Thursday, 05.08.2021
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Numismatic Puzzle: Roman Denarius

Today you will deal with a Roman denarius and put the head of Roma together. The personification of the Roman people on this 141 BC silver coin has a proud glare, but the special feature of this specimen is something completely different.

Numismatic Puzzle: Caesar as an Elephant

Today you will try your hand at a special denarius of Caesar. In 49 BC, in the midst of the civil war, the general chose a dramatic image: an elephant that tramples a snake. What do you think? Who is who in this political message?

Numismatic Puzzle: Racing Didrachm

This time you will have a go at a Roman didrachm from about 220 BC. You will assemble a racing quadriga. The depiction is the reason why these coins are called quadrigati. Do you recognize who is driving the carriage?

Numismatic Puzzle: Snake Basket

Today you can try your hand at a cistophorus. The silver coin was named after its motif – a basket with a snake. This “cista mystica” was part of the Bacchus cult and is depicted on the early version of this denomination from Asia Minor.

Numismatic Puzzle: Greek Yin and Yang

This time, you will try your hand at a drachm from Istros on the Black Sea coast. The issue does not specify what the motif in the style of a Chinese yin and yang symbol depicts: the brothers Castor und Pollux, the trade up and down the river? Anyway: a fascinating beauty!

Numismatic Puzzle: Poseidonia

Today, we have a coin featuring a Greek god, who was believed to protect the cities of Southern Italy from earthquakes. It was a useful thing to have him on your side: after all, he caused the earthquakes himself. To see what he used to do this, take a look at the coin.

Numismatic Puzzle: Zancle

In ancient times, Messina’s wealth stemmed from its protected harbour. It was formed by a crescent-shaped headland, which is the reason for its Greek name: Zancle, i.e. “scythe”. You can find the scythe on Messina’s coins too. Put it together and have a close look!

Numismatic Puzzle: Metapontum

Today’s coin from Metapontum in southern Italy is a masterpiece of incuse minting. The ear was the trademark of the Greek settlement on the Gulf of Taranto.

Numismatic Puzzle: Sybarite Bull

Incuse coinage was characteristic for the Greek colonies in southern Italy. Thus, the depiction on the obverse of coins of the city of Sybaris was always elevated, while the reverse featured the negative, deepened motif. The image is bursting with power: a mighty bull!

Numismatic Puzzle: Syracuse

This tetradrachm from Syracuse (around 500 BC) features an important innovation: an actual depiction on the reverse! In the incuse square you can see the head of Arethusa, which was later to occupy the entire reverse.