Wednesday, 28 April 2021
|This very rare solidus of Julian, in G to VF condition, was struck in Constantinople and is estimated around $2,500.||Introduced in the fourth century, the solidus replaced the aureus. Roman emperor Julian, reigning from 361 to 363, is notable for being the last pagan ruler of the Roman Empire. Christian writers referred to him as “Julian the Apostate.” Toleration for Christianity turned to suppression and persecution. Pagans were openly preferred for official appointments, and Christians were expelled from the army. Motivated by a desire for military glory Julian assembled the largest Roman army (65,000 strong and backed by a fleet) ever to head a campaign against Persia. The incompent Romans were routed. During a disastrous retreat from the walls of Ctesiphon, (below modern Baghdad), Julian was wounded by a spear thrown “no one knew whence” which pierced his liver. He died the next night at age 31, having been emperor for 20 months.|
Tuesday, 27 April 2021
|The aureus was the standard gold coin of the Romans for over three hundred years. The Julio-Claudian dynasty that Augustus founded in 27 BCE lasted until 68 CE when Nero was overthrown. After a civil war (68-69), a new dynasty took the imperial throne. It was founded by general Vespasian, the conqueror of Judaea. He would rule from 69 to 79, after which he was succeeded by his sons Titus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96).|
Monday, 26 April 2021
|This unique gold aureus of Augustus Caesar realized $781,675 U.S.||Augustus (29 BC – 14 AD) decreed the value of the sestertius as 1/100th of an aureus. The aureus was decreased to 1/45th of a pound (7.3 g) during the reign of Nero (54–68). After the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161–180) the weight fell to 1/50th of a pound (6.5 g).|
|The solidus was introduced by Diocletian (284–305) around 301 AD, struck at 60 to the Roman pound (5.5 g) and with an initial value equal to 1,000 denarii. The solidus was reintroduced by Constantine I (306–337) in 312 AD, permanently replacing the aureus as the gold coin of the Roman Empire. The solidus was struck at a rate of 72 to a Roman pound of pure gold, 4.5 grams of gold. Inflation was affected by the debasement of the silver denarius, which by the mid-3rd century had practically no silver left in it.|
See ----->Decline of Roman Silver Coinage
Saturday, 17 April 2021
Bust of Pyrrhos - if “we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”
|When the Romans broke a treaty with Taras to subdue an adjacent Greek city, Taras expelled the Roman garrison from the captured township. The Romans sought revenge. Taras appealed for help to King Pyrrhos of Epirus in northwestern Greece. Pyrrhos embarked upon the Pyrrhic War of 280-275 B.C.E. A skilled commander, with a strong army fortified by war elephants, Pyrrhus had initial success against the Roman legions, but suffered heavy losses even in victory. |
Three battles represent the origin of the phrase “Pyrrhic victory” The battle of Heraclea was a decisive victory for Pyrrhus, who employed a tight phalanx formation with elephant charges.
|Though the win was complete, it caused high casualties of Pyrrhus’ best troops.|
|The next battle of Asculum was a similar result; the Romans attempted to repulse the elephants with war wagons but failed. The Romans withdrew to higher ground. The Romans were worse off, but Pyrrhus lost thousands of men and his best officers. |
The battle of Beneventum was either inconclusive, a Roman victory or a victory for Pyrrhus. The Romans repulsed the elephants and send them rampaging through Pyrrhus’ lines. The result drove him from Italy and in 278 B.C.E. Pyrrhos abandoned Taras to its fate.
|He returned in 275 B.C.E., but was soundly defeated and returned to Epirus. Three years later Taras was besieged and the city finally fell to the Romans.|
|A superbly struck example of a rare gold stater from the ancient Greek city state of Taras (Tarentum) in southern Italy, a.k.a. Calabria. The 8.55 g coin dates from 276-272 BC. The obverse shows the head of Zeus. On the reverse an eagle with wings displayed perches on a thunderbolt.|
$ 18,000 in VF.
Friday, 16 April 2021
|The Rome headquarters of the National Insurance and Assistance Body for Doctors and Dentists is in the Piazza Vittorio section of the city. 13 feet under the lobby of the country’s leading medical pension fund are the restored ruins of Casa Caligula.
After a nine-year excavation, it will open to the public for the first time.|
Caligua declared himself a god and spoke of making his horse ´Incitatus´ a senator.
|Caligula, officially Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, is recorded as a sadistic lunatic and one of Rome's worst tyrants. Sources describe his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion. He was born in the year 12 and spent his childhood in military camps along the Rhine with his father Germanicus, one of the great Roman generals of his time. His mother, Agrippina the Elder, the granddaughter of Augustus himself, used to dress Gaius up as a soldier, down to the caliga sandals on his feet.|
Friday, 9 April 2021
|The Primus pilus was the senior centurion of the first cohort in a Roman legion. The name Primus Pilus is translated to "first spear". He was a career soldier and advisor to the legate. While normal cohorts were composed of five to eight centuries, the one led by the primus pilus had ten centuries, 800 men. It also had 200 staff, such as cooks and clerks.|
|In modern terms the primus pilus would be considered a lieutenant colonel.
