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Coin Detail
Click here to see enlarged image.
ID:     842226
Type:     Roman Provincial
Region:     THRACE
City:     Anchialus
Issuer:     Gordian III
Date Ruled:     AD 238-244
Metal:     Bronze
Denomination:     Medallion
Struck / Cast:     struck
Date Struck:     AD 238-244
Diameter:     34 mm
Weight:     29.04 g
Die Axis:     2 h
Obverse Legend:     AVT K · M · ANT ΓOPΔIANOC · AVΓ
Obverse Description:     Laureate, draped, and cuiassed but right
Reverse Legend:     O-VΛΠIAN-(ΩN) AΓXIAΛEΩ-N
Reverse Description:     Cybele seated left on throne, holding patera, with left elbow resting on tympanum; under thone, lion seated left; to left, Attis standing facing, head right, holding pedum and palm
Primary Reference:     AMNG II 623
Reference2:     SNG Cop -
Reference3:     Varbanov 633 (same rev. die as medallion illustrated)
Photograph Credit:     Classical Numismatic Group
Grade:     Good VF, green patina, minor roughness.
Notes:     Attis was a Phrygian deity associated with the myth of Cybele (or Agdistis). He was the son of Nana, daughter of the river-god Sangarius. She conceived him after gathering the blossom of an almond tree sprung from the blood of Agdistis. When Attis wished to marry, Cybele, who loved him and was jealous, drove him mad so that he castrated himself and died. At the prayer of the repentant goddess, Zeus allowed his spirit to pass into a pine tree, while violets sprang from his blood. This myth, like that of Adonis, symbolizes the death and revival of plant life.In the New Golden Bough, Fraser identifies the elements of this myth as precursors of those of early Christianity: the virgin birth of Attis along with his sacrificial death and resurrection. Fraser also suggests the myth originated in an attempt to explain the self-mutilation of the priests of Cybele, who regularly castrated themselves upon entering the service of the goddess.