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Cassius, The Oldest Living Crocodile


Al Kowsky

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LIVE SCIENCE published an interesting article today by Sascha Pare, about Cassius the 18 ft. Croc who is 120 years old 😮! See the link below. I like his Roman name 😂. NVMIS FORVMS members are welcome to post their coins with crocs ☺️.

https://www.livescience.com/animals/alligators-crocodiles/120-year-old-cassius-is-pushing-limit-of-crocodile-longevity-and-hes-got-years-to-come-expert-say

CassiustheCroc.jpg.87d7d4453d851ccbc23643345e672124.jpg

 

AlexandriaEgyptHadriantetradrachm.jpg.2600278ff2750795d372751141d327fe.jpg

EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian, AD 117-138 (dated RY 22, AD 137/8). Billon Tetradrachm: 26 mm, 13.36 gm, 12 h. Obverse: Bust of Hadrian facing right. Reverse: River god Nilus seated & holding water reed & cornucopia, crocodile by his side. RPC III 6250. Emmett 879.22.

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Impressive! Although, unless I missed it, I see no explanation of how they know he's approximately 120 years old -- or, more specifically, how they estimated that he was 80 when he was captured in 1984. How do you estimate a crocodile's age?

I've posted each of these more than once before, so I'm omitting the detailed writeups.

Augustus & Agrippa Nemausus "COL NEM" dupondius with crocodile chained to palm tree, Type III, 9-3 BCE:

image.png.9cdf5c93ffaab1160b8ebc3ab013ce1d.png

Hadrian Denarius, Travel Series (AD 130-133), Nilus on rev. with crocodile below:

image.png.749a30b00ae2222a6309b362b0a3c6c4.png

Hadrian, Roman Alexandria Tetradrachm, Year 22 (AD 137/138), with Nilus seated on rocks and crocodile below:

image.png.e664685a0e22e8f55d4af38cfaa3f4bf.png

Napoleon, AE Conquest of Upper Egypt Medal, An 7 (1798) [struck 1806 after Napoleon became Emperor], Obv. Bust of Memnon (after the “Colossi of Memnon” in Luxor [ancient Thebes] in Upper Egypt, which actually depict Pharaoh Amenhotep III) / Rev. Crocodile chained to palm tree (design inspired by reverse of COL NEM Dupondius above). 

image.png.ca55ba6c2b8b3d29b7b463f7feb2ab7c.png

 

Edited by DonnaML
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3 hours ago, Al Kowsky said:

LIVE SCIENCE published an interesting article today by Sascha Pare, about Cassius the 18 ft. Croc who is 120 years old 😮! See the link below. I like his Roman name 😂. NVMIS FORVMS members are welcome to post their coins with crocs ☺️.

https://www.livescience.com/animals/alligators-crocodiles/120-year-old-cassius-is-pushing-limit-of-crocodile-longevity-and-hes-got-years-to-come-expert-say

CassiustheCroc.jpg.87d7d4453d851ccbc23643345e672124.jpg

 

AlexandriaEgyptHadriantetradrachm.jpg.2600278ff2750795d372751141d327fe.jpg

EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian, AD 117-138 (dated RY 22, AD 137/8). Billon Tetradrachm: 26 mm, 13.36 gm, 12 h. Obverse: Bust of Hadrian facing right. Reverse: River god Nilus seated & holding water reed & cornucopia, crocodile by his side. RPC III 6250. Emmett 879.22.

Fantastic coin with great portrait of Hadrian, better than most you see from Alexandria. Of course, you understand you may have created a huge crocodile thread....😀COL-NEM.jpg.97177b4da76537f1f28f028b7e706f1c.jpg

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2 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Impressive! Although, unless I missed it, I see no explanation of how they know he's approximately 120 years old -- or, more specifically, how they estimated that he was 80 when he was captured in 1984. How do you estimate a crocodile's age?

I've posted each of these more than once before, so I'm omitting the detailed writeups.

