Monday, 23 April 2018

Mithridates VI of Pontus

Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia (now Turkey) from about 120–63 BC.
Map of the Kingdom of Pontus, Before the reign of Mithridates VI (dark purple), after his conquests (purple).
Mithradates VI Of Pontus is often referred to as the Poison King and was a brilliant toxicologist. He was obsessed with poison and took small doses of a specially prepared poison to help him develop a resistance if some should try to poison him. He impressed history by eating poison, murdering his own mother to become king, and as Rome's worst enemy. King Mithridates hated the Roman Empire and sent his army west to crush the "Romans, the enemy of all humanity." He engaged three of the prominent generals from the late Roman Republic in the Mithridatic Wars: Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Lucius Licinius Lucullus and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus.
In the end, Rome was victorious and King Mithradates VI lost his kingdom and his life. After Pompey defeated him in Pontus, Mithridates VI fled to the lands north of the Black Sea in the winter of 66 BC in the hope that he could raise a new army and carry on the war. His preparations proved to be too harsh on the local nobles and populace, who rebelled against him. He reportedly attempted suicide by poison. This failed because of his immunity to the poison.

According to Appian's Roman History, he then requested his Gaulish bodyguard and friend, Bituitus, to kill him by the sword. Machiavelli praised his military genius. European royalty sought out his secret elixir against poison. His life inspired Mozart's first opera, while for centuries poets and playwrights recited bloody, romantic tales of his victories, defeats, intrigues, concubines, and mysterious death.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Roman emperor bust, ancient shrine found in Egypt

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient shrine and a bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in southern Egypt. It was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo in the southern city of Aswan. The head is "unique" because statues depicting this emperor are rare in Egypt.
Marcus Aurelius (26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He was the last of the so-called 'Five Good Emperors'. His death in 180 is considered the end of the Pax Romana and the beginning of the eventual fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Treasure linked to Viking king 'Harald Bluetooth' found on Baltic island

Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls and bracelets linked to the era of Danish King Harald Gormsson have been found on the northern German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea. Archaeologists said about 100 of the silver coins were probably from the reign of Harald Gormsson, better known as "Harald Bluetooth," who lived in the 10th century and introduced Christianity to Denmark.
'Bluetooth' was one of the last Viking kings of what is now Denmark, northern Germany, southern Sweden and parts of Norway. His nickname came from the fact he had a dead tooth that looked bluish, but it's now best known for the wireless Bluetooth technology invented by Swedish telecom company Ericsson. The company named the technology, developed to wirelessly unite computers with cellular devices, after him for his ability to unite ancient Scandinavia. The technology logo carries the runic letters for his initials HB.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Coin Auction From Künker

The spring Künker auctions were March 19 to 23, 2018. Over five days, 6,726 lots with a total estimate of 7.3 M euros were auctioned. The result was 11 M euros.Silver Stater, Caulonia, 530 BC - 510 BC.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Ancient coins, bracelets looted from Romania returned

Coins and bracelets from the 1st century that were looted from western Romania and smuggled out of the country were put on display after a joint investigation with Austria brought them back home. The treasure trove of gold and silver artifacts was presented at Romania's National History Museum.
473 coins and 18 bracelets were taken from archaeological sites in the Orastie Mountains that had been inhabited by Dacians, who fought against the Romans in the early 2nd century.
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018


Medusa was a monster to the ancient Greeks, one of the Gorgon sisters and daughter of Phorkys and Keto, the children of Gaea (Earth) and Oceanus (Ocean). She had the face of an ugly woman with snakes instead of hair; anyone who looked into her eyes was turned to stone.

She was once a fair maiden, a priestess of Athena, and devoted to a life of celibacy; however, after being wooed by Poseidon she forgot her vows and married him. For this offence she was punished by the goddess. Each wavy lock of the beautiful hair that had charmed her husband was changed into a venomous snake; her love-inspiring eyes turned into bloodshot, furious orbs, which excited fear and disgust in the onlooker; whilst her milk-white skin turned a loathsome green.

After a life of misery deliverance came at the hands of Perseus. Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who used her head as a weapon until he gave it to Athena to place on her shield. In classical antiquity the image of the head of Medusa appeared in an evil-averting device known as the Gorgoneion.
Medusa's frightening appearance on coins served a propaganda purpose. Warfare was endemic in the classical world, a way of life, and death, as it has been throughout history. Medusa served to both protect and terrify.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Caligula Coins

In 2014 a Caligula coin appeared on 'Pawn Stars'. The coin was a silver denarius that was struck in the last 24 days of Caligula's life.

Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots).

Initially he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. when he was 24 years old. For a few brief months he ruled well. His reign quickly degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D.
Caligula was sadistic, cruel and indulged in sexual aberrations that offended Rome and were considered insane. Caligula's power soon led him to believe himself a God. This led him to kill anyone that he thought surpassed him in something.

Declaring himself a deity caused a major backlash in Judea, because Jewish law said that they could only worship their God. His refusal to revoke the decree that the nations worship him caused the revolution in Judea. Caligula's hubris eventually destroyed him. He insulted his Roman military commanders, particularly Cassius Chaerea, who plotted against and murdered him on January 24, 41 at the Palatine Games.

Caligula was tall, with spindly legs and a thin neck. His eyes and temples were sunken and his forehead broad and glowering. His hair was thin and he was bald on top, though he had a hairy body.

During his reign it was a crime punishable by death to look down on him as he passed by, or to mention a goat in his presence.
Ancient accounts of Caligula’s reign focus on his cruelty, his excesses, and his clinical insanity – an unpredictable mixture of fits, anxiety, insomnia and hallucinations.

He often claimed to hold conversations with Jupiter and to sleep with the moon goddess. He was famous for his sadism.
In late 2012 an ancient Gold aureus of emperor Caligula was discovered underwater in the area between Limassol and Larnaca in Cyprus by a local amateur fisherman. Roman gold went east in payment for spices and silk. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (AD 23/4-79) tells us that, in his day, over 25 million denarii were spent each year on this trade, equivalent to one million gold coins.

Monday, 16 April 2018

First gold coin struck in the US changes hands for $5m

A 1787 New York Brasher Doubloon has sold in a private deal for more than $5m. The price exceeded the $4.58m that the same coin had fetched in January 2014. The coin has the highest grade among the seven recorded examples of its type. The doubloons struck by goldsmith and silversmith Ephraim Brasher, George Washington's neighbor in New York City, are considered the first ‘truly American’ gold coins.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Secrets of Europe's most ancient battlefield - Tollense Valley

The Gross Raden Archaeological Open Air Museum is presenting an exhibition featuring artifacts, many of them found on the site of a battle which took place in the Tollense Valley, in the northeast of Germany.
Since the beginning of the excavations in 2007, over 10,000 human bones have been found. A whole series of bronze weapons, such as lances, arrowheads and knives were found. A few wooden clubs which were used for battle as well as the remains of about five horses have been found. The horses died on the battlefield.

The discovery of this battlefield in the Tollense Valley provides much to consider.
The massive violence wasn't random. The Tollense battle demonstrates a clearly organized form of violence. It was required to be able to assemble such a large group of young men and issue orders. It demonstrates that power was conditional for such a large, violent conflict.

This young man did not see death coming his way 3300 years ago. A bronze arrow tip pierced the back of his head. The bronze arrow tip is still stuck in the skull.
The warriors were exclusively men, mostly between the ages of 20 and 25. The bodies on the battle site that were accessible were apparently thoroughly looted. They had no metal left on them – although they must have been wearing metal, since bronze was also part of men's dress during this period. The remains of those who fell in the river are different, as metal objects have been found on them. Less than 10% of the site has been excavated.

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Saturday, 14 April 2018


Vercingetorix (c. 82 BC – 46 BC) was a king and chieftain of the Arverni tribe; he united the Gauls in a revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. Vercingetorix came to power in 52 BC. He immediately established an alliance with other Gallic tribes, took command and combined all forces, and led them in the Celts' revolt against Roman rule. He won the Battle of Gergovia against Julius Caesar in which several thousand Romans and allies died and Caesar's Roman legions withdrew. Vercingetorix waged a guerilla war: making swift strikes on the Romans and their supply lines, then disappearing into the surrounding landscape. There could be no victory for the Romans because there was no enemy for them to engage. The Gauls struck and vanished.Vercingetorix is considered the first national hero of France and was greatly admired in his time even by his enemies.
All hope was lost behind the walls in Alesia. Vercingetorix surrendered himself, taking the Romans by surprise. Caesar had him taken away in chains and sent to prison in Rome. The defenders of Alesia were massacred, sold as slaves, or given as slaves to the soldiers for their service. Vercingetorix was exhibited in Caesar's triumphal parade through the Roman streets; then he was executed.