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

Ancient Greek Coins of 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).


Persian Empire, Tarkumuwa (Datames), Satrap of Cilicia & Cappadocia, c. 384 - 362 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Datames' enemies in Artaxerxes' court accused him, perhaps falsely, of intending to revolt against the Great King. Secretly warned, he then did, in fact, revolt, c. 370 B.C. The revolt appeared to be leading to a breakup of the entire western half of the empire into autonomous states. His own son's desertion to Artaxerxes was, however, the beginning of the end, which came when Datames was assassinated, c. 362 B.C.
GS91502. Silver stater, Moysey p. 42, 2d and pl. 2, 17; SNG Cop 275; cf. SNG BnF 276; SNG Levante 80; SNGvA 5935; SNG Berry 1297; Sunrise 50, aEF, much mint luster, light toning, attractive style, obverse die wear, reverse off center, weight 10.739 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 380 - 373 B.C.; obverse female head facing slightly left, wearing earring and necklace; reverse Aramaic legend on left: TRDMW (Tarkumuwa), bearded and helmeted male head (Ares?) left, wearing crested Athenian helmet; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $400.00 (€352.00)
 


Persian Empire, Mazaeus, Satrap of Cilicia , c. 361 - 334 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Artaxerxes III Ochus of Persia was the eleventh emperor of the Achaemenid Empire ruling from 358 to 338 B.C. and, after defeating Nectanebo II in 343 B.C., ruled as the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. His reign coincided with the reign of Philip II in Macedonia. Artaxerxes III was poisoned by the ambitious eunuch and chiliarch Bagoas. Bagoas also murdered most of Artaxerxes III's sons but put his youngest son, Arses, on the throne as a puppet emperor. This type was probably struck for Arses succession as Artaxerxes IV. Two years later Arses unsuccessfully attempted to poison Bagoas. Bagoas then poisoned Arses along with most of his family, and put Arses' cousin Darius III on the throne. To legitimize the conquests of Alexander the Great, Macedonian propaganda would accuse Darius III of playing a key role in the murder of Arses, who was thus identified as the last legitimate king of the Achaemenid royal house.
SH89697. Silver obol, Göktürk 35 (Myriandros), SNG BnF 429 (Myriandros), Newell Myriandros 16 4, Traité II 740, SNG Levante -, gVF, darker spots, some porosity, tight flan, weight 0.672 g, maximum diameter 10.4 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 338 - 336 B.C.; obverse Persian king (Artaxerxes III?) in the guise of Baaltars, seated right on throne with back terminating in a griffin's head, with long beard, wearing tall pointed Pharaonic crown, lotus flower in right hand, lotus-tipped sceptre in left hand; reverse youthful male head (Artaxerxes IV?) left, beardless, with curly hair, wearing earring and a tall pointed Pharaonic crown; ex Beast Coins; rare; $280.00 (€246.40)
 


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

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The abbreviated Greek inscription A M K Γ B is a boast of this city, Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek number one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (Γ is the Greek number three) adjoining provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final B (B is the Greek number two) indicates the city held two neokorie, temples dedicated to the imperial cult.
RP88856. Bronze AE 36, SNG BnF 1737 (same dies), SNG Levante -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Lycaonia -, ANS Mantis -, F, dark green patina, full boarders centering, earthen deposits, scattered porosity, weight 17.154 g, maximum diameter 36.4 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 245 - 246 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI IOV ΦIΛIΠΠON EVT EVC CE, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind, Π − Π across field; reverse TAPCOV MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, Athena standing half left, wearing crested helmet, inverted spear in right hand, left hand resting on grounded shield behind, A / M / K on left, Γ / B on right; very rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Cilicia, Tarsos, c. 425 - 400 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

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Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean. With a history going back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and a focal point of many civilizations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was the capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of Paul the Apostle.
GS90992. Fouree silver plated obol, cf. SNG France 207, Trait II 530bis (official civic issue, silver, square dot border within rev. incuse), VF, minor plating breaks, scratches, weight 0.726 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 425 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of a winged animal (griffin?) left; reverse ankh-like Persian dynastic symbol, within incuse square; very rare; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Seleucia on the Calycadnus, Cilicia

