Jump to content

Great Neptune!

Roman Collector

Recommended Posts

This made me chuckle!

May be a cartoon of 2 people and text that says 'Joy (to the world) Classical Studies Memes for H... @CSMFHT The longer it takes you to get this, the more you will hate it am Poseidon, God of the sea! Rowman! Row man! Row man! Ok. am Neptune, God of the sea! Twitter for Android'

So here's a Neptune! Let's make it a pile-on thread! Let's see your Neptunes!

[IMG] Claudius II, AD 268-270.
Roman billon Antoninianus, 4.12 g, 20.6 mm, 5 h.
Antioch, 1st emission, AD 268-269.
Obv: IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, radiate and draped bust of Claudius Gothicus, right.
Rev: NEPTVN AVG, Neptune, standing left, holding dolphin in right hand and trident in left hand; A in exergue.
Refs: RIC 214; MER/RIC temp 1018; Cohen 183; RCV 11353; Hunter 78; Huvelin 1990, 5.

  • Like 20
  • Laugh 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, you asked for this one!




Here's the much better of my two Skotoussa [Alt: Skotussa, Scotussa] Artemis & Poseidon AR Hemidrachms, c. 4th-3rd cent BCE. (There seems to be a difference of opinion 350-300, or 220-200. BCD Thessaly gives later 3rd cent.)

I love the parallels to the reverse of Alexander III silver coinage (Zeus / Poseidon, Eagle / Dolphin, Staff / Trident, Throne / Rock).



Greek (Late Classical/Hellenistic). Thessaly, Skotoussa AR Hemidrachm (2.17g, 14mm, 11h).. circa 4th-3rd cent. BCE.
Obverse: Head of Artemis facing slightly left, hair in the ‘melon’ style, tied in back, and wearing a necklace.
Reverse: ΣΚΟΤΟΥΣΑΙΩΝ. Poseidon seated left on rock, holding a trident in his left hand and dolphin in his right.
References: BCD Thessaly 1341; BCD Thessaly II 755; SNG Cop 253; SNG München 180.
Provenance: Ex-Gitbud & Naumann, Pecunem 20 (3 Aug 2014), 153.
Notes: Uncommon type (especially so with nearly complete legend), relatively few dies. Not counting duplicates, there are fewer than 30 in ACSearch.
The portrait of Artemis 3/4 facing on the obverse is clearly influenced by the coinage of another Thessalian city, Larissa, in turn influenced by Kimon’s facing Arethusa Tetradrachms of Syracuse. 
Poseidon appears in full (i.e., on the reverse) on few Greek types, and appears seated on only a handful. The Poseidon seated left, holding dolphin and trident, is clearly in the tradition of Greek coinage depicting Zeus seated left, holding eagle and staff, in turn influenced by the seated Ba’al Staters of Tarsos.

From BCD Thessaly 11341 (Nomos 4) [which is the best known example], cataloged by A. S. Walker: "These coins must have circulated for a considerable time, since almost all known examples are considerably worn. Their low weight, which is not solely due to wear, seems to be similar to the reduced Aeginetic standard of the widespread issues of the Achaean League, which were struck in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. While this reduced standard started in the late 3rd century, the possibility that the Skotussan issues were struck later may be supported by the style of some apparently contemporary bronze coins from the same mint..."

(Not included here, ASW's comment above is followed by one of the rejoinders from BCD for which the catalog became an instant classic.)

Edited by Curtis JJ
  • Like 15
  • Laugh 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


23 minutes ago, ominus1 said:

someone holding a fish

Classic type! Thank you for posting your Agrippa / Neptune so I don't have to post one of mine (they're not pretty)! (I may yet anyway if I like the way the photo turns out.) I always had these down as Caligula issues too, but recently I think I've been seeing more people referring to them as Augustus. Does anyone know why, what changed, or was it always that way?


One more Neptune-predecessor-Poseidon-relevant coin...

Meet Taras, son of Poseidon.

After he wrecked his ship in the Sea, his father was kind enough to send Flipper the friendly dolphin to give him a lift. Flipper kindly drove him all the way the Tarentum, probably figuring that was the best place to drop him, since it was named after Taras.

Although the Tarentine people tried to develop a successful dolphin breeding and racing program, after centuries of failure they gave up and switched to horses. They discovered a deep and abiding love for "dolphins of the field" (as I'm quite certain they called them), so much so that they decided to put them on the front of their coins, opposite the "horses of the sea," always ferrying their namesake. Mine has the prow as a symbol on the reverse, not sure if it's what remains of the boat that Taras crashed:



Edit: Actually, now that I think about it.... Taras is also being crowned by Nike (that does happen on some issues, but not always). I wonder if this is celebrating some kind of victory at sea? This was some time post-272, when Tarentum had been forced into an alliance with Rome.

