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Ancient Greek and Roman coins from Asia Minor

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Coin ID #12060

Mytilene (BC 454-427) EL Hekte - B46

ca 478-455 BC. EL Hekte (2.55g). Female head right, wearing sakkos / Two herms (?) facing, one male, one female, within linear border; all within shallow incuse square. The male herm with an exaggerated erect phallus. Good VF. Carr coll.

Six examples known to Bodenstedt. This appears to be only the second example offered at electronic auction or sale. The dies for this coin are unrecorded in Bodenstedt, but the same as the other example offered at electronic auction (Roma Numismatics 7 (3/2014), lot 611).

File information
City/Mint name:Mytilene EL
Keywords:electrum / classical
References:Bodenstedt 46
Valuation:Kuenker Spring Auc. 2015 (3/2015), lot 7174 [EUR 700 ($743) + comm.]
Photo courtesy of:Kuenker -
Filesize:110 KiB
Date added:Mar 15, 2015
Dimensions:807 x 397 pixels
Displayed:398 times
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Adrian   [Mar 18, 2015 at 01:06 PM]
Bodenstedt suggests this emission was in 442 BC. The depiction of an exaggerated (oversized) erect phallus on the reverse relates to Priapus a Greek god of fertility and male virility, the usual symbol for which was an exaggerated phallus. Priapus, the son of either Dionysus or Hermes and Aphrodite, joined Pan and the satyrs as a spirit of fertility. That said, somewhat ironically, legend has it that, while still in the womb of Aphrodite, he was cursed with impotence by Hera. Priapus was also a patron god for merchant sailors as a protector and navigational aide. A hecte of Mytilene with a portrait of Priapus is noted by Bodenstedt as a slightly earlier emission - B 43 (see Coin ID 9710). A portrait of Priapus is also to be seen on silver tetradrachms of Lampsacus where this god was worshipped (see Coin ID 832). Depictions of Priapus are also on issues of Greek and Roman bronze coins [see Coin ID 4542 & 8192; also CNG 76, Lot 1061 (9/2007); RPC1 2274 & 2276].

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