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Aspendos Staters: ancient frozen poetry in motion


Ryro
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My new Stater:

2941198_1654595254.l-removebg-preview.png.5aea756a55d628ae67b20128f05cf978.png

(You've gotta appreciate the "Spartan" attributions from some of these eastern European auction houses) :

PAMPHYLIA.Aspendos.(Circa 420-370 BC).Stater.

Obv : Two wrestlers grappling.

Rev :

Condition : Good very fine.

Weight : 10.8 gr

Diameter : 24 mm

Here's its die mate that I found from AC search:

2819862_1651313943.l.jpg.0521c4315294933d3093394c0af11b3d.jpg

Pamphylia. Aspendos circa 420-370 BC.

Stater AR, 24 mm, 10,93 g

Two wrestlers grappling / EΣTFEΔ[IIVΣ], slinger in throwing stance right, triskeles to left; herm in right field, all within pelleted square border. very fine, SNG Copenhagen -; SNG France 3; SNG von Aulock 4511.

https://www.biddr.com/auctions/savoca/browse?a=2523&l=2819862

 

A couple of things that strike me as unique about the coin:

1- I've never agreed to the two combatants being described as "wrestlers". They are shown in different Pankration style moves and zero ground fighting.

The Pankration was the ancients precursor to modern MMA. Ancient Pankration was NHB (No Holds Barred). 

SWTK.gif.4662e50b2f1e4558e652fa15592fa585.gif

OFGUNLEJVEI6ZA4PBT67NHGOHQ.jpg.cde1859886d76c3dfba393b761428033.jpg

I seem to recall there being at least 8 different positions that these Aspendos athletes are in on coin.

My new coin seems to show the fighter on the right coming up top with his right hand while taking the left hook to the body from the left rough houser!

Pancratium2.jpg.3e2003673f3105f1cadef3893edf4263.jpg

The more common of these is the two wrestling for wrist control while the combatant to the left digging a left hook to the fighter on the right:

IMG_0354(1).PNG.5fd39e79178039a442f38891c1ac00e0.PNG

Pamphylia. Aspendos

370-330 BCE 

Stater AR

22mm., 10,17g.

Two wrestlers grappling; AΦ between / EΣTFEΔIIVΣ, slinger to right, triskeles in right field. very fine SNG France 83

2.gif.4e7542e50c7d406794e39df822d7bc1c.gif

 2- Why did they decide to put the Herm on my coin and where is his dick?

I understand that many Herms that we still have around today were "castrated" by Christians that found them lewd and wicked. 

1200px-Herma_Demosthenes_Glyptothek_Munich_292.jpg.1168892863e3f8655e604507dbeedef5.jpg

171246a100cc295b73427f7bb6e5ca8f.jpg.75a5fed722ee3ae9c8ab46c6bf2b7298.jpg

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(Somebody did this poor fella dirty and not only removed his manhood, but gave him a hole😲).

Don't worry though, we still have a few fully erect archaics left:

123px-0007MAN-Herma.jpg.8966c6125fcb7ce0f679b2141097785d.jpg

But why does mine not have his phallus?? It's the thing about "Herms", they have "Hard ons".

As some my recall, after Alcibiades gets the Athenians to agree to an attack on Sicily, while they are still fighting the Peloponnesian war against Sparta, much to Nicias disproval, he and his friends were accused of sacrilege on a massive scale! Not only were they accused of doing a mock Elusinian mysteries, even more disturbing was the charge that they had gone around the town  "cock knocking" all the phalluses off of all the Herms around town. Ultimately leading in Alcibiades recall which possibly persipatated the loss that poor Nicias would end up enduring on Sicily, costing his life and eventually the war. 

5026a1f95343fea6b2bfcd2c228c3842.jpg.a6a1aa939715c7b5abe30317adbd19b2.jpg

Could my coin be an allusion that that maybe?

3- They still made sure to keep the Triskeles, which just about all ancient coinage from Aspendos had on it. The Triskeles was their symbol.

Screenshot_20210331-155629_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.47d2873fe1f9ab80754a1b43a7c835c6.png

Pampylia - Aspendos - Triskele AR Stater

465-430 BC

Obv: naked warrior walking right holding sword and shield. Rev: triskele in incuse square. 10.57 grams. Fair; banker cut to reverse.

Provenance

Property a London gentleman; acquired Heritage auctions. Purchased from Timeline Auctions Feb 2021. Literature Cf. SNG France 3/12; Aulock 4483.

 

5Mqt.gif.81dfd85cccac11da42dd3b0ff393ab68.gif

So please share your Aspendos Staters, fight coins, herms, triskeles, thoughts,  laughs and make sure to add a rad fight song!

