MYSIA, Apollonia ad Rhyndacum. Marcus Aurelius.
|Sale: CNG 72, Lot: 1155. Estimate $2500.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 14 June 2006.
Sold For $4400. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
AD 161-180. Æ Medallion (36mm, 34.12 g, 8h). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind / Apollo standing facing, pointing to head and being crowned by Artemis standing left; to left of Apollo, filleted and serpent-entwined tripod. SNG France 99 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen -; SNG von Aulock -. Good VF, black-green patina, minor roughness. Very rare.
Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 21 (17 May 2001), lot 477.
What the reverse of this issue commemorates is rather perplexing. One obvious possibility is the Pythian Games, held during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in AD 162, 166, 174, and 178. The evidence for such a conclusion is largely circumstantial. The serpent Python entwined about the Delphic tripod makes it quite clear that this is the Pythian Apollo; his being crowned would support an association with the Games. However, the god is being crowned by his twin sister Artemis, who has no known association with the games. Another possibility is that this reverse refers to some special “victory” of the city. Apollo would be an appropriate allusion to his namesake city. The Artemis here, however, is not the later Olympian version of the goddess, but the much older, Anatolian mother-goddess, whose cult site at Ephesus, the Artemision, went back to the late Bronze Age. Therefore, rather than the god’s more well-known sister, the reverse may depict the chief-goddess of western Asia Minor recognizing one of her regional centers represented here by Apollo.