Cilicia, Pompeiopolis. Gordian III. AD 238-244. Æ 33 depicting the Astronomer Aratus. Very rare.


Cilicia, Pompeiopolis. Gordian III. AD 238-244. Æ 6 Assaria 33 mm 15.8 gm. Dated CY 306 (AD 240/1). Obv: AVT K M ANT ΓOPΔIANOC CЄB / Π – Π, Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Gordian right. Rev: ΠOMΠHIOΠOΛЄITΩN / Aς ςT, Draped male bust (the astronomer Aratus) right; date and mark of value before. SNG BN 1250; Ziegler 594. Very Rare.

Aratus, 310-240 BC, whose only extant work is Phaenomena, a poem in 1,154 hexameters, consists of a hymn to Zeus, in which he describes the northern (19–320) and the southern (320–453) constellations. He refrains from giving an explanation of the planetary movements (454–461), apparently because of their complicated nature and the difficulty of calculating their conjunction (an allusion to the great year) . Next (462–558) Aratus describes the circles of the celestial sphere and then (559–757) deals with the calendar: the hours of the risings and settings of stars (559–732), the days of the lunar month (733–739), the seasons (740–751), and the Metonic cycle (752–757). The second part of the poem (758–1154) deals with weather signs and is an integral part of it even though some ancient commentators give it a separate title (Prognosis).

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