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48+1_Even_Better.jpg
Parliament of 49 Owls16 views24 Thompson old catalogue
13 Thompson middle catalogue
8 Thompson late catalogue of which 3 are post-Sullan
3 Imitations of which 1 "old catalogue" 1, "late catalogue" & 1 "post Sullan"
1 pseudo-Athenian New Style Thompson type ii Sullan "Lucullean" issue
cicerokid
00009x00_copy.jpg
17 viewsATTICA, Athens
PB Tessera. (15mm, 4.00 g)
Struck circa 200-263 AD
Helmeted head right
Blank
Lang & Crosby 246

The style of the bust on this token closely matches one discovered in the Stoa at the Athenian Agora, firmly dated to the mid 3rd century AD.
Ardatirion
Asia_Minor_tessera.jpg
23 viewsUNCERTAIN EAST
Circa 300 BC - 100 AD?
PB Tessera (20mm, 3.79 g)
Two punches: bee, Λ A flanking; Nike advancing facing, head right
Blank
Gülbay & Kireç -; Lang & Crosby -; Howgego -

The first punch depicts a bee with a long, cylindrical body, triangular pointed wings, and globular eyes with the letters Λ and A flanking. A second, added later over the edge of the first, shows Nike striding boldly forward with her head slightly to the right. The elegant engraving of the punches, both unlisted as countermarks in Howgego, contrasts starkly with the rough, unfinished flan. Although the basic types of Nike and a bee are common at Ephesos, the fabric and style differ from the issues of that city. Neither does the piece fit with the tokens found in the Athenian Agora. All considered, this piece appears consistent with what one would expect from a temporary token or entry pass, possibly of the pre-Roman period.
Ardatirion
09270630.jpg
0.3 Athenian Tetradrachm (archaic)91 viewsAR Tetradrachm of Athens
449 - 404 BCE
25 mm, 16.6 gm

Obv. archaic Athena r. helmeted
Rev. Owl with A (theta) E; olive and crescent in upper left corner
test cut through Owl
Zam
830.jpg
0.30 AR Athenian Tetradrachm 454-415 BCE62 viewsATTICA: Athens. Ca. 454(?)-415 BC. AR tetradrachm. Athena / Owl. Nice centering.

Silver tetradrachm, pl. XXII, 6´. Svoronos pl. 15, 30., 17.1gm, 24mm, gVF, 449-413 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right with almond shaped eye, wearing crested helmet ornamented with three olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring,; reverse A?E right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, prong tail, to left olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square.
1 commentsEcgþeow
Julian2VotXConstantinople.jpg
1409a, Julian II "the Philosopher," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.143 viewsJulian II, A.D. 360-363; RIC 167; VF; 2.7g, 20mm; Constantinople mint; Obverse: DN FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG, helmeted & cuirassed bust right, holding spear & shield; Reverse: VOT X MVLT XX in four lines within wreath; CONSPB in exergue; Attractive green patina. Ex Nemesis.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Julian the Apostate (360-363 A.D.)

Walter E. Roberts, Emory University
Michael DiMaio, Jr., Salve Regina University

Introduction

The emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus reigned from 360 to 26 June 363, when he was killed fighting against the Persians. Despite his short rule, his emperorship was pivotal in the development of the history of the later Roman empire. This essay is not meant to be a comprehensive look at the various issues central to the reign of Julian and the history of the later empire. Rather, this short work is meant to be a brief history and introduction for the general reader. Julian was the last direct descendent of the Constantinian line to ascend to the purple, and it is one of history's great ironies that he was the last non-Christian emperor. As such, he has been vilified by most Christian sources, beginning with John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzus in the later fourth century. This tradition was picked up by the fifth century Eusebian continuators Sozomen, Socrates Scholasticus, and Theodoret and passed on to scholars down through the 20th century. Most contemporary sources, however, paint a much more balanced picture of Julian and his reign. The adoption of Christianity by emperors and society, while still a vital concern, was but one of several issues that concerned Julian.

It is fortunate that extensive writings from Julian himself exist, which help interpret his reign in the light of contemporary evidence. Still extant are some letters, several panegyrics, and a few satires. Other contemporary sources include the soldier Ammianus Marcellinus' history, correspondence between Julian and Libanius of Antioch, several panegyrics, laws from the Theodosian Code, inscriptions, and coinage. These sources show Julian's emphasis on restoration. He saw himself as the restorer of the traditional values of Roman society. Of course much of this was rhetoric, meant to defend Julian against charges that he was a usurper. At the same time this theme of restoration was central to all emperors of the fourth century. Julian thought that he was the one emperor who could regain what was viewed as the lost glory of the Roman empire. To achieve this goal he courted select groups of social elites to get across his message of restoration. This was the way that emperors functioned in the fourth century. By choosing whom to include in the sharing of power, they sought to shape society.

Early Life

Julian was born at Constantinople in 331. His father was Julius Constantius, half-brother of the emperor Constantine through Constantius Chlorus, and his mother was Basilina, Julius' second wife. Julian had two half-brothers via Julius' first marriage. One of these was Gallus, who played a major role in Julian's life. Julian appeared destined for a bright future via his father's connection to the Constantinian house. After many years of tense relations with his three half-brothers, Constantine seemed to have welcomed them into the fold of the imperial family. From 333 to 335, Constantine conferred a series of honors upon his three half-siblings, including appointing Julius Constantius as one of the consuls for 335. Julian's mother was equally distinguished. Ammianus related that she was from a noble family. This is supported by Libanius, who claimed that she was the daughter of Julius Julianus, a Praetorian Prefect under Licinius, who was such a model of administrative virtue that he was pardoned and honored by Constantine.

Despite the fact that his mother died shortly after giving birth to him, Julian experienced an idyllic early childhood. This ended when Constantius II conducted a purge of many of his relatives shortly after Constantine's death in 337, particularly targeting the families of Constantine's half-brothers. ulian and Gallus were spared, probably due to their young age. Julian was put under the care of Mardonius, a Scythian eunuch who had tutored his mother, in 339, and was raised in the Greek philosophical tradition, and probably lived in Nicomedia. Ammianus also supplied the fact that while in Nicomedia, Julian was cared for by the local bishop Eusebius, of whom the future emperor was a distant relation. Julian was educated by some of the most famous names in grammar and rhetoric in the Greek world at that time, including Nicocles and Hecebolius. In 344 Constantius II sent Julian and Gallus to Macellum in Cappadocia, where they remained for six years. In 351, Gallus was made Caesar by Constantius II and Julian was allowed to return to Nicomedia, where he studied under Aedesius, Eusebius, and Chrysanthius, all famed philosophers, and was exposed to the Neo-Platonism that would become such a prominent part of his life. But Julian was most proud of the time he spent studying under Maximus of Ephesus, a noted Neo-Platonic philospher and theurgist. It was Maximus who completed Julian's full-scale conversion to Neo-Platonism. Later, when he was Caesar, Julian told of how he put letters from this philosopher under his pillows so that he would continue to absorb wisdom while he slept, and while campaigning on the Rhine, he sent his speeches to Maximus for approval before letting others hear them. When Gallus was executed in 354 for treason by Constantius II, Julian was summoned to Italy and essentially kept under house arrest at Comum, near Milan, for seven months before Constantius' wife Eusebia convinced the emperor that Julian posed no threat. This allowed Julian to return to Greece and continue his life as a scholar where he studied under the Neo-Platonist Priscus. Julian's life of scholarly pursuit, however, ended abruptly when he was summoned to the imperial court and made Caesar by Constantius II on 6 November 355.

Julian as Caesar

Constantius II realized an essential truth of the empire that had been evident since the time of the Tetrarchy--the empire was too big to be ruled effectively by one man. Julian was pressed into service as Caesar, or subordinate emperor, because an imperial presence was needed in the west, in particular in the Gallic provinces. Julian, due to the emperor's earlier purges, was the only viable candidate of the imperial family left who could act as Caesar. Constantius enjoined Julian with the task of restoring order along the Rhine frontier. A few days after he was made Caesar, Julian was married to Constantius' sister Helena in order to cement the alliance between the two men. On 1 December 355, Julian journeyed north, and in Augusta Taurinorum he learned that Alamannic raiders had destroyed Colonia Agrippina. He then proceeded to Vienne where he spent the winter. At Vienne, he learned that Augustudunum was also under siege, but was being held by a veteran garrison. He made this his first priority, and arrived there on 24 June 356. When he had assured himself that the city was in no immediate danger, he journeyed to Augusta Treverorum via Autessioduram, and from there to Durocortorum where he rendezvoused with his army. Julian had the army stage a series of punitive strikes around the Dieuse region, and then he moved them towards the Argentoratum/Mongontiacum region when word of barbarian incursions reached him.

From there, Julian moved on to Colonia Agrippina, and negotiated a peace with the local barbarian leaders who had assaulted the city. He then wintered at Senonae. He spent the early part of the campaigning season of 357 fighting off besiegers at Senonae, and then conducting operations around Lugdunum and Tres Tabernae. Later that summer, he encountered his watershed moment as a military general. Ammianus went into great detail about Julian's victory over seven rogue Alamannic chieftains near Argentoratum, and Julian himself bragged about it in his later writing. After this battle, the soldiers acclaimed Julian Augustus, but he rejected this title. After mounting a series of follow-up raids into Alamannic territory, he retired to winter quarters at Lutetia, and on the way defeated some Frankish raiders in the Mosa region. Julian considered this campaign one of the major events of his time as Caesar.

Julian began his 358 military campaigns early, hoping to catch the barbarians by surprise. His first target was the Franks in the northern Rhine region. He then proceeded to restore some forts in the Mosa region, but his soldiers threatened to mutiny because they were on short rations and had not been paid their donative since Julian had become Caesar. After he soothed his soldiers, Julian spent the rest of the summer negotiating a peace with various Alamannic leaders in the mid and lower Rhine areas, and retired to winter quarters at Lutetia. In 359, he prepared once again to carry out a series of punitive expeditions against the Alamanni in the Rhine region who were still hostile to the Roman presence. In preparation, the Caesar repopulated seven previously destroyed cities and set them up as supply bases and staging areas. This was done with the help of the people with whom Julian had negotiated a peace the year before. Julian then had a detachment of lightly armed soldiers cross the Rhine near Mogontiacum and conduct a guerilla strike against several chieftains. As a result of these campaigns, Julian was able to negotiate a peace with all but a handful of the Alamannic leaders, and he retired to winter quarters at Lutetia.

Of course, Julian did more than act as a general during his time as Caesar. According to Ammianus, Julian was an able administrator who took steps to correct the injustices of Constantius' appointees. Ammianus related the story of how Julian prevented Florentius, the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, from raising taxes, and also how Julian actually took over as governor for the province of Belgica Secunda. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, supported Ammianus' basic assessment of Julian in this regard when he reported that Julian was an able representative of the emperor to the Gallic provincials. There is also epigraphic evidence to support Julian's popularity amongst the provincial elites. An inscription found near Beneventum in Apulia reads:
"To Flavius Claudius Julianus, most noble and sanctified Caesar, from the caring Tocius Maximus, vir clarissimus, for the care of the res publica from Beneventum".

Tocius Maximus, as a vir clarissimus, was at the highest point in the social spectrum and was a leader in his local community. This inscription shows that Julian was successful in establishing a positive image amongst provincial elites while he was Caesar.

Julian Augustus

In early 360, Constantius, driven by jealousy of Julian's success, stripped Julian of many troops and officers, ostensibly because the emperor needed them for his upcoming campaign against the Persians. One of the legions ordered east, the Petulantes, did not want to leave Gaul because the majority of the soldiers in the unit were from this region. As a result they mutinied and hailed Julian as Augustus at Lutetia. Julian refused this acclamation as he had done at Argentoratum earlier, but the soldiers would have none of his denial. They raised him on a shield and adorned him with a neck chain, which had formerly been the possession of the standard-bearer of the Petulantes and symbolized a royal diadem. Julian appeared reluctantly to acquiesce to their wishes, and promised a generous donative. The exact date of his acclamation is unknown, but most scholars put it in February or March. Julian himself supported Ammianus' picture of a jealous Constantius. In his Letter to the Athenians, a document constructed to answer charges that he was a usurper, Julian stated that from the start he, as Caesar, had been meant as a figurehead to the soldiers and provincials. The real power he claimed lay with the generals and officials already present in Gaul. In fact, according to Julian, the generals were charged with watching him as much as the enemy. His account of the actual acclamation closely followed what Ammianus told us, but he stressed even more his reluctance to take power. Julian claimed that he did so only after praying to Zeus for guidance.

Fearing the reaction of Constantius, Julian sent a letter to his fellow emperor justifying the events at Lutetia and trying to arrange a peaceful solution. This letter berated Constantius for forcing the troops in Gaul into an untenable situation. Ammianus stated that Julian's letter blamed Constantius' decision to transfer Gallic legions east as the reason for the soldiers' rebellion. Julian once again asserted that he was an unwilling participant who was only following the desire of the soldiers. In both of these basic accounts Ammianus and Julian are playing upon the theme of restoration. Implicit in their version of Julian's acclamation is the argument that Constantius was unfit to rule. The soldiers were the vehicle of the gods' will. The Letter to the Athenians is full of references to the fact that Julian was assuming the mantle of Augustus at the instigation of the gods. Ammianus summed up this position nicely when he related the story of how, when Julian was agonizing over whether to accept the soldiers' acclamation, he had a dream in which he was visited by the Genius (guardian spirit) of the Roman state. The Genius told Julian that it had often tried to bestow high honors upon Julian but had been rebuffed. Now, the Genius went on to say, was Julian's final chance to take the power that was rightfully his. If the Caesar refused this chance, the Genius would depart forever, and both Julian and the state would rue Julian's rejection. Julian himself wrote a letter to his friend Maximus of Ephesus in November of 361 detailing his thoughts on his proclamation. In this letter, Julian stated that the soldiers proclaimed him Augustus against his will. Julian, however, defended his accession, saying that the gods willed it and that he had treated his enemies with clemency and justice. He went on to say that he led the troops in propitiating the traditional deities, because the gods commanded him to return to the traditional rites, and would reward him if he fulfilled this duty.

During 360 an uneasy peace simmered between the two emperors. Julian spent the 360 campaigning season continuing his efforts to restore order along the Rhine, while Constantius continued operations against the Persians. Julian wintered in Vienne, and celebrated his Quinquennalia. It was at this time that his wife Helena died, and he sent her remains to Rome for a proper burial at his family villa on the Via Nomentana where the body of her sister was entombed. The uneasy peace held through the summer of 361, but Julian concentrated his military operations around harassing the Alamannic chieftain Vadomarius and his allies, who had concluded a peace treaty with Constantius some years earlier. By the end of the summer, Julian decided to put an end to the waiting and gathered his army to march east against Constantius. The empire teetered on the brink of another civil war. Constantius had spent the summer negotiating with the Persians and making preparations for possible military action against his cousin. When he was assured that the Persians would not attack, he summoned his army and sallied forth to meet Julian. As the armies drew inexorably closer to one another, the empire was saved from another bloody civil war when Constantius died unexpectedly of natural causes on 3 November near the town of Mopsucrenae in Cilicia, naming Julian -- the sources say-- as his legitimate successor.

Julian was in Dacia when he learned of his cousin's death. He made his way through Thrace and came to Constantinople on 11 December 361 where Julian honored the emperor with the funeral rites appropriate for a man of his station. Julian immediately set about putting his supporters in positions of power and trimming the imperial bureaucracy, which had become extremely overstaffed during Constantius' reign. Cooks and barbers had increased during the late emperor's reign and Julian expelled them from his court. Ammianus gave a mixed assessment of how the new emperor handled the followers of Constantius. Traditionally, emperors were supposed to show clemency to the supporters of a defeated enemy. Julian, however, gave some men over to death to appease the army. Ammianus used the case of Ursulus, Constantius' comes sacrum largitionum, to illustrate his point. Ursulus had actually tried to acquire money for the Gallic troops when Julian had first been appointed Caesar, but he had also made a disparaging remark about the ineffectiveness of the army after the battle of Amida. The soldiers remembered this, and when Julian became sole Augustus, they demanded Ursulus' head. Julian obliged, much to the disapproval of Ammianus. This seems to be a case of Julian courting the favor of the military leadership, and is indicative of a pattern in which Julian courted the goodwill of various societal elites to legitimize his position as emperor.

Another case in point is the officials who made up the imperial bureaucracy. Many of them were subjected to trial and punishment. To achieve this goal, during the last weeks of December 361 Julian assembled a military tribunal at Chalcedon, empanelling six judges to try the cases. The president of the tribunal was Salutius, just promoted to the rank of Praetorian Prefect; the five other members were Mamertinus, the orator, and four general officers: Jovinus, Agilo, Nevitta, and Arbetio. Relative to the proceedings of the tribunal, Ammianus noted that the judges, " . . . oversaw the cases more vehemently than was right or fair, with the exception of a few . . .." Ammianus' account of Julian's attempt at reform of the imperial bureaucracy is supported by legal evidence from the Theodosian Code. A series of laws sent to Mamertinus, Julian's appointee as Praetorian Prefect in Italy, Illyricum, and Africa, illustrate this point nicely. On 6 June 362, Mamertinus received a law that prohibited provincial governors from bypassing the Vicars when giving their reports to the Prefect. Traditionally, Vicars were given civil authority over a group of provinces, and were in theory meant to serve as a middle step between governors and Prefects. This law suggests that the Vicars were being left out, at least in Illyricum. Julian issued another edict to Mamertinus on 22 February 362 to stop abuse of the public post by governors. According to this law, only Mamertinus could issue post warrants, but the Vicars were given twelve blank warrants to be used as they saw fit, and each governor was given two. Continuing the trend of bureaucratic reform, Julian also imposed penalties on governors who purposefully delayed appeals in court cases they had heard. The emperor also established a new official to weigh solidi used in official government transactions to combat coin clipping.

For Julian, reigning in the abuses of imperial bureaucrats was one step in restoring the prestige of the office of emperor. Because he could not affect all elements of society personally, Julian, like other Neo-Flavian emperors, decided to concentrate on select groups of societal elites as intercessors between himself and the general populace. One of these groups was the imperial bureaucracy. Julian made it very clear that imperial officials were intercessors in a very real sense in a letter to Alypius, Vicar of Britain. In this letter, sent from Gaul sometime before 361, the emperor praises Alypius for his use of "mildness and moderation with courage and force" in his rule of the provincials. Such virtues were characteristic of the emperors, and it was good that Alypius is representing Julian in this way. Julian courted the army because it put him in power. Another group he sought to include in his rule was the traditional Senatorial aristocracy. One of his first appointments as consul was Claudius Mamertinus, a Gallic Senator and rhetorician. Mamertinus' speech in praise of Julian delivered at Constantinople in January of 362 is preserved. In this speech, Claudius presented his consular selection as inaugurating a new golden age and Julian as the restorer of the empire founded by Augustus. The image Mamertinus gave of his own consulate inaugurating a new golden age is not merely formulaic. The comparison of Julian to Augustus has very real, if implicit, relevance to Claudius' situation. Claudius emphasized the imperial period as the true age of renewal. Augustus ushered in a new era with his formation of a partnership between the emperor and the Senate based upon a series of honors and offices bestowed upon the Senate in return for their role as intercessor between emperor and populace. It was this system that Julian was restoring, and the consulate was one concrete example of this bond. To be chosen as a consul by the emperor, who himself had been divinely mandated, was a divine honor. In addition to being named consul, Mamertinus went on to hold several offices under Julian, including the Prefecture of Italy, Illyricum, and Africa. Similarly, inscriptional evidence illustrates a link between municipal elites and Julian during his time as Caesar, something which continued after he became emperor. One concrete example comes from the municipal senate of Aceruntia in Apulia, which established a monument on which Julian is styled as "Repairer of the World."

Julian seems to have given up actual Christian belief before his acclamation as emperor and was a practitioner of more traditional Greco-Roman religious beliefs, in particular, a follower of certain late antique Platonist philosophers who were especially adept at theurgy as was noted earlier. In fact Julian himself spoke of his conversion to Neo-Platonism in a letter to the Alexandrians written in 363. He stated that he had abandoned Christianity when he was twenty years old and been an adherent of the traditional Greco-Roman deities for the twelve years prior to writing this letter.

(For the complete text of this article see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/julian.htm)

Julian’s Persian Campaign

The exact goals Julian had for his ill-fated Persian campaign were never clear. The Sassanid Persians, and before them the Parthians, had been a traditional enemy from the time of the Late Republic, and indeed Constantius had been conducting a war against them before Julian's accession forced the former to forge an uneasy peace. Julian, however, had no concrete reason to reopen hostilities in the east. Socrates Scholasticus attributed Julian's motives to imitation of Alexander the Great, but perhaps the real reason lay in his need to gather the support of the army. Despite his acclamation by the Gallic legions, relations between Julian and the top military officers was uneasy at best. A war against the Persians would have brought prestige and power both to Julian and the army.

Julian set out on his fateful campaign on 5 March 363. Using his trademark strategy of striking quickly and where least expected, he moved his army through Heirapolis and from there speedily across the Euphrates and into the province of Mesopotamia, where he stopped at the town of Batnae. His plan was to eventually return through Armenia and winter in Tarsus. Once in Mesopotamia, Julian was faced with the decision of whether to travel south through the province of Babylonia or cross the Tigris into Assyria, and he eventually decided to move south through Babylonia and turn west into Assyria at a later date. By 27 March, he had the bulk of his army across the Euphrates, and had also arranged a flotilla to guard his supply line along the mighty river. He then left his generals Procopius and Sebastianus to help Arsacius, the king of Armenia and a Roman client, to guard the northern Tigris line. It was also during this time that he received the surrender of many prominent local leaders who had nominally supported the Persians. These men supplied Julian with money and troops for further military action against their former masters. Julian decided to turn south into Babylonia and proceeded along the Euphrates, coming to the fortress of Cercusium at the junction of the Abora and Euphrates Rivers around the first of April, and from there he took his army west to a region called Zaitha near the abandoned town of Dura where they visited the tomb of the emperor Gordian which was in the area. On April 7 he set out from there into the heart of Babylonia and towards Assyria.

