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Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000 B.C. - 2500 B.C. Mycenaean settlements have also been discovered. In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, such as the Aleuadae of Larissa or the Scopads of Krannon. In the 4th century B.C. Jason of Pherae transformed Thessaly into a significant military power. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, and the region was associated with the Macedonian Kingdom for the next centuries. Later Thessaly became part of the Roman province of Macedonia.
Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.
Mopsion issued only bronze coins, and only c. 350 - 300 B.C. In Nomos 4, BCD notes, "The bronzes of Mopsion are practically impossible to find in nice condition and without flaws or corrosion. They are also very rare and desirable because of the their spectacularly eloquent reverse. The nicest one to come up for auction realized $18,000..."
Mopsion, in the Peneus valley half way between Larissa and Tempe, took its name from the Lapith Mopsos, a son of Ampyx. Mopsos learned augury from Apollo, understood the language of birds, and became an Argonaut seer. As depicted on this coin, he was one of the Lapiths who defeated the Centaurs. This battle was a favorite subject of Greek art. While fleeing across the Libyan desert from angry sisters of the slain Gorgon Medusa, Mopsos died from the bite of a viper that had grown from a drop of Medusa's blood. Medea was unable to save him, even by magical means. The Argonauts buried him with a monument by the sea, and a temple was later erected on the site.GB87120. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 484, BCD Thessaly I 1210, Rogers 412, McClean 4648, HGC 4 537 (R2), SNG Cop -, Pozzi -, BMC Thessaly -, gF, dark garnet and black patina, well centered, a little rough, weight 8.082 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 225o, Mopsion (Bakraina(?), Greece) mint, c. 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse head of Zeus facing slightly right, vertical thunderbolt to right; reverse MOΨ-EI-ΩN, Lapith Mopsos standing facing, nude, his head turned right, raising club in right hand and extending his left hand, fighting centaur that is rearing left and raising a bolder over its head with both hands preparing to throw it; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "HK ex Thess., April 02, $275.-"; very rare; $450.00 (€396.00)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.
BCD Thessaly II notes this obverse die appears to have been altered (reworked).GS73413. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 3 (O25/R6), BCD Thessaly II 197 (same dies), Lorber Early 11.- (same obverse die), F, etched surfaces, die wear, weight 5.793 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, partially radiate hair with hornlike locks of hair on crown above ampyx, drop earring, plain necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPI above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 2004, €55.-" ; $180.00 (€158.40)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.
The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.GS73416. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 313; BMC Thessaly p. 31, 76; SNG Cop 122; HGC 4 453, F, some light scratches, weight 5.223 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg bent and raised, preparing to roll onto the ground, ΛAPI/ΣAIΩN in two lines starting in exergue, ending above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, June 95, SFr. 50.-"; $180.00 (€158.40)
The Perrhaiboi, Thessaly, Greece, 4th Century B.C.
The Perrhaiboi were a Pelasgian (indigenous non-Greek) tribal people who lived in Perrhaibia, north of Thessaly proper and bordering Macedonia. Their capital was Phalanna, and their most significant town was Olosson. In the Iliad, Homer wrote of "the valiant Perrhaiboi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresios, which sends its waters into the Peneus." The Perrhaiboi fought in the Battle of Thermopylae. Through most of their history they were overshadowed and controlled by Thessaly, although they had two votes at the Delphic Amphictyony. Philip II of Macedon took their kingdom and it remained under Macedonian control until the Roman conquest in 196 B.C. GB92798. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly I 1244, BCD Thessaly II 558, Rogers 439, Traité IV 582, SNG Cop 196, HGC 4 156 (S), BMC Thessaly -, gVF/VF, smoothing, weight 6.392 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 255o, Olosson (Elassona, Greece) mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse veiled head of Hera facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse Zeus standing left, nude, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, star ΠEPPAI/BΩ-N (downward in two lines, the first on the right, the second divided on the left); ex BCD Collection with his round tag noting, "found near Phalanna, Dec. 1996, SFr. 110.-"; $180.00 (€158.40)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 369 - 360 B.C.
