Anakreon the lyric poet
c.570–c.485 B.C., Anakreon was a Greek lyric poet who was born in Teos in Ionia. He lived in Samos as well as Athens, where his patron was Hipparchus. His poetry, graceful and elegant, celebrates the joys of wine and love. Little of his verse survives. Anacreontics, poems in the style of Anacreon, were written from Hellenistic to late Byzantine times.
Archilochus was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros in the Archaic period. He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters and as the earliest known Greek author to compose poems based largely on his own emotional experiences.
Arion the poet
Arion was a Greek poet and musician of Methymna in Lesbos. He is said to have invented the dithyramb (choral poem or chant performed at the festival of Dionysus); that is, he gave it literary form. None of his works survive, and only one story about his life is known (reported by the historian Herodotus]).
Euboea, Chalkis Septimius Severus, 193-211 AD Æ 28.5mm., 17.44g. Obv: AY K Λ CE -CEYH POC P Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev: XAL - KI - D - EΩN Arion seated r. on dolphin; between two columns, in l. arm holding Kithara. Picard Emission 103, 1 and Pl. XXIV, 103 (this coin). Unique. ex Schulman New York sale, 6-11 June 1969, 800 and ex. Lanz e sale 111, 2002, 301. From the collection of T.O.Mabbott coll. "A unique coin of considerable iconographical and architectural interest" (Picard, p. 133) - Author's collection
Chrysippus the philosopher
Chrysippus of Soli was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was a native of Soli, Cilicia, but moved to Athens as a young man, where he became a pupil of Cleanthes in the Stoic school. Chrysippus lived from 279 BC – c. 206 B.C. When Cleanthes died, around 230 BC, Chrysippus became the third head of the school. A prolific writer, Chrysippus expanded the fundamental doctrines of Zeno of Citium, the founder of the school, which earned him the title of Second Founder of Stoicism. Chrysippus excelled in logic, the theory of knowledge, ethics and physics. He created an original system of propositional logic in order to better understand the workings of the universe and role of humanity within it. Ethics, he taught, depended on understanding the nature of the universe, and he taught a therapy of extirpating the unruly passions which depress and crush the soul. He initiated the success of Stoicism as one of the most influential philosophical movements for centuries in the Greek and Roman world.
Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor or Cicero the Younger was born in 64 B.C.. He was the son of Marcus Tullius Cicero (the distinguished orator and consular senator) considered one of the leading figures of the Roman Republic during the 1st century B.C.
LYDIA, Magnesia ad Sipylum. M. Tullius Cicero Minor. Late 1st century BC. Æ 23mm (5.55 g, 12h). Theodoros, magistrate. Struck after 30 BC. Bare head of Cicero Minor right / Right hand holding wreath, grain ears, and vine branch with grape bunch. RPC 2448; FITA 385; Stumpf 142; Klose & Stumpf 106 (image courtesy of CNG)
Eukleides the philosopher
Eukleides of Megara; the founder of the Megarian School of Philosophy; he was a student of Socrates and essentially believed that the most important aspect of the “real world” was the moral character of the individual. In order to be able to attend Socrates’ lectures, at a time when Megarians were forbidden entrance to Athens under pain of death, Eukleides disguised himself by wearing female dress, and this is how he is shown here. One must assume, however, that the Athenian guards must have been rather easily fooled, as on the coin, the portrait of Eukleides shows him with a beard! The reverse shows the famous statue of Artemis Soteira by Strongylion (LIMC II, 417-419 and 448-449).
Herodotus the father of History
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the 5th century BC (ca. 484 BC – c. 425 BC). He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative. The Histories, his masterpiece and the only work he is known to have produced—is a record of his "inquiry".
Homer's ancestry can be traced from Odyssey. He was the son of Epikaste and Telemachus. Born around 8th - 9th century B.C. he was said to be a court singer and a story teller. When we think of the blind poet Homer with relation to Ancient Greece, the first thing that comes to our mind is his beautiful epic poems Iliad and Odyssey.
PAPHLAGONIA, Amastris Anonymous ca. 2nd cent AD Æ 24mm, 10.47g, 7h Obv: [OMH]-POC, bust of Homer right, wearing tainia; uncertain c/m on shoulder t Rev: AMA-[C]TP-IANΩ[N], Uncertain figure standing left, holding scepter and sacrificing with patera over lighted altar to left Ref: Unpublished (Author's collection)
IONIA, Smyrna. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Circa 2nd-3rd Century AD. Æ 22mm (6.04 g). Homer seated right, holding scroll / CMYP/NAI/WN in three lines within wreath. Klose Type XII, 2 (V2/R2); SNG Copenhagen 1307; SNG von Aulock 2189 (same dies); McClean 8291 (image courtesy of the Bill Hearn collection)
Tisias or Stesichoros the Lyricist
Stesichorus (632-556 BC), the founder of the Greek choral lyric poetry, was born in Himera. This city was destroyed in 408 BC by the Carthaginians; the surviving inhabitants were permitted to settle in the neighborhood and called their new home town Thermae Himerenses. Stesichorus's proper name was Teisias, "Stesichoros" being a nickname referring to his profession, namely master of choirs.
