Friday, April 4, 2014

Mystery Coins - Critters

Two well worn bronze coins:

The specimen on the left is not obvious.  But what it shows are two colonists, or perhaps priests, behind a team of oxen.  The process of plowing a perimeter to a Roman colony was a ceremonial occasion.  And probably a message to the displaced natives. OURS!  By the way, the process of surveying and dividing land in the Roman fashion, perhaps before giving it away to retired Legionaries, was called Centuriation.  One supposes that any former landowners who expressed dissent were told to just "take it up with the Centurion"!

On the right is a puzzler.  How about a closer look:

Is it a man on a horse?  Or a mythological being like a Griffin?  The pinched in waist does not look like a horse to me, and the supposed rider is way up on the neck.

Usually the fronts of coins help you out.  Today, not so much.  Our "colonists coin" first:

Just AUG.  But it is in Latin not Greek, which does help a little.  It is probably a beat up and off center strike of this:

The AUG stands for Augustus, the Emperor from whom all others borrowed the title.  It is listed as being from Philippi in Macedonia, and dates between 27 BC and 17 AD.  The Apostle Paul visited there in AD 49 or 50, hence the Book of Philippians. Given the durability of ancient coins, and the wear on this one, I like to imagine Paul getting this as change!

And our "griffin?" coin?

Well that's sure not Latin or Greek.  I am assuming it is Arabic and that this is an Islamic coin.  Their general aversion towards human portraiture did not extend to animals, and while griffins and centaurs would be unlikely, Islamic coins depicting horses are well known.  Many come from modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India.  Beyond that I confess to being out of my depth.  The world of coins holds many mysteries for me.

1 comment:

The Old Man said...

I really enjoy your forays into numismatic oddities. TYVM.