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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Olympians| ▸ |Athena or Minerva||View Options:  |  |  |   

Athena or Minerva on Ancient Coins

Athena was the virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts, and battle strategy. Her symbols are the olive tree and the owl. She is the daughter of Zeus, according to some traditions by Metis.


Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 454 - 404 B.C., Old Style Tetradrachm

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The old-style tetradrachm of Athens is famous for its almond shaped eye, archaic smile, and charming owl reverse. Around 480 B.C. a wreath of olive leaves and a decorative scroll were added to Athena's helmet. On the reverse, a crescent moon was added.

During the period 449 - 413 B.C. huge quantities of tetradrachms were minted to finance grandiose building projects such as the Parthenon and to cover the costs of the Peloponnesian War.
SH91292. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31, SNG München 49, Kroll 8, Dewing 1611, Gulbenkian 519, HGC 4 1597, SGCV I 2526, VF, well centered, bold strike, high relief, light tone, flow lines, light marks, weight 17.196 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 90o, Athens mint, c. 454 - 404 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; reverse owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, AΘE downward on right, all within incuse square; ex Numismatic Lanz; $1530.00 SALE |PRICE| $1377.00
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Antigonus II Gonatas, 277 - 239 B.C.

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Antigonus II Gonatas was a powerful ruler who solidified the position of the Antigonid dynasty in Macedon after a long period defined by anarchy and chaos and acquired fame for his victory over the Gauls who had invaded the Balkans. He was the grandson of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who then controlled much of Asia. His maternal grandfather was Antipater. who controlled Macedonia and the rest of Greece and was recognized as regent of the empire, which in theory remained united.
SL89733. Silver drachm, Panagopoulou 152; AMNG III-2 p. 187, 5; SNG Cop 1203; SNG Mün 1079; SNG Alpha Bank 984; SNG Lockett 1526; SNG Berry 360; HGC 3.1 1044 (R3), NGC Ch VF, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (4629570-003), weight 3.59 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 0o, Pella mint, 272 - 239 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Poseidon right; reverse Athena Alkidemos advancing left, brandishing thunderbolt in right hand, shield decorated with aegis on left arm, Macedonian helmet inner left, TI inner right, BAΣIΛEΩΣ (Greek: king) downward on right, ANTIΓONOY downward on left; ex CNG Triton IX (10 Jan 2006), lot 829 (realized $600 plus fees); ex Robert Weimer Collection; very rare; $600.00 SALE |PRICE| $540.00
 


Lapethos, Cyprus, King Sidqmelek, c. 449 - 420 B.C.

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Excavation finds date Lapithos to as early as 3000 B.C. In the 4th century B.C., Lapithos was one of the nine kingdoms of Cyprus. During the Persian rule, Lapithos was settled by Phoenicians. After Peisistratos, king of Lapithos, along with Nicocreon of Salamis, and Stasanor of Curion helped Alexander the Great capture Tyre, Alexander declared Cyprus free. The last king of Lapethos, Praxippos, was subdued by Ptolemy I in 312 B.C. Under Roman rule, Lapethos had more than 10,000 inhabitants, produced copper, earthenware and produce, and was a port and a shipyard. Lapethos was given the name Lambousa ("shining") perhaps because of its beauty or perhaps because of its lighthouse. The apostles Paul, Barnabas, and Mark passed by Lapethos coming from Tarsus. According to Barnabas, during his second tour with Mark, they stayed outside the walls because they were denied access to the city. In late antiquity, Lapethos enjoyed great prosperity but was heavily damaged by Arab incursions. The population often had to flee and take refuge in the interior. After the Byzantine recovery of Cyprus from the Arabs in 965, Lapithos's refugees returned to rebuild, but chose to stay away from the sea, relocating it at the foot of mountain Pentadactylos.
GS87792. Silver stater, BMC Cyprus p. 30 f., 7-9, pl. VI, 6-8; Traité II p. 823, 1361-1363 and pl. CXXXVI; Bank of Cyprus p. 94 & pl. VII, 2; Tziambazis 48, F, struck with worn damaged dies, weight 10.789 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lapethos (Lambousa, Cyprus) mint, c. 449 - 420 B.C.; obverse Phoenician legend: King of Lapethos, head of Athena left, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet; reverse Phoenician legend: of Sidqmelek, head of Athena facing, wearing a double-crested helmet with bull’s horn and ears, all within an incuse square; very rare; $580.00 SALE |PRICE| $522.00
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

