It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that sling. And other coins of Macedon's war with Rome

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    ln my search to further understand (and obtain) Macedonian shield coins I have recently acquired a true "key date" coin of the bronze type (your welcome modern collectors, I've dumbed it down for you to understand:yack: I kid, I kid).
    Not easily acquired, only 1 of the type has been shown here on coin talk. So I have every right to blame @zumbly for this superb acquisition (thanks for sharing, buddy:)).
    But first a little history:
    As Greek power waivered during the rise of Rome, it seemed natural that Rome would pick off the descendants of the diadochi, with Macedon first. However, Rome would not fight an unjust war. And genuinely appeared not to have desire nor reason to fight the Greeks. Nevertheless, history unfolded in a way that Rome couldn't have planned better had they set out for complete conquest of Greece.


    Reason came for the first Macedonian war with Rome, 214 BCE, thanks to Philip V taking sides with Hannibal. It was something equivalent to what Alfred Hitchcock called a Mcguffin. It moved the plot forward for Rome to fight Carthage, while distracting and keeping Macedon busy in small skirmishes. With nothing coming of it.


    The second war between the 2 powers was again instigated by Philip V. However, this time it was much more bloody and one it appeared Rome would lose. Typical of Rome at this time, ended with a Roman victory causing Phil to agree to no longer medal in affairs outside of Macedon.
    Upon the death of Philip V his son, Perseus, made moves against his neighbors as well as Rome. Bad idea Percy.
    Rome would eventually snuff out the resistance brought by Perseus and end the rule of the last King of macedon, but suffered heavy loses early. And according to Livy much of this was due to a recent addition in Macedonian weaponry:

    "They suffered (the Romans) mainly from the cestrosphendons, a novel kind of weapon invented during the war. It consisted of a pointed iron head of two palms long, fastened to a shaft made of pinewood, a span in length and as thick as a man´s finger. Round the shaft three feathers were fastened as in the case of arrows, and the sling was held by two scutale, one shorter than the other. When the missile was poised in the center of the sling, the slinger whirled it round with great force and it flew out like a leaden bullet. Many of the soldiers were wounded by these and by missiles of all kinds."
    Livy xlii.65.9


    (Artists rendering of what this may have looked like)

    Bringing us to my latest acquisition.
    A coin, most likey, inspired by this battlefield innovation:

    (Seller's pic)
    (My pic)
    Thessalian League, Thessaly, Greece, c. 170 B.C. GB84862. Bronze chalkous, Warren, "Two Notes," NC 1961, pl. I, 11; BCD Thessaly II 24.2; HGC 4 236; Rogers 4 var., VF, dark green patina, cleaning scratches, earthen deposits, Demetrias(?) mint, weight 2.535g, maximum diameter 14.7mm, c. 170 B.C.; obverse Macedonian shield with star in central boss; reverse kestrosphendone (dart sling) with dart inside, ΘEΣΣA/ΛΩN divided in two lines, the first above, ending below; ex John Jencek;

    The object on the reverse was long considered somewhat mysterious. Roger identified it as a lyre. Robinson suggested a diadem or more probably a sling. Warren argued it is a stylized depiction of a dart sling, or Kestrosphendone, a weapon first introduced during the Third Macedonian War between Rome and Perseus of Macedon. Warren suggests this type was struck at Demetrias, under orders from Perseus, to commemorate the success of the weapon.

    Here is another recent acquisition from Macedon minted the year after the end of the 3rd war as Rome conquered and divided Macedon into 4 client republic's:

    Roman Republican Period
    167-165 B.C. Æ Unit.
    22 mm. 9.43 grams.
    Obverse: Facing mask of Silenos with pointed ears, wearing ivy wreath.
    Reverse: MAKE / ΔΟΝΩΝ in two lines within oak wreath. SNG Copenhagen 1324-6; MacKay pl. III, 10; Touratsoglou, Macedonia 25.Ver y Fine. Dark earthen patina.

    So, please post all your coins of early Rome/late Macedon during their wars, coins with innovative weaponry, shield coins or whatever you fancy to add to this thread.
    And don't forget...

    ab initio, Chris B, ominus1 and 22 others like this.
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great new coins with an amazing story attached!

