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

Cilicia

In antiquity, Cilicia (also spelled Kilikia) was a southern coastal region of Anatolia, extending inland north from the Mediterranean coast, east from Pamphylia, to the Amanus Mountains, which separated it from Syria. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Byzantine Empire. Cilicia Trachea (rugged Cilicia) is a mountain district formed by the spurs of Taurus, which often terminate in rocky headlands with small sheltered harbors, a feature which, in classical times, made the coast a string of havens for pirates and, in the Middle Ages, outposts for Genoese and Venetian traders. Cilicia Trachea lacked large cities and was covered in ancient times by forests that supplied timber to Phoenicia and Egypt. Cilicia Pedias (flat Cilicia), to the east, included the rugged spurs of Taurus and a large coastal plain, with rich loamy soil, known to the Greeks for its abundance, filled with sesame and millet and olives and pasturage for horses. Many of its high places were fortified. Through the rich plain ran the great highway that linked east and west, on which stood the cities of Tarsos (Tarsus) on the Cydnus (Berdan River), Adana on the Sarus (Seyhan river), and Mopsos (Yakapınar) on the Pyramus (Ceyhan River).


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Soli-Pompeiopolis, Cilicia

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Aratos was a native of Soli. His chief pursuits were medicine, grammar, and philosophy. He studied with Menecrates in Ephesus, Philitas in Cos and Praxiphanes in Athens. About 276 he was invited to the court of the Antigonus II Gonatas, whose victory over the Gauls in 277 BC Aratus set to verse. There he wrote his most famous poem, Phaenomena ("Appearances"). He then spent some time at the court of Antiochus I Soter but returned to Pella where he died sometime before 240 B.C.
SH58900. Bronze hexassarion, Lindgren I 1605 (same dies); Milne NC 1940, p. 247, 20; BMC Lycaonia -; SNG BnF -; SNG Levante -; SNGvA -; SNG Cop -; SNG PfPS -, gF, weight 12.323 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 180o, Soli-Pompeiopolis mint, 245 - 246 A.D.; obverse AYT K IOY ΦIΛIΠΠOC EY CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, Π − Π across field; reverse ΠOMΠHIOΠOΛ IAT (year 311) ς (6 assaria), bare-headed, draped bust of Aratos right; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise, comes with an old round coin ticket probably from Seaby 1960's or 1970's,
BIG 32mm bronze; extremely rare; $360.00 (€320.40)
 


Commodus and Annius Verus, Caesars, 166 - 170 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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The brothers Annius Verus and Commodus, sons of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger, were made caesars in 166 A.D. Annius Verus died at age 7 of natural causes in Rome on 10 September 169. His younger brother Commodus became his father's heir and later successor to his father's throne. The portraits are obviously unrealistic - the caesars were small boys when the coin was struck.
RP84085. Bronze AE 17, RPC Online 5035 (17 spec.); BMC Lycaonia p. 191, 166; SNGvA 5993; SNG BnF 1456; SNG Levante 1018 var. (no star); SNG Cop -, F, turquoise patina, tight flan, porous, earthen deposits, weight 3.339 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 166 - 170 A.D.; obverse KOPOI CEBACTOY, confronted draped youthful busts of Annius Verus (on left) and Commodus, star over crossed club and caduceus between them; reverse temple with ten columns, eagle left with head right and wings open in pediment, KOINOC KIΛIKIAC in architrave, TAP-COY across field at center, MHTPOΠ in exergue; rare; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Hierapolis-Kastabala, Cilicia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Hierapolis-Kastabala was an ancient city in Cilicia Pedias, three kilometers north ancient Pyramus. Alexander the Great stopped at Kastabala before the Battle of Issus in 333 B.C. Antiochus IV refounded the city with the name Hierapolis. In the first century B.C., Hierapolis was the capital of a small local kingdom under the rule of the former Cilician pirate Tarcondimotus I, an ally of Mark Antony. Cicero referred to the city as Rome's most loyal ally beyond the Taurus and the best friend of the Roman people. The city was known for its temple of Artemis Perasia. Strabo wrote of her priestesses who, in a trance, would walk barefoot over hot coals without damage.
GY73092. Bronze AE 15, cf. CNG e-auction 250, lot 112; otherwise apparently unpublished; SNG BnF -, SNG Levante-, SNGvA-, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, F, well centered, highlighting "desert" patina, some corrosion, weight 2.776 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 90o, Hieropolis-Kastabola, Cilicia mint, 2nd - 1st centuries B.C.; obverse radiate, draped bust of Helios right, dotted border; reverse eagle standing left on torch, wings open, head left, IEPOΠOΛITΩN above, ΠPOΣ TΩI ΠYPA[NA?] below; extremely rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Tarsos, Cilicia

