Featured Zeus Kasios

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Jochen1, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear Friends of ancient mythology!

    Here is another deity of Asia minor: Zeus Kasios

    The Coin:
    Syria, Seleukis and Pieria, Seleukeia Pieria, Trajan, AD 98-117
    AE 23, 12.65g, 0°
    struck AD 100/101 (RY 4)
    Laureate head r.
    Perspective view of the tetrastyle temple of Zeus Kasios with canopy-like roof;
    on the top of the roof a flat base, on it an eagle with open wings. Inside a conical
    stone decorated with a knotted ribbon/pearl string.
    in r. field Δ (= year 4)
    in ex. ZEVC / KACIOC (Z mirrored)
    ref. BMC 274, 39; SNG München cf. 990ff. (without Δ); Price - Trell 212, fig. 445; Sear GIC 1081
    About VF/F+, brown patina with earthen highlights

    Seleukeia was founded simultaneous with Antiocheia ad Orontes as its harbour 300 BC by Seleukos I. The history of Seleukeia was connected closely to that of Antiocheia, the capital of Syria. Due to the boom years in Roman times Seleukeia was a wealthy city demonstrated not least by its large coinage. Main deity was Zeus worshipped as Zeus Keraunos and Zeus Kasios. The motif appears for the first time under Trajan. Probably not a portable shrine was meant. (Aeruginis).

    At the nearby mount Kasios a celebration of Zeus Kasios was celebrated annually. Therefore the cult object inside the shrine could be an agalma of this mountain itself, similar to those of mount Argaios. Due to the explicit reference "Kasios" this is perhaps closer than the of course also reasonable interpretation of the object in the sense of a holy stone or a holy dwelling (Baetyl, meteorite or similar) as e.g. in Emesa (Aeruginis).

    And we would also have a reasonable explanation for the hole, which can be always seen in the upper half of the stone. It could then correspond to a cave in which the ceremonies took place, as it did on the mount Argaios.

    Naturally the eagle on the roof can be seen as bird of Zeus. But it is possible too that it is an allusion to the founder myth of Seleukeia where an eagle points Seleukos to the right place to found the city. Libanios told the story how Antiocheia was founded: An eagle took the thigh of a sacrifice out of the flames and carried it to the place of the later Antiocheia in order to fulfill the wish of Alexander the Great for a settlement. This myth was then transferred to Seleukeia. But Libanios can well have taken this myth from Seleukeia to honor his hometown of Antioch.

    Zeus Kasios was worshipped too in Pelusion.

    Some authors say that Kasios has been a particular man to whom Zeus once came as guest and whom he could convince to erect a temple and to pay divine honour to him. In turn Zeus got his name as cognomen (Lactans. Instit. divin. lib. I. c.22 §23).
    Other authors however derived this name from Kasio, one of the Cycladic islands, or from Kasos, son of Kleitomachos, so that there is nothing for sure. His usual shape was a rock or a steep mountain as we can see on several coins. On one of them we see a tetrastyle temple with a rock in the midth, an eagle on the roof and the inscription ZEVS KASIOS as seen on my coin (Hederich).

    There is no other Olympic god than Zeus where the Indo-European ethymology and its meaning - and so already the pre-Mediterranean, from Indo-European religions derived origin and character attributes - is so without a doubt. The basic meaning is something like 'who flashs up bright', 'who shines' or 'sheet lightning'. In Mycenaean time we have two phases in the development of the Zeus idea:

    (1) the 'conflict of two religious concepts' by assimilation of the Indo-European-Greek Zeus, i.e. the patriarchal Zeus Pater and Zeus Athanatos with the quite heterogenous because to the matriarchal context belonging 'Cretic' Zeus Kretagenes and Megistos Kouros, i.e. the Mediterranean type of the 'divine child'.

    (2) the genealogic adaptation of the Zeus mythos by its incorporation in succession and 'Kingdom in Heaven' mythologems of Asia Minor in the 2nd millenium BC. Thus Zeus became the 'son' of the ungreek pair of the gods Kronos-Rhea and so the first of the Kronids. The conflict between Zeus and Kronos, the battle of Zeus against the Titans, Typhon and others are crises on the way to the Olympic Megistos Theos, reflectance of the religious conflict with mediterranean High-god, heaven, weather and mountain deities. So even Olympios - the famous name of Zeus - is ungreek, and so the mythologem of the mountains as domicile of the families of gods. The famous Homeric epikleisis of Zeus νεφελεγερετα (= 'Gatherer of Clouds') is Ugaritic and originally an epitheton of Baal! The religious displacements sometimes could be located exactly geographically, so e.g. in the case of the Northern Syrian Zaphon-Kasion mountain, the arena of the Typhon myth of the 2nd millenium BC.

