Zeus Ammon from Pitane with Pi below?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Lane Walker, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    I am wondering if anyone with access to the SNG Volume on Mysia or other similarly useful references can speak to any known variant of this little coin from Pitane, Mysia depicting a Pi(Π) below Zeus Ammon?

    Mysia, Pitane / AE, 12mm, 1.1gm / 400-300 BC
    Obv: head of Zeus Ammon right Π below
    Rev: Pentagram


    Typically the lettering ΠΙΤΑ is found on the reverse of these coins surrounding the Pentagram and I am not familiar enough with variants of this coin to know if I'm imagining a Π below Zeus Ammon or if it's a known thing?
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  3. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    I see a Π on your coin, too!

    By chance I currently have the SNG Copenhagen Mysia volume lying on my desk and just looked it up. SNG Cop. has six coins of the type (530–535). None has a Π on the obverse, and they mostly just differ in size and style. 532 supposedly also has a small serpent on the reverse, but I can't see it on the images. 533 has a larger than usual pellet in the middle of the pentagram:

    Bildschirmfoto 2020-01-18 um 10.58.08.png

    I remember doing some reading on this type about three years ago when I bought mine (of which I definitely need to take new pictures). There appear to be a number of different varieties. As far as I know, there isn't any catalogue or systematic study of them yet. But maybe I also didn't search hard enough back then?

    Magna Graecia – Mysien, Pitane, AE, Ammon Pentagramm.png
    Mysia, Pitane, AE11, 4th–3rd c. BC. Obv: Horned head of Zeus Ammon r. Rev: Pentagram, pellet in center, [Π]–I. 11mm, 1.26g. Ref: BMC 2–3; SNG Copenhagen 530–535 var (reverse letters).
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  4. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    Thank you so much for sharing the SNG panels.

    Very odd indeed and I can't wait to see if future information/research on these types sheds some light on this little mystery. Something I'll just have to have at-the-ready to ask fellow collectors of ancients I suppose.

    These little coins are some of the most intriguing and I can't help but want to know more about the people of Pitane. Curiously did you research reveal much about their lifestyle and culture?
  5. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    My pleasure!

    I didn't do much reading on the history of Pitane specifically, but when it comes to the more general topic of ancient Greek culture in Asia Minor, I can strongly recommend this very readable and reliable book:
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  6. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    Purchased - can't wait to check that out.

    Also I'm finding a few references to the greek god of Health and Medicine - Aesculapius - as historians are discussing research on the role of the pentragram on coins from Pitane.
    Orielensis likes this.
  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Thanks for that book recommendation! It looks great.

    I have a Pitane bronze and like it very much:

    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)
    thejewk, dadams, Bing and 2 others like this.
  8. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    I have two coins from Pitane. The first does not have a pi, and the second, smaller denomination, does. I've never noticed it!

    16mm, 3.7g, no pi:


    10mm, .91g, has a pi character. Excuse the poor quality photo.

    thejewk, dadams, Bing and 3 others like this.
  9. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    I'm having a bit of trouble seeing the Pi in your closeup. Would you mind taking a clearer shot or digitally tracing out the symbol?
  10. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    Sure, here is an outline of what I think is a pi character:

    Bing likes this.
  11. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    Definitely see it now. The mystery continues!

    These coins seem to be common-enough that numismatists surely have noticed this variation.
  12. shanxi

    shanxi Well-Known Member

    I don't know if you are aware that your coin was sold 2014 as part of the live auction 9 of Naville Numismatics.


    In the Naville picture you can see that it is not only Π but probably ΠI

    The reference given by Naville (BMC 5) does not mention Π or ΠI.
  13. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    Wow, that's amazing sleuthing and I think you are correct. Thank you. And yet it's obvious to me in the Obverse under Zeus. So surprised it isn't listed in the attribution.
  14. Lane Walker

    Lane Walker Active Member

    I included the Naville image that you linked to my attribution since it offers a much clearer picture of the ΠI. Thanks again.
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