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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
10700088

Goddess of a Thousand Names

Triton XXI, Lot: 88. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ Drachm (35mm, 25.56 g, 12h). Dated RY 19 (AD 134/135). AVT KAIC TPAIAN A∆PIANOC CЄB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Isis enthroned right, crowned with horns and disk, suckling the infant Harpokrates, who is crowned with skhent and holding club; all within distyle temple, pediment decorated with horns and disk; L ЄNN ЄAKΔ (date) around. Köln 1189; Dattari (Savio) 1955 (this coin); K&G 32.676; RPC III 6040/10 (this coin); Emmett 998.19; Staffieri, Alexandria In Nummis 79 (this coin). EF, dark brown patina with touches of green and red. Very rare.


From the Giovanni Maria Staffieri Collection. Ex Gilbert Steinberg Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica/Spink Taisei Numismatics, Zürich, 16 November 1994), lot 835; Giovanni Dattari Collection, no. 1955.

Following Alexander’s conquest of Egypt, the cult of Isis spread across the Mediterranean, with its popularity reaching its zenith in the Roman period, when the “goddess of a thousand names” became one of the Mediterranean’s principal deities. It is generally recognized that the iconography of Isis nursing Harpokrates influenced Christian representations of the Madonna and Child, particularly the Virgo lactans type popular in Medieval Europe.