Featured Brutal scenes on ancient coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Marsman, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    What a beautiful and scarce coin this is :woot:
    The reverse is fascinating.
    Does it mean “You barbarian, give the emperor everything that is yours, even your most precious possesion” or something like that? This scene makes one feel uncomfortable. I wonder what the Roman citizens must have thought about this coin. To slaughter an enemy soldier on the reverse of a coin is one thing, to offer an innocent child is something else.......
    But then, it was of course a slave society.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
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  3. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Just to make it very clear This is NOT my coin. I enjoyed the depictions of carnage and mayhem but I suggest for sheer brutality I would go with this. Theoretically this is a depiction of Nero as Apollo signing and playing his lyre. I would imagine that listening to that guy for hours on end does not bear thinking about. Oh yes image courtesy of CNG. 98001032.jpg
  4. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    I breathe new life into this thread by showing you my latest purchase :)
    A very, very common coin, but what a brutal scene this is, an emperor pulling someone's hair.
    I bought this follis mainly because of the nice details.

    Valentinian def.png

    Valentinian I, follis.
    Siscia mint.
    2.54 g. 18 mm.
    Obv. D N VALENTINI-ANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Valentinian to the right.
    Rev. GLORIA RO-MANORVM, Q - RK, Valentinian in military dress, walking right, head left, dragging captive and holding labarum. Mintmark B SISCV.
    RIC IX 14a.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  5. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Well-Known Member

    Constans AE Centenionalis
    Trier Mint mark
    346 AD
    21mm 4,28g
    RIC 224

    Poor lil guy getting dragged from his hut
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Valens 9.jpg
    OBVERSE: D N VALENS P F AVG, diademed draped & cuirassed bust right
    REVERSE: GLORIA ROMANORVM, emperor walking right, head left, holding labarum displaying chi ro and dragging bound captive behind him, dot BSISC in ex. R in right field.
    Struck at Siscia 365 AD
    2.1g, 19mm
    RIC 5b.7
  7. joecoincollect

    joecoincollect Well-Known Member

    Not sure why anyone hasn’t posted this coin yet, I mean there are two heads on a stake or larabarum (??). Not sure what it is, brass colored, semi-magnetic, 5.5 gram. Sorry, I deleted picture of coin but you can see it on my IG account on ancients :ancientcoinconserve 748DAE1B-C3F1-4DB4-8F29-F8444AE5C4D8.jpeg

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

  9. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I remember watching "Braveheart". At the end The English have him "Hanged/ drawn/ quartered" pretty painfull. That was the form of punishment in Great Britain into 1800s. "THe Wheel of Misfortune" was used in Nurnberg. However the coinage depicted more pleasant themes like a Pascal Lamb.
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  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...This is going to sound like the nadir of stereotyping, but maybe there's less of this stuff on medieval coins because it was perceived as being closer to the default mode?
    ...I have one Scottish biography of Wallace. Trust me, the movie sanitized it.
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  11. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    At least as late as the 1750s in France -- not so long ago, in the grand scheme of things! -- one of the available punishments for crimes like robbery was being "broken on the wheel," quite literally. Naftali Hirtzel Lévy, a first cousin of one of my 5th-great-grandfathers in Alsace, was famously punished that way, although his conviction was overturned six months after his death. Not that it did him much good! See the Jewish Encyclopedia at

    LEVY, HIRTZEL : Alsatian
    martyr; born at Wettolsheim; executed at Colmar,
    Alsace, Dec. 31, 1754. He was accused with three
    other Jews of having stolen property amounting to
    three thousand livres from the house of a widow
    named Madeline Kafin. Notwithstanding that they
    all proved an alibi, he was condemned to "the ordi-
    nary and extraordinary question." He did not con-
    fess and was broken on the wheel the next day.
    The chief Jews of Alsace, convinced of his inno-
    cence, brought the case on appeal before the Privy
    Council of Paris, which reversed the verdict and
    proclaimed Levy innocent June 16, 1755. His re-
    mains were removed from the gallows, enveloped in
    a tallit, and buried in the Jewish cemetery of Jung-

