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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     776884
Type:     Roman Provincial
Region:     THRACE
City:     Anchialus
Issuer:     Commodus
Date Ruled:     AD 177-192
Metal:     Bronze
Denomination:     AE 25
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     AD 177-192
Diameter:     25 mm
Weight:     10.42 g
Die Axis:     7 h
Obverse Legend:     AV K Λ AV KOMOΔOC
Obverse Description:     Bare-headed and draped bust right
Reverse Legend:     AΓXIAΛEΩN
Reverse Description:     Orpheus seated right on rocks, playing lyre
Primary Reference:     AMNG II 443 var. (obv. legend)
Reference2:     SNG Cop -
Reference3:     Varbanov 580 corr. (obv. legend)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     VF, olive and brown patina.
Notes:     Based on the presence of the lyre that the figure on the reverse holds, both MÜnzer and Varbanov have identified him as Apollo. It is more probable that the figure is that of Orpheus. A native of Thrace, Orpheus was renowned for his music and augural abilities. When his wife, Eurydice, was struck down by a serpent, Orpheus travelled to Hades to win her release. When his attempt ultimately proved unsuccessful, since he forget the gods’ command not to look on his wife’s shade until they had reached the upper world, Orpheus returned to Thrace. According to Ovid (Metamorphoses XI), it was there that he was attacked by a band of Maenads and torn to pieces. Eventually recovered, the burial places of these pieces soon became shrines. From the devotion to Orpheus a cult with mysteries developed. Practitioners followed the Orphikos bios, or way of life, which included celibacy and vegentarianism.