The horns of Ammon

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Nvb, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    The idea of of Ammon goes back to the ancient Egyptians c. 2500 - 2000 BC and their king of the gods and creator, Amun.
    The Egyptians would later fuse Amun and the sun god Ra to get Amun-Ra, and by the New Kingdom the Egyptians would come to see all their gods as different manifestations of Amun.

    While the earliest depictions of Amun had two plumes on his head, we do know that his symbol became the Criosphynx, or ram-headed sphynx. Amun's association with the ram may have begun when the Egyptians conquered the Kushites to the south, whose chief deity was also a wooly ram with curved horns (which itself may have originated from the Kerma culture in Nubia, whose sun god was also in the form of a ram)

    See attached, Criosphynx

    This particuarly important figure transcended many cultures and took many forms.
    The Greeks would absorb Amun into their own belief system where he became known as Zeus-Ammon, and later to the Romans as Jupiter-Ammon. The ram's horns would become Ammon's central, defining feature in the classsical world.

    See attached, Bust of Ammon, circa 150-200AD, c/o The British Museum

    My most recent 2 auction wins have featured these glorious horns, and it is one of my favourite motifs in ancient numismatics.

    Egypt, Alexandria. Hadrian, Drachm circa 134-135AD (year 19)


    Egypt, Alexandria. Dattari. Hadrian, 117-138 Drachm circa 134-135 (year 19), Æ 34.9mm
    Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. L ƐΝΝƐΑΚΔ Bust of Ammon r., set on basis, crowned with disc. RPC 5944. Dattari-Savio Pl. 93, 7819 (this rev. only.
    From the Dattari collection.

    Celts in Eastern Europe AR Tetradrachm. Zweigarm Type.
    Circa 3rd century BC

    Celticised, bearded head of Zeus to right, with two 'horns of Ammon'; the neck truncation and dotted border forming volutes / Stylised rider wearing crested helmet on horseback to left, right arm outstretched; wheel and pellets before. Göbl, OTA pl. 25, 291/5 (same dies); Lanz 585 (this coin).

    Horns up cointalkers \m/
    I hope you'll share your coins depicting this all-important chief deity

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Commodus tetradrachm of Alexandria LKZ year 27
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Fascinating post and interesting coins documenting religious syncretism in antiquity.
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  5. Alegandron

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

    Great write-up and nice coins @Nvb ! Cool stuff.


    KYRENAICA Kyrene Æ25 9.6g 250 BCE Diademed Zeus-Ammon r - K-O-I-N-O-N; Silphium plant; monogram SNG Cop 1278 BMC 16-19

    Thrace -Lysimachos AR Tet 14.3g 28.7mm 305-281 BCE RARE Alexander head-Ammon horns - rev Lysimachos Athena

    Egypt Ptolemy III Euergetes 246-222 BCE AE Chalkous 12.0mm 2.0g Zeus-Ammon Eagle Trident Svoronos 840 ex Righetti Collection
  6. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter


    Sestertius, Trajan
    28 x 30 mm, 19.96 g;
    Arabia Petraea, Bostra, (previously attributed to Cyrenaica, Cyrene), 103 - 111 AD
    This issue has seen a number of varying attributions over the decades, but Arie Kindler argues convincingly for Bostra, in Arabia Petraea, where the III Legion Cyrenaica was stationed after being transferred eastward during Trajan’s Arabian campaign.
    Ref.: Sydenham, Caesarea 232; RPC III 5; Lindgren I 1703 (Cyrene); Sear 1068; Kindler, Bostra 5;
    Obv.: AYTOKP KAIΣ NEP TPAIANO ΣEB ΓEPM ΔAK Laureate bust of Trajan r., slight drapery on far shoulder
    Rev.: ΔHMAPX - EΞ YΠAT ΓE Head of Zeus-Ammon r.

    upload_2019-4-7_22-54-42.png upload_2019-4-7_22-54-58.png
    Then, in 2018 I came across this hemidrachm with the same heads and of course had to buy it:happy::

    AR Hemidrachm, 15.68 mm, 1.53 g;
    Cyrenaica, Cyrene, 100 AD

    Don't know if Kindler's argument applies also to this issue

    Ref.: RPC III, 3, Sydenham 178; Metcalf, Silver P. 83, note 1 (for attribution to Cyrene); Sear 1068;
    Obv.: AΥT KAIΣ NEΡ TΡAIAN ΣEB ΓEPM Laureate bust of Trajan r., slight drapery on far shoulder (?)
    Rev.: ΔHMAPX - EΞ YΠAT Γ Bearded head of Zeus-Ammon r.with ram’s horn over his ear
  7. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Processional walkway of Amun leading from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple, flanked by ram-headed sphinxes for approximately 2 miles.