    Here are two that are the closest in relevance to the Macedonian War:

    Macedonia, Thessalonika
    AE Unit, 187-167 BC
    : Laureate and bearded head of Janus, I above.
    Reverse: ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟ/ΝΙΚHΣ, two centaurs facing opposite directions, both holding branches and rearing.
    References: SNG Cop 370-1, SNG ANS 804
    Size: 18mm, 5.17g

    Macedonia, Thessalonika
    AE Unit, 187-167 BC
    : Laureate and bearded head of Janus, I above.
    Reverse: ΘΕΣ-ΣA/ΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ, the Dioscuri on horseback, facing opposite directions and holding lances; grain ear below.
    References: SNG Cop 368, SNG ANS 803
    Size: 22mm, 13.5g
  4. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    I didn't know about that cool dart sling, neat @Ryro !

    Since you mentioned Philip V and Perseus in your nice write up, here is this coin...


    Macedonian Kingdom , Philip V or Perseus
    187 - 168 B.C.

    AE double unit, SNG Cop 1307
    o: laureate head of Zeus right
    r: ΜΑ−ΚΕ/∆ΟΝ−ΩΝ, winged thunderbolt, TB monogram below
    23 mm, 7.6g
  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Ryro, Justin Lee and Johndakerftw like this.
  6. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    I am still looking for my example of the Silenus type but here are a couple slightly earlier ones of the quaestors Gaius Publilius and Lucius Fulcinius:
    Macedon under Roman Rule. Gaius Publilius, Quaestor, Æ22 (10.65g), 168-167 BC. Helmeted head of Roma right / ΓΑΙΟΥ ΤΑΜΙΟΥ ΠΟΠΛΙΛΙΟΥ in two lines within wreath. MacCay, "Bronze Coinage In Macedonia, 168-166 BC," ANSMN 14 (1968), pp. 5, pl.III, 2; SNG Copenhagen 1320.

    Macedon under Roman Rule, Æ21(9.17g). Lucius Fulcinius, Quaestor, 167 BC. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet terminating at the top in the head of a griffin. Border of dots / ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΩΝ ΤΑΜΙΟΥ ΛΕΥΚΙΟΥ ΦΟΛΚΙΝΝΙΟΥ in three lines within a wreath of oak-leaves. Above, monogram. Line border. MacKay, "Bronze Coinage In Macedonia, 168-166 BC," ANSMN 14 (1968), pp. 6-7, pl.III, 7; BMC Macedonia 80.
  7. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    Wrong thread bing! :woot:
    TIF, Ryro and Justin Lee like this.
  8. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the write up , Ryro
    Macedonia kept issuing great coins under Roman Rule:

  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    ominus1, Alegandron and Ryro like this.
  10. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    A sling dart?! Super cool find, Scooby! Another item for my wish list :).

    I have a couple of the Silenus bronzes.


    MACEDON (ROMAN PROTECTORATE), Republican period.
    Transitional bronze issue

    c. 167-165 BC
    Obv: Facing mask of Silenus, wearing ivy wreath
    Rev: MAKE ΔONΩN legend In two lines; D above; all within ivy wreath
    Ref: SNG Copenhagen 1324-6
  11. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Often-posted, recently sold, and missed. Forgive the repost, but it is relevant in this context.

    Greece (Kingdom of Macedon): silver "Mercenaries" drachm of King Perseus, ca. 175-170 BC
    NGC Ch MS; Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5.

    Additional images on CollectiveCoin page.

    Obverse: Head of Helios three-quarter facing, right, imitating Rhodian issues.

    Reverse: Rose, bud right, magistrate’s name above.

    Composition, diameter, weight: Silver, 14-15 mm approx., 2.54 g. (*Diameter unrecorded prior to encapsulation)

    Authority/ruler: Perseus of Macedon (c. 212-166 BC)

    Catalog info: Ashton 15 or similar.

    Grade, cert. info: NGC Ch MS; Strike 5/5, Surface 5/5; cert. #4166130-001. (Same per HJB.)

    Provenance: Colosseo Collection, 3/2014. Previously Harlan J. Berk Sale #186, Lot 90; ex-Philip Davis collection.