Ammianus then stated that Julian and his army crossed into Assyria, which on the face of things appears very confusing. Julian still seems to be operating within the province of Babylonia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The confusion is alleviated when one realizes that,for Ammianus, the region of Assyria encompassed the provinces of Babylonia and Assyria. On their march, Julian's forces took the fortress of Anatha, received the surrender and support of several more local princes, and ravaged the countryside of Assyria between the rivers. As the army continued south, they came across the fortresses Thilutha and Achaiachala, but these places were too well defended and Julian decided to leave them alone. Further south were the cities Diacira and Ozogardana, which the Roman forces sacked and burned. Soon, Julian came to Pirisabora and a brief siege ensued, but the city fell and was also looted and destroyed. It was also at this time that the Roman army met its first systematic resistance from the Persians. As the Romans penetrated further south and west, the local inhabitants began to flood their route. Nevertheless, the Roman forces pressed on and came to Maiozamalcha, a sizable city not far from Ctesiphon. After a short siege, this city too fell to Julian. Inexorably, Julian's forces zeroed in on Ctesiphon, but as they drew closer, the Persian resistance grew fiercer, with guerilla raids whittling at Julian's men and supplies. A sizable force of the army was lost and the emperor himself was almost killed taking a fort a few miles from the target city.
Finally, the army approached Ctesiphon following a canal that linked the Tigris and Euphrates. It soon became apparent after a few preliminary skirmishes that a protracted siege would be necessary to take this important city. Many of his generals, however, thought that pursuing this course of action would be foolish. Julian reluctantly agreed, but became enraged by this failure and ordered his fleet to be burned as he decided to march through the province of Assyria. Julian had planned for his army to live off the land, but the Persians employed a scorched-earth policy. When it became apparent that his army would perish (because his supplies were beginning to dwindle) from starvation and the heat if he continued his campaign, and also in the face of superior numbers of the enemy, Julian ordered a retreat on 16 June. As the Roman army retreated, they were constantly harassed by guerilla strikes. It was during one of these raids that Julian got caught up in the fighting and took a spear to his abdomen. Mortally wounded he was carried to his tent, where, after conferring with some of his officers, he died. The date was 26 June 363.

Conclusion

Thus an ignominious end for a man came about who had hoped to restore the glory of the Roman empire during his reign as emperor. Due to his intense hatred of Christianity, the opinion of posterity has not been kind to Julian. The contemporary opinion, however, was overall positive. The evidence shows that Julian was a complex ruler with a definite agenda to use traditional social institutions in order to revive what he saw as a collapsing empire. In the final assessment, he was not so different from any of the other emperors of the fourth century. He was a man grasping desperately to hang on to a Greco-Roman conception of leadership that was undergoing a subtle yet profound change.
Copyright (C) 2002, Walter E. Roberts and Michael DiMaio, Jr. Used by permission.

In reality, Julian worked to promote culture and philosophy in any manifestation. He tried to reduce taxes and the public debts of municipalities; he augmented administrative decentralisation; he promoted a campaign of austerity to reduce public expenditure (setting himself as the example). He reformed the postal service and eliminated the powerful secret police.
by Federico Morando; JULIAN II, The Apostate, http://www.forumancientcoins.com/NumisWiki/view.asp?key=Julian%20II

Flavius Claudius Iulianus was born in 331 or maybe 332 A.D. in Constantinople. He ruled the Western Empire as Caesar from 355 to 360 and was hailed Augustus by his legions in Lutetia (Paris) in 360. Julian was a gifted administrator and military strategist. Famed as the last pagan emperor, his reinstatement of the pagan religion earned him the moniker "the Apostate." As evidenced by his brilliant writing, some of which has survived to the present day, the title "the Philosopher" may have been more appropriate. He died from wounds suffered during the Persian campaign of 363 A.D. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.




2 commentsCleisthenes
ValerianAntVict.jpg
1cx Valerian37 views253-260

Antoninianus

Radiate draped and cuirassed bust, right, IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG
Victory standing left, holding wreath and palm, VICTORIA AVGG

RIC 125

Persians surrounded Valerian's army in the East in 260 and took the emperor prisoner. He died on an unknown date in captivity.

Zosimus noted: The nations subject to the Romans being unable to endure [Maximinus'] monstrous cruelty, and greatly distressed by the ravages he committed, the Africans proclaimed Gordianus and his son, of the same name, emperors, and sent ambassadors to Rome, one of whom was Valerianus, a man of consular rank, who afterwards himself became emperor. . . .

Aemilianus advanced with great speed into Italy, and the armies were very near to each other, when the soldiers of Gallus, reflecting that his force was much inferior to the enemy both in number and strength, and likewise that he was a negligent indolent man, put him and his son to death, and going over to the party of Aemilianus, appeared to establish his authority. But Valerianus brought into Italy from beyond the Alps a vast army, with which he deemed himself secure of conquering Aemilianus. The soldiers of Aemilianus, who saw that his conduct was more like that of a private sentinel than of an emperor, now put him to death as a person unfit for so weighty a charge.

By these means Valerianus became emperor with universal consent, and employed himself in the regulation of affairs. But the excursions of the Scythians, and of the Marcomanni, who made an inroad into all the countries adjacent to the empire, reduced Thessalonica to extreme danger; and though they were with muct difficulty compelled to raise the siege by the brave defence of those within, yet all Greece was in alarm. The Athenians repaired their walls, which they had never thought worth their care since Sylla threw them down. The Peloponnesians likewise fortified the Isthmus, and all Greece put itself upon its guard for the general security.

Valerianus, perceiving the empire in danger on every side, associated his son Gallienus with himself in the government! and went himself into the east to oppose the Persians. He entrusted to his son the care of the forces in Europe, thus leaving him to resist the Barbarians who poured in upon him in every direction. . . .

Valerianus had by this time heard of the disturbances in Bithynia, but his district would not allow him to confide the defence of it to any of his generals. He therefore sent Felix to Byzantium, and went in person from Antioch into Cappadocia, and after he had done some injury to every city by which he passed, he returned homeward. But the plague then attacked his troops, and destroyed most of them, at the time when Sapor made an attempt upon the east, and reduced most of it into subjection. In the mean time, Valerianus became so effeminate and indolent, that he dispaired of ever recovering from the present ill state of affairs, and would have concluded the war by a present of money; had not Sapor sent back the ambasadors who were sent to him with that proposal, without their errand, desiring the emperor to come and speak with him in person concerning the affairs he wished to adjust; To which he most imprudently consented, and going without consideration to Sapor with a small retinue, to treat for a peace, was presently laid hold of by the enemy, and so ended his days in the capacity of a slave among the Persians, to the disgrace of the Roman name in all future times.
Blindado
21-Alex-Roman-Macedonia.jpg
21. Roman Macedon: Tetradrachm in the name of Alexander the Great.41 viewsTetradrachm, ca 90 - 75 BC, Thessalonika mint.
Obverse: ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΩΝ / Head of Alexander, wearing the Horn of Ammon.
Θ behind.
Reverse: AESILLAS Q / Club between money-chest and quaesteor's chair, all in olive-wreath.
16.23 gm., 29 mm.
S. #1463.

The dating of this series is far from certain. The traditional theory of ca 94 - 88 BC is supported by Athenian overstrikes. Others favor dates from the mid- 80s BC through the early 60s BC.
1 commentsCallimachus
50_OK_OWLS.jpg
50 Parliament of Owls10 viewsFrom c 164 BC to 82 BC, The Athenian New Style silver coinage of tetradrachms.
Includes 3 imitations and 1 pseudo-Athenian New Style coin of Marcus Lucullus treasurer and moneyer of L C Sulla. How can anyone say they are not interesting beats me.
cicerokid
coins213.JPG
501. Constantine I Cyzicus GLORIA EXERCITVS29 viewsCyzicus

Cyzicus was an ancient town of Mysia in Asia Minor, situated on the shoreward side of the present peninsula of Kapu-Dagh (Arctonnesus), which is said to have been originally an island in the Sea of Marmara, and to have been artificially connected with the mainland in historic times.

It was, according to tradition, occupied by Thessalian settlers at the coming of the Argonauts, and in 756 BC the town was founded by Greeks 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. (For more information on ancient coinage click here) During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately, and at the peace of Antalcidas (387 BC), like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia.

The history of the town in Hellenistic times is closely connected with that of the Attalids of Pergamon, with whose extinction it came into direct relations with Rome. Cyzicus was held for the Romans against Mithradates in 74 BC till the siege was raised by Lucullus: the loyalty of the city was rewarded by an extension of territory and other privileges. Still a flourishing centre in Imperial times, the place appears to have been ruined by a series of earthquakes —the last in AD 1063— and the population was transferred to Artaki at least as early as the 13th century, when the peninsula was occupied by the Crusaders.

The site is now known as Bal-Kiz and entirely uninhabited, though under cultivation. The principal extant ruins are the walls, which are traceable for nearly their whole extent, a picturesque amphitheatre intersected by a stream, and the substructures of the temple of Hadrian. Of this magnificent building, sometimes ranked among the seven wonders of the ancient world, thirty-one immense columns still stood erect in 1444. These have since been carried away piecemeal for building purposes.

RIC VII Cyzicus 110 R5

Ex-Varangian

ecoli
OWLS_44_LOW.jpg
A parliament of 44 Owls9 views40 official issues
3 Imitations
1 pseudo-Athenian
Basically from the beginning to the end with the Sullan pseudo -Athenian ethnicless New Style imitation which has the monogram of Marcus Lucullus, Quaestor in Greek.
cicerokid
PARLIAMENT_OF_OWLS.jpg
A Parliament of Owls6 views20 Athenian New Style tetradrachms
It was somewhat difficult to get these normally solitary aves together.

All have differing personalities some are large some are small, some are thin and some are not so thin.

Some are primadonnas, some are more down to earth.

When I got a line up just about right I would find that there had been a squabble and some had gone out of position, but in the end I got there.

20 Athenian New Style tetradrachms : Now this is a parliament of owls!



cicerokid
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Alexander III551 viewsAlexander III AR Tetradrachm. ‘Amphipolis’ mint. Struck under Kassander, circa 316-314 BC. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin headdress / Zeus Aëtophoros seated left; shield in left field, pellet-in-Π below throne. 17.1 g.

Price 136; Troxell, Studies, issue L8.

Thanks for the atribution Lloyd!


Most lifetime issues of Alexander the Great were usualy bulky/thick, which did not alow for the entire design of the die to imprint on the coin. IMO looked better then the wide thin flan. (edit: though this one is Struck under Kassander)

The coin was hand stuck with a die/avil. Dies were usually made of Bronze because it was sofeter and easier to work with then iron, (though some were made of iron as well) then the was anealed to make it stronger and less brittle.

The planchets were made by pouring molten metal into a mold and saved until needed. When it was ready to be used, they heated it just below melting point and placed it between the dies and the punch die was struck with a hammer.


-----------------------------


"Building upon his father's success in Greece, Alexander III (Alexander the Great, reigned 336-323 BC) set about the conquest of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. By the time of his death at the age of 31, he ruled most of the known world from Greece to Afghanistan. Initially Alexander continued to mint Philip's gold and silver coins. Soon, however, the need for a silver coinage that could be widely used in Greece caused him to begin a new coinage on the Athenian weight-standard. His new silver coins, with the head of Herakles on one side and a seated figure of Zeus on the other, also became one of the staple coinages of the Greek world. They were widely imitated within the empire he had forged."

--------------------------------------

"......Alexander seems to have liked Amphipolis, because one of his last plans was to spend no less than 315 ton silver for a splendid new temple in the city that was to be dedicated to Artemis Tauropolus. It was never built, but after Alexander's death on 11 June 323 in Babylon, his wife queen Roxane settled in Amphipolis, which appears to have become one of the residences of the Macedonian royals. In 179, king Philip V died in the town."


------------------

Amphipolis , ancient city of Macedonia, on the Strymon (Struma) River near the sea and NE of later Thessaloníki. The place was known as Ennea Hodoi [nine ways] before it was settled and was of interest because of the gold and silver and timber of Mt. Pangaeus (Pangaion), to which it gave access. Athenian colonists were driven out (c.464 BC) by Thracians, but a colony was established in 437 BC Amphipolis became one of the major Greek cities on the N Aegean. This colony was captured by Sparta, and Brasidas and Cleon were both killed in a battle there in 422 BC After it was returned to Athens in 421 BC, it actually had virtual independence until captured (357 BC) by Philip II of Macedon. He had promised to restore it to Athens, and his retention of Amphipolis was a major cause of the war with Athens. In 148 BC it became the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. Paul, Silas, and Timothy passed through Amphipolis (Acts 17.1). Nearby is the modern Greek village of Amfípolis."

--------------------------------

"A quick look at the WildWinds database( http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/macedonia/kings/alexander_III/t.html ) indicates that the style and monograms are consistent with an Amphipolis issue, with perhaps a little less care than usual in the engraving of the reverse. The closest I could locate with a quick look is Price 133 (variant), although yours appears to have a shield rather than dolphin in the left field reverse."
16 commentsrandy h2
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Alpha Bank17 viewsThis is an exact copy of a Tetradrachm from the Alpha Bank numismatic collection.The Athenian Owl the Tetradrachm of the city of Athens is the best known coin of antiquity.This coin exceeded the boundaries of the issuing authority and was widely used in international trade for a long period of time.Grant H
Amphipolis,_Macedon_Athena_-_Goats.jpg
Amphipolis, Macedon ca. 168-149 BC.15 viewsAmphipolis, Macedonia, ca. 168-149 BC. Ae 21 to 23mm. Weight 6.93g. Obv: Head of Artemis right. Rev: ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, two goats standing on their hind legs, butting heads. Minted for Amphipolis in Macedon circa 168-149 BC. Amphipolis was founded by the Athenians in 436 BC to protect their mining interests in the north. The city surrendered to the Spartan general Brasidas in 424 BC. The city preserved its independence until 357, when it was captured by Philip II of Macedon. This piece was minted following the dissolution of the Macedonian monarchy and the establishment of four separate Macedonian republics in 168 BC. The obverse of this type depicts the diademed head of Artemis Tauropolis facing right, with bow and quiver at her shoulder. The reverse type features two goats on their hind legs, contending, face to face, with the Greek legend ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ in the fields. Sear Greek 1394.ddwau
Map_Ancient_City_of_Athens.jpg
Ancient Athens: map13 viewsOne element in this map that I find intriguing is the clearly delineated walls running from the city 'proper' to the port. After instigating the Peloponnesian War, Pericles' plan was to 'wage' a battle of attrition with Sparta. Athenians would 'hunker down' behind her walls, be re-supplied by sea and simply, as it were, wait until Spartan resources and resolve had been depleted. Pericles' plan seemed to be working until the ships supplying Athens delivered a terrible cargo: the plague. It did not take very long for the plague to ravage the walled-in city, and Pericles was one of its victims.

This interesting map is one of many on FORVM's Resources page.
See: http://forumancientcoins.com/forvm/Collectors_Resources.html
Cleisthenes
Athena_Owl_Tet_2d.jpg
Athena * Owl, Athenian AR Tetradrachm * 449-413 BC.480 views
Athena * Owl, Archaic style Athenian Silver Tetradrachm.

Obv: Head of Athena right-facing, archaic almond shaped eye, crested helmet engraved with three olive-leaves & floral scroll, wire necklace, circular earring, hair neatly drawn across forehead in parallel curves and which falls below the neck guard of the helmet in elegant, looped coils, neck truncated with row of dots.
Rev: AOE vertical in right field, Owl standing erect to the right, head facing, prong tail, feet resting on bottom line of the lower plane of the incuse, pellet in center of forehead; to left olive twig and crescent, all engraved within incuse square.

Exergue: (None)

Mint: Athens
Struck: 449-413 BC.

Size: 22.26 x 23.63 mms
Weight: 17.8 grams
Die axis: 90°

Condition: Absolutely gorgeous. Beautifully toned, bright, clear, lustrous silver with superb high-relief details both sides.

Refs:*
Sear, GC, 2526; Vol. I, pg. 236.

12 commentsTiathena
Athen_owl_Tetradrachm_.jpg
Athena and her owl 172 viewsIn Greek mythology, a Little Owl baby (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology. Because of such association, the bird often referred to as the "owl of Athena" or the "owl of Minerva" has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity and erudition throughout the Western world.
The reasons behind the association of Athena and the owl are lost in time. Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls such as their ability to see in the dark to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of Little Owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata).
In any case, the city of Athens seems to have adopted the owl as proof of allegiance to its patron virgin goddess, which according to a popular etiological myth reproduced on the West pediment of the Parthenon, secured the favor of its citizens by providing them with a more enticing gift than Poséidon.
Owls were commonly reproduced by Athenians in vases, weights and prize amphoras for the Panathenaic Games. The owl of Athena even became the common obverse of the Athenian tetradrachms after 510 BC and according to Philochorus, the Athenian tetradrachm was known as glaux throughout the ancient world and "owl" in present day numismatics. They were not, however, used exclusively by them to represent Athena and were even used for motivation during battles by other Greek cities, such as in the victory of Agathocles of Syracuse over the Carthaginians in 310 B.C. in which owls flying through the ranks were interpreted as Athena’s blessing or in the Battle of Salamis, chronicled in Plutarch's biography of Themistocles.
(Source: Wikipédia)
moneta romana
Athena_Parthenos.jpg
Athena Parthenos227 viewsAttica, Athens, ca. 264-267 AD, Æ 21
Helmeted head of Athena right. / AΘHN-AIΩN Athena Parthenos standing left holding Nike, shield and spear.
Kroll, Agora, 284; Sv-pl 82, 5ff; SNG Copenhagen 384.
(21 mm, 4.98 g, 6h)

The statue of Athena depicted on the reverse of this coin is a representation of Phidias cult statue of Athena in the Parthenon on the acropolis of Athens. The statue is stood in the Parthenon until the Fifth century AD, when it was destroyed by fire.

This is amongst the last of the “Roman series” of coins issued from the mint in Athens. In 267 AD Germanic raiders sacked the city bringing to an end the operations of the Athenian mint.
Lloyd T
Attica_beauty_(1_sur_1).jpg
Athena. Classical Beauty Fifth century BC186 viewsc 431/ 415 BC
"Archaic style" head of Athena, wearing crested helmet ornamented with olive leaves and floral scroll, on Athen tetradrachm

I consider this coin as historical to the extent that athenian owl tetradrachm was the first widely used international coinage.

Here, all the coin :
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=21343&pos=0
2 commentsmoneta romana
454-404_BC_-_Athenian_Tetradrachm.jpg
Athenian Classical Tetradrachm -- 454-404 BC19 views16.99 g, 22 mm, 270°
Athens Mint
Silver Tetradrachm
Near VF, toned, test cut on reverse, minor deposits and light scratches.
Kroll 8; SNG Copenhagen 31

Obverse: Classical Bust of Athena.
Reverse: AOE; Owl, Crescent, and Olive Sprig Within Incuse Square.

Owls were the first widely used international coin. They popularized the practice of putting a head on the obverse of a coin and an animal on the reverse. Athena was goddess of both wisdom and warfare and was the patron goddess of Athens. The owl is Athena's attribute or mascot. According to mythology, Athena at times took the very form of her owl. The owl species depicted on Athenian Owls is the Athena Noctua, also called the Little Owl or Minerva Owl.
Hydro
Athena_2.jpg
Athenian Owl445 viewsAttica-Athens
Silver tetradrachm
449-414 B.C.
16.54g, 24mm, 0o
13 commentsmihali84
Athens_Owl.jpg
Athenian Owl478 viewsAttica-Athens
Silver tetradrachm
449-414 B.C.
17g, 24mm, 45o
Interesting Countermark on reverse
6 commentskypros84
Image1.JPG
Athenian Owl Silver Tetradrachm c. 454-414 B.C.57 viewsAthens. c. 454-414 BC. AR tetradrachm (24mm, 17.20 gm, 8h).
Obv: Head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet ornamented with three laurel leaves and vine scroll.
Rev: ΑΘΕ Owl standing right, head facing, olive sprig and crescent moon behind, all within incuse square.
Ref: SNG Copenhagen 32.
Extremely Fine.
mjabrial
Athensowl.jpg
Athenian Tetradrachm25 viewsSilver Tetradrachm minted in Athens between 300-262 BC. 16.81 g

Obv: Helmeted head of Athena right

Rev: Owl standing right, head facing, olive sprig and crescent to l, AΘE in right field
chuy1530
athenowl.jpg
Athens AR Classical Tetradrachm 454-431 BC14 viewsOBVERSE: Helmeted head of Athena right
REVERSE: Owl perched right, Olive leaves and crescent moon in left field; ethnic [AOE] in right field obscured by obverse test punch.

This type of owl is from the high point of Athens' domination of the Greek world. According to Reid Goldsborough's classification it is distinguished by the confident smile on the face of Athena, her full rounded features and, on the reverse, the short legged owl. The coin is somewhat crystallized as seen by the surfaces and its low conductivity. Crystallization is rarely found in Owls, I suspect because their high relief required heating the planchet strongly before striking. Not a perfect coin but the character of Athena nicely represents the opinion that the Athenians had of themselves in their heyday.

weight 16.95 gms
daverino
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Athens Emergency Issue Plated Tetradrachm Circa 406-404 BC938 viewsQuote from David Sear:

"Athens was the greatest power in the Greek world throughout most of the 5th century BC. Its famous 'owl' coinage, principally of silver tetradrachms, possibly commenced in 510 BC on the occasion of the downfall of the tyrant Hippias. On these celebrated coins the helmeted head of the goddess Athena was accompanied by her attendant owl and the first three letters of the ethnic 'AQE'. Later, a diadem of olive leaves was added to Athena's helmet and a cresent moon was placed in the reverse field, though the precise chronological significance of these changes remains uncertain. To the intense chagrin of the Spartans Athens became the leader of the Greek states, including those of Ionia, in the epic struggle against the expansionist policies of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The victories at Salamis (480 BC) and the Eurymedon (circa 467) clearly established the Athenian supremacy in the Aegean world. Initially, the Delian League (founded in 477) was an alliance of independent states sharing a common cause under the leadership of Athens. It gradually developed into an Athenian maritime empire with the member cities obliged to pay an annual tribute into the League's treasury on Delos. In 454 this treasury, amounting to 5,000 talents of silver, was actually removed to Athens and the vast wealth was openly employed for the aggrandizement of the city, now under the leadership of the great statesman Pericles. Vast building projecdts, such as the monumental edifices on the Acropolis, were financed in this way. From 431, however, Athens became embroiled in the protracted Peloponnesian War and increasingly the wealth of the state was dissipated in this futile cause. This attractive tetradrachm belongs to the exceptionally large ouput of Athenian 'owls' made during the second half of the 5th century. In contrast to the artistic development taking place at mints in other parts of the Mediterranean world, the late archaic style of the earlier 5th century became 'frozen' on these issues which represent the first truly imperial coinage of the Greek world. As Athens restricted or forbade the issue of independent currency at many of the cities within her sphere of influence the 'owls' came to circulate over an increasingly wide area. But this all came to an end with the defeat of Athens by Sparta in 404 BC and during the period immediately preceding this catastrophe the Athenians were reduced to the desperate expedient of issuing bronze tetradrachms and drachms with a thin surface coating of silver. This specimen is an excellent example of this emergency coinage the production of which drew contemporary comment from Aristophanes who, in his play Frogs (717ff), compares the decline in the quality of the leading citizens with the recent debasement of the Athenian coinage."
3 commentsGunner
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Athens Tetradrachm Athena and Owl29 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Athenian tetradrachm. 17.05g. Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile, test cut. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AOE, olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square. Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 18, this coin. Ex Amphora.
1 commentsLucas H
va17.jpg
Athens Tetradrachm Athena and Owl18 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Athenian tetradrachm. 17.06g. Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile, test cut. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AOE, olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square, two test cuts. Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 17, this coin. Ex Amphora.
1 commentsLucas H
va67.jpg
Athens Tetradrachm Athena and Owl eastern31 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Easter style Athenian tetradrachm. 16.99 g. Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AOE, olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square. Test cut. Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 67, this coin. Ex Amphora.
1 commentsLucas H
owl,_van_alfen_56.jpg
Athens Tetradrachm Athena and Owl eastern38 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Easter style Athenian tetradrachm. 16.21 g. Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AOE, olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square. Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 56, this coin. Ex Amphora.1 commentsLucas H
Athens_Tetradrachm_Athena_and_Owl_eastern.jpg
Athens Tetradrachm Athena and Owl eastern43 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Eastern style Athenian tetradrachm. (16.7 g, 21x25.4mm, 9h). Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AO[E], olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square. Crack on obverse at 3 o'clock, two test cuts on reverse. Ex Amphora.

Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 57, this coin. Style Group II. The "A" of the ethnic on the reverse is missing a portion of one leg, giving it the appearance of a backwards "P."
2 commentsLucas H
Athens_tetradrachm.jpg
Athens, Attica Tetradrachm70 viewsAR Tetradrachm
Size: 23 mm Weight: 16.73 grams Die axis: 9h

Athens, Attica
454 – 415 BCE

Obverse: Head of Athena to right, wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with three olive leaves above the visor and a floral scroll on the bowl. Hair is drawn in parallel curves, wears a round earring.

Reverse: Owl standing to right, head facing with tail feathers as a single protrusion. Olive sprig and crescent moon to upper left. AΘE to right.

Notes:
- Some porosity and crystallisation, attractive style. Possible bankers mark on cheek.

Ex Freeman & Sear, 2008
2 commentsPharsalos
AthenTetVF.jpg
Athens, Greece, Old Style Tetradrachm, 449 - 413 B.C.121 viewsSilver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31 ff., SGCV I 2526, VF, near full crest, Athens mint, 16.410g, 25.1mm, 90o. Obverse: head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; Reverse: AQE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square.

This coin is one of the most familiar of all the coins struck throughout the ancient Mediterranean. The images of Athena and her Owl, while not static, changed undramatically, in an unhurried and deliberate way. Although its production rests firmly during the time that numismatists call the Classical era (479 BC --336 BC), this coin's "style" better reflects the earlier Archaic period.

The Athenian "Owl" (until its debasement as a result of the Peloponnesian War) was the standard of its day. Between the late 5th century BC and the late 3rd century BC, these coins were the currency against which all other coins were measured. This high esteem was due to the Athenian tetradrachms' consistent weight and quality of silver.

"The little elf-like owl dear to ancient Athens had greenish-blue-gray eyes that could see clearly where humans could not. Glaukopis -- the "shining eyed one" was often shortened to glaux, a nickname for the tetradrachm that bore the owl's likeness" (http://notes.utk.edu/bio/unistudy.nsf/0/da0222e2e80272fd85256785001683e4?OpenDocument).

It is only with the emergence of the Imperial coinage of Alexander the Great (beginning quickly after his ascension to the throne in 336 BC) that the ancient world had another coin as widely accepted. As Martin J. Price notes, "“The impressive list of twenty-three mints on Asian soil and one in Egypt, all used to strike Alexander’s imperial coinage during his lifetime, shows that there was a conscious policy of providing this form of money on an empire-wide basis" (Price, Martin J. The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. Zurich: The Swiss Numismatic Society in Association with British Museum Press, 1991. 72).

More than two millennia after the Athenian Tetracrachm was first struck, the 26th President of The United States, Theodore Roosevelt (b. 1858; d. 1919), is said to have carried an Athenian "Owl" in his pocket--to remind him just how beautiful a coin could be.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
AthensOwl.jpg
Athens, Greece, Pi-Style III Tetradrachm, 353 - c. 340 B.C63 viewsSilver tetradrachm, 17.1g, Athens mint, oval flan, typical of the type.
O: Head of Athena right with eye seen in true profile, wearing crested helmet ornamented with three olive leaves and pi-style floral scroll, pellet in ear.
R: Owl standing right, head facing, to right AΘE in large lettering, to left olive sprig and crescent, pellet over eyes.
- Kroll Pi-Style p. 244, fig. 8; Flament p. 126, 3; SNG Cop 63; SNG Munchen 96; SNG Delepierre 1479; Svoronos Athens pl. 20: 2

Unlike the customary flans of 5th and earlier 4th century Athenian tetradrachms that have solid, rounded edges from having been cast in a mold, these were struck on thick planchets made of flattened, folded-over, older tetradrachms. The flattened coins were not just folded in two but were folded over a second time to produce a planchet of three or four layers

There are three distinct features of this type of Athens Owl coinage. 1st, they have flans that are commonly misshapen. A number of them are so distorted that numismatists and collectors in Greece have long referred to them as “logs” (koutsoura); these are the tetradrachms in the form of long, stretched ovals with one or two nearly straight sides. 2nd, since the flans, of whatever shape, were ordinarily too small for the full relief designs of the dies, relatively few pi-style coins were minted with their entire obverse and/or reverse type showing. 3rd, just as the diameters and surface areas of the pi flans are generally smaller than those of Athenian tetradrachms of the 5th century and of the first half of the 4th century, they tend also to be exceptionally thick.

The name Pi-style refers to the floral helmet ornament on the obverse which resembles the Greek letter pi (P) bisected by a long central tendril.
5 commentsNemonater
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ATTICA, ATHENS, AR Trihemiobol, weight 1,02 g, diameter 11 mm, after 449 BC96 viewsATTICA, ATHENS, AR Trihemiobol, weight 1,02 g, diameter 11 mm, after 449. BCSNGCop 50
Obs:Helmeted head of Athena right.
Rev: Owl standing facing, wings spread; olive sprig above.
Beautifuly centered and struck to high relief and good metal. A splendid example of the ancient work of art. The design of this Trihemiobol is ultimately derived from the famous Athenian Dekadrachm. The dekadrachms (and this coin too) stand apart from the Athenian coinage. (the transformation of the revers type from an owl in profile to one facing the viewer)


Antonio Protti
Attica,.JPG
ATTICA, ATHENS, AR Trihemiobol, weight 1,02 g, diameter 11 mm, after 449 BC178 viewsATTICA, ATHENS, AR Trihemiobol, weight 1,02 g, diameter 11 mm, after 449. BCSNGCop 50

Obs:Helmeted head of Athena right.
Rev: Owl standing facing, wings spread; olive sprig above.

The design of this Trihemiobol is ultimately derived from the famous Athenian Dekadrachm. The dekadrachms (and this coin too) stand apart from the Athenian coinage. (the transformation of the revers type from an owl in profile to one facing the viewer)

4 commentsAntonivs Protti
00221q00.jpg
Attica, Athens. (Circa 454-449 BC)28 viewsAR Tetradrachm

25 mm, 17.20 g

This is a transitional Owl tetradrachm that bridges the early classical owls (minted from 478-454) with the subsequent mass classical (standardized) coinage, which really got going in the early 440s BC to finance Pericles' building projects like the Parthenon and then later the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) vs. Sparta. The 454 date is critical in that it was the year that Athens moved the treasury of the Delian league (confederation of Greek states led by Athens to defend against the Persian threat) from Delos to Athens.

This coin shares many attributes of Starr V early classical coinage (465-454 BC). On the obverse, the olive leaves on Athena's helmet connect to her diadem with small stems (which disappear in the mass coinage). In addition, the palmette leaves on Athena's helmet are smaller, less decorative, and more realistic. Finally, Athena is smiling (she starts to frown as the war with Sparta goes badly) and is more beautifully depicted than in the more hastily produced mass coinage.

On the reverse, like with the Starr V coins, the incuse is quite noticeable and the AOE (short for AOENAION, or "Of the Athenians") is written in smaller letters (they are much bigger in the mass coinage). Also, the owl is stouter, has smaller eyes, and his head is at an angle rather than parallel to the ground like all later issues.

The only difference between the Starr V owls and this example is in the owl's tail - in Starr V it ends with three small feathers. On this coin and all subsequent coinage the owl's tail ends in a single prong. Given all the other similarities to Starr V it is likely this coin was minted soon after the Treasury's move from Delos to Athens - perhaps 454/453.
2 commentsNathan P
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Attica, Athens. (Circa 475-465 BC)17 viewsAR Tetradrachm

24 mm, 17.19 g

Obverse: Helmeted head of Athena right

Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig to left; all within incuse square.

Starr Group IV, HGC 4, 1595. Test cut on reverse.

Chester Starr arranged Athens' coinage from ca. 480 until the mid 5th century into five groups, and his chronology is still widely accepted today (although the dating of the final groups is now considered too late). The style of the "transitional" Athenian tetradrachms from the late 470s through the early 450s B.C. – Starr's groups II through V – is considered the high mark of Athenian coinage. By the time of Starr's Group IV, production of tetradrachms had steadily increased and the uptick in the number of required dies (and engravers) necessitated a greater standardization of style. On the obverse, the head of Athena changes little from Starr's Group III – the goddess has a bold profile and retains her "archaic smile"; the hair on her forehead is arranged in two waves, with a small bend above the eye; and on her helmet, her leaves float above the visor (sometimes referred to as a "laurel wreath," these leaves were first introduced after the victory over the Persians in 480/79 BC). One difference from Group III is the helmet's palmette, which goes from pointing to the adjacent olive leaf to more parallel. On the reverse, the back leg of the Group IV's owl often stretches further back and the tail feather no longer touches the rear claw.
1 commentsNathan P
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Æ 11, Double-bodied owl15 viewsAttica, Athens, c. early or mid-330's-322/317 BC, 1.81g. Obv: Head of Athena r.; Rx: Double-bodied owl, beneath Eleusis ring. BMC-222..;The Athenian Agora-43; Svoronos-35-42, pl. 22. AE 11. Ex D. Lepczyk Auction; Ex John Twente Collection; Ex H.J.BerkPodiceps
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Baktria, Athenian owl imitation9 viewsBaktria, Athenian owl imitation. 393-300 BC. AR Hemidrachm (1.46 gm). Head of Athena r., crested helmet ornamented with olive leaves. Bunch of grapes on vine behind. / Owl stdg r., wings closed, olive twig to l. AOE to r. VF. Boperachichi Sophytes (1996) series 1A; SNG ANS 9 #9; Svornos pl 17 #34-36; MIG -. cf HGC 4,1644.Christian T
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Bithynia, Nikaia, Commodus, Rec. Gen. 27424 viewsCommodus, AD 177-192
AE 17, 3.71g, 16.93mm, 210°
obv. AV.L.KOMODOC - ANTWNINOC
laureate head r.
rev. QHCE - A - NIKAIEIC
unbearded head of Theseus r., clad in lion's-skalp knotted under chin.
ref. Rec. Gen. I/3, 274, pl. LXXIV, 12; RPC IV online temp. no. 6026 (Paris Bibliotheque Nationale no. 930); not in Weise
rare, about VF, dark green patina, slightly excentric

Coins with Theseus are generally rare. Here Theseus is depicted as Athenian Herakles. For more information take a look at the article in the thread "Mythological Interesting Coins", coming soon
1 commentsJochen
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BOEOTIA, Thebes171 viewsIn the late 6th century BC the Thebans were brought for the first time into hostile contact with the Athenians, who helped the small village of Plataea to maintain its independence against them, and in 506 repelled an inroad into Attica. The aversion to Athens best serves to explain the unpatriotic attitude which Thebes displayed during the Persian invasion of Greece (480–479 BC). Though a contingent of 700 was sent to Thermopylae and remained there with Leonidas until just before the last stand when they surrendered to the Persians[1], the governing aristocracy soon after joined King Xerxes I of Persia with great readiness and fought zealously on his behalf at the battle of Plataea in 479 BC. The victorious Greeks subsequently punished Thebes by depriving it of the presidency of the Boeotian League, and an attempt by the Spartans to expel it from the Delphic amphictyony was only frustrated by the intercession of Athens.

In 457 Sparta, needing a counterpoise against Athens in central Greece, reversed her policy and reinstated Thebes as the dominant power in Boeotia. The great citadel of Cadmea served this purpose well by holding out as a base of resistance when the Athenians overran and occupied the rest of the country (457–447). In the Peloponnesian War the Thebans, embittered by the support which Athens gave to the smaller Boeotian towns, and especially to Plataea, which they vainly attempted to reduce in 431, were firm allies of Sparta, which in turn helped them to besiege Plataea and allowed them to destroy the town after its capture in 427 BC. In 424 at the head of the Boeotian levy they inflicted a severe defeat upon an invading force of Athenians at the Battle of Delium, and for the first time displayed the effects of that firm military organization which eventually raised them to predominant power in Greece.

After the downfall of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War the Thebans, finding that Sparta intended to protect the states which they desired to annex, broke off the alliance. In 404 they had urged the complete destruction of Athens, yet in 403 they secretly supported the restoration of its democracy in order to find in it a counterpoise against Sparta. A few years later, influenced perhaps in part by Persian gold, they formed the nucleus of the league against Sparta. At the battles of Haliartus (395) and Coronea (394) they again proved their rising military capacity by standing their ground against the Spartans. The result of the war was especially disastrous to Thebes, as the general settlement of 387 stipulated the complete autonomy of all Greek towns and so withdrew the other Boeotians from its political control. Its power was further curtailed in 382, when a Spartan force occupied the citadel by a treacherous coup-de-main. Three years later the Spartan garrison was expelled, and a democratic constitution definitely set up in place of the traditional oligarchy. In the consequent wars with Sparta the Theban army, trained and led by Epaminondas and Pelopidas, proved itself the best in Greece. Some years of desultory fighting, in which Thebes established its control over all Boeotia, culminated in 371 in a remarkable victory over the pick of the Spartans at Leuctra. The winners were hailed throughout Greece as champions of the oppressed. They carried their arms into Peloponnesus and at the head of a large coalition permanently crippled the power of Sparta. Similar expeditions were sent to Thessaly and Macedon to regulate the affairs of those regions.

However the predominance of Thebes was short-lived; the states which she protected refused to subject themselves permanently to her control, and the renewed rivalry of Athens, which had joined with Thebes in 395 in a common fear of Sparta, but since 387 had endeavoured to maintain the balance of power against her ally, prevented the formation of a Theban empire. With the death of Epaminondas at Mantinea in 362 the city sank again to the position of a secondary power. In a war with the neighbouring state of Phocis (356–346) it could not even maintain its predominance in central Greece, and by inviting Philip II of Macedon to crush the Phocians it extended that monarch's power within dangerous proximity to its frontiers. A revulsion of feeling was completed in 338 by the orator Demosthenes, who persuaded Thebes to join Athens in a final attempt to bar Philip's advance upon Attica. The Theban contingent lost the decisive battle of Chaeronea and along with it every hope of reassuming control over Greece. Philip was content to deprive Thebes of her dominion over Boeotia; but an unsuccessful revolt in 335 against his son Alexander was punished by Macedon and other Greek states by the severe sacking of the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar.

BOEOTIA, Thebes. Circa 395-338 BC. AR Stater (21mm, 11.98 gm). Boeotian shield / Amphora; magistrate AM-FI. Hepworth, "The 4th Century BC Magistrate Coinage of the Boiotian Confederacy," in Nomismatika Xronika (1998), 2; BMC Central Greece -. Fine.

Ex-Cng eAuction 105, Lot: 34 225/200

2 commentsecoli
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Boeotia. Thespiae9 viewsSGCV 2458; BMC Central Greece pg. 90, 4; SNG Copenhagen 401-402

AR obol, .63 g., 9.78 mm. max.

Struck ca. 431-424 B.C.

Obv: Boeotian shield

Rev: ΘEΣ, upward-facing crescent comprised of three lines.

Thespiae was a member of the Boeotian League. In 424 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War, the Thespian contingent of the Boeotian army sustained heavy losses in the Athenian invasion of Boeotia at the Battle of Delium. In 423 B.C. the Thebans dismantled the walls of Thespiae, apparently as a measure to prevent a democratic revolution. The terminus of this emission coincides with these events.

The crescent on the reverse of this coin refers to Aphrodite Melainis, who was worshipped at Thespiai as a moon goddess. The legend is an abbreviation for ΘΕΣΠΙΕΩΝ of Thespians.
Stkp
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BOEOTIA. Thebes. AR Stater.52 viewsCirca 425-400 B.C. AR Stater (12.08gm, 20mm, 5h). BCD Boiotia-388; Head Pg. 36-classy, pl. III#8; SNG Cop. 286. Obverse: Boeotian shield with club across lower half. Reverse: Volute amphora with fluted shoulders, Θ-E across fields, all within incuse square. Well struck on a very good metal. Struck in high relief. Scarce variety. Choice aEF.

Ex Pars Coins

The coins of Boeotia prominently feature the Boeotian shield on its obverse. This particular coin we have from the city-state of Thebes was minted between 425-400 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War. Thebes, at that time, alongside the rest of the 10 Boeotian poleis, sided with the Peloponnesian League under the hegemony of Sparta against the Athenian Empire. The Boeotian Confederation instituted a form of federal coinage based on the Aeginetic standard. A particular period of Theban coinage reached its numismatic artistic merit at around the same period that this coin was minted (425-400 B.C). Although the obverse always shows the shield, the reverse features the head of Dionysos, Herakles or a volute amphora. The amphora eventually became more popular after 400 B.C on the reverse of most Boeotian coin. Early staters showing the amphora on the reverse could be identified by a rounder vase and the city ethnic in the field and all are contained within a square incuse. Later coinage features the same amphora on the reverse and generally includes various magistrates name and less of the city’s ethnic and all are within a round incuse. The obverse also has a more distinct rounder shield on later coinage. At this later date in the mid- 4th century B.C. Thebes was the leading power in Greece and almost united all the Greek city states, freed Messene from Sparta and subdued the latter. Ironically, this paved the way for Macedonian conquest of Greece and in the process, destroyed Thebes and sold its population into slavery by Alexander the Great in 335 B.C.

1 commentsJason T
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CALABRIA, Tarentum183 viewsTaranto was founded in 706 BC by Dorian immigrants as the only Spartan colony, and its origin is peculiar: the founders were Partheniae, sons of unmarried Spartan women and perioeci (free men, but not citizens of Sparta); these unions were decreed by the Spartans to increase the number of soldiers (only the citizens of Sparta could become soldiers) during the bloody Messenian Wars, but later they were nullified, and the sons were forced to leave. According to the legend Phalanthus, the Parthenian leader, went to Delphi to consult the oracle and received the puzzling answer that he should found a city where rain fell from a clear sky. After all attempts to capture a suitable place to found a colony failed, he became despondent, convinced that the oracle had told him something that was impossible, and was consoled by his wife. She laid his head in her lap and herself became disconsolate. When Phalanthus felt her tears splash onto his forehead he at last grasped the meaning of the oracle, for his wife's name meant clear sky. The harbour of Taranto in Apulia was nearby and he decided this must be the new home for the exiles. The Partheniae arrived and founded the city, naming it Taras after the son of the Greek sea god, Poseidon, and the local nymph Satyrion. A variation says Taras was founded in 707 BC by some Spartans, who, the sons of free women and enslaved fathers, were born during the Messenian War. According to other sources, Heracles founded the city. Another tradition indicates Taras himself as the founder of the city; the symbol of the Greek city (as well as of the modern city) is Taras riding a dolphin. Taranto increased its power, becoming a commercial power and a sovereign city of Magna Graecia, ruling over the Greek colonies in southern Italy.

In its beginning, Taranto was a monarchy, probably modelled on the one ruling over Sparta; according to Herodotus (iii 136), around 492 BC king Aristophilides ruled over the city. The expansion of Taranto was limited to the coast because of the resistance of the populations of inner Apulia. In 472 BC, Taranto signed an alliance with Rhegion, to counter the Messapii, Peuceti, and Lucanians (see Iapygian-Tarentine Wars), but the joint armies of the Tarentines and Rhegines were defeated near Kailìa (modern Ceglie), in what Herodotus claims to be the greatest slaughter of Greeks in his knowledge, with 3,000 Reggians and uncountable Tarentines killed. In 466 BC, Taranto was again defeated by the Iapyges; according to Aristotle, who praises its government, there were so many aristocrats killed that the democratic party was able to get the power, to remove the monarchy, inaugurate a democracy, and expel the Pythagoreans. Like Sparta, Tarentum was an aristocratic republic, but became democratic when the ancient nobility dwindled.

However, the rise of the democratic party did not weaken the bonds of Taranto and her mother-city Sparta. In fact, Taranto supported the Peloponnesian side against Athens in the Peloponnesian War, refused anchorage and water to Athens in 415 BC, and even sent ships to help the Peloponnesians, after the Athenian disaster in Sicily. On the other side, Athens supported the Messapians, in order to counter Taranto's power.

In 432 BC, after several years of war, Taranto signed a peace treaty with the Greek colony of Thurii; both cities contributed to the foundation of the colony of Heraclea, which rapidly fell under Taranto's control. In 367 BC Carthage and the Etruscans signed a pact to counter Taranto's power in southern Italy.

Under the rule of its greatest statesman, strategist and army commander-in-chief, the philosopher and mathematician Archytas, Taranto reached its peak power and wealth; it was the most important city of the Magna Graecia, the main commercial port of southern Italy, it produced and exported goods to and from motherland Greece and it had the biggest army and the largest fleet in southern Italy. However, with the death of Archytas in 347 BC, the city started a slow, but ineluctable decline; the first sign of the city's decreased power was its inability to field an army, since the Tarentines preferred to use their large wealth to hire mercenaries, rather than leave their lucrative trades.

In 343 BC Taranto appealed for aid against the barbarians to its mother city Sparta, in the face of aggression by the Brutian League. In 342 BC, Archidamus III, king of Sparta, arrived in Italy with an army and a fleet to fight the Lucanians and their allies. In 338 BC, during the Battle of Manduria, the Spartan and Tarentine armies were defeated in front of the walls of Manduria (nowadays in province of Taranto), and Archidamus was killed.

In 333 BC, still troubled by their Italic neighbours, the Tarentines called the Epirotic king Alexander Molossus to fight the Bruttii, Samnites, and Lucanians, but he was later (331 BC) defeated and killed in the battle of Pandosia (near Cosenza). In 320 BC, a peace treaty was signed between Taranto and the Samnites. In 304 BC, Taranto was attacked by the Lucanians and asked for the help of Agathocles tyrant of Syracuse, king of Sicily. Agathocles arrived in southern Italy and took control of Bruttium (present-day Calabria), but was later called back to Syracuse. In 303 BC-302 BC Cleonymus of Sparta established an alliance with Taranto against the Lucanians, and fought against them.

Arnold J. Toynbee, a classical scholar who taught at Oxford and other prestigious English universities and who did original and definitive work on Sparta (e.g. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. xxxiii 1913 p. 246-275) seemed to have some doubts about Tarentum (Taranto) being of Spartan origin.