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Agonistic "urns" or "crowns" were awarded to winners at ancient Greek games, similar to modern trophies. They are called "crowns" because they may have been placed on the head of the victor. The crowns on this coin and the inscription under the table refer to the Severia Olympia Games celebrated by Tarsos and other cities near the Syrian border at a site called "the Quadrigae" where Septimius Severus defeated Pescennius Niger in 194 A.D.

The inscription A M K Γ Γ is a boast of Tarsos: Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (adjoining) provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final Γ indicates a third neokoria, which was received under Valerian.
RP83549. Bronze AE 33, SNG Levante 1185 (same dies), SNG BnF 1820 (same), Klose-Stumpf 262, SNGvA 6077 var. (rev. inscription arrangement), SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, aF, porous, weak center on reverse, reverse a little off-center, weight 16.511 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 255 - 260 A.D.; obverse AV KAI ΠOVΛI OVAΛEPIANOC CE, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, Π - Π flanking at sides; reverse TAPCO-V MHTPOPOLEWC, three agonistic prize crowns set on table, CEVHPI OΛV / A∆PIA EKI/XIPIAI / AVΓOVCTI-A / AKTIA , A M K Γ Γ in exergue; ex Alex G. Malloy; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


Nagidos, Cilicia, c. 420 - 380 B.C.

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Nagidos, a colony of Samos, was located in Cilicia on a hill at the mouth of the Sini Cay (Bozyazi Dere) near modern Bozyazi in Mersin Province, Turkey. Nagidos minted coins with a grape cluster as a symbol of the city, some with both Greek and Aramaic inscriptions, and one type bearing the name of the Persian satrap Pharnabazus. Aphrodite appears most often on the coins, indicating her sanctuary was the most important in the city. Alexander the Great conquered Cilicia in 133 B.C. After his death, Cilicia briefly came under Seleucid rule. About 270 B.C., the Ptolemaic Empire conquered Cilicia. When the city of Arsinoe was founded on land claimed by Nagidos, the Nagidians refused to recognize the settlers. To resolve the dispute, Nagidos was designated as the mother city and the citizens of both shared a single citizenship. Cilicia came under Seleucid rule in 197 B.C. Nagidos was abandoned in the middle of the second century B.C., possibly due to attacks by the Cilician pirates.
GS83594. Silver obol, SNG BnF 14, Waddington 4410, Traité II 1505, SNG Cop 176 var. (N left), SNG Levante 3 var. (NAΓI), Lederer Nagidos -, BMC Lycaonia -, gVF, attractive style, toned, small test cut on edge, weight 0.72 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 90o, Nagidos (Bozyazi, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 380 B.C.; obverse head of Aphrodite right, hair in sphendone; reverse bearded head of Dionysos right, N right; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


Korykos, Cilicia, 1st Century B.C.

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Korykos (Corycus) was the port for Seleucia, an important harbor and commercial town. The Romans defeated the fleet of Antiochus the Great near Korykos, in 191 B.C. In Roman imperial times emperors usually kept a fleet there to watch over the pirates.

Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.
GB71455. Bronze AE 16, SNG BnF 1099, SNG Levante 800 var. (EΠI/∆H) Imhoof-Blumer KM II p. 462, 1 var. (monogram, YB/ME), SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Lycaonia -, gVF, much nicer than the BnF plate coin, weight 2.463 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 45o, Korykos (Kizkalesi, Turkey) mint, Roman rule, 1st century B.C.; obverse draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder, monogram below chin; reverse Apollo standing left, holding laurel branch in right, leaning with left arm on column, EΠI over ∆I on left, KΩPYKIΩTΩN downward on right; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 164 - 37 B.C.

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Sandan was a Hittite-Babylonian sun, storm, or warrior god, also perhaps associated with agriculture. The Greeks equated Sandan with Herakles (Hercules). At Tarsus an annual festival honored Sandan-Herakles, which climaxed when, as depicted on this coin, an image of the god was burned on a funeral pyre.
GB71448. Bronze AE 21, cf. SNG BnF 1307 ff.; SNG Levante 933 ff.; SNG Cop 333 ff.; BMC Lycaonia p. 180, 107; BMC Lycaonia p. 180, 107; SGCV II 5672 (none ∆I only), aVF, weight 8.034 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 164 - 37 B.C.; obverse veiled and turreted head of Tyche right; countermark: radiate head of Helios within oval punch; reverse TAPΣEΩN, Statue of Sandan standing right on horned and winged animal, on a garlanded base and within a pyramidal pyre surmounted by an eagle, ∆I upper left; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Soloi, Cilicia, c. 450 - 386 B.C.

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Soli (or Soloi) was a colony of Rhodes, founded c. 700 B.C. southwest of Tarsus, in Cilicia. It was destroyed in the 1st century B.C., and refounded by Pompey the Great as Pompeiopolis (not to be confused with the Pompeiopolis in Paphlagonia).
GS74432. Silver tetartemorion, BMC Lycaonia p. 148, 24; SNG BnF -, SNG Levante -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, Klein -, VF, nice style, well centered, toned, slightly grainy, weight 0.214 g, maximum diameter 6.3 mm, die axis 90o, Soloi mint, c. 450 - 386 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested helmet, earring, and necklace; reverse bunch of grapes within linear circle border, all in shallow round incuse; rare; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Kings of Cilicia, Tarkondimotos, c. 39 - 31 B.C.

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Tarkondimotos was made dynast by Pompey and crowned king by Marc Antony. He died at the Battle of Actium. The anchor countermark, frequently used in an earlier era by Seleukid kings, is almost certainly post-Actium, perhaps from Antioch.
GB75283. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 3871, SGCV II 5682, BMC Lycaonia p. 237, 1 ff., F/aF, green patina, weight 8.040 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Hieropolis mint, c. 39 - 31 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, countermark: anchor in oval punch; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / TAPKON∆IMO/TOY, Zeus enthroned half left, himation around hips and legs with end over shoulder, Nike offering wreath extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, ΦIΛANT exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Our search of numerous references and auction results found numerous coins with various reverse types struck with the same obverse die. We also found numerous examples with a similar reverse but with a different obverse legend and the reverse legend with A∆P MHT. We did not find another example of this variant.
RP57158. Bronze tetrassarion, apparently unpublished; SNG BnF -, Lindgren -, BMC Lycaonia -, SNGvA -; cf. SNG Levante 1058 (legends) & 1067 (same obv die, different rev type), aF, weight 18.919 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 209 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI M AYP CEYEPOC ANTΩNEINOC, bust right, in robes of demiourgos, Π − Π; reverse ANTΩNEINIANH CEYHP A∆PIA, emperor standing left, sacrificing over altar, wearing toga, TAPCOY/Λ N in exergue, A / M / K left, Γ / B right; 35 mm medallic coin!; extremely rare variant; $100.00 (€89.00)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
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Cilicia Greek Coins