AE Drachm. 17.19g, 34.8mm
MINTED: EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 18 (AD 133/4)
REF: Emmett 950.18; Dattari 1682 var.; RPC 5889
OBVERSE: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the rear.
REVERSE: The Dioscuri in military dress standing facing, stars above their heads, heads turned to look at one another, each holding spear and parazonium; between, crescent; L-IH (year) in lower field.
Fine. Dark green patina.
An interesting and less common type with a rare museum pedigree, sold with its original catalogue tag.
Ex Robert L. Grover Collection of Roman-Egyptian Coinage, previously held by the Art Institute of Chicago (1980.918)
Egypt supplied as much as half of Rome’s annual grain supply, and was as such a hugely important province. Its economic and cultural heart was Alexandria, the second largest city in the Empire with a population of more than half a million during the time of Augustus. The coins of Roman Egypt were heavily used in daily commerce, and most often found in extremely worn condition. They are nevertheless highly collectible and interesting, sometimes featuring unique Egyptian-themed reverses and deities.
The twins Castor and Pollux were known together as the Dioscuri, literally meaning 'Zeus's boys'. In spite of this sobriquet, only Pollux was the son of the god Zeus, who had seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Castor was the son of Leda's husband, Tyndareus, the king of Sparta.
The Dioscuri were worshipped as gods in both Greece and Rome, and as evidenced by this coin, their cult was popular even in Roman provinces such as Egypt.
HADRIAN . EGYPT, Alexandria . AE Drachm . Dioscuri . Ex Art Institute of Chicago
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