Augustus & Agrippa Nemausus "COL NEM" dupondius with crocodile chained to palm tree, Type III, 9-3 BCE:

image.png.9cdf5c93ffaab1160b8ebc3ab013ce1d.png

Hadrian Denarius, Travel Series (AD 130-133), Nilus on rev. with crocodile below:

image.png.749a30b00ae2222a6309b362b0a3c6c4.png

Hadrian, Roman Alexandria Tetradrachm, Year 22 (AD 137/138), with Nilus seated on rocks and crocodile below:

image.png.e664685a0e22e8f55d4af38cfaa3f4bf.png

Napoleon, AE Conquest of Upper Egypt Medal, An 7 (1798) [struck 1806 after Napoleon became Emperor], Obv. Bust of Memnon (after the “Colossi of Memnon” in Luxor [ancient Thebes] in Upper Egypt, which actually depict Pharaoh Amenhotep III) / Rev. Crocodile chained to palm tree (taken from COL NEM Dupondius above). 

image.png.ca55ba6c2b8b3d29b7b463f7feb2ab7c.png

 

The medal is a gem & the reverse design is a tribute to Roman numismatic art 🤩.

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120 year old croc. I'm afraid the Galapagos Island tortoises are older. Or the 500 year old clams found off the coast of Iceland. I've read that researchers are attempting to harness the anti-aging substance in those clams (to the extent that there is one) for longevity.

Hadrian, AE drachm, Nilos reclining.

Egypt, Alexandria - Hadrian. (117-138) Year 127-128

Type: AE Drachm, 32mm 24.42 grams Obverse: AVT KAI TPAI AAPIA CEB, Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right

Reverse: LDW (delta) EK in exergue, Nilos reclining left upon a crocodile, holding cornucopia and reed, Genius emerging from the cornucopia and pointing at letters IS in upper field

Reference: Milne 1269 

hadrian3.jpg.b222ba094480ab87771b11a0b1c66c49.jpg

hadrian4.jpg.0f5db9893f6b0b1974149bcf47776f94.jpg

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Well, probably the earliest Roman depiction of a crocodile was issued by a certain Crassus, which sounds a lot like Cassius anyway: Here's an example:

image00357.jpg

Here's my write-up in HJB 198:

Crassus, 30s BC; Cnossus, Crete, AE 23-28, 12.49g. RPC-914 (46 spec.). Obv: Crocodile standing r., jaws open. Rx: Prow r., CRAS in field above. It is uncertain whether the issuer of this coin was Marcus Licinius Crassus, the grandson of Crassus the colleague of Julius Caesar and Pompey in the "first triumvirate", or P. Canidius Crassus: see RPC, p. 219.This is by far the finest known of this very scarce issue 

(Not my coin!)

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20 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Impressive! Although, unless I missed it, I see no explanation of how they know he's approximately 120 years old -- or, more specifically, how they estimated that he was 80 when he was captured in 1984. How do you estimate a crocodile's age?

 

You can't make this stuff up. Bing says you measure its teeth. Actually, the growth rings in its teeth. I think I will leave that task to someone else.

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6 hours ago, Phil Davis said:

Well, probably the earliest Roman depiction of a crocodile was issued by a certain Crassus, which sounds a lot like Cassius anyway: Here's an example:

image00357.jpg

Here's my write-up in HJB 198:

Crassus, 30s BC; Cnossus, Crete, AE 23-28, 12.49g. RPC-914 (46 spec.). Obv: Crocodile standing r., jaws open. Rx: Prow r., CRAS in field above. It is uncertain whether the issuer of this coin was Marcus Licinius Crassus, the grandson of Crassus the colleague of Julius Caesar and Pompey in the "first triumvirate", or P. Canidius Crassus: see RPC, p. 219.This is by far the finest known of this very scarce issue 

(Not my coin!)

Phil, thanks for posting this rare coin 🤩. There is a famous marble bust of Marcus Liciinius Crassus in the Louvre of Paris, & he looks as nasty as Cassius the croc 😂.

image.png.dee7e1511eac127bdce722e526d84ac1.png

 

Edited by Al Kowsky
spelling correction
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5 hours ago, airhead1983 said:

That is fabulous!  I love hearing about long lived reptiles. 😃

Here’s Achoo still feisty as ever.

