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Ancient Greece and Asia Minor


42 files, last one added on Sep 10, 2019

Magna Graecia and Sicily


24 files, last one added on Jul 17, 2019



1 files, last one added on Aug 16, 2018


3 albums on 1 page(s)

Last additions - Nathan P's Gallery
Satraps OF Caria. Hekatomnos (Circa 392/1-377/6 BC)7 viewsAR Tetradrachm

25 mm, 14.90 g

Obverse: Zeus Labraundos standing right, holding labrys over his right shoulder and long scepter in his left.

Reverse: EKATOMNΩ, Lion at bay to right.

Hecatomnus 16. Karl 3. SNG von Aulock 2354.

Hecatomnos was the son of Hyssaldomus, the local ruler of Mylasa, a town in Caria (a region on the SW coast of Turkey). In 392 or 391, the Persian king Artaxerxes II appointed Hecatomnos as satrap of that part of the Achaemenid Empire and later awarded him the overlordship of the city of Miletus, the largest Greek settlement in Asia Minor. Hecatomnos seems to have been fascinated by Greek culture, and on one occasion sent his youngest son Pixodarus to Athens. Hecatomnos died in 377/376 and was succeeded by his son Maussolus (builder of the Mausoleum of Maussollos). His house was to rule Caria for another half century.

In many ways, not least in their coinage, the Hekatomnids were the forerunners of Hellenistic kings. They were unique in that period in issuing a regular and prolific dynastic coinage, which remained practically unchanged until the arrival of Alexander the Great. Other satraps struck coins, but none was hereditary and there was no continuity of coinage from one family member to another as was the case with the Hekatomnids.

The tetradrachm series above was a type that remained in use virtually unchanged throughout the coinage of the Hekatomnids. On the obverse is the figure of Zeus Labraundos, bearded and laureate, standing to the right, wearing a himation, and holding a spear pointing downward in one hand and a labrys (double-axe) in the other. This was a potent image, sacred to all Carians by virtue of the importance of the sanctuary of Labraunda (literally, “place of the sacred labrys”). This image of Zeus, with a very Greek looking appearance, remained virtually unchanged throughout the different issues that were minted over a period of about half a century – perhaps suggesting that the coin design was modelled after the actual statue of Zeus at Labraunda.

The reverse of the tetradrachm depicts a lion standing to the left, roaring, its back legs straight and front legs bent, almost parallel to the ground line. Comparable lion postures are found on some contemporary Cypriot issues and on the 5th century BC diobol coinage of Miletos (most likely the Hekatomnids’ inspiration).
2 commentsNathan PSep 10, 2019
Attica, Athens. (Circa 475-465 BC)17 viewsAR Tetradrachm

24 mm, 17.19 g

Obverse: Helmeted head of Athena right

Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing; olive sprig to left; all within incuse square.

Starr Group IV, HGC 4, 1595. Test cut on reverse.

Chester Starr arranged Athens' coinage from ca. 480 until the mid 5th century into five groups, and his chronology is still widely accepted today (although the dating of the final groups is now considered too late). The style of the "transitional" Athenian tetradrachms from the late 470s through the early 450s B.C. – Starr's groups II through V – is considered the high mark of Athenian coinage. By the time of Starr's Group IV, production of tetradrachms had steadily increased and the uptick in the number of required dies (and engravers) necessitated a greater standardization of style. On the obverse, the head of Athena changes little from Starr's Group III – the goddess has a bold profile and retains her "archaic smile"; the hair on her forehead is arranged in two waves, with a small bend above the eye; and on her helmet, her leaves float above the visor (sometimes referred to as a "laurel wreath," these leaves were first introduced after the victory over the Persians in 480/79 BC). One difference from Group III is the helmet's palmette, which goes from pointing to the adjacent olive leaf to more parallel. On the reverse, the back leg of the Group IV's owl often stretches further back and the tail feather no longer touches the rear claw.
1 commentsNathan PAug 02, 2019
Cimmerian Bosporos. Pantikapaion. (Circa 310-304/3 BC.)15 viewsAE20 (6.83 g)

Obverse: Bearded head of satyr or Pan right
Reverse: Forepart of griffin left; below, sturgeon left.

