Featured Greeks, Cattle & Ancient Coins

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Humans have been making images of cattle for many millennia - this painting from Lascaux caves depicts aurochs (wild ancestors of domesticated cattle), horses and deer. The Magdalénien people of the Upper Paleolithic in western Europe that produced these paintings are estimated to have lived 12,000-17,000 years ago.
    Image from Prof. Saxx of a Lascaux cave painting, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

    My latest ancient coin has a beautiful image of a bull facing on the obverse and Artemis on the reverse. Recently, I have been reading a book by Jeremy McInerney about cattle and the Greeks. The book covers many aspects of the relationship between cattle and the ancient Greeks.

    “The accumulation of experience between cattle – hunted, tamed, bred, nurtured, yoked, milked, killed, eaten, worshiped – fixes them firmly in the habitus of the Greeks.”
    - Jeremy McInerney

    Habitus is defined as the collection of ideas that shape a culture’s thoughts, perceptions, and actions. I will not attempt a review of the book at the level of depth that one can find online by Susan A. Curry. The book is available in hardcover and kindle eBook versions: Jeremy McInerney, The Cattle of the Sun: Cows and Culture in the World of the Ancient Greeks. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2010. xvii, 340. ISBN 97806911400. The title is a reference to the myth of Odysseus and the Cattle of the Sun. When Odysseus' men disobey him and eat the cattle of the sun, they are condemned by the gods.

    Unfortunately the eBook is missing images by design - perhaps an issue with copyrights? This unfortunately means that the 2 coin images in the book (a Poseidonian stater, a nomos from Thourioi, Lucania) are replaced with:
    Given that the kindle edition was more expensive than a hardcover print edition, this is a little disappointing. I prefer electronic copies for most books as my library shelf space ran out years ago, and I don't like prioritizing which books I keep. My electronic shelf space is infinite, but has some risks of greater impermanence as well. I hope that my digital library will be readable still in 20 years, I doubt that it will be usable in current form 500 years from now.

    The book is rich with facts and stories about cattle in ancient Greece and also draws an arc from Greek prehistory to modern peoples. It is well researched, well written, very engaging in its style, and has a useful bibliography. I will make up for the lack of coin images in the book with some photos of ancient coins depicting cattle, starting with my most recent addition:
    Phocis Hemidrachm Bull.jpg
    Phokis, federal coinage, circa 357-354 BC, AR Triobol/Hemidrachm, Philomelos, strategos
    Obv: facing head of bull
    Rev: Head of Artemis right; branch to left
    Ref: Williams 303 (O220/R189); BCD Lokris 463.1 (these dies); HGC 4, 104
    Notes: Greeks and Cattle, reference for info on these coins see :
    Before reading the book I had not heard of the "auroch" - the wild ancestor of cattle.
    The auroch was much larger than its domesticated cousins (more information from this thought.com article). Domestication and the associated reduction in size in early domestication is one of the many interesting facts of the book. This evolution perhaps due to human preference for a more manageable animal. This next coin showing a docile looking bull from Macedonia:
    Acanthus triobol.jpg
    Macedon, Acanthus, circa 470-390 BC, AR tetrobol
    Obv: forepart of bull left, head right; ΠE above
    Rev: Quadripartite incuse square with granulated recesses

    This coin depicts "bull leaping" which perhaps serves as demonstration of the mastery of man over wild bull.
    Thessaly Drachm Bull .jpg
    Thessaly, Larissa, circa 450/40-420 BC, drachm
    Obv: Thessalos striding to right, naked but for chlamys over his shoulders, his petasos attached to a cord around his neck and flying in the air behind him, holding a band with both hands around the forehead of a bull leaping right\
    Rev: ΛΑΡ-IΣΑΙΑ, bridled horse with trailing rein prancing right; all within shallow incuse square
    Ref: Cf. BCD Thessaly II 372.3 (arrangement of ethnic); HGC 4, 418

