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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).


Antiocheia ad Kydnum (Tarsos), Cilicia, c. 175 - 164 B.C.

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Tarsos was renamed Antiocheia ad Kydnum under Antiochos IV Epiphanes, and reverted to Tarsus c. 164 B.C.
GB92170. Bronze AE 20, cf. SNG Levante 916, SNG BnF 1279 ff., SNG Cop 325 (different monograms), VF, well centered on a tight flan, dark patina with light buff earthen highlighting, light bumps, scratches and porosity, weight 9.600 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antiocheia ad Kydnum (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 175 - 164 B.C.; obverse club within oak wreath; reverse ANTIOXEΩN TΩN ΠPOΣ TΩI KY∆NΩI (almost entirely off flan), cornucopia flanked by four monograms; ex Neptune Numismatics; scarce; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Persian Empire, Satrapy of Cilicia, 4th Century B.C.

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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. The Persian Empire initially allowed tributary native kings to govern. The last king of Cilicia was dethroned after he sided in a civil war with Cyrus the Younger, who was defeated by Artaxerxes II. Cilicia became an ordinary satrapy.Persian Empire
GS91742. Silver obol, Winzer 18.1 (Mazaios); Babelon Peres p. XLVII, fig. 12; SNG BnF -; SNG Levante -, aEF, toning, light scratches, light corrosion, weight 0.630 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse head of female facing slightly left, wearing stephane and earrings; reverse head of Satrap left, wearing bashlyk; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Kings of Cilicia, Tarkondimotos, c. 39 - 31 B.C.

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Tarkondimotos was made dynast by Pompey and crowned king by Marc Antony. He died at the Battle of Actium.
GB92157. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 3871; SNG BnF 1913; SNG Levante 1258; BMC Lycaonia p. 237, 1 ff.; SGCV II 5682, VF, light green patina, nice portrait, weight 6.028 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Hieropolis mint, as king in Eastern Cilicia, c. 39 - 31 B.C.; obverse diademed head right; reverse Zeus Nikephoros enthroned left, himation around hips and legs with end over shoulder, Nike offering wreath extended in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, BAΣIΛEΩΣ downward on right, TAPKON∆IMO/TOY in two downward lines on left, ΦIΛANTΩNIOY in exergue; ex CNG e-auction 231 (14 Apr 2010), lot 114; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Persian Empire, Tarsos, Cilicia, Time of Satraps Datames or Pharnabazos, c. 380 - 361 B.C.

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Datames' enemies in Artaxerxes' court accused him, perhaps falsely, of intending to revolt against the Great King. Secretly warned, he then did, in fact, revolt, c. 370 B.C. The revolt appeared to be leading to a breakup of the entire western half of the empire into autonomous states. His own son's desertion to Artaxerxes was, however, the beginning of the end, which came when Datames was assassinated, c. 362 B.C.
SH91744. Silver obol, cf. SNG BnF 303, SNG Levante 89 (monogram behind Ares), Göktürk 21 (dolphins flanking female), SNG Cop 273, Choice VF, well centered, dark toning, attractive style, earthen encrustations, weight 0.533 g, maximum diameter 10.1 mm, die axis 270o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 380 - 361 B.C.; obverse female head (nymph?) facing slightly left, wearing earring and necklace; reverse bearded and helmeted male head (Ares?) left, wearing crested Attic style helmet, ear flaps raised, Aramaic HLK (Cilicia) upper left; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 389 - 375 B.C.

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Excavation of the mound of Gözlükule reveals that the prehistorical development of Tarsus reaches back to the Neolithic Period and continues unbroken through Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages. The settlement was located at the crossing of several important trade routes, linking Anatolia to Syria and beyond. Because the ruins are covered by the modern city, archaeology has barely touched the ancient city.
GS91745. Silver obol, SNG BnF 239, SNG Levante 65, Casabonne Type K2, Ziegler 606, VF, centered on a tight flan, light toning, light marks, mild die wear, weight 0.512 g, maximum diameter 8.8 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 389 - 375 B.C.; obverse woman seated left casting astragaloi; reverse youthful male head right; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73 (6 Jan 2019), lot 229; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


Maximinus I Thrax and Maximus Caesar, 20 March 235 - late May 238 A.D., Flaviopolis, Cilicia