 

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I do love the Aspendos wrestlers. The closest thing I’ll get to watching an ancient Olympics.

EFE1CD5D-0CC0-4ABF-AA2B-5637BF073DDE.jpeg.6ff526cea6d45f27202afeb7b672f03b.jpeg

PAMPHYLIA, Aspendos
AR Stater, Aspendos mint, struck ca. 380-325 BC
Dia.: 22.1 mm
Wt.: 10.62 g
Obv.: Two wrestlers; the left one holds the left arm of his opponent with both hands, the opponent grasping with right hand his right wrist; no control in between legs.
Rev.: Slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right; Π in between legs; on right, triskeles to right, EΣTFEΔIIVΣ behind, all within dotted square; c/m: wolf running left in rectangular incuse.
Ref.: BMC 52; SNG Copenhagen 214; Tekin Series 4
Ex Harlan J. Berk (private sale September 21, 2015); Ex zumbly Collection; Ex Minotaur Coins

Love the new coin @Ryro. I don’t have any herm coins but I did get a chance to see this one at the Ghetty Villa in Malibu a few years ago. It’s pretty neat how the concept of using giant stones as a boundary marker morphed into this!

DE28D7E0-7D3C-493D-86EE-09E48371EDAF.png.00b4dab8302ac943e10553a85021e24e.png

 

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Aspendos Ar Double siglos 330/325-300/250 BC Obv Two wrestlers grappling. Rv Slinger about to launch  his projectile standing right. In right field forepart of a horse prancing right above a star.  Tekin Series 5 SNG BN 114 11.47 grms 25 mm Photo by W. Hansenaspendos6.jpg.31c2827d306761d56ef3367cb6a944f4.jpg

Though the dating of this series is very broad it is possible that this coin was part of a tax imposed by Alexander III. Apparently the citizens of Aspendos had come to an agreement with the Macedonian King and then reneged. (Really big ooops) Needless to say Alexander was not amused came back and imposed even harsher terms. However if this series does continue until circa 250BC it is a testament to the resilience of this coinage in the face of the overwhelming popularity that was the Attic standard throughout the Hellenistic world.

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Great coins and write-up. I was aware about herms but only had a general idea - checking about these means another ancient term clarified.

Here is my Aspendos stater

image.png.06e05c94a10269a7aae310f20d5d9257.png

Pamphylia, Aspendos, ca. 415/10-400 BC, AR Stater

Obv: Two wrestlers grappling within a dotted border / Rev: Slinger discharging sling right, triskeles in right field, ethnic EΣTEE to left, all within incuse square. Countermarked.

Tekin Series B; SNG Aul. 4525; SNG BN 45ff

21 mm, 10,90 g

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Posted · Supporter

I also like this Type very much. It is also one of the coins that you can show to people who are not interested in coins.

 

Aspendos_01_0.jpg.727541f677d37f517fc1853e7af08b2a.jpg

Aspendos, Pamphylia
Stater, 420-370 BC
Obv.: Two wrestlers grappling, AK in-between
Rev.: EΣTFEΔIIYΣ, slinger in throwing stance right, in right field triskeles, all within square dotted border
Ag, 10.93g, 23mm
Ref.: SNG France 84, Aulock4561

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Posted (edited)

Nice examples!

I upgraded mine a few months ago:

ruWcyKG.jpeg

Pamphylia, Aspendos AR stater

Circa 380-325 BC
Obverse: Two wrestlers grappling; ΣK between.
Reverse: EΣTFEΔIIYΣ; Slinger in throwing stance right; triskeles to right; all within pelleted square border; c/m: wolf running to right within rectangular incuse.
References: Tekin Series 4; SNG BnF 107; for c/m, Tekin, Aspendos Sikkeleri, 28.

Edited by Jeremy
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Ryro said:

My new Stater:

2941198_1654595254.l-removebg-preview.png.5aea756a55d628ae67b20128f05cf978.png

(You've gotta appreciate the "Spartan" attributions from some of these eastern European auction houses) :

PAMPHYLIA.Aspendos.(Circa 420-370 BC).Stater.

Obv : Two wrestlers grappling.

Rev :

Condition : Good very fine.

Weight : 10.8 gr

Diameter : 24 mm

Here's its die mate that I found from AC search:

2819862_1651313943.l.jpg.0521c4315294933d3093394c0af11b3d.jpg

Pamphylia. Aspendos circa 420-370 BC.

