Heracles with Egyptian cup

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    This is a new Trajan from Alexandria Egypt. On the reverse Heracles is holding :
    1) a club 2) a lion skin 3) a cup. The coin is dated year 11 (L IA), so it's around 107-108 AD.
    But why a cup? There are many hypothesis as "it is the cup of immortality", or maybe it's a reference about the greek mythology when Heracles sailed in the giant cup of Helios...But who really knows? One thing is for sure: the Egyptians people used cups for daily and religious reasons for centuries before time of the Roman Empire. This one belongs to The Art Institute of Chicago:


    It's made of Calcite and is dating from the Dynasty 1–4 (about 3000-2498 BC) and was acquired in Egypt in 1892 by the museum.
    Glass was first made about 5,000 years ago, in Western Asia, Egypt, and Mycenae, on Crete, an island in the Aegean Sea. Today the word “glass” is associated with transparency, but the earliest glass was an opaque material. Like precious stones, glass was used for ornaments worn by pharaohs, funerary goods, and other very special purposes. During Egypt’s 18th Dynasty (1570 BC), glass vessels produced under the patronage of the royal family were used as gifts to powerful persons. This footed cup of core-formed glass is one superb example. Given to a member to the nobility, it was doubtless cherished and may have had ritual uses.

    Miho Museum, Shiga

    This is a faience (bluish-green) drinking cup. The cup's exterior surface was elaborated with incised decoration representing lotus flower petals. From Egypt , 18th Dynasty, 1543-1292 BC. (The British Museum, London).


    And finally, this cup was probably imported from western Asia and may have been brought to Egypt by one of the foreign wives of Thutmose III as part of her dowry. The form, which has a button-shaped base now masked by gold leaf over plaster restoration, has a long history in Mesopotamia. Fragments of glassy faience vessels with a similar variegated pattern have been found at the site of Nuzi (modern Yorgan Tepe, Iraq), which flourished in the kingdom of Mitanni during the 15th and 14th centuries B.C. Glass making appears to have originated in Mesopotamia and been imported into Egypt early in Dynasty 18. Egyptian artisans had been making faience, a substance related to glass, for more than a thousand years and they quickly mastered the art of glassmaking as well.

    1479-1425 BC. MET museum.

    The cup on the hand of Heracles also remind me of the story of Joseph in the Bible. He was testing his brothers who has sold him as a slave years before he became the ruler #2 in Egypt. He asked one of his servant to hide his own silver cup in the luggage of his youngest brother and accused him of stealing it. In Genesis 44:5 we can read: " Isn't this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination ? This is a wicked thing you have done." The personal cup of powerful persons were very precious. About the divination thing, F.C.Cooks explains in his book The holy Bible, with an Explanatory and Critical Commentary : "It was practised either by dropping gold, silver or jewels, into the water, and then examining their appearance, or simply by looking into the water as into a mirror". Bible commentator Christopher Woodsworth says: "Sometimes the cup was filled with water, and the answer was giving by means of imagery, produced by the sun on the water in the cup".
    So I'd really like to know your theories about the cup on that coin, and even better, please SHOW US your own examples of coins depicting cups on them !
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
    Justin Lee, DonnaML, zumbly and 15 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Member

    I have a greek from thrace with a 2 handle cup but no egyptian.
  4. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Looks perhaps like a kantharos?

  5. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Aeolis Kyme Zoilos Blu.jpg
    Aeolis, Kyme, AE, Circa 165-90 BC, Zoilos, magistrate
    Obv: Draped bust of Artemis right, with bow and quiver over shoulder
    Rev: KY / Ζ-Ω / Ι-Λ / Ο-Σ, Single-handled cup; laurel branch to left and right
    DonnaML, Bing, Johndakerftw and 2 others like this.
  6. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    And here's Herakles after one too many sips from the cup... :D

    Severus Alexander - Alexandria Troas Drunken Herakles.jpg SEVERUS ALEXANDER
    AE25. 6.37g, 25mm. TROAS, Alexandria Troas, circa AD 222-235. RPC Online temp #3987 var. (obv legend); Bellinger A335. O: IM AR ƧE AΛEXANDROS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: COL AV-G TROA, drunken Herakles stumbling right, an arm around the shoulder of Pan to his right, a satyr on his left holding his hand and another behind him supporting (or restraining) him with both arms.

    Seriously, though, nice coin. Here's a bronze statuette of Herakles in a similar pose that I found online:

    Johndakerftw, Bing, Sulla80 and 2 others like this.
  7. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice coin @zumbly . First time I see this "party type" reverse !
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
    zumbly likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page