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Located a few miles from the mouth of the Calycadnus (Göksu) River, Seleucia ad Calycadnum was founded by Seleucus I Nicator in the early 3rd century B.C., one of several cities he named after himself. The location up river was safer against attacks from the sea so Seleucia achieved considerable commercial prosperity as a port for this corner of Cilicia (later named Isauria), and was even a rival of Tarsus. Cilicia thrived as a province of the Romans, and Seleucia became a religious center with a renowned 2nd century Temple of Jupiter. It was also the site of a noted school of philosophy and literature, the birthplace of peripatetics Athenaeus and Xenarchus.
RP88857. Bronze AE 33, SNG BnF 1052 (same dies); cf. SNG Levante 783 (same obv. die, rev. var.); BMC Lycaonia p. 140, 51 (same); SNG Cop 221 (same); SNGvA 5848 (same), F, weak legends, a little off center, scattered porosity, a few pits, bumps and scratches, weight 18.147 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 180o, Seleucia on the Calycadnus (Silifke, Turkey) mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse AV K ΓAI OVAI TPEBΩ ΓAΛΛOC, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CEΛEVKEΩN TΩN Π/POC / TΩ KAΛV, confronted draped busts of Apollo, laureate on left, and Tyche, on right, wearing kalathos, laurel branch before Apollo, cornucopia behind Tyche, KA∆NΩ below; huge 32.8mm bronze; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Seleukeia Kalykadnos, Cilicia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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The Cilician Seleukia was founded by Seleukos I on the course of river Kalykadnos and soon became an important city, rivaling Tarsos.
GB85027. Bronze AE 18, SNG Levante 697, SNG BnF 925, SNG Cop 205 ff. var. (monograms), VF, reverse off center, weight 4.078 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Seleukeia ad Calycadnum (Silifke, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, ΣYM upward behind; reverse ΣEΛEYKEΩN TΩN ΠPOΣ TΩI KAΛYKA∆NΩI, forepart of horse right, complex monogram above, PE and M∆H monograms below; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Laertes, Cilicia

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Laerte was on the coast of Cilicia, east of Syedra, and 25 km northwest of Coracesium (modern Alanya, Turkey). The identity of the ruins was confirmed when the name of the town was found on the foot of a statue of Vespasian. A Phoenician tablet found there indicates the town already existed in 625 B.C. Strabo describes Laertes as a fortress on the crest of a breast-shaped hill. Laertes fell under the control of pirates in Hellenistic times. They were expelled in 67 B.C. No Hellenistic buildings have survived; they were completely replaced in Roman and Byzantine times. The heyday of the town was in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. when it was densely populated and retired Roman soldiers would settle there. The town probably declined after the harbor silted up and may have been abandoned after attacks by Arab pirates.
RP88200. Bronze AE 19, SNG Levante 374 (same obv. die); RPC III Online 2751; SNG BnF 594; SNG Leypold 2499; BMC Cilicia p. 91, 4, F, green patina, patina chips, edge chip, light earthen deposits, weight 3.307 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Laertes (25 km NW of Alanya, Turkey) mint, 11 Aug 117 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse AY KAI TRA A∆PIANOC, laureate head right; reverse ΛAEPTEITWN, Tyche standing half left, head left, polos on head, grounded rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ex Alex G. Malloy; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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.
RP87151. Bronze AE 18, SNG Levante 798 (same dies); Imhoof-Blumer KM II p. 462, 1; SNG BnF 1099 var. (magistrate); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; BMC Lycaonia -, F, dark patina, scrapes, scratches, pitting, weight 3.110 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Korykos (Kizkalesi, Turkey) mint, Roman rule, 1st century B.C.; obverse draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder, Σ below chin; reverse Apollo standing left, holding laurel branch in extended right hand, leaning with left elbow on column, YB upper left (unstruck?), ME lower left, KΩPYKIΩTΩN downward on right; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 286 B.C.

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Demetrius I Poliorketes (The Besieger), son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, was given the title king by his father in 306 B.C. after he defeated Ptolemy I at the Battle of Salamis. In 294 he seized the throne of Macedonia by murdering Alexander V. The combined forces of Pyrrhus, Ptolemy and Lysimachus, forced him out of Macedonia in 288. Abandoned by his troops on the field of battle he surrendered to Seleucus in 286 and died in captivity in 283 B.C.
GB88218. Bronze AE 11, Newell p. 50, 40; SNG Alpha Bank -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, SNG Levante -, Weber -, aVF, attractive green patina, rough, weight 1.917 g, maximum diameter 10.9 mm, die axis 270o, Cilicia, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 298 - 295 B.C.; obverse head of Demetrios right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet ornamented with bull horns; reverse prow right, apluster right behind, B A above, AN (ligate) X below; rare; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Seleukia Kalykadnos, Cilicia, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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Seleucia ad Calycadnum (modern, Silifke, Turkey) took its name from its founder, Seleucus I Nicator. The Romans, who conquered the region in the 2nd century BC, built a bridge across the Calicadnus; its foundations still support the current bridge. According to tradition, Thecla, who was converted by St. Paul, escaped martyrdom by hiding in a nearby cave. The cave was later turned into a shrine, and in the 5th century, the Byzantine Emperor Zeno, who was born in the mountains to the north, built a large basilica above the cave.
RP89886. Bronze AE 22, SNG Levante 686, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Lycaonia -, Waddington -, F, well centered on a tight flan, dark patina, bumps and marks, weight 7.119 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Seleuceia ad Calycadnum (Silifke, Turkey) mint, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right, HP monogram behind, branch before; reverse ΣEΛEVKEΩN TΩN ΠPOΣ TΩI KAΛVKA∆NΩI, Nike walking left, wreath in right hand, AP / ΛE in left field; $70.00 (€61.60)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Friday, September 20, 2019.
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Cilicia