Olbia Upgrade

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jb_depew, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    Olbia was a Milesian colony located near the mouths if the rivers Hypanis and Borysthenes, the ruins of which are located near the present day village of Parutyne, Ukraine. It was founded in the 7th century BC and was visited and described by the historian Herodotus as the most important Greek center north of the Euxine. The city struck money in considerable quantities from the third to the first centuries B.C., though many are rough in style, and I don't see many "pretty" examples come up for auction often.

    I nabbed the coin below from a recent Numismatik Naumann auction as an upgrade to my existing example. I figured I'd show them both before I ditch the old one on eBay.

    As always, please excuse the poor cell phone photos.


    Olbia, Sarmatia
    Circa 320-300 BC
    Obverse: Horned head of River God Borysthenes (Dniepr) left.
    Reverse: OΛBIO; axe-sceptre and Gorytos (Scythean bowcase); ΘΕ to left.
    References: SNG BM Black Sea 485.
    Size: 21mm
    Weight: 9.3g

    Feel free to post an example that you own!
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro Change your thoughts. Change the world. Supporter

    Very nice upgrade. Congrats!
  4. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Very nice example! Just out of curiosity, how much of the coinage of Olbia are you studying?
  5. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    My knowledge of their coinage is limited to what I've collected thus far. I have this issue, as well as an example of their more famous cast dolphin proto-money. I do have quite a few other black sea issues from other colonies. I think the divine personification of the River god Borysthenes is fascinating, as well as the iconography on the reverse. Olbia was certainly at the cross roads between Greek and Scythian cultures, both of whom they seemingly traded with. I'd be interested in knowing if there are any dedicated literary sources for info on Olbia.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  6. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    If anyone is interested in learning about the much-feared Scythians, who's weapons are portrayed on this coin, check out this article, courtesy of the British Museum.
    RAGNAROK likes this.
  7. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  8. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    The bull man iconography is certainly old and I've written on that topic, specifically in relation to water and man-faced bulls (which are related). I did not include this type in my study because of the distinct human neck, but Jenkins (mistakenly) does add to in his list.
    jb_depew likes this.
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    very nice upgrade.. a nice one(or 2) to have in the Greek section collection.:)
    jb_depew likes this.
  10. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    I can't find a visual depiction of Borysthenes on the web... Was he more man or bull? Is your work online by chance?
  11. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    Presumably a bearded man with bovine ears and horns. Ebook is available at a discounted rate:http://www.archaeopress.com/Public/...asp?id={630D98AF-05CE-4C17-B530-6CD7DF4DA048}

    Note that I do not discuss the Borysthenes (I mention it in passing), but do discuss earlier bull man iconography from which this stems. I believe Olbia was a colony of Miletus.
    Alegandron and jb_depew like this.
  12. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    Nicholas Molinari and Alegandron like this.
  13. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    I'm honored. Hope you like it and I'm always happy to chat.
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