  8. R*L

    R*L Well-Known Member

    I very much like the Alexandrian coins depicting Ammon (the handsome examples posted above being no exception!). I hope to add one to my collection (someday) and am also chasing down a decent Ptolemaic depiction too. I may need to add a few other types to that wish list given the examples from @cmezner.

    My (tiny) Ammon:
    Seller's photo - Pitane, Mysia. Head of Zeus Ammon right / Π-I-T-A, Pentagram. 0.64 g/10 mm.
  9. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    Finally got a Lysimachos tetradrachm!
    The style is decent and I like that this one hasnt been over-cleaned.


    Estimate: - | Starting price: 250 EUR Online bidding closed
    Hellenistic Monarchies - Kingdom of Thrace - Lysimachos (323-281 BC) - AR Tetradrachm (Pergamon c. 287-282 BC, 16.91 g) - Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon / Athena Nikephoros seated left, left arm resting on shield, spear behind, herm to outer left, cult image to inner left (monogram in ex.) (Thompson 224 / Müller 287) - a.VF, some deposits
  10. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Excellent coins!
  11. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Supporter! Supporter

    Ptolemy II Ae Drachm Sv497 Lorber B 261 Circa 261 B.C. Sv497-2ptII.jpeg
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  12. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Lysimachos, Silver tetradrachm

    Obv:– Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon.
    Rev:– BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣMAXOY, Athena seated left, holding Nike in extended right hand, left arm resting on shield, spear behind, monogram in inner left field, monogram under Throne
    Ainos mint. Posthumous issue struck after 281 B.C.
    Reference:- Thompson -, Muller -.

    Allocated to Ainos based on style. Clearly the same engraver as Meydicikkale 2691.

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  13. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The horn of Ammon... that may be the most common attribute in my entire collection! I won't post them all here :D.

    A favorite I still don't have is a Lysimachos tetradrachm like the nice examples shown by @Alegandron, @Nvb, and @maridvnvm. @dougsmit's Commodus tetradrachm may not look high grade but it's really a much better than usual example!

    A worn, corroded, and clumsily cleaned (not by me!) rarity from Barke:
    KYRENAIKA, Barke
    480-450 BC

    AR hemidrachm, 13 mm, 1.57 gm
    Obv: silphium plant
    Rev: head of Zeus Ammon right within linear frame, B A P K around
    Ref: (which I have not checked) Müller MAA 301. Very rare.

    A much better condition Zeus Ammon from Kyrenaika. Too bad it's not the real deal... but it is a very collectible British Museum electrotype :) :
    KYRENAIKA, Kyrene
    modern copy by electrotypist Robert Ready

    host coin, c. 410-400 BCE, acquired by the British Museum in 1872
    AR "tetradrachm", 27 mm, 16.64 gm
    Obv: Bearded head of Zeus-Ammon, wearing tainia with uraeus-like ornament at forehead, facing slightly left within laurel wreath
    Rev: silphium plant; K V P A N A (split between fields, retrograde K)
    Edge: initials R R
    Ref: BMC 77 (host coin); B.V. Head. A guide to the principal coins of the Greeks, from circ. 700 B.C. to A.D. 270. London. 1965 pl. 20, 61 (host coin); host coin BM accession number 1872,0709.361; B.V. Head. A Guide to the Select Greek and Roman Coins Exhibited in Electrotype, London. 1880. Period III C #44.

