Cybele riding a lion!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, May 26, 2018.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I have been wanting a coin depicting Cybele riding a lion for some time. I have a number of coins depicting Cybele because I like her. Therefore, I jumped at the opportunity to acquire this provincial for a bargain price (unfortunate spot of corrosion right on Cybele's face) because I didn't know when I'd have the opportunity to buy another one because it's quite scarce.

    I was going to write an essay about Cybele as Magna Mater, but I have nothing to add that Bill Welch hasn't already covered in this excellent piece here.

    Post your Cybeles or anything you feel is relevant!

    Domna Nicopolis Cybele on lion.jpg
    Julia Domna AD 193-217.
    Roman provincial Æ 23 mm, 11.12g.
    Moesia Inferior, Nikopolis ad Istrum, legate Aurelius Gallus, AD 201-203.
    Obv: IOVΛIA ΔOMNA CE, draped bust right.
    Rev: VΠ AVΡ ΓAΛΛOV NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠΡOC ICTΡON, Magna Mater (Cybele) riding lion right, holding scepter and tympanum.
    Refs: H&J, Nikopolis; Varbanov 2894 (same dies); AMNG --; Moushmov --; SNG Copenhagen --; BMC Thrace --; Lindgren --; Mionnet --.

    Notes: This is a die match to a specimen sold by CNG Jan. 27, 2016:

    Domna Nicopolis Cybele on lion CNG.jpg

    The same reverse type is known on coins of Septimius Severus and Geta (AMNG 1672).

    Here are a few of my other coins depicting Cybele in my collection:

    Titus and Domitian Laodicea Combusta 1.jpg

    Severus Markianopolis Cybele.JPG

    Domna Mater Deum Denarius.jpg

    Faustina Jr MATRI MAGNAE Sestertius.jpg

    Domna Matri Deum Denarius.jpg
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice collection of Cybele
    Septimius Severus 8.jpg
  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice one! Here’s an example of the Geta you mentioned.

    Scarce. AE26. 10.82g, 26mm, MOESIA INFERIOR, Nikopolis ad Istrum, circa AD 209-210, magistrate Flavius Ulpianus. Varbanov 3304 (R5). O: AVT K Π CЄΠ ΓЄTAC AV, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: V ΦΛ OVΛΠIAN NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC ICT, Cybele holding spear and tympanum, riding on back on lion right.

    One of my favourites has her with her lion-powered carriage.

    Last edited: May 27, 2018
  5. Alegandron

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

    CYBELE - Roman Republic
    RR P Furius Crassipes 84 BC AR Denarius 19mm 3.84g Rome Turreted head Cybele right foot upward Curule chair Cr 356-1a Syd 735 Furia 20
    Publius, randygeki, dlhill132 and 9 others like this.
  6. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Nice pride of Cybeles, @Roman Collector! I want some too :) Bill Welch's page is outstanding, as is his entire "moonmoth" site.

    @Alegandron, that is one of my favorite funny moneyer names: Furius Crassipes (which I always misread as Furious Crass Pipes).
    Theodosius, galba68 and Alegandron like this.
  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Look what they have at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston! It's Cybele riding on a lion!

    Publius, Johndakerftw, Orfew and 2 others like this.
  8. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Nice find, @Roman Collector. I commented on this coin type in a Celator article about Atargatis/Dea Syria and her connection to a parodic moment in Apulieus's Golden Ass (aka Metamorphoses). Below is an excerpt. The article can be read here: Essay on Apuleius Richardson.pdf?dl=0

    I made the same post in this thread, which eventually got around to discussing Cybele on a Lion:

    From my essay: “Perhaps due to religious syncretism involving Atargatis and Cybele, Antonine and Severan coinage often depicted the Great Mother goddess Cybele similarly seated, holding a tympanum with a lion at her feet. It is this association between Atargatis and her lions that is parodied most cleverly in [Apuleius’s] Metamorphoses. Instead of being borne in majesty by the noble lion, the cult statue of Atargatis is carried on the back of an ass. Numismatic reverse types offer insight into the joke since many coins depict Atargatis being carried on a lion’s back. The earliest such coin is a didrachm of Manbog, the pre-Hellenistic Syrian name for Hierapolis, likely struck sometime in the fourth century B.C. Later Roman provincial coins of Caracalla, Severus Alexander, Philip I, and Philip II would continue this iconographical tradition, depicting Atargatis riding a lion and holding a scepter. Similar Severan reverse types feature Cybele (or her North African equivalent “Dea Caelestis”) also riding a lion. Although these issues are slightly later than the probable composition date of the Metamorphoses, they testify to an iconographical tradition that likely informs the Apuleius text..."
    Roman Collector likes this.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you so much! Years ago I read The Golden Ass, but it was before I was aware of this coin type and its iconography. Really interesting article -- thanks for pointing it out to me!
    Gavin Richardson likes this.
  10. Publius

    Publius Active Member

    Septimius Severus, AD 193 – 211
    Consular Legate - Flavius Ulpianus
    Varbanov 865, Æ26, 13,29 g.,
    Kybele seated left, holding patera, arm resting on drum, lions at sides. Epsilon in left field. :happy:
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page