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Fun For History Buffs: "When This Coin Was Made..."

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 Posted 11/06/2017  3:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Cyzicus, Mysia (Turkey)
Silver Obol (0.75g, 7x8mm)
600-525 BC
Roaring lion in incuse square
Forepart of boar

When this coin was made:
- Copper was not yet used to coin money in Europe. Everyday transactions were made using tiny silver coins, all the way down to 4mm and less than 0.1g.
- Pockets had not been invented. The primary method of transporting these coins was to place them under your tongue. Not surprisingly, a lot were swallowed. Hence why they are often found individually by the sides of ancient roads, and usually darkly toned
- Lions were one of the primary apex predators across the entire Mediterranean and into central Europe. The European lion was extinct by about the middle of the Roman period.
- The Greco-Persian wars had not yet happened, and the Achaemenid empire went largely unopposed. Several provinces revolved in about 500 BC, prompting the Persians to move against Greek culture as a threat to their dominance.
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Edited by Finn235
11/06/2017 4:54 pm
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 Posted 11/06/2017  6:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My grandmother used to tell us kids "Don't put money in your mouth, you never know where it's been!"
This puts a whole new light on that warning.
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 Posted 11/07/2017  10:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CoinCollector2012 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply





When this coin was made, the Hungarian Revolution posed a significant threat to the Soviet Union. The revolution lasted from October 23, until November 10. Originally started as a demonstration, the protest escalated when a group of protesters were arrested while trying to broadcast their demands from a radio station. When the rest of the protesters called for their release, the Hungarian state police fired on the crowd. As word of the incident spread, rebellions erupted all over Hungary. Demonstrators organized into militias, and they began to imprison or execute Communist party members and known Soviet sympathizers. Many called for disbanding the AVH (Hungarian State Police) and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact.
As the conflict continued, a large Soviet force geared up to invade Hungary. On November 4, the Soviets retook Budapest, and resistance continued until November 10th. Mass arrests were commonplace in the months following, as the Soviets attempted to find those responsible. In total, about 700 Soviet troops and 2,500 Hungarians died, while another 200,000 Hungarians fled the country as refugees.
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Edited by CoinCollector2012
11/07/2017 10:51 am
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 Posted 12/26/2017  3:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


At the beginning of 211, Rome was ruled by Septimius Severus, one of her last capable rulers. On campaign in Britain against marauding Caledonians (Scots), his health was poor, and he fell ill and died on February 4. He was to be succeeded by his two sons, Caracalla and Geta. Outwardly a happy family, the two young men loathed each other. Severus' last piece of advice for his sons was to get along with each other, pay the armies well for their loyalty, and disregard all others.

Throughout 211 the brothers attempted to get along and honor their father's wish, but their differences were apparently irreconcilable. They ended up dividing the imperial palace in two, the intersections guarded and each brother forbidden from enteeing the other half. Despite pleas from their mother, the brothers resolved at last to divide the empire in two. Their mother Julia was able to stop these plans, and on Saturnalia (Roman Christmas, observed Dec. 23) Caracalla and Geta tried to poison each other.

On December 26, Julia begged the brothers to meet in her home for a peace meeting. Caracalla somehow managed to sneak a dagger in his cloak, and stabbed Geta to death in front of their mother.



Following his brother's death, the official press release was that Geta had been the aggressor, and Caracalla acted in self defense. Geta's name and memory was condemned, and he was (almost) totally erased from history. It became a capital offense to even mention him, leading to the death of thousands, from common citizens to senators and even the last surviving child of Marcus Aurelius. Of the few surviving artefacts of this period, perhaps the most famous is the Severan Tondo, a painting dating to about the middle or end of Severus' reign:



After 211, Caracalla went on to be an infamously ruthless and bloodthirsty tyrant, and was finally deposed in 217 at the machinations of his chief of bodyguards, Macrinus.

About the coins: the left is Caracalla (ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM), whose real name was Antoninus Pius--Caracalla is the name of a Germanic cloak that the emperor was fond of. Historians use that name to avoid confusion with the emperor who had ruled nearly a century prior. This coin actually dates to after 211 (I think about 215) but shows the emperor's trademark "military scowl" which was his favorite facial expression.