Anaxagoras the Astronomy-Mathematician
Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (a major Greek city of Ionian Asia Minor), a Greek philosopher of the 5th century B.C.E. (born ca. 500–480), was the first of the Presocratic philosophers to live in Athens. He propounded a physical theory of “everything-in-everything,” and claimed that nous (intellect or mind) was the motive cause of the cosmos. He was the first to give a correct explanation of eclipses, and was both famous and notorious for his scientific theories, including the claims that the sun is a mass of red-hot metal, that the moon is earthy, and that the stars are fiery stones. Anaxagoras maintained that the original state of the cosmos was a mixture of all its ingredients (the basic realities of his system).
Aratus (Aratos) the philosopher and astronomer
Born at Soli (Pompeiopolis) and a contemporary of the Helleistic poets Callimachus and Theocritus, Aratus was a disciple of the Peripatetic philosopher Praxiphanes and was acquainted with several important scholars, including the Stoic philosopher Zeno, as well as Callimachus, and Menedemus, the founder of the Eretrian School of philosophy. In 276 BC, he was invited to the court of the Macedonian king Antigonus II Gonatas, to compose a poem on that king’s victory over the Gauls the previous year. His most famous poem and major extant work, Phaenomena ("Appearances"), describes the constellations and other celestial phenomena, as well as weather lore. Aratus subsequently spent time at the court of Antiochus I Soter of Syria, but later returned to Pella in Macedon, where he died about 240 BC.
Heraclitus the philosopher
Heraclitus lived in Ephesus, an important city on the Ionian coast of Asia Minor, not far from Miletus, the birthplace of philosophy. Heraclitus criticizes the mythographers Homer and Hesiod, as well as the philosophers Pythagoras and Xenophanes and the historian Hecataeus. All of these figures flourished in the 6th century B.C. or earlier, suggesting a date for Heraclitus in the late 6th century.
Hipparchus the Astronomer
Hipparchus was born in Nicaea in Bithynia, but spent much of his life in Rhodes. He is generally considered to be one of the most influential astronomers of antiquity, yet very little information available about him survives; his only extant work is his commentary on the astronomical poem of Aratus (third century B.C.). The Almagest, written by Ptolemy (second century A.D.) is the source of most of our knowledge about Hipparchus, who Ptolemy considered to be his most important predecessor. In his own astronomical work, Ptolemy made extensive use of the work of Hipparchus, building on the foundation laid by him. Ptolemy described Hipparchus as 'industrious' and, repeatedly, as a great 'lover of truth'. That Hipparchus continued to be held in high regard is demonstrated by the various depictions of him on frontispieces of astronomical works published long after his death. Hipparchus' many important and lasting contributions to astronomy included practical and well as theoretical innovations. He employed geometrical models, including the deferent-epicycle and eccentric previously used by Apollonius (flourished ca. 200 B.C.). One of his contributions appears to have been the incorporation of numerical data based on observations into the geometrical models developed to account for the astronomical motions; some have even credited Hipparchus with the founding of trigonometry.
Orpheus the lyric poet
Orpheus, the son of the Thracian king Oeagrus and the Muse Kalliope, was a master poet, proficient on the lyre, and possessing a melodious voice surpassed by no other mortal. He mesmerized gods and mortals alike with his song. His musical powers were so intense that the birds and animals, even trees and stones, were charmed and drew near to hear his voice. Orpheus married the nymph Eurydike, but their life together was cut short by the bite of a snake that sent Eurydike from the land of the living to the shadowy kingdom of the underworld. Distraught over the death of his beloved, Orpheus descended into the land of shades and made his way to the very throne of Hades and his queen Persephone. His music was so enticing that all the inhabitants of the underworld were entranced, and the King of Darkness granted Orpheus' request to return Eurydike to the light of day provided he dare not look back at her until they both had cleared the gates of Hades. The temptation was too great, though, and Orpheus turned to gaze upon Eurydike for the last time before her spirit sped back to the underworld. Totally disheartened by his second loss, Orpheus shunned all women and sang his songs in the company of Thracian men, who became distracted from their womenfolk. Outraged, the Thracian women ultimately fell on Orpheus and killed him. Severing his head from his body, they cast it into the Hebrus River, where it floated on his lyre, still singing, out to sea. Finally, Orpheus' head drifted to Lesbos, where it was enshrined by the nymphs.
EGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. 138-161 AD. Æ Drachm. (28.60 gm). Year 5 (=141/142 AD). [AVT K] T AIL AÐP ANTWNEINOC CVECB (sic), laureate head right / Orpheus charming the animals: L E, Orpheus seated right on rock, playing lyre, charming numerous wild animals around. Köln -; cf. Dattari 2996 (image courtesy of Triton)
Pythagoras the Mathematician
Pythagoras was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him. He was born on the island of Samos and it is believed that he traveled widely in his youth, visiting Egypt and other places seeking knowledge. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom.
Sappho the Poetess
One of the great Greek lyrists and few known female poets of the ancient world, Sappho was born some time between 630 and 612 BC. She was an aristocrat who married a prosperous merchant, and she had a daughter named Cleis. Her wealth afforded her with the opportunity to live her life as she chose, and she chose to spend it studying the arts on the isle of Lesbos. Sappho was called a lyrist because, as was the custom of the time, she wrote her poems to be performed with the accompaniment of a lyre. Sappho composed her own music and refined the prevailing lyric meter to a point that it is now known as sapphic meter.
LESBOS, Mytilene. Julia Procula. Circa 150-200 AD. Æ 27mm (10.05 gm, 7h). Apollonidas, magistrate. ΙΟΥ ΠΡΟΚΥ ΛΑΝ ΗΡΩΙΔΑ, draped bust of Julia Procula right, hair coiled on top of head / ΕΠΙ ΣΤΠΑ ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΙ, ΜΥΤΙ, Sappho seated right on low stool, playing lyre. BMC Troas pg. 200, 165; SNG Hunterian 1313 (image courtesy of CNG)
Theophanes was a historian born in the town of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. He lived during the 1st century B.C. and was a known close associate of Pompey. He composed a book of his travels with Pompey during his expedition to Asia. Theophanes accompanied Pompey to Greece where he was appointed as the Commander of the Fabri. Following the battle of Pharsalus, both fled to Egypt.
According to Cicero, after the death of Pompey, Theophanes took refuge in Italy and was subsequently pardoned by Julius Caesar. Theophanes wrote the history of Pompey's campaigns, in which he represented the exploits of his hero in the most favorable light - including, as Plutarch suggests, a number of false tales. Theophanes left behind a son, M. Pompeius Theophanes, who was sent to Asia by Augustus as its procurator. Tiberius sentenced his son to death toward the end of his reign, in 33 A.D. based on Theophanes close relationship with Pompey.
Gaius Asinius Gallus, Proconsul of Asia
Gaius Asinius Gallus Saloninus was a Roman Senator with family connections to the Julio-Claudian family. He was consul in 8 B.C. and proconsul of Asia in 6 B.C./5 B.C. He was a friend of the emperor Augustus and opposed emperor Tiberius. He introduced measures to the senate to increase Tiberius's power to try to shame the ruler. These embarrassed Tiberius publicly, and Tiberius had him arrested in 30 A.D. Tiberius alleged that Asinius had committed adultery with Agrippina the Elder. Gaius died in 33 A.D. of starvation, after three years in custody.
He was the son of Gaius Asinius Pollo, a Roman Senator and consul (40 B.C.). In 11 B.C. he married Vispania Agrippina, daughter of Marcus Vispanius Agrippa and Caecilia Attica (the former wife of the emperor Tiberius). Together, they had the following children: 1) Gaius Asinius Pollio (consul in 23 A.D., exiled as an accuser of a consipiracy and later put to death on orders from empress Valeria Messalina, 2) Marcus Asinius Agrippa (consul in 25 A.D.), 3) Asinius Saloninus, 4) Sevius Asinius Celer (consul suffectus in 38 A.D., executed by the emperor Claudius), 5) Asinius Gallus (consult in 62 A.D. after a life of exile by Claudius), and 6) Gnaeus Asinius.
Marcus Sempronius Rutilus, proconsul and Caesarean commander.
The gens Sempronia was a Roman family of great antiquity. It included both patrician and plebeian branches. The first of the Sempronii to obtain the consulship was Aulus Sempronius Atratinus, in 497 B.C., the twelfth year of the Republic. The patrician Sempronii frequently obtained the highest offices of the state in the early centuries of the Republic, but they were eclipsed by the plebeian families of the gens at the end of the 4th century B.C.
Diogenes or Chieftain Chares
Roman General Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, known in simply as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic. He came from a wealthy Italian provincial background, and his father had been the first to establish the family among the Roman nobility. Pompey's immense success as a general while still very young enabled him to advance directly to his first consulship without meeting the normal requirements for office. Military success in Sulla's second civil war led him to adopt the nickname Magnus, "the Great". He was consul three times and celebrated three triumphs.
