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Phoenicia Arados - Bronze

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Series AR-TPA (Duyrat SÉRIE 1)

I bought this coin recently from a reputable dealer who had listed it as a Phoenician Arados from the 3rd to 2nd century B.C - without Poseidon type. The only size given was 16mm (no weight), after studying the various photos i quickly came to the conclusion that the coin did indeed look post Alexandrine and could possibly be extremely scarce or perhaps one of a kind. Although i don't really like using the term one of a kind, this does appear to be the case in respect to the coins era date, Aradian year 35. This series of coins can be found in the most comprehensive study of Arados coins to date, we know this work has Duyrat 2005. On page 44 it states the following for this type;

a. Attribution
La présence du monogramme d sur les premières émissions puis l’habitude de noter la date en phénicien rattachent sans difficulté ces bronzes aux séries aradiennes.

b. Catalogue 69
98 exemplaires
Au droit : tête de Tyché à droite. Grènetis.
Au revers : proue armée d’un éperon à gauche. Athéna combattante en figure de proue. Grènetis.

Roughly translated

2. Bronze, Head of Tyche / Prow, Athena Figure Head (Series 1)
a. attribution
The presence of the cities monogram and the unique style of Phoenician era dates gives us a clear indication that these coins can be easily related to the bronze Aradian series.

b. Catalogue 69
98 examples.
Right: head of Tyche right. border of dots.
On the reverse, prow armed with a spur to the left. Athena fighting figurehead. border of dots.

The weight, size and style of this coin all point to series 1 and cannot be attributed to any other series just for those reasons ! Has i mentioned earlier the era date is year 35. See below for closest dates in Duyrat 2005 which can be found on page 45;

An 29 (Aradian era date 29) (231/0 B.C), palmier, d et ’ dans le champ en haut (Palm, and daleph 'in field above)

1438 D32-R51, New York, ANS 1948 19 2144. 6,68 g, 21,0 mm, 12 h.
1439 *D33-R52, Beyrouth, AUB Museum, no 28.5,11g,21mm, 12 h.
1440 D33-R53, Berlin, SM, Rauch. 6,64 g, 19,4 mm, 12 h.
1441 D34-R54, Berlin, SM, Imhoof-Blumer (1900). 6,96 g, 20,0 mm, 9 h.
1442 *D34-R55, Milan, collection Di Brera no 3593. 7,07 g, 3 h.
1443 D34-R56, Munich. 5,80 g, 12 h.

An 30 ? (Aradian era date 30) (230/229 B.C), d et M ? dans le champ en haut (daleph and mem? in field above)

1444 D34-R57, Dombrowsky, Munster, 67, fév. 1976, no 239.
1445 *D34-R57, NewYork, ANS199254514 Lindgren.5,83g, 19,0 mm, 5 h.

Note: year 30 coins do appear to have a Palm tree between AP and Phoenician letter, although this is not mentioned by the author.

Has you can clearly see, there seems to have be a gap of eight years without coin production...until now !

An 38 (Aradian era date 38) (222/1 B.C), ’ ?, D dans le champ en haut

1446 *D35?-R58, Londres, BM, BMC 95. 5,43 g, 19,2 mm, 6 h. ’, N ? dans le champ en haut
1447 *D36-R59, New York, ANS 1971 193 54. 5,27 g, 11,1 mm.
1448 *D37-R60, Berlin, SM, C. R. Fox (1873). 5,08 g, 18,4 mm, 12 h.
1449 D37-R60, New York, ANS 1948 19 2148. 4,52 g, 16,7 mm, 6 h.

An 38 ? (Aradian era date 38)

1450 *D38-R61, NewYork, ANS199254644 Lindgren.5,62g, 17,6 mm, 12 h. Style du droit proche de celui de D36.
1451 *D39-R?, NewYork, ANS199254645 Lindgren.An35+. 4,40 g, 16,6 mm, 12 h.

I am pleased to submit the following attribution for this previously unpublished Aradian coin of year 35, SÉRIE 1.

