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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Anatolia| ▸ |Cilicia||View Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Greek Coins of Cilicia

In antiquity, Cilicia (also spelled Kilikia) was a southern coastal region of Anatolia, extending inland north from the Mediterranean coast, east from Pamphylia, to the Amanus Mountains, which separated it from Syria. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Byzantine Empire. Cilicia Trachea (rugged Cilicia) is a mountain district formed by the spurs of Taurus, which often terminate in rocky headlands with small sheltered harbors, a feature which, in classical times, made the coast a string of havens for pirates and, in the Middle Ages, outposts for Genoese and Venetian traders. Cilicia Trachea lacked large cities and was covered in ancient times by forests that supplied timber to Phoenicia and Egypt. Cilicia Pedias (flat Cilicia), to the east, included the rugged spurs of Taurus and a large coastal plain, with rich loamy soil, known to the Greeks for its abundance, filled with sesame and millet and olives and pasturage for horses. Many of its high places were fortified. Through the rich plain ran the great highway that linked east and west, on which stood the cities of Tarsos (Tarsus) on the Cydnus (Berdan River), Adana on the Sarus (Seyhan river), and Mopsos (Yakapınar) on the Pyramus (Ceyhan River).

Seleukeia ad Kalykadnos, Cilicia, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Seleukeia| |ad| |Kalykadnos,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.||AE| |24|NEW
Seleucia ad Calycadnum (modern, Silifke, Turkey) took its name from its founder, Seleucus I Nicator. The Romans, who conquered the region in the 2nd century BC, built a bridge across the Calicadnus; its foundations still support the current bridge. According to tradition, Thecla, who was converted by St. Paul, escaped martyrdom by hiding in a nearby cave. The cave was later turned into a shrine, and in the 5th century, the Byzantine Emperor Zeno, who was born in the mountains to the north, built a large basilica above the cave.
GB93604. Bronze AE 24, Apparently unpublished; SNG BnF 903 ff. var. (monogram); SNG Cop 200 var. (same); BMC -; SNG Levante -; SNG Tüb -; SNG PfPs -; SNG Tahberer -, F, dark patina, scratches, areas of corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 9.135 g, maximum diameter 23.5 mm, die axis 0o, Seleuceia ad Calycadnum (Silifke, Turkey) mint, c. 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena right, ΣA behind, branch before; reverse ΣEΛEVKEΩN TΩN ΠPOΣ TΩI KAΛVKA∆NΩI, Nike walking left, wreath in extended right hand, NKI monogram over ΦΠA(?) monogram in left field; we were unable to find another example with the same lower left control monogram in references or online, from the Errett Bishop Collection; extremely rare variant; $140.00 (€128.80)
 


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 164 - 27 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Tarsos,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |164| |-| |27| |B.C.||AE| |21|NEW
Sandan was a Hittite-Babylonian sun, storm, or warrior god, also perhaps associated with agriculture. The Greeks equated Sandan with Herakles (Hercules). At Tarsus an annual festival honored Sandan-Herakles, which climaxed when an image of the god was burned on a funeral pyre.
GB93605. Bronze AE 21, SNG Levante 940; SNG BnF 1321 - 22; SNG Cop 333 var. ff. (different controls); BMC Lycaonia p. 180, 95 var. ff. (same), VF, dark patina with highlighting red earthen deposits, bumps, porosity, weight 6.871 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 164 - 27 B.C.; obverse veiled and turreted head of Tyche right; reverse Sandan standing right on horned and winged animal, on a garlanded base and within a pyramidal pyre surmounted by an eagle, two monograms over filleted club on left, TAPΣEΩN downward on right; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $80.00 (€73.60)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Irenopolis-Neronias,| |Cilicia||7| |assaria|NEW
Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.
RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Düzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/θ>AΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $1000.00 (€920.00)
 


