Roman Gods silver series returns after a hiatus with Mars, the God of War, doing what he does best

One of the earlier entrants into the ancient mythology coin market, Jupiter was the first of the Mint of Poland struck ‘Roman Gods’ series. That was back in 2016, and there was a sequel release in 2018 which featured the Goddess of War, Bellona. Both were okay designs, but not really stand-outs at the time, but after a hiatus of three years, the series is back with what looks to be a significant upgrade in style and quality.

Mars has always been one of the more dramatic of the Roman gods, which is hardly surprising given the history of conflict and conquest that almost defines the Roman Empire, but he was seen as a more benign figure than his inspiration, the Greek god Ares. He doesn’t look particularly benign on the coin, however, having a good old game of hack and slash with his enemies, all under the horrified gaze of some Roman soldiers, with their Scary Movie / Edvard Munch inspired faces.

The Mint of Gdansk have given us some great close-up images of the coin and it’s obvious that Mars is an impressive improvement on Jupiter. The level of relief is marvellous and there appears to be no compromises when it comes to detail, either. The armour, faces and clothing are esecially well done, as is the temple on the obverse. That obverse continues to change in subtle ways from previous coins. A fine example of a first class strike, for sure.

This is a two-ounce 0.999 silver coin, rimless and with an antique finish. Boxed, of course, with the requisite Certificate of Authenticity, it has a mintage capped at 500 pieces. Mars has come as a bit of an eye-opener. This series has been solid, but uninspiring to date, but we like this one a whole lot more. Packed to the rim with great relief and with tons of little touches full of detail, this one is a pleasant surprise. Available now.

MARS: THE GOD OF WAR

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.

Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature. Mars’s altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $2 NZD (Niue)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra high-relief
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
MINT OF GDANSK