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Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000 B.C. - 2500 B.C. Mycenaean settlements have also been discovered. In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, such as the Aleuadae of Larissa or the Scopads of Krannon. In the 4th century B.C. Jason of Pherae transformed Thessaly into a significant military power. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, and the region was associated with the Macedonian Kingdom for the next centuries. Later Thessaly became part of the Roman province of Macedonia.
Mopsion, Thessaly, c. 350 - 300 B.C.
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 GorgonMedusa, 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.; obversehead 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; $450.00 (€382.50)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 404 - 370 B.C.
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, headtype 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.; obversehead 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)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.
BCD Thessaly II notes this obverse die appears to have been altered (reworked).GS73413. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 3 (O25/R6), BCD Thessaly II 197 (same dies), Lorber Early 11.- (same obverse die), F, etched surfaces, die wear, weight 5.793 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obversehead of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, partially radiate hair with hornlike locks of hair on crown above ampyx, drop earring, plain necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPI above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 2004, €55.-" ; $180.00 (€153.00)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 356 - 342 B.C.
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.GS73416. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 313; BMC Thessaly p. 31, 76; SNG Cop 122; HGC 4 453, F, some light scratches, weight 5.223 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Larissa mint, c. 356 - 342 B.C.; obversehead of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing ampyx, pendant earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse crouching right, left foreleg bent and raised, preparing to roll onto the ground, ΛAPI/ΣAIΩN in two lines starting in exergue, ending above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, June 95, SFr. 50.-"; $180.00 (€153.00)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 369 - 360 B.C.
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.GS73410. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly I 1146, HGC 4 439 (R1), BCD Thessaly II 281 - 282, F, etched obverse surface, punch on obverse left eye, weight 5.906 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 369 - 360 B.C.; obversehead of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, hair floating freely, round curl on right, neck truncation elongated and very gently bow-shaped; reverse ΛAPI above, horse grazing right with straight legs; ex BCD Collection with his tag; $160.00 (€136.00)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.
This obverse is described in Lorber Early as wearing a taenia instead of an ampyx.
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.SH73427. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 1 (O7/R2); Lorber Early 29.5 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 217 - 218; HGC 4 432, F, corrosion, weight 5.382 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obversehead of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing taenia and necklace, hair floating freely; reverse horse grazing left, legs straight, short forelegs, shoulders lower than rump, grass under nose, ΛAPIΣAI above; ex BCD Collection; $160.00 (€136.00)
Thessalian League, Greece, c. 146 - 100 B.C.
The Thessalian League was a loose confederacy of city-states and tribes in the Thessalian valley in N. Greece. Philip II of Macedon took control of Thessaly in 344 B.C and it remained under Macedonia until the Roman victory in 197 B.C. The league was reestablished in 196 B.C. but had little autonomy after Thessaly became part of the province of Macedonia in 146 B.C.GS88330. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly II 819; SNG Cop 300; SNG Alpha Bank 293; McClean 4958; BMC Thessaly p. 4, 36; HGC 4 213 (S), aVF, rainbow toning, tight flan, struck a little flat, porosity, spots of corrosion, weight 4.078 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, probably struck at Larissa mint, magistrates Gauana and Poly..., c. 146 - 100 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, ΓAYANA (magistrate's name) downward behind; reverse ΘEΣΣA/ΛΩN in two vertical lines, upward on right, then downward on left, Athena Itonia striding right, hurling spear with right hand, shield on her left arm, bunch of grapes outer right, Π−O/Λ−Y (magistrate) in two divided lines across lower inner field; $150.00 (€127.50)
Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.
During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for £130.-"; scarce; $140.00 (€119.00)
Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 120 - 70 B.C.
Strabo, in about 17 A.D. wrote: "On the territory of the people of Apollonia in Illyria there is what is called a nymphaeum. It is a rock which emits fire. Below it are springs flowing with hot water and asphalt..." The Nymphaeum was likely a burning natural gas seep.GS83574. Silver drachm, BMC Thessaly p. 59, 41 - 42; SNG Cop 398; Maier p. 15, 120, VF, bumps, scratches, corrosion, small edge split, weight 3.05 g, maximum diameter 17.34 mm, die axis 90o, Apollonia mint, magistrates Aibatios & Chairenos, c. 120 - 70 B.C.; obverse AIBATIOΣ, cow standing left, head turned back right, suckling calf standing right, grain ear left in exergue; reverse AΠOΛ − XAI−PH−NOΣ, the Nymphaeum of Apollonia ablaze, lagobolon below, within double linear square with sides curved inward; very rare; $125.00 (€106.25)
Homolion, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece, Mid 4th Century B.C.
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 reverselegend weak, some corrosion, weight 8.537 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, Homolion (near Omolio, Larissa, Greece) mint, mid 4th century B.C.; obversehead 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; $125.00 (€106.25)
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