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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Types| ▸ |Music||View Options:  |  |  |   

Music on Ancient Coins

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Sestos, Thracian Chersonesos

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Sestos was an ancient town of the Thracian Chersonesos, the modern Gallipoli peninsula in European Turkey. Situated on the Hellespont opposite Abydos, it was an Aeolian colony, founded by settlers from Lesbos, and the home of Hero in the legend of Hero and Leander.
CM89992. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 1740 (2 spec.; RPC online 6 spec., 2 with c/m), Varbanov III 2967 (R7); c/m: Howqego 460 (1 spec., same coin type, same placement), VF, tight flan, reverse a bit flattened opposite countermark, weight 3.485 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Sestos mint, obverse CEBACTOY, bare head right, countermark: six pointed star in a 7mm round punch; reverse CHCTI, lyre; very rare; $180.00 (158.40)


Alexandreia Troas, Troas, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
CM89991. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 96 (same countermarks); cf. BMC Troas p. 12, 29 ff.; SNG Mnchen 92 f.; SNGvA 1461, coin: obverse mostly obscured by countermarks, reverse flattened by countermarking; countermarks: mostly VF, weight 5.358 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, Alexandria Troas (Eski Stambul, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo facing (only upper left side of face and left eye visible); c/m: 1) lyre in 7mm round punch, 2) female head right within 7mm round punch, 3) uncertain (mouse?); reverse lyre, AΛEΞAN (or similar) around, all within laurel wreath; c/m: horse head right; $120.00 (105.60)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

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In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.
RB76166. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 303a, Hunter III 117, Cohen V 262, SRCV III 8732, Choice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen fill, nice portrait, well centered, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th issue, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, laurel-branch in right hand, left forearm resting on lyre on back of his seat, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $110.00 (96.80)


Tarentum, Southern Apulia, Italy, c. 275 - 200 B.C.

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Tarentum's independence and power ended when the Romans expanded across Italy. Tarentum was aided by Pyrrhus, who surprised and defeated Rome with the use of war elephants. However, after Pyrrhus departed, the city surrendered in 272 B.C. In 209 B.C., Tarentum would suffer for supporting Hannibal. The commander of a Bruttian force betrayed the city to the Romans. Indiscriminate slaughter ensued and among the victims were the Bruttians who had betrayed the city. Thirty thousand of the Greek inhabitants were sold as slaves and the city's art treasures, including the statue of Nike (Victory) were carried off to Rome.
GI85894. Brass AE 14, Vlasto 1850, HN Italy 1092, SNG Morcom 259, aVF, rough, weight 2.212 g, maximum diameter 13.8 mm, die axis 180o, Tarentum (Taranto, Italy) mint, c. 275 - 200 B.C.; obverse scallop shell; reverse kithara; very rare; $110.00 (96.80)


Pheneos, Arkadia, Peloponnesos, Greece, c. 300 - 240 B.C.

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Feneos lies at the foot of Mount Cyllene, mythical birthplace of the god Hermes. It therefore was an important cult center for the god, notably during the annual festival of the Hermaea. Catullus (Poem 68) mentions the seasonal flooding of the plain and says it was drained by an underground channel dug by Hercules during his Twelve Labors. According to Herodotus the river Styx originates near Feneos. In the Aeneid, Evander's fond memories of a visit by Aeneas' father Anchises to Feneos are one factor in his decision to ally his Arcadian colonists to the Trojans.
GB85884. Bronze chalkous, BCD Peloponnesos 1629; Imhoof-Blumer MG 257; Trait III 905 & pl. CCXXV, 13; HGC 5 995 (R2); SNG Cop -; BMC Peloponnesus -, F, dark olive green patina, reverse slightly off center, weight 2.693 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, die axis 0o, Pheneos (Feneos, Greece) mint, c. 300 - 240 B.C.; obverse head of Artemis Heurippa right, quiver behind; reverse hound running right, ΦE above, syrinx (Pan pipes) below; ex J. Cohen Collection; very rare; $90.00 (79.20)


Thespiai, Boiotia, Greece, 146 - 27 B.C.

