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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ Mysia ▸ CyzicusView Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Greek Coins of Kyzikos, Mysia

Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. It was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later, allegedly in 756 B.C., it received many colonists from Miletus. Owing to its advantageous position it speedily acquired commercial importance, and the gold staters of Cyzicus were a staple currency in the ancient world till they were superseded by those of Philip of Macedon. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C. In 74 B.C. allied with Rome, it withstood a siege by 300,000 men led by King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, Cyzicus was made the capital of Mysia, and afterward of Hellespontus. Gallienus opened an imperial mint at Cyzicus, which continued to strike coins well into the Byzantine era. The site of Cyzicus, located on the Erdek and Bandirma roads, is protected by Turkey's Ministry of Culture.


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 550 - 450 B.C.

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Kyzikos, purportedly the first Milesian colony, was located on the southwest shore of the Propontis in ancient Mysia next to the river Aisepos. Its prosperity was due principally to its two fine harbors, which made the city a convenient stopping point for merchant ships trading between the Aegean and Black Seas. Its principal export was the tunny, of which its waters had abundant stock. The prevalence of winged beings in Kyzikene coinage is a reflection of archaic mythological convention that assigned wings to most divine or sacred entities as an immediately visible and understandable symbol of their nature, and in the case of gods, of their power to move at will across great distances. In the case of the winged animals, we should probably understand these to be attributes of or animals sacred to a particular Olympian god.
SH86217. Electrum stater, Von Fritze I (Nomisma VII) 104 & pl. 3, 23; Boston MFA 1433; SNG BnF 245; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; BMC Mysia -, VF, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 16.091 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos mint, c. 550 - 450 B.C.; obverse winged dog seated left, head turned back right, curved archaic wing, wearing collar, tunny fish below to left; reverse quadripartite incuse square; extremely rare; $5850.00 (€5148.00)
 


Western Anatolia, c. 620 - 600 B.C., Plain Globular Type

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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Unpublished! The majority of the earliest electrum issues were struck on the lighter Milesian weight standard, with hectes weighing approximately 2.35 grams. This example, however is on the heavier Phocaic standard that was used at mints such as Cyzicus, Mysia and Phocaea, Ionia.
SH85577. Electrum hekte, Phokaic standard 1/6 stater; unpublished, EF, flan cracks, weight 2.721 g, maximum diameter 8.96 mm, uncertain western Anatolia mint, c. 620 - 600 B.C.; obverse plain globular surface; reverse one small incuse square punch; extremely rare; $2560.00 (€2252.80)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 500 - 450 B.C.

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Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. It was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later, allegedly in 756 B.C., it received many colonists from Miletus. Owing to its advantageous position it speedily acquired commercial importance, and the gold staters of Cyzicus were a staple currency in the ancient world till they were superseded by those of Philip of Macedon. The site of Cyzicus, located on the Erdek and Bandirma roads, is protected by Turkey's Ministry of Culture.
SL89446. Electrum hekte, SNG BnF 241; SNGvA 1180; BMC Mysia p. 32, 98; Von Fritze I 102; Rosen 482; de Luynes pl. XCII 2460; SNG Cop -, NGC XF, strike 3/5, surface 3/5 (2490378-004), weight 2.674 g, maximum diameter 11.4 mm, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 500 - 450 B.C.; obverse satyr left, tunny fish vertical with head down to left; reverse quadripartite incuse square; extremely rare; $1000.00 (€880.00)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Cyzicus, Mysia, Poppaea or Statilia Messalina Reverse

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RPC I notes, "although certainty is not at the moment possible (because of the small size and relatively poor preservation of the coins), the portrait of Nero seems to be the "steps" portrait, introduced in 63. If so, the bust should be that of Poppaea (or possibly Statilia Messalina)." In 62 A.D., Nero divorced Octavia and married Poppaea. In the summer of 65, Nero and Poppaea quarreled. She was pregnant. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. Statilia Messalina was already Nero's mistress. After Poppaea's death, Nero forced Statilia's husband to commit suicide, so he could marry her. Statilia kept a low profile in public and survived the fall of his reign. After Nero's death, Otho promised to marry her, before his suicide in 69.
RP85905. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 2249 (3 spec.), BMC Mysia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Tübingen -, Lindgren -, aF, green patina, weight 3.390 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 63 - 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN (counterclockwise on right), bare head of Nero right, ΦY monogram behind; reverse K-Y-Z (K over Z in left field, Z appearing as I, Y in right field), draped bust of empress right; only one specimen on Coin Archives; extremely rare; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, 525 - 475 B.C.

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Unpublished in the major references and collections but more than a dozen specimens are known from auctions. An electrum 1/12 stater with the same dolphin over tunny type is published for Kyzikos (Boston MFA 1409; BMC Mysia p. 19, 13).
GS91171. Silver obol, Von Fritze I -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tübingen -, BMC Mysia -, Rosen -, Klein -, VF, toned, light bumps and marks marks, weight 0.869 g, maximum diameter 10.2 mm, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 525 - 475 B.C.; obverse dolphin left, tunny left below; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ; rare; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 200 - 100 B.C.

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The torch is a symbol of Demeter. After Hades abducted Demeter's virgin daughter Persephone to be his wife, Demeter searched for her lighting her way through the earth with torches. While she searched, she was preoccupied with loss and grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Demeter grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Persephone's return brings the spring.
GB88311. Bronze AE 22, SNGvA 1240; BMC Mysia p. 39, 163; SNG Cop 79 ff. var. (monograms); SNG BnF 489 ff. var. (same), VF, dark patina, coppery high points, small edge split, some porosity, beveled obverse edge, weight 6.330 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 200 - 100 B.C.; obverse bull butting right on exergue line; reverse flaming torch, KYZI/KHNΩN in two flanking downward lines starting on the right, monograms (controls) flanking the bottom of the torch; ex Ancient Imports; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 1st Century B.C.

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In 74 B.C. Cyzicus, allied with Rome, withstood a siege by King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, it was made the capital of Mysia, afterward of Hellespontus. Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world.
GB91361. Bronze AE 20, cf. SNG BnF 464 var. (H below), SNGvA 1235 (uncertain letter below); SNG Cop 72 (same); BMC Mysia p. 39, 151 (same), F, attractive green patina, well centered, some scattered porosity, light earthen deposits, weight 5.687 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 1st century B.C.; obverse bust of Kore Soteira right, wreathed with grain; reverse KY/ZI in two lines, monogram at center, all inside oak wreath, uncertain Greek letter below wreath; $40.00 (€35.20)
 







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
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Kyzikos