    This coin is a favorite Roman republican coin which shows a plowman with his oxen and comes with a story of Sulla's caution to those who would annoy him:
    C M Capito Plowman.jpg
    C. Marius C. f. Capito, 81 BC, AR Denarius
    Obv: CAPIT. behind, draped bust of Ceres right, wearing grain-ear wreath and earring; LXXXXVIII above, ring? control mark below chin
    Rev: C. MARI. C. F. / S. C in two lines in exergue, husbandman plowing left with a yoke of oxen; LXXXXVIII above
    Ref: Crawford 378/1c

    Killing of a domesticated animal came with rituals of forgiveness and sacrifice to reconcile the violence and appease the gods. The scene on the reverse pointing to the Battle of Lake Regillus (circa 496 BC), where the moneyer's ancestor A. Postumius Albinus, in command of the Roman army, defeated the Latin League, led by Tarquin the Proud, former king of Rome. Before the battle, the Romans sacrificed to Diana.
    A Postumius Albinus.jpg
    A. Postumius A.f. Sp.n. Albinus, 81 BC, AR serrate denarius, Rome mint
    Obv: Draped bust of Diana right, with bow and quiver over shoulder; bucranium above
    Rev: Togate figure standing left on rock, holding aspergillum over head of ox heifer standing right; lighted altar between them
    Ref: Crawford 372/1
    Note: (with thanks to @DonnaML) Livy, History of Rome 1.45, describes the sacrificed animal as: "A cow is said to have been calved to a certain person, the head of a family among the Sabines, of surprising size and beauty. Her horns, which were hung up in the porch of the temple of Diana, remained, for many ages, a monument of this wonder."

    Perhaps this coin from Campania is an appropriate coin to conclude, with man and bull combined. This Neapolitan bull is meant to represent Achelöos, the water god of ancient Greece. Wild aurochs lived in the marshy areas and floodplains of rivers and required a much wetter environment than modern cattle.
    Campania Neapolis Bull Nike.jpg
    Campania, Neapolis, circa 275-250 BC
    Obv: ΝΕΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, laureate head of Apollo left; uncertain letter or monogram to right
    Rev: Man-headed bull standing right, head facing; above, Nike flying right, crowing bull; IΣ below

    Despite the lack of coin images, I can easily recommend the book for its engaging writing and well researched overview of Greeks and cattle, with many interesting references from a study of strontium and zinc levels in Athenian bones to determine the level of meat in their diet to discussion of metaphors in Aristophanes' Knights.

    Additions, comments, and corrections are always appreciated. Post your coins of cattle, cows, bulls, or anything else you find interesting or entertaining.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
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  3. Scipio

    Scipio Well-Known Member

    D51F47A2-6FE5-41A3-98B3-3020C24AAE99.jpeg 658291E3-D250-40CF-8EB4-848B4121059C.jpeg L. THORIUS BALBUS ; GENS THORIA
    AR Denarius Rome 105 BC
    OBVERSE: Head of Juno Sospita wearing goat-skin headdress, acronym I. S. M. R. behind.
    REVERSE: Bull charging right, R above, L THORIVS below, BALBVS in exergue

    The acronyme ISMR (Iuno Sospita Mater Rei publicae) is considered to allude to the provenance from Lanuvium of the gens Thoria. The bull on reverse (taurus in latin) linked to the name of the same gens.
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, (200 - 80 B.C.)
    AR Drachm
    Ariston (Moneyer), Ainea (Magistrate),
    O: APIΣTΩN (moneyer), cow left, head turned, suckling calf right.
    R: AI/NE/A Curved, double-stellate pattern, no center device line, petal rays, seven dots, line border

    BITHYNIA. Kalchedon (340 - 320 B.C)
    AR Siglos
    O: KAΛX Bull standing left on ear of corn.
    R: Mill-sail incuse
    SNG BM 112