In his book The Study of History vol. iii p. 52 he wrote: "...Tarentum, which claimed a Spartan origin; but, even if this claim was in accordance with historical fact..." The tentative phrasing seems to imply that the evidence is neither conclusive or even establishes a high degree of probability of the truth that Tarentum (Taranto) was a Spartan colony.

CALABRIA, Tarentum. Circa 302-281 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 2.91 gm). Helmeted head of Athena right, helmet decorated with Skylla hurling a stone / Owl standing right head facing, on olive branch; Vlasto 1058; SNG ANS 1312; HN Italy 1015. VF.

Ex-Cng eAuction 103 Lot 2 190/150
2 commentsecoli
Hyria.jpg
Campania, Hyrianoi. (Circa 405-400 BC)36 viewsFourrée Nomos (20.5mm, 6.33 g)

Obverse: Head of Athena wearing crested helmet decorated with olive-wreath and owl.

Reverse: Man-faced bull standing r. on exergual line, YDINA (retrograde) above. YDINA is in Oscan script and means "Urina", another name for Hyria.

For prototype, cf. HN Italy 539.

The city, named both Nola (new city) and Hyria (which Nola likely arose from), was situated in the midst of the plain lying to the east of Mount Vesuvius, 21 miles south of Capua. While Neapolis was the focus of minting in this general area, Neapolitan designs were adopted by several new series of coins, some of them bearing legends in Oscan script referring to communities that are otherwise unknown (such as the Hyrianoi). Complex die linking between these different series indicate, at the very least, close cooperation in minting. Didrachms sharing motives (Athena/man headed bull), but with legends referring to different issuing communities on the reverse, testify to the integration into a common material culture in Campania in the late fifth to early fourth century. The die sharing and use of legends in Oscan script allow for an interpretation of these issues as indigenous coinages struck in the Campanian mileu.

The influence of Athens on Hyria can be seen not only in the great number of Greek vases and other articles discovered at the old city but by the adoption of the head of Pallas with the Athenian owl as their obverse type.

This particular coin is an ancient forgery, which were quite common in Magna Graecia and typically of much higher quality than fourrees produced elsewhere. In ON THE FORGERIES OF PUBLIC MONEY [J. Y. Akerman
The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society, Vol. 6 (APRIL, 1843–JANUARY, 1844), pp. 57-82] it is noted that ancient forgeries tend "to be most abundantly found to belong to the most luxurious, populous, and wealthy cities of Magna Graecia...Nor is it surprising that the luxury and vice of those celebrated cities should have led to crime; and among crimes, to the forging of money, as furnishing the means for the more easy gratification of those sensual indulgences, which were universally enjoyed by the rich in those dissipated and wealthy cities. Many of the coins of the places in question having been originally very thickly coated, or cased with silver (called by the French, fourrees), pass even now among collectors without suspicion."
1 commentsNathan P
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Chalkis, Euboia72 views340-294 BC
AR Drachm (18mm, 3.46g)
O: Head of nymph Chalkis (or Hera?) right, hair rolled.
R: Eagle flying right, holding serpent in his talons and beak; trophy of arms below.
SNG Cop 432; Sear 2482
From the Wallace and BCD collections. ex Pegasi Numismatics

Chalkis was an important Ionian colony on the island of Euboia, and the homeland of many Greek colonies in Magna Graecia, including Cumae and Rhegium.
After the ruin of neighboring Eretria by Athens, Chalkis was left as the supreme power in the region. However Athens conquered Chalkis in 506 BC, establishing a settlement of 4000 Athenians on the island and leaving all of Euboea as a dependency. A rebellion in 446 was put down by Perikles of Athens, who sent more colonists to settle nearby Histiaea, establishing a firm control of this island which was so strategically important to the security of the mother city.
By 410 Euboea had once again regained its’ independence, but fell to the Macedonians under Phillip II, and then finally to Rome.
1 commentsEnodia
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Cilician Satraps, Datames6 viewsDatames. 379-374 BC. AR Stater (10.76 gm) of Tarsos. Struck 373/2-369/8. Head of Arethusa turned slightly l., with streaming hair, with sphendone & necklace. / Bearded male head r. with crested Athenian helmet; Aramiac TRDMW (=Datames) before. Toned EF.  SNG Levante 79; SNG France 2, 258ff; SNG von Aulock 5937; Casabonne Type 1; Moysey Issue 4.  Christian T
ConstanCommRIC63_ConstantinopleMint.jpg
City of Constantinople Commemorative, 330 - 333 A.D.80 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC 63, VF, Constantinople, 2.524g, 18.5mm, 0o, 330 - 333 A.D.; Obverse: CONSTAN-TINOPOLI, Constantinopolis' helmeted bust left in imperial cloak and holding scepter across left shoulder; Reverse: Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right, resting left on grounded shield, CONSZ in exergue; nice style. Ex FORVM.

Constantinople Commemoratives minted by the actual city of Constantinople mint are much scarcer than those minted by other Eastern mints.

The village that was to become the site of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istambul was founded c. 658 B. C. by a Greek colony from Megara; the site was then occupied by the Thracian village of Lygos. The chief of the Megarian expedition was Byzas, after whom the city was naturally called Byzantion (Lat. Byzantium). Despite its perfect situation, the colony did not prosper at first; it suffered much during the Medic wars, chiefly from the satraps of Darius and Xerxes. Later on, its control was disputed by Lacedæmonians and Athenians; for two years (341-339 B. C.) it held out against Philip of Macedon. It succeeded in maintaining its independence even against victorious Rome, was granted the title and rights of an allied city, and its ambassadors were accorded at Rome the same honours as those given to allied kings; it enjoyed, moreover, all transit duties on the Bosporus. Cicero defended it in the Roman Senate, and put an end to the exactions of Piso.

The city continued prosperous to the reign of Septimius Severus, when it sided with his rival, Pescennius Niger. After a siege of three years (193-196) Severus razed to the ground its walls and public monuments, and made it subject to Perinthus or Heraclea in Thrace. But he soon forgave this resistance, restored its former privileges, built there the baths of Zeuxippus, and began the hippodrome. It was devastated again by the soldiers of Gallienus in 262, but was rebuilt almost at once. In the long war between Constantine and Licinius (314-323) it embraced the fortunes of the latter, but, after his defeat at Chrysopolis (Scutari), submitted to the victor.

Constantine had chosen this city as the new capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and the needs of the State, he rarely resided there.

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV; Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company;Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
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City of Constantinopolis Commemorative, 330-346 A.D. (Cyzikus)48 viewsConstantinopolis City Commemorative, issued by CONSTANTINE THE GREAT AND HIS SONS, of the period AD 330-346, commemorating the transfer of the Seat of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople, AE3/4, aVF, Cyzikus. Obverse: CONSTAN-TINOPOLI, Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle, holding inverted spear, laureate helmet, bust L.; Reverse: No legend; Victory stg. L., right foot on prow, holding scepter and leaning on shield; star?pellet?SMK pellet? in exergue.

The village that was to become the site of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istambul was founded c. 658 B. C. by a Greek colony from Megara; the site was then occupied by the Thracian village of Lygos. The chief of the Megarian expedition was Byzas, after whom the city was naturally called Byzantion (Lat. Byzantium). Despite its perfect situation, the colony did not prosper at first; it suffered much during the Medic wars, chiefly from the satraps of Darius and Xerxes. Later on, its control was disputed by Lacedæmonians and Athenians; for two years (341-339 B. C.) it held out against Philip of Macedon. It succeeded in maintaining its independence even against victorious Rome, was granted the title and rights of an allied city, and its ambassadors were accorded at Rome the same honours as those given to allied kings; it enjoyed, moreover, all transit duties on the Bosporus. Cicero defended it in the Roman Senate, and put an end to the exactions of Piso.

The city continued prosperous to the reign of Septimius Severus, when it sided with his rival, Pescennius Niger. After a siege of three years (193-196) Severus razed to the ground its walls and public monuments, and made it subject to Perinthus or Heraclea in Thrace. But he soon forgave this resistance, restored its former privileges, built there the baths of Zeuxippus, and began the hippodrome. It was devastated again by the soldiers of Gallienus in 262, but was rebuilt almost at once. In the long war between Constantine and Licinius (314-323) it embraced the fortunes of the latter, but, after his defeat at Chrysopolis (Scutari), submitted to the victor.

Constantine had chosen this city as the new capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and the needs of the State, he rarely resided there.

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV; Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company;Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
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Cyprus, Salamis. Evagoras II (361-351 BC) 14 viewsObv: Head of Athena left in crested Athenian helmet.
Rev: Forepart of bull left.
BMC 61.75
ancientone
37498_Delos,_Athenian_Cleruchy,_c__2nd_-_1st_Century_B_C_.jpg
Delos, Athenian Cleruchy, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C. AE 9, Owl on column13 viewsDelos, Athenian Cleruchy, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C. Bronze AE 9, Svoronos, Athens, plate 106, 39-40; BMC -; SNG Cop -, Fine, Delos mint, 1.175g, 9.7mm, 0o, obverse head right; reverse A [“Θ”] E, owl on column; rare. A cleruchy was a special type of colony developed by Athens. Unlike the colonies of other cities, the cleruchs kept Athenian citizenship. Using the cleruchy system, Athens kept population growth under control, while increasing its economic and military power. Besides Delos, other cleruchies were at Salamis, Chalkis, on Samos, and in Thracian Chersonese. Ex FORVM, photo credit FORVMPodiceps
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DYNASTS OF LYCIA. Perikles (Circa 380-360 BC)17 viewsTetrobol. Uncertain mint, possibly Limyra.

18 mm, 2.80 g

Obv: Facing scalp of lion.
Rev: 𐊓𐊁𐊕-𐊆𐊋-𐊍𐊁 ("Perikle" in Lycian), Triskeles ("three legs" in Greek) within incuse circle.

Müseler VIII.47-51; SNG von Aulock 4254-5.

Lycia initially fought for the Persians in the Persian Wars, but on the defeat of the Achaemenid Empire by the Greeks, it became intermittently a free agent. After a brief membership in the Athenian Empire, it seceded and became independent (its treaty with Athens had omitted the usual non-secession clause), was under the Persians again, revolted again (the Revolt of the Satraps), was conquered by Mausolus of Caria, returned to the Persians, and went under Macedonian hegemony at the defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great.

Pericles, who ruled from 380 BC to about 360 BC, was ruler during the Revolt of the Satraps. The Satraps’ revolt was a rebellion in the Achaemenid Empire of several satraps against the authority of the Great King Artaxerxes II Mnemon. During the Revolt of the Satraps, Pericles declared himself king of Lycia and drove out the Xanthian ruler Arttum̃para. Pericles is regarded as the last king of Lycia. After the revolt failed, the land once again reverted to the empire.

Struck during the reign of Pericles (Perikle), c. 380-361/2 BC, this issue may be connected to Perikles' conquests in Lycia and Caria and/or the satrapal revolt of 362/1. It was, however, struck in great haste and with little quality control: the vast majority of the surviving examples were struck from worn or broken dies and are often poorly centered on small flans.
Nathan P
Egypt1a_img.jpg
Egypt, Athens Imitative, Silver tetradrachm164 viewsObv:– Head of Athena right, droopy eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and bent-back palmette, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves.
Rev:– ΑΘΕ, right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square;
Minted in Egypt from . B.C. 420 - 380.
Reference:– cf. SNG Cop 31 ff., SGCV I 2526 (Athens),

Ex- Forum Ancient Coins where they graded it VF. The metal did not fill the die completely on the obverse resulting in the rough flat high area near Athena's temple. A test cut on the reverse was filled with pitch in antiquity.

The silver is quite bright making it relatively tricky to photograph.

From the Harald Ulrik Sverdrup Collection. Ex CNG. From a small hoard of 5 Athenian and 4 Athenian imitative issues.

Comment provided by Forum -
"Athenian tetradrachms with this droopy eye and bent back palmette have been identified as Egyptian imitative issues because they are most frequently found in Egypt and rarely in Greece.

Early in his reign the Egyptian Pharaoh Hakor, who ruled from 393 to 380 B.C., revolted against his overlord, the Persian King Artaxerxes. In 390 B.C. Hakor joined a tripartite alliance with Athens and King Evagoras of Cyprus. Persian attacks on Egypt in 385 and 383 were repulsed by Egyptian soldiers and Greek mercenaries under the command of the Athenian general Chabrias. Perhaps these coins were struck to pay the general and his Greek mercenaries."

17.157g, 25.3mm, 270o
3 commentsmaridvnvm
Egypt_1a_img.jpg
Egypt, Athens Imitative, Silver tetradrachm34 viewsObv:– Head of Athena right, droopy eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and bent-back palmette, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves.
Rev:– ΑΘΕ, right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square;
Minted in Egypt from . B.C. 420 - 380.
Reference:– cf. SNG Cop 31 ff., SGCV I 2526 (Athens),

Ex- Forum Ancient Coins where they graded it VF. The metal did not fill the die completely on the obverse resulting in the rough flat high area near Athena's temple. A test cut on the reverse was filled with pitch in antiquity.

The silver is quite bright making it relatively tricky to photograph.

From the Harald Ulrik Sverdrup Collection. Ex CNG. From a small hoard of 5 Athenian and 4 Athenian imitative issues.

Comment provided by Forum -
"Athenian tetradrachms with this droopy eye and bent back palmette have been identified as Egyptian imitative issues because they are most frequently found in Egypt and rarely in Greece.

Early in his reign the Egyptian Pharaoh Hakor, who ruled from 393 to 380 B.C., revolted against his overlord, the Persian King Artaxerxes. In 390 B.C. Hakor joined a tripartite alliance with Athens and King Evagoras of Cyprus. Persian attacks on Egypt in 385 and 383 were repulsed by Egyptian soldiers and Greek mercenaries under the command of the Athenian general Chabrias. Perhaps these coins were struck to pay the general and his Greek mercenaries."

17.157g, 25.3mm, 270o

Updated image using new photography setup.
maridvnvm
Euboea_Histiaea_Nymph_on_Prow.JPG
Euboea Histiaea Nymph on Prow15 viewsEuboea, Histiaea, Silver Hemidrachm, 300 - 200 BC, BMC 8 - 47-8, SEAR 2496, 1.6g, 13.07mm - 15.87mm
OBV: Bust of the nymph Histiaea facing right, wreathed with vine, hair rolled
REV: ΙΣΤΙΑΙΕΩΝ, Nymph Histiaea seated right on prow of a galley, holding naval mast with yard,
name ΙΣΤΙΑΙΑ below
This type, commemorated the expulsion, with Athenian help of the pro-Macedonian tyrant Philistides in 340 B.C.
Romanorvm
GRK_Euboia_Histiaia_tetrobol.JPG
Euboia, Hisiaia.12 viewsSear 2496, BCD Euboia 378-424, BMC 24 ff.

AR tetrobol, 12-13 mm, 3rd-2nd centuries B.C.

Obv: Wreathed head of nymph Histiaia with her hair rolled facing right.

Rev: ΙΣΤ--AIEΩN; nymph Histiaia seated right on stern of galley, wing on side of galley,control symbol(s), if any, below (off flan).

Histiaia, named after its patron nymph, commanded a strategic position overlooking the narrows leading to the North Euboian Gulf. In the Illiad, Homer describes the surrounding plain as “rich in vines.” In 480 B.C. the city was overrun by the Persians. After the Persian Wars it became a member of the Delian Confederacy. In 446 the Euboians revolted, seized an Athenian ship and murdered its crew. They were promptly reduced by Athens. Perikles exiled the population to Macedonia and replaced them with Athenians. The exiled population probably returned at the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404; thereafter they seem to have been largely under the control of Sparta until they joined the Second Athenian Confederacy in 376-375. The city appears to have become a member (for the first time) of the reconstituted league of Euboian cities in 340, but its allegiance during most of the 4th century seems to have vacillated between Athens and Macedonia. It was pro-Macedonian during the 3rd century, for which it was attacked in 208 and captured in 199 by a Roman-Pergamene force. The Roman garrison was removed in 194. To judge from the wide distribution of its coinage, Histiaia continued to prosper. Little is known of its later history, but finds at the site indicate it continued to be inhabited in Roman, Byzantine, and later times. (per NumisWiki)

The date of this extensive coinage is difficult to determine and is the subject of controversy. The bulk of it would appear to belong to the latter part of the third century B.C., and it may have commenced with the cessation of silver issues for the Euboian League circa 267 B.C. There are numerous imitations, of poor style and rough execution, which would seem to have been produced in Macedon just prior to the Roman victory over Perseus in 168 B.C. (per Sear)

Ref: Numismatik Lanz. Münzen von Euboia: Sammlung BCD. Auction 111 (November 25, 2002). Munich.
Stkp
Gallienus_Syedra_JudgementOfAres_13_77g_28-29mm_LG.jpg
Gallienus, Syedra, judgement of Ares, AE2949 viewsGallienus, 253-268 AD, Syedra, Cilicia
29mm, 13.77g
Obv: AVT K ΠO ΛIK ΓAΛΛIHNOC CEB / IA; laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind
Rev: CVEΔPEΩN, Ares, cuirassed and helmeted, standing left between Dike, standing to left, head right, and Hermes, standing to right, holding Kerykeion and wearing winged shoes, holding the arms of Ares
SNG PFPS VI 1239 (same dies)

ex Rutten & Wieland (seller's picture)

'CNG notes on a similar coin:

Ares slew Halirrhothios, son of Poseidon, for assaulting Ares' daughter, Alcippe. The site where Ares came before the gods for judgement, escorted by Dike (Justice) and the herald Hermes, became the Areopagus (Hill of Ares) in Athens, the location of the Athenian law courts. Ares was absolved of murder. It is unknown why this event had such import for Syedra, but the scene appears frequently on its 3rd century coinage.

In fact, as Johannes Nollé and Margret Karola pointed out*, it is known why Syedra issued coins with this scene: In late Hellenistic times the inhabitants of Syedra suffered from repeated assaults of pirates. In these dangerous times, the people of Synedra contacted the oracle of Klaros for help and received the advice to erect a statue of Ares bound by Hermes and being judged by Dike in their city. This statue would protect them against the assaults of the pirates. The base of the statue with the inscription of this action was found during the excavation of Syedra.

*Götter, Städte, Münzen: Kleinasiatische Münzen der Römischen Kaiserzeit, Begleitheft zu einer Ausstellung von Münzen der Pfälzer Provatsammlungen, Münzen 1994, o. 23 f.'
areich
Gela,_Sicily,_c__430_-_425_B_C_.jpg
Gela, Sicily, c. 430 - 425 B.C.60 viewsSilver litra, Jenkins Gela, group VI, 401 - 453; SNG Cop 275; BMC Sicily p. 71, 52; HGC 2 374 (R1), aF, dark toning, scratches, corrosion, flan cracks, Gela mint, weight 0.563g, maximum diameter 13.3mm, die axis 45o, c. 430 - 425 B.C.; obverse bearded cavalryman charging left on horseback, helmeted, armed with shield and couched spear; reverse CEΛAΣ, forepart of a man-faced bull (river god) swimming right; from a Northern Florida collector.

EX FORVM . With my sincere thank and appreciation , Photo and Description courtesy of FORVM Ancient Coins Staff.

Gela, named after the river Gela, was founded around 688 BC by colonists from Rhodos (Rhodes) and Crete, 45 years after the founding of Syracuse. In 424 B.C., the Congress of Gela established a platform of "Sicily for the Sicilians" and formed a league that pushed back the Athenian attempt to conquer the island.
2 commentsSam
Lion_of_Amphipolis.jpg
Greece, Amphipolis, Lion of Amphipolis - Via Egnatia, west side of the Strymonas river71 viewsAmphipolis is best known for being a magnificent ancient Greek polis (city), and later a Roman city, whose impressive remains can still be seen. It is famous in history for events such as the battle between the Spartans and Athenians in 422 B.C., and also as the place where Alexander the Great prepared for campaigns leading to his invasion of Asia. Alexander's three finest admirals, Nearchus, Androsthenes and Laomedon, resided in this city and it is also the place where, after Alexander's death, his wife Roxane and their small son Alexander IV were exiled and later murdered. Excavations in and around the city have revealed important buildings, ancient walls and tombs. The finds are displayed at the archaeological museum of Amphipolis. At the nearby vast Kasta burial mound, an important ancient Macedonian tomb has recently been revealed. The unique and beautiful "Lion of Amphipolis" monument nearby is a popular destination for visitors.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Loewe_von_Amphipolis.jpg
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Date 16 June 2018
Author Neptuul
Joe Sermarini
s_House_-_Athens.jpg
Greece, Athens - The Gate of Schliemann's House - Athens237 viewsNot exactly an ancient site but as the home of the Greek Numismatic Museum it houses one of the great collections of ancient coins .... a must see on any visit to Athens.

