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Isis Pharia, Goddess of Mariners

506190.

EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (35mm, 28.88 g, 12h). Dated RY 10 (AD 146/7). ΑVT K T AIΛ AΔP ANTωNЄINOC CЄB ЄVCB, laureate head right / Isis Pharia sailing right, holding a sistrum and billowing sail; L ΔЄK-ATOV (date) around. Köln 1550; Dattari (Savio) 2668; K&G 35.359; Emmett 1590.12 (R5). Good VF, dark brown and green patina. Extremely rare type for this regnal year.


The goddess Isis had many aspects and epithets in Egypt, among them Isis Pharia, goddess of mariners, so named for the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria, called the Pharos after the island on which it was built by Ptolemy II Philadelphos (280-247 BC). The lighthouse stood more than 100 meters (330 feet) tall and was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Isis Pharia is always depicted holding a billowing sail, sometimes by herself (as here), sometimes before or next to the Pharos. The remains of an immense statue of Isis Pharia in red granite have been discovered in the bay of Alexandria, part of a temple complex that stood near the base of the Pharos.