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

Lydia

Lydia lies in east-central Anatolia (Asia Minor) between Ionia and Phrygia. The kingdom of Lydia gradually rose in power in the 7th Century B.C. and by the time of Alyattes and Croesus, it was controlling most of Anatolia after rebuking Medes (the pre-Achaemenid empire). The most important city was Sardis, today Sart, housing impressive ruins. The Lydians were viewed as a merchant people and the kings as extremely wealthy. Croesus gained mythical status and today we still use the expression, "rich as Croesus."


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios was an uncle of Antiochos III. He proclaimed himself King in Anatolia. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, he was captured and beheaded.
GY76100. Bronze AE 15, Houghton-Lorber I 956 var. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, nice green patina, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn or winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / AXAIOY in two flanking downward lines, X (control symbol) outer right; unpublished extremely rare variant; $430.00 (€382.70)
 


Maionia, Lydia, 161 - 180 A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the kingdom of Lydia, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king of Lydia. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own.

Omphale bought Herakles from Hermes, who sold him after an oracle declared Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. Hercules had sought the oracle to learn what he must do to purify himself, after he murdered his friend Iphitus and stole the Delphic tripod. As a slave, Herakles was forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning. Meanwhile, Omphale wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Herakles' olive-wood club. But it was also during his stay in Lydia that Herakles captured the city of the Itones and enslaved them, killed Syleus who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard, and captured the Cercopes. He buried the body of Icarus and took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Argonautica. After some time, Omphale freed Herakles and took him as her husband.

The Greeks did not recognize Omphale as a goddess. Omphale's name, connected with omphalos, a Greek word meaning navel (or axis), may, however, represent a Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude and marriage may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. This myth may have been and attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB83463. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG München 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17, VF, superb style, well centered, light marks and corrosion, weight 4.380 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Maeonia mint, rule of Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 180 A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, holding lion's skin and club across shoulder; $350.00 (€311.50)
 


Seleukid Kingdom, Antiochus II Theos, 261 - 246 B.C.

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Antiochus II Theos was the son of Antiochus I and Princess Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. He inherited a state of war with Egypt and while he was thus occupied, his satraps in Parthia and Bactria declared independence. To make peace with Egypt and to seal the treaty, Antiochus repudiated his wife Laodice I, exiled her to Ephesus, and married Ptolemy II's daughter Berenice. Antiochus later left Berenice and their infant son Antiochus, to live again with Laodice. Laodice poisoned him, had Berenice and her infant son murdered, and proclaimed her son Seleucus II as King.
GB71560. Bronze AE 16, cf. Houghton-Lorber I 525.1; Newell WSM 1407 ff.; SNG Cop 95; SNG Spaer 362; BMC Seleucid p. 15, 13; HGC 9 253a (all various controls outer left), EF, nice jade green patina, typical tight flan, contact marks, slightest spots of corrosion, weight 3.767 g, maximum diameter 16.0 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, 261 - 246 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, hair falling in spiral curls down neck and beneath ear; reverse tripod lebes with lion paw feet, anchor with flukes right below, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, ANTIOXOY downward on left, monograms outer left and outer right (controls, outer left off flan); $170.00 (€151.30)
 


Tripolis, Lydia, 3rd Century A.D.

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Tripolis on the Meander (called at other times Neapolis, Apollonia, and Antoninopolis) was an ancient city on the borders of Phrygia, Caria and Lydia, on the northern bank of the upper course of the Maeander, and on the road leading from Sardes by Philadelphia to Laodicea ad Lycum. It was 20 km to the northwest of Hierapolis. Ruins are near Yenicekent, Denizli Province, Turkey. The ruins, mostly from the Roman and Byzantine periods, include a theater, baths, city walls, and a necropolis. An ancient church, dating back 1,500 years, was unearthed in 2013.
RP79979. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 724; SNGvA 3314; BMC Lydia 19; pseudo-autonomous issue, Choice VF, excellent centering, nice green patina, weight 4.170 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Tripolis mint, 3rd Century A.D.; obverse bust of Athena right, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet and aegis; reverse TPIPOLEITWN, Tyche standing slightly left, kalathos on head left, rudder held by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $145.00 (€129.05)
 


Persian Empire, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C., Lydia, Anatolia

