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River Gods, a free for all thread


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The depiction of River Gods make for interesting designs to some coins. This is your chance to show the ones you have. There is no chronological order, no region restrictions, in fact there are no rules at all other than to show them. Have fun and I will start things off with this one.

Roman Provincial Coins
CILICIA. Seleucia ad Calycadnum. Severus Alexander (222-235). Ae.
Obv: ΑV Κ Μ ΑVΡ СЄΟVΗΡ ΑΛЄΞΑ, with remaining part of legend ΝΔΡΟС right field inside legend.
Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: СЄΛЄVΚЄΩΝ ΚΑΛVΚΑΔΝ, with remaining Ω of legend in upper right field.
Tyche, holding branch, seated left on rocks between two columns; river god Calycadnum to lower left.
RPC VI online 7034.
Weight: 13.99 g. Diameter: 29 mm.
Plate coin: https://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/search/browse?q=Severus Alexander&page=109
 (AC Search) ex Numismatik Naumann (formerly Gitbud & Naumann). Auction 79, Lot# 439, 07/07/2019. Purchased from Marti Classical Numismatics, Spain, 2023


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Cool thread.

Here's the river god Acheloos...

Hyria, Campania

400-335 BC
AR Didrachm (21mm, 7.33g)
O: Head of Athena right, wearing wreathed Attic helmet decorated with an owl.
R: Man-headed bull walking right; YDIN[A] above.
Rutter 69 (O32/R??); SNG ANS 255; HGC I, 435; HN Italy 539; Sear 294v (bull left)

~ Peter 


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Good idea. 

River gods are an interesting motif for reverses and I like the general artistry - the most common depictions are the river god swimming in the lower part of the design, or leaning, holding a vase with water. I like symbolistics. 

Here are some examples of mine. 


15 mm, 2,86 g.
Ionia, Magnesia ad Sipylum. Domitia 82-96. Ӕ.
ΔΟΜΙΤΙΑ ϹƐΒΑϹΤΗ, draped bust of Domitia, right / ΜΑΓΝΗ ϹΙΠΥ, river god reclining l., holding branch of plant and cornucopia over inverted pot from which flows water.
RPC II, 986; BMC 56; Cop 259.

I always wanted a Domitia coin - imperials are not affordable and this one is satisfactory, Although not FDC, I am content with the portrait (typical Domitia) and the partial reverse legend. Good enough for the price I paid - 10 euros. 

An imperial with the river god Danubius. A coin that was one of my major targets. 


19,7 mm, 3.16g.
Trajan 98-117. AR denarius. Rome. 103-111.
IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate bust right, drapery on far shoulder / COS V P P SPQR OPTIMO PRINC, river god Danube reclining left on rocks, head right, holding prow and resting elbow upon overturned urn from which liquid flows; billowing cloak above, DANVVIVS in exergue.
RIC 100; BMCRE 395; RSC 136; Woytek 277b.

Some might know that the "man faced bull" on some coins is the river god Acheloos/Achelous/Acheloös/Acheloios. This was the largest river in Greece. He is known in mythology because he battled Herakles for the right to marry Deianeira. I have 2 coins with him, both Greek. But this is not the "classical" river god depiction. Edit - @Phil Anthos was faster in mentioning Acheloos


22 mm, 4,78 g.
Akarnania, Oeniadae. Ӕ. Circa 219-211 BC.
Laureate head of Zeus right, Λ below, eagle behind head / OINIAΔAN, head of the river-god Acheloös right, trident above.
BCD Akarnania 349; BMC 12; SNG Copenhagen 403.


11,1 mm, 0,49 g.
Italy, Sicily, Panormos (as Ziz). AR Litra. 415-405 BC.
Head of the youthful river god Orethos / Man-headed bull swimming right (river god Acheloos), above, Punic letters.
SNG ANS 549-550.

It's too bad this coin is worn and aggressively cleaned (not by me). I find depictions of Acheloos very artistic. It was a common motif for the coins from Gela. 

Not my coins:




Edited by ambr0zie
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@ambr0zie the second to last Gelan is staggeringly  beautiful. For the right horse I don't think I've ever seen a Gelan coin like it outside the Orsi!

 Is that the Roma  coin from a few  years ago? I couldn't find in in Jenkins at the  time- did you find out anything  more about  it? The obverse is SO much nicer than his  3 plates. Delighted for you!


A  couple more  river-gods here.

Gela. Circa 420-405 BC. Trionkion (15.5mm, 3.22g.) Bull standing right; olive leaf above / Horned head of Gelas right; barley grain to left.




Neapolis, Nomos, 275-250, head of nymph left, cornucopia behind, rev. man-headed bull right, crowned by Victory above




Nola, Nomos, 400-385, head of Athena right wearing crested helmeted ornamented with owl and laurel wreath, rev. man-headed bull right, nωλαιων above æ below


I know some say the man-faced bulls are just agricultural allegories, but I'll ignore that, aside from  posting this disturbing picture.





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4 minutes ago, Deinomenid said:

Is that the Roma  coin from a few  years ago? I couldn't find in in Jenkins at the  time- did you find out anything  more about  it? The obverse is SO much nicer than his  3 plates. Delighted for you!

Thanks, but I mentioned for the last 3 examples that these are not my coins. 

These were just 3 Gela coins from acsearch I found beautiful and relevant for the topic. 