In the mid-60’s B.C., Pompey joined Marcus Licinius Crassus and Gaius Julius Caesar in the unofficial military-political alliance known as the First Triumvirate, which Pompey's marriage to Caesar's daughter Julia helped secure. After the deaths of Julia and Crassus, Pompey sided with the optimates, the conservative faction of the Roman Senate. Pompey and Caesar then contended for the leadership of the Roman state, leading to a civil war. When Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus, he sought refuge in Egypt, where he was assassinated.
CILICIA, Soli-Pompeiopolis. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Time of Domitian, AD 81-96. Æ AE 23mm, 8.83g. Dated CY 152 (AD 86/7). Obv: Bare head of Pompey, Roman General; star before. Rev: Athena, helmeted, standing left, holding Nike and grounded shield. SNG France 1224; SNG Levante 878; RPC II 1726 - one of the finest known examples (Author's collection)
Publius Vedius Pollio was a Roman equestrian and friend of the emperor Augustus. He was appointed by the emperor as procurator over Asia. He was renowned for his cruelty and he reportedly fed a number of his slaves to lamprey eels as a form of punishment. Emperor Augustus (Pollio's guest at the time) was so appalled at his methods that he intervened to prevent the execution of one of his slaves. This incident, along with Augustus's demolition of the massive villa he inherited after Vedius's death in 15 B.C., were frequently referred to in antiquity in discussions of ethics and of the public role of Augustus.
Numa Pomilius was the legendary 2nd king of Rome who reigned from 715 to 673 B.C. He was of Sabine origin and the successor of Romulus.
Fabius Africanus, proconsul
Africanus Fabius Maximus was the younger son of Quintus Fabius Maximus (consul 45 B.C.). Although commonly referred to as Africanus Fabius Maximus, it remains unclear whether that was his official name or whether it was Quintus Fabius Maximus Africanus. His elder brother was Paulius Fabius Maximus (consul 11B.C.) and his sister was Fabia Paullina, who married Marcus Titius. It is believed that Africanus was named in honor of his natural great-great-great or great-great-great-great uncle Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Aemilianus. His only two certain posts were as ordinary consul in 10 B.C. (with Julius Antonius), and as proconsul of Africa in 6-5 B.C.
Greek General Themistokles
Themistocles was a 5th century B.C. Athenian politician and general. As a politician, Themistocles was a populist, having the support of lower class Athenians, and generally being at odds with the Athenian nobility. Elected archon in 493 B.C., he convinced the polis to increase the naval power of Athens, a recurring theme in his political career. During the first Persian invasion of Greece, he fought at the Battle of Marathon, and was possibly one of the 10 Athenian strategoi (generals) in that battle.
In the years after Marathon, and in the run up to the second Persian invasion he became the most prominent politician in Athens. He continued to advocate a strong Athenian navy, and in 483 B.C. he persuaded the Athenians to build a fleet of 200 triemes; these would prove crucial in the forthcoming conflict with Persia. During the second invasion, he was in effective command of the Greek allied navy at the battles of Artemisium and Salamis. Due to subterfuge on the part of Themistocles, the Allies lured the Persian fleet into the Straits of Salamis, and the decisive Greek victory there was the turning point in the invasion, which ended the following year by the defeat of the Persians at the land Battle of Plataea.
Gaius Sosius, Governor of Syria
Sosius was governor of Syria in 38 BC. Antony supported Herod the Great against his rival Antigonus, and Josephus describes how Sosius commanded the Roman forces in support of Herod's claim. Sosius captured the island and town of Aradus in 38 BC and Jerusalem in July of 37 BC, for which he was acclaimed Imperator. Josephus notes that he was about to allow the soldiers to loot the fallen city and slay its inhabitants, when Herod intervened. Herod asked if the Romans, by emptying the city of money and men, had a mind to leave him to become king of a desert? Herod paid the troops a donative instead, and Sosius himself received a "most royal bounty". Sosius called the defeated king the feminine name "Antigona" and imprisoned him for Antony to execute later.
In 36 BC Sosius assisted Octavian and Agrippa against Sextus Pompey and afterward probably stayed in Rome, where he celebrated a triumph in Rome in 34 BC and was consul along with Domitius Ahenobarbus in 32 BC. During his consulship, he rebuilt the Temple of Apollo, which had been constructed in 431 BC. He introduced a measure in the Senate to censure Octavian, but this was vetoed by a tribune. As war between Octavian and Antony approached, Sosius fled Octavian and Rome along with some 300 senators. At Actium in 31 BC, Sosius commanded the left wing of Antony's naval forces. This wing of heavy ships entered the battle first, but was overwhelmed by the smaller, faster ships of Agrippa, commander of Octavian's fleet. Meanwhile, Cleopatra, and then Antony, escaped through the opening created by the movement. Sosius fought on, surrendered and was spared by Octavian.