See depictions of Horses, Horse Riding & the Mythical Pegasus and Hippocamp on the coins of Ancient Greece and Rome
Horses were a popular subject on both ancient Greek and Roman coins as they were important to the ancients. To truly think about it, the ancient economy, travel and even warfare was very dependent on this one majestic animal. This guide made by Ilya Zlobin of eBay’s Authentic Ancient Greek Roman Coins (a store where you can buy many great ancient coins) was created to get you educated about the subject of the various depictions of horses that were done on ancient coins. The coins shown here show various rulers on horseback, horses of various types and motifs along with the various gods and goddesses such as Zeus and Apollo. In the video above, along with the pictures and descriptions below, you can see just some of the ancient coins depicting horses that were minted. You can learn a lot from this article and see some of the coins by clicking the pictures or links below.
See all the coins with:
- Greek coins with Horses
- Roman coins with Horses
- NGC Certified coins with Horses
- NGC Certified coins with Chariots
One part you can see here are the various types of chariots pulled by horses such as biga (2 horse chariot) the triga (three horse chariot) and quadriga (four horse chariot). You will see depictions of ancient Greek, Roman Republican and even Roman Imperial coins in this article with the theme of the horse flowing through the entire thing. Various Roman emperors such as Augustus, Septimius Severus, Geta, Caracalla, Marcus Aurelius and so many more were depicted heroically on horseback. It seems that more recent rulers have adopted this tradition as we still see heroic horse mounted statues of various heroes.
An ancient coin featuring the great undefeated “conqueror of the world”, Alexander the Great, features his portrait and him on his legendary horse Bucephalus. The horse after dying in the area of northern India even got a city named after it called Bucephalia. Alexander the Great loved his horse and wound up taming it as it was wild and beautiful horse.This can be actually see in the Hollywood Oliver Stone film Alexander Revisited Director’s Cut.
Various ancient Greek cities such as those from areas of ancient Sicily, Aeolis, Thessaly, Macedonia and many more had an appreciation for horses including the tactical advantage that they gave them. A city such as Larissa actually celebrated it’s horse raising in it’s agricultural hinterland and showed them on their coins proudly. King Philip II, wound even commemorating his horse racing victory in the ancient Greek Olympic games on his coins in bronze, silver and even gold!
Moving on to coins of the Roman Republic you will see various depictions from various victories versus foes such as those from Gaul, also chariots being driven by gods such as Apollo, Zeus and Victory.
Horses also took on more mythological distinctions such as that of the flying Pegasus or the half-horse half-mermaid nautical ocean swimming helper to Poseidon or Neptune. These depictions on ancient coins were also very interesting.
In conclusion, horses could be one of the biggest subjects of connecting various cultures such as those of the Greeks, the Romans and even later “dark ages” or “medieval” time people such as the Vandals. The subject of collecting ancient coins with horses could be a gratifying topic to pursue as there is such a variety of these different coins, with many being very reasonably or low priced.
Elagabalus – Roman Emperor: 218-222 A.D. –
Bronze 26mm (10.31 grams) of Nicopolis ad Istrum in Moesia Inferior
Under magistrate Novius Rufus
AVT K M AVPH ANTNEINOC, Radiate draped bust right.
V A NOB POVOV NIKOOLITN POC ICTPON, Elagabalus on prancing horse right, cloak behind, holding spear pointed towards lion crouched left below.
PROBUS 280AD Ancient Silvered Roman Coin Rare SOL Sun God Horse i21927
Probus – Roman Emperor: 276-282 A.D.
Silvered Bronze Antoninianus 24mm (4.75 grams) Cyzicus mint: 280 A.D.
Reference: RIC 911h, C 683
IMP CM AVR PROBVS P F AVG – Radiate bust left, wearing imperial mantle, holding
scepter with eagle atop.
SOLI INVICTO Exe: CM/XXI- Sol riding oncoming quadriga, raising hand and
holding whip with globe.