    My direct ancestor's brother was also charged, but was not convicted. See also https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Grussenheim/gru001.html ("On 31 Dec 1754, Hirtzel Lévy, a Jew from Wettolsheim perished in Colmar . . ., as the innocent victim of a judicial error. He was rehabilitated through a judgment of the Parliament in Metz . . . He had been accused by a widow, Madeleine Koppe (Kaufin) of Houssen near Colmar, of breaking into her home during the night of 9-10 Dec 1754 and stealing money, metal and other goods such as smoked pork (!) hanging in the kitchen's fireplace. Also involved in this case were: Feiss, son of Simson (Geismar) of Grussenheim, Menke Lévy of Wettolsheim [the brother of my 5th-great-grandfather] and Moïse Lang of Ribeauvillé. The latter were acquitted after spending a few months in jail. (See Isidore Loeb. “Hirtzel Lévy, mort martyr à Colmar en 1754” in “ Annuaire de la Société des Etudes Juives, Paris, 1881)").
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  12. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    So sad. So terrible.
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  13. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Just, @DonnaML, just, Wow.
    Here's where I, personally, can get the most immediate, correspondingly subjective traction with this. Fast-forward to the earlier 20th century, in this great land of ours. ...Betting you know where this is going. Black people in the midwest and north (both preceding and during the 'Great Migration' from the Deep South --effectively an exodus from the so-called 'New South' --rueful laughter inexorably ensues) were perceived as an economic threat, once they had (brilliantly) gotten their bearings in their new surroundings. Wholesale violence ensued.
    It's from this context that I can't forget the profound contribution of American Jews to the classical phases of the American Civil Rights movement. Including several of the casualties. As I've acknowledged before, a while ago, many of these people were, or were immediate descendants of, political (...and, if the word still makes a grain of sense, 'racial') refugees from the Nazi regime. And, Thank you, they Knew what they were looking at.
    ...For this minute, it's worth putting that last 'Thank you' on something a little more emphatic than the otherwise neutral, 'rhetorical' level. ...Can I say this? Guess it's legal.
    Thank you.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. If you haven't already read it, I think you would like the book "The Warmth of Other Suns," by Isabel Wilkerson, a history of the Great Migration both in general and as told through the experiences of several families who migrated from the South to different cities in the Northeast, Midwest, and California. A wonderful book
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  15. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML, thanks back at you. That's on my 'to read' list. ...Yeah, we'll see where that goes. But the author was given at least one good, hour-long interview somewhere on NPR.
    ...It's kind of devastating to see how part of the generationally immediate context was the effectively total, 'state's rights' subversion of Reconstruction.
    ...Regarding that, I do think that, at least morally, Grant was one of our better presidents. He was doing the best he knew how, in his own, very politically toxic context.
    ...Remind you of anyone? Favorite line of Mark Twain, again: 'History doesn't repeat itself, but it sure as Hell rhymes.'
    Leading directly to William Faulkner: 'The past isn't dead. It's not even past.'
    People who view the Confederate Battle Flag as (big fat, balloon-sized air quotes: ) "Heritage," take note: where heritage is concerned, some of the rest of us are paying attention!!!
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
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  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    The last thread I saw here about that flag got deleted, so be careful!
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  17. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Oh, it Did? Hadn't checked; thanks for the good news! That was exactly what I was talking to.
    DonnaML likes this.
  18. OutsiderSubtype

    OutsiderSubtype Well-Known Member

    Here is my example of the popular type with Medusa's severed head, though I promise I wasn't just being bloodthirsty. I also like the portrait of Athena. She looks very stern and check out the Pegasus on her helmet!

    Pontus. Amisos. Time of Mithradates VI Eupator, 85-65 BCE. AE28. 28mm, 19 g. Obverse: Head of Athena right, wearing a crested helmet decorated with Pegasus leaping right. Reverse: AMIΣ[OY]. The hero Perseus standing facing, holding harpa in right hand and severed head of Medusa in left hand. Medusa's fallen body in background. Monogram in left field. SNG Copenhagen 137.
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  19. otlichnik

    otlichnik Well-Known Member

    Those aren't severed heads but rather imago - images of Emperors, their family or Gods on the top of military standards.

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  20. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...But where would the (pardon the Latinism) imagery have come from in the first place?
    Where severed heads are concerned, they kind of look close enough from here.
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  21. otlichnik

    otlichnik Well-Known Member

    Prior to the Imperial period, Roman military standards often had an animal that was the symbol or mascot of that legion, on top of the standard - Lion, Hippocamp, Dolphin, Wolf, etc.

    With the "cult of personality" associated with the Imperium, that was often changed to the Emperor. What was used was the imago - the bust of of the Emperor which served as a model for coinage and was also a quasi-holy symbol upon which oaths could be sword in the absence of the Emperor himself.

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