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Silver Drachm From Istros - New Acquisition, Classical Coin, Old Questions

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 5 / Views: 261Next Topic  
Valued Member
Germany
74 Posts
 Posted 08/12/2020  11:52 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add DirtyHarry to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Some time ago I read on this forum an interesting document (Uploaded by DVCollector way back on 2012) about the classical silver coinage of Istros and a slightly radical interpretation of its twin-heads symbolism, where the authors (Curiously, from the Institute of astronomy at Cambridge and not from some fancy numismatic-related society) propose that they may represent a nearly full solar eclipse seen on Istros in 434 BC.

Since so many years passed, I wonder if any new or more accurate information about these enigmatic little coins has come to light. I have read lots of interpretations about their obverse, reverse, their minting process and their minting years that I must admit I do not know what to write down on my catalog about my latest acquisition :)

I also take the opportunity to show you my humble little coin and thank you all for your much appreciated insight about the subjet.

Thanks a lot and stay healthy!


Bedrock of the Community
United States
35491 Posts
 Posted 08/13/2020  04:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add John1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Looks like an excellent example.
John1
( I'm no pro, it's just my humble opinion )
Searched 5+ Million Cents Since 1971
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Spain
1968 Posts
 Posted 08/13/2020  05:29 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
...Sweet coin! and lovely toning.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1032 Posts
 Posted 08/14/2020  03:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Kushanshah to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I can't comment on the obverse but the reverse is familiar to many of us who live near the water.
Valued Member
Germany
74 Posts
 Posted 08/17/2020  8:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add DirtyHarry to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Beautiful picture Kushanshah!

In the case of these classical silver coins from Istros, a modern interpretation of the reverse which I am aware of, might sound perhaps less controversial than the multiple interpretations I read for the twin-face obverse.

The coin reverse depicts an eagle above a dolphin.
On many references, it is claimed that the eagle is actually attacking the dolphin - gripping it with its talons - a view which I donīt support nor reject.

Well, a giant eagle gripping and lifting a dolphin in the air would be quite an astonishing sight to behold in real life but this comes along with an interpretation:

Dolphins were common in the Black sea (And although endangered by man, they still are today).
Since they were a frequently seen symbol in the Black sea region, they are believed to have had some special meaning to the area.
The eagle, on the other hand, was closely associated to Zeus (Aetos Dios), being both his attribute and personification, and a frequently seen symbol on greek coinage.
This scene, thus, is thought to be a representation of the greek control over the Black sea region, possibly symbolizing a decisive military victory.

Whether this is truth or pure speculation, goes beyond my limited knowledge.

What it is certain indeed, is that this same depiction has also been used on other Black sea coins, such as the beautiful coinage of Sinope in Paphlagonia:



or Olbia in Scythia:

Edited by DirtyHarry
08/17/2020 10:43 pm
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United States
1032 Posts
 Posted 08/17/2020  10:02 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Kushanshah to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Maybe I'm too mundane but I have always interpreted the reverse as a realistic depiction of a seahawk with it's dinner, a scene familiar to coastal and island folk. Note the attitude of the hawk's head on the coin and in the photo. I've always taken "dolphin" to mean the dolphinfish rather than the mammal. I'm partial to this view because a pair of seahawks roost atop a high antenna mast just outside my front door. I'm open to other interpretations, however.
Edited by Kushanshah
08/18/2020 12:10 am
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