    As long as I'm on the locale, here's a bronze from Kyrene:
    KYRENAIKA, Kyrene
    Koinon issue
    c. 250 BCE
    AE; 21 mm, 7.47 gm
    Obv: head of Zeus-Ammon right, wearing taenia
    Rev: silphium plant; monogram left; K-O / N-I / O-N
    Rev: Müller, Afrique 114; Buttrey, Coins 219 var. (no monogram); SNG Copenhagen 1276-9 var. (no monogram); BMC 16-9 (Koinon)

    A favorite-- Serapis Pantheos, in this iteration a melange of Zeus, Serapis, Ammon, Poseidon, and Helios:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Lucius Verus
    year 4, CE 163/4
    tetradrachm, 24 mm, 13.51 gm
    Obv: ΛAVPHΛI OVHPOCCEB; bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust left
    Rev: Radiate and draped bust of Serapis-Pantheos right, wearing calathus and horn of Ammon; trident behind shoulder; ∆/L in right field
    Ref: Emmett 2360 (4), R1; Köln 2148; Dattari (Savio) 9420; K&G 39.77

    The horn of Ammon is commonly seen on deified depictions of Alexander III:
    EGYPT. Ptolemy I Soter
    AR tetradrachm, 27 mm, 17.0 gm (Attic standard)
    Alexandreia mint, struck 313/12 BCE
    Obv: Head of the deified Alexander III to right, wearing mitra of Dionysos and elephant skin headdress, with aegis around his neck, and with horn of Ammon on his forehead
    Rev: ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ; Athena Alkidemos advancing right, hurling spear with her right hand and with shield over her extended left arm; to right, eagle with closed wings standing on thunderbolt to right with ΔΙ below
    Ref: Svoronos 33; Zervos series D, issue XIII; SNG Copenhagen 14; BMC 7

    A particularly artistic version of Zeus-Ammon:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Aquilia Severa
    year 5, CE 221/2
    tetradrachm, 23.5 mm, 11.57 gm
    Obv: draped bust right
    Rev: head of Zeus Ammon right; L-E
    Ref: Emmett 3025.5, R3; Geissen 2376; Dattari 4186

    I have the same tiny bronze from Pitane as @R*L and love it:
    MYSIA, Pitane
    AE, 4th-3rd c. BCE
    9 mm, 0.64 gm
    Obv: Head of Zeus Ammon right
    Rev: ΠΙΤΑ; Pentagram, branch in center
    Ref: BMC 5-10 var. (pellet in center)

    A syncretion of Serapis and Ammon:
    EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian
    year 8, CE 123/4
    billion tetradrachm, 23 mm, 13.2 gm
    Obv: ...TPAI AΔ... ; laureate bust right, slight drapery; crescent before
    Rev: draped bust of Serapis-Ammon right; L-H across fields
    Ref: Emmett 895.8, R5; Köln 858; Dattari (Savio) 1481; K&G 32.258
    From a Hungarian Collection formed primarily in the 1930’s

    ...and more than a pound of Ptolemaic bronzes, most sporting horns of Ammon:
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  14. Alegandron

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

    One of the better Horns that I have seen. Well done Martin! Really like that one.
  15. Alegandron

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

    oh no... you have to be careful what that will DO to you!

    ................... upload_2019-5-20_14-43-35.png
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  16. Nvb

    Nvb Well-Known Member

    Ok @TIF thats pretty impressive..
    The Lucius Verus and Aquilia Severa tetradrachms are fantastic!
    TIF likes this.
  17. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Seleucus I Nicator. SC 117.

    Seleukos DI O 1 Nicat.JPG Seleukos D SC 117.JPG
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  18. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Here's another Alexandrian Zeus Ammon I haven't shown often enough :D

    EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius
    AE drachm, uncertain regnal year
    Obv: laureate bust right
    Rev: Bust of Zeus Ammon right; L I (date uncertain)
    Ref: Dattari-Savio pl. 153 #8807 (this coin); Emmett 1700.10, R5 (but I'm skeptical of this date)
    Ex Robert L. Grover Collection of Roman-Egyptian Coinage, previously held by the Art Institute of Chicago
    Ex Dattari Collection (Giovanni Dattari, 1853-1923)
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  19. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    I love the style of that Celtic tet!
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