    Kasion is the repitition of probably an Aramaeic quasju(n) ('peak of a mountain, end of a mountain, promontory'), which in turn has replaced at end of the 2nd millenium BC a Canaanitic-Phoinician sapon: It is the name of the highest mountain (1770m) in Northern Syria (today gebel el-aqrac), seat of Baal Zaphon and his cult. It was the holy mountain of the Canaanits and is mentioned in the Bible (e.g. Jesaja 14 or psalm 48). It is discussed too wether this mountain is identical with Zion, the holy mountain of the Israelits. Seafaring devotees of this god have settled his cult probably before this mountain was renamed as Kasion on a 13m high sand-hill at the west-end of the Sirbonic sea (today sabhat el-bardawil) 15km east of Pelusion (today tell el-farama). This hill was named Zaphon too and because of its connections to the Syrian mountain then named Kasion when this mountain changed its name. Both places got in Hellenestic times - parallel to the displacement of Baal Zaphon by Zeus Kasion - the name Kasios mountain and in Roman times mons Casius. On it stood the temple of Zeus Kasios and here Pompejus Magnus was buried (Plin. H. N. lib. V. c. 12 & Strabo lib. XVI p. 760). This mountain until today is hold sacred by the Nusairians (Alawites).
    Mount Casius

    The myth of Typhon:
    This mountain plays a role in the myth of Typhon too. Typhon was a phantastic mixed creature with hundred dragon heads of old-greek mythology - influenced by the Orient - all with a terrible voice and snake-legs, child of Tartaros with Gaia, who wanted to have him as ruler of the world against Zeus after the fall of the Titans. In a terrific world burning caused by the thunderbolts of Zeus the heads of the rebel burned up, he was overthrown into the Tartaros. In the clamour of storms (Typhon was father of the bad winds) and in the eruptions of vulcanos the god became manifest. With Echidna he has created other monsters: Orthos, Kerberos, Hydra, Chimaira and others. The description of the Battle of Titans by Hesiod is topped by a 'cyclic' theogonia which is reported by Apollodor: Here the gods turned to animals in fear of Typhon and fled to Egypt, and Typhon in an infight at the mountain Kasion snatched from Zeus his sickle, cut his hand and foot tendons and dragged him to the Kerykaion cave in Cilicia; Hermes and Aigipan outsmarted his female guard, the dragon Delphyne, and so Zeus after a bloody struggle was winner and buried Typhon under the Aetna volcano.

    I have added a photo of Mount Casius from Wikipedia (author: Anthok)


    (1) Libanios, oratio 11 ("Antiochikos")
    (2) Benjamin Hedrich, Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon, 1777
    (3) Der kleine Pauly
    (4) www.aeruginis.de
    (5) Wikipedia

    Best regards
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2019
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  3. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    The mountain until today hold sacred by the Nusairians (Alawites) is the Syrian Kasios.

    Best regards
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2019
    Peter T Davis and 7Calbrey like this.
  4. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Great and very generous write-up. I needed to know if the name of the mountain Kasius is still the same nowadays.
    This sacred stone within the temple might also be a combination of stones gathered intentionally to form a statue. But this is out of my simple imagination.
    This sacred stone or temple appears only on coins of 2 Emperors: Trajan and Septimius Severus. I was really lucky to acquire both of them, and in a condition which could help to solve this mystery, if possible. Here we are. S Sever R         sacred Piera.JPG S Sever O        Stone Zeus.JPG StonStraja R.JPG StonTraj O.JPG
  5. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Hi 7Calbrey!

    For the coin of Severus please take a look at https://www.ma-shops.de/saenn/item.php?id=26056 I think it is the same coin.

    Your coin of Trajan is the same type as my coin except it is from RY 4 (E).

    Best regards
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2019
    7Calbrey likes this.
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