17. Running in the circle of the sun


A very important motif on Persian coins is the “Persian king running” armed with spear and bow[1]. A running god is also seen on the cloak of an Assyrian king above[2].

Frankfort thinks that the central running figure is chained, but it is the symbol of the snake coil that surrounds his feet and legs. A Syrian seal shows the hunter, his sister and a naked man running with the sun and a snake-coil on his breast[3].


 Ausstellungskat. Der Univ. Tübingen, nr. 11, Der Rollsiegel, p.53.


A similar running person can be seen on a coin from Melos[4] also running on a kind of entwined structure. A seal from Bet Shan[5] shows a man running in the so-called “Knielauf”. He is seen running in a route marked out by a similar structure: the stylised snake-coil. He has the tree of life in his hand.

Punic god from the temple in Pyrgi.

[1] Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia, by G.F.Hill, pl.XXff.

[2] Drawing above from Frankfort, fig.109

[3] Ausstellungskat.der Univers. Tübingen, No 11: Das Rollsiegel, p.53

[4] Cook, Zeus II, fig. 419

[5] Iraq 11, 1949, pl.V, 38 the same motif on a seal from Gezer, pl. IX, 59