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Ancient Coins of Macedonia

Epirote Republic, Epirus, Greece, c. 232 - 168 B.C.

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In 233 B.C., the last surviving member of the Aeacid royal house, Deidamia, was murdered. The Epirote League, a federal republic, was established, though with diminished territory; Western Acarnania asserted its independence and the Aetolians seized Ambracia, Amphilochia, and lands north of the Ambracian Gulf. The Epirote capital was at Phoenice, the political center of the Chaonians. Epirus remained a substantial power but faced the growing threat of Rome. The League remained neutral in the first two Macedonian Wars but split in the Third; the Molossians siding with the Macedonians and the Chaonians and Thesprotians siding with Rome. The outcome was disastrous; Molossia fell to Rome in 167 B.C. and 150,000 of its inhabitants were enslaved.
GS87514. Silver drachm, Franke291 (V150/R231); BMC Thessaly p. 90, 30 corr.; HGC 3 171; SNG Cop 115 var. (another monogram behind Zeus), F, well centered, light toning, bumps and scratches, edge splits, minor flan flaw behind head, weight 3.805 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, c. 232 - 168 B.C.; obverse Head of Zeus Dodonaeus right wearing oak wreath, monogram below neck truncation; reverse eagle standing right on thunderbolt, head right, wings closed, AΠEI/ΠTAN divided in two upward lines starting on the left, all within an oak wreath, A at the top of the wreath, E on the knot at the bottom; $130.00 (€110.50)


Koinon of Thessaly, Rule of Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D., Portrait of Livia or Antonia

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References identify the veiled female as Claudius' grandmother, Livia. The strong chin, however, better fits his mother, Antonia. Antonia had just been posthumously elevated to the role of Augusta by her son Claudius. Other coins naming Antonia Augusta show a similar veiled pose. The strong chin is a feature that she inherited from her lantern jawed father, Marc Antony. Livia, by comparison, was a classic beauty with a normal female chin.
RP87442. Bronze triassarion, BCD Thessaly II 924.2 (same obv. die); BCD Thessaly I 1436.3, RPC I 1434, Rogers 71, SNG Cop 335, SNG München 246, BMC Thessaly -, VF, dark patina, porous, corrosion, small edge split, weight 10.794 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 41 - 45 A.D.; obverse ΣEBAΣTHΩN ΘEΣΣAΛΩN, bust of Livia (or Antonia?) left, draped, veiled and wearing stephane; reverse ΣTPATHΓOY ANTIΓONOY (strategos [military governor] Antigonos), nymph Larissa standing left, holding up ball in her right hand, left hand on hip, monogram in left field; $160.00 (€136.00)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 404 - 370 B.C.

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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.
GS86616. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar, early, group 3, head type 17 (O55/R1); Lorber Early, type 13, 26.1 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 215 (same dies); HGC 4 430, VF, toned, obv. die rust/wear and flaw below chin and left cheek, rev. double struck, porosity, weight 5.862 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 404 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, ampyx in hair, drop earrings(?), necklace with central bead, necklace is also the neck truncation; reverse horse with straight legs grazing right on ground line, ΛARIΣ above; $300.00 (€255.00)


Orthos (Orthe), Thessaly, Greece, Mid-4th Century B.C.

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Most reference refer to this city as Orthe, probably in error. Little is known of Orthos except that it was located north of the modern Greek village of Kedros.
GB87129. Bronze dichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 497 (same rev. die); Traité IV 596 var. (same); HGC 4 699 (R1); Rogers 423 - 425 var. (different ethnic arrangements), aVF, well centered centered, dark patina, light marks and scratches, some light corrosion, die break reverse center, tiny edge split, weight 3.700 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 0o, Orthos (near Kedros, Greece) mint, mid-4th century B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet with raised earflap and ornamented with serpent and tendril; reverse upright trident, OPΘI arranged clockwise in two lines flanking trident, all within olive wreath; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "Ex Thessaly (via HK), April 2002, $125.-"; rare; $150.00 (€127.50)


Thebai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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The famous sanctuary of Protesilaos was about ten miles from Thebai, at Phylake. An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die. Protesilaos was the first who dared to leap ashore when the fleet touched the Troad. After killing four men, Protesilaos was slain by Hector, as prophesied, the first Greek to die.

In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in 302 B.C., Thebai was one of the strongholds of Cassander. Thebai and Pelinnaeum are mentioned in 282 B.C. as the only Thessalian cities that did not take part in the Lamian War.
GB87154. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly II 760, Rogers 551, HGC 4 34 (R1), BCD Thessaly I -, aF, dark patina, tight flan, light pitting, weight 2.394 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebai Phthiotides (north of Mikrothivai, Greece) mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath; reverse ΘHBAIΩN, Protesilaos advancing right from the prow of a galley right behind him, wearing military garb, sword in right hand, shield on left arm; rare; $120.00 (€102.00)


Homolion, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece, Mid 4th Century B.C.