Stater AR, 24 mm, 10,93 g

Two wrestlers grappling / EΣTFEΔ[IIVΣ], slinger in throwing stance right, triskeles to left; herm in right field, all within pelleted square border. very fine, SNG Copenhagen -; SNG France 3; SNG von Aulock 4511.

https://www.biddr.com/auctions/savoca/browse?a=2523&l=2819862

 

A couple of things that strike me as unique about the coin:

1- I've never agreed to the two combatants being described as "wrestlers". They are shown in different Pankration style moves and zero ground fighting.

The Pankration was the ancients precursor to modern MMA. Ancient Pankration was NHB (No Holds Barred).

[......]

I seem to recall there being at least 8 different positions that these Aspendos athletes are in on coin.

[......]

My new coin seems to show the fighter on the right coming up top with his right hand while taking the left hook to the body from the left rough houser!

The more common of these is the two wrestling for wrist control while the combatant to the left digging a left hook to the fighter on the right:

Nice pick-up! I've been hunting for one of the Herm examples the last few months and was underbidder on the Savoca example you linked.

As for "wrestlers" versus Pankration, I think it could be Pankration given the lower-body holds of some poses (from a quick reading it seems this would not be allowed in traditional Greek wrestling?) but would you still refer to the combatants of Pankration as "wrestlers" or would you call them something else? Does Pankration also involve the wrestlers wearing belts, as we see on the Aspendos types?

Though, IMO, we don't see anyone getting a hook to the abdomen in the poses, instead it's more likely that one wrestler is grappling the other wrestler's belt around their waist. Though it's relatively rare to see the belt depicted with any clarity, I believe that's what the poses are always imitating as it's common to see one hand grasping thin air in front of the other's abdomen while we know from other dies this is where the belt would have been.

The Savoca one actually has a really nicely defined hand that is clearly grasping something in front of the abdomen, though what that something is, is not well defined.

 I saw a really great example with a nice, clear belt the other day but forgot where that was, so here's a less-good example from ACSearch:

8978838.jpeg.bd0b14ff28fba023cced9353e74902f6.jpeg

 

Quote

My new coin seems to show the fighter on the right coming up top with his right hand 

And this is just the wrestler's right hand grappling the shoulder of the other wrestler. I don't think we can quite relate it to the depiction of the pankration wrestlers in the figure you linked.

I love these Aspendos types and have started collecting a few over the past 18 months or so. I'm mainly aiming for some of the rarer wrestler positions and reverse legend/symbol configurations but anything that has fresh dies and good style is on my radar too.

I'll try to keep my selection to just a few 😄

1151_aspendos_stater_resized.jpg

1147_aspendos_stater_resized.jpg

1157_aspendos_stater_resized.jpg

1132_aspendos_stater_resized.jpg

1113_aspendos_stater_resized.jpg

Edited by Kaleun96
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Here's one that not only depicts a fight, but looks like it has been in one:

 

2PwnHQ5gXzS9q3eGANf87kXYL4sTMe.jpeg.7cadb96a855d2c1f3dba304d86ad87b7.jpeg

Pamphylia, Aspendos 420-410 BC, AR Stater, 10.70g

It's a "Tekin series 1", supposedly the earliest, and seems to show one wrestler attempting to hook the back of the others' knee.

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Fun write-up, @Ryro! I wish I had something to contribute, but I don't have a single coin from Aspendos or any fight coins, herms, or triskeles. All I have is this still from the Star Trek episode, "The Gamesters of Triskelion," which features a fight scene and a dude with a triskeles on his robe standing in front of a plaque with a triskeles design. They didn't use the stater denomination, though, on Triskelion, but a currency called the quatloo.

gamesters-of-triskelion-scene.jpg?sfvrsn=36464701_0

What??? You don't think this is numismatic enough for a coin forum?!

YARN | Au contraire, mon frere. | Parks and Recreation (2009) - S05E02 Soda  Tax | Video clips by quotes | 2d216ccf | 紗

That scene from Star Trek comes from none other than Coin World magazine's blog!!! 😲

And you can take those quatloos to the bank!

Personal Bank GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

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Posted · Benefactor

@Ryro, a wonderful coin and a great post! One warning: I don't know anything about Timeline's reputation with respect to ancient coins, and yours looks fine to my eyes, but please don't ever buy antiquities/artifacts from them, at least without an independent third-party opinion. They are a notorious seller of fakes; I did a search for their name in the ancientartifacts io.com group, and there were more than 600 results! There's a great deal of speculation that whenever they say something like "property of a London gentleman," they mean the owner of the company!

