An extremely rare medallion of Antinoüs
Lot 186
BITHYNIA. Claudiopolis (as Bithynium). Antinoüs, died 130. Medallion (Orichalcum, 38 mm, 43.55 g, 12 h). Η ΠΑΤΡΙϹ ΑΝΤΙΝΟΟΝ ΘЄΟΝ Bare-headed and draped bust of Antinoüs to right, seen from behind. Rev. BEIΘYNIEΩN AΔPIANΩN Antinoüs, as Hermes Nomios, walking to left, head turned back to right and wearing chlamys, short chiton and winged boots, extending his right hand towards reed (?) before him and holding pedum in his left; behind him, forepart of an ox grazing to left. Blum p. 43, 7. RPC III 1112. Von Mosch, Bithynion-Klaudiopolis, 3-4 (obverse die A). Extremely rare. Well struck and with an exceptionally fine style portrait. Light deposits and cleaning scratches, and with remnants of a mount on the edge, otherwise, very fine.

Ex Leu 11, 14 May 2022, 191 and previously from a European collection, formed before 2005.

Born in circa 110-112, Hadrian's favorite Antinoüs met the emperor in the early 120s and accompanied him on his journey through Greece, Asia and Egypt in 128-130. His early death in the Nile in October 130 is surrounded by legends. Although possibly an accident, it is rumored that Antinoüs committed sacrificial suicide, believing that this would help prolong the life of his patron, or that he was assassinated by Hadrian's jealous wife Sabina. The emperor, grieving over the loss of his beloved companion, ordered the founding of the eponymous city Antinoopolis at the site of his death and had him deified, rendering him a hero with his own priesthood.

The popularity of this cult, which spread quickly through the Greek East, is not only attested by many statues - more than a hundred have survived - and honorary games, but also by a substantial number of poleis striking coins in Antinoüs' name. This coinage is of great interest, as it offers evidence of local forms of worship of the new hero. In Kios, Antinoüs' was equated with Pan (ΠANI ANTINOΩ), in Corinth with Hermes and Bellerophon, Ancyra and Nicopolis praise him as the deified Antinoüs (ANTINOOΣ ΘΕOΣ or ANTINOON ΘΕON) and many cities equated him with Dionysos.

In the city of Bithynium Claudiopolis, Antinoüs' medallions carry the legend 'ANTINOON ΘΕON H ΠATPIC', translating as 'the native town honors the deified Antinoüs'. This unusually specific legend marks Bithynium Claudiopolis as the birthplace of the hero, a fact that undoubtedly ensured imperial attention for the otherwise unremarkable small polis. The wonderful coinage in the name of Claudiopolis' famous son was clearly organized around this imperial support, as the style of von Mosch's obverse dies A and B in particular is exceptionally fine and certainly originated from Hadrian's court. Die C, on the other hand, is less refined and likely represents a local adaptation of the imperial prototypes.
7500 CHF
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6000 CHF
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20000 CHF
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