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Rare Bellerophon Tetrobol of Tarsos


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Cilicia, Tarsos. AR Tetrobol. 425-400 BC. Bellerophon riding Pegasus running right, brandishing trident overhead in left hand above dotted exergue line; bordered by dots; persian dynastic symbol (perhaps representing Tarsos?) below. / Same as obverse, but with Pegasus rearing, and no exergue lines. Unpublished in the standard references, for type cf Baldwins 34, 214 = Baldwins 37, 725. For stater variant, CF Nomos 18, 203; Roma 2, 344; Roma 16, 331. Extremely Rare.

There are several different rare issues from Tarsos featuring Bellerophon, referencing one of the foundation myths of the city. In the myth, Bellerophon was one of the most famed kings alive, blessed by the gods with perpetual success and the right to ride the celestial Pegasus. The fame and success contributed to his hubris. After his triumphs over the Chimera, Solymni, Amazons, Carian pirates, and his hosts' army, he thought himself a god and attempted to fly into Mount Olympus. Zeus sent a gadfly to bite his mount, crippling Bellerophon when he landed on the ground. Tarsos was his landing point, and where his foot was injured; thus the city was named tar-sos (τᾰρσός) after the injury on the flat of his foot. Some versions of the legend has Bellerophon going through various cities in what is now Southern Turkey, and there are small issues of Bellerophon coins from other mints reflecting that fact. 


Please, share your coins of Tarsus here, or whatever you feel is relevant. Been a bit busy recently so haven't had time to photograph these coins and do write-ups, will try to get back into a more regular cadence.

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A very early depiction of Bellerophon!

Here is one that is much later:


Portugal, uncertain year. Vasco Berardo (1933-2017). Bronze, 90mm.
Obv: Figueira da Foz / 14 Julko; Bellerophon Riding Pegasos; artist's signature to right
Rev: ESCOLA PRÁTICA DO SERVI-CO DE TRANSPORTES / ENSINAR PARA BEM SERVIR; (=Practical School of Services and Transport / Teach to Serve Well) coat of arms of the Portuguese National Republican Guard driving school. Shield with a pair of eagle wings, open book, steering wheel also of the same. Knight's helmet, Pegasus above.

Figueira da Foz is a city in Portugal. The building on the obverse is the Driving Training Center of the Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR - Centro de Formação da Figueira da Foz). The reverse is the coat of arms of the branch of the military that ran the school.

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Wow, that's a very interesting piece, @Hesiod

Here's a Roman provincial of Corinth showing Bellerophon not actually astride Pegasus, possibly in the act of taming it?



AE20. 6.96g, 20.1mm.
CORINTHIA, Corinth, circa AD 57-58 or AD 58-59. Ti. Claudius Optatus and C. Julius Polyaenus, duoviri. BCD Corinth 454; RPC 1201.
O: NERO CLAV CAES AVG, bare head right.
R: TI CLAVDIO OPTATO / COR, Bellerophon advancing left, holding shield and seizing by bridle Pegasos standing left.


And the RR denarius with Bellerophon riding Pegasus on one side and Pegasus's mama Medusa on the other.



L Cossutius Sabula

AR Denarius. 3.95g, 18mm.
Rome mint, 72 BC. Crawford 395/1; Sydenham 790; Cossutia 1.
O: Head of Medusa left, winged and entwined with serpents; SABVLA upwards behind.
R: Bellerophon riding Pegasus right, hurling spear; control mark X behind, L COSSVTI C F below.

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