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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).

Salonina, Augusta, 254 - c. September 268 A.D., Cilicia, Tarsos

|Cilicia|, |Salonina,| |Augusta,| |254| |-| |c.| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Cilicia,| |Tarsos||AE| |29|
The inscription A M K Γ Γ is a boast of this city, Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek number one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful of the three (Γ is the Greek number three) adjoining provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final Γ (Γ is the Greek number three) indicates the city held three neokorie, temples dedicated to the imperial cult.
RP99408. Bronze AE 29, SNG BnF 1837; SNG Levante 1198; SNGvA 6082; BMC Lycaonia p. 230, 329, aVF, full flan, some reverse roughness, weight 15.837 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, obverse KOPNHΛIAN CAΛΩNINAN CE, draped (and cuirassed?) bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind shoulders, all within wreath; reverse TAPCOV MHTPOΠOΛEΩC, Cybele seated right, wearing tall turreted crown (kalathos?), long scepter in left hand over left shoulder, drum on seat behind, two lions at her feet, A M / K - Γ / Γ across fields in two lines; ex Savoca Numismatik auction 118 (21 Nov 2021), lot 336; $180.00 (171.00)


Severus Alexander and Julia Maesa, 222 - 235 A.D., Ninica-Claudiopolis, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Severus| |Alexander| |and| |Julia| |Maesa,| |222| |-| |235| |A.D.,| |Ninica-Claudiopolis,| |Cilicia||AE| |36|
Ammianus mentions Silifke and Claudiopolis as cities of Cilicia, or of the country drained by the Calycadnus; and Claudiopolis was a colony of Claudius Caesar. It is described by Theophanes of Byzantium as situated in a plain between the two Taurus Mountains, a description which exactly, corresponds to the position of the basin of the Calycadnus. Claudiopolis may therefore be represented by Mut, which is higher up the valley than Seleucia, and near the junction of the northern and western branches of the Calycadnus. It is also the place to which the pass over the northern Taurus leads from Laranda. The city received the Roman colony name Colonia Iulia Felix Augusta Ninica.
RB91011. Bronze AE 36, cf. asiaminorcoins.com 6551 (same obv. die & c/m), SNG Levante -, RPC Online -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, BMC Cilicia -, c/m: Howgego 262, F, weak legends, porosity, edge cracks, weight 17.901 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ninica-Claudiopolis (Mut, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 222 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP C SEVERUS ALEXAN∆ER AVΓ (or similar), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; c/m: Nike right in c. 5 x 8 mm oval punch (3 times); reverse IVL MAECA COL IVL FEL NINIO CLAU∆IOPOLI (or similar), draped bust of Julia Maesa right; huge 35.8 mm!; ex Forum (2015); extremely rare; $250.00 (237.50)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Tarsos, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Commodus,| |March| |or| |April| |177| |-| |31| |December| |192| |A.D.,| |Tarsos,| |Cilicia||AE| |27|
The title Neokoros, designating a guardian of a temple of the imperial cult, was highly prized and advertised on the coins of many cities. Tarsos was the first city in Cilicia to receive the title, during the reign of Hadrian, not long after 130 A.D. This first temple dedicated to the cult of Hadrian is named in the reverse legend. A second imperial temple was dedicated to Commodus during his reign, before August 191. The B (the Greek number two) indicates this second neokorie. The Kommodeios isolympic worldwide festival was held in honor of this temple. Commodus probably honored Tarsos because its chief god was Hercules, and Commodus had come to believe he was Hercules reincarnated.
RP97264. Bronze AE 27, RPC Online IV.3 T5845, SNG Levante Supp. 260, SNG BnF 1466, SNGvA 5997, Waddington 4636, VF, nice green patina, uneven slightly off-center strike with parts of legends weak or unstruck, weight 11.189 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 30o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, Mar/Apr 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC AYP KOMO∆OC CEB, mantled bust right, wearing demiurgic crown; club of Hercules behind; reverse A∆P KOM - TAP MHO (Hadrianeia, Kommodeios - Tarsos Metropolis), agonistic crown inscribed KOMO∆EI, OIKO/VME (Kommodeios worldwide) in two lines above, B / NEWKO (two neokorie) in two lines below; ex Zeus Numismatics, auction 11 (01 Aug 2020), lot 453; $100.00 (95.00)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Olba, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.,| |Olba,| |Cilicia||AE| |22|
This beardless, youthful, portrait of Hadrian resembles Augustus. Portraits of emperors, especially Julio-Claudian emperors, early in their reigns, were sometimes "Augusticized." Even Claudius, who looked very little like Augustus, resembles Augustus in some portraits. A new emperor would take the physical features of Augustus, to suggest he also shared the virtues of Augustus.
RP99687. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online III 3242 (8 spec.); Staffieri 45; SNG BnF 849; BMC Lyconia p. 124, 22 & pl. XXII, 9); Waddington 4433; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, gF, attractive style, flan crack and split, porous grainy surfaces, obv. off center, weak obv. legend, weight 4.777 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Olba-Dioceasarea (Mersin Province, Turkey) mint, c. 11 Aug 117 - 118 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAI ΘE TPA ΠAP YI A∆PIANOC, laureate beardless youthful head of Hadrian right (Augusticized portrait); reverse OΛBEΩN, draped bust of Selene right, hair in a bun at the back, wearing stephane, within crescent moon arching behind; rare; $100.00 (95.00)


