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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).


Persian Empire, Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia, 361 - 334 B.C., Tarsos, Cilicia

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Mazaios was the Persian satrap of Cilicia beginning about 361 BC and in about 345 B.C. he was also made satrap of Transeuphratesia (which included Syria and Judaea). In 331 BC, Mazaios was defeated by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela, after which he fled to Babylon. Later that year Mazaios surrendered Babylon, the capital of the Persian Empire, to Alexander. For surrendering without a fight, Alexander appointed Mazaios governor of Babylon. He died in 328 B.C.
GS38433. Silver stater, SNG Levante 103, SNG BnF 332, Casabonne 2D, Choice EF, excellent fully centered strike, weight 10.903 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 361/360 - 334 B.C.; obverse BLTRZ (Baaltarz) in Aramaic (read upward) behind, Baal of Tarsos enthroned half-left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, holding bunch of grapes, grain ear, and eagle in right hand, lotus tipped scepter vertical behind in left hand, Aramaic R lower left, Aramaic M below throne; reverse lion bringing down bull, attacking with teeth and claws, MZDI (Mazaios) in Aramaic (read right to left) above; SOLD


Macedonian Kingdom, Demetrius I Poliorketes, 306 - 283 B.C.

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Demetrios was called Poliorcetes, "The Besieger" for his creative siege engines including a battering ram 180 feet long requiring 1000 men and a wheeled siege tower named "Helepolis" (or "Taker of Cities") which stood 125 feet tall and 60 feet wide, weighing 360,000 pounds.
SH28933. Silver tetradrachm, CNG 73, 153; apparently unpublished, cf. Newell 33 (stater with these monograms), gVF, weight 17.045 g, maximum diameter 26.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 298 - 295 B.C; obverse Nike atop prow of galley decorated with apotropaic eye left, blowing trumpet and holds stylis; reverse ∆HMHTPIOY / BAΣI−ΛEΩΣ, Poseidon stands left, naked save chlamys over extended left arm, about to hurl trident with right, monograms either side; toned, very fine obverse style; rare; SOLD


Persian Empire, Tiribazos, Satrap of Cilicia, 388 - 380 B.C., Issos, Cilicia

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GS33197. Silver stater, SNGvA 5601 var. (ethnic spelling), gVF, weight 10.451 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 0o, Issos, Cilicia mint, 386 - 380 B.C.; obverse Ahura-Mazda, head right, body terminated by solar disk, holding wreath and lotus blossom; reverse Baal standing half-left, eagle in right, long scepter in left hand, IΣΣEΩN (sic) left, Aramaic TRIBZW right; ex Künker auction 143, lot 233 (misattributed as SNG France 418, price realized 800 Euro), areas of porosity, well centered and struck on a particularly full flan for the type; very rare; SOLD


Persian Empire, Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia, 361 - 334 B.C., Tarsos, Cilicia

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Mazaios was the Persian satrap of Cilicia beginning about 361 BC and in about 345 B.C. he was also made satrap of Transeuphratesia (which included Syria and Judaea). In 331 BC, Mazaios was defeated by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela, after which he fled to Babylon. Later that year Mazaios surrendered Babylon, the capital of the Persian Empire, to Alexander. For surrendering without a fight, Alexander appointed Mazaios governor of Babylon. He died in 328 B.C.
GS28915. Silver stater, Casabonne 2F, SNG Levante 100 var. (additional Aramaic letters lower reverse), SNG BnF 100 (no Aramaic N), Choice EF, great well-centered strike on very good metal, weight 10.966 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 135o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 361 - 334 B.C.; obverse BLTRZ (Baaltarz) in Aramaic (read upward) behind, Baal of Tarsos enthroned half-left, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, holding bunch of grapes, grain ear, and eagle in right hand, lotus tipped scepter vertical behind in left hand, Aramaic N lower left; reverse lion bringing down bull, attacking with teeth and claws, MZDI (=Mazdai) in Aramaic above, letters below, all within a circle of dots; SOLD


Persian Empire, Mazaios, Satrap of Cilicia, 361 - 334 B.C., Tarsos, Cilicia

Click for a larger photo
Mazaios was the Persian satrap of Cilicia beginning about 361 BC and in about 345 B.C. he was also made satrap of Transeuphratesia (which included Syria and Judaea). In 331 BC, Mazaios was defeated by Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela, after which he fled to Babylon. Later that year Mazaios surrendered Babylon, the capital of the Persian Empire, to Alexander. For surrendering without a fight, Alexander appointed Mazaios governor of Babylon. He died in 328 B.C.
SH26662. Silver stater, SGCV II 5649, EF, extraordinary sharp and bold strike, obverse and reverse slightly off-center, weight 11.010 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, 361 - 334 B.C.; obverse BLTRZ (=Baaltarz) in Aramaic behind, Baal of Tarsos enthroned left, head facing, holding bunch of grapes, grain ear, and eagle in right, lotus headed scepter in left hand, M below throne, all within a circle of dots; reverse lion bringing down bull, attacking with teeth and claws, MZDI (=Mazdai) in Aramaic above, letters below, all within a circle of dots; this type is one of our favorites!; SOLD


Aigeai, Cilicia, 31 - 30 B.C.