    Cilicia, Tarsus; Satrap Mazaios, (361-334 B.C.)
    AR Stater
    O: Baal of Tarsos seated left, holding eagle, grain ear, grapes, and scepter; TR (in Aramaic) to lower left, M (in Aramaic) below throne.
    R: Lion attacking bull, monogram below.
    Casabonne Series 2, Group C; SNG BN –; SNG Levante 106

    Ex.Philip Ashton Collection
    Ex Harlan J Berk Buy or Bid, #214, Lot #89

    Julia Mamaea (222 - 235 A.D.)
    Thrace, Deultum
    O: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diademed and draped bust right.
    R: CFPD, forepart of bull left.
    Varbanov (E) 2380; Jurakova 202var.

  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Phokis Federal Coinage.jpg
    AR Triobol
    OBVERSE: Bull’s head facing
    REVERSE: Laureate head of Apollo right, Φ-Ω before, lyre behind
    Struck at Phokis 357-346 BC
    2.50g, 14mm
    SNG Cop 121
  7. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Nice article @Sulla80 . Here are a few of my bulls.

    Roman Empire
    Julian II (AD 360-363)
    AE1, Antioch mint, struck ca. AD 361-363
    Dia.: 28 mm
    Wt.: 8.7 g
    Obv.: D N FL CL IVLI-ANVS P F AVG: Diademed, cuirassed bust right.
    Rev.: SECVRITAS REI PVB; Bull, head facing, standing right. Two starts above
    Ref.: RIC VIII 216, pg 532
    Ex Frank S. Robinson Collection, Purchased from David Micheals (Palladium) in the 1990s, ex FSR Auction 107 lot 389 (Jan. 2019), ex FSR Jan. 2010 sale.

    Thessaly, Krannon
    AE Chalkous, struck ca. 350-300 BC
    Dia.: 15.4 mm
    Wt.: 2.41 g
    Obv.: Thessalian rider and horse, rearing right
    Rev.: KPAN Bull butting right, trident above
    Ref.: BCD Thessaly II 118.5; HGC 4, 391
    Ex zumbly collection; Ex BCD collection with tag stating “V. Ex Thess., Apr. 94, DM 35”; Ex AMCC 2, Lot 5 (Nov. 9, 2019)

    Roman Empire
    Philip I, AD 244-249
    AE30, Viminacium mint, MOESIA SUPERIOR
    Dia.: 30 mm
    Wt.: 17.4 g
    Rev.: PMS COL VIM
    Ref.: Martin 2.10.1, Varbanov 132
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  8. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Enjoying the thread thanks!
    JITAL 2.jpg
  9. Alegandron

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

    Great coins and thread, @Sulla80

    Second Punic War.
    Carthage 216-215 BCE Sardinia mint AE 3.3g Tanit L - BULL stndg R CNP 377a

    RI Augustus 27 BCE-14CE AE As cut made into a Semis Spain Celsa Mint 29mm 5.0g Laureate Augustus - Bull RPC271 Cut in ancient times to make change

    Earlier invader of Carthage

    Sicily Syracuse
    317-289 BCE
    AE 23 Hemilitron
    Bull Dolphin Left

    Acheloos or Man-Faced-Bull with Beard

    Sicily Gela AR Litra Horse-Achelous 0.63g 13mm 465-450 BCE HGC 2 p 373
  10. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Thursday is the "early bird" day at the NYINC. The entrance fee for that day is over $100, thus I always refer to it as my "stupidity tax" The first time I went to this show I had actually planned not to go. After all that is a lot of money to spend just to get into a show. This was the coin that changed my mind.
    Thourioi Ar Distater or dinomos 400-359 BC Obv. Head of Athena right wearing crested Attic style helmet Rv Bull butting right. HN1803 var HGC 1255 This coin illustrated. 15.96 grms 25 mm Photo by W. Hansen thourioi6.jpg The night before I was in my hotel room trying to work out what I was going to do the next day when I happened on the CNG site and noticed that they had just put up a group of coins in their coin shop. This one immediately caught my attention as it was of a type I had been looking for for a while. I spent much of the night weighing the pros and cons of actually going to the early bird and it was not until the next morning that I concluded that I needed to go. So I went. This was the last show at the Waldorf Astoria so the rooms were a bit of a maze. I got in looked at the coin, then took about half an hour to look around at some of the other tables went back and bought it.
  11. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste


    5.70 g 19.04 mm

    Campania, Suessa Aurunca
    268 – 240 BC
    OBV:Laureate head of Apollo, L, O at right
    REV: SVESANO, Man-headed bull, Nike flying above, crowning bull with laurel branch or wreath. SNG Cop 586 SNG ANS 606
  12. Alegandron

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

    What a great coin! I enjoy that one.
    Roman Collector, paschka and Sulla80 like this.
  13. paschka

    paschka Well-Known Member

  14. Meander

    Meander Well-Known Member

    A great writeup @Sulla80. I particularly like your coin from Phokis with that well executed facing head of a bull.

    BITHYNIA, Kalchedon. Circa 387-340 BC. AR Stater (15.19 gm). KALX, bull standing left on wheat ear; caduceus and a star before / Quadripartite incuse square, granulated. SNG BMC Black Sea 96

  15. paschka

    paschka Well-Known Member

  16. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    A useful conversion:

    "A single Thomson’s gazelle yields the equivalent of 300 figs worth of energy, 2,000 figs of protein, and 666 figs of fat. But carnivory based on hunting is unreliable: figs are easier to catch than a gazelle."
    - McInerney, Jeremy. The Cattle of the Sun: Cows and Culture in the World of the Ancient Greeks (p. 23). Princeton University Press.

    An impressive set of coins in the thread so far - although certainly more bulls than necessary. Here are some stats from the ACSearch database on number of coins found with various searches:
    • bull: 47186
    • cow: 3321
    • oxen: 1555
    • zebu: 817
    • ox: 737
    • heifer: 339
    And I will add a heifer:
    Byzantion PY.jpg
    Thrace, Byzantion, circa 387-340 BC, AR Drachm
    Obv: Heifer standing left on dolphin left; raised foreleg
    Rev: Incuse punch of mill-sail pattern
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Some bulls, a couple of oxen, and a heifer (the animal portrayed on the A. Postumius A.f. Sp.n. Albinus denarius shown in the OP -- not actually an ox).


    Roman Republic, L. Thorius Balbus, AR Denarius, 105 BCE. Obv. Head of Juno Sospita R., “ISMR” [Iunonis Sospitae Magnae Reginae]* / Rev. Bull Charging Right, A above, “L. THORIUS BALBUS.” RSC I Thoria 1, Crawford 316/1, Sear RCV I 192, BMCRR Rome 1615. 20.11 mm., 3.85 g. David R. Sear Certificate of Authenticity, 11/16/2012, No. 690CY/RR/CO/C. SB Binder 2 RRC 316/1 [pp. 50-51 for control mark “A”]

    Thorius Balbus (bull) (2).jpg

    * @Scipio gives a different meaning. But all the sources I look at seem to give my meaning. See, e.g., https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hoppe...ic+letter=B:entry+group=2:entry=balbus-bio-11 (William Smith. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, entry for Balbus: "The annexed coin of L. Thorius Balbus contains on the obverse the head of Juno Sospita, whose worship was of great antiquity at Lanuvium, with the letters I. S. M. R. (that is, Junonis Sospitae magnae reginae)." See also the dictionary of Latin inscriptions at https://www.trismegistos.org/abb/abbreflist.php?combin_id=66298 (same meaning given).