Cilicia, 4th Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Cilicia,| |4th| |Century| |B.C.||obol|
The ancient Egyptian deity Bes, together with his feminine counterpart Beset, was worshiped as a protector of households and, in particular, of mothers, children, and childbirth. Bes later came to be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad.
GS99629. Silver obol, Gktrk 44, SNG BnF 486, SNG Levante 233, aVF, toned, numerous scratches, weight 0.558 g, maximum diameter 9.4 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, uncertain mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse bust of female facing, wearing single-pendant earrings and necklace with pendants; reverse head of Bes facing; ex CNG e-auction 513 (6 Apr 2022), lot 161; $100.00 (95.00)


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 380 - 360 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Tarsos,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |380| |-| |360| |B.C.||obol|
In historical times, Tarsos was first ruled by the Hittites, followed by Assyria, and then the Persian Empire. Tarsus, as the principal town of Cilicia, was the seat of a Persian satrapy from 400 B.C. onward. Indeed, Xenophon records that in 401 B.C., when Cyrus the Younger marched against Babylon, the city was governed by King Syennesis in the name of the Persian monarch. Alexander the Great passed through with his armies in 333 B.C. and nearly met his death here after a bath in the Cydnus. By this time Tarsus was already largely influenced by Greek language and culture, and as part of the Seleucid Empire it became more and more Hellenized. Strabo praises the cultural level of Tarsus in this period with its philosophers, poets and linguists. The schools of Tarsus rivaled those of Athens and Alexandria.
GS99576. Silver obol, SNG BnF 310 - 311, SNG Levante 217 - 218, aVF, toned, crackled, scratches, rough, edge chips, off center, weight 0.458 g, maximum diameter 10.0 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 380 - 360 B.C.; obverse uncertain female head facing slightly left; reverse bust of Aphrodite right, wearing tainia; from the Ed Strivelli Collection, ex FORVM (2017); $100.00 (95.00)


Soloi, Cilicia, c. 100 - 66 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Soloi,| |Cilicia,| |c.| |100| |-| |66| |B.C.||AE| |16|
In autumn 66 B.C., Soloi was renamed Pompeiopolis, for Pompey the Great.
GB99410. Bronze AE 16, SNG BnF 1194, SNG Levante -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, BMC Cilicia -, gVF, nice green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, small patina chips, edge flaw, weight 2.312 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, Soloi mint, c. 100 - 66 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Helios right; reverse rose on stem with tendril left and right, E over Θ left, ΣOΛEΩN downward on right; rare; $120.00 (114.00)


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

|Cilicia|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Flaviopolis,| |Cilicia||AE| |16|
Vespasian founded both the province of Cilicia and the city of Flaviopolis in 74 A.D. as part of an imperial program for urbanization of the Cilician Plain. Prior to establishing the province, the rural hinterland and the city of Anazarbos were probably administered by the Tracondimotid dynasty from Hieropolis Castabala. The location of Flaviopolis is believed to be Kadirli, Turkey were some mosaic floors, inscriptions, and building blocks have been found. This coin was struck in year 17 of the local era, the first year that Flaviopolis issued coins.
RP99177. Bronze AE 16, RPC II 1761; SNG Levante 1533; Lindgren 1495; Imhoof-Blumer MG p. 352, 21, aVF, weight 1.689 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Flaviopolis mint, 89 - 90 A.D.; obverse ∆OMETIANOC KAICAP, laureate head of Domitian to right; reverse ETOYC ZI ΦΛAVIOΠOΛEITΩN (year 17, Flaviopolis), draped bust of Dionysos right, thyrsos over left shoulder; $90.00 (85.50)


Maximinus I Thrax, 20 March 235 - late May 238 A.D., Philadelphia, Cilicia Trachea

|Cilicia|, |Maximinus| |I| |Thrax,| |20| |March| |235| |-| |late| |May| |238| |A.D.,| |Philadelphia,| |Cilicia| |Trachea||AE| |34|
Philadelphia (Greek: brotherly love) in ancient Cilicia Trachea (later of Isauria) was on the river Calycadnus, above Aphrodisias. Its site is tentatively located near Imsi ren in Asiatic Turkey. Neither Philadelphia in Lydia (Alasehir, Turkey today) nor Philadelphia, in the Decapolis, later Arabia Petraea (Amman, Jordan today) struck coins for Maximinus Thrax.
RB98739. Bronze AE 34, SNG BnF 760, SNG Levante 580, SNGvA 5804, SNG Leypold 2580, Lindgren-Kovacs 786, RPC Online VI T6889, EF, dark patina, pitting, a little off center, weight 14.930 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, Philadelphia (near Imsi ren, Turkey) mint, 20 Mar 235 - late May 238 A.D.; obverse AVT K Γ IOVH MAΞIMEINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse ΦILALELFFEΩN KHTIΛOC, Tyche standing left, kalathos on head, grounded rudder in right hand held by tiller, cornucopia in left hand; from the CEB Collection, ex Edward J. Waddell, big 34mm!; $300.00 (285.00)


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

|Cilicia|, |Domitian,| |13| |September| |81| |-| |18| |September| |96| |A.D.,| |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia||diassarion|
Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman Empire it was known as Kaicareωn (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.
RP97265. Bronze diassarion, RPC Online II 1754 (11 spec.); Ziegler 86 (Vs1/Rs1); BMC Lycaonia p. 32, 7 corr. (star on obv. in error); SNG Levante 1371; SNGvA 5474; SNG Cop 41, F, nice patina, minor encrustations, light marks, scattered light porosity, weight 13.089 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse AVTO KAI ΘE YIOΣ ∆OMITIANOΣ ΣE ΓEP, laureate head of Domitian right, fillet border; reverse KAIΣAPEΩN ANAZAPBΩ, turreted and veiled head of Tyche right, small stars between turrets, ETOYΣ / IΓ-P (year 113) in two lines below chin; ex Zeus Numismatics auction 11 (1 Aug 2020), lot 436; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; scarce; $80.00 (76.00)




  






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