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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).

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D., Irenopolis-Neronias, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.,| |Irenopolis-Neronias,| |Cilicia||7| |assaria|
Wandering the world in a panther-drawn chariot, Dionysos rode ahead of the maenads and satyrs, who sang loudly and danced, flushed with wine. They were profusely garlanded with ivy and held the thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone, a symbol of the immortality of his believers. Everywhere he went he taught men how to cultivate vines and the mysteries of his cult. Whoever stood in his way and refused to revere him was punished with madness.
RP96990. Bronze 7 assaria, Karbach Eirenopolis - (cf. 146-7 same obv. die, diff. rev. type); Leu web auction 12 (2020), 870 (same dies); SNG Levante -; SNG Paris -; SNG PFPS -, aVF/F, green patina with earthen deposits, weight 12.523 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 225o, Irenopolis (Düzici, Turkey) mint, 258 - 259 A.D.; obverse ΠOY ΛIK Γ/θ>AΛIHNOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; uncertain round countermark; reverse IPHNOΠOΛE (or similar), Dionysos drinking with his entourage, standing facing, kantharos (wine cup) in his right hand, pedum (shepherd's crook) in his left hand, Pan on right supporting him, Satyr on left standing with outstretched right hand, panther seated left at feet on left, Z (mark of value) right; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 921; the second known; $810.00 (€664.20)
 


Isaura Palaia(?), Cilicia, c. 335 - 325 B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Isaura| |Palaia(?),| |Cilicia,| |c.| |335| |-| |325| |B.C.||hemiobol|NEW
Göktürk attributed this type to Isaura Palaia (Bozkir, Turkey), but this attribution remains uncertain.
GS96991. Silver hemiobol, Göktürk p. 150, 86 (Isaura Palaia), SNG Kayhan 1062, SNG Levante -; SNG BnF -, gVF, attractive style, toned, flow lines, tight squared flan, top of lion's head off flan, weight 0.294 g, maximum diameter 8.1 mm, die axis 180o, Isaura Palaia(?) mint, c. 335 - 325 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles facing slightly left; reverse facing head of lion, YAYPCOM (or similar) below; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 13 (15 Aug 2020), lot 459; ex Roma e-sale 52 (10 Jan 2019), lot 324; extremely rare; $250.00 (€205.00)
 


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; $145.00 (€118.90)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Anazarbus, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia||hexassarion|
Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman Empire, it was known as 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 525, it became Justinopolis. Despite the name changes, the old native name persisted. When Thoros I, king of Lesser Armenia, made it his capital early in the 12th century, it was known as Anazarva.

According to Ziegler (p. 124), the Γ Γ means,"[chairman of] 3 [provinces], [holder of] 3 [neocorates]." ET BOC is the date, year 272 of Caesarea. The era began in 19 B.C. when the city was visited by Augustus, refounded and renamed Caesarea, dating this coin to 253 - 254 A.D. In the reverse exergue, Anazarbus boasts A M K T (ΠPΩTH MEΓIΣTH KAΛΛIΣTH TIMΩTATH), meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, Most Beautiful, and Most Esteemed (or Honored).
RP97262. Bronze hexassarion, Ziegler 834 (Vs1/Rs4); SNG BnF 2162; SNG Levante 1520; SNGvA 5508; BMC Lycaonia p. 40, 43 Weber 7505; SNG Cop -, Choice VF, well centered on a broad flan, nice green patina, some legend and highest points a little weakly stuck, light marks, weight 17.070 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, Oct 235 - 254 A.D.; obverse AVT K OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse ANAZAPBOV MHTPOΠ, six agonistic prize crowns arranged in two rows of three, Γ − Γ above, ET • B•OC (year 272) across center, •A•M•K•T below; ex Zeus Numismatics auction 11 (1 Aug 2020), lot 459; $140.00 (€114.80)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Augusta, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Augusta,| |Cilicia||AE| |29|
Augusta, Cilicia was founded in 20 A.D., and named for Livia (Julia Augusta). Just over 16 km north of Adana in a loop of the river Seyhan (Sarus), and at the west end of a narrow plain bounded to the north and south by low hills. Represented at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the city probably did not long survive the Moslem invasion of Cilicia in the 7th century. The site, discovered by chance in 1955, was identified by ancient literary sources and from finds there, and in the neighboring village of Gübe, of Roman provincial coins naming the city. Later that same year Gübe, and with it the ruins of Augusta, disappeared below the waters of the Seyhan dam, but not before the site had been partially surveyed. Two colonnaded streets crossed each other at right angles typical of Roman towns in Cilicia. The foundations of a triumphal arch, a theater, a civic basilica, some shops, a bath building, were mapped. These structures were all of brick and mortar, and probably dated to the 3rd century.
RP97260. Bronze AE 29, Karbach Augusta 124.7; BMC Lycaonia p. 46, 15; Mionnet III p. 568, 15; SNGvA 5538; SNG BnF 1911; Waddington 419, aVF, tight flan, some porosity, some encrustation, weight 19.044 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Cilicia, Augusta (under Seyhan Dam Reservoir) mint, 253 - 254 A.D.; obverse AV KAI ΠOV ΛIK OVAΛEPIANO CB (sic!), radiate and cuirassed bust of Valerian right, gorgoneon on breastplate, countermark: V; reverse AVΓOVCTAN-ΩN E ∆ΛC (Augusta, year 234), Athena standing facing, looking left, wearing crested Corinthian helmet, resting right hand on grounded shield, vertical spear in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 83 (3 Nov 2019), part of lot 980; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Anazarbus, Cilicia, 113 - 114 A.D.

