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

Mysia, Anatolia

Mysia is the northwestern region of Anatolia (Asia Minor) located on the shore of the Propontis (Marmara Sea) between Troas and Bithynia. The chief physical features of Mysia are the two mountains, Mount Olympus at (7600 ft) in the north and Mount Temnus in the south. The most important cities were Pergamon in the valley of the Caïcus, and Cyzicus on the Propontis. The whole sea-coast was studded with Greek towns, several of which were places of considerable importance; thus the northern portion included Parium, Lampsacus and Abydos, and the southern Assos, Adramyttium. Further south, on the Eleatic Gulf, were Elaea, Myrina and Cyme.


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commercial importance, and the gold staters of Cyzicus were a staple currency in the ancient world till they were superseded by those of Philip of Macedon.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.
SH84459. 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 -, gVF, well centered and struck on a tight flan, weight 2.628 g, maximum diameter 10.8 mm, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 500 - 450 B.C.; obverse forepart of a winged deer left, tunny fish diagonal with head down behind; reverse quadripartite incuse square; rare; $2020.00 (€1797.80)
 


Pergamene Kingdom, Attalos I Soter 241 - 197 B.C., In the Name of Philetairos

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Attalus, a capable general, champion of the Greeks, and loyal ally of Rome, made Pergamon a powerful kingdom. He earned the name "Soter" (savior) by defeating the Galatians, who had plundered and exacted tribute for more than a generation. In the Macedonian Wars he allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon.
SH70868. Silver tetradrachm, Westermark Group VIB; SNG BnF BnF 1626; BMC Mysia p. 117, 45; McClean 7685, VF/F, excellent portrait, uneven toning, weight 16.753 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, 235 - 210 B.C.; obverse Philetairos (founder of the Attalid dynasty) diademed head right; reverse Athena enthroned left, crowning dynastic name ΦIΛETAIPOY to left, holding spear and resting left arm on shield, XAP monogram inner left, bow on right; very rare with this monogram; $430.00 (€382.70)
 


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C.

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Although the primary references do not specify the arrangement of the reverse inscription, most specimens of this issue have the have the royal title on the right and Lysimachos' name in the exergue. This variant with the title in the exergue and his name right is very rare and was first described in the referenced article by Nicholas A. Sicurella, published in The Celator in June 1996.
GS84487. Silver drachm, Sicurella, N. "An unpublished drachm of Lysimachus" in The Celator 10.6 (June 1996), figs. 1-2; Price L12; Thompson 36; Müller 25; SNG BnF -, gVF, lightly toned, minor marks, small flaw on edge, some minor edge flaking, weight 4.141 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 135o, Mysia, Lampsakos (Lapseki, Turkey) mint, 299 - 296 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse ΛYΣIMAXOY, Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, dolphin left above lion forepart left (control symbols) on left, torch (control symbol) below throne; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection, ex CNG e-auction 296 (13 Feb 2013), lot 25; $380.00 (€338.20)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Located near Lampsacus, Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period, it was in the domain of Lysimachus and then the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia within the province of Asia. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, it was in the province of Hellespontus.
RP70938. Bronze AE 21, SNG Cop 304; SNGvA 1343; BMC Mysia p. 108, 116, VF, perfect centering, struck with a damaged obverse die, weight 4.774 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, obverse IMP VALERIANVS P F AVG, radiate,draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse Capricorn swimming right, holding celestial globe between legs, cornucopia on back, C G I H P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) below; ex Russian Coins; $330.00 (€293.70)
 


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 92 - 88 B.C.

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The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.

The thyrsus is the staff carried by Bacchus and his associates; topped by a pine cone or a bunch of ivy leaves and wreathed with tendrils of vine or ivy.
GS76187. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Kleiner Pergamum 33; Pinder 108; SNG BnF 1737; SNG Cop 431; SNGvA 7477; BMC Mysia p. 125, 109, gVF, obverse a little off center, uneven toning, flan crack, weight 12.680 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 92 - 88 B.C.; obverse Cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse bow-case holding strung bow and ornamented with an apluster, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, EY over Prytaneis monogram above, Pergamon monogram to left, snake entwined thyrsos to right; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Pergamon, Mysia, c. 133 - 27 B.C.

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The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.
GB84965. Bronze AE 17, BMC Mysia p. 129, 160; SNGvA 1371; SNG BnF 1813; SNG Cop -, VF, tight thick flan, scratches, weight 8.662 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, c. 133 - 27 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Asklepios right; reverse AΣKΛHΠIOY / ΣΩTHPOΣ, Asklepian snake coiled around omphalos, owl standing on the snake's back; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


Priapos, Mysia, 3rd - 1st Century B.C.

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Unpublished in the references examined and the only example of the type known to Forum.

