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Ecstasy or the Agony. NewStyle c96/5 BC


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This NewStyle is slap bang in the coins that sit astride the contentious Rome-Pontic times. Times where the politics of Athens were split between those who supported Rome and those who supported Eupator of Pontus.  So this competition was tearing apart Athens, so what is more suitable than this coin with the personification of competition...the Agon! Anywhere where is a tension be it in a play, in politics in a arena  on the playing field, the minor god/personification Agon symbolises this tension.

This is where we get the words Agony, Agonist, protagonist, antagonist, etc from.

I have looked hard but there appears to be NO clear statue of Agon I can find so the best representation is on the coins of the Athenian NewStyle. Can any help here-I issue the challenge ?

A figure with a headdress of some type which I cannot make out..looks like a spiked/helios type headdress, with Nike's wings symbolising victory, a palm leaf, again symbolising victory, a chlamys, and in his hands...apparently(!) dumbbells that are used in jumping completions to give you an extended effort called halteres, of which examples still exist.

Is this symbol just a comment of the time or is the first magistrate Aropos, issuing a challenge? Who will take up the glove! No, I cannot believe this was anything other than a deliberate symbol, thus a key coin for these troubled times.

A good strong mintage   of 25 obverses, 61 reverses and issues of 11 Athenian months. This is obverse die-linked to Coiled Serpent whose magistrates issued the Roma coin of my last post and thus associated with the pro-Roman side!

Enjoy- the 2nd coin is mine.

CNG Winged Agon.jpg


Edited by NewStyleKing
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  • NewStyleKing changed the title to Ecstasy or the Agony. NewStyle c96/5 BC

Nice coin @NewStyleKing.

Agon is shown on a relief sculpture of the Sebasteion of Aphrodisia.

The relief shows a Herm (Hermes is associated with the gymnasium). There is a table at left with a victory ribbon and victory palm. The cupids represent the conflict because they struggle over the palm branch. Agon is the youthful athlete overseeing the struggle while holding another palm.


Edited by Curtisimo
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My little Agon is simpler still.  Strange little "R" next to his  head,  likely by chance. No sign of headwear.

I've never been able to  find anything helpful visually before, so thank you @Curtisimo too. Just lots of comments  on the very  varied form  Agon took, from theatre, to war, to games, to religion,  even to St Paul.


Here he  is in all his "very good" grade glory.




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17 minutes ago, NewStyleKing said:

Where's the full photos and details?

It's hard to see any of the full exquisite details from a longer-range shot but if you insist! -

Please be aware I use a list of dates  you posted a good while ago  for my own, so they are  only as  good as yours. Or worse, as  my interpretation of yours....

ATTICA. Athens 96/5.. Tetradrachm (Silver, 29 mm, 15.92 g), Aropos, Mnasago and Apol..., magistrates, . Head of Athena Parthenos to right, wearing triple-crested Attic helmet adorned with Pegasos and long tendril on the bowl, and with the foreparts of four horses above the visor. Rev. A-ΘE / APO-ΠOΣ / MNA/ΣA/ΓO / AΠΟΛ Owl standing facing on Amphora; to right, winged Agon standing facing, holding palm; on amphora, B; in exergue, ΣΟ. Thompson -, cf. 992-4 (A on amphora). Struck from a worn obverse die and with minor traces of corrosion, otherwise, about very fine (ha!).



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