    Notes: Believed to have been struck to pay Cretan mercenaries during the Third Macedonian War, in imitation of Rhodian issues, with which they would have been familiar.

    Wikipedia links:
    Perseus of Macedon
    Greek drachma (ancient)
    Third Macedonian War

    Additional links:
    Auction listing (HJB, Ltd. Sale #186, Lot 90)
    Wildwinds page: Thessaly
    Ancient Greek Mercenaries in Antiquity (Stefanos Skarmintzos)
    The Colosseo Collection (from which this coin was acquired)
    ominus1, TIF, TypeCoin971793 and 9 others like this.
  12. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Great coin @Ryro! Ever since I saw @zumbly example of this type I wanted one as well. Very cool you got this coin now.

    Like the above post my only late-Macedonian coin minted in Thessaly during the Macedonian wars is the pseudo-Rhodian issue from Perseus.

    Kings of Macedon. temp. Perseus. 179-168 BC. AR Drachm. Third Macedonian War issue. Magistrate Hermias, Uncertain mint in Thessaly (Struck circa 171/0 B.C).
    Head of Helios facing slightly right.
    Reverse: Rose with bud to right; EPMIAΣ above, Z-Ω flanking stem.
    Reference: Price, Larissa, pl. LV, 247; SNG Keckman 795.
    2.67g; 17mm.
    ominus1, TIF, Andres2 and 11 others like this.
  13. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    Great write-up and kestros coin! I've tried finding more definitive information via archaeological reports etc. regarding the nature of the cestrosphendone darts but haven't had much luck yet. Perhaps some obscure foreign-language report out there has the answer. Definitely a devastating weapon, there are videos on youtube of people slinging home-brewed darts and their power is extremely impressive. I recommend checking them out to see how different people have attempted to replicate the weapon and various release techniques.

    @Pavlos The golden toning around the head of Helios on your coin is amazing, he truly shines like the Sun!
    Pavlos and Ryro like this.
  14. Alegandron

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

    Really nice and cool write-up @Ryro the Great! GREAT coins, me likem a LOT!

    Here are a couple of mine from about that time in RR Macedon...

    RR Prv Macedon Amphipolis AE Semis 187-131 BC Zeus Prow giraffe shape SNG Cop 69

    RR Prv Macedon Province 168-166 BC Tamios Quaestor Athena Cow - Eeyore
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  15. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Great example, @Ryro, congrats on the score! And, as usual, I enjoyed the writeup as well.

    Here's mine again...
    Thessaly Thessalian League - Kestrosphedone 2796.jpg THESSALY, Thessalian League
    AE Chalkous. 3.55g, 15.2mm. THESSALY, Thessalian League, circa 170 BC. Warren, “Two Notes on Thessalian Coins,” NC 1961, pl. I, 11; Rogers 4 var. (arrangement of ethnic); BCD Thessaly II 24.2 var. (same); HGC 4, 236. O: Macedonian shield with star in center. R: Kestrosphendone (κεστροσφενδóνη) : dart–sling with dart inside; ΘEΣΣA-ΛΩN around from upper left.
    Ex BCD Collection, tag noting "V. ex Thess., Nov. 1991, SFr. 100"

    And, as requested, some late Macedonian/early Roman protectorate issues. This one's an unusual Macedonian serrated bronze:
    Macedon - Philip V Serrate Poseidon.jpg MACEDONIAN KINGDOM. Time of Philip V and Perseus
    AE Serrate. 10.0g, 25mm. Macedonian mint, circa 185-168 BC. SNG Cop 1294. O: Diademed head of Poseidon right, trident over shoulder. R: MAKE-ΔONΩN, club; monograms below left and right; all within oak wreath.

    One of my favorite coins, a classic First Meris tetradrachm:
    Macedonia - First Meris Tetradrachm 1946.jpg MACEDONIA, as Roman Protectorate
    AR Tetradrachm. 16.84g, 32.7mm. MACEDONIA (as Roman Protectorate), First Meris, Amphipolis mint, circa 167 - 149 BC. SNG Cop 1313; Prokopov 127. O: Diademed and draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder, in the center of a Macedonian shield. R: Club; monogram above, two monograms below, MAKEΔONΩN above, ΠPΩTHΣ below; all within oak wreath, thunderbolt to left.

