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Ancient Coins of Lydia (Other Cities and Uncertain Mints)

Maionia, Lydia, c. 161 - 217 A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the Lydian Kingdom, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own. She bought Herakles from Hermes, who sold him after an oracle declared Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. Hercules had sought the oracle to learn what he must do to purify himself, after he murdered his friend Iphitus and stole the Delphic tripod. As a slave, Herakles was forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning. Meanwhile, Omphale wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Herakles' olive-wood club. But it was also during his stay in Lydia that Herakles captured the city of the Itones and enslaved them, killed Syleus who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard, and captured the Cercopes. He buried the body of Icarus and took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Argonautica. After some time, Omphale freed Herakles and took him as her husband. The Greeks did not recognize Omphale as a goddess. Omphale's name, connected with omphalos, a Greek word meaning navel (or axis), may, however, represent a Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude and marriage may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. This myth may have been an attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB86735. Bronze AE 20, SNG Leypold I 1053 (this scarcer rev. legend arrangement); RPC Online IV 1325; SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG München 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17, VF, rough, reverse scratches, weight 5.130 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Maeonia mint, c. 161 - 217 A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, draped in Hercules’ lion skin, carrying his club in her left hand over her left shoulder; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Tripolis, Lydia, 3rd Century A.D.

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Tripolis on the Meander (called at other times Neapolis, Apollonia, and Antoninopolis) was an ancient city on the borders of Phrygia, Caria and Lydia, on the northern bank of the upper course of the Maeander, and on the road leading from Sardes by Philadelphia to Laodicea ad Lycum. It was 20 km to the northwest of Hierapolis. Ruins are near Yenicekent, Denizli Province, Turkey. The ruins, mostly from the Roman and Byzantine periods, include a theater, baths, city walls, and a necropolis. An ancient church, dating back 1,500 years, was unearthed in 2013.
RP79979. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 724; SNGvA 3314; BMC Lydia 19; pseudo-autonomous issue, Choice VF, excellent centering, nice green patina, weight 4.170 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lydia, Tripolis (near Yenicekent, Turkey) mint, 3rd century A.D.; obverse bust of Athena right, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet and aegis; reverse TPIPOLEITWN, Tyche standing slightly left, kalathos on head left, rudder held by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


Hierocaesarea, Lydia, c. 100 - 150 A.D.

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Hierocaesarea from the Greek for 'sacred' and the Latin for 'Caesar's', also known as Hieracome or Hierakome, was a town and bishopric in the late Roman province of Lydia, the metropolitan see of which was Sardis. Judging from its coins, it worshiped the goddess Artemis Persica.
RP92869. Bronze AE 17, Imhoof-Blumer LS 23; RPC III Online 1854; BMC Lydia p. 103, 6; SNG Cop 176; Waddington 5001; SNGvA -; Weber -, VF, nice green patina, obverse off center, broad flan, weight 3.163 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Hierocaesarea (near Sazoba, Turkey) mint, c. 100 - 150 A.D.; obverse ΠEPCIKH, bust of Artemis Persica right, bow and quiver at shoulder; reverse IEPOKAICA-PE-ΩN (the last two letters in exergue), stag walking right; scarce; $90.00 (€79.20)
 


Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, Ptolemy III Euergetes, 246 - 222 BC

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According to Ptolemaic bronze expert Daniel Wolf, "These coins are attributed by Svoronos to Ake-Ptolemaïs (Acre), but modern finds indicate they are most likely from the area near (modern) Bodrum in Turkey." Cathy Lorber has since refined the attribution of these tripod types to Telmessus in Lydia, modern Fethiye. There have been more finds there than at Bodrum.
GP93400. Bronze dichalkon, Lorber CPE B437, Svoronos 793 (7 spec.), Weiser 80, BMC Ptolemies -, SNG Cop -, SNG Milan -, Noeske -, Malter -, Hosking -, gVF, brown tone, broad flan, weight 3.838 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Telmessus (Fethiye, Turkey) mint, 246 - 222 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Zeus Ammon right; reverse ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ (King Ptolemy), eagle standing half left atop fulmen, head left, wings closed, tripod in left field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Hyrkaneis, Lydia, c. 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.

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Hyrcanis or Hyrkaneis, also known as Hyrcania, was a Roman and Byzantine city and bishopric on the Hyrcanian plain in ancient Lydia, now in western Turkey. It was named for a colony of Hyrcanians settled there by the Persians. Later some Macedonians also settled in the district, which is why they are called "Macedones Hyrcani" by Pliny the Elder and Tacitus. Lydia_50_AD

RP93587. Bronze AE 14, SNG München 170; SNG Fitzwilliam 4863; BMC Lydia p. 123, 9; Mionnet IV 320; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, VF, dark patina, earthen encrustations, scratches, small edge split, weight 1.491 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hyrcanis (near Halit Pasa, Turkey) mint, pseudo-autonomous, c. 2nd - 3rd Century A.D.; obverse head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck; reverse YPYKANΩ-N, lion advancing right; rare; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Sala, Lydia, c. 2nd Century A.D.

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Hermes was the messenger of the gods and the god of commerce and thieves. He was the son of Zeus and the nymph Maia. His symbols include the caduceus and winged sandals.
RP77505. Bronze AE 17, SNG München 455; BMC Lydia p. 229, 15; SNG Cop 416, VF, well centered, nice green patina, areas of corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 2.643 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 0o, Sala mint, c. 2nd century A.D.; obverse ∆HMOC CAΛHNΩN, laureate and draped bearded bust of Demos; reverse EΠI AN∆PONEICOY, Hermes standing slightly left, nude, chlamys draped over left arm, purse in right hand, caduceus in left hand; ex Divus Numismatik; rare; $65.00 (€57.20)
 







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REFERENCES|

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Bloesch, H. Griechische Münzen In Winterthur. (Winterthur, 1987).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber, Vol. III, Part 1. (London, 1926).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lydia. (London, 1901).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Münzen der Kilbianer in Lydien" in NZ 20 (1888).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Kleinasiatische Münzen. (Vienna, 1901-2).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Lydische Stadtmünzen, neue Untersuchungen. (Geneva and Leipzig, 1897).
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Mionnet, T. Description de Médailles antiques grecques et romaines, Vol. 4. Lydia - Armenia. (Paris, 1809).
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Spier, J. "Notes on Early Electrum Coinage and a Die-Linked Issue from Lydia" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 5: Ionia, Caria, and Lydia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 23: Lydien. (Berlin, 1997).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, Part II: Asia Minor except Karia. (Helsinki, 1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain VI, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, The Lewis Collection II: The Greek Imperial Coins. (1992).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Österreich, Sammlung Leypold, Kleinasiatische Münzen der Kaiserzeit. Vol. I. Pontus - Lydien. (Vienna, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II. Münzen der Antike. Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 5: Tire Museum (Izmir), Vol. 1: Roman Provincial Coins From Ionia, Lydia, Phrygia, etc. (Istanbul, 2011).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 7: Odemis Museum, Vol. 1: Roman Provincial Coins of Ionia, Lydia and etc. (Istanbul, 2012).
Waddington, W. "Voyage en Asie Mineure au point de vue numismatique" in Review Numismatic (Paris, 1853).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
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