Brought Down a Centaur

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Mat, May 1, 2021.

  1. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Recently acquired this greek bronze from @Brian Bucklan featuring a Centaur.

    This is my first ancient to feature the fabled beast.

    If you have any, post your Centaurs so mine doesn't feel alone.

    centour.jpg Magnetes Thessaly (50 - 130 B.C.)
    O: Laureate head of Zeus left.
    B: MAGNHTWN; The Centaur Chiron advancing right and holding branch over shoulder; large star below.
    Rogers 338b
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  3. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Nice coin, Mat. Here is another Centaur. :)

    Bithynia Prusias II AE23 Centaur.jpg
    Kings of Bithynia, Prusias II (182-149 BC).
    Æ (23mm, 5.85g, 12h).
    Obv: Wreathed head of Dionysos r.
    Rev: Centaur advancing r., playing lyre.
    RG 26; SNG Copenhagen 635; HGC 7, 629.
  4. Alegandron

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

    Congrats, @Mat , that is a great coin from a town I am not familiar. Nice.

    My Centaur:

    FRENTANI, Larinum.
    ca 210-175 BCE
    Æ 18mm -
    Bearded head of Herakles right, in lion's skin headdress /
    LADINOD, centaur galloping right, holding branch over left shoulder; three pellets in ex.
    SNG ANS 137; BMC 8; SNG Cop 272
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    My only centaur is from the Gallienus zoo series.

    Gallienus, Billon Antoninianus, 267-268 AD, Rome Mint (8th Officina). Obv. Radiate head right, GALLIENVS AVG / Rev. Centaur walking left holding a globe in extended right hand and a reversed rudder in left hand, with right front leg lifted, APOLLINI CONS AVG; H [Eta = 8th Officina] in exergue. RIC V-1 164, RSC IV 73 (ill.), Wolkow 1a8, Göbl MIR [Moneta Imperii Romani] Band 36, No. 738, Sear RCV III 10178. 20 mm., 3.42 g., 12 h.

    Gallienus centaur jpg version.jpg

    I don't yet have the other centaur in the same series (also tied to Apollo), facing right and holding a bow and arrow. There's also one that's part of his Legionary Series (Leg II Parthica), facing right and holding a club that looks exactly like a baseball bat in the examples I've seen.
    Last edited: May 1, 2021
    philologus_1, PeteB, Andres2 and 16 others like this.
  6. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Another centaur like Donna's - my only centaur. I'm a Sagittarius, so I feel I should have the one with the bow and arrow - what in the world did a centaur need a rudder for? Are we sure this isn't a cricket bat and ball?

    Gallienus - Centaur June 2018 (0x).jpg
    Gallienus Æ Antoninianus
    (c. 267-268 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    GALLIENVS AVG, Radiate head right / APOLLINI CONS AVG, Centaur walking left, globe in right hand, reversed rudder in left; H in exergue.
    RIC V, Part I, 164; Göbl 738b
    (2.48 grams / 20 mm)
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Gallienus' other centaur type is this one:

    Gallienus, AD 253-268.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 2.60 g, 19.6 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 267-268.
    Obv: GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head, right.
    Rev: APOLLINI CONS AVG, centaur walking right, drawing bow; Z in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 163; Göbl 735b; Cohen 72; RCV 10177; Hunter 95; Cunetio 1378.
  8. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Here is mine.. was in a three for $10 lot....
    So a $3.33 coin.
    I've overpaid for many so this offsets it a little... I really wish most of them were not so terrible.
  9. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    That's a beauty!...
  10. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Another one similar to @DonnaML's and @Marsyas Mike's
    But in the description on OCRE they list trophy, not rudder .

