The child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn appeared/ Coins of The Iliad & The Odyssey

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    The title needs no infusing of hyperbole, buuut it is one of, if not, THE most uttered lines of epic poetry, of all time. Sorry Gilgamesh.

    Though later than Gilgamesh, no line so susinctly embodies the mindset and magic of the ancients while transmitting it to the modern mind, for me. Nor is said more!
    Twice in The Iliad and twenty times in The Odyssey!
    And yes, I did just finish reading the Iliad and the Odyssey again:

    Now I'm not here to explain epithets. I want to see any coins relating to Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey:rage::jimlad: All memorized and written down by one blind man:yawn:
    Ionia, Smyrna. Circa 125-115 BC. Æ 20mm (21mm, 8.27g). Phanokrates, magistrate. Laureate head of Apollo right / The poet Homer seated left, holding scroll. Milne, Autonomous 194a; SNG Copenhagen.

    The coin that I cannot get, and slips through my fingers like Narcissus reaching at his own reflection in the stream, is a Hector:

    And I don't recall seeing the antagonist, Achilles on coinage... please prove me wrong:

    However, some of my very favorite coins (that just so happen to be some of my most artistic) not only have the heavy hitting ancient Greek pantheon of Gods, referenced by Homie, but some key characters...

    Lokris Opuntia
    Hemidrachm around 350 BCE 2.60 g. Head of a nymph with reed wreath, simple ear pendants and necklace to the right / Ajax in the Corinthian helmet with drawn short sword storming to the right, holding above the left arm oval shield with a lion as inner jewelry, spear lying on the ground. BMC 26
    Very nice

    (I've read that it's Ajax the lesser. Though both of the Ajaxii;) were mentioned many times as simply the Ajaxes. The greater was nearly equal to Achilles)

    And then who can forget the loveable image of that old busted up scamp Odysseus finding his old busted up pup after two decades of war and strife:
    C. Mamilius Limetanus
    82 BC.
    Silver Serrate Denarius, 4.06 g., 19 mm.
    Obv. Bust of Mercury right, wearing petasus and holding caduceus.
    Rev. Ulysses (Odysseus) greeting his dog Argos who wags his tail in recognition, the scene recounted in Odyssey 17.290 ff.
    Crawford 362/1; Sydenham 741.

    Of course the Romans would love for us to believe this guy was more than just a one shot wonder in The Iliad to enhance their prestige:
    Julius Caesar
    Denarius fouree, Africa, 47-46 BCE. AR 2.8 g. 18mm, Diademed head of Venus r. Rev. CAESAR Aeneas running l., carrying his father Anchises on his l. shoulder, holding palladium on his outstretched r. hand. This coin represents Caesar’s war coinage for the protracted campaign against the Pompians in Africa culminating in the battle of Thapsus.Cr. 458/1. Syd. 1013.

    And certainly the gods were center stage during the action.
    Zeus let Troy fall to assuage the woman in his life.
    Ptolemy III, Euergetes 246-221 BCE AE28, uncertain mint. Obv: Head of Zeus Ammon right. Rx: Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, cornucopiae before and C between legs.

    Namely his wife Hera who is always scheming as well as Athena who plots Troy's destruction (both on one coin:smuggrin:):
    Phoenicia. Arados
    136-51 BCE. Bronze Æ 16mm., 3,2g. Jugate heads of Zeus and Hera or Poseidon and Amphitrite right / Prow left surmounted by Athena standing left, Phoenician lettering above and date in Phoenician below. very fine Cf. BMC 346

    Plus Venus, Mars, Pluto. Oh, did I mention Alexander/Paris, brothers Agamemnon and Menelaus, Priam, Helen- whom the Greeks named themselves thereafter, Hellenes. It was the Romans that called them Greeks. And all the rest.

    So hopefully you'll share coins with people, Gods, references to, or whatever infiltrates your gates, on the ancient dust up in Troy and its aftermath:jimlad::jimlad::jimlad:
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Sorry Telemachus, just not enough room in here:meh: (also not on a coin that I recall):
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This might be a good place to mention (again) how much I like the book Collecting Greek Coins by John Anthony (a different John Anthony, not ours). You might like chapter XXXXII on the Odyssey. I see the price on these has gone up. Not long ago they were $10 but $13 is not bad. Do be warned that the book does not touch on values or grading so it would be worthless to many collectors.
    svessien, Ed Snible, Di Nomos and 5 others like this.
  5. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Thanks Doug! As you know values in books and grading are fluid and things I don't pay much heed of. So this is perfect!
    I do my best to avoid Amazon. They are a shady and crooked company. What is it you say about giving feedback with your feet and wallet?
    Anyways, I found it on ebay for $4.86 with free shipping. I'll let you know what I think when it arrives!
    Ps, some favorite Athena/Minervas of mine:
    20190326_145958_8AFB3FA5-3D1D-45C7-9439-37E4F22ED9BB-406-000000C00146D2B5.png 20190326_155038_C8B85D1B-01D6-4EAE-A8B0-0A373253FF2E-406-000000D0FE2A3B9C.png MugLife_07252020182544.gif
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  6. Alegandron

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

    Great writeup and coins, @Ryro !

