Featured Hadad - Jupiter Heliopolitanus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear friends of ancient mythology!

    Today I would like to tell something about one of the countless gods of the East: Hadad.

    The Coin:
    Syria, Dium, Geta as Caesar, AD 209-211
    AE 24, 11.37g, 2.35g, 0°
    struck AD 205/6 (= year 268)
    Obv.: ΠOVΠ C - ΓETAC K
    Bust, draped and cuirassed, seen from behind, bare-headed, r.
    Rev.: HZC - ΔEIHN - ΩN (year 268)
    Hadad (Jupiter Heliopolitanus), in typical scaly garment, wearing kalathos with
    bull's horns, stg. frontal, holding eagle-tipped sceptre in r. hand and Nike in l.
    hand; at his feet on each side a bull's protome looking outwards.
    Ref.: Spijkerman p.118, 6, pl.24, 6; SNG ANS, 1281-2; BMC 1; Lindgren 2202;
    Rosenberger IV, 34, 5; Meshorer 244; Hendin 848
    very rare, VF, brown Patina
    Hadad is a West Semitic weather and storm god, son of the sky god Anu. He corresponds to the Accadic god Adad. His veneration is traceable from the end of the 3rd century BC, in Mesopotamia especially from Amoritic personal names. There he represents the fruit bringing rain, lightning, thunder and hail, but he is responsible too for aridity, deluge and salinization of earth. In Syria Hadad became as Baal-Hadad (so in the myths of Ugarit) the Baal per se. As his seat was suggested the holy mountain Zaphon (Mons Casius) south of the mouth of the river Orontes. In Hellenistic-Roman times he was equated with Zeus-Jupiter and whorshipped as Jupiter Heliopolitanus especially in Baalbek, Hierapolis and Dura-Europos. The famous Trias of Heliopolis of Jupiter, Minerva and Hermes (= Hadad, Atargatis/Astarte and Adon) probably originates from the times of Augustus. Sometimes he was associated too with Jupiter Dolichenus, another Syrian Version.

    Traces of the cult of Jupiter Heliopolitanus were found in Athens, Rome, Pannonia, Gaul and Britannia, where it was brought by Roman soldiers. A temple of Jupiter Heliopolitanus stood even in Rome on the Janiculum Hill, erected probably in the time of the Antonines and Severans, when his cult was established in Rome. This temple probably was built in the the grove of the goddess Furrina and was located outside of the pomerium, the holy border of the city. The spring in the temple of Jupiter Heliopolitanus, which you can see until today, probably was the spring of Furrina. An inscription was found Iovi Optimo Maximo Heliopolitano Augusto, genio Forinarum et cultoribus huius loci, showing the close connection of these two cult sites. AD 341 this temple was demolished by the Christians.

    Curiously there are no depictions of Jupiter Heliopolitanus on coins of Heliopolis itself. Heliopolis has struck only coins with its great temple and the legend IOMH, meaning Jupiter Optimus Maximus Heliopolitanus. Depictions are found in several other cities like Ptolemais-Akka, Neapolis, Eleutheropolis, Diospolis-Lydda, Nikopolis and just Dium.

    The depictions of Jupiter Heliopolitanus can be arranged in three groups:

    (1) in scabbard garment (ependytes)
    (2) baetylic style
    (3) Greek

    On coins of Geta and Elagabalus a frontal standing deity is depicted, wearing kalathos with bull's horns, flanked by two bulls or bull protomes, resting with r. hand on an eagle-tipped sceptre; on the sidewards extended l. hand a small Nike is standing. The deity is dressed with a scabbard-like garment (the so-called ependytes). Bulls, horns kalathos and ependytes are iconographical features which are characteristic for the West Semitic god Hadad. Obviously even in Hellenistic-Roman times several cities of the region owned an appropriate cult statue of Hadad which they struck on their coins, or they have taken the famous type of Jupiter Heliopolitanus acting for their own local main deity.

