Ken Bressett submitted these thoughts on the astrological symbols on ancient coins inspired by last week's article on Professor Weir's coin of Antiochus VIII.
Regarding astrological symbols on ancient coins it must be noted that not all are related to a particular astrological event. The star was often used on both Greek and Roman coins to represent a form of divinity. This seems to have been particularly true of coins minted in Antioch. The particular design described in the article by Professor Weir was used by Antiochus VIII on many of his silver tetradrachs made from 121-113 B.C., and again on some of the similar coins minted during his third reign from 111-109 B.C. The symbol has been identified by E.T. Newell as particular to the standing figure as Zeus Uranus.
Other Syrian coins showing such stars include those of Antiochus IV (Second series, 169-167 B.C., Newell #55 and #56); Antiochus VI (144-143 B.C.); and Antiochus IV of Commagne (A.D.38-72). In the case of the tetradrachms and drachms of Antiochus IV two stars are shown adorning the diadem of the king on the obverse to show his divine nature as representative of Zeus on earth.
Tetradrachms of Antiochus VI (Newell #221, minted 144-143 B.C.) have a large star adjacent to the king’s head on the obverse, as well as stars over the heads of the dioscuri on the reverse. The stars on these coins are identical in form to the one shown on the example cited by Professor Weir.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
PROFESSOR STUDIES ASTROLOGICAL SYMBOLS ON COIN OF ANTIOCHOS VIII
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