The coin on the right is Geta, these bearded portraits with the title P SEPT GETA PIVS AVG BRIT being attributed to his brief co-rule during 211. They were extraordinarily common in their day, but the only ones to survive the melting pot were those buried before Geta's death.
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 Posted 12/26/2017  3:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting read, Finn! And timely as well. Thank you.
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 Posted 12/27/2017  09:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good to see this one revived with a great coin and story.
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 Posted 02/22/2018  09:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another topic prompted me to bump this one since it has been a couple of months.
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 Posted 02/23/2018  01:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Funny enough, I had already been working on this one!

The Vandals were one of several Germanic tribes, originally from NE Europe, who were pushed west by the encroaching Huns during the third and fourth centuries. They came to settle in Roman Hispania, which they largely managed to wrestle from Roman control by the 430s. In 429, the Vandal king Genseric sensed the weakness of the waning Empire, and successfully invaded thr Roman provinces of North Africa, taking the ancient city of Carthage in 439. Relations with Rome understandibly soured, culminating in 455 when, egged om by the hollow threats and annulment of the betrothal between the Vandal prince Huneric and Roman princess Eudocia, Genseric laid seige and completely sacked Rome.



This certainly soured foreign relations, but it sent the message that the Vandals were not a force to be trifled with. This was further reinforced by the blundered attempt by the Byzantine Empire to conquer the kingdom in 468--The general Basiliscus, in command of over 1,000 ships and 50,000 troops, allowed the Vandals to break his formation and lost over 10,000 troops in the retreat. Much like the Romans had been in centuries past, the entire world now feared to take on the skilled and fearsome Vandal army.

The marriage between Eudocia and Huneric was finalized, and they had a son named Hilderic. Raised in the Catholic faith and the biological grandchild of Valentinian III, Hilderic enjoyed excellent relations with the Byzantine empire, and was a close friend of emperor Justinian upon his ascent to the throne in 523 at the age of about 60. Hilderic's faith was a cause of great concern among the Vandal nobility, who were all Arians and had traditionally persecuted Catholics.

(Aside: Arianism is an extinct branch of Christianity that holds Jesus to be divine, but a separate person from God, who did not exist prior to the Annunciation, and was therefore less worthy of praise. Catholics and Arians both deemed the other's faith to be heresy. Arianism became extinct in the middle ages, and the closest parallels today would be Unitarianism or Jehova's Witnesses.)

Hilderic's bronze coinage was mostly a throwback to the "Cross in Wreath" design used by his great-grandfather, Theodosius II. The coins originally bore a legend HILD REX, but they can be attributed based on the style of the drapery, and the thicker cross and wreath:



Hilderic was deposed and imprisoned by his cousin Gelimer in 530, an act seen as unacceptable by Justinian. Still wary of the idea of attacking the Vandals head on, Justinian decided to utilize tactic to invade the Vandal kingdom and secure the throne for his friend. Entrusting his general Belisaurius with his fleet, they prepared for attack in 533. Rather than risk a head-on campaign for a Phyrric victory, Belisaurius sent agents to the opposite side of the Vandal kingdom to incite rebellions. Taking the bait, Gelimer sent nearly his entire army to deal with the problem, whereupon Belisaurius landed his army in Africa. He met with Gelimer's forces outside of Carthage, and were nearly defeated when Gelimer's brother fell in battle, and the Vandal king left his army to flee in grief. Employing strict discipline among his men, they donned the mask of saviors and liberators, and were welcomed into Carthage.

Here is an anonymous Vandal nummus from Carthage, sometimes attributed to the time of Hilderic or Gelimer

Vandal-style bust right
Six-pointed star within double wreath


Upon entering Carthage, the Byzantines learned that Hilderic had just been slain on orders of Gelimer to prevent his possible return to the throne. Gelimer managed to rally with his army on their return from dealing with the rebellion, and met with Belisarius outside of Carthage. The Vandal army was defeated, and Gelimer fled to a stronghold where he held out for three months until his starving subjects forced his surrender. Gelimer was brought to Constantinople for the triumph of Belisarius, but was then allowed to retire to his estates where he lived to an advanced age.

Although not quite a complete set, the lot held an impressive variety of Carthage-mint nummi of Justinian.

1.
Diademed and draped bust right, garbled legend IV(S)IT...
Chi-Rho within double wreath
SB 283b
Scarce


2.
Diademed and draped bust right, legend ... STANI...
VOT XIII within double wreath, minted 539/540
SB 278
Scarce
I believe this is the very last VOT type coin, although it has been remarked that the Byzantines may have been aware of the type, but oblivious to its true meaning. VOT XIII and XIIII are known.


