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Krannon's Famous Rain-Making Device

 
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 Posted 10/30/2020  12:22 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I didn't find a similar coin on the forum, so thought this might be of interest to some.

Located in Thessaly, a region of fertile plains best known for its magnificent horses, cattle, agriculture, and sports such as bull-wrestling, the city of Krannon (Cranon) prospered primarily from sheep and cattle rearing. It was an important city in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, and was later to be absorbed by Larissa.

At one time Krannon was a walled and fortified city, but virtually nothing is known about the urban centre and the acropolis.

As one of the eight principal cities, Krannon was issuing silver coins as far back as the 5th century BC, and bronze coins in the 4th century BC. Coins have been recorded with the legend ΚΡΑ or ΚΡΑΝ or ΚΡΑΝΟ or KPANNO.

According to Strabo, Krannon was sited southwest of Larissa, and at the distance of 100 stadia from Gyrton. Present-day remains are limited to the foundations of the upper city wall on a height called Paleokastro, and a number of grave mounds and built tombs.

Krannon was also famous for a rain-making device that was depicted on some of its coins, consisting of a sacred hydria (water jar) that was pulled about in a wheeled cart while prayers were made to Apollo. Legend has it, that if a crow landed on one of the wheels it was a sign that rain would follow.

From George MacDonald's "Coin types: their origin and development":
"Antigonus of Carystus in his Collection of Marvels has the following passage: "They say that in Crannon in Thessaly there are only two crows; that is the reason why on the honorific decrees which, according to universal custom, have inscribed upon them the arms (parasaemon) of the city, there are figured two crows on a bronze car." The bronze car, he subsequently explains, is a sort of fetish which is kept in a temple and which in times of drought is shaken to the accompaniment of prayers for rain. On some of the bronze coins of Crannon we see the parasaemon exactly as Antigonus describes it."

Thessaly, Krannon. 400-344 BC.
Obverse: Horseman in chlamys and petasus galloping right. Reverse: Hydria on wheels. Reverse Inscription: K-ΡA/NNO. Bronze. Diameter: 17 mm. Weight: 4.4 gr.
Reference: BMC 5
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 Posted 10/30/2020  1:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting write-up, Jim. I've seen the reverse iconography a number of times, but didn't know the backstory. Thanks for the info!
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 Posted 10/30/2020  5:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That's a cool coin Jim..
I've never come across this reverse type before so thanks for the write up, found it really interesting..
It got me searching around and found that there is at least one coin type, with an obverse Zeus portrait, that shows the 'only two crows of Krannon' seated on the wheels...
Great story!......
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 Posted 10/30/2020  6:51 pm  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Super coin and very interesting write up.
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 Posted 10/30/2020  7:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting write-up. Thanks for the effort.
Info not in any of my books on Greek coinage.
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I have a mobile rain making machine.
Aladdin's magic car.
Polish it, and it rains!
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 Posted 10/30/2020  8:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Spence to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Rained all day today. I'd say that wheeled cart works pretty good!
"If you climb a good tree, you get a push."
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"The danger we all now face is distinguishing between what is authentic and what is performed."
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 Posted 10/31/2020  10:42 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the replies everyone.

Jim
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 Posted 11/01/2020  11:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SCmoneta to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm a bit late to the party but what a fascinating write up! Thank you for that Jim
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 Posted 11/01/2020  6:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Glad you found it interesting @SCmoneta.
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