In any event, here's mine:

Aspendos, Pamphylia, Asia Minor, AR Stater ca. 380/75-330/25 BCE (Tekin, 4th Series [see fn.]). Obv. Two standing wrestlers, naked, grappling with legs spread apart and heads touching; wrestler on left grasps his opponent’s left wrist with his right hand, and left elbow with his left hand; wrestler on right grasps his opponent’s left arm with his right hand; letters “KI” [for name of minting magistrate] in field between wrestlers, below knee level / Rev. Slinger wearing short chiton, standing with trunk in facing position, head and legs in profile facing right, legs held straight with feet apart, left arm extended forward holding sling with left thumb, right arm drawing sling back with elbow bent; triskeles in right field with legs running left; ΕΣΤϜΕΔΙΙΥΣ [adjectival form of city name Estwediius in Pamphylian dialect of Ancient Greek] upwards behind slinger; all contained within square dotted border. SNG Copenhagen 226 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Copenhagen, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Part 31, Lycia, Pamphylia (Copenhagen 1955)]; SNG Von Aulock II 4557 [Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 2: Caria, Lydia, Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia (Berlin 1962)]; BMC 19 Lycia 45-46 [both with initials “KI” on obv.] [Hill, G.F. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lycia, Pamphylia, and Pisidia (London, 1897) at p. 99]; Sear GCV Vol. II 5397 (obv. var. -- diff. magistrate’s initials) [Sear, David, Greek Coins and their Values, Vol. II, Asia & Africa (Seaby 1979) at p. 491], 26 mm., 10.96 g. Purchased from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 217th Buy or Bid Sale, 17 Sep. 2021, Lot 132; ex Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., 7 March 2001.*


[IMG]

[Here's a link to the video of the coin at the HJB website; just click on the forward arrow at the bottom of the linked page: https://www.hjbltd.com/#!/inventory/item-detail/ancient-coins/97600?fromBbs=217th Buy Or Bid Sale ]

*Aspendos, near the south coast of Anatolia, ”was an ancient city in Pamphylia, Asia Minor, located about 40 km east of the modern city of Antalya, Turkey. It was situated on the Eurymedon River about 16 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspendos. It was captured by the Persians in 411 BCE (not for the first time), and remained under Persian domination until captured by Alexander the Great in 333 BCE. Id.

In the introduction to BMC 19 Lydia, supra at p. lxxii, the reverse legend in the Pamphylian dialect and the reverse iconography of the slinger on this type of Aspendian “wrestler stater” are explained as follows:

[IMG]

See also the Wikipedia article on Pamphylian Greek, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamphylian_Greek.

According to an important article on the Aspendian wrestler/slinger staters, this type falls into the so-called “4th Series” out of five, issued circa 380/75-330/25 BCE; it probably belongs to the later part of that period. See Tekin, Oğuz, Aspendian 'Wrestlers' : an iconographic approach, in: Mécanismes et innovations monétaires dans l’Anatolie achéménide. Numismatique et Histoire. Actes de la Table Ronde d’Istanbul, 22-23 mai 1997 (Istanbul : Institut Français d'Études Anatoliennes-Georges Dumézil, 2000), pp. 159-169 at 165-167 (Varia Anatolica, 12), available at https://www.persee.fr/doc/anatv_1013-9559_2000_act_12_1_956 .

“4th SERIES (c. 380/75 - c. 330/25 B.C.)

On the obverse of the staters which we have classified under this series there are letters found between the wrestlers at knee level (pl. XXVIII, 11). These letters are shown in Table 1 below [Table omitted; the two-letter combinations used include “KI”). . . . It is understood that in the first examples of the [4th] series there was only a single letter on the obverse or reverse.. . .

These letters figuring on the obverse of the staters indicated the initials of either the name of a single magistrate or of two different magistrates. The changed order of certain letters on some staters, that is the A figuring before the Z in one example (AZ) whereas in another the Z figures before A (IA), if not a coincidence, must have been done with considerations of equity as regards the priority in magistrates' names. There exist six such examples [listed in Table 3; KI is not included among them.] . . .

The noteworthy main feature on the obverse of the staters of this series is the position of the wrestlers. One of the wrestlers holds his opponent's arm with both hands, whereas the other holds his opponent's wrist. The wrestler's match therefore is now represented in one single position [by contrast to the 16 different positions found in some of the earlier series]. As regards the slinger on the reverse, there is not much change at first. But the quadratum incusum tends to disappear in the first examples and gradually becomes totally inexistant. Therefore, in the great majority of this series there is a square dotted border instead of the quadratum incusum on the reverse, the incuse [found on the earlier coinage] has disappeared.”

Although Tekin proceeds to discuss the countermarks that are common in the 4th Series, he notes that “The last examples of the fourth series do not have countermarks.” My coin does not have any countermarks.

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