This is photo is of one of the wrought iron gates of Schliemann’s Athenian mansion constructed in 1878/9. The swastika motif derives from his Trojan excavations and borders a design of winged sphinxes and acanthus leaves capped by an owl with spread wings.
Lloyd T
Athens_3483.jpg
Greece, Athens, Heinrich Schliemanns house.46 viewsReverse die of an Athenian Tetradrachm Heinrich Schliemanns house Grant H
The_Acropolis_from_The_Pnyx_copy.JPG
Greece, Athens, The Acropolis from the Pnyx.209 viewsThe Pnyx, the home of democracy is the sloping area in the foreground, while the Acropolis dominates the background. Here assembled the Athenian citizen body to hear the great Athenian masters of rhetoric and to cast their votes on the most momentous decisions in the history of ancient Athens. The speaker's platform cut from the rear bedrock face of the Pnyx is to be seen in the centre right. As seen here the remains of the Pynx date from its third and final phase of development in the mid-fourth century BC when it was greatly expanded to accommodate the growing citizen body.Lloyd
The_Pnyx_-_Approach_from_the_Agora.JPG
Greece, Athens, The Approach to the Pynx from the Agora246 viewsThe home of democracy, the Pnyx was rebuilt and expanded in the 3rd quarter of the 4th century B.C., probably around 345-335 B.C. A massive, curved, retaining wall was built, as seen in this image. The steps of the old walkway from the Agora are visible and overbuilt by the retaining wall. Great Athenians such as Themistocles, Pericles and Socrates would have walked this path and steps in the heady days of the zenith Athenian democracy. 1 commentsLloyd
Outer_Stone_Wall_of_the_Pnyx.JPG
Greece, Athens, The Pnyx - outer stone retaining wall.242 viewsThe home of democracy, the Pnyx was rebuilt and expanded in the 3rd quarter of the 4th century B.C., probably around 345-335 B.C. A massive, curved, retaining wall was built, as seen in this image. The steps of the old walkway from the Agora are visible and overbuilt by the retaining wall. Great Athenians such as Themistocles, Pericles and Socrates wolud have walked ths path and steps in the heady days of the zenith Athenian democracy. 1 commentsLloyd
DSC00718.jpg
Greece, Delphi - The Theatre at Delphi overlooking the Temple of Apollo with the Treasury of the Athenians in the background228 viewsLloyd T
Athens_3338.jpg
Greece, Lavreotiki, Thorikos26 viewsAthenian silver mine.
Due to its proximity to the mines of Lavrion, Thorikos was the mining centre of the Lavreotika region. The site was inhabited from the Neolithic age (ca. 4500 BC) until the 1st century BC. The silver from here set the foundations of the city-state of Athens, making it possible to mint the city's famous silver “Owl” coin.
Grant H
Greece,_Attica,_Athens,_Tetradrachm,_25_mm,_17_14g,_454-404_BC.jpg
GREEK, Attica, Athens, Owl Tetradrachm57 viewsGreece, Attica, Athens, "Athenian Owl" Tetradrachm, 25 mm, 17.14g, 454-404 BC

Please also see the wonderful and comprehensive write up on the "Athenian Owl" at the link below:
http://athenianowlcoins.reidgold.com/
mitresh
Baktria,_Sophytes_Hemidrachm~0.jpg
GREEK, Baktria, Sophytes, 305-295 BC, AR Hemidrachm - Nicolet-Pierre and Amandry, RN (1994), 62 (this coin)216 viewsHelmeted head of Athena right.
Eagle standing left, head right, grape bunch and leaf on vine above.
Nicolet-Pierre and Amandry, RN (1994), 62 (this coin); SNG ANS 17-18.
(11 mm, 1.60 g, 6h)
Jean Elsen et Ses Fils (January 2010); ex Gorny 148 (1990) Lot 614; ex-1990 Afghanistan Commerce Hoard

This coin was one of a group of sixty five pseudo-Athenian Baktrian coins that came to market in Paris in 1990, documented by Nicolet-Pierre and Amandry in Un Nouveau Tresor de Monnaies D’argent Pseudo-Atheniennes Venu D’Afghanistan (1990). The 1990 Afghanistan Commerce Hoard increased by at least three fold the number of known examples of this coinage. Together with the associated discoveries of attic weight Sophytes issues, this proved decisive in linking the anepigraphic pseudo-Athenian issues to the later epigraphic issues of Sophytes. This coin is number 62 of the catalogue of Nicolet-Pierre and Amandry. It is amongst the finest hemidrachms of the eagle series known.
1 commentsLloyd T
AthensBarb.jpg
GREEK, Barbarous Copy of an Athenian Owl509 viewsTetradrachm with obverse head of Athena. Reverse has owl standing, right, with olive twig and crescent moon. Partial legend to right.
20 mm 16.8 gm
Some coins are like ugly kids. When they're yours, you love 'em!!
Massanutten
2 commentsMassanutten
Egypt1a_img~0.jpg
GREEK, Egypt, 420 - 380 BC, AR Tetradrachm (Athens owl imitative)271 viewsObv:– Head of Athena right, droopy eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and bent-back palmette, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves.
Rev:– AΘE, right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square;
Minted in Egypt from . B.C. 420 - 380.
Reference:– cf. SNG Cop 31 ff., SGCV I 2526 (Athens),
ex-Forum. From the Harald Ulrik Sverdrup Collection. Ex CNG. From a small hoard of 5 Athenian and 4 Athenian imitative issues.

Athenian tetradrachms with this droopy eye and bent back palmette have been identified as Egyptian imitative issues because they are most frequently found in Egypt and rarely in Greece.

Early in his reign the Egyptian Pharaoh Hakor, who ruled from 393 to 380 B.C., revolted against his overlord, the Persian King Artaxerxes. In 390 B.C. Hakor joined a tripartite alliance with Athens and King Evagoras of Cyprus. Persian attacks on Egypt in 385 and 383 were repulsed by Egyptian soldiers and Greek mercenaries under the command of the Athenian general Chabrias. Perhaps these coins were struck to pay the general and his Greek mercenaries.

The metal did not fill the die completley on the obverse resulting in the rough flat high area near Athena's temple. A test cut on the reverse was filled with pitch in antiquity.

17.157g, 25.3mm, 270o
2 commentsmaridvnvm
Velia_(Hyele,_Elea)~0.jpg
Greek, Italy, Lucania, Velia, Ca. 340-334 BC, Stater72 views23mm, 7.63 gm, 3h
Head of Athena right, wearing crested Athenian helmet decorated with griffin crouching right, Σ (engraver's signature?) on neck guard / Lion walking right, slightly crouching, Π below, YEΛHTΩN in exergue. Williams 251. HN Italy 1283. A surprisingly rare variety! Struck in high relief from dies of refined style.
1 commentsLeo
Sybaris-both-web~0.jpg
GREEK, Italy, Sybaris Nomos 540-520 BC Gillette Collection486 viewsNomos circa 540-520, AR 7.82 g. 31mm Bull standing l. on dotted bar, head reverted; in exergue, VM. The whole within dotted border. Rev. Same type incuse on broken bar, without legend. The whole within radiate border. Historia Numorum Italy 1729. Cf. SNG Copenhagen 1388.

Gorini 1 and enlarged p. 107 (this coin).

An extremely rare variety. Nicely toned and good very fine
Ex Triton sale 1, 1998, 121. Barry Fierstein Collection. From the Gillette collection 1924

NAC 39 Lot 5 May 17th, 2007


Sybaris (Greek: Σύβαρις; Italian: Sibari) was a celebrated city of Magna Graecia on the western shore Gulf of Taranto, a short distance from the sea, between the rivers Crathis (Crati) and Sybaris (Coscile). The last of these, from which it derived its name, at the present day falls into the Crati about 5 km from its mouth, but in ancient times undoubtedly pursued an independent course to the sea. Sybaris was apparently the earliest of all the Greek colonies in this part of Italy, being founded, according to the statement of Scymnus Chius, as early as 720 BCE. The site is located within the limits of the present-day comune of Cassano allo Ionio, in the province of Cosenza (Calabria), Italy.

Sybaris was Italy’s most prosperous Achaean colony. Sybaris was destroyed in 510 BC by Croton which exiled the colonists. The Athenians and Sybarite descendants established themselves in a joint colony, New Sybaris, in 443. Eventually, making themselves unpopular, the Sybarites were expelled and the remaining colonists refounded their city near the spring of Thuria.

The word Sybaritic has become a byword meaning extreme luxury and a seeking for pleasure and comfort
4 comments4to2CentBCphilia
Aigospotamoi_AE20~0.jpg
GREEK, Thrace, Aigospotamoi, ca. 300 BC, Æ 20 114 viewsHead of Demeter left wearing stephane decorated with a laurel wreath and vine.
AIΓΟΣΠΟ Goat standing left, eight-rayed star beneath.
BMC Thrace, p. 187, 2 var. (star); SNG Copenhagen 850 var. (star).
(20 mm, 7.76 g, 12h).
Unique with the star symbol beneath goat and amongst the finest examples known of the single coinage emission from Aigospotamai.

Aigospotamoi (Goat Streams) is the site of two small rivulets flowing across a small plain from the hinterland of Gallipoli peninsula into the southwestern corner of the Sea of Marmara (the ancient Propontis) at its junction with the northern mouth of the Hellespont, a few kilometres to the northeast of the modern day township of Gallipoli (Gelibolu). In late summer of 405 BC it was the site of a naval engagement between the Peloponnesian and Athenian fleets. The Peloponnesian fleet lead by the brilliant Spartan general Lysander destroyed the Athenian fleet. The destruction of the Athenian navy at Aigospotamoi enabled the Peloponnesians to place a stranglehold on the Black Sea grain trade to Athens. The resultant starvation of the city brought to an end the 27 year long Peloponnesian War within six months.
5 commentsLloyd T
Troas.jpg
GREEK, TROAS, Sigeion - Facing Athena and Owl - AE12104 viewsSigeion, Troas, c. 350 BC

Obv: Facing head of Athena in crested Athenian helmet
Rev: Owl standing right, head facing.
Diameter: 12.5 mm, Weight: 2.01 grams.
Cf. Sear 4145
RARE

former David Hendin (Amphora Coins)
5 commentsAnemicOak
ephesos~0.jpg
GREEK. Ephesos AR Tetradrachm. Hecatomnus Hoard (1977).109 viewsCirca 405-390 BC (21mm, 14.95 g, 12h). Aristainetos, magistrate. Hecatomnus 53b (O11/R48 – this coin); SNG Kayhan –; Winterthur 2904 (same obverse die). Obverse: bee with curved wings. Reverse: forepart of stag right, head left; palm tree to left (off flan), APIΣTAINETO[Σ] to right. Toned, VF. Struck on a tight flan.

Ex Hecatomnus Hoard (CH V, 17; CH VIII, 96; and CH IX, 387). Ex CNG Electronic Auction 338, lot 85.

The bee, palm tree and the stag are emblems of Ephesos. This city was an important center of worship of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the images on Ephesian coinage represent her. Ephesos also used the bee on its coins since it was a producer of honey, so the bee advertised their most famous product. The bee was also mythologically connected to Ephesos because, according to Philostratos, the colonizing Athenians were led to Ephesos in Ionia by the Muses who took the form of bees. Ephesos occupied the alluvial plain of the lower Cayster, but it owed its chief wealth and renown less to the produce of its soil than to the illustrious sanctuary of the old Anatolian nature-goddess, whom the Ionian Greeks identified with Artemis, the Goddess of Hunt. It is noteworthy that the high-priest of the temple of Artemis was called Ηεσσην, ‘the king bee,’ while the virgin priestesses bore the name of “melissai” or Honey-Bees. The stag was regarded as sacred to her and stag figures were said to have flanked the cult statue of Artemis in her temple at Ephesos. The palm tree alludes to Artemis’ birthplace, the island of Delos, where the goddess Leto gave birth to Artemis and her twin brother Apollo underneath a palm tree. Therefore, the coin might represent the city’s origin as well.

The earlier type tetradrachmae of Ephesos could be identified by the curved pair of wings of the bee on the obverse side of these coins. It is roughly estimated that a total of about less than a hundred of these tetradrachmae exist as compared to the straight wing bee variant of later emissions, which are believed to be seven to eight times more common than the former. These estimates are based on the findings and studies made after the discoveryof the Hecatomnus and Pixodarus hoards in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Prior to their discovery, there were only about 35 of these curved wing tetradrachmae recorded in existence.
1 commentsJason T
va16.jpg
Greek: Athens Owl, Van Alfen 1640 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Athenian tetradrachm. (17.04g (17.06g weight published in article), 21.7mm, 9h). Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile, test cut. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AO[E], olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square, two test cuts. Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 16, this coin. Ex Amphora.
1 commentsLucas H
owl,_van_alfen_74.jpg
Greek: Athens Owl, Van Alfen 7444 viewsAthens. 4th Century B.C.. Easter style Athenian tetradrachm. 15.71 g. Obverse: Head of Athena right, eye in profile, banker's marks. Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing , to right AOE, olive twig and crescent, all within incuse square, banker's marks. Van Alfen, AJN, 16-17, 74, this coin. Ex Amphora.1 commentsLucas H
coins114.JPG
Histiaia, Euboia24 viewsThe history of the island of Euboea is largely that of its two principal cities, Chalcis and Eretria, both mentioned in the Catalogue of Ships. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica, and would eventually settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily, such as Cumae and Rhegium, and on the coast of Macedonia. This opened new trade routes to the Greeks, and extended the reach of western civilization. The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities generally, and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon.[citation needed] The classicist Barry B. Powell has proposed that Euboea may have been where the Greek alphabet was first employed, c. 775-750 BC, and that Homer may have spent part of his life on the island.

Chalcis and Eretria were rival cities, and appear to have been equally powerful for a while. One of the earliest major military conflicts in Greek history took place between them, known as the Lelantine War, in which many other Greek city-states also took part. In 490 BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia[clarification needed]. Though it was restored nearby its original site after the Battle of Marathon, the city never regained its former eminence.

Both cities gradually lost influence to Athens, which saw Euboea as a strategic territory. Euboea was an important source of grain and cattle, and controlling the island meant Athens could prevent invasion and better protect its trade routes from piracy.

Athens invaded Chalcis in 506 BC and settled 4,000 Attic Greeks on their lands. After this conflict, the whole of the island was gradually reduced to an Athenian dependency. Another struggle between Euboea and Athens broke out in 446. Led by Pericles, the Athenians subdued the revolt, and captured Histiaea in the north of the island for their own settlement.

By 410 BC, the island succeeded in regaining its independence. Euboea participated in Greek affairs until falling under the control of Philip II of Macedon after the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, and eventually being incorporated into the Roman Republic in the second century BC. Aristotle died on the island in 322 BC soon after fleeing Athens for his mother's family estate in Chalcis.

Tetrobol, 275-225 BC, Sear (GC) 2496
Obv: Anepigraphic. Head of the nymph, Histiaia, right, wearing wreath of vine and hair rolled.
Rev: ΙΣΤΙΑΙΕΩΝ
The nymph Histiaia seated right on stern of galley and holding naval standard.

Ebay
ecoli
009~3.JPG
Histiaia, Euboia48 views340 - 330 B.C.
Silver Tetrobol
2.36 gm, 15 mm
Obv.: Head of nymph Histiaia right wearing an earring, hair bound in sakkos (sphendone) wreathed with vine
Rev.: Nymph seated upon a stern of galley holding a mast with cross-piece (trophy stand), grapes on vine to left; wing on prow; IΣTIAI-EΩN around
BMC Central Greece p.127, 24-25;
Sear 2495;
HGC 4, 1523

This type, from which the huge Histiaian issues of the following century are copied, commemorated the expulsion, with Athenian help, of the pro-Macedonian tyrant Philistides in 340 B.C. (Sear, Greek Coins and Their Values, 1978)
2 commentsJaimelai
A1107LG.jpg
Histiaia, Euboia (340 - 330 B.C.)147 viewsSilver Tetrobol
O: Head of nymph Histiaia right wearing an earring, hair bound in sakkos (sphendone) wreathed with vine
R: Nymph seated upon a stern of galley holding a mast with cross-piece (trophy stand), grapes on vine to left; wing on prow; IΣTIAI-EΩN
14mm
2.4g
BMC Central Greece p.127, 24-25; Sear 2495

Slightly overstruck. Die break on nose.

This type, from which the huge Histiaian issues of the following century are copied, commemorated the expulsion, with Athenian help, of the pro-Macedonian tyrant Philistides in 340 B.C
5 commentsMat
ephesos.jpg
IONIA, Ephesos AR Tetradrachm.66 viewsCirca 405-390 BC. AR Tetradrachm (21mm, 14.95 g, 12h). Aristainetos, magistrate. Hecatomnus 53b (O11/R48 – this coin); SNG Kayhan –; Winterthur 2904 (same obverse die). Obverse: bee with curved wings. Reverse: forepart of stag right, head left; palm tree to left (off flan), APIΣTAINETO[Σ] to right. Toned, VF. Struck on a tight flan.

Ex Hecatomnus Hoard (CH V, 17; CH VIII, 96; and CH IX, 387). Ex CNG Electronic Auction 338, lot 85.

The bee, palm tree and the stag are emblems of Ephesos. This city was an important center of worship of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the images on Ephesian coinage represent her. Ephesos also used the bee on its coins since it was a producer of honey, so the bee advertised their most famous product. The bee was also mythologically connected to Ephesos because, according to Philostratos, the colonizing Athenians were led to Ephesos in Ionia by the Muses who took the form of bees. Ephesos occupied the alluvial plain of the lower Cayster, but it owed its chief wealth and renown less to the produce of its soil than to the illustrious sanctuary of the old Anatolian nature-goddess, whom the Ionian Greeks identified with Artemis, the Goddess of Hunt. It is noteworthy that the high-priest of the temple of Artemis was called Ηεσσην, ‘the king bee,’ while the virgin priestesses bore the name of “melissai” or Honey-Bees. The stag was regarded as sacred to her and stag figures were said to have flanked the cult statue of Artemis in her temple at Ephesos. The palm tree alludes to Artemis’ birthplace, the island of Delos, where the goddess Leto gave birth to Artemis and her twin brother Apollo underneath a palm tree. Therefore, the coin might represent the city’s origin as well.

The earlier type tetradrachmai of Ephesos could be identified by the curved pair of wings of the bee on the obverse side of these coins. It is roughly estimated that a total of about less than a hundred of these tetradrachmai exist as compared to the straight wing bee variant of later emissions, which are believed to be seven to eight times more common than the former. These estimates are based on the findings and studies made after the (unofficial/looted) “discovery” of the Hecatomnus and Pixodarus hoards in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Prior to their discovery, there were only about 35 of these curved wing tetradrachmai recorded in existence.
4 commentsJason T
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IONIA, Phokaia.38 viewsThe ancient Greek geographer Pausanias says that Phocaea was founded by Phocians under Athenian leadership, on land given to them by the Aeolian Cymaeans, and that they were admitted into the Ionian League after accepting as kings the line of Codrus. Pottery remains indicate Aeolian presence as late as the 9th century BC, and Ionian presence as early as the end of the 9th century BC. From this an approximate date of settlement for Phocaea can be inferred.

According to Herodotus the Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, having discovered the coasts of the Adriatic, Tyrrhenia and Spain. Herodotus relates that they so impressed Arganthonios, king of Tartessus in Spain, that he invited them to settle there, and, when they declined, gave them a great sum of money to build a wall around their city.

Their sea travel was extensive. To the south they probably conducted trade with the Greek colony of Naucratis in Egypt, which was the colony of their fellow Ionian city Miletus. To the north, they probably helped settle Amisos (Samsun) on the Black Sea, and Lampsacus at the north end of the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles). However Phocaea's major colonies were to the west. These included Alalia in Corsica, Emporiae and Rhoda in Spain, and especially Massalia (Marseille) in France.

Phocaea remained independent until the reign of the Lydian king Croesus (circa 560–545 BC), when they, along with the rest of mainland Ionia, first, fell under Lydian control[8] and then, along with Lydia (who had allied itself with Sparta) were conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 546 BC, in one of the opening skirmishes of the great Greco-Persian conflict.

Rather than submit to Persian rule, the Phocaeans abandoned their city. Some may have fled to Chios, others to their colonies on Corsica and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, with some eventually returning to Phocaea. Many however became the founders of Elea, around 540 BC.

In 500 BC, Phocaea joined the Ionian Revolt against Persia. Indicative of its naval prowess, Dionysius, a Phocaean was chosen to command the Ionian fleet at the decisive Battle of Lade, in 494 BC. However, indicative of its declining fortunes, Phocaea was only able to contribute three ships, out of a total of "three hundred and fifty three". The Ionian fleet was defeated and the revolt ended shortly thereafter.

After the defeat of Xerxes I by the Greeks in 480 BC and the subsequent rise of Athenian power, Phocaea joined the Delian League, paying tribute to Athens of two talents. In 412 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, with the help of Sparta, Phocaea rebelled along with the rest of Ionia. The Peace of Antalcidas, which ended the Corinthian War, returned nominal control to Persia in 387 BC.

In 343 BC, the Phocaeans unsuccessfully laid siege to Kydonia on the island of Crete.

During the Hellenistic period it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid rule. In the Roman period, the town was a manufacturing center for ceramic vessels, including the late Roman Phocaean red slip.

It was later under the control of Benedetto Zaccaria, the Genoan ambassador to Byzantium, who received the town as a hereditary lordship; Zaccaria and his descendants amassed a considerable fortune from his properties there, especially the rich alum mines. It remained a Genoese colony until it was taken by the Turks in 1455. It is a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 521-478 BC. AR Hemidrachm (9mm, 1.54 g). Head of griffin left / Quadripartite incuse square. SNG Copenhagen –; SNG von Aulock 2116; SNG Kayhan 512-6. VF, dark toning.
ecoli
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Ionia, Smyrna AR Stephanophoric Tetradrachm98 viewsCirca 155-145 BC. AR Tetradrachm (32mm, 16.33gm, 12h). Stephanophoric type. Zopy(ros?) magistrate. Milne, Silver 4, obv. die G; SNG Copenhagen-; Weber 6617. Obverse: turreted head of Cybele or Tyche right. Reverse: ethnic and monogram within wreath. EF with purple toning. Peripheral roughness.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 326, lot 133.

With the collapse of Seleukid authority in Asia Minor in 189 BC, many communities of northwestern Asia Minor celebrated their liberation from regal authority by issuing series of large and impressive tetradrachmai. All of these coins were struck on the reduced Attic standard, and were struck on broad, thin flans that were influenced by the Athenian New Style coinage. These series also copied a feature on their reverses, a large laurel wreath that formed the border encompassing the entire reverse type. We know from the Delos inventory lists that these coins were referred to as stephanophoroi, attesting to the ubiquity of these series. The types appearing on the coins clearly indicated their civic nature, depicting the city's patron deity on the obverse and various aspects of the city's culture on the reverse. The stephanophoric coinage is regarded among the more artistic of the Hellenistic period. This is no surprise as nearly all of the issuing cities were located in western Asia Minor, an area whose numismatic artistry is well attested in the preceding Classical period. While the stephanophoroi represent a benchmark in coin design, the reason for their introduction is not certain, and there is little consensus among numismatists. On one extreme, C. Boehringer argued that their appearance and consistency represented an “Aegean Münzunion” (Boehringer, Chron., pp. 38-9), while at the other O. Mørkholm argued that the wreaths were not indicative of any political or economic significance, but merely the result of a design that gained popularity throughout the northern Aegean ("Chronology and Meaning of the Wreath Coinages of the early 2nd. Cent. B.C.," QT 9 [1980], pp. 145-54).
4 commentsJason T
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Judean imitation of athenian owl26 viewsJudean imitation of Athenian owl, probably an obolecoli
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Julia Mamaea (222 - 235 A.D.)41 viewsEgypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: IOV MAMAIA CЄB MHTЄ CЄ K CTPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane.
R: Bust of Athena right, wearing Athenian helmet; LIA in left field, palm in right field.
Alexandria Mint, Year 11, 230/231 AD
11.18g
21mm
Emmett 3093; Dattari (Savio) 10051; BMC 1729; SNG Copenhagen 654.

Published on Wildwinds!
4 commentsMat
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Kingdom of Macedonia, Alexander the Great. AR Drachm. Struck 323 – 317 BC at Lampsakos, Mysia.23 viewsObverse: No legend. Head of Herakles, wearing lion-skin knotted at base of neck, facing right.
Reverse: AΛEΞANĐPOY. Zeus Aëtophoros seated facing left, right leg drawn back, feet on stool, eagle in right hand, sceptre in left; buckle in left field; Λ above Ω below throne.
Diameter: 18mm | Weight: 4.16gms | Die Axis: 7 | Cut mark above eyebrow on obverse.
Price: 1376

Alexander the Great reigned from 336 to 323 BC but this coin was struck shortly after his death, in around 323 to 317 BC under Leonnatos, Philip III Arrhidaios, or Antigonos I Monophthalmos.