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The era of Aigeai starts in Autumn 47 B.C.
SH35593. Silver tetradrachm, SNG Levante 1655, Bloesch 111, VF, weight 14.201 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Aigeai mint, 31 - 30 B.C.; obverse veiled and turreted head of Tyche right; reverse AIΓEAIΩN, Athena standing left holding Nike and scepter, shield at feet, ∆I and club in left field, IC in exergue; SOLD


Seleukid Kingdom, Demetrius II Nikator, 146 - 138 and 129 - 125 B.C.

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Demetrius II ruled for two periods, separated by years of captivity in Parthia. He gained the throne with the help of Egypt, but general Diodotus rebelled, took Antioch and made Antiochus VI Dionysus his puppet king. Demetrius then ruled part of the kingdom from Seleucia. In 38 B.C. he attacked the Parthians but was defeated and captured, ending his first reign. The Parthians released him in 129 B.C. when his brother, Antiochus VII Sidetes, marched against Parthia. They hoped the brothers would fight a civil war but the Parthians soon defeated Sidetes, and Demetrius returned to rule Syria. His second reign portraits show him wearing a Parthian style beard. His second reign ended when he was defeated and killed by yet another usurper set up by Egypt, Alexander II Zabinas.
GS85157. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 2155 (same dies), Houghton Tarsus A2/P2 (same dies), HGC 9 1116a (R3), EF, fantastic portrait, marks and scratches, edge crack, obverse damage in beard, slight double strike on reverse, weight 16.364 g, maximum diameter 31.9 mm, die axis 0o, Royal workshop, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 2nd reign, 129 - 125 B.C.; obverse diademed bust of bearded Demetrios II right, hair combed smooth on the crown of head, diadem ends fall straight, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ∆HMHTPIOY in two downward lines on the right, ΘEOY / NIKATOPOΣ in two downward lines on the left, Zeus seated left, Nike in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, Nike facing right inside inscription and offering wreath to Zeus, HAP and NE monograms in exergue; only a few examples of this extremely rare type known and all are apparently from the same die pair; extremely rare; SOLD


Kelenderis, Cilicia, c. 425 - 350 B.C.

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Kelenderis was a port town, one of the oldest in Cilicia, described in Hellenistic and Roman sources as a small, but strong castle. The rider on the obverse may be Castor, who was not only a horse trainer but also the protector of sailors, an appropriate type for a port town.
SH70330. Silver stater, SNG Levante 23 (same dies); SNG Cop 83 (same dies); SNGvA 5631 (same dies); BMC Lycaonia p. 54, 20 ff. var. (no dolphin); SNG BnF 66 var. (same), VF, superb style, well centered, light toning, weight 10.685 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 270o, Kelenderis (Aydincik, Turkey) mint, c. 425 - 350 B.C.; obverse nude horseman facing sidesaddle on horse rearing right, whip in right; reverse KEΛEN, goat kneeling right, looking back, dolphin right in exergue; SOLD


Tarsos, Cilicia, c. 420 - 410 B.C.

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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.
GS87796. Silver stater, Casabonne Type D3 var. (horseman right, no palm etc.); SNG Ash 1838 var. (same); Kraay 1036 var. (same); SNG BnF- ; SNG Levante –; SNGvA -; SNG Cop -, VF, dark toning, crowded flan, die wear, test cut, weight 10.719 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 330o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, c. 420 - 410 B.C.; obverse horseman walking horse left, flower in right hand, reins in left hand, ankh under horse; reverse warrior standing right, wearing Persian dress, lance vertical in left hand, bow in right hand, palm tree behind, all in dotted square within incuse square, Aramaic inscription on right; extremely rare, only the 2nd known, the only other specimen known to Forum is CNG e-auction 431 (24 Oct 2018), lot 241; SOLD


Persian Empire, Pharnabazos, Satrap of Cilicia, c. 379 - 374 B.C., Tarsos, Cilicia

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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.
SH47895. Silver stater, SNGvA 5916, SNG Cop 266, VF, nice style, toned, weight 10.666 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) mint, struck c. 378 - 373 B.C.; obverse female bust (Aphrodite?) facing slightly left, wearing earrings and necklace; reverse helmeted and bearded head left (Ares?), Aramaic inscription FRNBZW KLK (Pharnabazos Cilicia) right; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Bloesch, H. "Hellenistic Coins of Aegeae" in ANSMN 27. (1982).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (London, 1992 - ).
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Göktürk, M. "Small coins from Cilicia and surroundings" in MIMAA.
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Hoover, O. Handbook of Syrian Coins, Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC. (Lancaster, PA, 2009).
Houghton, A., C. Lorber & O. Hoover. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalog.. (Lancaster, 2002 - 2008).
Karbach, F.-B. "Die Münzprägung der Stadt Augusta in Kilikien" in JNG XL (1990), p. 35 - 68.
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Kraay, C. "The Celenderis Hoard" in NC 1962, pp. 1-15, pls. 1 -11.
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Moysey, R. "The Silver Stater Issues of Pharnabazos and Datames from the Mint of Tarsus in Cilicia" in ANSMN 31 (1986).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 6: Phrygia to Cilicia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock. Vol. 3: Pisidia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, Galatia, Cappadocia.... (Berlin, 1964).
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Catalog current as of Sunday, August 18, 2019.
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Cilicia