die Römische Flotte (1975), p. 292 (this coin illustrated).

    Provenance: ex CNG Classical Numismatic Review (Jul 2017); ex Triton IV (5 Dec 2000), Lot 432; ex Sternberg XII (18 Nov 1982), Lot 512; ex H.D.L. Viereck Collection (bef. 1975).

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  8. Alegandron

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

    Galley Prow

    The deckhouse and rail design on my coin always reminded me of the CORVUS.

    Roman Republic
    AE Quadrans
    18mm 3.6g
    Rome 206-195 BCE
    Hercules R wearing lions skin pellet behind -
    ROMA Prow of galley right 3 pellets
    Cr339-4a; Syd679c
  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

  10. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Very educational, thank you for the post.
  11. Nemo

    Nemo Well-Known Member

    Beautiful illustrations @Andrew McCabe Here’s my favorite boat coin, even though there’s no boat.

    Sextus Pompey Magnus.jpg
  12. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Wow, the images from the book look very clean and clear, despite the age of the book.
    Do you know where the author of this book got his knowledge of how the ancient boats looked like? And its all in Latin and Greek, can you read those languages? And did the stuffed animal (deer, moose?) come with the book? :)
  13. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Incredible post for an only more incredible book, @Andrew McCabe. Looks like people are doing it some Serious justice!
    By way of splitting the chronological difference between the book and the subject matter, here's a denar of emperor Heinrich III (1039-1056), from Speyer. I like how the ship motif is complemented by Scandinavian peck-marks. COINS, GERMANY, SPEYER, HEINRICH III (WITH SHIP), DENAR, OBV..jpg
    ...Meanwhile, it would be great to see some of the ms. annotation. I'm imagining an elegant, pristinely early Italic hand, comparable to the examples from Mary Queen of Scots.
    I recently got one of the original, periodical printings of Samuel Johnson's Rambler essays. It's from a collection that was bound in the 18th century. One selling point was the ms. translation below the Ovidian motto, in a very 18th-century hand.
    The fun part of this is the source of the translation. It was by James Elphinstone, a Scotsman who had quickly published a very unauthorized edition in Edinburgh. Right, Waaaay before copyright laws.
    ...So watch what Johnson did. When the first official collected edition came out, a little later, Johnson included Elphinstone's translations, replete with attribution to "the ingenious Mr. James Elphinstone of Edingburgh."
    ...The two were in active, very amicable correspondence during the same interval. Turns out that Elphinstone, like Johnson, had 'Non-Juring' sympathies ( could call it 'Jacobitism Lite'), more and less tacitly supporting the exiled Stuart dynasty. Especially following the end of the '45 Scots uprising, Jacobites on both sides of the border had to sort of keep that under their hats. But Johnson's appreciation of coloyalists was unflagging.
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I don't have much in the way of ancient coins showing galleys or other boats, but here's one:

    Roman Republic, C. Fonteius, AR Denarius, 114-113 BCE. Obv. Laureate, Janiform head of the Dioscuri, control mark N under left chin [mark of value * (= 16) under right chin is worn off], one dot beneath head / Rev. Galley left with three rowers, gubernator (pilot) at stern, rudder beneath stern, apotropaic eye on side, three-pronged ram with wolf’s head above extending from prow, banners/streamers extending from stern, C • FONT above (N and T in monogram), ROMA below. Crawford 290/1, RSC I Fonteia 1 (ill.), Sear RCV I 167 (ill.), Sydenham 555. 20 mm., 3.90 g. Ex: Auctiones GmbH, eAuction 67, Lot 55, 15 March 2020; Ex: CNG Auction May 2012, Lot 293; Ex: Bruce R. Brace Collection.*

    Fonteius (Dioscuri-Galley) jpg version.jpg

    * According to H.A. Seaby in RSC I (at p. 48), the Janiform head on the obverse relates to the origins of the Fonteia gens -- which claimed as its founder Fons or Fontus, supposedly the son of Janus -- and the galley on the reverse relates to the naval exploits of the moneyer’s ancestor P. Fonteius Capito, who was praetor in Sardinia in 169 BCE. Crawford disagrees. (See Vol. I at p. 305.) He states that there is no good evidence for the existence of Fontus, and that the Janiform head should instead be regarded as that of the Dioscuri, because the gens Fonteia came from Tusculum, the chief cult-center of the Dioscuri in Latium. Crawford also states that the reverse is “doubtless” an allusion to the transmarine origin of Telegonus (the son of Ulysses and Circe), who was the legendary founder of Tusculum. Sear agrees with Crawford.

