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Ancient Arados, surrounded by massive walls on an island about 800 m long by 500 m wide, about 50 km north of Tripolis, was an important trading city with an artificial harbor on the east side toward the mainland. A walled island provides great security, but the lack of water on Arados was a serious challenge. Strabo recounts that Phoenicians collected rainwater and channeled it into cisterns, and that they shipped containers of fresh water from the mainland. Perhaps the most resourceful solution came from the fortuitous discovery—probably by sponge and coral divers—of an undersea freshwater spring, not far from the island in the channel between Arwad and the mainland. This spring, says Strabo, was exploited as a last resort when war or other crises interrupted water supplies from the mainland: "...into this spring the people let down from the water-fetching boat an inverted, wide-mouthed funnel made of lead, the upper part of which contracts into a stem with a moderate-sized hole through it; and round this stem they fasten a leathern tube (unless I should call it bellows), which receives the water that is forced up from the spring through the funnel. Now the first water that is forced up is sea-water, but the boatmen wait for the flow of pure and potable water and catch all that is needed in vessels prepared for the purpose and carry it to the city."
RP89763. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6746 (16 spec.); SNG Hunterian II 3258; BMC Phoenicia p. 48, 379; Rouvier III p. 257, 410, VF, struck on a thick, heavy flan, minor edge porosity , Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, weight 11.959g, maximum diameter 24.0mm, die axis 180o, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse ANTWNOC KAI OYHPOC CEBACTOI, confronted, laureate, draped, and bearded busts of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; reverse AKY E APA∆IWN, humped bull charging left, head turned facing, AKY (year 421 of the local era) above, E in right field, APA∆IΩN below; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 1 (25 Jun 2017), lot 830; ex European Collection formed before 2005; very rare; SOLD
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