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The face of Achilles: Our unending love for all things Homeric, adventurous and ultra violent


Ryro

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Posted (edited)

It's been 8 years since my wife and parents ultimate betrayal, not letting me name my oldest son Achilles. I thought it was such a rad idea, and would be such a cool name.

My wife, "No. We are not naming our son after an ankle."

I think she missed what was named after whom. 

I tell my parents that she's being unreasonable. 

My mom, "What? You want to name your little baby after an ancient psychopath and she's the one that's unreasonable?"

Exactly. 

My dad, who got me into history and ancients would get it, right?

Dad, "And then your stuck calling him Ackey for short? Bad name, son."

Oh well. I did just win a coin with likely the face of the greatest warrior the world will ever know:

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THESSALY, Peuma. Circa 302-286 BC. 

Æ Chalkous

13mm // 1,47g

 Wreathed head of Achilles right / Monogram; Phrygian helmet to right. 

Rogers 442; BCD Thessaly II 565; HGC 4, 25. aVF

"Heyman has done a remarkable amount of work on the identification of the head on the obverse. It has been termed the head of a nymph, some thinking it could be Thetis, but the hairstyle seems definitely masculine. Since Achilles was venerated in the area, he is the likely candidate."

So, why am I/are we so obsessed with violence and adventure? Read the book. We've been this way from the start. 

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(My 115 year old pocket version of the Iliad)

ede78ddd21cd5b4641f38f5768d68d5b.thumb.jpg.c1415641264372ec9db378117c7c277f.jpg.84496829e682a779f8f4e647349cfaa0.jpg

Here's the old "blind" man himself "reading" apparently:

IMG_0801(1).JPG.2c0823a3431eed79f77a0ff8676bbb08.jpeg.f751bdb6c2f5112f806715e2047bb53e.jpegIonia, Smyrna. Circa 125-115 BC. Æ 20mm (21mm, 8.27g). Phanokrates, magistrate. Laureate head of Apollo right / The poet Homer seated left, holding scroll. Milne, Autonomous 194a; SNG Copenhagen. Former Kairos Numismatik

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Other coins of mine featuring characters from Homer's epic.

The great failed hero and arch nemesis of Achilles, Hektor, before engaging with Achilles:

hector_-_rp.jpg.7185ff6089c804bd49cc35289446c488.jpg.f1ead063c017ce8283c747d2dbcfd7f6.jpg

... and after:

jv6vnr0hy3c71.jpg.125c2802860423d89f6e9d62389a9d87.jpg.43859aa5654f91a00ec453ce0fd50f3b.jpg

2896542_1653465866.l-removebg-preview.png.b158d80b213ab5c419dc66cf3da18159.png.d805a85ee6f13744f79b1997c28f40dd.pngTroas, Ophrynion Æ13. Circa 350-300 BC. Bearded, three-quarter facing head of Hektor, turned slightly right, wearing triple crested helmet / OΦΡΥ, the infant Dionysos kneeling right, holding grape cluster in right hand. SNG Copenhagen 456ff; BMC 4-7; SNG von Aulock 1559

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TROAS. Ophrynion. Ae (Circa 350-300 BC). Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right. Rev: OΦΡΥ. Warrior Hektor, wearing crested helmet, crouching left, holding shield and spear. BMC 8-9; SNG Copenhagen 460. Rare 1,57gr

Ajax the lesser, who turned out to be the better as he didn't go on killing spree against his own friends. Though, don't ask what he did to Cassandra daughter of king Priam:

170px-Solomon_Ajax_and_Cassandra.jpg.83e9e2f74636616b111090749b6c6527.jpg

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Lokris Opuntia

Hemidrachm around 350 BCE 2.60 g. Head of a nymph with reed wreath, simple ear pendants and necklace to the right / Ajax in the Corinthian helmet with drawn short sword storming to the right, holding above the left arm oval shield with a lion as inner jewelry, spear lying on the ground. BMC 26

The world greatest liar and trickster (something the Greeks admired) who came up with the Trojan horse, Oddyseus:

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C. MAMILIUS LIMETANUS. Serrate Denarius (82 BC). Rome.

Obv: Draped bust of Mercury right, wearing petasus; to left, control letter [N] above caduceus.

Rev: C MAMIL / LIMETAN.

Ulysses advancing right, holding staff and extending hand to his dog Argus.

Crawford 362/1.

Condition: Area of weakness, otherwise Very fine.

Weight: 3.66 g.

Diameter: 20 mm

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Thanks for taking a look. If you've got coins with Homeric themes we'd love to see em!

Edited by Ryro
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Great writeup!

