Etenna - Origin Story

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by finny, Aug 20, 2020.

  1. finny

    finny Supporter! Supporter

    IMG_20200819_162051.jpg IMG_20200819_162035.jpg

    Here's a coin I recently identified. I was looking through snake coins on Forum in order to id a couple of my other coins. I didn't even realize there was a snake on this one.

    Obverse: A girl entangled with a snake, amphora at her feet.
    Reverse: A curved blade with E and T in the field.

    The legend goes that 2 men encountered the girl and snake. When they used a knife to try to kill the snake they were unable to and the snake announced that it was a god. The snake and girl procreated and the resultant line was the people of Etenna in Pisidia.

    VCoins -
    Forum -

    IdI be excited to see other people's coins of this type as well as other coins that represent origin myths and stories (like the she-wolf suckling Remus and Romulus)
    zumbly, Herodotus, Bing and 4 others like this.
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  3. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    I have never heard that story. I read N.V. Sekunda, “Anatolian War Sickles and the Coinage of Etenna,” in R. Ashton (ed.), Studies in Ancient Coinage from Turkey but I can't find it now to check. I believed the origin myth of Etenna was lost to history.
    finny likes this.
  4. Brian Bucklan

    Brian Bucklan Well-Known Member

    Etenna types with 1) Two men in battle with curved knife and 2) Curved knife; both have the female walking with serpent on the opposite side.
    Etenna Pisidia Male Figures EB.jpg Etenna Curved Knife.jpg
    zumbly, Herodotus, ancientone and 3 others like this.
  5. finny

    finny Supporter! Supporter

    Those are really cool! Definitely in better shape than mine too ;) I like how much detail can be seen in yours. Awesome! Thank you for sharing
  6. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Here is a silver coin from Etenna

    PISIDIA. Etenna. 3rd century BC. Obol, 10 mm, 0.62 g
    Rev. Pruning hook (or war sickle, or harpa), with vine leaf to left.
    Ref: SNG France 1530 var (no leaf). Von Aulock, Pisidiens II 401–2 var. (no leaf).

    There are also gorgon/Athena obols with a mysterious symbol that looks like a lower-case letter t instead of the usual knucklebone or spear, like this:

    PISIDIA, Etenna?, 3/2 obol, 0.99g 9mm
    O: Facing head (humanized gorgon?).
    R: t and astragalos behind helmeted head (of Athena?).
    Historia Numorum, page 708; Imhoof-Blumer, Kl. M. XIII 2

    No one is quite sure if these are Etenna or not. Imhoof-Blumer believed they are. I believe the symbol represents the hooked knife. These can often be picked up for the same price as the other ones.

    I should probably write up something on the obols of Selge and Aspendos. I never really cracked the system. The symbols are knucklebone (very common), spear (common), snake+knucklebone (rare), t (rare), t+knucklebone (rare). The snake and the t suggest Etenna. There are also imitative types.
    Curtisimo, zumbly, Bing and 4 others like this.
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