|Cilicia|, |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia,| |113| |-| |114| |A.D.||hemiassarion|NEW
The torch is a symbol that can be related to either Artemis or Demeter. Although goddess on the reverse is usually identified in references as Artemis, we believe it is Demeter. In year 132, this type was struck at Anazarbus with larger denominations depicting Trajan on the obverse, some with reverses depicting Trajan's sister Marciana, and others with reverses depicting her daughter, Trajan's niece, Matidia. Circulating alongside the other coins, these coins advertised the importance of Marciana and Matidia to the imperial family and suggested that they, similar to Demeter and her daughter Persephone, were essential to the prosperity of the empire.
GB98207. Bronze hemiassarion, BMC Lycaonia p. 31, 2; SNG Levante 1380; Ziegler 100; cf. SNG BnF 2026 (year 133); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, gF, green patina, reverse off center, light scratches, edge crack, weight 4.472 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 113 - 114 A.D.; obverse KAICAPIA ANAZAP, veiled bust of Persephone right, grain ears and poppy before; reverse ET BΛP (year 132), veiled bust of Demeter right, wearing polos (resembling a pileus), flaming torch before; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D., Seleucia on the Calycadnus, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Trebonianus| |Gallus,| |June| |or| |July| |251| |-| |July| |or| |August| |253| |A.D.,| |Seleucia| |on| |the| |Calycadnus,| |Cilicia||AE| |33|
Located a few miles from the mouth of the Calycadnus (Göksu) River, Seleucia ad Calycadnum was founded by Seleucus I Nicator in the early 3rd century B.C., one of several cities he named after himself. The location up river was safer against attacks from the sea so Seleucia achieved considerable commercial prosperity as a port for this corner of Cilicia (later named Isauria), and was even a rival of Tarsus. Cilicia thrived as a province of the Romans, and Seleucia became a religious center with a renowned 2nd century Temple of Jupiter. It was also the site of a noted school of philosophy and literature, the birthplace of peripatetics Athenaeus and Xenarchus.
RP88857. Bronze AE 33, SNG BnF 1052 (same dies); cf. SNG Levante 783 (same obv. die, rev. var.); BMC Lycaonia p. 140, 51 (same); SNG Cop 221 (same); SNGvA 5848 (same), F, weak legends, a little off center, scattered porosity, a few pits, bumps and scratches, weight 18.147 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 180o, Seleucia on the Calycadnus (Silifke, Turkey) mint, Jun/Jul 251 - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse AV K ΓAI OVAI TPEBΩ ΓAΛΛOC, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CEΛEVKEΩN TΩN Π/POC / TΩ KAΛV, confronted draped busts of Apollo, laureate on left, and Tyche, on right, wearing kalathos, laurel branch before Apollo, cornucopia behind Tyche, KA∆NΩ below; huge 32.8mm bronze; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Anazarbus, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Valerian| |I,| |October| |253| |-| |c.| |June| |260| |A.D.,| |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia||tetrassaria|
Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman Empire, it was known as 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 525, it became Justinopolis. Despite the name changes, the old native name persisted. When Thoros I, king of Lesser Armenia, made it his capital early in the 12th century, it was known as Anazarva.

On the reverse, Anazarbus boasts that their city is A M K (ΠPΩTH MEΓIΣTH KAΛΛIΣTH), meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful. According to Ziegler (p. 124), the Γ Γ means,"[chairman of] 3 [provinces], [holder of] 3 [neocorates]." ET BOC is the date, year 272 of Caesarea. The era began in 19 B.C. when the city was visited by Augustus, refounded and renamed Caesarea, dating this coin to 253 - 254 A.D.
RP97261. Bronze tetrassaria, Ziegler An 825 (Vs1/Rs4); SNG BnF 2158 (corr., same dies); BMC Lycaonia p. 39, 41 var. (rev. inscriptions); SNG Levante 1516 var. (same), F, well centered, red and green patina, weight 13.225 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, Oct 235 - 254 A.D.; obverse AVT K Π ΛIK OVAΛEPIANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse ANAZAPBOV MHTPO (Z reversed), Dionysos reclining left on rump of a panther, head right, raising his hands, panther lying right with head turned back left, Γ − Γ flanking figures in fields, ET•B•O•C• (year 272) over •A•M•K• in exergue; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 83 (3 Nov 2019), part of lot 980; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


Mallos, Cilicia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

|Cilicia|, |Mallos,| |Cilicia,| |2nd| |-| |1st| |Century| |B.C.||AE| |18|NEW
Mallos was an ancient city of Cilicia Campestris (later Cilicia Prima) lying near the mouth of the Pyramus (now the Ceyhan Nehri) river, in Anatolia. In ancient times, the city was situated at the mouth of the Pyramus (which has changed course since), on a hill opposite Magarsa (or Magarsus) which served as its port. The district was called from it, Mallotis. The location of the site is currently inland a few km from the Mediterranean coast on an elevation in the Karatas Peninsula, Adana Province, Turkey, a few km from the city of Karatas.
GB98567. Bronze AE 18, SNG Levante 1264, SNG BnF 1919, Lindgren I 1542, BMC Cilicia -, RPC I -, gF, green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, obverse off center, weight 4.580 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Mallos (near Karatas, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.; obverse statue of Athena Megaris standing facing, within wreath; reverse eagle flying right, monogram left under wing, MALLΩ/TΩN in two lines below; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


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; $85.00 (€69.70)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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