    Gallienus AE Antoninianus. GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right / APOLLINI CONS AVG, Centaur walking left, holding globe and trophy. Mintmark H. Cohen 74, RSC 74. Sear5 10177.
  11. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Is there a reason only Mat's description references Chiron? And is that an inference, or does it say it somewhere on the coin, it's Chiron? For that matter, is it assumed all these are of Chiron? Sorry if my inquisitiveness is nitpicking, but I'd really like to know.
  12. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    You're right about the trophy on OCRE. This puzzled me, so I dug through my records (whenever I attribute something, I save the sources I find to pdf.). I don't remember my thought process, but I found this note in Beast Coins:

    "Note: RIC describes the centaur holding a trophy, but it appears to me to be a rudder"

    This site (in French) calls it a rudder:

    Also, a nice little article by Jim Phelps on "The Centaur's Burden" argues convincingly for the rudder rather than the trophy. This is probably why I went with the rudder rather than the trophy. But in the end, I don't think anybody knows for sure:

    The Centaur 's Burden
    By Jim Phelps

    What is this centaur carrying?
    The "APOLLINI CONS AVG" coins from officina "H" of the Gallienus Zoo series show a centaur on the reverse, facing left with (usually) one foreleg raised. In his outstretched right hand he holds a globe, and he cradles an object in his left arm. What is this object?
    Almost every reference catalogue calls this a "trophy", a rather vague term which probably meant that they weren 't quite sure what it was. This is unsurprising - due to the high inflation rate at the time, the mints were pumping out huge quantities of coins. As a result, the coins are often on poor-quality flans, plus the dies (particularly the reverse) had a wide range of quality and were often used even after they had become heavily worn.

    So what IS the object that the centaur is holding? Since a "trophy" makes no sense, we need to look closer at the item. There 's a central line, plus two inwardly-curved lines which either taper down or else flare back out, plus sometimes a line at the lower portion which extends at a right angle from the rest of the piece. The matches nicely with portrayals of a rudder from other coins of this period.

    Another bit of evidence is the other item the centaur holds - a globe. The globe and the rudder are commonly shown together on coins of Fortuna, the Roman personification of luck. Fortuna may have had her origins in Nortia, the Roman goddess of fertility and chance, but by this period the personification seems to have been limited to luck or good fortune. While we aren 't clear on why the centaur would have been associated with luck, a very common reverse inscription on other coins of Gallienus is "Fortuna Redux" - "To the fortunate return" (of the emperor). This attribute of Fortuna watches over travelers, being quite well suited to Gallienus since he was almost constantly crisscrossing his empire, fighting revolts and barbaric incursions.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    This particular coin might provide evidence that the rudder and it 's purpose were in the engraver 's mind as he was preparing this die. The wavy lines to the right of the rudder look like waves - though the rudder is in an upside-down position, it still appears to be shown as if in use, passing through the water.
  13. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Very original on my part : Gallienus zoo series centaur !!

    Rome mint, 7th officina, AD 267-268
    GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right
    APOLLINI CONS AVG, Centaur walking right, drawing bow. Z at exergue
    2.41 gr
    Ref : Cohen # 72, RCV # 10177, Göbl # 735b, RIC # 163, CMR Gallien # 2a7

  14. Alegandron

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

    No, mine is named Fred.
  15. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Yeah. So I guess they don't all represent Chiron? And if that's it, how they know Mat's is Chiron?
  16. Alegandron

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

    When in doubt, Wikipedia and web-searches have an enormous amount of info about Centaurs and Chiron.
  17. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Alegandron likes this.
  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Tranquillina, Singara, Mesopotamia featuring Tyche, centaur Sagittarius above discharging bow.


  19. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    I was thinking much along those lines, as Chiron has a "death." Your coin might be "period-attributed" to him, when also coupled with Zeus, which of course makes a lot of sense. Do you believe we can say these others aren't all Chiron? Again, yours goes on record it is, while these others don't make that leap.
  20. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Everyone knows that is Salonina on the reverse of the Gallienus coins. She was WAY into cosplay, you know.

  21. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Thanks. That's a big help.
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