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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Military| ▸ |Combat||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Coins Depicting Combat

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

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Hadrian refounded a Thracian tribal capital, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, developed it, adorned it with monuments, and made it the capital of the Roman province. The city is Edirne, Turkey today. From ancient times, the area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
RP92734. Bronze AE 25, Varbanov II 3783 (R5), Jurukova Hadrianopolis 581, Lindgren 787, Mionnet Suppl. II 801, CN Online -, BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, centered on a tight flan, attractive style, bumps and scratches, central depressions with light spiral marks, weight 9.263 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 45o, 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∆PIANOΠO,ΛEITΩN (last six letters in exergue), Emperor on horseback galloping right, spear overhead in right hand, reigns in left hand; scarce; $150.00 (132.00)


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 465 - 420 B.C.

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In 467 B.C. the Athenian statesman and military commander Cimon, and his fleet of 200 ships, destroyed the Persian navy based at the mouth of the river Eurymedon in a surprise attack. In order to crush to Persian land forces, he tricked the Persians by sending his best fighters ashore wearing the garments of the hostages he had seized earlier. When they saw these men, the Persians thought that they were compatriots freed by the enemy and arranged festivities in celebration. Taking advantage of this, Cimon landed and annihilated the Persians. Aspendos then became a member of the Attic-Delos Maritime league.
GS94008. Silver stater, cf. SNGvA 4482 (arrangement of legs and EΣ varies); SNG BnF 1 (same); SNG Cop 153 (same); BMC Lycia p. 93, 2 ff. (additional symbols on rev.), aVF, struck with a very worn obverse die and a somewhat worn reverse die, weight 10.944 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Aspendos mint, c. 465 - 420 B.C.; obverse warrior advancing right, wearing crested helmet, couched sword or spear in right hand, round shield on left arm; reverse triskeles of human legs clockwise, E-Σ divided high across field, all within an incuse square; $150.00 (132.00)


Aspendos, Pamphylia, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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After Alexander took Perga peacefully, Aspendos sent envoys to offer surrender if he would not take the taxes and horses formerly paid as tribute to the Persian king. Agreeing, Alexander went on to Side, leaving a garrison behind. When he learned they had failed to ratify the agreement their own envoys had proposed, Alexander marched to the city. The Aspendians retreated to their acropolis and again sent envoys to sue for peace. This time, however, they had to agree to harsh terms - they would host a Macedonian garrison and pay 100 gold talents and 4,000 horses annually.
GB92207. Bronze AE 12, Lindgren 1075, cf. SNGvA 4583 var. (A-Σ across field), SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycia -, aVF, green patina, weight 1.607 g, maximum diameter 12.3 mm, die axis 180o, Aspendos mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse free horse galloping right, crescent horns up above; reverse ACΠE-N∆IΩN (clockwised from 3:00), slinger standing right, throwing bullet; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; very rare; $100.00 (88.00)


Thebai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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The famous sanctuary of Protesilaos was about ten miles from Thebai, at Phylake. An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die. Protesilaos was the first who dared to leap ashore when the fleet touched the Troad. After killing four men, Protesilaos was slain by Hector, as prophesied, the first Greek to die.

In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in 302 B.C., Thebai was one of the strongholds of Cassander. Thebai and Pelinnaeum are mentioned in 282 B.C. as the only Thessalian cities that did not take part in the Lamian War.
GB87154. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly II 760, Rogers 551, HGC 4 34 (R1), BCD Thessaly I -, aF, dark patina, tight flan, light pitting, weight 2.394 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebai Phthiotides (north of Mikrothivai, Greece) mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath; reverse ΘHBAIΩN, Protesilaos advancing right from the prow of a galley right behind him, wearing military garb, sword in right hand, shield on left arm; rare; $90.00 (79.20)


