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Ancient artwork

This week I am adding an extra "Note" commemorating 3 years of "Notes on Ancient Coins" and post number 160. The photos celebrate the artwork of ancient die engravers, and mint workshops - these coins are both historic & beautiful. Small works of art that carry clues to their time of origin and have somehow survived 1800 years or more.


Perhaps not surprising, I will start with the coins that initiated the collection: Roman Republican denarii from the 80s BCE, the time of the Social Wars, War with Mithridates, and Sulla's dictatorship.


Next a Greek new addition: in my view, a particularly striking and well executed "Eastern Celtic" Tetradrachm:

Eastern Europe, AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 17.32 g, 9h), Imitating Philip III Arrhidaeus of Macedon, 3rd-2nd centuries BCE, minted in the lower Danube region

Obv: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin

Rev: Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; two monograms in left field, Greek Z below throne

Ref: OTA 581/4; Lanz 904–5; CCCBM I S191; KMW 1469


Greek Silver (1st Century BCE and earlier)


Roman Republican and Italian Bronze 2nd Century BCE and earlier. OK, maybe a bit tough to call these beautiful, but there is a rugged beauty to the lump coins - even the Aes Rude. (See: Wabi-sabi, Embracing Imperfection)


Roman Egypt: mostly Tetradrachms 1st Century BCE to 3rd Century CE

To conclude this Note, a 3rd century Roman Antoninianus (Trajan Decius), that pairs well with a listen to this YouTube video from the British Museum: The Carnyx: The Mouthpiece of the Gods - John Kenny

Comments on these "Notes", suggestions for topics and questions about ancient coins are always welcome. Contact information is on the About Page.


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