The Camel Rider of Natounia

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by zumbly, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Here's a new arrival that I was very pleased to win this past December. It's a rather rare type that I'd never seen before, and more critical to my desire to win it, I'd never seen an ancient coin showing someone riding a camel before!

    MESOPOTAMIA Adiabene Natounia - AE22 Arsu Camel Rider 4193.JPG
    MESOPOTAMIA, Adiabene. Natounia.
    AE22. 6.62g, 21.8mm. MESOPOTAMIA, Adiabene. Natounia, circa 2nd-1st centuries BC. CSE II 846; Hoover, Natounia Series 1, 1-7; Seyrig, Trésor 13a. O: Radiate and diademed of Helios-Shamash right. R: Rider (Arsu?) on camelback right, holding short staff in right hand; all within wreath border.

    Oliver Hoover in his paper The Camels of Natounia points out that the rider here may be Arsu, the pre-Islamic Arab god of the evening star. Arsu and his brother Azizu were worshipped in Syria and Mesopotamia as protectors of travelers on the caravan routes. While Azizu was more often shown on horseback, Arsu was typically depicted riding a camel.

    Arsu Riding a Camel, limestsone relief, circa 2nd century AD (Yale University Art Gallery)

    Another interesting theory raised in Hoover's paper is for the dating for the issue. While hoard data and the analysis of some overstruck examples narrow the dating to between 120-31 BC, Hoover suggests that the "sudden production" of bronze coinage at Natounia began specifically around 65 BC, when local change was required as trade opened up between locals and foreign soldiers of the Parthian and Roman armies that in turn occupied Adiabene in that year. If that were the purpose, the Natounians certainly came up with a distinctive type for their coins!

    Please feel free to share your pics of any related coins, coins with camels, or even better, pictures of you on a camel!
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  3. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    Nice and interesting coin.

    No picture of me on a camel, but a small camel on a Trajan denarius:

    Obv.: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate bust right, drapery on far shoulder
    Rev.: COS V P P SPQR OPTIMO PRINC, Arabia standing left, holding a branch and a bundle of cinnamon sticks; at her feet, a camel walking left
    Ag, 3.44g, 17.5mm
    Ref.: RIC 142, RSC 89
  4. Alegandron

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

    That is a cool pickup, @zumbly ! The camel-rider scene looks real / in motion. Very nice! I don’t think I have seen a rider on camel before... really nice!

    Yes, I have me on a camel pic. No, I cannot find it!

    Tethered Camel

    Roman Republic
    Aemilius Scaurus and Plautius Hypsaeus
    58 BCE
    AR Denarius
    scorpion quadriga
    4.1g 19mm
    Craw 422-1b

    Untethered Camel

    Roman Empire
    Arabia Petraea, Bostra.
    Trajan. A.D. 98-117.
    AR Drachm (18.57 mm, 2.92 g, 8 h). Struck A.D. 114-116.
    AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANω APICTω CЄB ΓЄPM ΔAK, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind /
    ΔHMAPX EΞ UPATO ς, Camel walking left.
    SNG ANS 1158; SNG von Aulock 6408; Sydenham, Caesarea 205. VF.
    Ex: Harlan J. Berk.
    Ex: Agora
  5. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    @zumbly I love that reverse!

    Parenthetically, I'm awaiting a coin won in December from a German auction house. Your post gives me hope ...
    zumbly likes this.
  6. PlanoSteve

    PlanoSteve Supporter! Supporter

    While some may chide "cowboys" for their bull & bronc riding prowess, we knew all along it had a noble & ancient basis...:D...that one looks like it depicts an 8 second run! :smuggrin:

    Well, to heck with those people (but I don't mean PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals!...I wonder what camel tastes like?...hope it's not chicken!!!) :p:jawdrop:

    zumbly and Alegandron like this.
  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    More camels.

    Trajan - Drachm, Arabia Bostra, Camel reverse - jpg version.jpg
    Plautius-Camel jpg versioin.jpg

    Mudie 7 - Defense of Acre Lion Camel R2.jpg
    dadams, Marsyas Mike, zumbly and 7 others like this.
  8. Alegandron

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

    I have eaten Camel.
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  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    What does it taste like? Chicken?
    PlanoSteve likes this.
  10. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    That's a neat coin with a very interesting reverse indeed. I have not seen that reverse before.
    I have one coin with a camel on it, the denarius of Trajan which has already been shown. So I wont' show it again.

    Hang in there, I've received my coin from Germany (auction in november) the second week of January.

    Reminds me of:
    Obelix Camel.png
  11. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Neat coin @zumbly . I don’t have a relevant coin to share but the Camel rider does remind me of a relief I saw at an exhibit in the Getty Villa showing the soldiers of Tiglath-pileser III chasing down a enemy riding a camel that is thought to probably represent an Arab.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  12. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Great coin! So cool that it likely represents one of the pre-Islamic Arab gods, and that looks to be one of the nicest reverses of the type. Coingrats!!

    My weirdest camel is the countermark at 8 o'clock on the reverse of this coin. It's a forepart of a camel conjoined with an elephant head. o_O

    Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 5.34.47 PM.jpg
    AE drachm issued by Hunnic or Turkic warlords in northern Tokharistan, Kobadien, c. 500. Imitating the standard Sasanian king/fire altar type.
    dadams, Marsyas Mike, DonnaML and 3 others like this.
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks for the comments and for sharing your camel coins, everyone. I hold out hope we'll get a pic of one of our members on a camel yet. :D

    Was it tasty? Pics of this feast also welcome.

    Love that relief! Thanks for sharing it.

    Wonderful countermark! I would have guessed "camel with deformed turtle's shell and shrimp tail" but defer to your expertise here... :shame:

  14. Alegandron

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

    It is the camel hump that is served. It is more fatty, as it is where they store water. But the fat made the taste more succulent. Reminded me of lamb-shank served in British pubs. Good gravy served with it. Yeah, good.
    LOL, I never really take a lot of pics, especially when eating. :)
    PlanoSteve, dadams and zumbly like this.
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