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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.
RP92397. Bronze AE 34, RPC VI online T7466 (15 spec.), SNG BnF 2196, SNG Levante 1553, SNGvA 5565, SNG Pfalz 517, F/aF, well centered, nice portraits for the grade, porous, weight 16.432 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Flaviopolis mint, 235 - 236 A.D.; obverse AYT K Γ IOY OYH MAΞIMEINOC Γ I OYH MAΞIMOC K, laureate and draped bust of Maximinus I right (on left), confronting radiate and draped bust of Maximus left; reverse FΛAVIOΠOΛEITWN, Serapis seated facing, sacrificing from patera in right hand over lighted altar on left, cornucopia in left hand, amphora at feet on left, crater at feet on right, ET ΓΞP (year 163) in exergue; rare; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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

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Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman Empire it was known as Kaicarewn (Caesarea), and was the Metropolis (capital) of the late Roman province Cilicia Secunda. It was the home of the poet Oppian. Rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justin I after an earthquake in the 6th century, it became Justinopolis (525); but the old native name persisted, and when Thoros I, king of Lesser Armenia, made it his capital early in the 12th century, it was known as Anazarva.
RP92398. Bronze AE 35, Ziegler 346 (Vs1/Rs6), SNG Levante 1414 var. (rev. leg. arrangement), SNG BnF 2054 var. (same), SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, aF, rough, edge cracks, weight 23.1 g, maximum diameter 35.2 mm, die axis 0o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 217 A.D.; obverse AYT K M OΠ CEY MAKPEINOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse KAIC TΩN ΠP ANAZ EN∆O-Σ MHTPO PΩM TP, Nike (Victory) advancing left, raising wreath in right hand, trophy of captured arms in left hand, ΓB (chairman of 3 provinces, holder of 2 neocorates) upper left, ETE - ΛC (year 235 of Anazarbus) divided low across field, KEK (the meaning of these letters is unknown) lower left; rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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

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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, Trait 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; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Persian Empire, Mazaeus, Satrap of Cilicia , c. 361 - 334 B.C., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Artaxerxes III Ochus of Persia was the eleventh emperor of the Achaemenid Empire ruling from 358 to 338 B.C. and, after defeating Nectanebo II in 343 B.C., ruled as the first Pharaoh of the 31st dynasty of Egypt. His reign coincided with the reign of Philip II in Macedonia. Artaxerxes III was poisoned by the ambitious eunuch and chiliarch Bagoas. Bagoas also murdered most of Artaxerxes III's sons but put his youngest son, Arses, on the throne as a puppet emperor. This type was probably struck for Arses succession as Artaxerxes IV. Two years later Arses unsuccessfully attempted to poison Bagoas. Bagoas then poisoned Arses along with most of his family, and put Arses' cousin Darius III on the throne. To legitimize the conquests of Alexander the Great, Macedonian propaganda would accuse Darius III of playing a key role in the murder of Arses, who was thus identified as the last legitimate king of the Achaemenid royal house.
SH89697. Silver obol, Göktürk 35 (Myriandros), SNG BnF 429 (Myriandros), Newell Myriandros 16 4, Traité II 740, SNG Levante -, gVF, darker spots, some porosity, tight flan, weight 0.672 g, maximum diameter 10.4 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 338 - 336 B.C.; obverse Persian king (Artaxerxes III?) in the guise of Baaltars, seated right on throne with back terminating in a griffin's head, with long beard, wearing tall pointed Pharaonic crown, lotus flower in right hand, lotus-tipped sceptre in left hand; reverse youthful male head (Artaxerxes IV?) left, beardless, with curly hair, wearing earring and a tall pointed Pharaonic crown; ex Beast Coins; rare; $280.00 (€246.40)
 


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 164 - 37 B.C.

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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, as depicted on this coin, an image of the god was burned on a funeral pyre.
CM91689. Bronze AE 22, cf. SNG BnF 1326 (same c/m), SNG Levante 952 (same), SNG Cop 333 ff., BMC Lycaonia p. 180, 106 ff. (none with these controls), F, dark green patina, scratches, weight 6.847 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 164 - 37 B.C.; obverse veiled and turreted head of Tyche right; countermark: radiate head of Helios within oval punch; reverse Sandan standing right on horned and winged animal, on a garlanded base and within a pyramidal pyre surmounted by a winged animal, TAPΣEΩN downward on right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $45.00 (€39.60)
 




  






REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
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Cilicia