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI87391. Bronze hemilitron, Calciati II p. 361, 193 Ds 40; HGC 2 1547 (S); SNG ANS 909 ff. var. (controls); SNG Cop 843 var. (same); BMC Sicily p. 215, 565 ff. var. (same), F, dark patina, tight flan, bumps and marks, corrosion, weight 20.012 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 230 - 215 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Hieron left, beardless, conch shell (control symbol) behind; reverse IEPΩNOΣ, cavalryman prancing right, holding couched spear, no control symbols; scarce; $90.00 (79.20)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. The obverse depicts Trajan as a military victor and probably copies an imperial statue. Artemis' most distinctive attributes were her bow and arrows but she was also called the torch-bearing goddess. This reverse likely depicts a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos. Artemis was honored at Amphipolis with torch-races called Lampadephoria.
GB90707. Bronze AE 20, Lindgren II 978 (same dies), Varbanov 7179 (R7), AMNG III 79, Hunterian I 37, Moushmov 6068, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tb -, BMC Macedonia -, F, weight 6.620 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse KAICAP TPAIANOC, emperor on horseback galloping right, brandishing spear to strike a prostrate foe below; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; rare; $75.00 (66.00)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was home to an imperial cult, worshiping the living emperor, and to a cult dedicated to Artemis Tauropolos. Artemis' most distinctive attributes were her bow, arrows and quiver, but she was also called the torch-bearing goddess. This reverse likely depicts a local statue of Artemis Tauropolos. Artemis was honored at Amphipolis with torch-races called Lampadephoria.
GB90406. Bronze AE 20, Lindgren II 978 (same dies), Varbanov 7179 (R7), AMNG III 79, Hunterian I 37, Moushmov 6068, SNG ANS -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tb -, BMC Macedonia -, gF, centered, some porosity, weight 5.099 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse KAICAP TPAIANOC, emperor on horseback galloping right, brandishing spear to strike a prostrate foe below; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Artemis Tauropolos standing left, kalathos on head, long torch before her in right hand, small branch in left hand downward at side, grounded shield behind; rare; $70.00 (61.60)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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Constantius II, unlike his father, allowed Christians to persecute pagans and Jews. Christian clergy inspired angry crowds, which attacked and destroyed synagogues and temples. On 7 May 351, a Jewish revolt broke out in Palestine. The rebels destroyed the Roman garrison in a surprise night attack and acquired the garrison's weapons. The rebels destroyed Diopolis and Tiberias and killed the people of different ethnicities, including Greeks and Samaritans. In 352, Constantius Gallus sent his general (magister equitum) Ursicinus to put down the revolt. Diocesarea, the epicenter of the revolt, was razed to the ground. Ursicinus ordered the execution of thousands of Jews, even children. After the revolt, a permanent garrison was stationed in Galilee.
RL92357. Bronze reduced maiorina, RIC VIII Cyzicus 115, LRBC II 2502, SRCV V 18303, Cohen VII 47 Hunter V 106 var. (2nd officina), aVF, porous, earthen deposits, weight 2.023 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 28 Sep 351 - 3 Nov 361 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), soldier advancing left, spearing fallen horseman wearing a pointed cap and raising hand, oval shield at feet, M left field with the right dot on the soldier's spear, SMKΓ in exergue; $18.00 (15.84)


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D.

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In 352, The Alamanni and the Franks defeated the Roman army and took control of 40 towns between the Moselle and the Rhine. The return of happy times, advertised by the reverse legend, was more a hope than reality.
RL88576. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Heraclea 82, LRBC II 1893, SRCV V 18144, Cohen VII 46, Hunter V 69 var. (2nd officina), aF, corrosion, earthen encrustation, weight 4.979 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 90o, 4th officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, 15 Mar 351 - 6 Nov 355 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), helmeted soldier advancing left, shield on left arm, spearing fallen horseman, shield on the ground at feet, horseman is diademed, turns to face soldier, and extends left arm, Γ left, SMH∆ in exergue; $14.00 (12.32)


Constantius Gallus, Caesar, 28 September 351 - Winter 354 A.D.

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In 354, Constantius II recalled his legate (and cousin) Constantius Gallus to Constantinople after receiving unfavorable reports about him. Caesar of the East, Gallus had successfully suppressed revolts in Palestine and central Anatolia. Constantius stripped him of his rank and later had him executed in Pola (in modern Croatia).
RL88564. Bronze AE 19, RIC VIII Siscia 351, LRBC II 1219, SRCV V 19014, Cohen VII 14, Hunter V -, aF, well centered on a tight ragged flan, weight 1.667 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 28 Sep 351 - winter 354 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS IVN NOB C, bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FEL TEMP REPARATIO (happy times restored), helmeted soldier with shield on his left arm spearing a fallen horseman wearing a pointed cap, ASIS in exergue; $12.00 (10.56)




  



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Combat