    A pair of oxen:

    Roman Republic, C. [Gaius] Marius C.f. Capito, AR Serrate Denarius 81 BCE [Harlan: 81/80 BCE], Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust of Ceres right, wearing earring, head bound with corn wreath, hair falling down neck; CAPIT• upwards behind, with legend followed by control number CI; control symbol (knife [Crawford, Table XXXIII at p. 395 ] or distaff [BMCRR p. 355]) to right of chin* / Rev. Husbandman/plowman left holding goad in right hand and plow in left, with yoke of two oxen plowing left with heads turned to face forward; horizontal test cut and control-number CI above; C•MARI•C•F / S•C [Senatus consulto] on two lines in exergue. Crawford 378/1c; RSC I Maria 9; Sear RCV I 300 (ill.); Sydenham 744b; BMCRR Vol. I 2855-2890 [Control-number CI is no. 2873]; Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012) [“RRM I”], Ch. 2 at pp. 8-13. 19 mm., 3.97 g., 10 hr. Purchased Feb. 21, 2021 from Nomos AG, Obolos Auction 18, Lot 468.**

    Nomos Obolos Auction 18 Marius Capito denarius (Control-number CI) jpg version.jpg

    *Crawford’s three sub-types of this issue (378/1a-1c) differ in the existence and placement of the control-symbols found on some of the coins in addition to the control-numerals found on all of them (with the obverse and reverse of a coin always bearing the same numeral except in the case of hybrids, which are almost uniformly fourrees). All three sub-types are numbered continuously: 1a bears the control-numerals from I to XXIII (with no control-symbols); 1b the numerals from XXVI to XXXII (with control-symbols in the exergue on the reverse) [examples of XXIV and XXV are not known]; and 1c the numerals from XXXIII to CLI (with control-symbols on the obverse beneath & to the right of Ceres’s chin). (See Crawford Vol. I p. 392; see also Table XXXIII, listing the known control-symbols at pp. 392-395.) Examples with 125 of the 151 conrol-numerals were known to Crawford, on 125 different obverse and reverse dies. Thus, no pair of control-numerals, or combination of control-numeral and control-symbol, has more than on pair of dies, and the seven other examples of Crawford 378/1c with the control-numeral CI found on acsearch are all double-die matches to my example. Since Crawford was published in 1974, at least one coin with a previously unknown control-numeral (LXXXII) has been found, in the Mesagne hoard, bearing a tripod as its control-symbol.

    ** Regarding the general symbolism of a husbandman plowing with oxen, as depicted on the reverse of this coin, see Jones, John Melville, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby 1990) at pp. 121-122 (entry for “Founder”), explaining that the Romans “inherited a custom from the Etruscans of defining the boundaries of a new city by marking them with a plough,” so that certain coins showing plowing can be interpreted as a reference to the founding of colonies.

    Regarding this coin-type in particular, Grueber states at p. 353 n. 2 of BMCRR Vol. I that “[t]he type of the head of Ceres [the goddess of agriculture] and the husbandman refers to the foundation of a colony” by Sulla’s veterans. Crawford disagrees, stating at Vol. I p. 392 that “I do not believe that there is any reference to Sulla’s colonies” on these coins, and that the obverse and reverse images simply complement each other. Harlan (see RRM I Ch. 2 at pp. 10-12) disagrees with Crawford and prefers Grueber’s interpretation, stating at p. 12 that this type “not only depicts the expectations of the veterans who were to receive land, but also expounds the benefits to be found in the return to peace, masking in bucolic tranquility the terrible exactions that procured the soldiers’ rewards. Besides the land given to the veterans in those new colonies established among the Italians, Sulla also had to pay his troops their back wages and maintain them until they were discharged. This special S•C issue may well represent some of that money distributed to the soldiers and the design on the coin also may be heralding the expected grants of land.” See also Sear RCV I at p. 128 regarding the S•C in the exergue on the reverse of Crawford 378/1c: “It would seem that during his term of office this moneyer was authorized by the Senate to effect a substantial increase in the originally-produced volume of his coinage.” (The first series of this type [Crawford 378/1a] does not bear the S•C, the only case in the Roman Republican coinage of the S•C being added to a type in the course of production during a given year.)

