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Thessalonica

Thessalonica (Salonica, the ancient Therma) was so named by Cassander (B.C. 315) in honor of his wife. No autonomous coins were struck there until shortly before the fall of the Macedonian monarchy in B.C. 168. Thessalonica was made by the Romans the capital of the second Region, and the silver coins reading ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΩΝ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑΣ were issued from its mint, B.C. 158-149; as were also, at a later date, the tetradrachms of the Quaestor Aesillas, and of the Legatus pro quaestore L. Bruttius Sura, B.C. 92-88, if, as I think, the Θ behind the head on the obverses of these coins is to be interpreted as a mint-letter. The bronze coins of Thessalonica reading ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ or ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΕΩΝ range apparently from the time of Philip V down to Imperial times. Chief Types, Head of Apollo, Rx Tripod; Head of Perseus or Roma, Rx Oakwreath; Head of Dionysos, Rx Grapes or goat standing; Head of Hermes, Rx Pan standing; Head of young Herakles, Rx Club; Head of Zeus, Rx Two goats on their hind legs face to face; Head of Athena, Rx Bull feeding; Head of Poseidon, Rx Prow; Head of Artemis, Rx Quiver and Bow; with many others (B. M. C., Mac., 108 ff.; Berl. Cat., 132 ff.). Most of these coins have one or more monograms which may conceal the names of Roman or of municipal officials. There are also Asses after circ. B.C. 88; Head of Janus and mark of value Ι, Rx the Dioskuri or two Centaurs (B. M. C., Mac., p. 112).

Imperial. Time of M. Antony to Gallienus. Inscr., ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΕΩΝ, ΑΓΩΝΟΘΕΣΙΑ, accompanying a head personifying the Presidency of the municipal games, ΘΕCCΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ, &c. As a Civitas Libera and the residence of the. Roman governor, Thessalonica was of greater importance commercially than its rival Beroea, although the latter succeeded in obtaining Imperial recognition as Νεωκορος as early as the reign of Nerva. Thessalonica, as a free city, was not a member of the Macedonian Κοινον, and the ‘common’ games were celebrated at Beroea. Thessalonica, however, received the title ΝΕΩΚΟΡΟC under Gordian. On coins of Decius she is styled ΚΟ[ΛΩΝΙΑ] ΜΗ[ΤΡΟΠΟΛΙC] and Δ ΝΕΩΚΟΡΟC, and on those of Gallienus, once more Β ΝΕΩΚΟΡΟC. The local Games were called ΠΥΘΙΑ, often with the addition of the special epithets επινικια, Κεσαρεια, or Καβιρεια. One of the Kabeiri is a frequent coin-type either standing, with name ΚΑΒΕΙΡΟC, or as a small figure carried by Apollo or Nike. The ΠΥΘΙΑ at Thessalonica rivalled the ‘Ολυμπια ‘Αλεξανδρια at Beroea. They were first celebrated under the name of Πυθια in 242. The coins reading ΠΥΘΙΑΔΙ Β were struck on the occasion of the second Pythiad in 246, and correspond with those reading ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ Β issued in the same year by the Κοινον at Beroea (Gaebler, Z. f. N., xxiv. 315). One of the remarkable gold medallions (νικητηρια) mentioned above (p. 242) may have been struck at Thessalonica.