CONSTANTINE I the Great 337AD Heaven Horse CHARIOT Ancient Roman Coin i22243
Constantine I ‘The Great’– Roman Emperor: 307-337 A.D. –
POSTHUMOUS After Death Christian Deification Issue
Bronze AE4 15mm (1.74 grams) Struck at the mint of Cyzicus 337-340 A.D.
Reference: RIC 4 (VIII, Cyzicus)
DVCONSTANTINVSPTAVGG – Veiled head right.
No legend Exe: SMK- Constantine I riding quadriga right, Hand of God above.
AZILISES 85BC INDO SKYTHIAN King on Horse Bull Ancient Greek Coin India i46654
Central Asia Indo Skythian Kings and Satraps in India
Azilises – King, circa 85-43 B.C.
Square Bronze 27mm (11.64 grams) Uncertain mints in the Paromisadai or western Gandhara
Reference: HGC 12, 588 (R2); ISCH 2,58.3 and 58.4
/ N / / Z, Armored Skythian king advancing right on horseback with lowered spear.
(Maharajasa rajarajasa mahatasa Ayalishasa [of Great King, King of Kings Azilises the Great]), Bull standing left; monogram and kharoshthi letter above.
EPTIMIUS SEVERUS on horse 196AD Silver Authentic Ancient Roman Coin i51138
Septimius Severus– Roman Emperor: 193-211 A.D. –
Silver Denarius 17mm (2.97 grams) Rome mint 196 A.D.
Reference: RIC 74, S 6256, C 6
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIII – Laureate head right.
ADVENTVIAVGFELICISSIMO – Septimus Severus riding horse right, raising hand.
GYRTON in THESSALY 400BC Gyrtona Horse Authentic Ancient Greek Coin i53947
Greek city of Gyrton in Thessaly
Bronze 16mm (4.23 grams) Struck circa 400-344 B.C.
Reference: HGC 4, 370; Sear 2086; Rogers 1932, no. 230; Weber 2807
Jugate headsright of Gyrton and horse.
O, Head of Gyrtona left.
Termessos Major in Pisidia 71BC Zeus Horse Authentic Ancient Greek Coin i56085
Greek city of Termessos Major in Pisidia
Bronze 17mm (4.38 grams) Struck 71 B.C.
Reference: Sear 5495; B.M.C.19.268,3-4
Laureate head of Zeus right.
Free horse galloping left; A (=year 1) above, TEP beneath.
An important city of south-western Pisidia, high up in the Tauros mountains, Termessos at one time controlled a large area of territory extending into northern Lycia. Its position was given recognition by the Romans in 71 B.C. from which era its earliest coins date.
KYME in AEOLIS 250BC Amazon Horse Vase Authentic Rare Ancient Greek Coin i57274
Greek city of Kyme in Aeolis
Bronze Obol 17mm (5.77 grams) Struck circa 250-200 B.C., Magistrate Diodoros
Reference: Sear 4192 var.; Ashton, Classical, Series IVa; SNG Ashmolean 1364-5; SNG Copenhagen 96
Head of Amazon Kyme right, hair bound with ribbon.
Horse pacing right, one-handled vase at feet; KY above;Oin exergue.
By far the most important of the Aiolian coastal cities, Kyme was situated southwest of Myrina. For much of its history it was dominated by great powers – Athens, the Hellenistic Kingdoms and, finally, Rome.
PHILIP III – KASSANDER 323BC Macedonia OLYMPIC Horse Silver Greek Coin i57871
Greek Coin of
Philip III, Arrhidaeus – King of Macedonia: 323-317 B.C.
Silver 1/5 Tetradrachm 12mm (2.44 grams) Amphipolis mint.
Struck Philip III – Kassander. Circa 323/2-315 .BC.
Reference: Le Rider pl. 46, 20-1; SNG ANS 723-5
Head of Apollo right, wearing tainia.
,Horseman riding right; trident below.