The primus pilus was a well paid position. Only eight officers in a full legion outranked the primus pilus.|
Thursday, 8 April 2021
|This Great Britain 1937 Edward VIII Gold Pattern 5 Sovereign graded NGC PF 67 Ultra Cameo had an estimate of $1m. It made $2.2m. It is one of two known in private hands. Only a few pattern coins were produced for Edward VIII after his coronation in 1936. Less than a year into his reign, he gave up the throne, and his coinage was never issued.|
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
|A discovery from 'Yeleke Sazy' burial mound is that of a 17-to-18-year-old noble, dressed in gold. The finds date to the 7th or 8th century BC. The garments and boots of the young man were embroidered with gold beads. There is a one-kilogram torc on his neck.||He had a golden dagger and a golden quiver.|
|The finds are from the Tarbagatai district of East Kazakhstan. The discovered gold bears evidence of cutting-edge technology. The finds suggest that people of that time had developed metallurgical expertise; mining, ore concentration, and smelting.|
|Discovered in the burial of Alike Sazy were arrow tips made of bronze. The artifacts are extremely well preserved and still remain sharp. These arrows were likely used for ritual purposes or as grave goods.||Grave of princess of Ukok|
The Princess of Ukok
Monday, 5 April 2021
|Athenians struck their first coins circa 560 BCE with the first tetradrachms appearing around 515 BCE. The obverse of the first Athenian tetradrachm depicts the head of a Gorgon, which Athena created. Athena’s uncle Poseidon raped the priestess Medusa in Athena’s temple; Athena was outraged over the desecration, but she had no power over the god of the sea so she instead punished Medusa, turning her into a Gorgon, a monster with snakes for hair.|
|Athenians struck the first of their iconic “Owl” Tetradrachms around 510 BCE. The obverse portrays the helmeted head of Athena while the reverse depicts Athena’s owl and a sprig of olive, with the inscription AΘE (an abbreviation of AΘENAION, meaning “of the Athenians”). The owl is closely associated with Athena as the goddess of wisdom.|
|Early Tetradrachm. c. 475-465 BCE.||Athens became extremely wealthy due to the vast veins of silver ore found in the mines of Laurion in 483 BCE. This led to the Athenian mint churning out huge numbers of tetradrachms, which became the world's first true trade currency. Athens entered a period where it was the principal city of the Greek world.|
|The Athenian Owl tetradrachm was minted for over 400 years. The Athenian Owl gained widespread use due to it's high silver content and high production. The Athenian government minted coins at a profit, building state coffers. |
The Athenian Owl tetradrachm would remain the dominant currency in the ancient world until Roman coinage replaced it in the 1st century B.C.
Despite the coin’s many revisions, the general design remained the same. The obverse depicts the Greek goddess Athena, who represents wisdom and warfare. The ideals are portrayed in Athena’s large eyes, representing wisdom, and her crested war helmet, representing war. The Owl appears with two-leaf olive sprig, representing olives and olive oil, the primary exports of Athens.
Saturday, 3 April 2021
|Researchers isolated viral DNA from human teeth and bones, like this 1,200-year-old smallpox-infected Viking skeleton found in Öland, Sweden. The team reconstructed nearly complete genetic blueprints of four of the 11 ancient viruses. During that period, smallpox may have been widespread throughout Europe and could have caused serious disease.|
Friday, 2 April 2021
|A cache of pearl and emerald-encrusted rings, bracelets, gold necklaces and other opulent objects from the Roman Empire were displayed at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades in 2015. The assortment of precious jewelry accompanies the 90-piece gilt-silver Berthouville Treasure of statuettes and ornamental vessels that were found by a French farmer plowing a field in 1830. The treasure consists of silver and other metalwork and dates in the 1st to late 2nd centuries|
|Both are on loan from the royal collection of the Cabinet des Médailles at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.|
Cameo of Emperor Trajan, Roman, about A.D. 100; sardonyx set in a seventeeth-century gold, enamel, and ruby mount
Pitcher with Scenes from the Trojan War, Roman, A.D. 1-100; silver and gold. Achilles dragging the body of Hector around the walls of Troy
Pitcher with Scenes from the Trojan War (detail), Roman, A.D. 1-100; silver and gold. The death of Achilles
Offering Bowl with a Medallion of Mercury in a Rural Shrine (detail), Roman, A.D. 175-225; silver and gold