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Just the greek god of the sea? Religion and politics in the representations of Poseidon and trident on greek coins from the archaic and classical periods

Grant number: 20/12000-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Lilian de Angelo Laky
Grantee:Vinícius Bonifácio Guimarães
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Although Poseidon is one of the most important deities in the Greek pantheon, there are not many studies of his cult in the ancient Greek world. This lack is even more noticeable in relation to images of the divinity, and its attributes, on Greek coins - there are no systematic studies on the use of Poseidon's image in this type of documentation. A god acting not only in the maritime sphere but also in humid domains on the land such as rivers, Poseidon was a deity related to flood control and agricultural productivity. But beyond that, the consecrated god of the seas was the patron of leagues of Greek cities and played a role in the formation of the ethnic identity of certain cities and regions in Archaic and Classical periods. In this sense, in this research, our intention is to understand the political and social reasons that led the polis to use the images of Poseidon and his main attribute, the trident, on Greek coins. Ultimately, how and why these roles of this deity were mobilized as political emblems by the Greek city. To this end, a systematic survey of the monetary types of Poseidon and the trident on coins issued by the poleis in the Greek world in Archaic and Classical periods will be carried out. Literary sources and other imagetic documentation, such as sculptures and painted ceramics, will be associated as compared to numismatic documentation for the establishment of the symbolic meaning of the images and the precise historical context of the representation of Poseidon on Greek coins in both periods.

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