History and Meaning of the Coin
During the times of ancient Greeks, horse racing was one of the events various Greek city-states and kingdoms would have intense competition with each other, as it was of great prestige to participate. Before the time of Philip II, the kingdom of Macedonia was considered barbarian and not Greek. Philip II was the first king of Macedon that was accepted for participation in the event, which was a great honor all in itself. It was an even greater honor that Philip’s horses would go on to win two horse-racing events. In 356 B.C., he won the single horse event and then in 348 B.C. chariot pulled by two horses event. As a way to proudly announce, or what some would say propagandize these honors, Philip II placed a reference to these great victories on his coins struck in all three metals of bronze, silver and gold. The ancient historian, Plutarch, wrote “[Philip of Macedon] … had victories of his chariots at Olympia stamped on his coins.”
ALEXANDER III the GREAT on HORSE Bucephalus MACEDONIA KOINON Greek Coin i57875
Alexander III the Great: Macedonian Greek King: 336-323 B.C.
Pseudo-Autonomous Issue under the Romans
Bronze 24mm (7.38 grams) from the Koinon of Macedonia in Thrace
Struck circa time of emperor Severus Alexander, circa 222-235 A.D.
Reference: AMNG 565 var.
AANPOV, Head of Alexander the Great right with loose, flowing hair.
KOINON MAKONN N, Alexander the Great on his legendary horse, Bucephalus, galloping right with cape flowing behind him and raising right hand in which he holds a spear.* Numismatic Note: Amazing coin being issued over 500 years after the death of Alexander the Great, featuring his portrait. Alexander the Great was and still is a great hero of antiquity showing the amazing effect one man can have on history in just short while of just 13 years! Macedonia was a province under the control of the Romans, which was created out of the kingdom of Macedonia which Alexander the Great was king of. Interesting to note that this being a pseudo-autonomous issue featuring Alexander the Great instead of the Roman emperor of the time.
KASSANDER killer of Alexander the Great son Ancient Greek Coin Horse i58302
Greek coin of the Kingdom ofMacedonia
Kassander – Macedonian King: 319-297 B.C.
Bronze 18mm (6.34 grams) Struck circa 319-297 B.C.
Reference: Sear 6754; Price (Coins of the Macedonians) pl. XII, 65
Head of young Hercules right, clad in lion’s skin.
/ KAA above and beneath naked youth on horse pacing right.
Syracuse Sicily 375BC Tyrant Dionysios Greek Coin ATHENA HIPPOCAMP Horse i58435
Greek city of Syracuse in Sicily
Bronze Trias 20mm (8.25 grams) Struck under Dionysios I and Dionysios II, circa 375-344 B.C.
Reference: HGC 2, 1456; Sear 1193 (Timoleon time); B.M.C. 2. 289; CNS II, nos. 34-45
YPA, Head of Athenaleft, wearing Corinthian helmet bound with olive-wreath.
Hippocamp left, with curled wing.
When in it’s foundations that the city of Syracuse only consisted of the island of Ortygia, that island was said to have been the home of the nymph Arethusa. She had been a chaste, faithful attendant of Artemis. It is said that she got the unwanted attentions from the river god, Alpheios, while bathing in his Peloponnesian stream. Artemis hid her in a cloud in an attempt to save her, however she sweated so profusely out of fear that she was transformed into a stream. Artemis broke apart the ground to allow her to escape. She found her way to the island of Ortygia where she became the fountain on that island.
Carthage in Zeugitana 400BC Tanit Cult & Horse Rare Ancient Greek Coin i58441
Greek city of Carthage inZeugitana
Bronze 16mm (5.43 grams) Struck 400-350 B.C.
Reference: Alexandropoulos 15a; SNG Copenhagen 97; Mller –
Head of Tanit left, wreathed with corn.
Horse galloping right; ground line beneath.
Carthage in Zeugitana 300BC Authentic Ancient Greek Coin Horse Palm tree i59225
Greek city of