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Hercules and the Erymanthian boar


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A subject I know @Ryro will appreciate. A Roman Republican coin depicting a Greek mythological tale.

M. VOLTEIUS M.F. Denarius (75 BC). Rome.Head of young Hercules right, wearing lion skin / Erymanthian Boar right, M VOLTEI M F in exergue. Volteia 2
sear5 #313, Syd 775, Cr385/2.
( 3.48 g. 17.8 mm ).
In Greek mythology, the Erymanthian boar (Greek: ὁ Ἐρυμάνθιος κάπρος; Latin: aper Erymanthius) was a mythical creature that took the form of a shaggy and wild tameless boar of vast weight and foaming jaws. It was a Tegeaean, Maenalusianor Erymanthian boar that lived in the glens of Lampeia beside the vast marsh of Erymanthus. It would sally from the thick-wooded, cypress-bearing heights of Erymanthus to harry the groves of Arcady and abuse the land of Psophis.
The fourth labour of Heracles was to bring the Erymanthian boar alive to Eurystheus in Mycenae. To capture the boar, Heracles first chased the boar with shouts and thereby routed it from a certain thicket and then drove the exhausted animal into deep snow. He then trapped it, bound it in chains, and lifted it, still breathing from the dust, and returning with the boar on his left shoulder, staining his back with blood from the stricken wound, he cast it down in the entrance to the assembly of the Mycenaeans, thus completing his fourth labour. When the king [Eurystheus] saw him carrying the boar on his shoulders, he was terrified and hid himself in a bronze vessel.


Please post your coins with mythological references, the labours of Herakles/Hercules

Edited by expat
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Posted (edited)

I have a couple of coins depicting the Labors of Hercules, one of them the same type as yours. I've posted both of them before, but repetition never bothers me!

On this one, I'm afraid it looks like someone poked poor Hercules' eyes out. Or perhaps he's just resting.

Roman Republic, M. [Marcus] Volteius, AR Denarius, 78 BCE (Crawford) or 75 BCE (Harlan). Obv. Head of young Hercules, wearing lion’s skin headdress, right / Rev. The Erymanthian boar running right; M•VOLTEI•M•F in exergue. Crawford 385/2; RSC I Volteia 2; BMCRR 3158, Sear RCV I 313 (ill.); Harlan, RRM I Ch. 12, pp. 62-79 at pp. 74-77, Sydenham 775. 18.5 mm., 3.96 g., 7 h.*


*This coin, depicting Hercules and the Erymanthian boar -- one of five coins issued by M. Volteius as moneyer during that year -- relates, like the other four Volteius coins, to one of the five principal agonistic festivals which were celebrated annually at Rome, this one specifically to the Ludi Plebeii, held each year from 4 to 17 November. Hercules had a special relationship with the Circus Flaminius, which was where the Ludi Plebeii were held, and was near the temple of Hercules Magna Custos ad Circum (Hercules the Great Guardian at the Circus).  See Harlan at p. 76 for a summary of the legend of Hercules capturing the Erymanthian boar alive, the fourth of the twelve labors of Hercules. Harlan points out that according to tradition, the tusks of the Erymanthian boar were preserved at the sanctuary of Apollo at Cumae -- perhaps establishing a connection of the Erymanthian boar to the Circus Flaminius (where the Ludi Plebeii were held) and the nearby temple of Hercules Magna Custos ad Circum (which was supposedly built on the advice of the Sibyl of Cumae). This may have been the rationale for the portrayal of the Erymanthian boar on this coin rather than one of Hercules’s other labors.

The other one:

Roman Republic. C. Poblicius Q.f. AR Serrate Denarius, 80 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing helmet decorated with grain ears; ROMA behind, V above / Rev. C•POBLICI•Q•F; Hercules standing left, wrestling (and strangling) the Nemean Lion; bow and quiver to left, club below, V above lion. Crawford 380/1, RSC I Poblicia 9, Sear RCV I 308 (ill.), Harlan, RRM I Ch. 5 at pp. 23-27, BMCRR Rome 2896. 20.13 mm., 3.84 g.