Leonnatos was a Macedonian officer under Alexander the Great and one of the diadochi, rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC.
Leonnatos was the same age as Alexander and was very close to him. After Alexander died, Leonnatos was made satrap of Phrygia and Alexander's sister, Cleopatra, offered him her hand in marriage. When the Athenians heard that Alexander had died, they revolted against Macedonia. Leonnatos led an army of 20,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry to relieve the new regent, Antipater, probably with the ambition of usurping Antipater's power since a victory over the Athenians would have enhanced Leonnatos' own claim to the throne. However, in 322 BC, Leonnatus was killed in battle against the Athenians and his marriage to Cleopatra never took place.
Philip III Arrhidaeus was the king of Macedonia after the death of Alexander the Great, from 323 BC until his own death in 317 BC. He was a son of King Philip II of Macedonia and a half-brother of Alexander. Named Arrhidaeus at birth, he assumed the name Philip when he ascended the throne.
As Arrhidaeus grew older it became apparent that he had mild learning difficulties. Alexander was very fond of him, and took him on his campaigns, both to protect his life and to ensure he would not be used as a pawn in a challenge for the throne. After Alexander's death in Babylon, Arrhidaeus was proclaimed king by the Macedonian army in Asia, but he was a mere figurehead, and a pawn of the powerful generals, one after the other.
Antigonos I Monophthalmus (Antigonos the One-eyed) was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. As part of the division of the provinces after Alexander's death, Antigonos received Pamphylia and Lycia from Perdiccas, regent of the empire, but he incurred the enmity of Perdiccas by refusing to assist Eumenes to obtain possession of Paphlagonia and Cappadocia, the provinces which had been allotted to him. Leonnatos had left with his army for Greece, leaving Antigonos to deal with Cappadocia, a task he apparently couldn't complete alone and Perdiccas seems to have viewed this as a direct affront to his authority. Perdiccas then went with the royal army to conquer the area himself and from there he turned west towards Phrygia in order to confront Antigonos. Antigonos, however, escaped to Greece where, in 321 BC, he obtained the favour of Antipater, regent of Macedonia.
When Perdiccas died later that same year, a new attempt at division of the empire took place and Antigonos found himself entrusted with the command of the war against Eumenes, who had joined Perdiccas against the coalition of the other generals which included Antipater, Antigonos, Ptolemy and Craterus. Eumenes was defeated and forced to retire to the fortress of Nora in Cappadocia, and a new army that was marching to his relief was routed by Antigonos.
In 319 BC Antipater died, and Polyperchon was given the regentship, but Antigonos and the other dynasts refused to recognize him since it undermined their own ambitions. Antigonos' old adversary, Eumenes, who had been given authority over anyone within the empire by Polyperchon, raised an army and built a fleet in Cilicia and Phoenicia, and soon after formed a coalition with the satraps of the eastern provinces. Antigonos fought against him in two great battles and, though both were inconclusive, in the aftermath of the second battle Antigonos managed to capture the family and possessions of the Silvershields, an elite regiment within Eumenes' army. The Silvershields negotiated the release of their families by handing over Eumenes to Antigonos in return. Antigonos had Eumenes executed resulting in him now being in possession of the empire's Asian territories, stretching from the eastern satrapies to Syria and Asia Minor in the west.
2 comments*Alex
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Kings of Macedon, Demetrios I Poliorketes, 306-283 BC, AR Tetradrachm - Corinth ca. 290-287 BC 28 viewsHead of Herakles right wearing lion skin headdress.
BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, Nikai on throne back, cornucopia in left field, NO beneath throne.

Price 691; Müller 877; Commerce ("Seleucus I") Hoard 2005 (CH 10.265) 339-374 (same obv. die as 376 a Price 691 variant). Struck ca. 290-287 BC in Corinth by Demetrios I Poliorketes.
Struck from worn and rusty dies.

(28 mm, 17.16 g, 4h).
ex- Commerce ("Seleucus I") Hoard 2005 (CH 10.265)

The Commerce ("Seleucus I") Hoard 2005 (CH 10.265) is believed to have been a part of Seleukos’ treasury at the time he was assassinated by Ptolemy Keraunos. The coins in the hoard consist of tetradrachms and drachms, of early the Hellenistic period accompanied by one Boeotian and five Athenian civic issues. The Hellenistic royal coinage derived from the mints of Alexander the Great, Antigonos Monopthalmos, Demetrios Poliorketes, Lysimachos and Seleukos. The hoard was found in an undisclosed location in Asia Minor. Its composition is inferred from 1,721 coins in commerce in 2005-06, although the total hoard is believed to have consisted of more than 3,000 coins. The hoard appears to have been closed around 281 BC at the time of the murder of Seleukos.
n.igma
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Kyzikos Mysia Lion and Boar43 viewsKyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C. Silver Hemiobol, 0.395g, 10.3mm, 45o, SNG Kayhan 57 ff.; SNG BnF 375; SNG Cop 49; BMC Mysia p. 35, 120; SNGvA -,
OBV: forepart of boar running left, tunny fish upwards behind;
REV: head of roaring lion left, star of four rays above, all in incuse square;

During the Peloponnesian War, 431 - 404 B.C., Cyzicus was subject alternately to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.

EX: Forum Ancient Coins
2 commentsSRukke
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Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C.7 viewsDuring the Peloponnesian War, 431 - 404 B.C., Cyzicus was subject alternately to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.
GA87967. Silver hemiobol, von Fritze III 14; SNG Kayhan 57; SNG BnF 375; SNG Cop 49; BMC Mysia p. 35, 120; SNGvA -, VF, toned, light marks, light etching, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, weight 0.347g, maximum diameter 9.8mm, die axis 180o, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar running left, tunny fish upwards behind; reverse head of roaring lion left, star of four rays above, all in incuse square
Mark R1
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Lucania Thourioi Stater 385 - 360 BC.83 viewsObv ; Helmeted head of Athena, helmet decorated with Skylla holding trident.
Rev ; QOURIWN, bull butting; fish in exergue.
G/aVF , 20.8 mm, 7.44 gr.

EX THE COLIN E. PITCHFORK COLLECTION.
EX CNG.

Thourioi, was a city of Magna Graecia on the Gulf of Tarentum, near the site of the older Sybaris. It owed its origin to an attempt made in 452 BC by Sybarite exiles and their descendants to re-people their old home. The new settlement was crushed by Croton, but the Athenians lent aid to the fugitives and in 443 BC Pericles sent out to Thourioi a mixed body of colonists from various parts of Greece, among whom were Herodotus and the orator Lysias.
The pretensions of the Sybarite colonists led to dissensions and ultimately to their expulsion; peace was made with Croton, and also, after a period of war, with Tarentum, and Thourioi rose rapidly in power and drew settlers from all parts of Greece, especially from Peloponnesus, so that the tie to Athens was not always acknowledged. The oracle of Delphi determined that the city had no founder but Apollo, and in the Athenian Expedition in Sicily Thourioi was at first neutral, though it finally helped the Athenians.

Thourioi had a democratic constitution and good laws, and, though we hear little of its history till in 390 BC it received a severe defeat from the rising power of the Lucanians. Many beautiful coins testify to the wealth and splendor of its days of prosperity.

In the 4th century BC it continued to decline, and at length called in the help of the Romans against the Lucanians, and then in 282 BC against Tarentum. Thenceforward its position was dependent, and in the Second Punic War, after several vicissitudes, it was depopulated and plundered by Hannibal in 204 BC.

From The Sam Mansourati Collection.
3 commentsSam
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LUCANIA, Thourioi152 viewsGR7

Thurii was one of the latest of all the Greek colonies in this part of Italy, not having been founded until nearly 70 years after the fall of Sybaris. The site of that city had remained desolate for a period of 58 years after its destruction by the Crotoniats; when at length, in 452 BC, a number of the Sybarite exiles and their descendants made an attempt to establish themselves again on the spot, under the guidance of some leaders of Thessalian origin; and the new colony rose so rapidly to prosperity that it excited the jealousy of the Crotoniats, who, in consequence, expelled the new settlers a little more than 5 years after the establishment of the colony. The fugitive Sybarites first appealed for support to Sparta, but without success: their application to the Athenians was more successful, and that people determined to send out a fresh colony, at the same time that they reinstated the settlers who had been lately expelled from thence. A body of Athenian colonists was accordingly sent out by Pericles, under the command of Lampon and Xenocritus; but the number of Athenian citizens was small, the greater part of those who took part in the colony being collected from various parts of Greece. Among them were two celebrated names – Herodotus the historian, and the orator Lysias, both of whom appear to have formed part of the original colony. The laws of the new colony were established by the sophist Protagoras at the request of Pericles

LUCANIA, Thourioi. Circa 400-350 BC. AR Triobol (11mm, 1.18 gm). Helmeted head of Athena right, helmeted decorated with Skylla / Bull butting left; fish in exergue. SNG ANS 1138-47; HN Italy 1806. VF. Ex-CNG BB0VFA
3 commentsecoli
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Lucania, Velia, 350-281 BC45 viewsSilver didrachm, 22.9mm, 7.32g, VF
Head of Athena left, wearing earring, necklace, and crested Athenian helmet; on helmet, dolphin, on flap, Φ, and on crest carrier, a row of pellets / YEΛHTΩN, lion walking right; above, Φ and I either side of ornamented trident head right; border of dots.
Ex: Glenn W. Woods
BMC Italy, pg 314, #100; Sear 460v; SNG Cop 1585
Lawrence Woolslayer
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LUCANIA. Sybaris. AR Stater49 viewsCirca 550-510 B.C. (28mm, 8.43 g, 12h). Obverse: bull standing left, head reverted; VM in exergue. Reverse: incuse bull standing right, head reverted. S & S Class B, pl. XLVIII, 4-8 Gorini 2; HN Italy 1729. VF, toned.

Ex. Volteia Collection

This coin was minted before the destruction of Sybaris by its neighboring city state Kroton in 510 B.C. We do not know the exact nature why Kroton destroyed this prosperous city. Ancient sources provided us several accounts of Sybaris being a place of hedonism and excess to the point that the very name Sybaris became a byword for opulent luxury, and its destruction was a result of some divine punishment (Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Aelianus, Athenaeus). Modern revisionist view of the possible demise of Sybaris might be the result of its vast natural wealth and successful trade with its neighbors, which gave Kroton the economic reason to subjugate it. The Sybarites established a new city called Thourioi (Thurii/Thurium) with the help of Athenian settlers. However, the Sybarites were again expelled by the Athenians in 445 B.C. and founded another city for the last time called Sybaris on the Traeis.
Sybaris might be the first to mint coins with an incuse reverse and this practice spread to other Greek city states like Kroton, Metapontion, and Poseidonia. The similar weight and technique in producing these incuse-type coins facilitated trade between the cities mentioned. The bull might represent the river god Crathis or Sybaris, or both: each deity could represent either the obverse or reverse of the coin. The ethnic VM (or YM) in exergue are the first two Greek letters of Sybaris spelled retrogradely. A curious placement of the letter sigma sideways made it appear as letter M on most coins of Sybaris.
5 commentsJason T
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Lysimachos26 viewsLysimachos - King: 323-281 B.C.

Struck in the Kingdom of Thrace 323-321 B.C.
Reference: Sear 6819; Mueller 113; Forrer/Weber 2731

Obverse: Male head to the right wearing Athenian helmet

Reverse: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ
lion prancing right. Spearhead under lion

Bronze, 4 g, 19,8 mm on longer side.
Flamur H
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Macedonia, Amphipolis227 viewsAmphipolis was an ancient city of Macedonia, on the east bank of the river Strymon, where it emerges from Lake Cercinitis, about 3 m. from the sea.

Originally a Thracian town, known as Ennea Odoi ("Nine Roads"), it was colonized by Athenians with other Greeks under Hagnon in 437 BC, previous attempts--in 497, 476 (Schol. Aesch. De fals. leg. 31) and 465--having been unsuccessful.

In 424 BC it surrendered to the Spartan Brasidas without resistance, owing to the gross negligence of the historian Thucydides, who was with the fleet at Thasos. In 422 BC Cleon led an unsuccessful expedition to recover it, in which both he and Brasidas were slain (see Battle of Amphipolis).

The importance of Amphipolis in ancient times was due to the fact that it commanded the bridge over the Strymon, and consequently the route from northern Greece to the Hellespont; it was important also as a depot for the gold and silver mines of the district, and for timber, which was largely used in shipbuilding. This importance is shown by the fact that, in the peace of Nicias (421 BC), its restoration to Athens is made the subject of a special provision, and that about 417, this provision not having been observed, at least one expedition was made by Nicias with a view to its recovery.

Philip of Macedon made a special point of occupying it (357), and under the early empire it became the headquarters of the Roman propraetor, though it was recognized as independent. Many inscriptions, coins, etc., have been found here, and traces of the ancient fortifications and of a Roman aqueduct are visible.

Alexander III, 336-323 BC, Silver Tetradrachm, Price-113, struck 323-320BC at Amphipolis, 17.12 grams, 25.3 mm. Choice VF

Obv: Head of Herakles wearing lion skin headdress
Rev: Zeus enthroned with sceptre and eagle, parallel legs, Macedonian helmet in left field

Well centered and struck with a full EF reverse. Attractive lifetime issue of Alexander III 'The Great'. G5
2 commentsecoli
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Macedonian Kingdom32 viewsSear 6684 var., Le Rider pl. 47, 18 var. (without the I to the right of the Δ).

AR Tetradrachm (23-24 mm.), struck in the name of Philip II (359-336 B.C.) under Cassander (Regent 317-305 B.C.; King 305-297 B.C.) or his sons, Philip IV (297 B.C.) and Alexander V (297-294 B.C.) at Amphipolis, ca. 315-294 B.C. (per Le Rider) or ca. 320-315 B.C. (per Price).

Obv: Laureate head of Zeus right.

Rev: ΦIΛΙΠ-ΠΟΥ above young naked jockey astride racehorse prancing right, carrying long palm frond of victory in right hand and holding reins in left hand; Λ above race-torch below horse; Δ below horse’s foreleg.

Philip II claimed descent from Zeus, and hence adopted the head of Zeus for his obverse. The image is thought to possibly be inspired by the great statue of Zeus by Phidias at Olympia, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The reverse celebrates Philip's victories at the Olympic games, where his racehorses were victorious in the games of 356 B.C. and possibly again in 348 B.C.

Philip adopted the Chalcidian weight standard (c. 14.45 g.) for his tetradrachm, in an effort to replace the Chalcidian League's coinage at that standard after his sacking of Olynthus in Chalcidice in 348 B.C. The expansion of Macedonia under Philip resulted in its coinage overtaking Athenian owls as the leading currency of the Greek world. The type continued to be struck long after the death of Philip. The type was imitated in tribal lands north of Macedonia up to the first century B.C.
1 commentsStkp
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Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C., Lifetime Issue128 viewsSilver tetradrachm, Le Rider 233 (D130/R188); SNG ANS 385 ff., VF, Pella, 14.163g, 25.4mm, 225o, 342 - 336 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse "FILIPPOU", naked youth on horse pacing right on horseback holding palm, thunderbolt below; ex CNG 214, 82; very high relief sculptural portrait, nice style, lifetime issue. Ex FORVM.

Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

According to the Greek historian Theopompus of Chios, Europe had never seen a man like king Philip of Macedonia, and he called his history of the mid-fourth century BCE the Philippic History. Theopompus had a point. Not even his better known son Alexander has done so much to change the course of Greek history. Philip reorganized his kingdom, gave it access to the sea, expanded its power so that it could defeat the Achaemenid Empire, and subdued the Greek city-states, which never regained their independence again. To achieve this, he modernized the Macedonian economy, improved the army, and concluded several marital alliances. The result was a superpower with one weakness: it was as strong as its king. When Philip's son Alexander died, the institutions were too weak, and Macedonia never recovered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
http://www.livius.org/phi-php/philip/philip_ii.htm
Ed. by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
BD2C1A2B-743E-432B-97A3-4DA999E4ED43.jpeg
Megaris, Megara8 viewsMEGARIS, Megara. Circa 250-175 BC. Æ Chalkous Prow of galley left / Obelisk of Apollo; to left and right, dolphins swimming upward. BCD Peloponnesos 21.

Bridging Attica on the east and Corinthia on the west, Megaris comprised only a few towns, with Megara being its capital and only major city. Megaris’s location in the northern part of the Isthmus of Corinth put the region in the middle of any conflict between the two cities. Shortly before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians sought revenge on the Megarians for their support of Corinth. As a result, Athens instituted the Megarian Decree, an embargo designed to economically strangle the Megarians; this decree was used as a pretext by some in Sparta for the Peloponnesian War. Siding with Sparta in the war, Megara lost its main port to the Athenian general Nikias, and, for a short time, a pro-Athenian goverment seized power in the city. While Megara remained prosperous following the war and founded colonies in Sicily and the Hellespont, little else is recorded. Megara periodically struck coinage from the 4th through 1st centuries BC.
ecoli
Mazakes_tetradrachm.jpg
Mesopotamia, Mazakes 330-323 BC, AR Tetradrachm 24 viewsHelmeted head of Athena right.
Owl standing left, olive spray and crescent behind, Aramaic legend [MZ]DK to right.
Le Rider, Alexander p. 214-219, pl. 7,15; Van Alfen, Owls Group IV(Babylon); Mitchiner 12(d) (Babylon).
(20 mm, 16.6 g, 10h)
Naville Numismatics 38 (12 March 2018), Lot 144.

The Persian satrap Mazakes voluntarily surrendered Egypt to Alexander the Great in November 332 BC. Based on the numismatic evidence it is believed he was rewarded for this action with a satrapy in Mesopotamia (northern Iraq) accompanied by the right to strike coinage in the form of imitative Athenian 'owls' for local use.
1 commentsn.igma
Mysia_Pergamon_1.PNG
Mysia Pergamon 88-50 BC3 viewsMysia Pergamon 88-50 BC.Bronze

Obverse.Head of Athena in classic crested Athenian Helmet.

Reverse.Serpent of Aesklepius.M on left side

11mm
Macedonian Warrior
Athenian tet.jpg
Owl - Athens264 viewsAR Tetradrachm of Athens
449 - 404 BCE
25 mm, 16.6 gm

Charming Athenian owl. Unfortunately, a test cuts was made right through the owl's face, but he is still visible.

posted by Zam
Zam
Parthia_Didrachm_Athenian_Imitative_ca_245-238_BC_.jpg
Parthia, Andragoras, ca. 245-238 BC, AR Didrachm43 viewsHelmeted head of Athena r.; monogram behind.
Owl standing r., head facing; galley prow r. above grape vine branch behind, AΘE to r.

Taylor 'Birds of a Feather' 2.15; HGC 12, 3 (Baktria); H. Nicolet-Pierre & M. Amandry, RN 1994, 49 (Baktria); SNG ANS 9, 4 var. (Baktria).

(18 mm, 8.11 g, 6h).

Roma Numismatics E-Live 4 (20 Nov. 2018), lot 440; ex- 'Andragoras-Sophytes' Hoard.

This coin like all the Series 2 didrachms has a strongly developed hammered edge fabric giving the edge of the coin a faceted appearance that is much more evident in hand than in the photo.

Although the mint control symbol consisting of a galley prow may seem out of place on a coin struck in Parthia, it should be remembered that the province of Parthia bordered the Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland body of water, undoubtedly plied by galleys in ancient times.

The 'Andragoras-Sophytes' hoard came to market from mid-late 2017. It was reputedly found in 2014 and consisted of approximately 600 coins from at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan (Hoard information: Olivier Bordeaux & Osmund Bopearachchi). Around half of these coins were marketed by Roma Numismatics in a succession of auctions commencing in 2017 and continuing through 2018.
3 commentsn.igma
310.jpg
Parthia, Andragoras, ca. 245-238 BC, AR Didrachm21 viewsHelmeted head of Athena r.; bunch of grapes behind.
Owl standing r., head facing, crescent, olive spray (largely off-flan) and bunch of grapes (mostly off-flan) behind, AΘE to r.

Taylor Birds of a Feather 2.3, 96 (dies a7/p12) ; HGC 12, 4 (Baktria); H. Nicolet-Pierre & M. Amandry, RN 1994, 24-28 (Baktria); SNG ANS 9, 5 (Baktria).

(19 mm, 7.94 g, 6h).

Roma Numismatics XVII (28 Mar. 2019), lot 587; ex 'Andragoras-Sophytes' Hoard.

The 'Andragoras-Sophytes' hoard came to market from mid-late 2017. It was reputedly found in 2014 and consisted of approximately 600 coins from at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan (Hoard information: Olivier Bordeaux & Osmund Bopearachchi). Around half of these coins were marketed by Roma Numismatics in a succession of auctions commencing in 2017 and continuing through to 2019.
1 commentsn.igma
Parthia_Imitative_Athenian_tetradrachm_250-245_BC.jpg
Parthia, Satrapy of Andragoras, ca. 250-238 BC, AR Tetradrachm38 viewsHelmeted head of Athena r.
Owl standing r., head facing, olive-sprig and crescent behind, AΘ[E] to r.

Taylor 'Birds of a Feather' 1.1; SNG ANS 9, 1; HGC 12, 1.

(23 mm, 16.73 g, 6h).

Roma Numismatics eSale 45 (5 May 2018), Lot 373; ex-'Andragoras-Sophytes' Hoard.


The advanced style of the owl and the 6h die adjustment of this coin indicate that it was struck at the end of Series 1 in the transition to Series 2 at which time the die axis adjustment changed from 12h to 6h and the reverse incuse square gave way to a non-incuse reverse. This intermediate fabric is proof that the two series were struck without a time gap between them.

The 'Andragoras-Sophytes' hoard came to market from mid-late 2017. It was reputedly found in 2014 and consisted of approximately 600 coins from at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan (Hoard information: Olivier Bordeaux & Osmund Bopearachchi). Around half of these coins were marketed by Roma Numismatics in a succession of auctions commencing in 2017 and continuing through 2018.
4 commentsn.igma
Philip_III__2_Tetradrachm.jpg
Philip III 1/5 Tetradrachm in Style of Philip II -- 323-326 BC18 views2.46 g, 14 mm, 150°
Amphipolis Mint
Silver 1/5 Tetradrachm; Toned, Scratches on Reverse
Minted During the Reign of Philip III; In the Style of Philip II
Le Rider (Plate 44, 4); SNG ANS 575

Obverse: Head of Apollo Right, Wearing Taenia.
Reverse: FILIPPOU (Fillipou),Youth on Horseback Right, Monogram Below.