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In 89 A.D., Legio XIII Gemina was transferred to Dacia to help in the war against Decebalus.
RS89799. Silver denarius, RIC II-1 669, BMCRE II 153, BnF III 147, RSC II 251, Hunter I 62, SRCV I 2732, gVF, excellent portrait, well centered, light toning, some reverse die wear, small edge crack, weight 3.291 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 14 Sep 88 - 13 Sep 89 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P VIII, laureate head right; reverse IMP XIX COS XIIII CENS P P P, Minerva standing left, helmeted and draped, thunderbolt in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, grounded shield at feet behind; ex CNG e-auction 304, lot 356; $350.00 SALE |PRICE| $315.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

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After his brother Demetrius was captured by the Parthians, Antiochus VII was made king. He married Demetrius' wife Cleopatra Thea. He defeated the usurper Tryphon at Dora and laid siege to Jerusalem in 134. According to Josephus, the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus opened King David's sepulcher and removed three thousand talents, which he then paid Antiochus to spare the city. Sidetes then attacked the Parthians, supported by a body of Jews under Hyrcanus, and briefly took back Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Media before being ambushed and killed by Phraates II. His brother Demetrius II had by then been released, but the Seleucid realm was now restricted to Syria. Antiochus VII was the last Seleucid king of any stature.
GS91499. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061(4)g, Newell SMA 288, HGC 9 1067d, VF, old cabinet toning, light marks, weight 16.672 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse Antiochos VII diademed head right, horn like lock of hair above ear, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ANTIOXOY (downward on right), EYEPΓETOY (downward on left), Athena standing left half left, Nike in right hand standing right extending wreath, spear and shield in left hand, ∆I monogram over A outer left, ∆ inner right, all within laurel wreath; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00
 


Cappadocian Kingdom, Ariarathes VII Philometor, 116 - 101 B.C., In the Name and Types of Antiochos VII of Syria

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When Ariarathes VII Philometor was a child under the regency of his mother Laodice, Cappadocia was seized by King Nicomedes III of Bithynia, who then married Laodice. Laodice's brother King Mithridates VI of Pontus soon expelled Nicomedes and the restored the Cappadocian throne to Ariarathes VII. When Ariarathes VII learned that his father's assassin was under Mithridates' protection (Mithridates had arranged the murder), he prepared for war. Before the battle, the King of Pontus had him killed and put his own son Ariarathes IX on the Cappadocian throne.
GY91996. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber 2148; HGC 7 829; HGC 9 1069, gVF, areas a little rough, a few deposits, weight 16.604 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Eusebia-Mazaka mint, 107/6 - 104/3 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Antiochos VII right; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APIAPAΘOY ΦIΛOMHTPOΣ, Athena Nikephoros standing left, Nike right in extended right offering wreath, spear and grounded shield in left hand, monogram above A outer left, O inner left, Λ inner right; all within laurel wreath; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 227; $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00
 


Itanos, Crete, c. 320 - 270 B.C.

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The ancient Itanos was one of the strongest cities in Crete in Hellenistic and Roman times. The city flourished due to fishing, and its trade in glass and Tyrian purple die. Koufonissi Island, owned by Itanos, was famous the purple die made from shellfish. The nearby temple of Diktaean Zeus also brought pilgrims and the tourist trade. An earthquake in 795 precipitated a significant decline. An Arab attack in the 9th century destroyed much of the city, but Itanos was not abandoned until the 15th century, when successive Arab raids forced its residents to abandon the coast and move inland.
GB92189. Bronze AE 17, Svoronos Numismatique 42, SNG Cop -, BMC Crete -, F, brown patina, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 2.987 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, Itanos (near Paalekastro, Eastern Crete) mint, c. 320 - 270 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena left; reverse sixteen-pointed star with pellet-in-annulet at center; ex CNG e-auction 246 (15 Dec 2010), lot 84; only two sales of this type (and one is this coin) recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Dionysos I, 395 - 367 B.C.