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Thespiae stood on level ground commanded by the low range of hills which run eastward from the foot of Mount Helicon to Thebes, near modern Thespies. During the Hellenistic Period, Thespiae sought the friendship of the Roman Republic in the war against Mithridates VI. It is subsequently mentioned by Strabo as a place of some size, and by Pliny as a free city within the Roman Empire, a reward for its support against Mithridates. Thespiae hosted an important group of Roman negotiatores until the refoundation of Corinth in 44 B.C.
GB93470. Bronze AE 16, BCD Boiotia 611; Head Boeotia p. 94, pl. VI, 13; BMC Central p. 92, 14, pl. XVI, 12; SNG Cop 406 - 407; De Luynes 2012; HGC 4 1408 (S), aVF, dark tone, highlighting chalky deposits, porous, weight 4.152 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 225o, Thespiai (near Thespies, Greece) mint, 146 - 27 B.C.; obverse female (Arsinoe III) head right, wearing veil, veiled bust right; reverse chelys, ΘEΣΠI/EΩN in two downward lines, starting on right, ending on left, all in laurel wreath; scarce; $80.00 (70.40)


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a citys status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tbingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY K - ΠOY ΛIK OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $70.00 (61.60)


Megara, Megaris, Peloponnesos, Greece, Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.

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Megara is in west Attica, the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was a trade port, its people using their ships and wealth as a way to gain leverage on armies of neighboring poleis. Megara specialized in exportation of wool and other animal products including livestock such as horses. It possessed two harbors, Pegae, to the west on the Corinthian Gulf and Nisaea, to the east on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea.
GB85881. Bronze tetrachalkon, cf. SNG Cop 470; BMC Attica p. 119, 12; BCD Peloponnesos 31; HGC 4 1791 (S-R1), F, near black patina, marks, porosity, reverse a little off center, weight 6.518 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, Megara mint, late 3rd - early 2nd century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse kithara (lyre), MEΓA/PEΩN in two flanking downward lines, the first on the right; ex J. Cohen Collection; ex BCD Collection with his tag, noting "AHB, May 1974, 2.-"; ex A.H. Baldwin, London; scarce; $70.00 (61.60)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. The kithara is a symbol of Apollo and he is credited with inventing it. Its true origins were likely Asiatic.. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."
RP89874. Bronze AE 26, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 547, Varbanov 3715 (R4), SNG Cop 588, Moushmov 2680, F, nice portrait, glossy dark patina, obverse slightly off center, reverse a little rough, central depressions, weight 10.328 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEIT,ΩN (last two letters in exergue), Apollo seated left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch downward in right hand, kithara (lyre) resting on seat behind in left hand; $70.00 (61.60)


Antioch, Seleukis & Pieria, Syria, c. 59 - 60 A.D.

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Shortly after Nero's accession in 54, the Roman vassal kingdom of Armenia overthrew their Iberian prince Rhadamistus and replaced him with the Parthian prince Tiridates. This was seen as a Parthian invasion. Nero immediately sent the army under the command of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. The Parthians temporarily relinquished Armenia, but peace did not last. Full-scale war broke out in 58 when the Parthians invaded Armenian. Corbulo repelled Tiridates, and Rome again controlled most of Armenia. Nero was acclaimed for this victory. Tigranes, a Cappadocian noble raised in Rome, was installed as the new ruler of Armenia. Corbulo was appointed governor of Syria as a reward.
RP91515. Bronze dichalkon, McAlee 107b; RPC I 4293; SNG Cop 108; BMC Galatia p. 161, 80, VF, dark brown tone with brassy high points, obverse center flatly struck, slightly off center, bumps and marks, edge crack, weight 3.884 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, civic issue, reign of Nero, c. 59 - 60 A.D.; obverse draped bust of Apollo right, hair rolled and bound with beaded taenia; reverse ANTIOXE ET HP (Antioch, year 108 [Caesarian era]), lyre, no dot above; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $60.00 (52.80)




  



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