560911EE-382C-45EE-896A-1B30CF825675.jpeg.eb933bb0c02e86ba21a16a0d2fc803dd.jpeg

Also, here is my croc from @Qcumbor to celebrate. 🥳

B2C534A1-74A0-474C-9DE0-6FB2E8568489.jpeg.084a31e4e5049fa0df2a639e5066be95.jpeg

410BEEAC-A28F-453B-A2F3-C0682AE9AD14.jpeg.94711555d0d88ee014d38dc40e1fe607.jpeg
 

Erin

Erin, Thanks for posting, how lucky there is a full image of the croc on the split coin ☺️. Achoo looks very happy in his new home 🥰.

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2 hours ago, Edessa said:

You can't make this stuff up. Bing says you measure its teeth. Actually, the growth rings in its teeth. I think I will leave that task to someone else.

At least they could measure its age without killing it. In the case of the unfortunate clam, to calculate the true age they ended up killing it - an organism that had lived longer than Shakespeare's works. 

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Hi All,

image.png.f85bd21ab7fe11e8e9e784f4896ab82b.png

OCTAVIAN (AS IMPERATOR, 31-27 BCE)
EASTERN MINT (PERGAMON?), ca 27-28 BCE

Ar Denarius (Subaeratum)
Size: 18x20 mm
Weight: 3.09 g
Broucheion Collection ROM-2019-05-05.001

Obv: Octavian facing right, bare head; small Capricorn below. Dotted border. [Part of silver plating missing on Octavian's head and ear showing copper core.]
Rev: Crocodile facing right, mouth open, standing on exurgial line. Legend: AEGVPTO above, CAPTA below. Solid border. [Crocodile's mouth is usually closed except for this and CBGFR fourree coins].
Refs: CRI 432; RIC I 545; RSC 4; Vagi-0247; C 4; BMC 653; Kampmann-002.004; Sear Imperators 432; CBN 928

Note 1: Vagi (COINAGE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE) : The refined portrait style suggests it was struck at an eastern mint.

Note 2: (Draycot, ACTA CLASSICA LV (2012) : "The legend AEGVPTO (or AEGVPT) CAPTA distinguished Egypt from the eastern territories that had been under Antonius' control in his role as Roman triumvir since 42 BC, but were now under Octavian 's. Egypt had been captured, not just recovered. In any case, the purpose of the AEGVPTO CAPTA coins was not simply to inform people that Egypt had been conquered and annexed; even in antiquity, a period of between two and three years was ample time for news of such political, military and economic significance to spread throughout the Roman Empire. At first glance, Octavian fs choice of a crocodile to supplement the legend and decorate the reverse face of his coins is straightforward: the crocodile is intended to symbolise or perhaps even personify Egypt.

Octavian was not an innovator: he subverted iconography that Cleopatra VII and Antonius had selected specifically to represent their daughter, Cleopatra Selene, in her newly allocated territories of Crete and Cyrenaica. The choice of the crocodile for this coinage issued in the name of Cleopatra Selene in Crete and the Cyrenaica could have been an attempt to reference the role of crocodiles at the very inception of the Ptolemaic Empire. If Ptolemy I Soter was seen as owing his possession of Egypt at least in part to the crocodiles of the Nile, then the crocodile would have been an entirely suitable symbol for his descendant Cleopatra Selene to wield in her newly acquired territories, first as queen of Crete and the Cyrenaica, and then later as queen of Mauretania."

Note 3: Andrew McCabe (CNG eAuction 432, Lot 285) : "Plated examples of the Aegypto Capta types and of the Scarpus hand types are relatively abundant compared to the solid silver coins. A non-scientific observation suggests between one-tenth and one-quarter of either type seen on the collector market are plated. RIC I places Aegypto Capta in an "uncertain mint"; Sear goes a step further in saying "eastern". The common factor between the Scarpus and Octavian denarii as regards being found plated may just have been local practices in forgery, because while one might imagine a scenario of Scarpus being short of silver, one couldn't imagine this happening to Octavian. Furthermore, the Scarpus types sometimes found plated, RRC 546/5-7, were made under the auspices of support for Octavian. Is it possible the Aegypto Capta types might be Cyrenaican, as with Scarpus?

Note 4: Die match to CGBFR.COM fourree coin from E-auction 208-135393 (10 April 2017) seen at https://www.cgbfr.com/octave-denier-tb-,brm_427172,a.html [link verified 29 Jun 2023].

- Broucheion

 

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