    A heifer:

    Roman Republic, A. Postumius A.f. Sp.n. Albinus (Aulus Postumius Albinus, son of Aulus [mint magistrate ca. 96 BCE], and grandson of Spurius [Consul 110 BCE]), AR Serrate Denarius, 81 BCE. Obv. Draped bust of Diana right, with bow and quiver over shoulder, bucranium above [off flan] / Rev. Roman priest standing facing on rocky ground (on Aventine Hill), head left, with right arm extended holding aspergillum, sprinkling heifer [Harlan, RRM I*] which he is about to sacrifice, a lighted altar between them, A POST - AF - SN • ALBIN [AL in monogram] around. RSC I Postumia 7, Crawford 372/1, Sydenham 745, Sear RCV I 296 (ill.), Harlan, RRM I Ch. 1 at pp. 1-7, BMCRR 2836. 18.54 mm., 3.85 g. Ex. Spink & Sons Ltd. (before 2000 because of address on Spink coin tag; probably before 1974 given citation to Sydenham but not Crawford.)

    Postumius (Diana-Sacrifice of Heifer) COMBINED 2.jpg

    * See Michael Harlan, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012) (“RRM I”) (using this coin-type as the cover illustration for his book). At pp. 3-4, Harlan argues that in the legend which, as Crawford acknowledges, is the basis for the reverse of this coin -- namely, the sacrifice to Diana on the Aventine Hill founding her temple there ca. 500 BCE, establishing Rome as the caput rerum for all of Italy [and symbolizing the victory of Sulla over the rebel Italians in 82 BCE] -- the sacrificed animal was a heifer with wondrous horns, not a bull or an ox. (Citing Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, ch. 45 [available at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0145:book=1:chapter=45].)

    Another bull:

    Gallienus (son of Valerian I), Billon Antoninianus, 258 AD [RIC] or 260-261 AD [Sear], Mediolanum [Milan] Mint, Legionary Issue. Obv. Radiate and cuirassed bust right, GALLIENVS AVG / Rev. Bull advancing right, bellowing with head raised and mouth open, LEG VIII AVG [Augusta] VI P [Pia] VI F [Fidelis]. RIC V-1 353j [joint reign] (p. 95), RSC IV 522, Sear RCV III 10268, Göbl MIR [Moneta Imperii Romani] Band 36, No. 1009h. 18 mm., 2.49 g.*

    COMBINED Gallienus - Legionary Bull.jpg

    *A bull was the emblem of Leg. VIII Augusta, based in Strasbourg, France (then Argentoratum in Gaul) -- just as the animals or other figures shown on the reverses of the other coins of the Gallienus legionary series served as the emblems or badges of those legions. See Jones, John Melville, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (London, Seaby, 1999) at p. 166 [entry for Legio]); RIC V-1 at p. 34. See also the list of the legions and their emblems depicted in the legionary series, at http://www258.pair.com/denarius/cgi-bin/erfind.pl?sstring=legio+milan. Note that if this theory is correct, then several animals served as the emblem of more than one legion -- e.g., the bull for three legions [VII, VIII, and X].

    The general consensus is that the P and F stood for Pia Fidelis.

    See Jones, John Melville, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (London, Seaby, 1999) at p. 166 [entry for Legio] (“the correct explanation seems to be that the legions were being commended for the virtues of piety and fidelity”). Note that “P F” can also stand for Pius Felix (see RIC V-1 at p. 32), but that term is usually associated with the emperor himself, and “faithfulness” seems a more appropriate appellation for the legions than “happiness.”