Anokhin 1023; MacDonald 69; HGC 7, 113.
1 commentsNathan PAug 01, 2019
Thessaly, Larissa (Circa 356-342 BC)17 viewsAR Drachm

18mm, 5.83g

Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, hair in ampyx, wearing necklace

Reverse: Horse standing right, preparing to lie down.

BCD Thessaly 1154-7; SNG Copenhagen 120.
1 commentsNathan PJul 31, 2019
Carthage, Second Punic War (220-215 BC)27 viewsAE Trishekel

29 mm, 18.21 g

Obverse: Head of Tanit left, wearing wreath of grain ears and single-pendant earring

Reverse: Horse standing right; palm tree in background to left.

MAA 84; Müller, Afrique 147; SNG Copenhagen 344.

The Second Punic War formally began when the Carthaginian general Hannibal and his army crossed the Alps in November of 218 BC and descended into Northern Italy. Battles raged on Italian soil for nearly 15 years until Hannibal and what remained of his army sailed for North Africa in the summer or fall of 203 BC. Shown above is a typical example of what would have been a lower-value coin issued by the Carthaginians in the early stages of the war.

Carthage was a Phoenician colony, and as such the Carthaginians were related to the Hebrews and the Canaanites (among others). Culturally they had much in common, including the use of the shekel as the primary unit of money. Likewise, the Carthaginians worshipped a variety of deities from the ancient Middle East. One in particular was the goddess Tanit. A Phoenician (Punic) goddess of war, Tanit was also a virgin mother goddess and a fertility symbol.
2 commentsNathan PJul 17, 2019
Attica, Athens. (Circa 454-449 BC)28 viewsAR Tetradrachm

25 mm, 17.20 g

This is a transitional Owl tetradrachm that bridges the early classical owls (minted from 478-454) with the subsequent mass classical (standardized) coinage, which really got going in the early 440s BC to finance Pericles' building projects like the Parthenon and then later the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) vs. Sparta. The 454 date is critical in that it was the year that Athens moved the treasury of the Delian league (confederation of Greek states led by Athens to defend against the Persian threat) from Delos to Athens.

This coin shares many attributes of Starr V early classical coinage (465-454 BC). On the obverse, the olive leaves on Athena's helmet connect to her diadem with small stems (which disappear in the mass coinage). In addition, the palmette leaves on Athena's helmet are smaller, less decorative, and more realistic. Finally, Athena is smiling (she starts to frown as the war with Sparta goes badly) and is more beautifully depicted than in the more hastily produced mass coinage.

On the reverse, like with the Starr V coins, the incuse is quite noticeable and the AOE (short for AOENAION, or "Of the Athenians") is written in smaller letters (they are much bigger in the mass coinage). Also, the owl is stouter, has smaller eyes, and his head is at an angle rather than parallel to the ground like all later issues.

The only difference between the Starr V owls and this example is in the owl's tail - in Starr V it ends with three small feathers. On this coin and all subsequent coinage the owl's tail ends in a single prong. Given all the other similarities to Starr V it is likely this coin was minted soon after the Treasury's move from Delos to Athens - perhaps 454/453.
2 commentsNathan PJul 01, 2019
Sicily, Syracuse. Pyrrhus (Circa 278-275 BC)29 viewsAE 23mm, 11.43 g

Obverse: Head of Heracles l., wearing lion's headdress; in r. field, cornucopiae.

Rev. Athena Promachos standing r., holding spear and shield; in l. field, thunderbolt.

SNG Copenhagen 811. Calciati 177.

Pyrrhus was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians (west coast of Greece) and later became king of Epirus. One of the greatest military commanders of the ancient world, Pyrrhus took a large army to southern Italy at the behest of the Greek colony of Tarentum in their war against Rome. With his superior cavalry, deadly phalanx, and 20 elephants, Pyrrhus defeated the Romans in a succession of battles but at great cost. After a victory at Apulia (279 BC) where Pyrrhus lost 3,500 men including many officers, he famously commented that, "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." It is from this semi-legendary event that the term Pyrrhic victory originates.