    And I'm pretty sure the reverse image on this recent acquisition counts as a boat as well:

    Antoninus Pius Billon Tetradrachm, Year 17 (153-154 AD), Alexandria, Egypt Mint. Obv. Laureate bust right, traces of drapery right, ANTѠNINO - CϹ - ƐΒ ƐVϹƐΒ (counterclockwise from upper right beginning at 2:00)/ Rev. Isis Pharia standing right on prow, holding billowing sail [and sistrum (worn off)] with right arm extended, LI - Z [= Year 17] across fields [Z at top of right field]. Emmett 1403.17, Milne 2207, Dattari (Savio) 2261, Köln (Geissen) 1693, RPC IV.4 Online, 13783 (temporary) (see [same as RPC IV.4 Online, 14301 (temporary) (see]. 22.85 mm., 8.46 g.

    Ant. Pius - Alexandria - Isis Pharia standing rt. holding sail - jpg version.jpg

    (I can't see any material difference between the photos of the two RPC entries I cited -- especially taking into account the additional specimens listed for each -- so I included both. If anyone can see a difference sufficient to assign different numbers, please let me know.)
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  15. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML, in light of your typically formidable erudition, it's frankly a little embarrassing to point out something as mundanely semantic as this. Except, the obverse legend is not counterclockwise. You could just say, 'from 1 (or 2) o'clock.'
    ...Where the varieties of retrograde legends are concerned, medieval folks have an edge, even in relation to Julio-Claudian and Flavian precedent. (Where the letters of the inscriptions start from the outer border, instead of ending there.) Sometimes the letters themselves are engraved backwards, as if the die-sinker (illiterate or not) was copying a prototype too literally to take into account the mere mechanics involved in the striking process. ...Right, to mix cliche, that was my two cents, for what they're worth.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
    DonnaML likes this.
  16. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I concede that you are correct! Counterclockwise is something else, technically, not just a synonym for "right to left" vs. "left to right." Or, backwards, as I think of it. So I've fixed it, with a strike-through -- now that I know how to insert that.

    If you're serious, please don't ever hesitate, let alone feel embarrassed, to correct me. I make mistakes all the time, regarding coins and everything else!
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  18. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Guess that gives you formal permission to be a member of my species. --Consider the source, individually and (...maybe only later?) collectively.
    DonnaML likes this.
  19. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That a wonderful book, in remarkable condition for its age.

    Here are a couple of coins with a nautical theme:

    Phoenicia, Bybos, shekel, 435-425 BC, ex-CNG.
    D-Camera Phoenicia, Bybos, Shekel, 435-425 BC CNG, 5-14-20.jpg
    Phoenicia, Sidon, dishekel, circa 401-365 BC.
    D-Camera Phoenicia, Sidon, AR Dishekel, c. 401-365 BC, Berk, 5-19-20.jpg
  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Boats on coins would be an interesting sub-specialty. The technology developed over the years. Some are fancier than others.
    Constantius II, Lugdunum
  21. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    A great book, Andrew - excellent illustrations.

    The oldest book I have on coins is a relative youngster, dating from 1746. I have only skimmed it.

    Addison was a significant figure and had been dead 27 years before this was published:

    In this volume, he expounds his ideas on ancient coins, "the present state of war" and the Christian religion. The war was against the French, of course - "... the French are the constant and most dangerous enemies to the British nation,...").

    It has a few ships illustrated - like this Hadrian, with a vaguely similar as of mine (RIC 820):

    I'm sure I've never seen these coins:

    I think the top coin illustrated on page 195 is based on the Claudius quadrans:

    After that, Admiral Smyth's catalogue of the Duke of Northumberland's collection is my oldest coin book (1856).

    I guess it's cheating to count this - it is the first edition of a book by Thomas Smith (1513-1577), though it was only published in 2017 :D

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