Here's my Achilles related coins:

349_Full.jpg.65def4013f04fb17066a87d4fe00ddc5.jpg

Thessaly, Peuma
Circa 302-286 BCE
Æ 2.23g, 12mm, 3h
Wreathed head of Achilles to right
AX monogram, to right, Phrygian helmet; ΠΕΥΜΑΤΙΩ[Ν] around.
BCD Thessaly I 1248; BCD Thessaly II 564-5 var. (arrangement of ethnic); HGC 4, 25.
Ex J. Greiff Collection

 

372_Full.jpg.6325e74f18cbaaef8b92ecf1b56756f2.jpg

Troas. Achilleion/Achaion
circa 350-300 BCE
Æ 10 mm, 0,97 g
Crested helmet left
Civic monogram
SNG Ashmolean –; SNG Copenhagen 64

 

535_Full.jpg.ccd70a5c1a6d69db48c6b83ea2a0c15b.jpg

Larissa Kremaste, Thessaly
302 - 286 BCE
Ae 17.6mm 5.1g
Obv: Head of Achilles left
Rev: Thetis riding left on hippocamp holding shield of Achilles with XA monogram; LAPI below
SNG Cop. 151

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Fun and informative write-up, as always, @Ryro! This coin features κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ – Hector of the shining helmet – holding a firebrand and shield.

faustinajrIliumHector.jpg.eea1fa8a58aa67c7c5d5fb30f5da0467.jpg

Faustina II, 147-175 CE.
Roman provincial Æ 24.5 mm, 8.60 g, 7 h.
Troas, Ilium, issue 4, c. 164-166 CE.
Obv: ΦΑVϹΤΙΝΑ ϹΕΒΑϹΤ, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: ΕΚΤΩΡ ΙΛΙΕΩΝ, helmeted Hector advancing right, holding fire brand and shield.
Refs: RPC IV.2, 98 (temporary); SNG Munich 247; von Fritze Ilion 72.


This reverse type alludes to the events described in the Iliad XVI.112-124 (translation by Lattimore):
 

Tell me now, you Muses who have your homes on Olympos, how fire was first thrown upon the ships of the Achaians.

Hektor stood up close to Aias and hacked at the ash spear with his great sword, striking behind the socket of the spearhead, and slashed it clean away, so that Telamonian Aias shook there in his hand a lopped spear, while far away from him the bronze spearhead fell echoing to the ground; and Aias knew in his blameless heart, and shivered for knowing it, how this was gods' work, how Zeus high-thundering cut across the intention in all his battle, how he planned that the Trojans should conquer. He drew away out of the missiles, and the Trojans threw weariless fire on the fast ship, and suddenly the quenchless flame streamed over it.


This episode in the Iliad describes a shift in the tide of war when Zeus bestows favor on Hector and rallies the Trojans. Hector has driven the Greeks back to their ships and is determined to burn them. Ajax, in one of the poem's more memorable moments, seemingly single-handedly defends the ships against the Trojan forces with "a great sea-pike in his hands, twelve cubits long" (XV.823-824). But by the time Hector arrives, Ajax is exhausted, and the Trojan hero effortlessly strips him of his weapon. The Trojans burn one ship, but the fleet is saved when Patroclus takes to the battlefield disguised in the armor of Achilles, the most feared Greek warrior.

Edited by Roman Collector
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A few others related to Homer.

From Troy itself.

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Troas, Ilion (Troy)
301-281 BCE
AE 9mm 0.81g
Helmeted head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with a wreath /
IΛ-I; hydria.
Bellinger T3; SNG Cop 346

 

The Palladion, which guaranteed Troy's safety - until it was stolen.

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Argos, Argolis
ca 280-260 BCE
Ae Dichalkon 16.3mm 3.2g
Obv: Head of Hera right wearing stephane inscribed ARGE
Rev: The Palladion standing left holding spear and shield
SNG Cop 57

 

Protesilaos was the first Greek to touch Trojan soil, and therefore he was fated as the first to die.

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Thessaly. Thebai
302-286 BCE
Æ Trichalkon 19.65mm 6.99g
Obverse: Wreathed head of Demeter left
Reverse: ΘHBAIΏN, Protesilaos stepping right from prow of galley, holding sword and shield
Rogers 550

 

Philoktetes was an archer who was bitten by a snake on Lemnos and left there, then ultimately brought on to Troy, where he killed Paris.

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Thessaly, Homolion
ca 350 BCE
AE 20mm 6.6g
Head of Philoktetes right, wearing conical pileos /
ΟΜΟΛ-IEΩN; serpent coiled right, grape bunch above.
Helly, Quelques 25; Rogers 257

 

Elaios was the first place the Greek placed foot on during the Trojan War.

306_Full.jpg.4d3e9a60fa0acfe82d80fe585b86aab2.jpg

Thrace, Elaios
Æ 6.86g, 18mm, 3h.
Late 4th-3rd centuries BCE
Prow of galley to right
EΛΑΙ within laurel wreath
SNG Copenhagen 889-90; HGC 3.2, 1456

 

 

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Great write-up @Ryro, and love the coins too.  I don't have any coins depicting Achilles, but I do have a coin from his homeland - not far from the River Sperchius in Thessaly as referenced in Homer's Illiad:

But Great Achilles stands apart in prayer,
And from his head divides the yellow hair;
Those curling locks which from his youth he vow’d,
And sacred grew, the Sperchius’ honored flood;
Then Sighing, to the deep his locks he cast
And roll’d his eyes around the watery waste:
“Sperchius! Whose waves and mazy errors lost
Delightful roll along my native coast!
To whom we vainly vow’d, at our return, …
-Homer, Illiad, XXXIII

https://www.sullacoins.com/post/ae-coin-from-ekkarra-achaea-phthiotis

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Posted · Supporter
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kirispupis said:

Great writeup!