Soloi, Cilicia, Macedonian Empire, Balakros, Satrap in Cilicia, 333 - 323 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Soloi,| |Cilicia,| |Macedonian| |Empire,| |Balakros,| |Satrap| |in| |Cilicia,| |333| |-| |323| |B.C.||stater|NEW
Balakros was a bodyguard (somatophylax) for Alexander the Great at the start of Asia campaign. After the Battle of Issus in 333 B.C. he was appointed governor of Cilicia. In 332 B.C. he supported the satraps Antigonus Monophthalmus and Kalas in the subjugation of the rest of Asia Minor. He was killed in battle attempting to subdue Isaurian mountain tribes.
GS97489. Silver stater, Casabonne Cilicien series 2, pl. VIII, 12 (D12/R1); SNG BnF 420; BMC Lycaonia p. 174, 67; Traité II 720; SNGvA -; SNG Levante -, aVF, encrustation, Athena's nose and lips flatly struck, weight 10.688 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 40o, Soloi (11 km west of Mersin, Turkey) mint, 333 - 323 B.C.; obverse Baaltars seated left, holding lotus-tipped scepter in right hand, stalk of grain and bunch of grapes to left, ·I· under seat below strut, B (for Balakros) right; reverse draped bust of Athena facing slightly left, wearing triple-crested helmet and necklace; ex Papillon auction 3 (27 Dec 20), lot 167; $380.00 (€349.60)
 


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Aegeae, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Tiberius,| |19| |August| |14| |-| |16| |March| |37| |A.D.,| |Aegeae,| |Cilicia||diassarion|NEW
Aegeae or Aigai was a town on the coast of ancient Cilicia, on the north side of the Bay of Issus. It is now separated from the outlet of the Pyramus (the modern Ceyhan) by a long narrow estuary called Gulf of Alexandretta. In Strabo's time it was a small city with a port. Aegae was a Greek town, but the origin of it is unknown. A Greek inscription of the Roman period has been discovered there; and under the Roman dominion it was a place of some importance. Tacitus calls it Aegeae. It was Christianised at an early date.
RP92556. Bronze diassarion, RPC Online I 4031 (4 spec.), SNG Levante 1688, SNG BnF 2316, Waddington 4069, BMC Lycaonia -, VF, superb portrait, green patina with some red copper high points, earthen deposits, beveled reverse edge, weight 10.798 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 0o, Aegeae (near Yumurtalik, Turkey) mint, magistrate Eyan, c. 30 A.D.; obverse TIBEPIOY KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, laureate head of Tiberius left; reverse AIΓE/AIΩN / EYAN, inscription in three lines within wreath; from the Errett Bishop Collection, zero sales of this type listed on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $800.00 (€736.00)
 


Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D., Mallos, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Macrinus,| |11| |April| |217| |-| |8| |June| |218| |A.D.,| |Mallos,| |Cilicia||AE| |38|NEW
There were no specimens on Coin Archives, or the many websites we searched. We know of only one other specimen of this type, an ex FORVM coin, RP23043, 21.344g, but only 32.3 mm diameter. SNG Levante 1283 and 1284 were struck with the same obverse die, but the reverse depicts the city goddess Tyche seated on rocks over a river god swimming below.
RP92558. Bronze AE 38, Apparently unpublished; BMC Lycaonia -, SNG Levante -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, Ziegler -, Lindgren -, RPC Online -, et al., aF, green patina, earthen deposits, porosity, spots of corrosion, legends mostly weak or worn, small edge splits, weight 21.520 g, maximum diameter 37.5 mm, die axis 180o, Mallos mint, 11 Apr 217 - 8 Jun 218 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAIC MAPK OΠEΛ CEYHP MAKPEINON CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, countermark behind: S C in a round punch; reverse MAΛ IEP ΠOΛ ΘEOY AMΦIΛOCOY (Mallos holy city of god Amphilokos), Zeus seated half left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, Nike in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; huge 37.5 mm bronze!, from the Errett Bishop Collection; extremely rare; $200.00 (€184.00)
 


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D., Flaviopolis, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Flaviopolis,| |Cilicia||AE| |23|
Flaviopolis was founded in 74 A.D. by Vespasian, as part of an imperial program for the urbanization of the Cilician Plain. Until then the rural hinterland, as well as the city of Anazarbos, was probably administered by the Tracondimotid dynasty from Hieropolis Castabala. Some mosaic floors, inscriptions, and building blocks have been found at Kadirli, and a 6th century church has been excavated. Flaviopolis was bishopric of Cilicia Secunda in the Christian era.
RB96500. Bronze AE 23, RPC II 1758; SNG BnF 2167; SNG Levante 1530; SNG Cop 135; SNGvA 8670; SNG Hunterian 2376; BMC Lycaonia p. 78, 2; Lindgren-Kovacs 1494, F, dark green patina, light earthen deposits, a little rough/porous, slightly off center, weight 7.180 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Flaviopolis (Kadirli, Turkey) mint, fall 89 - fall 90 A.D.; obverse ∆OMETIANOC KAICAP, laureate head right; reverse ETOYC ZI (year 17) ΦΛAVIOΠOΛEITΩN, turreted and veiled Tyche seated right on throne, two stalks of grain in her right hand, half-length figure of river god Pyramus swimming right at her feet, his head turned facing ; ex CNG e-auction 463 (11 Mar 2020), lot 210; $80.00 (€73.60)
 