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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 the 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; $140.00 (€119.00)


Metropolis, Thessaly, Greece Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.

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The man-faced bull on the coinage of Metropolis is probably Acheloios Pamisos since Metropolis (modern Karditza) is located near the source of the Pamisos River. -- Potamikon: Sinews of Acheloios. A Comprehensive Catalog of the Bronze Coinage of the Man-Faced Bull, With Essays on Origin and Identity by Nicholas J. Molinari & Nicola Sisci
GB87119. Bronze trichalkon, Potamikon 497; BCD Thessaly I 1208.1; BCD Thessaly II 483.1-3; Rogers 411; Pozzi 2828; BMC Thessaly p. 36, 3; HGC 4 257 (S), VF, well centered, dark patina, part of reverse legend weak, porous, weight 8.951 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Metropolis (Karditsa, Greece) mint, Late 3rd - Early 2nd Century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛITΩN, forepart of river-god Acheloios Pamisos as man-faced bull left, head facing, ribbons hanging from head, Ω/Z monogram (control) below; ex BCD with his tag noting, "Herc. ex Macedon, March 1987, 3000 drs."; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)


Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.

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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; $500.00 (€425.00)


Kierion, Thessaly, Greece, 350 - 300 B.C.

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Kierion was originally named Arne for the Nymph on the reverse of this coin.
GB87124. Bronze trichalkon, Rogers 177, BCD Thessaly II 108.1, BCD Thessaly I 1075, SNG Cop 37, HGC 4 676, VF, dark patina, centered on a tight flan, bumps, light scratches, weight 6.859 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 45o, Kierion mint, 350 - 300 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse Zeus striding right, nude, hurling thunderbolt in his right hand, eagle on his extended left hand; Arne on right, on right knee and playing with astragaloi (sheep knuckle-bones used like dice), KIEPIEI-ΩN starting upward on left, last two letters above; ex BCD with his ticket noting, "V. via T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 1996, SFr. 65.-"; $75.00 (€63.75)


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, 3rd Century B.C.

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The constitution of Larissa was democratic, which explains why it sided with Athens in the Peloponnesian War. The area of Larissa celebrated a festival similar to the Roman Saturnalia, and at which slaves were waited on by their masters. It was taken by the Thebans and afterward by the Macedonian kings, and Demetrius Poliorcetes gained possession of it about 302 B.C.
GB87126. Bronze dichalkon, cf. BCD Thessaly II 393.4 (similar monogram); Rogers 279 ff.; SNG Cop 141; BMC Thessaly p. 32, 85; HGC 4 530 (various controls/ethnic arrangements), gVF, attractive well struck head of Larissa, dark patina, round flan, tight reverse crowding off legend (as typical for the type), weight 5.222 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, 3rd Century B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wreathed with grain, wearing necklace; reverse ΛA−P−IΣ,AIΩN (starting clockwise upper left, last five letters counterclockwise below), cavalryman on horse prancing right, wearing cuirass and Boiotian helmet, reigns in left hand, crouched lance in right hand, monogram (control) below horse; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "Thess. mid 90’s, SFr. 90.-"; $150.00 (€127.50)










REFERENCES

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Bloesch, H. Griechische Münzen In Winterthur. (Winterthur, 1987).
Brett, A.B. Catalogue of Greek Coins, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (Boston, 1955).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (London, 1992 - )
Calciati, R. Pegasi. (Mortara, 1990).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922-1929).
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Grose, S.W. Catalogue of the McClean Collection of Greek Coins, Fizwilliam Museum, Volume II - The Greek mainland, the Aegaean islands, Crete. (Cambridge, 1926).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Attica-Megaris-Aegina. (London, 1888).
Head, B. Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Central Greece (Lorcris, Phocis, Boeotia, and Euboea). (London, 1884).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Corinth, Colonies of Corinth, Etc. (London, 1889).
Hoover, O.D. Handbook of Coins of the Islands: Adriatic, Ionian, Thracian, Aegean, and Carpathian Seas (Excluding Crete and Cyprus), 6th to 1st Centuries BC. (Lancaster, 2010).
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Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques S. Pozzi. Auction 1. (4 Apr 1921, Geneva).
Price, M.J. and N. Waggoner. Archaic Greek Silver Coinage, The "Asyut" Hoard. (London, 1975).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 12: Thessalien-Illyrien-Epirus-Korkyra. (Berlin, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 14: Attika, Megaris, Ägina. (Berlin, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 3: Akarnanien-Bithynien. (Berlin, 1985).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Vol. III, R.C. Lockett Collection. (London, 1938 - 1949).
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Thompson, M. The Agrinion Hoard. ANSNNM 159 (New York, 1968).
Wroth, W. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Greek Coins of Crete and the Aegean Islands. (London, 1886).


Catalog current as of Saturday, November 17, 2018.
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