not exactly FDC. Elagabalus, AD 218-222. Roman provincial Æ assarion, 2.88 g, 16.6 mm, 7 h. Moesia Inferior, Marcianopolis, AD 218-222. Obv: ΑVΤ Κ Μ ΑVΡ ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC, laureate head, right. Rev: ΜΑΡΚΙΑΝΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, Tripod with serpent entwined around central leg. Refs: AMNG I 916; Varbanov 1425; Moushmov 653; H&J 220.127.116.11. This reverse type, of a serpent entwined around a tripod, appears on numerous provincial coins of Moesia Inferior and Thrace in the third century AD. You may think it mundane, but when one dives into the iconography or the historical background of a coin, it usually turns out to be more interesting than it appears. The word tripod derives from the Greek word τρίπους (τρίποδος in the genitive, transliterated as tripodos), meaning three-footed, and refers to a three-legged structure. It is one of the oldest words in Greek. In fact, no word in that language can be demonstrated to be older, for it appears in the Linear B script, dating to the 13th century BC! The word appears on a clay tablet with Linear B script discovered in Pylos, Greece, and which now resides in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The word ti-ri-po-de appears in syllabic characters along with a drawing of a three-legged vessel on the tablet! Chadwick, who worked together with Michael Ventris to decipher Linear B, describes the circumstances of its discovery: One afternoon in May 1953 the telephone rang in my flat in Cambridge. Michael Ventris had called me from London in a great state of excitement—he rarely showed signs of emotion, but for him this was a dramatic moment. The cause was a letter he had received from Professor Blegen, the excavator of Pylos. We knew that Blegen had found more tablets in 1952, but no one had yet examined them carefully; they had been cleaned during the winter and only the next spring were they ready for study. Blegen’s letter ran: Since my return to Greece I have spent much of my time working on the tablets from Pylos, getting them properly ready to be photographed. I have tried your experimental syllabary on some of them. Enclosed for your information is a copy of P641, which you may find interesting. It evidently deals with pots, some on three legs, some with four handles, some with three, and others without handles. The first word by your system seems to be ti-ri-po-de and it recurs twice as ti-ri-po (singular?). Used as a seat or stand, the form of the tripod is the most stable furniture construction for uneven ground, hence its ancient and widespread existence. In antiquity, tripods were most frequently used as a support for a lebes (cauldron) or as a base for other vases, although they could also function as ornaments, trophies, and sacrificial altars. Here is a replica bronze tripod decorated with serpent motifs. A Serpent coiled round a tripod is typically referable to Apollo, or indicates the Delphic oracles. This iconography stems from the myth of how Apollo chased the serpent-god Python from Mount Parnassus, slew the creature with his arrow, placed his bones into a tripod cauldron and deposited them into his new temple. I have previously written about Apollo slaying Python here at CT, as depicted on this coin of Caracalla, also struck at the mint in Marcianopolis: Caracalla, with Julia Domna, AD 198-217. Roman provincial Æ Pentassarion, 10. 66 g, 27 mm, 1 h. Moesia Inferior, Marcianopolis, AD 215 under Quintillianus, legatus consularis. Obv: ΑΝΤΩΝΙΝΟC ΑVΓΟVCΤΟC ΙΟV-ΛΙΑ ΔΟΜΝΑ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Caracalla and draped bust of Julia Domna facing one another. Rev: VΠΑ ΚVΝΤΙΛΙΑΝΟV ΜΑΡΚΙΑΝΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, Apollo standing facing, head right, raising hand over head and holding bow; to left, Є (mark of value) above covered quiver; serpent-entwined stump to right. Refs: AMNG I 660 ff; Moushmov 471; H&J, Marcianopolis 18.104.22.168; Varbanov 1001; Mionnet --; BMC --; Sear --; Wiczay --. Post your coins with tripods, serpents and tripods, or anything you feel is relevant! ~~~ Notes: 1. Liddell, Henry George, and Robert Scott. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 819. 2. Photo: "Linear B." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/topic/Linear-B. See also http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/4/eh430.jsp?obj_id=5487 3. Chadwick, John. The Decipherment of Linear B: the Key to the Ancient Language and Culture of Crete and Mycenae. Random House, 1958, p. 80. 4. Stevenson, Seth William, et al. A Dictionary of Roman Coins, Republican and Imperial. G. Bell and Sons, 1889, p. 735. 5. Hyginus (2nd c. AD?), Fabulae: 140 in Trzaskoma, Stephen M., and R. Scott. Smith. Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabulae: Two Handbooks of Greek Mythology. Hackett Publishing, 2007, p. 146.