    You just finished Illiad / Odyssey again, I just finished "3001 The Final Odyssey" ... kinda the same... )


    And, I am reading one of your suggestions "Ghost on the Throne" ... fun book... thanks:


    Here is one of my favorite dawggy coins:

    RR C Mamilius 82 BCE AR Den Serrate Mercury winged petasos caduceus Ulysses Dog Argos Sear 282 Craw 362-1
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  7. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Lokri Opuntii Ar Stater 370-369 BC Obv Head of Demeter left wreathed in grain ears. Rv. Ajax the lesser naked wearing Corinthian style helmet advancing right with shield and sword. Humphris/Delbridge Group 2 9a This coin illustrated 12.26 grms 21mm Photo by W. Hansen lokriop2.jpg Ajax the lesser was the son of Oileus King of Lokris and the leader of that contingent during the siege of Troy. During the sack of that city he captured and possibly raped Kassandra who was sheltering in the temple of Athena. This was a serious act of impiety and Athena was not amused. As a result on the return trip back to Greece he was shipwrecked and killed by the goddess. Other stories have him killed by Poseidon who he managed to piss off as well. The one thing you can say about him that he is consistent. Despite all of this he remained a hero to the Locrians.
    On a personal note This type was one of my "grail" coins and I remember staying up late into the morning trying to get one of the coins offered by NAC from the BCD collection (2010). Subsequently I saw a number but they all had some issue that I did not like. In 2018 at the NYINC I saw one decided to look around the floor for about an hour and it was gone.:eek: In 2019 again at the NYINC I saw this coin and decided right then and there I was going to buy it. The dealer for reasons I do not understand was determined to point out the most significant flaw, which is its tight flan.o_O Because of his kindness I got him to reduce his asking price and took the coin home with me. :)
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  8. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Umm, Kubrick is kinda the beginning and the end of truly perfect artistic cinema. He's simply the best director of all time, to me. What an Odyssey!
    Though, the mushies just might just be kicking in:

    I recall recommending:

    But now I'm excited to read your recommendation!:wideyed:
    And fantastic Ulysses and Argos:artist: You kinda have to imagine that my Argos is there thanks to all the wear. And yours is dang near FDC:pompous::cigar:
    How ridiculously small the wings on his petasos is on this type reminds me of the laughably small horns they have on Philip V. Was it an issue their amateurish (compared to Greek and later Roman) die cutters had with perspective, intentionally mocking or something else entirely???:
  9. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Great! If you don't find it worth $4.86, I'll buy it from you --- as long as you also mail it to me with free shipping. I would not be surprised if the USPS did not charge that much for the postage. If I had my numismatic life to live over, I would have bought a stack of these when they were new (I believe they were $10) and used them as gifts over the years for people I thought had their numismatic life together enough to appreciate it. This is what I call a 'good read'. Sure it is just a paperback and crams its 42 chapters into just under 300 pages but I do believe it is, word for word, the best book on the subject I have seen. Sear is a catalog and makes me sorry I don't have all those coins. Anthony makes me feel good about wanting to understand and collect Greek coins.
    Valentinian, DonnaML and Ryro like this.
  10. Di Nomos

    Di Nomos Well-Known Member

    I have a tetradrachm from Skione in Macedon with a portrait of Protesilaos on it. Purported to be the first Greek to set foot at Troy and the first to die, slain by the Trojan hero Hektor.

    In other stories he survived and is the legendry founder of Skione. More complete copies show his name on his helmet crest. The reverse shows the stern of a ship, supposedly the ship he sailed in to the Trojan war.

    tetradrachm c. 480 -470 BC

    Skione Tetradrachm.png
  11. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    My one directly relevant coin, the Mamilius Limetanus denarius with Mercury on the obverse and Ulysses & Argus on the reverse:

    Mamilius Limetanus (Mercury - Ulysses & dog) jpg version.jpg
  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    A stunning coin. Good find!
  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    A beautiful coin!
    Di Nomos likes this.
  14. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Thanks for the post! The reason many of us hang around here is that we learn things we did not know. More complete copies that show his name on his helmet crest are rare. If we search online we will find a few with varying degrees of clarity and completeness. This one has excellent completeness with a bit less than perfect clarity but is still a magnificent coin of the type. Most are legend free due to centering or strike.
    Those who read the above link will see the note that this is the first coin with an inscription naming the person shown on the coin. Interesting! I had never even considered when that was. Who was the next?
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  15. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    Not really a common person, but my first thought:

  16. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    I’m so envious of your Homer coin that it was almost difficult to like your post.... I really liked that one, and perhaps there’s one out there for me too. I hope so.

    Here’s a little more detail on Aenas of Troy:
    Sear 1402 Caesar denarius.jpg

    Here’s Hektor of Troy. Also an interesting coin:


    Troas, Ophrynion. Circa 350-300 BC.

    Obverse: Bearded, three-quarter facing head of Hector, turned slightly left, wearing triple crested helmet.

    Reverse: OFRY, the infant Dionysos kneeling right, holding grape cluster in right hand.

    Reference: SNG Cop: 456ff var (Bust left, not right); BMC Troas pg. 75, 4-7 var (Same); SNG von Aulock 1559 var (Same) Very Rare.

    Size: 18mm, 6.52g.

    The tomb of Hector

    In Antiquity Ophryneion was considered to be the site of the Tomb of Hector, the famous Trojan hero killed by Achilles in Homers Iliad. It is possible that a lost play of the 5th century BC tragedian Sophocles referred to this tradition, and it likewise appears to be referred to on a vase from c. 500–490 BC depicting the sack of Troy. However, the first secure reference to this tradition appears on the coinage of Ophryneion, c. 350–300 BC, which depicted Hector. After the city of Thebes was rebuilt in 316 BC (it had been destroyed by Alexander the Great in 335 BC), the bones of Hector were moved from Ophryneion to Thebes in accordance with an oracle which promised Thebes prosperity should this happen. In the early 1st century AD, the geographer Strabo described there being a sacred precinct of Hector near Oryphneion in a conspicuous spot, but scholars have been unable to identify it.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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