    In this way the iconography remained more or less orientally influenced. Especially widespread was the typus of the standing Hadad in scabbard garment, flanked by two bulls, wearing a whip in his raised l. hand and in his r. hand grain-ears. Probably it was the supra-regional relevance of Zeus Hadad from Heliopolis (Jupiter Heliopolis) which led to the wide distribution of this Typus.

    The coin type of Dion resembles the famous cult statue of Heliopolis but has some differences in the position of arms and attributes which emphasizes special functions of the deity. So the sceptre of the coin depiction underlines his status as 'Lord of the Polis'. Nike in his hand brings out his victorious character. This depiction is borrowed from the canonical typus of Zeus Nikephoros passed down from coins of Gadara and Scythopolis. Altogether with Nike and eagle-tipped sceptre the connection with Zeus is here obvious. The type of Zeus Hadad in ependytes - rare in the region of Dekapolis - is found more frequently on the west side of the river Jordan since the time of Marcus Aurelius, particular frequently during the dynasty of the Severans.

    In contrast to the Greek type Heliopolitanus is here depicted unbearded. The bulls usually are added to the Oriental and Anatolic weather gods as accompanying or pack-animals. Usually they belong to the race of humped bulls. Most remarkable is the scabbard garment. We know it from the Ephesian Artemis or the Aphrodite from Aphrodisias. By vertical and horizontal straps it is divided in rows and fields. These are filled with depictions of deities, star and sun motifs and are raising Heliopolitanus to a pantheistic god and Master of the Universe. Surviving statues show that the zodiacal signs too were used. Other images show furthermore the Palmyrenian Trias of Bel, Aglibol and Yarhibol.

    Some notes on this emission:
    The cults of Dion are known until now only by numismatic sources; these emissions come from the reign of Septimius Severus and have beeen struck probably on the occasion of an imminent war against the Parthians and the movement of Roman troops, in a time therefore where Rome was in preparation of an armed conflict with the Parthians. This could be the reason to present the City God as Nikephoros.

    Jupiter Heliopolitanus was the main god of the Syrian-Hellenistic city of Heliopolis (= city of the sun god Helios), were formerly Baal-Biq'ah was worshipped (therefore the recent name Baal'bek in today's oppressed land of Lebanon).

    The history of Baalbeck dates back around 5000 years. Excavations near the Jupiter temple have revealed the existence of ancient human habitation dating to the Early Bronze Age (2900-2300 BC). The Phoenicians settled in Baalbeck as early as 2000 BC and built their first temple dedicated to the God Baal.

    When Alexander the Great appears in the 4th century BC, the location was renamed 'Heliopolis'. Baal was identified with the sun god Helios, which didn't make problems because Baal was worshipped as god of fertility, thunderstorm, sky and sun. The Romans, coming to Syria in the middle of the 1st century BC, identified Baal with Jupiter, whose functions easily could arranged with those of Baal and Helios. The Romans called their god of Baalbek 'Jupiter Heliopolitanus' and built up a sanctuary over more than three centuries to one of the biggest of the whole Empire, and a place of oracular divination. The temple ruins which could be seen today are from the times of Septimius Severus, whose first coins show this temple. The large courts of approach were finished under Caracalla and Philip I. From the ancient Greek buildings nothing was left over.

    When Christianity was introduced in the 4th century AD the Byzantine emperor Theodosius let break down parts of the temple. 8 columns were removed and shipped to Constantinople where they were used for his basilica Hagia Sophia. Today, only six Corinthian columns remain standing. In the entrance area he let erect the church of St.Barbara who is worshipped in Baalbek until today. But the church built in the entrance was just a thorn in the god's side; the peasants observed that the river still ran red every rainy season with the ancient Semitic god's blood -- the red silt.