    There is also controversy about the meaning of the Roman numeral VI preceding both the P and the F in the reverse legend (as well as concerning he meaning, in various other examples of the legionary series, of the numerals V or VII instead of VI preceding P and F). In RIC V-1 at p. 34, Harold Mattingly cites the work of Sir Charles Oman supporting the theory that the Roman numerals refer to the regnal years of Gallienus’s joint reign with his father in which the coins were issued -- i.e., years V-VII, or 157-159 AD -- despite the fact that “the obverse inscription is usually GALLIENVS AVG, a form of legend which does not generally appear until 260.” According to Mattingly, Oman “conclusively points out that Gallienus would, at no date after 259, have celebrated the piety and loyalty of the Rhine legions [such as Leg. VIII Augusta itself, based at Strasbourg, then Argentoratum], which had assisted the rebel Postumus to overthrow his authority in Gaul and to slay his son” (Saloninus). Jones agrees, stating in his Dictionary at p. 166 that “the numbers indicated the years of the emperor’s reign.”

    However, the more recent authorities seem to disagree. See Sear RCV III at p. 293, stating that the legionary series of Gallienus “was issued early in his sole reign [i.e., after Valerian I’s capture by the Persians in 260] at Milan, the base of the recently established field army commanded by Aureolus. The units honoured were the Praetorian Cohort and the seventeen legions which had furnished detachments for the field army. The numerals ‘VI’ and ‘VII’ appearing in the reverse legends may refer to the victories achieved by Aureolus over the usurpers Ingenuus and Regalian.” See also https://www.beastcoins.com/RomanImperial/V-I/Gallienus/Gallienus.htm (“In 260, following the defeats of the revolts, Gallienus produced Antoniniani at Milan, honoring his different legions. Each legion or cohort is featured through the legionary badge on the reverse, along with the victory number and P F for Pia Fidelis. One coin type was issued for each of the three battles in which the unit participated. Victory V was against the Alemanni, VI was against Ingenuus and VII was against Regalianus.”) Neither Sear nor Beast Coins provides any source for the theory that the three Roman numerals can be tied to specific victories. Nor do they address Oman’s argument that Gallienus would not have honored and praised the Rhine legions after the usurpation of Postumus in the summer of 260.

    At https://www.livius.org/articles/legion/legio-viii-augusta/ , in the article on Legion VIII Augusta, named on this coin (as well as in other articles about other legions), the author implicitly rejects both the view that the Roman numerals V, VI, and VII represent regnal years, and the view that they refer to specific victories, asserting instead that legends such as “VI Pia VI Fidelis” simply honor the legion for having been “six [or five, or seven, depending upon the coin] times faithful, six times loyal”:

    “Between 250 and 260, however, Baden-Württemberg was seized by the Alamanni. This time, the Romans were unable to strike back and they gave up the country between Danube and Rhine. However, VIII Augusta still defended the Rhine frontier. In the conflict between the emperors Gallienus (of Italy) and Postumus (of Gaul), the legion seems to have supported the former, and it received honorific titles like V, VI, VII Pia fidelis (five times, six times, and seven times faithful and loyal). Yet, it seems certain that Postumus controlled Germania Superior, so we are left with a minor problem.” In short, there is no definitive answer to the questions of precisely what the V, VI, or VII on these coins signify, and when the coins were issued.

    Again another bull, this one in bronze:

    Julian II, AE Double Maiorina, 361-363 AD, Sirmium [Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia] Mint, 2nd Officina. Obv. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, FL CL IVLI-ANVS PF AVG / Bull standing right, two stars above, SECVRITAS REIPVB; in exergue: mintmark star-BSIRM-palm branch. RIC VIII Sirmium 107B (p. 392), Sear RCV V 19152 (ill.), Cohen 38. 28 mm., 8.48 g.

    New Julian II - bull COMBINED (light background).jpg

    Finally, another bronze bull, this one a bit more three-dimensional: an ancient Egyptian bronze Apis bull, purchased from Hixenbaugh Ancient Art in March 2021.