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Dionysius I was tyrant of Syracuse. He conquered several cities in Sicily and southern Italy, opposed Carthage's influence in Sicily and made Syracuse the most powerful of the Western Greek colonies. He was regarded by the ancients as an example of the worst kind of despot - cruel, suspicious and vindictive.
GB92203. Bronze drachm, Calciati II p. 111, 62; SNG ANS 454; SNG Cop 720; SNG München 1135; SNG Morcom 697; BMC Sicily p. 187, 287; SGCV I 1189, VF, mottled green patina, thick flan with rounded edge and pre-strike casting sprues (as expected for the type), small flan casting voids, weight 31.559 g, maximum diameter 29.4 mm, die axis 270o, Syracuse mint, 395 - 367 B.C.; obverse ΣYPA, head of Athena left wearing olive wreathed Corinthian helmet; reverse sea star between two dolphins; ex Calgary Coin Gallery; $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00
 


Kamarina, Sicily, 413 - 405 B.C.

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Kamarina was suffering a plague. A marsh north of the city was the suspected source. The town oracle advised them not to drain the marsh, but in 405 B.C., the leaders ignored the advice. Once the marsh was dry, there was nothing to stop the Carthaginian army. They marched across the newly drained marsh, razed the city, and killed every last inhabitant.
GB91201. Bronze tetras, Westermark-Jenkins 198; Calciati III p. 68, 38; SNG ANS 1230; HGC 2 548, VF, well centered, nice style, blue-green and red-brown patina, light cleaning scrapes and scratches, earthen deposits on edges, weight 3.305 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 345o, Kamarina (near Scoglitti, Sicily, Italy) mint, 413 - 405 B.C.; obverse head of Athena left, wearing crested helmet decorated with wing, some locks of hair showing, olive spray before her, dot border; reverse KAMA (retrograde upwards), owl standing left on left leg, head facing, grasping lizard in right talon, three pellets (mark of value) in exergue; $220.00 SALE |PRICE| $198.00
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus VII Euergetes Sidetes, 138 - 129 B.C.

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Oliver Hoover, in Coins of the Seleucid Empire from the Collection of Arthur Houghton, attributes this type to the Cappadocian Kingdom, c. 130 - 80 B.C. The symbols were used on Cappadocian royal coinage, the coins are found in Cappadocian hoards and a tetradrachm naming the Cappadocian King Ariarathes VII Philometor (116 - 99 B.C.) bears the obverse portrait of Antiochus VII. He notes they may have been struck to pay foreign (Syrian?) mercenaries who preferred the types of Antiochus VII.
GS87616. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2061.1s, Newell SMA 280, SNG Spaer 1852, HGC 9 1067d, VF, slightly off center, corrosion, light scratches, weight 16.461 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 138 - 129 B.C.; obverse diademed head of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII right, fillet border; reverse Athena standing slightly left, head left, right hand extended through inscription to border holding Nike, grounded shield in left hand, spear leaning on left arm, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ANTIOXOY in two downward lines on right, EYEPΓETOY downward on left, ligate ∆I over Λ outer left, laurel wreath border; $215.00 SALE |PRICE| $194.00
 




  



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REFERENCES|

de Callata˙, F. "Le monnayage d'argent au type d'Athéna Parthénos émis au nom des Ainianes" in Obolos 7.
Houghton, A. "The Seleucid Mint of Mallus And the Cult Figure of Athena Magarsia" in Studies Mildenberg.
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.

Catalog current as of Sunday, August 25, 2019.
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Athena or Minerva