Featured Gods of Egypt

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by SeptimusT, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    I love the feel of Alexandrian drachms, but I also love the artistry on Alexandrian coinage. It isn’t quite as naturalistic as some Greek or Roman coinage, and they are often in pretty dreadful condition, but they have an originality and exoticism which isn’t found on a lot of ancient coinage. Because of that, I’ve made them a major part of my collection, and have specifically focused on those which display some form of Egyptian imagery. It’s been a while since I made a new thread, but I would like to share a few of these coins and invite everyone to share some of theirs as well. So, here are some of my coins depicting Egyptian (or ‘Egyptianizing’) deities.

    Pius Isis Drachm copy 2.png
    Antoninus Pius drachm
    Laureate bust right
    Reverse: Isis, crowned with disk, horns and plumes right, holding Harpocrates, crowned and holding lotus flower.
    Struck at Alexandria in 146/7, 34mm, 27.1g, Dattari 2648, RPC 13597 (temp)

    Depictions Isis and Harpocrates in one form or another are quite common in Egyptian coinage, and even beyond Egypt. The story of Isis and Osiris and their son Horus is one of the quintessential elements of Egyptian myth, and in Roman times Isis was worshipped from India (among the Kushans) to Britain. Although primarily a goddess of fertility and the moon, Isis was seen as something of a universal deity by her adherents.

    The name Harpocrates comes from the term Har-pa-khered, the Egyptian epithet for Horus as a child. He was a god of the dawn sun. Due to a misunderstanding of his usual gesture of holding a finger to his lips, which to the Egyptians symbolized childhood, Harpocrates was worshipped by the Greeks as the god of secrecy.

    Hadrian Canopi.jpg
    Hadrian drachm
    Laureate bust of Hadrian right
    Reverse: Two Canopi
    Struck at Alexandria in 133/4, 35mm, 25.79g, RPC 5881, Dattari 1661

    I have seen some sources describe these as Osiris and Isis depicted as canopic jars, but RPC opts to describe these as simply ‘canopi,’ saving specific designations for singular canopic jars. The term ‘canopic’ probably originated from the city of Canopus, where Osiris was worshipped in the form of a jar. Although it resembles the ‘canopic’ jars used to preserve the organs of the mummified dead, this Osiris-as-a-Jar is probably connected to Osiris’ association with the life giving Nile waters, and therefore symbolizes a water container. He was thus referred to as Osiris-Hydreios. This depiction was common in the Greco-Roman cult of Isis, and it appears that the imagery of the Canopus and funerary jars became conflated during this period, and the entire Egyptian pantheon was sometimes depicted in this fashion. I am amazed by how well the details on the jar on the right parallel this statue from Hadrian's villa, and finer examples of the coin show it even more clearly.

    BMC speculates that these coins may depict two different aspects of Osiris, but I believe that this imagery needs further investigation and it remains an ongoing research project for me.

    Tetradrachm of Hadrian
    Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Reverse: Mummiform Ptah-Sokar-Osiris right, holding was-scepter
    Struck at Alexandria, AD 127/28, 26mm, 14.06g, RPC 5713

    Ptah-Sokar-Osiris is an amalgamation of three gods: Ptah, an ancient Egyptian creator god, Sokar, a funerary deity, and of course Osiris. It's a very unusual depiction for a coin, since he usually shows up in statue form for funerary purposes. Can't get more Egyptian than a mummy, though.

    Drachm of Antoninus Pius
    Laureate bust right
    Reverse: Hermanubis standing left, head right, wearing kalathos, holding caduceus downwards and palm leaf.
    Struck in Alexandria in 141-2, 34mm, 25.45g, Dattari 2627, RPC 13496

    Hermanubis resulted from the conflation of Hermes and Anubis through the interpretatio graecia, since both gods guided the souls of the dead through the afterlife. I believe that this coin may be one of only two of the type known in private collections, and 1 of 4 known in general. It lacks the jackal that often accompanies the god, but he does hold the caduceus of Hermes and the palm branch of Anubis.

    Tetradrachm of Commodus
    Laureate bust right
    Reverse: Bust of Zeus-Amon right, wearing solar disk and horns.
    Struck at Alexandria in 186/7, 23mm, 12.4g, Dattari 3900

    Zeus-Amon is an interesting combination of the solar deity Amun-Ra, Zeus and the chief god of the Kushite pantheon, whose name is not known but who was depicted as a ram. He was worshipped by the Greeks from an ancient time, and by the Roman period, his depiction was more Greek than anything else, but he still bears the sun disk of Ra and the horns of the Kushite god. Of course, Alexander the Great claimed this incarnation of Zeus as his father.

    I think that this coin is probably ex-Hermanubis Collection because of the uniformly black patina, and the fact that it came to market after CNG's sale of his coins (Heritage sold it in an NGC slab), but it isn't attributed as such.