Edited by DonnaML
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Here is coin "from the same mythological time", with another boar. For objective reasons, Heracles could not participate in the hunt:


17 mm, 3,96 g.
C. Hosidius C. f. Geta. AR denarius. Rome. 68 BC.
Diademed head of Diana draped right, bow and quiver at her shoulder GETA before, III. VIR behind / The wild boar of Calydon right, pierced by spear and attacked by dog. C. HOSIDI. C.F. in exergue.
Crawford 407/2.

And the revelant write-up regarding this myth:

The classical myth of the Calydonian boar served to illustrate the need for paying proper respect to the gods and the consequences for not doing so. King Oeneus of Aetolia had forgotten to accord proper rites to the goddess Diana (Artemis), and for this sacrilege she sent a chthonic beast, the wild boar of Calydon, to ravage the Aetolian hinterland. The boar was the bane of the people, destroying vineyards and crops and forcing everyone to take shelter behind their city walls. With starvation ensuing, a hunt was organized, and most of the illustrious heroes of Greece's heroic age took part (with the exception of Hercules who fought his own chthonic beast, the Erymanthean boar). Amongst all these male heroes was one female, the heroine Atalanta, and she won the signal honor of being the first to wound the boar, having pierced its side with an arrow. For this she was awarded its hide. Although the precise meaning is lost to us, it can be assumed that Hosidius employed the type of the Calydonian boar to illustrate a claimed descent from one of the heroes involved in the hunt, perhaps from Atalanta herself.

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Nice coin @expat


Here are a few...


RR M Volteius Mf AR Denarius 78 BCE 18mm 3.96g Hd Hercules R lion skin headdress - Erymanthian boar Cr 385-2 ex SteveX6



Ionia Klazomenai 480-400 BC AR Drachm Pentobol 3.5g 13mm Forepart  winged boar r gorgoneion incuse sq Cf SNG Copenhagen 12 Rare



Campania CAPUA AE Uncia 216-211 BCE Diana Boar Hannibal capital Italia SCARCE

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RR C Hosidius C F Geta 68 BCE Diana bow quiver Boar Hound spear Dog Sear 346 Craw 407-2



Mysia Kyzikos AR Hemiobol 480-450 BCE 0.4g Boar-Lion retrograde K Sear 3850



Iberia - Castulo AE14 Quarter Unit Bust - BOAR w-star 2nd C BCE


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Posted · Supporter

Shhhh, we don't want too many people knowing how cool these are...I mean lame. Herakles is total lame sauce. Shhhhh.

Excellent coin BTW. And sorry for the delay. It didn't tag me despite you putting the @ next to my name. 

Caledonian and Erymanthian piggies:


And for fun, here is a recent ebay purchase with all of the labors. The first Pic is the obverse of these:



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Posted · Supporter

A bit late to the party, but I strayed outside my usual concentration on Late Roman and Byzantine to pick up this Republican coin.  The boar is struck in high relief, a quality not so easily appreciated in my amateur photograph.  My addition of a second light source in the second photo did not improve the picture much.  Still, as the engraving on many Republican coin dies is rather pedestrian, it is a pleasure to see what some of the celators were capable of achieving.  A degree of excellence not extended to the work on the obverse, I am afraid.  



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  • 2 weeks later...

How Many VOLTs to fry this Pig?


RR M Volteius Mf AR Denarius 78 BCE 18mm 3.96g Hd Hercules R lion skin headdress - Erymanthian boar Cr 385-2 ex SteveX6


How many VOLTS to fry this temple?


RR Volteius 78 BCE AR Den Jupiter Temple S 312 Cr 385-1


Something was going on in 78 BCE with this VOLTeius Dude!

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