Final attribution

Phoenicia, Arados 225-224 B.C

AE 17.65mm (Thickness 3.83mm), weight 6.71g, die axis = 12h (0 degrees), denomination B.

Obverse: Turreted head of Tyche right, beading.

Reverse: Prow of galley left with (Ἀθηνᾶ Πρόμαχος) Athena Promachos figurehead fighting left, above AP Monogram, palm tree and Phoenician letter ayin (‘), Aradian era date 35.

Duyrat 2005 (Not published) Pg.45 between years 30-38 / No.1444-1446.

Reattributed to Karne 29 Feb. 2017

All the best


Maybe a short introduction to this wonderful island city would be appropriate.  ;)

Arados, Arwad in Phoenician, is the main city in Northern Phoenicia. It is located on a tiny island with an excellent harbour 2.5 km from the coast, opposite modern day Tartous. Compared to other Phoenician cities of the southern shore, there was a lack of literary and archaeological excavations telling us about the history of this city. Yet the preserved ruins show that it was inhabited without interruption since days of Antiquity. There was also an abundant source of money regularly struck during the Hellenistic period. The Aradians used their privileged geographical location to full advantage and exploited the weaknesses of the Seleucid empire, becoming an essential buffer state within the Lagids’ territories of Syria and Phoenicia. During the 3rd and 2nd centuries, they showed an unwavering loyalty to the Seleucids to whom they delivered military supplies, mainly naval, for which they received autonomy, an official alliance, and sometimes major concessions as asylia during the war between Seleucus II and Antiochus Hierax (241-239 B.C). After the turn of the 2nd century, while the Seleucid dynasty was in decline Aradian regional ambitions increased: the city took the territory of its continental rival Marathos, meets the Tigranus army of Armenia crossing its peraia and gives help to Pompeius’ camp against Caesar and Antonius. This choice explains the blockade the island was subjected to over a period of several months, which led to starvation and disease and persuaded Aradians to surrender in 38 B.C. The submission of the city to the Roman Empire is officially engraved on its bronze coins showing Astarte with a small bust of the emperor in front of her.

That's extraordinary. There's no way under the sun all the people in that town could have fed themselves off the island, so they were dependent on imported food. What were they trading? Or was it some sort of fortress town?


--- Quote from: Robert_Brenchley on December 27, 2013, 05:57:04 pm ---That's extraordinary. There's no way under the sun all the people in that town could have fed themselves off the island, so they were dependent on imported food. What were they trading? Or was it some sort of fortress town?

--- End quote ---

Hello Robert,

Arados was indeed a fortress city with a powerful navy which flourished under Persian rule, along with Sidon and Tyre they had gained control of the entire southern coast. These cities had learnt how to exploit but also importantly how to develop and increase prosperity in the region. Archaeological surveys show that along the Phoenician coast the rural areas were heavily populated with many outlets. Each river mouth provided anchorage for merchant ships that provided the much needed supplies to the Aradians. Gerostratus was probably the most influential leader of the Aradians, he ruled between 350-332 B.C, building up a dominion extending over the northern part of Phoenicia, including the large and wealthy seaports of Marathus and Mariamme.
The Aradians did however change allegiance on a number of occasions. While serving under the Persian fleet, Gerostratus grow tired of this pact, deciding that the time was right for a change of sovereignty. What came to general knowledge was that Gerostratus offered to Alexander, allegiance from himself and his island city, in token of which he sent a present of a golden crown, which Straton, son of Gerostratus was allowed to place, in public, on Alexanders head, thus securing a new era of prosperity for his people.

I hope that i was able to answer your question ?

All the best

Wikipedia says that unlike today, a freshwater spring existed on Arados in antiquity, providing water supply to the inhabitants. A huge advantage over most other small islands in the Mediterranean, making it an obvious choice for a fortified trading post and certainly a major explanation for the city's prosperity, too!

Very interesting, I had not paid attention to the specific geographical Situation of Arados so far.



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