    I could post a few more, and maybe include other 'Egyptian' deities that aren't part of the classic pantheon (Antinous, Alexandria, Serapis...), but I'll hope someone else does that.
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Septimius Severus 14.jpg
    AE17 Assarion
    OBVERSE: AV K L CEVHPOC, laureate bust right
    REVERSE: NIKOPOL PROC IC, Draped bust of Serapis in modius, facing right
    Struck at Nikopolis ad Istrum, 193-211 AD
    2.6g, 15mm
    Moushmov 927
    Ptolemy IV.jpg
    OBVERSE: Diademed head of Zeus Ammon right
    REVERSE: PTOLEMIAOU BASILEWS, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, looking back at cornucopiae under right wing
    Struck at Egypt 221-205 BC
    46.4g, 36mm
    SNG Cop 221
    Ptolemy VI.jpg
    OBVERSE: Diademed head of Zeus-Ammon right
    REVERSE: ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ, two eagles standing left on thunderbolt; cornucopiae before
    Struck at CYPRUS 180-176 BC
    6.11g, 20mm
    Svoronos 1426, SNG Cop 315
  4. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    Cool coins @SeptimusT ! I'd love to get one with some of those canopic jars on them.

    Here's a Nilus reverse Hadrian drachm.


    Hadrian 117-138 AD Æ Drachm (35mm, 15.4g) Dated yr 2 (117/8 AD) Alexandria

    Laureate bust right, slight drapery. / Nilus reclining left, holding reed and cornucopia; below; L B (date) in ex. Köln 760.
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Isis breastfeeding the infant Horus on a denarius of Julia Domna:

    Domna SAECVLI FELICITAS Denarius.jpg

    Isis with a sistrum and situla on an antoninianus of Claudius II:

    Claudius II SALVS AVG Isis and sistrum.jpg
    Orielensis, TheRed, Andres2 and 14 others like this.
  6. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Antoninus Pius Ae Diobol 144-145 A.D. Emmett 1736(8) var. Rv. Agathodaemon alexpiusd3.JPG
  7. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Some sweet coins
  8. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    Egypt, Alexandria. Hadrian, Drachm circa 134-135AD (year 19)


    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Hadrian, 117-138 Drachm circa 134-135 (year 19), Æ 34.9mm
    Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. L ƐΝΝƐΑΚΔ Bust of Ammon r., set on basis, crowned with disc. RPC 5944. Dattari-Savio Pl. 93, 7819 (this rev. only.
    From the Dattari collection.
  9. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    A very interesting post with 5 great coins!

    Here's Harpocrates with his lower body as a crocodile (CT/TIF term: "harpodile"). He's holding his finger to his lips, just as you described as typical.
    According to NFA, the Menelaites nome, where this coin was issued, contained the town of Canopus. Its main cults were devoted to Harpocrates and Sobek, the crocodile god, thus the depiction on this coin. (Sobek is apparently also closely associated with Horus.)
  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Very nice! I'll post some this weekend when I have time :).

    I don't think it is. The Hermanubis Collection tets almost all have a very unnatural gunmetal gray-brown color that is the result of a certain UK coin conservator's work. Your Commodus looks more reddish-brown and the surfaces look better than the Hermanubis coins.
  11. Alegandron

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

    Super coins everyone, and nice opening BARRAGE of cool coins @SeptimusT !

    Unfortunately, I do not have much regarding Egyptian Deities on my coins...

    Here is the REAL DEAL...
    RI AR Den Julia Domna 200 CE Felicitas Isis Horus RIC 577.jpg
    RI AR Den Julia Domna 200 CE Felicitas Isis Horus RIC 577

    and here is the FOURREE...
    RI Julia Domna 194-217 Fouree AR Plated Den Isis Horus.jpg
    RI Julia Domna 194-217 Fouree AR Plated Den Isis Horus
  12. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Here's one with Hermanubis, or, as I like to call him, Hermanubydoo. :D

    FESTIVAL OF ISIS. Anonymous.
    Rare. AE. 0.79g, 12mm. Rome mint, mid-4th Century AD. Alföldi, Festival pl. VIII, 11; Vagi 3393. O: [ISIS F-A]RIA, draped bust of Isis right, wearing hem-hem crown and necklace. R: [VOTA P-]VBLICA, Hermanubis standing left in Roman military dress, holding sistrum and caduceus.
    Orielensis, TheRed, Andres2 and 14 others like this.
  13. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    Here's a couple - a Nerva with Agathadaemon serpent wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt and a Hadrian drachms featuring a reclining Nilos with crocodile, which may refer to the god Sobek, widely worshiped in the Fayyum and in Upper Egypt at Kom Ombo.



    TIF, TheRed, Andres2 and 7 others like this.
  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

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