    And a much scarcer bronze issue from the Fourth Meris:
    Macedon - Fourth Meris AE 2912.jpg
    MACEDONIA, as Roman Protectorate
    Rare. AE23. 8.47g, 22.7mm. MACEDON, as Roman Protectorate, Fourth Meris. Heraclea Lynci mint, circa 167-149 BC. SNG Cop 1316; Weber 3709; MacKay pl. III, 12; AMNG III/1, 188. O: Head of Zeus right, wearing laurel wreath. R: Club; monogram and MAKEΔONΩN, TETAPTHΣ and monogram below; all within oak wreath; thunderbolt to left.
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  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Another stunner.
    Ryro likes this.
  17. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    On your coin, it looks more like a 3/4 view of a quiver of arrows.
    Ryro likes this.
  18. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    WoWiE!!! Look at all of these doozies that I have never seen before:woot:. Thanks so much for sharing all of these my CT pals! The list of coins I NEED just grew considerably. This is exactly why I shouldn't post threads!:wacky:

    @Justin Lee, that Macedonian Janus Centaur coin is BANANAS!!!
    And excellent winged thunderbolt @chrsmat71! It looks like it just flew from Zeus's right hand and is on its way down to zap and confuse some unsuspecting nubile young lady.

    HUGE fan of Perseus wearing the winged cap @red_spork...but I'll say no more, lest someone else start hunting it down as well!:jimlad:

    @Andres2 though I may have been known to use hyperbole, I don't think anyone can accuse me of that in saying that right there is truly a GREAT Maco/Romano coin:artist:. Just breath taking.

    No @Roman Collector, you are! (got a good laugh at the last bit of that video...interesting)

    Good Golly Mrs TIFy! I only seem to remember the first of your 2 Silenus coins (the 1st being the one that prompted me to NEED one!)...and I may like the 2nd even better than that first! Just wonderfully creepy coins:mask::android::blackalien::clown::hurting::hungover::zombie: Thanks for sharing thems satyrs!

    @lordmarcovan, ummmm if I had that coin I would post it daily in about every thread (especially the modern thread, hehe, just to show them how ancients roll). Just a masterpiece with an amazing story!!! "Cretan Mercenaries" that's gonna be the name of my new punk/ska band:singing:

    Speaking of masterpieces, holy smokes @Pavlos! I couldn't sum that beauty up any better than what @Plumbata said, "he truly shines like the Sun!"

    More like @Alegandron The Great! A giraffe prow and the world's first documented appearance of Eeyore the donkey (light year before Christopher Robins showed up on the scene). It is noteworthy that the late Macedonian coins are pretty affordable but then once Rome took over, and they are considered RR, they aren't so affordable...are they?:greedy:

    ahhh @zumbly, I was hoping you'd stop by the party with that lil excellent example of yours. After shopping around before finally getting mine I can say with confidence that is one of the nicest of the kind. And I came across some pretty special specimens! Big ups on the excellent Macedonian battle cap. I didn't even know they made serrated coins! Also, an excellent portrait and club on that one. Another breath taking silver Maco/Romano with the ever lovely Artemis on it:kiss:
    Forgive the ignorance here, but what is a Fourth Meris?
  19. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    Philip V of Macedon

    Philippus V Denarius 113 to 112 BCE.jpg
    L. Philippus denarius depicting Philip V of Macedon
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  20. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    When the Romans conquered Macedon, they divided it into four administrative districts (merides). The First Meris with its mint at Amphipolis struck a large issue of silver tetradrachms. The same type was also struck in the name of the people of the Second Meris, but these are very very rare. The Fourth Meris issued a small run of bronzes. No coins from the Third Meris have been found - maybe they were too cool to use money?
    Ryro likes this.
  21. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    2 fascinating coins @Sallent. I wonder if Philip V had coins of Perseus made before his son was born and where his infatuation with the slayer of Medusa came from? Also, VERY COOL Philippus! Excellent portrait!! (and truth be told, a coin that I had never seen before:shame:)
    And thanks for the explanation @zumbly. That is indeed a rare coin with a great story:pompous:
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