    I have added
    (1) a pic of the bronze statuette of Jupiter Heliopolitanus from the coll. of Charles Sursock, now in the Louvre/Paris. This statue is a bit different from the coin depiction. The statue stands on a decorated base, the bulls are standing forward and the god holds a whip in his raised r.hand and grain-ears in his l. hand. The position of the bulls is caused by the space of the coin. The whip here is not the attribut of the sun god but probably a lightning symbol (Rene Dussaud, Jupiter Heliopolitain, Bronze de la collection Charles Sursock)
    (2) a pic of the ruins of Baalbek as you can see them today.

    (1) Der kleine Pauly
    (2) Youssef Hajjar, Jupiter Heliopolitanus, in: Maarten Jozef Vermaseren, Die Orientalischen Religionen im Römerreich, 1997 Brill
    (3) on Furina:
    http://www.aztriad.com/furrina2.html (pics)
    (4) on Baal:
    (5) on Christianity:
    (6) on Dium:
    (7) on Baalbek:

    Best regards
    Factor, Nvb, 7Calbrey and 27 others like this.
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    THAT is a cool coin! And a great write up as always :)
    Jochen1 likes this.
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Great coin and cool write-up @Jochen1 !
    Jochen1 likes this.
  5. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Wonderful, Jochen!
    The coin is fantastic.....as is the history you provide and the photography!
    Jochen1 likes this.
  6. Alegandron

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

    Very interesting write up, @Jochen1 ... and really nice AE. Thank you for the info.
    Jochen1 likes this.
  7. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    All this is new to me, thank you very much, Jochen.
    Jochen1 likes this.
  8. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Here's mine in green patina. I have to add that "Dium" is one of the Decapolis ( The ten biblical cities).

    Geta D Hadad  Decap.JPG Geta Dium R Hadad.JPG
    TJC, DonnaML, Sulla80 and 7 others like this.
  9. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    @Jochen1 , that is a great writeup. Thanks.

    Here is the sky god Anu as the left figure on the reverse:

    Cilicia. Tarsos. Satrap Datames (also known by other names).
    378-362 BC.
    Baal seated front right "Baal Tarz" down left
    Sky god Ana (some say "Ana", some "an" and some "Anu") standing naked right (tiny legend at down the lower left behind his thigh, "Ana", not very legible on this example)
    Datames standing left, his right hand raised in a gesture of veneration, between them a thymaterion and legend (Tadanmu = Datames)
    Sear Greek 5646.
    SNG France 2: 298. There is a nearly identical type, more common, without the tiny "Ana".
    Levante 84 variety (with "Ana").
    TJC, DonnaML, Sulla80 and 9 others like this.
  10. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    What a wonderful coin.

  11. Gary Waddingham

    Gary Waddingham Well-Known Member

    Here is a coin from Hieropolis dating to ca 332 BC. It is referenced in Seyrig Numismatique Revue 1971 #3. The aramaic inscription reads (right to left) ABDHADAD or "servant of Hadad." The other coin is a unique smaller coin of the priest of Hadad. The bull head stamp is generally the symbol of Hadad during this period. The other side of the larger coin
    is a picture of the face of Atargatis, the female consort of Hadad.
    TJC, DonnaML, Sulla80 and 8 others like this.
  12. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    @Jochen1, an attractive coin and an engaging write-up. Here is a provincial coin from (Edit) a different Dium and there is now a new deity on my list to watch for: Hadad (Jupiter Heliopolitanus).
    Nero Macedon Dium.jpg
    Macedon, Dium, Nero (AD 54-68), AE
    Obv: NERO CLAVDIVS CAESAR, bare head left.
    Rev: COL IVL DIENSIS/ D-D in field, Athena/Roma facing head left with patera and spear.
    Ref: RPC 1508
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
    TJC, DonnaML, Bing and 1 other person like this.
  13. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    • Sulla80, that is a different DIum.
    • PeteB
    Sulla80 likes this.
  14. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Thanks - guess it should have been obvious Macedon not Syria!
  15. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Great coin! Awesome write up!! Thanks for sharing:)
    7Calbrey likes this.
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