Philip II (382–336 BC) became the ruler of all Greece when he defeated the Athenians at the Battle of Chaeroneia in 338 B.C. Philip personally selected the design of his coins. His horse, on the reverse of this coin, won a race in the Olympic Games in 356 B.C., the year his son Alexander the Great was born. Philip III Arrhidaeus was the half-brother of Alexander the Great and the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. On the death of Alexander he was elected king by the Macedonian Army. He was, however, imprisoned upon his return to Macedonia and in October 317 B.C. he was executed under orders from Olympias, Alexander's mother, to ensure the succession of her grandson.
Hydro
Philip_II.jpg
Philip III Tetradrachm in Style of Philip II -- 323-317 BC29 views13.709 g, 22.6 mm, 225°
Amphipolis Mint
Silver Tetradrachm
Minted During the Reign of Philip III; In the Style of Philip II
Le Rider pl. 46, 17-18; SNG Cop 559; SNG ANS 738 ff; SNG Alpha Bank 289

Obverse: Laureate Head of Zeus Right
Reverse: FILIPPOU (Fillipou), Naked Youth on Horse Pacing Right, Holding Palm. Acrostolion below. G and Pellet Below Foreleg.

Philip II (382–336 BC) became the ruler of all Greece when he defeated the Athenians at the Battle of Chaeroneia in 338 B.C. Philip personally selected the design of his coins. His horse, on the reverse of this coin, won a race in the Olympic Games in 356 B.C., the year his son Alexander the Great was born. Philip III Arrhidaeus was the half-brother of Alexander the Great and the bastard son of Philip II and a dancer, Philinna of Larissa. On the death of Alexander he was elected king by the Macedonian Army. He was, however, imprisoned upon his return to Macedonia and in October 317 B.C. he was executed under orders from Olympias, Alexander's mother, to ensure the succession of her grandson.
__________________________
My first FORVM coin. A great price for a beautiful coin. Spent a while looking for a nice Philip II design; imagine my surprise when I found this on FORVM, not only cheaper than any other similar quality coin, but more beautiful as well. Been a return FORVM customer ever since.
1 commentsHydro
Phlious_obol_.jpg
Phliasia, Phlious, late 6th-early 5th Century BC, AR Obol or One Twelfth Stater21 viewsBent leg right.
Incuse square divided into six irregular compartments.

HGC 5, 136; BCD Peloponnesos 78 (same dies); Gr. Mu. 803,pl. XIII, 24; Seltman, Athens, pl. XIV a (= NC 1890, pl. XIX, 21).

(8 mm, 0.91 g).
CNG; ex- BCD Collection

One of eighteen examples known.

The bent leg obols of Phlious are amongst the earliest coinage of the Peloponnesos. The coins were struck on the Milesian (Asiatic) weight standard with a stater of 14.1 gm, in contrast to the Aeginitic weight standard that came to prevail on the subsequent coinage and throughout the Peloponessos in the fifth century BC. This use of Milesian weight standard and the iconography of the bent leg, which has no later representation in the coinage of Phlious make for something of an enigma. The weight standard may reflect the dominant trade partners of Phlious at the time, while the bent leg is less readily explained. As a result of these enigmatic attributes, there has been controversy over attribution of this coin type. In the nineteenth century, the type was commonly attributed to Phaselis in Lycia. Subsequently, Seltman attributed the coinage as part of the Athenian Wappenmunzen series; specifically he attributed the type to the Alkmaeonid exiles of Athens in Phocis. However, recent studies refute these earlier attributions. Recorded find spots of all but one example have been in Phliasia or nearby Arkadia. This plus the fact that the largest associated denomination, a half stater bears the letter Φ make the attribution to Phlious certain. Eighteen examples of the type are known, one in each of the Berlin and London museum collections, twelve from the dispersal of the BCD collection and four others from other collections. Five obverse dies are accounted for in the series.
n.igma
113297.jpg
Pontos, Amisos (as Peiraieos). (Circa 435-370 BC)35 viewsAR Siglos

17 mm, 5.75 g

Persic standard. Aristeos, magistrate.

Obverse: Head of Hera left, wearing ornate stephane, earring, and necklace

Reverse: [ΠEIPA] in exergue, owl with spread wings standing facing on shield; across field in to lines, magistrate's name: A-PIΣ/TE-OΣ.

Malloy 1v; HGC 7, 229.

Amisos, situated on the southern shore of the Black Sea, was originally settled by the Milesians, perhaps as far back as the 8th century BC. The city was captured by the Persians in 550 BC and became part of Cappadocia (satrapy). In the 5th century BC, Amisos became a free state and one of the members of the Delian League led by the Athenians; it was then renamed Peiraieos under Pericles. In the 4th century BC the city came under the control of the Kingdom of Pontus.
2 commentsNathan P
Bactria,_Antimachos_I_AR_Tetradrachm~0.jpg
Poseidon - Ποσειδῶν441 viewsPoseidon is portrayed on the reverse of this Baktrian tetradrachm issued by Antimachos I (ca. 175-170 BC). A uniquely curious choice for a landlocked country, although the association of Poseidon with earthquakes (which regularly shake the region of Afghanistan) may have been a determining factor in Antimachos choice of a patron god.

Poseidon (Ποσειδῶν) was the god of the sea and the earth-shaker (god of earthquakes) of Greek mythology. He was the protector of many Hellenic cities, although he lost the contest for Athens to Athena. The contest revolved around a gift of each god to the city, with the preferred one of the Athenians determining the outcome. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident, whereupon a spring came into being, only its water proved salty. Athena on the other hand, offered an olive tree making the choice of the Athenians decisive. To placate Poseidon on their choice the Athenians erected a temple to him (Poseidon) at Cape Sounion to the south of Athens.


4 commentsLloyd T
SULLA_MINE_BOTH.jpg
Pseudo-Athenian New Style Tetradrachm c86-84 BC5 viewsObs: Fine style head of Athena Parthenos with prominent highly artistic horse protomes.
Rev: Owl standing on panathenaic amphora
2 Monograms of Roman official Marcus Lucullus: Quaestor
MAPKOY TAMIOY
Name and office
!6.40gm 28.5mm
Thompson Sulla ll Obs: 1315 Rev: NEW?
All surrounded by olive wreath
cicerokid
SullaCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Cornelius Sulla, AR Denarius - Crawford 359/214 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Cornelius Sulla, 84-83 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.88g; 21mm).
Military Mint.

Obverse: L·SVLLA; diademed head of Venus facing right; before, Cupid holding palm to left.

Reverse: IMPER – ITERV; two trophies with jug and lituus between them.

References: Crawford 359/2; Sydenham 761a; BMCRR East 3; Cornelia 30.

Provenance: Ex Nomisma 58 (6 Nov 2018) Lot 76.

These coins were struck in the east, just before Sulla’s march on Rome. The fabric and style of these coins are certainly different from other Roman Republican denarii of the era, more eastern than Roman. Perhaps not obvious from my photo, the obverse is struck in very high relief and the reverse has pronounced cupping (from a convex reverse die, which more efficiently drives the metal into the high relief obverse die). The obverse honors Venus, whom Sulla considered his protectress. The jug and lituus on the reverse are suggestive of the office of Augur, but Crawford did not think Sulla was an Augur at the time these coins were produced. The implements may refer to an ancestor of Sulla that was an Augur, or, as Crawford surmises, to Sulla’s imperium. The trophies on the reverse refer to Sulla’s victories in the east against Mithradates. Two trophies were also used by Sulla in an issue of tetradrachms in the Athenian “New Style” form.

Sulla’s seizure of dictatorial power following his march on Rome (leading an army that was loyal to him, rather than to the state) became a paradigm for Roman political struggles thereafter. Julius Caesar would initiate similar consequences when he crossed the Rubicon at the head of his army 30+ years later. Unlike Sulla, Caesar showed no interest in resigning his power. Also unlike Sulla, Caesar would strike coins bearing his own likeness. Sulla’s portrait did not appear on a Roman coin until 25 years after Sulla’s death (See, Crawford 434/1).
1 commentsCarausius
severus_alexander_05_t.jpg
Severus Alexander BI Tetradrachm44 viewsObv: A KAI MAP AVP CEV ALEXANDROC - Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right
Rev: Bust of Athena right wearing Athenian helmet; LE in field right.
Mint: Alexandria
Date: 225-226 AD
Ref: Emmett 3093(5)
4 commentsoa
tarsos_pharnabazos.jpg
Tarsos; Obol: Time of Pharnabazos and Datames; Female head/ Ares?5 viewsCilicia, Tarsos. Time of Pharnabazos and Datames, Satraps. 379-372 B.C. AR Obol 0.75g, 9mm. Obv.: facing female head turned slightly left, wearing single-pendant earrings and necklace. Rev.: bearded and helmeted male head (Ares?) left, wearing crested Athenian helmet; monogram right. SNG Levante 94. Ex Tom VossenPodiceps
pöllö1.jpg
Tegea owl11 viewsARKADIA, Tegea. Circa 420-370 BC. Æ 13mm. Head of Athena right, wearing crested Athenian helmet / Owl standing left. SNG Copenhagen 293 var. Ex Vauctions.kaitsuburi
Thasos_tet.JPG
Thasos, Thrace128 viewsafter 148 BC
AR Tetradrachm (33mm, 16.86g)
O: Head of young Dionysus right, wreathed in ivy and flowers.
R: Herakles standing nude left, holding club and lion's skin; ΣΩTHPOΣ left, HPAKΛOYΣ right, ΘAΣIΩN in ex.
SNG Cop 1040; Sear 1759

Inhabited since prehistoric times, the island of Thasos is said to be the mythological home of the Sirens.
Phoenician traders occupied Thasos by the late ninth century BC, drawn by her prolific gold mines. A hundred years later Greek colonists from Paros settled on the island and prospered from Thasos’ gold and marble production, as well as her fertile vineyards. Thasian wine was renowned throughout the Mediterranean, for which they honored Dionysus on their coinage.
A brush with the Persian army under King Darius at the beginning of the fifth century caused Thasos to increase her production of war ships, and after the defeat of Xerxes in 480 BC Thasos joined the Delian League. However a dispute with Athens over mining interests on the Thracian mainland led Thasos to revolt in 465 BC, only to submit after the Athenians destroyed her ships and razed the city walls.
The island was occupied by Sparta from 404 until 393 BC, when Thasos fell to Athens, who eventually granted her independence. Thasos then came under the control of Phillip II of Macedonia around 340 BC, who immediately seized the gold mines. Thasos remained a part of the Macedonian Empire until falling under Roman rule in 197 BC.
4 commentsEnodia
OWLS_48_2.jpg
The New Style Silver Tetradrachm Owls of Athens c164-53 BC31 views23 Thompson old catalogue
13 Thompson middle catalogue
8 Thompson late catalogue of which 3 are post-Sullan
3 Imitations of which 1 "old catalogue" 1, "late catalogue" & 1 "post Sullan"
1 pseudo-Athenian New Style Thompson type ii Sullan "Lucullean" issue
1 commentscicerokid
serdica_caracalla_Varbanov153var.jpg
Thracia, Serdika, 18. Caracalla, HrJ 12.18.14.0452 viewsCaracalla, AD 198-217
AE 19, 3.52g
struck AD 207-217
obv. AVT KM AV CEV ANTWNINOC
bust, laureate, r.
rev. CERDWN
Infant Herakles, chubby, kneeling r., r. hand raised, with l. hand resting on
ground, strangling two snakes entwining his arms
Ruzicka 391 (1 ex., Glasgow); Hristova/Jekov No.12.18.14.4; Varbanov 153 var. (diff. obv. legend)
Rare, about VF, oliv-green patina

This coin obviously resembles a motiv of a series of rare tetradrachms which were struck 405/4 BC to celebrate an alliance (synmachikon) of some cities of Western Asia Minor. Karwiese, NC 1980, has made a good case for it having taken place, when the cities threw off Athenian domination with the help of the Spartan Lysander. Lysander then was celebrated as Herakliskos Drakonopnigon, 'Herakles the snake-strangler'.

For more information look at the thread 'Coins of mythological interest'
1 commentsJochen
Phil2AE21.jpeg
[103b] Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C.53 viewsMacedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C. Bronze AE 21, Heavy or Double Unit, SNG ANS 833, aVF, 8.40g, 21.2mm, 0o, lifetime issue. Obverse: head Apollo right, wearing tania; Reverse: FILIPPOU, young male rider right, right hand raised, E right.
Ex FORVM.

Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Struck in commemoration of Philip's Olympic victory. This is one of his earliest issues in bronze.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of his Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

While Alexander was a bold and charismatic leader, he owes much of his success to his father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
Phillip2Ae.jpg
[103c] Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C.43 viewsBronze AE Unit, SNG ANS 896, SNG Cop 589, F, 5.554g, 16.8mm, 0o, Macedonian mint, c. 359 - 336 B.C.; lifetime issue. Obverse: head Apollo right wearing tania; Reverse: FILIPPOU, young male riding horse prancing to right, AI below. Ex FORVM.


Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of his Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

While Alexander was a bold and charismatic leader, he owes much of his success to his father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Shapur1VFrgh.jpg
[1902a] Sasanian Kingdom. Shapur I. A.D. 241-272. AR drachm.33 viewsSasanian Kingdom. Shapur I. A.D. 241-272. AR drachm; 23 mm, 4.23 g. Obverse: Crowned bust right, with ear flaps; Reverse: Fire altar with two attendants. Göbl I/1. Toned VF, rough surfaces. Ex Sayles and Lavender.

"At Nazs-i Rustam, seven kilometres north of Persepolis, lies the burial place of the famous Achaemenid Persian kings of antiquity, Darius and his son Xerxes, whose unwelcome attentions the Athenians and their allies fought off at the battles of Marathon and Salamis in 490 and 480 BC. Here, too, were discovered in 1936, inscribed in three languages on the side of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the proud boasts of a much later Persian King:

'I am the Mazda-worshipping divine Shapur, King of Kings . . . of the race of the Gods, son of the Mazda-worshipping divine Ardashir, king of kings . . . When I was first established over the dominion of the nations, the Caesar Gordian [emperor, 238-44 AD.] from the whole of the Roman Empire . . . raised an army and marched . . . against us. A great battle took place between the two sides on the frontiers of Assyria at Meshike, Caesar Gordian was destroyed and the Roman army was annihilated. The Romans proclaimed Philip Caesar. And Caesar Philip came to sue for peace, and for their lives he paid a ransom of 500,000 denarii and became tributary to us . . . And the Caesar lied again and did injustice to Armenia. We marched against the Roman Empire and annihilated a Roman army of 60,000 men at Barbalissos. The nation of Syria and whatever nations and plains that were above it, we set on fire and devastated and laid waste. And in the campaign [we took] . . . thirty-seven cities with their surrounding territories. In the third contest . . . Caesar Valerian came upon us. There was with him a force of 70,000 men . . . A great battle took place beyond Carrhae and Edessa between us and Caesar Valerian and we took him prisoner with our own hands, as well as all the other commanders of the army . . . On this campaign, we also conquered . . . thirty-six cities with their surrounding territories.'

. . . Shapur proceeded to drag Valerian around with him, in chains, as a symbol of his own greatness--an image preserved for posterity in the great carved relief of Bishapur. After his death, Shapur had him skinned and tanned as a permanent trophy. Later in the century, a second Roman emperor, Numerianus, was also captured, but killed immediately: 'They flayed him and made his skin into a sack. And they treated it with myrrh [to preserve it] and kept it as a object of exceptional splendour'"1 (Heather, Peter. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 58-9;60).

Notes:
1. Chronicon Paschale, 510

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ptolemy1soterLG.jpg
[301a] Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 283 B.C.183 viewsPTOLEMY I SOTER AR silver tetradrachm. Alexandria, 290-289 BC. Eagle standing on thunderbolt.

PTOLEMY I SOTER AR silver tetradrachm. 27mm, 13.9g. Struck at Alexandria, 290-289 BC. VF. Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemy I right; Reverse; PTOLEMAIOU BASILEWS, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, P and PTY monogram to left. Svoronos 259, SNG Cop 72. Banker's mark and some graffito in the reverse fields. Ex Incitatus.

Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaios Soter, i.e. Ptolemy the Savior, 367 BC—283 BC) was a Macedonian general who became the ruler of Egypt (323 BC—283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. In 305 BC he took the title of king.
He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedonia - either by her husband Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or by her lover, Philip II of Macedon (which would make him the half-brother of Alexander the Great if true). Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great's most trusted generals, and among the seven "body-guards" attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and his intimate friend since childhood. He may even have been in the group of noble teenagers tutored by Aristotle. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a principal part in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Atacama. Ptolemy also had a consort queen in Thaïs, the famous Athenian hetaera and one of Alexander's companions in his conquest of the ancient world. Thaïs became his queen in Egypt, and even after he divorced her, she reportedly remained his friend, and kept the title of queen while in Memphis.

When Alexander died in 323, Ptolemy is said to have instigated the resettlement of the empire made at Babylon. Through the Partition of Babylon, he was now appointed satrap of Egypt, under the nominal kings Philip Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV; the former satrap, the Greek Cleomenes, stayed on as his deputy. Ptolemy quickly moved, without authorization, to subjugate Cyrenaica.

By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to pre-empt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took great pains in getting his hands on the body of Alexander the Great, placing it temporarily in Memphis (a major element for The First War of The Diodochi) . Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Perdiccas appears to have suspected Ptolemy of aiming for the throne himself, and maybe decided that Ptolemy was his most dangerous rival. Ptolemy executed Cleomenes for spying on behalf of Perdiccas — this removed the chief check on his authority, and allowed Ptolemy to obtain the huge sum that Cleomenes had accumulated.
In 321, Perdiccas invaded Egypt. Ptolemy decided to defend the Nile, and Perdiccas's attempt to force it ended in fiasco, with the loss of 2000 men. This was a fatal blow to Perdiccas' reputation, and he was murdered in his tent by two of his subordinates. Ptolemy immediately crossed the Nile, to provide supplies to what had the day before been an enemy army. Ptolemy was offered the regency in place of Perdiccas; but he declined. Ptolemy was consistent in his policy of securing a power base, while never succumbing to the temptation of risking all to succeed Alexander.

In the long wars that followed between the different Diadochi, Ptolemy's first goal was to hold Egypt securely, and his second was to secure control in the outlying areas: Cyrenaica and Cyprus, as well as Syria, including the province of Judea. His first occupation of Syria was in 318, and he established at the same time a protectorate over the petty kings of Cyprus. When Antigonus One-Eye, master of Asia in 315, showed dangerous ambitions, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him, and on the outbreak of war, evacuated Syria. In Cyprus, he fought the partisans of Antigonus, and re-conquered the island (313). A revolt in Cyrene was crushed the same year.

In 312, Ptolemy and Seleucus, the fugitive satrap of Babylonia, both invaded Syria, and defeated Demetrius Poliorcetes ("sieger of cities"), the son of Antigonus, in the Battle of Gaza. Again he occupied Syria, and again—after only a few months, when Demetrius had won a battle over his general, and Antigonus entered Syria in force—he evacuated it. In 311, a peace was concluded between the combatants. Soon after this, the surviving 13-year-old king, Alexander IV, was murdered in Macedonia, leaving the satrap of Egypt absolutely his own master. The peace did not last long, and in 309 Ptolemy personally commanded a fleet that detached the coastal towns of Lycia and Caria from Antigonus, then crossed into Greece, where he took possession of Corinth, Sicyon and Megara (308 BC). In 306, a great fleet under Demetrius attacked Cyprus, and Ptolemy's brother Menelaus was defeated and captured in another decisive Battle of Salamis. Ptolemy's complete loss of Cyprus followed.
The satraps Antigonus and Demetrius now each assumed the title of king; Ptolemy, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus and Seleucus I Nicator, responded by doing the same. In the winter of 306 BC, Antigonus tried to follow up his victory in Cyprus by invading Egypt; but Ptolemy was strongest there, and successfully held the frontier against him. Ptolemy led no further overseas expeditions against Antigonus. However, he did send great assistance to Rhodes when it was besieged by Demetrius (305/304),. Once rescued, the Rhodians instituted a festival to worship Ptolemy as Soter ("saviour").

It is widely accepted by modern scholars that as a result of lifting the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy I had the name Soter ("saviour") bestowed upon him by the grateful people but this account is found only in the writings of Pausanius who has proven to be inaccurate on other points related to the Ptolomies. Rhodian inscriptions related to the cult of king Ptolemy do not mention it until the first century BC and Diodorus' writings, which are favourable to Ptolemy, do not either. The first mention of the title Soter is by Ptolemy II in 256 BC when he issued coins calling himself “King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy Soter”. Prior to this date coins had read “King Ptolemy son of Ptolemy”. It is speculated that he used the title Soter as propaganda after a series of defeats prior to its first use.

When the coalition against Antigonus was renewed in 302, Ptolemy joined it, and invaded Syria a third time, while Antigonus was engaged with Lysimachus in Asia Minor. On hearing a report that Antigonus had won a decisive victory there, he once again evacuated Syria. But when the news came that Antigonus had been defeated and slain by Lysimachus and Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301, he occupied Syria a fourth time.

The other members of the coalition had assigned all Syria to Seleucus, after what they regarded as Ptolemy's desertion, and for the next hundred years, the question of the ownership of southern Syria (ie, Judea) produced recurring warfare between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. Henceforth, Ptolemy seems to have mingled as little as possible in the rivalries between Asia Minor and Greece; he lost what he held in Greece, but reconquered Cyprus in 295/294. Cyrene, after a series of rebellions, was finally subjugated about 300 and placed under his stepson Magas.

In 285, Ptolemy abdicated in favour of one of his younger sons by Berenice - Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who had been co-regent for three years. His eldest (legitimate) son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, whose mother, Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, had been repudiated, fled to the court of Lysimachus. Ptolemy I Soter died in 283 at the age of 84. Shrewd and cautious, he had a compact and well-ordered realm to show at the end of forty years of war. His reputation for bonhomie and liberality attached the floating soldier-class of Macedonians and Greeks to his service, and was not insignificant; nor did he wholly neglect conciliation of the natives. Ptolemy also founded the cult of Serapis, an Egyptian god who was "recreated" in such a fashion that he was acceptable to the Greeks and Macedonians. Ptolemy initiated the building of the lighthouse off the coast of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. This was to become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

He was a ready patron of letters, founding the Great Library of Alexandria. He himself wrote a history of Alexander's campaigns that has not survived. This used to be considered an objective work, distinguished by its straightforward honesty and sobriety. However, Ptolemy may have exaggerated his own role, and had propagandist aims in writing his History. Although now lost, it was a principal source for the surviving account by Arrian of Nicomedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy_I_Soter

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
2 commentsCleisthenes
Ptolemy_I_Soter.jpg
[301b] Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 283 B.C.104 viewsBronze AE 30, cf. Svoronos 271, et al., VF/F, Alexandria mint, weight 12.946g, maximum diameter 30.3mm, die axis 0o, obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse [PTOLEMAIOU BASILEWS], eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, unidentifiable monogram(s) in left field; nice style Zeus. Ex FORVM.

Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaios Soter, i.e. Ptolemy the Savior, 367 BC—283 BC) was a Macedonian general who became the ruler of Egypt (323 BC—283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. In 305 BC he took the title of king.
He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedonia - either by her husband Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or by her lover, Philip II of Macedon (which would make him the half-brother of Alexander the Great if true). Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great's most trusted generals, and among the seven "body-guards" attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and his intimate friend since childhood. He may even have been in the group of noble teenagers tutored by Aristotle. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a principal part in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Atacama. Ptolemy also had a consort queen in Thaïs, the famous Athenian hetaera and one of Alexander's companions in his conquest of the ancient world. Thaïs became his queen in Egypt, and even after he divorced her, she reportedly remained his friend, and kept the title of queen while in Memphis.