Edited by Curtis JJ
  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tetradrachm of Antigonos II Gonatas Mint of Amphipolis? 246/5-229 BC Obv, Head of Poseidon wreathed in sea weed. Rv. Apollo seated left on prow holding bow in his outstretched right hand.   Panagopoulou Period 3 Group 45/225 HGC 1051 16.95 grms 31 mm Phot by W. HansenGonatos4.jpg.f05349ee14cf447bd090f99967b2499f.jpgThis coin was thought to have been minted during the reign of Doson, however as a result of Panagopoulou's work it is now considered to be from the reign of Gonatas. It is noteworthy how the die cutters were very careful in deploying an adjunct symbols, the wreath of sea-weed so that the viewer would be certain that it was Poseidon that was being honored and not some other mature male god such as Zeus. I believe this may be one of the first times this image of this god was used on a coin minted by the Kings of Macedon. As such both the obverse and reverse of this coin is a remarkable testament to the skill of the ancient die engravers.

  • Like 15
  • Mind blown 1
  • Heart Eyes 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, kapphnwn said:

thought to have been minted during the reign of Doson, however as a result of Panagopoulou's work it is now considered to be from the reign of Gonatas

Interesting. Yes, at least for commercial descriptions, it looks like recent auction listings are now roughly split between Antigonos II Gonatas and Antigonos III Doson, whereas 20 years ago they were all Doson. Seems like Gonatas was a very uncommon attribution before ~2010-2012, slowly building steam until 2018, where there appears to be tipping point: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?term=antigonos+tetradrachm+poseidon&category=1&order=1

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

I have only two ancient coins depicting Neptune, once on the obverse and once on the reverse:

L. Lucretius Trio:


Agrippa (issued by Caligula, which is where I place this coin in my chronological catalog):


I also have a Mudie medal depicting Neptune:

Mudie 39, Admiral Lord Exmouth / Bombardment of Algiers by British Fleet, issued 1820 (commemorating the British attack on Barbary in 1816 to free European prisoners). The reverse shows Neptune (= the British as rulers of the sea) subduing a sea monster -- namely a hippocamp (= Barbary) -- with his trident.

Mudie 39 (combined) Bombardment of Algiers by British Fleet, 08. 1816.jpg

Edited by DonnaML
  • Like 15
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

Neptune courtesy of Septimius Severus who struck this type to bring good fortune to his sea voyage to Britannia. He never returned to the mainland and died at Eburacum (York) in 211, whilst on his deathbed he issued his famous advice to Geta and Caracalla:


"Enrich the soldiers, ignore all others!"


Septimius Severus, A.R. Denarius, Rome mint, 210 C.E.

3.3 grams, 19.1 mm

Obverse: Laureate head right, SEVERVS PIVS AVG


Neptune standing left, nude but for cloak over left shoulder and right arm, right foot on rock, right arm resting on right knee, trident vertical behind in left hand.





  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neptune on one side in his biga of hippocamps, wifey Amphitrite on the other.


AR Denarius.
3.69g, 18mm. Rome, 72 BC. Crawford 399/1b.  
O: Bust of Amphitrite or Venus right, seen from behind; octopus behind and E before.
R: Neptune in biga of sea-horses, brandishing trident, [E?] above, Q. CREPER. M. F. ROCVS in two lines below.
Ex Andrew McCabe Collection



MACEDON, the Macedonians. Time of Philip VI Andriskos (?)
AE Serrate. 10.0g, 25mm.
MACEDON, Amphipolis mint, probably under Philip VI Andriskos, circa 149-148 BC. SNG Cop 1294; HGC 3.1, 331 (S).
O: Diademed head of Poseidon right, trident over shoulder.
R: MAKE-ΔONΩN, Club; monograms below left and right; all within oak wreath.

  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Curtis JJ said:

I always had these down as Caligula issues too, but recently I think I've been seeing more people referring to them as Augustus. Does anyone know why, what changed, or was it always that way?

News to me!  Looking on acsearch, it seems the major dealers/auction houses are still attributing them to Caligula.  I also found this mule or imitation which combines a DIVVS AVGVSTVS obverse with the Neptune reverse, obviously not produced while Augustus was alive; and this oddity which combines the reverse with an obverse of Nero!

This prompted me to look into it a bit further, and I found that the original RIC (Mattingly and Sydenham) attributed them to Tiberius.  That seems to be the main dispute: Tiberius, or Caligula? @Roman Collector introduces the question here, and there's a long and rather confusing article on it at Forum too.  Now I don't know what to think!


  • Like 10
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Benefactor

Fun post, @Roman Collector — and lots of great coins from the contributors to the thread. Poseidon has always been my favorite of the classical Greek deities.


This coin features a figure on the reverse that is named as Zeus by some dealers and Poseidon by others. Whenever I posted this coin, I labeled the figure as Zeus, until a long time member of the forums pointed out to me that if the figure is holding a trident then the figure must be Poseidon.



Edited by LONGINUS
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...