In 278 BC, the Greek cities in Sicily asked Pyrrhus to help drive out Carthage, which along with Rome was one of the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. While successful, his request for manpower and money from the Sicilians for a fleet to blockade Carthage’s final stronghold was met with resistance, forcing Pyrrhus to proclaim a military dictatorship of Sicily and install military garrisons in Sicilian cities. These actions were deeply unpopular and with Sicily growing increasingly hostile to Pyrrhus, he abandoned Sicily and returned to Italy to fight another inconclusive battle against the Romans. Pyrrhus soon ended his campaign in Italy and returned to Epirus.

In 274 BC he captured the Macedonian throne in a battle against Antigonus Gonatus II. But two years later while storming the city of Argos, Pyrrhus was killed in a confused battle at night in the narrow city streets. While fighting an Argive soldier, the soldier's mother, who was watching from a rooftop, threw a tile which knocked Pyrrhus from his horse and broke part of his spine, paralyzing him. His death was assured after a soldier beheaded his motionless body.

Athena Promachos ("Athena who fights in the front line") was a colossal bronze statue of Athena. Erected around 456 BC in Athens, the Athena Promachos likely memorialized the Persian Wars. The very first specific archaistic Athena Promachos coin image was depicted on coins that were issued by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. Ten years later, the Athena Promachos appeared on coins issued by Ptolemy in Alexandria. Pyrrhus' alliance with Ptolemy (I and II) and admiration of Alexander the Great (they were second cousins) undoubtedly inspired the design of this coin with Heracles on obverse (like Alexander's coins) and Athena Promachos on the reverse.
2 commentsNathan PMay 13, 2019
Lucania, Metapontion (Circa 540-510 BC).38 viewsAR Nomos

28 mm, 7.82 g

Obv: META.
Barley ear.
Rev: Incuse barley ear.

Noe Class VI; HN Italy 1479.

Metaponion's neighbor, Sybaris, given its preeminence in the region, was most likely the originator of the incuse fabric. It seems to have been a spontaneous invention and to have been evolved without any evolutionary development. Of interest is that these coins have seldom or never been found in hoards unearthed outside Italy. This carries the suggestion that the consideration of preventing the export of money and, consequently, of restricting its circulation to South Italy must have been prominent in the minds of those responsible for originating the form. These incuse pieces are also rarely found overstruck and are significantly more difficult to counterfeit.
4 commentsNathan PMay 08, 2019
Lucania, Sybaris (Circa 550-510 BC)34 viewsAR Stater

29 mm, 8.14 g

Obverse: VM in exergue; bull standing left, head reverted.

Reverse : Incuse bull standing right, head reverted.

HN Italy 1729; SNG ANS 828-844

An Achaean colony dating from about 720 BC, Sybaris rapidly grew to be the wealthiest city in the area. The luxury enjoyed by its population was proverbial, hence the modern words sybarite and sybaritic. The bull may symbolize the local river god Krathis. The archaic coinage of Sybaris was brought to an abrupt end in 510 BC when the city was destroyed by the rival state of Kroton. The waters of the Krathis were diverted to flow over the site of the sacked city, thus obliterating all trace of its former splendor.
2 commentsNathan PMar 20, 2019
Celtic Britain, Durotriges (Circa 58 BC-45 AD)17 viewsStater, Abstract (Cranborne Chase) type


Obverse: Devolved head of Apollo right

Reverse: Disjointed horse left; pellets above, [pellet below], pellet in lozenge above tail, [zigzag and pellet pattern between two parallel exergue lines].

Van Arsdell 1235-1; BMC 2525-54.

The Durotriges ("dwellers by the water" or, perhaps, "water-rat kings") were well known for their continental trade and hill forts. They were the only tribe who did not add inscriptions to their coins, perhaps indicative of decentralized rule among multiple hill-fort based tribes using a common currency, and the only tribe to strike a stater in silver.

The history of the Durotriges can be divided into two broad phases, an early phase, roughly 100-60 B.C. and a late phase from 60 B.C. until the Roman conquest. The early phase was a time of rapid development brought about by overseas trade, while the late phase was a time of retraction, isolation and economic impoverishment. The economic decline is dramatically portrayed by the progressive debasement of their coinage, particularly when you compare the magnificent white-gold Craborne Chase staters of ca. 50-40 B.C. with the crude cast bronze Hengistbury coins of ca. A.D. 10-43.