3.
Crowned bust facing, holding cross on globe, no legend
CN within wreath (supposedly standing for Carthage Nummus)
SB 283C
Rare


Following their 534 victory, the Byzantine Empire would hold the provinces of North Africa for over 150 years until the conquests of the Umayyad Caliphate.
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 Posted 02/23/2018  01:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
America's first Olympics.

As we observe the Olympics in Korea, I found it entertaining to note some differences between today's events and those in 1904.
Today a great deal of coverage is given to the political innuendos and expectations of yet another wardrobe malfunction.
But in 1904 things were a little different. This was the first time the United States would host the Olympics.

For starters the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to the city of Chicago. Unfortunately for them, Saint Louis had already planned a Worlds Fair and wanted to host the Olympic Games as well. To force Chicago to give up their claim as hosts for the games, Saint Louis began planning other athletic competitions. They were so successful that Chicago relented and the games were held in Saint Louis.

While this was supposed to be an international affair, arduous travel and expense limited competition to only a dozen other countries. By sheer proximity one should not be surprised to find that of the 630 total athletes, 523 were American. Keep that in mind when you review statistics on which country won the most medals.

Out of the nearly 100 sports at the 1904 Olympics, archery was the only event in which women were allowed to compete.
(I'm sure this could be an enlightening discussion all by its self, but let's not go there.)

Worthy of note was the American gymnast George Eyser, who won six medals even though his left leg was made of wood.
He's the guy with long pants.



Also of curiosity was the Plunge for Distance. To the best of my understanding, it was a water version of the long jump. From a solid 18" platform, the "athletes" dove headfirst into the water, and without further propulsion, glided through the water for 1 minute, hoping to attain great distance. William Dickey of the USA won the gold medal with a distance of 62 feet 6 inches. This was the first and last time this event was included in the Olympics as it was quickly realized that the contest involved no real athletic ability, and the fattest entrant usually won due to the physics of buoyancy and inertia.



Then there was the Anthropology Days events. Not officially part of the Olympics, but featured in the World's Fair games. Entrants had to be from one of the indigenous primitive tribes scattered around the world. Pygmies, Native Americans and Aborigines were but a few of the represented competitors. Rules were not explained, objectives were misunderstood and practice nonexistent. They did not do well, (understandably) and some might assert, according to plan.



However the worst debacle may have been the Marathon.
Thirty two entrants were to run down a dusty road in 90 degree weather. Over half dropped out due to exhaustion.
Fred Lorz was in fourth at the 9 mile mark when he developed severe cramps and was forced out of the race. Fred thought it best to hitch a ride with a passing auto headed back to the stadium. But after several miles the vehicle unexpectedly stopped working. Filled with new energy, Fred decided to resume running for the last few miles, and curiously finished first. Caught up in the excitement, Fred appeared to be ready to accept the gold medal until someone pointed out that he had been assisted by the long car ride. Lorz stuck to his story that it was all just a joke, but was still given a lifetime ban from athletics by the Amateur Athletics Union. (To Lorz's defense, he would claim "temporary insanity," have the ban lifted, and go on to win the Boston Marathon in 1905.)



Cuban runner Felix Carbajal, standing 5 feet tall and running in street clothes and shoes, suffered great stomach cramps because he stopped to snack on some rotten apples from an orchard along the way.
Another runner Len Tau from South Africa was disqualified when he left the designated course. It was not with shame however, as he was being chased by a pack of wild dogs.



The winner, if there is one in such a catastrophe, was Thomas Hicks.
He was in such pain for the last 10 miles, he was fed eggs to help with the pain. Insufficient in effectiveness, he was given strychnine. Failing to produce the desired effect of pain reduction, he was then given shots of brandy.
While this may have provided some relief, it required that he be nearly carried through the remainder of the ordeal by his faithful assistants.
Time: 3 hours, 28 minutes and 53 seconds.



The real winners are here at CCF.



Edited by Chute72
02/23/2018 04:40 am
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 Posted 02/23/2018  07:39 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


Thanks, Chute. Great read and beautiful Morgan.

If the Olympics were still like that I would probably enjoy them more.
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 Posted 02/23/2018  08:04 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add scopru to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great thread. Really interesting histories given. Love the disqualification due to being chased by wild dogs.

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