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GS79827. Silver 1/4 siglos, Carradice type IV (late) C; Klein 764; SNG Kayhan 1041; Sunrise 37; cf. Rosen 679; (early - middle, A/B); BMC Arabia p. 167, 143 (middle B), VF, well centered on tight flan, weight 1.206 g, maximum diameter 7.9 mm, die axis 60o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 375 - 340 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, dagger in right, bow in left, bearded, crowned, quiver on shoulder; reverse square punch; very rare; $140.00 (€124.60)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes I - Artaxerxes II, c. 450 - 375 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia in Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire

GA30000. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IIIb (late), pl. XIV, 36 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1029; Rosen 671 - 672; SGCV II 4682; Klein 761; Carradice Price p. 69 and pl. 18, 79 ff., VF, banker's marks, weight 5.284 g, maximum diameter 14.6 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 375 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned, stylistic drapery with broad semi-circular sweep of folds; banker's mark; reverse irregular rectangular punch; $125.00 (€111.25)
 


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Xerxes I - Darius II, c. 485 - 420 B.C.

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After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus' queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force. The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 485 - 465 B.C. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
GA29997. Silver siglos, Carradice type IIIb (early), pl. XII, 16 ff.; Rosen 673; SGCV II 4682; Carradice NC 1998 pl. 7, 155 ff.; Carradice Price p. 67 and pl. 17, 1 ff., gF, well centered with almost all detail present, porous, edge cracks, weight 5.241 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 485 - 420 BC.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned; reverse irregular oblong punch; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Thyatira, Lydia

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Thyateira (also Thyatira) is the ancient name of the modern Turkish city of Akhisar ("white castle"). In Revelation, Thyatira is the church that had a false prophetess (Revelation 2:20).
RP84078. Orichalcum AE 17, RPC I 2382; BMC Lydia p. 302, 62; SNG Cop 597; Lindgren-Kovacs 834; SNGvA -, aVF, nice green patina, light corrosion, a little off center, weight 2.341 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Thyatira mint, c. 55 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KΛAY∆I-OC KAICAP CEBA, bare-headed, draped bust of Nero right, wearing light beard (indicating mourning, for the death of Claudius); reverse labrys (double-axe), ΘYAT−EIPH/NΩ−N in two two lines across field divided by axe handle; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Sala, Lydia, c. 2nd Century A.D.

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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.
RP77505. Bronze AE 17, SNG München 455; BMC Lydia p. 229, 15; SNG Cop 416, VF, well centered, nice green patina, areas of corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 2.643 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sala mint, c. 2nd century A.D.; obverse ∆HMOC CAΛHNΩN, laureate and draped bearded bust of Demos; reverse EΠI AN∆PONEICOY, Hermes standing slightly left, nude, chlamys draped over left arm, purse in right hand, caduceus in left hand; ex Divus Numismatik; rare; $105.00 (€93.45)
 


Tralleis, Lydia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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The city of Tralles, or Tralleis, said to have been founded by Argives and Thracians (Tralli), stood upon a lofty plateau on one of the southern spurs of the Messogis range overlooking the plain of the lower Maeander. At Tralles, Zeus was called Larasios, from a sanctuary at the neighboring village of Larasa. Zeus Eumenes (the Kindly) may have had a separate sanctuary.
GB90181. Bronze AE 17, SNG Tübingen 3869; SNG München 709; BMC Lydia p. 336, 61 var. (no star); SGCV II 4759 var. (same); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, F, weight 4.359 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse Zeus standing left, Nike in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, all within laurel wreath; reverse humped bull walking right, TPAΛΛI/ANON above and below in two lines, star above; ex Rudnik Numismatics; scarce; $85.00 (€75.65)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Buresch, K. Aus Lydien. (1898).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Carradice, I. "The Dinar Hoard of Persian Sigloi" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber, Vol III, Part 1. (London, 1926).
Head, B.V. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lydia. (London, 1901).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Münzen der Kilbianer in Lydien" in NZ 20 (1888).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Kleinasiatische Münzen. (Vienna, 1901-2).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Lydische Stadtmünzen, neue Untersuchungen. (Geneva and Leipzig, 1897).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Zur griechischen und römischen Münzkunde. (Geneva, 1908).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 5: Ionia, Caria, and Lydia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
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Waggoner, N. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).

Catalog current as of Friday, March 24, 2017.
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Lydia, Anatolia