Medieval European Cross

Medieval crosses are interesting artifacts from a millennium ago. They can be found in bronze or iron and some are hinged. Shown below is a medieval cross which I purchased in December, 2007 from a fossil shop in the old part of Jbeil, Lebanon. Considering where I purchased it, next to the archaeological site where a Crusader's Castle resides, along with its European origin, it is reasonable to believe that this cross could have been worn by a crusader and brought with him as he ventured down into the Levant. Perhaps this was worn by a member of the Knight's Templar.

The 5 circles found on the obverse symbolize the 5 wounds of Christ. The patina of the dirt that is caked on the iron is characteristic of the soil in that region, validating its authenticity.

Marathos, Phoenicia

In my previous post, I wrote about the town of Amrit and how it is referred to in Greek as Marathos (sometimes spelled Marathus). Shown below is a bronze coin of a later date then the one shown in the previous post. This coin dates from between 117 - 111 B.C. which corresponds to the regnal year of 143 to 148. Since portions of the date are not readable, it is uncertain of the exact year without further investigation.

The obverse of the coin shows the bust of Zeus, whereas the reverse shows double comcopia with the name of the city on the left side and the date on the right side. 

Amrit, Phoenicia

Amrit, also known as Marathos (sometimes spelled Marathus) was the northernmost Phoenician city state. My Phoenician ancestors held temple games centuries before the Greeks conceived the Olympics and they got the idea when they sailed to Amrit and saw the temple games. This shows how sporting events have pagan origins. Therefore, I don't see why many American Christians have nothing else to talk about other than sports. Nevertheless, shown below is a bronze coin from Amrit circa 174 - 173 B.C. The obverse shows the bust of Ptolomy VI with a kerykeion over his shoulder. The reverse of the coin shows Marathos, standing left and the date of IIIIIIINNNN on the left.

To translate the date to Arabic numerals, the I in Phoenician is equavilent to a 1 and the N to a 20. Therefore, adding all the 1's and 20's presents us with the date the coin was minted to be in the regnal year of 87.
The name of the city is found on the right side of the reverse and those Phoenician letters correspond to TRM (read from right to left). Since early semitic scripts didn't generally have vowels, the A and the I were not written with the name of the city. Some people will interpret the MRT as an abbreviation for Marathos instead of the Phoenician spelling of Amrit.

Carthago Nova

Shown below is a really cool, and rare, bronze 1 / 5 unit coin minted at the Carthago Nova mint of Punic Iberia during the 1st and 2nd Punic wars.

The reverse shows a beautiful Corinthian Helmet. The cool thing about this coin is the fact that it is very simplistic and uncluttered by text. Another cool thing is that this coin was minted in the days of Hannibal and therefore is of historical significance as well.

1783 Guinea

The Guinea is an interesting, antiquated, relic of the British Empire. Although this denomination is for the most part unused this day in age, it is an interesting one. While it's value fluctuated over the years, it tended to be worth 1.05 pounds. Another piece of trivia is that this is the first denomination coin to be machine made. It also had a reeded edge but unlike reeded edges of most coins, the reeds are at an oblique angle and not perpendicular to the surface of the coin.

Shown below is an earlier Guinea from 1683. The date however is so worn out that only portions of the 16 and the lower half of the 8 are visible. Nevertheless, using a little ingenuity, it was determined that this coin dates to 1683.

Explained below is how I determined that this coin is indeed from 1683. I had to photograph the coin under magnification and with an LED flashlight aimed at it from 12 O'Clock. This is the reason that the edge of that part of the coin has a lighter halo than the other areas of the coin's edge. By shining a light from one direction, as opposed to even illumination as shown in the image above, it generated a little extra contrast on the surface of the coin.

In determining what the completely worn out number is, I looked at the slightest hint of contrast I could find to determine minute relic of the elevation from where the number once was. One could then see the lower curvature of the 3 and comparing the shape of a 3 to that of a 0, 1, 2, or 4 it is determined that the most logical year for this coin is indeed 1683 and not the other 4 years of which this variety was minted. One thing to note however, is that the 3 on the coin is a different font than what is shown in the above image. The top curved part of the 3 on the actually coin is not symmetrical to the lower part but a little more funky. Nevertheless, it clearly shows where the center of the 3 is and therefore cannot be a zero. Also the lower curvature reveals that this coin is not from 1682 either. Since it is clearly curved at the bottom, it cannot be a 1681 or 1684 guinea either.

50 mils Palestine

While Palestinian currency is virtually impossible to find, if one were found it would cost a fortune. Even the notes in the worst possible condition will run several hundred dollars. Fortunately coins are more affordable. Yesterday, I found this lovely mint condition 50 mils Palestinian coin from 1939.

For the year 1939, 3 million of these 50 mils coins were minted.

The 50 and 100 mils coins were composed of 72% silver and with a weight of 5.83 grams contained .135 ozt silver.

Arwad, Phoenicia Bronze Coin

Arwad (Arvad, Arados), Phoenicia was the third most powerful city state of ancient Phoenicia. It is a small island 2 miles off the coast of Syria, and is only Syria's only island. I have noticed that this is one of the easier city states to find coins from.
Arwad, Phoenicia

Circa 131 - 51 BC

Obverse: Heads Of Zeus and Hera
Reverse: Prow surmounted by Athena standing left

I was told that the brown dirt patina on this bronze coin is characteristic of what is found in the Syrian desert and validates the authenticity of this coin.
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