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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Anatolia| ▸ |Ionia| ▸ |Smyrna||View Options:  |  |  |   

Smyrna, Ionia

Smyrna was an ancient Greek city in Ionia. Located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia and aided by its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defense and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence before the Classical Era. Smyrna claimed to be the birthplace of the poet Homer. In Revelation 2:8-11, Smyrna, Ionia is the church that would suffer persecution. The core of the late Hellenistic and Roman Smyrna is preserved in the Izmir Agora Open Air Museum.


Vespasian Junior, 95 - 96 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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Vespasian Junior was the son of Flavius Clemens, Domitian's cousin and co-consul in 95 A.D. He was renamed Vespasian Junior when he was designated as Domitian's successor.The only coins of Vespasian Junior are this type, struck at Smyrna Ionia.
SH62518. Orichalcum AE 17, RPC II 1028, BMC Ionia 319, VF, weight 2.322 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, 95 - 96 A.D.; obverse OYECΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare-headed bust of Vespasian the Younger right; reverse ΣMYPNAIΩN, Nike walking right, wreath in right hand, palm branch over left shoulder; very rare; SOLD


Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown. Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; SOLD


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Portrait of Alexander the Great

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Thompson notes there was a single emission of staters, tetradrachms and drachms at Smyrna, which commemorated Lysimachus' contributions toward the city's rehabilitation. Only one obverse die is known for the tetradrachms.
SH11407. Silver tetradrachm, Thompson 237 (same obv die), Müller 408, SGCV II 6814 var., VF, weight 16.911 g, maximum diameter 31.9 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, c. 287 - 281 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena enthroned left, rests arm on shield, transverse spear against right side, holds Nike crowning name, Φ outer left, turreted head inner left; superb portrait in sculptural high relief, nicely toned; scarce; SOLD


Domitia, Wife of Domitian, 81 - 96 A.D., Ephesos in Alliance with Smyrna, Ionia

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The image on the reverse resembles sculptures of Artemis, the Lady of Ephesus, including one at the Ephesus Archaeological Museum and another at the Vatican. The Ionians worshiped Artemis as a mother goddess, akin to the Phrygian Cybele. Her cult image was adorned with multiple rounded breast like protuberances on her chest. They have been variously interpreted as accessory breasts, eggs, grapes, acorns, or even bull testes. Excavation at the site of the Artemision in 1987/8 found a multitude of tear-shaped amber beads that once adorned the ancient wooden xoanon.Artemis
RP91446. Bronze AE 21, RPC II 1083 (2 spec.), Franke-Nolle -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG München -, BMC Ionia -, Stumpf -, Choice gF, excellent centering, attractive darker highlighting fields, light marks, light porosity, obverse die break at 8:00, weight 7.555 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, proconsul P. Calvisius Ruso, c. 92 - 94 A.D.; obverse ∆OMITIA CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse ANΘY POYCΩNOC OMONOIA (Anthypatos Ruso, alliance), facing cult statue of Artemis of Ephesos standing, wearing polos and veil, with arm supports, ZMYP (Smyrna) downward on left, EΦE (Ephesos) downward on right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; zero sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades, only a few specimens known to exist; extremely rare; SOLD


Claudius and Agrippina Junior, 50 - 13 October 54 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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Agrippina Jr. was daughter of Agrippina Sr. and Germanicus, sister of Caligula, and mother of Nero. She seduced and married her uncle Claudius, murdering him after she secured the thrown for Nero. A soothsayer prophesied if Nero became emperor, he would kill his mother, Agrippina replied "Let him kill me, only let him rule!" Nero executed her in 59 A.D.
RP70082. Bronze AE 21, Klose XXX; RPC I 2475; SNG Cop 1348; BMC Ionia p. 270, 281; Lindgren I A561A, VF, nice near black dark patina, small areas of light corrosion and encrustation, strike weak upper reverse, weight 5.197 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, 51 - 13 Oct 54 A.D.; obverse jugate laureate head of Claudius and draped bust of Agrippina Junior right, ΣMYP below; reverse EΠI ΦIΛIΣTOY EIKA∆IOΣ (stephanephoros Philistos and strategos Eikadios), Cybele seated left, patera in right, left arm resting on tympanum on seat beside her, small lion right under seat on exergue line; rare; SOLD


Smyrna (as Eurydicea), Ionia, c. 288 - 281 B.C.

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Smyrna was briefly renamed Eurydicea at the same time that Ephesos was renamed after Arsinöe II, c. 288 - 281 BC. Eurydicea was the daughter of Lysimachos, by his first wife.
SH65990. Bronze AE 17, SNGvA 2159; SNG Cop 1105; BMC Ionia, p. 56, 75 (Ephesus as Eurydicea), VF, weight 3.839 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 180o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, c. 288 - 281 B.C.; obverse veiled bust of Eurydice right; reverse EYPY∆IKEΩN, laurel wreath on tripod lebes; very rare; SOLD


Augustus and Livia; Smyrna, Ionia; Magistrate Dionysios Kollubas

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RP81262. Leaded bronze AE 19, RPC I 2464, gVF, weight 5.973 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, obverse ΣEBAΣTΩI ZMYPNAIOI, jugate laureate head of Augustus with draped bust of Livia; reverse ∆IONIΣIOΣ KOΛΛYBAΣ, Aphrodite Stratonikis facing, holding scepter and Nike, leaning on column, dove right; SOLD


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.; Smyrna, Ionia; Julia Drusilla Reverse

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Julia Drusilla was her brother Caligula's favorite and was rumored to be his lover. In 38 A.D. she fell to fever. Caligula would not leave her side, and after she died, did not want anyone take her body away. He buried his sister with the honors of an Augusta, acted as a grieving widower, and had the Senate declare her a Goddess.
RP58846. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 2472, SNG Cop 1343, VF, weight 4.977 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, Menophanes, Aviola procos, c. 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse ΓAION KAICAPA EΠI AOYIOΛA, laureate head right; reverse ∆POYCIΛΛAN ZMYPNAIΩN MHNOΦANHC, Drusilla as Persephone seated left, poppies in right, grain ears and scepter in left; scarce; SOLD


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia in Alliance with Tralleis, Lydia

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In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor or Libya.
RP80383. Bronze AE 31, SNGvA 2249 (same dies); countermark Howgego 774i, gF, weight 16.352 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 180o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AY KAI M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, countermarked Γ; reverse ΣMYPNAIΩN OMONOIA TPHΛANΩN, turreted and cuirassed Amazon Smyrna (to left) standing right, facing turreted city-goddess of Tralles standing left, EΠΠOΛΛI/ANOY exergue; SOLD


Smyrna, Ionia, 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.

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Smyrna, Ionia (Revelation 2:8-11) - the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).
RP34683. Bronze AE 20, Klose, Muenzpraegung von Smyrna in der roem. Kaiserzeit, obv. die 6 rev. die 9 (pl. 9), cat. 11 p. 164 (12 spec.), aVF, weight 3.704 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 3rd century A.D.; obverse CMYPNA, draped bust of the Amazon Smyrna left, wearing mural crown, labrys in right hand over shoulder; reverse CMYPNAIΩN, lion walking right; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
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Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
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Mac|Donald, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection. (Glascow, 1899)
Milne, J.G. "The Autonomous Coinage of Smyrna" in NC 1923, 1927, and 1928.
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Catalog current as of Thursday, November 21, 2019.
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Smyrna