Maps On Coins?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by finny, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. finny

    finny Active Member

    Hi everyone! I recently watched a neat documentary on Atlantis - and learned about a civilization that lived on at least Crete and Santorini. The documentary is cool and goes into some of the really neat architectural aspects of that culture (the ruins are still being excavated it looks like). Unfortunately it was mainly wiped out due to a mega eruption of the volcano that Santorini surrounds. The eruption caused a series of several massive tsunamis to hit Crete - including Knossos. Here's a link to the documentary for anyone interested:
    Atlantis or not, that culture was quite advanced architecturally.

    Anyway, i started doing some googling to see if i could find any coins from that culture. I didn't find anything yet, however because i was including Atlantis in my search terms i encountered some other articles/forum posts speculating about Atlantis - one of which thought maybe Atlantis was the Americas. That idea hasn't been legitimized (the culture from the History documentary seems way more likely to me), BUT it did lead me to some speculation about a Carthaginian coin having a world map on it!

    Here's a brief summary of what he claims to have found - it includes a link to his university page, but this page showed a color image with a better depiction of what he was looking at: The image of the coin is copyrighted and i don't have one in my collection, but it's a gold tanit from Carthage and the side with the horse has some markings which is what he interprets as a world map.

    I thought that was interesting and it's something i want to read more about, but ultimately this led me to wonder what different ancient coins have maps on them?

    I have one in my collection:

    IMG_20201020_160911.jpg IMG_20201020_160906.jpg

    Sorry for the bad photo quality - it's an AE13 with a dark patina and it's slabbed, so it's really hard for me to photograph using my phone (i don't have a coin photo setup pulled together yet), and unfortunately the NGC linked photos don't seem all that much better.

    It's from the Achaemenid empire, possibly minted in Ionia.
    I don't have the weight since it's not listed on the slab and for now i'm not removing it from the slab.
    When i bought the coin it was listed as the map being of Ephesos.

    Show me your neat map coins please peeps! :D

    Also curious as to peoples' thoughts on the possible map on the Carthaginian coin - is it a map? do you think it depicts the Americas?
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  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    kool coin...and thanks for the link of the 'documentary'..someone here has a coin featuring the labyrinth...:)
    finny and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  4. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I also have one of the Achaemenid coins featuring the putative map of Ephesus on reverse:
    Achaemenid AE.jpg
    As for the Carthaginian coin linked: I think this is just pareidolia (the tendency to see patterns where there isn't one). Other than one part of the squiggle that looks vaguely like Iberia, that is just not a decent map of the world as the Carthaginians knew it, and absent any more convincing evidence, I still do not think there was any Old World contact with the New World prior to the Viking settlement in Newfoundland. (Except possibly some contact between Polynesia and South America, I haven't researched that enough to feel confident yet and I think that more evidence is being found there.)
  5. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Makes me wonder what the oldest coin with a legit map is? Maybe a medieval?

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  6. finny

    finny Active Member

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  7. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    It seems @finny that your coin may be the oldest.

    That is pretty amazing.

    There are Roman coins with pictures of harbours that are not exactly maps. I can't think of another ancient coin depicting a map.

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  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Interesting topic idea. I am not aware of any maps per se on ancient coins. As Theodosius says maybe a harbor scene such as coins depicting Ostia or the harbor at Alexandria come closest.
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  9. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Not ancient, but I like it, greece crete thessaly macedonia etc

  10. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Fascinating - I had assumed that the punches used on Achaemenid coins were just like rough hammers, not that they had any meaning!

    Re: the Carthaginian coin, I believe that the landmass to the west of Spain is more likely to be the Canary Islands, which are known to have been visited by Juba II but possibly discovered much earlier.

    The other ancient map coin is from post-Maurya India, and features a depiction of a river running down from three mountains

    (Before anyone goes out and buys one, beware, as there are a lot of very well-made fakes, which thankfully all have the same flan shape: )

    I believe that one of my rough Indian coins has the same or similar motif
    India post-Maurya Deccan river mountains.jpg
    Edessa, +VGO.DVCKS, finny and 2 others like this.
  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Here is a Verus coin featuring the harbor at Alexandria. (Not my coin)

  12. Broucheion

    Broucheion Supporter! Supporter

  13. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    I sure can't think of one.... One possibility, later on, might be earlier modern jetons, c. 16th-17th centuries. But even there, most of what you get are quasi-aerial views of cities (or battles), like you mention in the case of Romans.
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