Persian Cilicia, c. Mid 4th Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Persian| |Cilicia,| |c.| |Mid| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||hemiobol|
Ba'al was a title and honorific meaning "owner" or "lord" in the Semitic languages spoken in the northwest Levant during antiquity. It came to be applied to gods, much as Lord is used for God in English today. Inscriptions show that the name Ba'al was particularly associated with the storm and fertility god Hadad and his local manifestations. The Hebrew Bible uses Ba'al in reference to Levantine deities, especially Hadad, who was decried as a false god. That use has been adopted by Christianity and Islam.
GS95807. Silver hemiobol, Göktürk 56, Troxell-Kagan 5, SNG Levante -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, aEF, toned, tight flan, light marks, earthen deposits, among the best known, weight 0.376 g, maximum diameter 7.9 mm, uncertain mint, c. 360 B.C.(?); obverse two lion foreparts addorsed, truncations joined at center, both with jaws open and tongue protruding, lotus design above center between heads; reverse laureate, bearded head of Ba’al left, fulmen below, Aramaic inscription ( BL right to left = Ba'al = lord god) behind, all within a shallow round incuse; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 11 (22 Feb 2020), lot 1021; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00
 


Aigeai, Cilicia, c. 47 - 27 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Aigeai,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |47| |-| |27| |B.C.||AE| |18|
Aegeae (also spelled Aigai, Aegaeae, Aigaiai, Aegae, or Aigeai) was a Greek town with a port on the coast of ancient Cilicia, on the north side of the Bay of Issus. It is now separated from the outlet of the Pyramus River (the modern Ceyhan) by a long narrow estuary called Gulf of Alexandretta. In 47 B.C., Julius Caesar, during his stay in Tarsus, reorganized Cilicia. Aegeae was pro-Caesarian and demonstrating their support began a new town era in that same year. Under Rome Aegeae was a place of some importance. It was Christianised at an early date.
GB97039. Bronze AE 18, Bloesch 245 ff. (5 spec.); SNG Levante 1685; SNGvA 5444; BMC Lycaonia p. 22, 18; SNG BnF -, VF, nice green patina with earthen highlighting, scratches, some porosity, flan shape slightly irregular, weight 3.088 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Aigeai (near Yumurtalik, Turkey) mint, 34 - 33 B.C. (if year 14); obverse diademed head of king (Alexander the Great?) right; reverse Nike advancing left, wreath extended in right hand, palm frond over shoulder in left hand, AIΓE/AIΩN in two lines in the left field, MH right (magistrate initials?), ∆I (year 14 or magistrate initials?) lower left; $140.00 (€128.80)
 


Cilicia, Tarsos, c. 425 - 400 B.C., Ancient Counterfeit

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia,| |Tarsos,| |c.| |425| |-| |400| |B.C.,| |Ancient| |Counterfeit||obol|
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean. With a history going back over 6,000 years, Tarsus has long been an important stop for traders and a focal point of many civilizations. During the Roman Empire, Tarsus was the capital of the province of Cilicia, the scene of the first meeting between Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and the birthplace of Paul the Apostle.
GS90992. Fouree silver plated obol, cf. SNG France 207, Traité II 530bis (official civic issue, silver, square dot border within rev. incuse), VF, minor plating breaks, scratches, weight 0.726 g, maximum diameter 8.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 425 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of a winged animal (griffin?) left; reverse ankh-like Persian dynastic symbol, within incuse square; very rare; $125.00 (€115.00)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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Bloesch, H. "Hellenistic Coins of Aegeae" in ANSMN 27. (1982), pp. 53 - 96, pls. 17 - 22.
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