Priapos (Karabiga, Turkey today) is located on the Mysian coast, on a small east-facing bay at the mouth of the Biga River, about a third of the distance from ancient Parium to Cyzicus. Strabo mentions that the area produced fine wine and that the god Priapus gave the town its ancient name. Thucydides mentions the town as a naval station. In 334 B.C., the town surrendered to Alexander the Great without contest, prior to the Battle of Granicus. Deities worshiped there included Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, and Dionysus. Under the Eastern Roman Empire, the town was known as Pegae and was the site of a Byzantine fortress.
GB83634. Bronze AE 13, cf. BMC Mysia p. 177, 14 (AE20, full ethnic 2 lines, bucranium); SNG Tub 2500 (same); SNG BNF 2410 (similar); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; Lindgren -, VF, green patina, corrosion, weight 2.400 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 0o, Priapos (Karabiga, Turkey) mint, 3rd - 1st century B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, veiled and wreathed with grain; reverse ΠPIA within grain wreath; extremely rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
GB84659. Bronze AE 21, CNG e-auction 380, lot 417 (same dies); BMC Mysia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tub -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Çanakkale -, SNG Leypold -, F, well centered, small centration dimples, weight 6.202 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 45o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES L SEP SEV ALEXANDER (many letters blundered or retrograde), laureate and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI C G I H PAR (D and H blundered, god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, herm at feet on left; missing from the many references examined by Forum, but several examples are known from auctions; extremely rare; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

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The Julio-Claudian princes depicted on this type are uncertain. References most often identify them as Caius and Lucius caesars, but Drusus and Germanicus have also been suggested, and there are other possibilities. The features of both portraits on this coin resemble Augustus, which doesn't help.
RP77421. Bronze AE 15, RPC I 2246 (7 spec.), SNG Ashmolean 1188, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, gF, nice green patina, old scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.040 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Erdek, Turkey) mint, c. 4 B.C. - 2 A.D.; obverse bare headed male head right; reverse KYZI, bare headed male head right; very rare; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Founded in 709 B.C., the ancient city of Parion was a major coastal city, near Lampsacus, with two harbors used to connect Thrace with Anatolia. Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period, it came under the domain of Lysimachus, and subsequently the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia in the province of Asia. It was the main customs station through which all goods bound for Byzantium from Greece and the Aegean had to pass. When this coin was minted, Parium was within the Conventus of Adramyteum. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, Parium was in the province of Hellespontus. Today it is the village of Kemer in the township of Biga, Canakkale province, Turkey.
RP84683. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online 3152 (4 spec.); ANS Collection 1944.100.43132; BMC Mysia p. 105, 103 var. (no globe); SNG BnF -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG Tub -, Choice F, well centered, attractive toned brassy surfaces, marks, small edge crack, centration dimples, weight 9.952 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, c. 178 - 180, probably 180; obverse IMP CAI Λ AV - COMODVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, with a short beard, from behind; reverse Capricorn swimming right, holding celestial globe between hooves, cornucopia on back, C G I H PAR (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) below; very rare; $170.00 (€151.30)
 




  



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REFERENCES

ANS Collections Database - http://numismatics.org/search/
Arnold-Biucchi, C. "The Pergamene Mint under Lysimachos" in Studies Price.
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (London, 1992 - ).
Davesne, A. & G. Le Rider. Le trésor de Meydancikkale. (Paris, 1989).
Frolova, N., et al. "Cyzicenes from the State Historical Museum, Moscow and the State Hermitage Collections, St. Petersburg" in SNR 86 (2007).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber, Vol. III, Part 1. (London, 1926).
Klein, D. Sammlung von griechischen Kleinsilbermünzen und Bronzen. Nomismata 3. (Milano, 1999).
Kleiner, F. "Hoard Evidence and the Late Cistophori of Pergamum" in ANSMN 23 (1978).
Lindgren, H. & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coins of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
MacDonald, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection, University of Glasgow, Vol. II: Greece, & Asia Minor. (Glasgow, 1901).
Mildenberg, L. & S. Hurter, eds. The Dewing Collection of Greek Coins. ACNAC 6. (New York, 1985).
Mionnet, T. Description de Médailles antiques grecques et romaines. (Paris, 1807-1837).
Müller, L. Die Münzen Des Thracishen Konigs Lysimacus. (Copenhagen, 1858).
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Pinder, M. Über die Cistophoren und über die kaiserlichen Silbermedaillond der Römischen Provinz Asien. (Berlin, 1856).
Price, M. The Coinage in the name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (Zurich-London, 1991).
RPC Online - http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. 2: Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 4: Bosporus-Lesbos. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 4: Mysien-Ionien. (Berlin, 1989).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 1: Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Mysia, Troas, Aiolis, Lesbos, Ionia. (Berlin, 1957).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Médailles, Vol. 5: Mysia. (Paris, 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, Univ. of Glasgow, Part 1: Roman Provincial Coins: Spain-Kingdoms of Asia Minor. (Oxford, 2004).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Thompson, M. Alexander's Drachm Mints II: Lampsacus and Abydus. ANSNS 19 (1991).
Thompson, M. "The Mints of Lysimachus" in Essays Robinson.
Troxell, H. "Orontes, satrap of Mysia?" in SNR 60 (1981).
von Fritze, H. Die antiken Münzen Mysiens, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. IV. (Berlin, 1913).
Waggoner, N. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen. ACNAC 5. (New York, 1983).
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Winzer, A. Antike portraitmünzen der Perser und Greichen aus vor-hellenistischer Zeit (Zeitraum ca. 510-322 v. Chr.). Die frühesten Portraits lebender Menschen: Von Dareios I. bis Alexander III. (March-Hugstetten, 2005).
Wroth, W. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Mysia. (London, 1892).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
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Mysia Greek Coins