When Alexander died in 323, Ptolemy is said to have instigated the resettlement of the empire made at Babylon. Through the Partition of Babylon, he was now appointed satrap of Egypt, under the nominal kings Philip Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV; the former satrap, the Greek Cleomenes, stayed on as his deputy. Ptolemy quickly moved, without authorization, to subjugate Cyrenaica.

By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to pre-empt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took great pains in getting his hands on the body of Alexander the Great, placing it temporarily in Memphis (a major element for The First War of The Diodochi) . Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Perdiccas appears to have suspected Ptolemy of aiming for the throne himself, and maybe decided that Ptolemy was his most dangerous rival. Ptolemy executed Cleomenes for spying on behalf of Perdiccas — this removed the chief check on his authority, and allowed Ptolemy to obtain the huge sum that Cleomenes had accumulated.
In 321, Perdiccas invaded Egypt. Ptolemy decided to defend the Nile, and Perdiccas's attempt to force it ended in fiasco, with the loss of 2000 men. This was a fatal blow to Perdiccas' reputation, and he was murdered in his tent by two of his subordinates. Ptolemy immediately crossed the Nile, to provide supplies to what had the day before been an enemy army. Ptolemy was offered the regency in place of Perdiccas; but he declined. Ptolemy was consistent in his policy of securing a power base, while never succumbing to the temptation of risking all to succeed Alexander.

In the long wars that followed between the different Diadochi, Ptolemy's first goal was to hold Egypt securely, and his second was to secure control in the outlying areas: Cyrenaica and Cyprus, as well as Syria, including the province of Judea. His first occupation of Syria was in 318, and he established at the same time a protectorate over the petty kings of Cyprus. When Antigonus One-Eye, master of Asia in 315, showed dangerous ambitions, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him, and on the outbreak of war, evacuated Syria. In Cyprus, he fought the partisans of Antigonus, and re-conquered the island (313). A revolt in Cyrene was crushed the same year.

In 312, Ptolemy and Seleucus, the fugitive satrap of Babylonia, both invaded Syria, and defeated Demetrius Poliorcetes ("sieger of cities"), the son of Antigonus, in the Battle of Gaza. Again he occupied Syria, and again—after only a few months, when Demetrius had won a battle over his general, and Antigonus entered Syria in force—he evacuated it. In 311, a peace was concluded between the combatants. Soon after this, the surviving 13-year-old king, Alexander IV, was murdered in Macedonia, leaving the satrap of Egypt absolutely his own master. The peace did not last long, and in 309 Ptolemy personally commanded a fleet that detached the coastal towns of Lycia and Caria from Antigonus, then crossed into Greece, where he took possession of Corinth, Sicyon and Megara (308 BC). In 306, a great fleet under Demetrius attacked Cyprus, and Ptolemy's brother Menelaus was defeated and captured in another decisive Battle of Salamis. Ptolemy's complete loss of Cyprus followed.
The satraps Antigonus and Demetrius now each assumed the title of king; Ptolemy, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus and Seleucus I Nicator, responded by doing the same. In the winter of 306 BC, Antigonus tried to follow up his victory in Cyprus by invading Egypt; but Ptolemy was strongest there, and successfully held the frontier against him. Ptolemy led no further overseas expeditions against Antigonus. However, he did send great assistance to Rhodes when it was besieged by Demetrius (305/304),. Once rescued, the Rhodians instituted a festival to worship Ptolemy as Soter ("saviour").

It is widely accepted by modern scholars that as a result of lifting the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy I had the name Soter ("saviour") bestowed upon him by the grateful people but this account is found only in the writings of Pausanius who has proven to be inaccurate on other points related to the Ptolomies. Rhodian inscriptions related to the cult of king Ptolemy do not mention it until the first century BC and Diodorus' writings, which are favourable to Ptolemy, do not either. The first mention of the title Soter is by Ptolemy II in 256 BC when he issued coins calling himself “King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy Soter”. Prior to this date coins had read “King Ptolemy son of Ptolemy”. It is speculated that he used the title Soter as propaganda after a series of defeats prior to its first use.

When the coalition against Antigonus was renewed in 302, Ptolemy joined it, and invaded Syria a third time, while Antigonus was engaged with Lysimachus in Asia Minor. On hearing a report that Antigonus had won a decisive victory there, he once again evacuated Syria. But when the news came that Antigonus had been defeated and slain by Lysimachus and Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301, he occupied Syria a fourth time.

The other members of the coalition had assigned all Syria to Seleucus, after what they regarded as Ptolemy's desertion, and for the next hundred years, the question of the ownership of southern Syria (ie, Judea) produced recurring warfare between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. Henceforth, Ptolemy seems to have mingled as little as possible in the rivalries between Asia Minor and Greece; he lost what he held in Greece, but reconquered Cyprus in 295/294. Cyrene, after a series of rebellions, was finally subjugated about 300 and placed under his stepson Magas.

In 285, Ptolemy abdicated in favour of one of his younger sons by Berenice - Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who had been co-regent for three years. His eldest (legitimate) son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, whose mother, Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, had been repudiated, fled to the court of Lysimachus. Ptolemy I Soter died in 283 at the age of 84. Shrewd and cautious, he had a compact and well-ordered realm to show at the end of forty years of war. His reputation for bonhomie and liberality attached the floating soldier-class of Macedonians and Greeks to his service, and was not insignificant; nor did he wholly neglect conciliation of the natives. Ptolemy also founded the cult of Serapis, an Egyptian god who was "recreated" in such a fashion that he was acceptable to the Greeks and Macedonians. Ptolemy initiated the building of the lighthouse off the coast of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. This was to become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

He was a ready patron of letters, founding the Great Library of Alexandria. He himself wrote a history of Alexander's campaigns that has not survived. This used to be considered an objective work, distinguished by its straightforward honesty and sobriety. However, Ptolemy may have exaggerated his own role, and had propagandist aims in writing his History. Although now lost, it was a principal source for the surviving account by Arrian of Nicomedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy_I_Soter

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
MarcusAureliusLiberalitas_sestertius.jpg
[905a] Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.137 viewsMARCUS AURELIUS AE [b[Sestertius. RIC 1222. 30mm, 24.5g. Struck at Rome, 177 AD. Obverse: M ANTONINUS AVG GERM SARM TR P XXXI, laureate head right; Reverse: LIBERALITAS AVG VII IMP VIIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing left holding coin counter & cornucopia, SC in fields. Nice portrait. Ex Incitatus. Photo courtesy of Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University


Introduction and Sources
The Vita of the emperor in the collection known as the Historia Augusta identifies him in its heading as Marcus Antoninus Philosophus, "Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher." Toward the end of the work, the following is reported about him, sententia Platonis semper in ore illius fuit, florere civitates si aut philosophi imperarent aut imperantes philosopharentur (27.7), "Plato's judgment was always on his lips, that states flourished if philosophers ruled or rulers were philosophers." It is this quality of Marcus' character which has made him a unique figure in Roman history, since he was the first emperor whose life was molded by, and devoted to, philosophy (Julian was the second and last). His reign was long and troubled, and in some ways showed the weaknesses of empire which ultimately led to the "Decline and Fall," yet his personal reputation, indeed his sanctity, have never failed of admirers. Contributing to his fame and reputation is a slender volume of Stoic philosophy which served as a kind of diary while he was involved in military campaigns, the Meditations, a book which can be described as an aureus libellus, a little golden book.

The sources for understanding Marcus and his reign are varied but generally disappointing. There is no major historian. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, as well as those of Hadrian, Antoninus, Verus, and Avidius Cassius. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. In all likelihood, it is the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth-century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for our period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Marcus' teacher, Fronto, a distinguished orator and rhetorician, is extremely useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, legal writings, and some of the church writers, such as Tertullian, Eusebius, and Orosius, are very important. Archaeology and art history, with their interpretation of monuments, make the history of Marcus' principate literally visible and offer important clues for understanding the context of his actions.

Early Life
He was born M. Annius Verus on April 26, 121, the scion of a distinguished family of Spanish origin (PIR2 A697). His father was Annius Verus (PIR2 A696), his mother Domitia Lucilla (PIR2 D183). His grandfather held his second consulate in that year and went on to reach a third in 126, a rare distinction in the entire history of the principate, and also served Hadrian as city prefect. The youth's education embraced both rhetoric and philosophy; his manner was serious, his intellectual pursuits deep and devoted, so that the emperor Hadrian took an interest in him and called him "Verissimus," "Most truthful," by punning on his name. He received public honors from an early age and seems to have long been in Hadrian's mind as a potential successor. When Hadrian's first choice as successor, L. Ceionius Commodus, died before his adoptive father, the second choice proved more fruitful. The distinguished senator T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus, from Cisalpine Gaul, did succeed Hadrian, whose arrangements for the succession planned for the next generation as well. He required Antoninus to adopt the young Verus, now to be known as M. Aelius Aurelius Verus, as well as Commodus' son, henceforth known as L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus (PIR2 C606). The former was a bit more than seventeen years old, the latter was eight.

Career under Antoninus Pius
The long tenure of Antoninus Pius proved one of the most peaceful and prosperous in Roman history. The emperor himself was disinclined to military undertakings and never left Italy during his reign. Disturbances to the pax Romana occurred on the fringes of empire. Responses were decisive and successful, with legates in charge in the provinces. As a consequence, neither Caesar gained military experience nor was shown to the armies, a failing which later could have proved decisive and disastrous. Marcus rose steadily through the cursus honorum, holding consulates in 140 and 145, combining magistracies with priesthoods. He received the tribunicia potestas in 147, and perhaps also imperium proconsulare. Yet he never neglected the artes liberals. His closest contacts were with Fronto (c.95-c.160), the distinguished rhetorician and orator. His acquaintance included many other distinguished thinkers, such as Herodes Atticus (c.95-177), the Athenian millionaire and sophist, and Aelius Aristides (117-c.181), two of whose great speeches have survived and which reveal much of the mood and beliefs of the age. Yet it was Epictetus (c.50-c.120) who had the greatest philosophical impact and made him a firm Stoic. In the year 161 Marcus celebrated his fortieth birthday, a figure of noble appearance and unblemished character. He was leading a life which gave him as much honor and glory as he could have desired, probably much more than his private nature enjoyed, yet his life, and that of the empire, was soon to change. The emperor died on March 7, but not before clearly indicating to magistrates and senate alike his desire that Marcus succeed him by having the statue of Fortuna, which had been in his bedroom, transferred to Marcus. There was no opposition, no contrary voice, to his succession. He immediately chose his brother as co-emperor, as Hadrian had planned. From the beginning of the year they were joint consuls and held office for the entire year. Their official titulature was now Imperator Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus and Imperator Caesar L. Aurelius Verus Augustus. The military qualities adumbrated by the word Imperator were soon much in demand, for the empire was under pressure in the year 161 in Britain, in Raetia, and in the east, where Parthia once again posed a significant danger.

The Parthian War (161-166)
The incursion in northern Britain and the difficulties along the Danube were soon satisfactorily managed by legates. The danger in the East was of a different magnitude. Tensions between Rome and Parthia had intensified in the last years of Antoninus' reign over control of Armenia, the vast buffer state which had often aroused enmity between the two powers, since each wished to be able to impose a king favorable to its interests. With Antoninus' death and the uncertainty attendant upon a new emperor (in this case two, a dyarchy, for the first time in Rome's history), the Parthian monarch, Vologaeses III, struck rapidly, placed his own candidate upon the Armenian throne, and inflicted severe setbacks upon the Roman forces sent to oppose him. Marcus decided to send his colleague Lucius Verus, whose imperial prestige would underscore the seriousness of the empire's response. Verus lacked military experience and was sorely lacking in the attributes of leadership and command; further, he was notorious for being chiefly interested in amusements and luxury. But Marcus surrounded him with several of the best generals at the empire's disposal, chief among them Avidius Cassius (c.130-175) (PIR2 A1402). From 162 on, Rome's successes and conquests were extensive and decisive. Most of Parthia's significant cities and strongholds, such as Seleucia and Ctesiphon, were stormed and destroyed, and the army's movements eastward recalled the movements of Alexander the Great some five centuries earlier. By 166, Parthia had capitulated and a Roman nominee sat on the Armenian throne. The victory appeared to be the most decisive since Trajan's conquest of Dacia, but, when Verus returned to Italy with his triumphant army, there came also a devastating plague, which had enormous effect on all provinces.
As is the case with all ancient diseases, it is almost impossible to identify this one. In all likelihood, however, it was smallpox; how severe the toll was is debated. Clearly, it cast a pall over the triumph celebrated by the two emperors, who were honored with the titles Armeniacus and Parthicus. The last years of this decade were dominated by efforts to overcome the plague and provide succour to its victims. But already in 166, the German tribes smashed the Danubian limes, threatening the empire's stability and even existence, more than Parthia had ever done. The first campaigns were punctuated by the death of Verus in 169, leaving Marcus as sole emperor. And so began the most difficult period of his life.

The German Wars
Early in 169, the Marcomanni and Quadi crossed the Danube, penetrated the intervening provinces, and entered Italy. The culmination of their onslaught was a siege of Aquileia. The effect upon the inhabitants of the peninsula was frightful. This was the first invasion of Italy since the late second century B.C., when the Cimbri and Teutones had been separately crushed by Marius. Perhaps more vivid in the collective imagination was the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387, when the city was saved only by the payment of ransom.
The two emperors hastened north, after a rapid mobilization of forces, which included the drafting of slaves, since the manpower potential of the empire had been so impaired by the consequences of the plague and the losses and troop commitments in the East. Verus died while in the north; Marcus returned to Rome with the body and gave his brother full honors. He then turned north again and began his counterattacks against the barbarians. He did not know it at the time, but he was destined to spend most of his remaining years on the northern frontier. The only interlude was caused by revolt in the east.

We have no record of Marcus' ultimate intentions in these campaigns, yet the various stages were clear. First and foremost, the enemy had to be driven out of Italy and then into their own territory beyond the Danube. He strove to isolate the tribes and then defeat them individually, so that the ultimate manpower superiority of the empire and its greater skill in warfare and logistics could more easily be brought to bear. It was a successful strategy, as one tribe after another suffered defeat and reestablished ties with Rome. But it was a time-consuming and expensive operation, requiring the recruitment of two new legions, II Italica and III Italica, the construction of many new camps, such as the legionary fortress at Regensburg, with success accruing year by year. He intended to create two new provinces, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, thereby eliminating the Hungarian Plain and the headwaters of the Elbe as staging areas for invasion.

This steady, slow progress was interrupted in 175 by the action of the distinguished general Avidius Cassius, governor of Syria, who claimed the empire for himself. Whether he responded to a rumor of Marcus' death or, as gossip had it, conspired with Marcus' wife, the emperor's response was quick and decisive. Leaving the northern wars, he traveled to the East, but Avidius was killed before Marcus arrived in the region. After spending time settling affairs and showing himself to some of the provinces, with particular attention shown to Athens, where he was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, as Hadrian and Verus had been. He returned to Italy and soon answered the call to duty once more on the northern frontier. He took with him as colleague his son Commodus, now merely sixteen years old but already long since marked out as his father's intended successor. The military campaigns proved successful, but in the spring of 180, when Marcus died, at least one more year of warfare was necessary for the attainment of the grand enterprise. Marcus recommended to Commodus continuation of the war, but the new emperor was eager to return to Rome and the ease and luxury of the imperial court and entered into a peace agreement. Never again was Rome to hold the upper hand in its dealings with the Germanic tribes beyond the now reestablished borders of the empire.

Administrative and Religious Policy
Marcus was a conscientious and careful administrator who devoted much attention to judicial matters. His appointments to major administrative positions were for the most part admirable. Difficult tasks were put in the charge of the most capable men; he was not afraid of comparison with his subordinates. Social mobility continued as it had been under his predecessors, with men from the provinces advancing into the upper echelons of the Roman aristocracy. Those of humble birth could make a good career; such a one was Pertinax (126-193), a gifted general, who in early 193 became emperor for a space of less than three months.

The judicial administration of Italy was put in the hands of iuridici, who represented the emperor and thus spoke with his authority. This was a practice which had been established by Hadrian but had been allowed to lapse by Antoninus. The centralization of government continued apace. The imperial finances were sorely stretched by the almost continuous wars. Trajan had brought great wealth, Decebalus' treasure, into the empire after his conquest of Dacia. No such profit awaited Marcus. When preparing for the northern wars, he auctioned off much of the imperial palace's valuables. In spite of the enormous expenses of war, Commodus found ample funds upon his accession as sole emperor for his expenditures and amusements.

Although Marcus was a devoted thinker and philosopher, he was deeply religious, at least outwardly. The state cult received full honor, and he recognized the validity of other people's beliefs, so that the variety of religions in the vast extent of the empire caused no difficulties for inhabitants or government, with one significant exception. The Christians were not hampered by any official policy; indeed the impact of the church spread enormously in the second century. Yet their availability as scapegoats for local crises made them subject to abuse or worse. There was violence against them in 167, and perhaps the worst stain on Marcus' principate stemmed from the pogrom of Christians in Lugdunum in southern France in 177. He did not cause it, nor, on the other hand, did he or his officials move to stop it. Indeed, Tertullian called him a friend of Christianity. Yet the events were a precursor of what would come in the century and a quarter which followed.

Building Programs and Monuments
Many of Marcus' predecessors transformed the face of the capital with their building programs, either by the vast range of their undertaking or by the extraordinary significance of individual monuments. Others did very little to leave a tangible mark. Marcus fell into the latter group. There is record of very few monuments for which he and his brother were responsible. Very early in their reign they honored the deceased Antoninus with a column in the Campus Martius, no longer in situ but largely surviving. The shaft, which seems not to have been sculpted, was used for the restoration of Augustus' obelisk, now in Piazza Montecitorio, in the eighteenth century. The base, which was sculpted on all four sides, is now on display in the Vatican Museum. The chief feature is the apotheosis of the emperor and his long deceased wife, the elder Faustina, as they are borne to heaven. Also presented on this relief are two eagles and personifications of the goddess Roma and of the Campus Martius, represented as a young male figure.

There were three arches which commemorated the military achievements of the two emperors. No trace has been found of an early monument to Verus. Two arches later honored Marcus, both of which have disappeared but have left significant sculptural remains. The eight rectangular reliefs preserved on the Arch of Constantine came from one arch. Similarly, the three reliefs displayed in the stairwell of the Conservatori Museum on the Capitoline Hill came from another. One relief has disappeared from the latter monument.

Certainly the best known monument of Marcus' principate is the column, which rises from Piazza Colonna. It is twin to Trajan's column in height and design, although the artistic craftsmanship of the reliefs which envelop the shaft is much inferior. The subject is Marcus' campaigns against the Marcomanni and Sarmati in the years 172-75. The most interesting panel represents the famous rainstorm, when the army, overwhelmed by drought, was suddenly saved by the divine intervention of rain. Although begun in the latter part of the decade, the column was not completed until 193, when Septimius Severus had become emperor.

The famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which survived the centuries near San Giovanni in Laterano because the rider was identified as Constantine, no longer greets the visitor to the Capitoline, where Michelangelo had placed it in the sixteenth century. It was removed in the 1980s because pollution was destroying it. After careful treatment and restoration, it is now displayed within the museum, with a replica placed in the center of the piazza.

Although outside Rome, mention should be made of the monumental frieze commemorating Lucius Verus' victory over the Parthians in 165. It was an ornament of the city of Ephesus; the extensive sculptural remains are now in the Ephesus Museum in Vienna.

Family
As part of Hadrian's plans for his succession, when Ceionius Commodus was his choice, Marcus was betrothed to the latter's daughter. But when Ceionius died and Antoninus became Hadrian's successor, that arrangement was nullified and Marcus was chosen for the Emperor's daughter, the younger Faustina (PIR2 A716). She had been born in 129, was hence eight years younger than he. They were married in 145; the marriage endured for thirty years. She bore him thirteen children, of whom several died young; the most important were a daughter, Lucilla, and a son Commodus. Lucilla was deployed for political purposes, married first to Lucius Verus in 164, when she was seventeen, and then, after his death, to Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus of Antioch, a much older man who was an important associate of her father /ii]PIR2 C973). Commodus became joint-emperor with his father in 177 and three years later ruled alone.

Faustina's reputation suffered much abuse. She was accused of employing poison and of murdering people, as well as being free with her favors with gladiators, sailors, and also men of rank, particularly Avidius Cassius. Yet Marcus trusted her implicitly and defended her vigorously. She accompanied him on several campaigns and was honored with the title mater castrorum. She was with him in camp at Halala in southern Cappadocia in the winter of 175 when she died in an accident. Marcus dedicated a temple to her honor and had the name of the city changed to Faustinopolis.

Death and Succession
In early 180, while Marcus and Commodus were fighting in the north, Marcus became ill. Which disease carried him off we do not know, but for some days Marcus took no food or drink, being now eager to die. He died on March 17, in the city of Vindobona, although one source reports that it was in Sirmium. His ashes were brought to Rome and placed in Hadrian's mausoleum. Commodus succeeded to all power without opposition, and soon withdrew from the war, thereby stymieing his father's designs and ambitions. It was a change of rulers that proved disastrous for people and empire. Dio called the succession a change from a golden kingdom to one of iron and rust.

Reputation
Gibbon called Marcus "that philosophic monarch," a combination of adjective and noun which sets Marcus apart from all other Roman emperors. His renown has, in subsequent centuries, suffered little, although he was by no means a "perfect" person. He was perhaps too tolerant of other people's failings, he himself used opium. The abundance of children whom his wife bore him included, alas, a male who was to prove one of Rome's worst rulers. How much better it would have been if Marcus had had no son and had chosen a successor by adoption, so that the line of the five good emperors, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, Marcus, could have been extended. It was not to be, and for that Marcus must accept some responsibility.

Yet he was a man of ability and a sense of duty who sacrificed his own delights and interests to the well-being of the state. He was capax imperii, he did his best, and history has been kind to him. As Hamlet said to Horatio, when awaiting the appearance of the ghost of his father,

"He was a man! Take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." (I 2, 187-88)

His memory remains vivid and tactile because of the famous column, the equestrian statue, and his slender volume of thoughts, written in Greek, the Meditations, from which I choose two quotations with which to conclude:

"If mind is common to us, then also the reason, whereby we are reasoning beings, is common. If this be so, then also the reason which enjoins what is to be done or left undone is common. If this be so, law also is common; if this be so, we are citizens; if this be so, we are partakers in one constitution; if this be so, the Universe is a kind of Commonwealth." (4.4)

"At dawn of day, when you dislike being called, have this thought ready: 'I am called to man's labour; why then do I make a difficulty if I am going out to do what I was born to do and what I was brought into the world for?'" (5.1; both in Farquharson's translation)

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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