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

Ancient Coins of Lydia, Antatolia

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, Lydia, 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wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / AXAIOY in two flanking downward lines, X (control symbol) outer right; unpublished extremely rare variant; $270.00 (€229.50)


Sardes, Lydia, c 98 - 117 A.D.

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CTP in the reverse legend identifies the magistrate, Lo. Io. Libonianos, as a strategos. Strategos, plural strategoi, is Greek meaning "general." In the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Greek army, it is the highest officer rank.
RP82728. Bronze AE 16, RPC Online III 2393 (18 spec.); SNG Cop 508; SNG Leypold 1201; SNG Tatis 757; Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 139, 13; BMC Lydia p. 246, 75; Winterthur 3917, VF, attractive dark green patina, bumps and marks, earthen deposits, weight 2.366 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D; obverse CAP∆IA-NΩN, draped youthful bust of Dionysus right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse CTP ΛO IO ΛI-BΩNIANOY, filleted thyrsus, bee to right; ex Numismatic Naumann GmbH auction 60, lot 326; $185.00 (€157.25)


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

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Diomedianos, named in the reverse legend, was a priest, probably of Pluto and Kore, and a magistrate, probably a grammateus. The celebrated Plutonion, a temple of Pluto and Kore, and the cave Charonion, were located on the territory of Nysa at Acharaka. Kore (Persephone) was innocently picking flowers when Pluto (Hades), god of the Underworld, burst through a cleft in the earth and abducted her. While Ceres (Demeter) searched desperately for her daughter she neglected the earth and caused nothing to grow. Jupiter (Zeus), pressed by the cries of hungry people, determined to force Pluto to return Kore. However, Pluto had tricked Kore into eating pomegranate seeds, and because anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there, she is forced return to the underworld for a period each year. Explaining the seasons - when Ceres and her daughter are reunited, the Earth flourishes with vegetation and color, but for the months each year when Kore returns to the underworld, the earth becomes barren.
RP86875. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 2668 (4 spec.), Regling Nysa 60, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Lydia -, aF, dark patina, types clear but legends off flan/obscure, weight 6.166 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Nysa (near Sultanhisar, Turkey) mint, magistrate/priest Diomedianos, Oct 54 - Jun 68; obverse NEPΩN KAIΣAP, bare head right; reverse NYΣAEΩN ∆IOMH∆IANOΣ, Pluto (Hades) standing in galloping quadriga right, abducting Kore (Persephone) held in his right arm; extremely rare - missing from most major collections, Coin Archives records only one example sold at auction in the last two decades; $180.00 (€153.00)


Plotina, Augusta 105 - 129 A.D., Wife of Trajan, Gordus-Julia, Lydia

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"The colonial coins of Plotina are, according to Vaillant, of the highest degree of rarity. Amongst those bearing Latin inscriptions are issues from Cassendreia in Macedonia, and Corinth in Achaia." -- Dictionary of Roman Coins
RP83943. Bronze AE 22, RPC online III 2550 (11 spec.); SNG München 189; BMC Lydia p. 92, 18; Prowe-Egger 1460; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aF, dark patina, legends mostly weak/unstruck, porosity, small edge chip/crack, weight 4.137 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Gordus-Julia mint, magistrate Poplius, c. 112 - 117 B.C.; obverse ΠΛΩTEINA CEBACTH, draped bust right, hair in plait behind; reverse ΓOP∆HNΩN EΠI ΠOΠΛIOY, Zeus seated left on throne, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; very rare; $150.00 (€127.50)


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tübingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY• K• - ΠOY• ΛIK• OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $135.00 (€114.75)


Maionia, Lydia, c. 161 - 217 A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the Lydian Kingdom, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own. She 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 an attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB86735. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online 132; SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG München 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17, VF, rough, reverse scratches, weight 5.130 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Maeonia mint, c. 161 - 217 A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, draped in Herculeslion skin, carrying his club in her left hand over her left shoulder; $135.00 (€114.75)


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tripolis ad Maeandrum, Lydia

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Tripolis on the Meander (Tripolis ad Maeandrum, also Neapolis, Apollonia, and Antoninopolis) was 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. The earliest mention of Tripolis is by Pliny (v. 30), who treats it as Lydian. Ptolemy (v. 2. § 18) and Stephanus of Byzantium describe it as Carian. Hierocles (p. 669) likewise calls it Lydian. Some modern academics have placed it in Phrygia. The ruins of Tripolis ad Maeandrum mostly date from the Roman and Byzantine periods and include a theater, baths, city walls, and a necropolis. An ancient church, dating back 1,500 years, was unearthed in 2013.
RP87200. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 3056, SNG Cop 743, SNGvA 3317, SNG München 809, Waddington 2681, Weber 3407, gF, green patina with red earthen highlighting, flatly struck, minor edge chipping, pits on reverse, weight 3.711 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Tripolis ad Maeandrum (near Yenicekent, Turkey) mint, magistrate Menandrou Metrodoros Philokaisar; obverse TIBEPION KAICAPA TPI/ΠOΛEITAI, laureate head right; reverse MENAN∆POC ΦIΛOKAICAP, radiate head of Helios right, O/T/∆ in right field; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 47 (9 Oct 2016), lot 327; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)


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, Lydia, Tripolis (near Yenicekent, Turkey) 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; $100.00 (€85.00)


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

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Mastaura (north of modern Nazilli, Turkey) was located on the south slope of Mount Messogis on the river Chrysorhoas, a small affluent of the Maeander. The city only issued coins under the Roman Empire. Remains include parts of the city walls and an aqueduct, and the ruins of a theater and a few small buildings.
RP86736. Leaded bronze AE 16, RPC I 2676 (2 spec.); BMC Lydia p. 157, 8; Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 96, 4; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, dark patina, obverse slightly off center, some corrosion, weight 3.877 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, Mastaura (north of Nazilli, Turkey) mint, 1st issue, c. 55 - 60 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KAIΣAP (counterclockwise from upper left), bare head right; reverse MAΣTAY-PEITΩN (counterclockwise from upper left), cornucopia overflowing with grain and grapes, bound with taenia; very rare; $100.00 (€85.00)


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

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Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia, an important city of the Persian Empire, a Roman proconsul seat, and in later Roman and Byzantine times the metropolis of the province Lydia. In the Book of Revelation, Sardis, one of the Seven Churches of Asia, is admonished to be watchful and to strengthen since their works haven't been perfect before God. (Revelation 3:1-6).
RP86895. Bronze AE 17, RPC I 3002; BMC Lydia p. 253, 120; SNG Cop 523; SNGvA 3146, SNG München -, VF, dark patina, earthen deposits, some porosity, slightly off center, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, strategos Mindios, c. 59 - 62 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN KAICAP (square C), young laureate head right; reverse EΠI MIN∆IOY CAP∆IANΩN (square C), bust of young Herakles right, Nemean lion skin tied around neck; $95.00 (€80.75)




  






REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
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Lydia, Anatolia