Here's my Achilles related coins:

349_Full.jpg.65def4013f04fb17066a87d4fe00ddc5.jpg

Thessaly, Peuma
Circa 302-286 BCE
Æ 2.23g, 12mm, 3h
Wreathed head of Achilles to right
AX monogram, to right, Phrygian helmet; ΠΕΥΜΑΤΙΩ[Ν] around.
BCD Thessaly I 1248; BCD Thessaly II 564-5 var. (arrangement of ethnic); HGC 4, 25.
Ex J. Greiff Collection

 

372_Full.jpg.6325e74f18cbaaef8b92ecf1b56756f2.jpg

Troas. Achilleion/Achaion
circa 350-300 BCE
Æ 10 mm, 0,97 g
Crested helmet left
Civic monogram
SNG Ashmolean –; SNG Copenhagen 64

 

535_Full.jpg.ccd70a5c1a6d69db48c6b83ea2a0c15b.jpg

Larissa Kremaste, Thessaly
302 - 286 BCE
Ae 17.6mm 5.1g
Obv: Head of Achilles left
Rev: Thetis riding left on hippocamp holding shield of Achilles with XA monogram; LAPI below
SNG Cop. 151

 

 

Thanks, my man! I've had a massive crush on the bottom left facing Achilles of yours since I first saw it. The Thetis with Achilles monogramed shield on hippocamp, the patina, Achilles hair, I could go on. Just a hauntingly dope coin. 

And I may be mistaken but think the reverse of your Peuma type, which is superior to mine, has the reverse upside down. The listing's on AC search have it the other way and the Phrygian helmet is upside-down.

Edited by Ryro
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image.png.42b0dc452bbffc0c0728a487dfdf401c.png

 

Locris, Locris Opuntii
Stater circa 420-380, AR 12.25 g. Head of Demeter l., wearing wreath of barley and reeds, triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace. Rev. ΟΠΟΝ – ΤΙΩΝ Ajax the Lesser, nude but for crested Corinthian helmet, striding r. on rocky ground, holding short sword in his r. hand, and round shield decorated with coiled serpent in his l. hand; between his legs, laurel twig with berry and two leaves. Weber 3140. SNG Fitzwilliam 2801 (this reverse die). Delbridge, Corpus group 5, 64e (this coin). BCD Lokris-Phokis 16 (this coin).
A rare variety. Well struck in high relief and with a lovely light
iridescent tone. Extremely fine / good extremely fine

Ex Glendining's 10 December 1986, Knoepke 196; NAC 55, 2010, BCD 16 and Roma Numismatics II, 2011, 17

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I can only contribute with two coins that were already well known

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20 mm, 3,75 g.
C. Mamilius Limetanus. AR serrate denarius. Rome. 82 BC.
Draped bust of Mercury to right, wearing winged petasus and with caduceus over his left shoulder; behind, S. / C·MAMIL LIMET􀺏AN, Ulysses advancing right, holding walking stick in his left hand and extending his right towards his dog Argus, on the right, standing left.
Babelon (Mamilia) 6; Crawford 362/1; RBW 1370 var. (differing control-letter on the obverse); Sydenham 741.

... and a coin showing Homer. First I was convinced this is just a generic reverse, but I was glad when I saw the majority of specialists agree this is indeed a depiction of Homer. 

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21 mm, 6,26 g.
Ionia, Smyrna. 75-50 BC. Ӕ.
Laureate head of Apollo right; laurel wreath border / ΞMYPNAIΩN, Homer seated left, resting chin on hand and holding transverse sceptre.
Milne 359; SNG Copenhagen 1207; BMC 116; Mionnet 921; Weber 6138; SNG Tuebingen 3180.

Interesting to think that Homer lived (if we assume he really existed) in 9th-8th century BC. So when this coin was struck, Homer was for the people in those days .... "ancient history", like we think about late Byzantine emperors nowadays.

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I've got this old thing that says it's a coin of Priam who was from around those parts.🙂

Priam, King of Troy. Cast Æ  39 mm. 41.3 gm.
Obv: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ · ΠΡΙΑΜΟΣ ·, diademed and draped bust of Priam right, wearing long beard. Rev: TROIA, view of the walled city Troy, showing numerous temples and buildings; the citadel in upper center with wall inscribed ΙΛΙΟΝ; shore with Greek soldiers and galleys in water. Attwood 941. Kress 539 = NG 420. Rare.

untitledfeewffwefwefwq1_orig1.jpg.91ad03aabe686f9409543102bb61e81a.jpg

 

Also I love your Iliad "Gods envy us" quote and - not to be too morbid I hope - have sometimes  toyed with that one for my eventual gravestone, Spike Milligan's "I told you I was sick" Gaelic one  having been copied too  many  times by  now!

(Coin = Alessandro 'Il Grechetto' Cesati.)

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