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Aeolis, Tisna
4th century BCE
Æ 17mm, 4.13g, 6h
Head of river god Tisnaios l. R/ One-handled cup.
SNG Copenhagen 283; SNG München 641



Moesia, Istros
350 - 250 BCE
AE 12mm 1.95g
Head of the river god Istros facing slightly right /
Sea eagle on dolphin left.
SNG BM Black Sea 260



Skythia, Olbia
Æ 10.54g, 24mm, 9h.
Circa 330-320 BCE
Horned and bearded head of river god Borysthenes to left / Axe and bow in gorytos, ΟΛΒΙΟ upwards to right, Δ to left.
SNG Moskau 978-82; SNG Stancomb -; SNG BM Black Sea 457-9; HGC 3.2, 1887.
Ex collection of GK.


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275-250 BC
AR Didrachm (20mm, 6.92g)
O: Diademed head of the nymph Parthenope left, wearing triple earring; poppy head behind.
R: Man-faced bull standing right; Nike flying right above, crowning bull; IΣ below, [N]EAΠOΛITΩ[N] in ex.
Sambon 510; HN Italy 586; SNG ANS 400; Hands Class VI; Sear 309v (eagle head)

~ Peter 


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An uncommon Antoninus Pius

Antoninus Pius. Æ. As. TIBERIS. 140-143 AD
ANTONINVS AVG. PIVS P.P. Laureate head to the right.
  Reverse: TIBERIS. S.C. In exergue: TR. POT. COS III.
-Tíber reclining to the left and placing his hand on a rudder.

8.95g 25mm. Very scarce.
C-822. RIC. 706 a-S.
Tiberinus is a figure in Roman mythology. He was the god of the Tiber River. He was added to the 3,000 rivers as the genius of the Tiber



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A coin I was a little reluctant to post as I am not sure if it represents a river god. 


12 mm, 0,77 g.
Moesia, Istrus. AR obol or trihemiobol. 280-256/255 BC.
Facing male heads, the left one inverted / IΣTΡIH, Sea-eagle left on dolphin, ΔI beneath dolphin.
Dima, Tabelul III, Grupa IV, Subgrupa VII, II – Pl XXI, 10.
The obverse of these types (more popular as drachms) is still a mystery. 
- a theory says they are the Dioscuri. This is plausible since they were patrons of sailors (Istrus being a commercial center on Danube and also Black sea) but seeing them without the pileii (and stars) makes me think these are NOT the Dioscuri
- a second theory says they represent the rising and setting sun
- a third, another allegory, that they represent the commercial flow on Danube, on both directions
- a fourth, that it represents the two mouths of Danube. 

In my personal opinion, it's either theory 2 or 3. I don't think these are the Dioscuri. And I don't think this is Danube as a double river god or something similar because Dabube is represented as a horned old man on Greek coins and the classic image of an old man on Trajan's denarius. 

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14 minutes ago, expat said:

That ^ is an interesting coin regardless if it is considered a river god or not. Never seen one of those before.

These are very popular (Istrus/Istros drachms especially). I recommend you to read about them as I noticed you are interested in popular and interesting types. 

This design was in use for a very long time and the style, especially in the obverse, has changed a lot during the years. You can find very interesting specimens. 

But I also recommend you to buy this type from trusted sellers and if possible with an old provenance, especially if it's an expensive coin. It's one of the favorite types produced by modern forgers and some examples are very deceiving 😐

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PAMPHYLIA. Side. Caracalla, 198-217. Pentassarion  (Bronze, 30 mm, 17.51 g, 1 h).

Obv. AY K M AY CEY ANTΩNЄINOC Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Caracalla to right; above, star; on cheek, countermark: Є within circular incuse.

Rev. CIΔH/TΩΝ The river-god Melas reclining left, holding pomegranate tree in his right hand and leaning left on urn from which water flows.

SNG Paris -. SNG PFPS 699. SNG von Aulock -. For countermark, Howgego 803. Very rare. Areas of weakness, otherwise, about very fine. 


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Amenanos the river god of Katane

Sicily, Katane, Tetradrachm, ca. 470-465 BC. AR (g 16,90; mm 27; h 5). The river god Amenanos as a bearded, man-headed bull swimming to right; above, branch; in ex. fish r., Rv. KAT - ANE, Nike advancing l., holding wreath tied with fillet. Rizzo pl. IX, 4; SNG Ashmolean 1702; Randazzo 54.


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Let's add the Rhine!

Postumus, 260-269 CE.
Roman billon antoninianus, 2.54 g, 22.4 mm, 12 h.
Trier (some attribute to Cologne), 1st emission, 2nd phase, 260-261 CE.
Obv: IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
Rev: SALVS PROVINCIARVM, river god Rhinus, bearded and horned, reclining left, resting right hand on boat and holding anchor in left, left arm resting on urn.
Refs: RIC 87; RSC 355b; Mairat 1-5; RCV 10991; AGK 88c; De Witte 290; Hunter p. lxxxviii.

The Rhine River is personified as having horns because the river itself was known by the Latin epithet bicornis (two-horned) in antiquity because the Rhine empties itself into the North Sea via two channels.

Postumus SALVS PROVINCIARVM Rhine map.png

Stevenson discusses this reverse type in his Dictionary of Roman Coins, available online at Forum.

Postumus SALVS PROVINCIARVM Stevenson listing.JPG

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Rivergod from the middle of desert 😀

ARABIA, Adraa. Commodus. 177-192 CE. Æ (30mm, 16.69 g, 12h). Struck circa 177-180 CE. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed young bust right / River-god Hieromyces reclining left, leaning on overturned urn from which water flows, and holding reed; behind, Tyche seated left on rock, head right, holding cornucopia. Spijkerman 6; Meshorer, City-Coins 227; RPC IV.3 Online 6539. Green surfaces, earthen highlights. Near VF.

From the Dr. Jay M. Galst Collection.





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