The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.GS73410. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly I 1146, HGC 4 439 (R1), BCD Thessaly II 281 - 282, F, etched obverse surface, punch on obverse left eye, weight 5.906 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 369 - 360 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, hair floating freely, round curl on right, neck truncation elongated and very gently bow-shaped; reverse ΛAPI above, horse grazing right with straight legs; ex BCD Collection with his tag; $160.00 (€140.80)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.
This obverse is described in Lorber Early as wearing a taenia instead of an ampyx.
The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.SH73427. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 1 (O7/R2); Lorber Early 29.5 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 217 - 218; HGC 4 432, F, corrosion, weight 5.382 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing taenia and necklace, hair floating freely; reverse horse grazing left, legs straight, short forelegs, shoulders lower than rump, grass under nose, ΛAPIΣAI above; ex BCD Collection; $160.00 (€140.80)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.
During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for £130.-"; scarce; $140.00 (€123.20)
Homolion, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece, Mid 4th Century B.C.
Homolion was at the foot of Mount Homole but its exact location is still unknown. On the way to Troy, Philoktetes, the king of Homolion and the surrounding area, was bitten by a snake. The stench of his festering wound was so bad that Odysseus and his other companions stranded him on the island of Lemnos. Later they learned from prophesy that they could not take Troy without the bow and arrows of Herakles, which Philoktetes possessed. Odysseus and a group of men rushed back to Lemnos to recover Heracles' weapons. Surprised to find him alive, the Greeks balked on what to do next. Odysseus tricked the weaponry away from Philoktetes, but Diomedes refused to take the weapons without the man. Herakles came down from Olympus and told Philoktetes to go, that he would be healed and win great honor as a hero. Outside Troy a son of Asclepius healed his wound. Philoktetes was among those chosen to hide inside the Trojan Horse, and during the sack of the city he killed many famed Trojans.GB87117. Bronze trichalkon, Rogers 257, BCD Thessaly I 1064, SNG Cop 72, HGC 4 86 (R1), BCD Thessaly II 91 var. (obv. head left), aVF, tight flan, dark patina, part of reverse legend weak, some corrosion, weight 8.537 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, Homolion (near Omolio, Larissa, Greece) mint, mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Philoktetes left, bearded, wearing conical pilos; reverse OMOΛ-IEΩN (clockwise starting at 10:00), coiled serpent, erect head right, a small bunch of grapes behind his head; ex BCD, with his round tag noting, "V. Thess., Nov. 1991, SFr. 175.-"; rare; $125.00 (€110.00)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, Late 4th Early - 3rd Century B.C.
The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.GS73423. Silver drachm, Lorber Hoard pl. III, 27 (same dies); BCD Thessaly I 1158; BCD Thessaly II 316; SNG Cop 121; HGC 4 454, aF, struck with crude and worn dies, weight 5.808 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, late 4th early - 3rd century B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa slightly left, wearing ampyx, earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse right; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thess., total cost (Feb. 87) = 10000 drs."; $115.00 (€101.20)
The Magnetes, Thessaly, Greece, c. 140 - 130 B.C.
The Magnetes were an ancient Greek tribe living in Thessalian Magnesia who took part in the Trojan War. They later also contributed to the Greek colonization by founding two prosperous cities in Western Anatolia, Magnesia on the Maeander and Magnesia ad Sipylum.GB87118. Bronze tetrachalkon, BCD Thessaly II 420.5, Rogers Thessaly 346a corr. (numbering error, dolphin not mentioned), SNG Cop 160 var. (controls), HGC 4 65 (S) var. (same), VF, dark patina, centered on a tight flan, some light corrosion, weight 8.060 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Magnetes' mint, 140 - 130 B.C.; obverse laureate bearded head of Zeus left; reverse MAΓNHTON, centaur Cheiron standing right, right hand extended, branch in left hand over shoulder, chlamys on shoulder flying behind, dolphin (control) below, palm frond (control) before him; ex BCD with his ticket noting, "C.C. Thess. et. lot, July 93, SFr. 100.-"; scarce; $110.00 (€96.80)
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