    Hixenbaugh description of bronze Apis Bull.jpg

    Photos after treatment for bronze disease:



  18. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Thanks, @DonnaML, I've updated to OP to reflect the correction! All nice coins too, and glad to see that the Egyptian bull survived his bronze disease - an interesting artifact.
    DonnaML likes this.
  19. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Here is my only cow:

    Illyria, Dyrrachium 229-100 BC, AR Drachm, (17mm, 3.32g), ΜΕΝΙΣΚΟΣ, Cow right, looking back at a suckling calf, Nike flying right above, Thunderbolt in exergue/ Rev. Double stellite pattern
  20. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    An informative thread with many great coins! In enjoyed your write-up, @Sulla80 .

    Since the picture of the Poseidonia nomos was ommitted from the e-book you mentioned, here is my example of this type (it needs better photography soon):
    Griechen – Lukanien, Poseidonia, Nomos, Poseidon:Stier (Foto 2).png
    Lucania, Poseidonia, AR Nomos, ca. 470–445 BC. Obv: ΠΟΣ[ΕΙ] (retrograde); Poseidon walking r., wielding trident, chlamys draped over both arms. Rev: ΠΟΣ[ΕΙ] (retrograde); bull standing l. 19.2mm, 7.83g. Ref: SNG ANS 651–653; HN Italy 1114. Ex AMCC 1, lot 4; ex Zumbly collection.

    An earlier triobol from Phokis, worn but still in archaic style:
    Griechen – Phokis, Liga, Triobol.png
    Phokis, Federal Coinage, triobol, ca. 490–485 BC. Obv: frontal bull's head. Rev: head of Artemis r. set diagonally in incuse square, Φ-O[-K-I] around. 13mm, 2.63g. Ref: see BCD Lokris–Phokis 189; see Williams 1972, no. 17.

    The popular Macedonian type showing the forepart (protome) of a bull. I like how the posture of the bull with its head turned back allowed the engraver to show a lot of the animal on a very small coin:
    Griechen – Makedonien, Akanthos, Tetrobol, Stierprotome:Incusum.png
    Macedonia, Akanthos, AR tetrobol, ca. 430–390 BC. Obv: forepart of bull left, head right; A above. Rev: quadripartite incuse square with granulated recesses. 14.5mm, 2.38g. Ref: AMNG III/2, 34–35 var (letter on obv.); SNG ANS, 47–48.

    Just as the Larissa dracm in the OP, this hemidrachm shows a scene of Thessalian bull-leaping (taurokathapsia), a ritual sport which later on became part of the Roman circus games under Claudius:
    Griechen – Thessalien, Trikka, hemidrachme, Bullenkämpfer und Pferd.png
    Thessaly, Trikka, hemidrachm, 2nd half of 5th c. BC. Obv: Youthful hero, Thessalos, holding a band with both hands below the horns of the forepart of a bull right. Rev: T PI KAI N, forepart of horse prancing right. 16 mm, 2.86 g. Ref: BCD Thessaly 775.7 (same dies); see SNG Copenhagen 262–265; see BMC 1–9; see CNG, e-auction 129, lot 94 (identical dies). Ex BCD collection, ex Kenneth W. Dorney.

    And, finally, one of my favorite Roman Republican types:
    Römische Republik – RRC 378:1c, Denar, Marius Capito, Ceres, Ochsengespann.png
    Roman Republic, moneyer: C. Marius C. f. Capito, AR denarius serratus, 81 BC, Rome mint. Obv: CAPIT; head of Ceres, diademed, r., control number CV; control mark (whip?) before. Rev: C. MARI. C. F. / S. C; ploughman with two oxen l.; above, control number CV. 18mm, 3.88g. Ref: RRC 378/1c.
  21. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Biblical Kingdoms Supporter

    [QUOTE="Sulla80, post: 7369981, member: 99456"]...Post your coins of cattle, cows, bulls, or anything else you find interesting or entertaining...[/QUOTE]

    Beautiful bull coins, @Sulla80


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