The Durotriges resisted Roman invasion in AD 43, and the historian Suetonius records some fights between the tribe and the second legion Augusta, then commanded by Vespasian. By 70 AD, the tribe was already Romanised and securely included in the Roman province of Britannia.
2 commentsNathan PMar 13, 2019
Kings of Macedon. Alexander III ‘The Great’, (Circa 332-323 BC)17 viewsAR Tetradrachm

26 mm, 17.21 g

Salamis, struck under Nikokreon.

Obverse: Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress.

Reverse: AΛEΞANΔPOY Zeus seated left on low throne, holding long scepter in his left hand and eagle standing right with closed wings in his right; to left, bow.

Price 3139.

Nikokreon succeeded Pnytagoras on the throne of Salamis (Cyprus) and is reported to have paid homage to Alexander after the conqueror’s return from Egypt to Tyre in 331. In the war between Antigonos and Ptolemy (315), Nikokreon supported the latter and was rewarded by being placed in control of all Cyprus. He was the last of the Teucridai to rule in Salamis (upon his death in 310 BC, the city came under the rule of Ptolemy’s brother, Menelaos).

The Teucridai were kings of Salamis who claimed descent from Teucer, the mythical founder of the city. The bow in left field on the reverse undoubtedly references Teucer's fame as a great archer, who loosed his shafts from behind the giant shield of his half-brother Ajax the Great during the Trojan War.
2 commentsNathan PFeb 25, 2019
Kings of Macedon. Antigonos I Monophthalmos (Circa 310-301 BC)31 viewsAR Drachm

18 mm, 4.22g

Struck in the name and types of Alexander III. Abydos(?)

Obverse: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin headdress

Reverse: Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, holding sceptre; head of Ammon right in left field, ivy-leaf beneath throne, AΛEΞANΔPOY to right.

Price 1551; SNG Copenhagen 970
Nathan PFeb 08, 2019
Bruttium, Kroton (Circa 530-500 BC)27 viewsAR Nomos

28 mm, 7.82 g

Obverse: Tripod, legs surmounted by wreaths and terminating in lion's feet, two serpents rising from the bowl, set on basis of three lines, the center dotted, koppa-P-O (KRO - short for Kroton) to left

Reverse: Incuse tripod as obverse, but wreaths and serpents in outline.

HN Italy 2075; SNG ANS 231; Bement 272.

The importance of the Delphic oracle to the founding of Kroton was celebrated on its coinage from the earliest days. Despite later myths ascribing the founding of Kroton to Herakles, the city's historical oikist is recorded as Myskellos of Rhypai who, on consulting the Delphic oracle about his lack of children was given the response that Apollo would grant children, but that first Myskellos should found the city of Kroton 'among fair fields'. After being given directions on how to locate the site, Myskellos travelled to southern Italy to explore the land that he had been assigned, but seeing the territory of the Sybarites and thinking it superior, he returned once more to the oracle to ask whether he would be allowed to change. The answer came back that he should accept the gifts that the god gave him. A further element of the story is that Myskellos was accompanied on his expedition by Archias of Corinth; the Delphic oracle gave the pair the choice between health and wealth. Archias elected wealth, and was assigned the site of Syracuse, while Myskellos chose health: the favourable climate of Kroton, the eminent skill of its physicians and the prowess of its athletes later earned its citizens this reputation for good health.
1 commentsNathan PJan 30, 2019
Lucania, Velia (Circa 440-400 BC)22 viewsAR Didrachm

20 mm, 7.68 g

Obverse: Head of Athena l., wearing crested Attic helmet decorated with griffin and laurel wreath; Φ to r.

Reverse: Lion attacking stag; [Y]EL-HT-EW-N

Williams 159; HNItaly 1270; SNG ANS 1261. VF

The type of lion and its prey goes back to the earliest Velian drachms brought by its original Phocaean settlers from Asia Minor; in various forms the type is common in the East Greek and Persian world and may have originally represented the triumph of light over darkness or of the king over his enemies.
2 commentsNathan PJan 13, 2019
Kings of Macedon. Alexander III 'The Great', (Circa 325-323 BC)21 viewsAR Tetradrachm

25 mm, 17.18 g

Babylon mint. struck under Stamenes or Archon.

Obverse: Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin headdress, paws tied beneath chin.

Reverse: [Α]ΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, Zeus seated left on high-backed throne, his feet resting on a low foot rest, holding long scepter in his left hand and, in his right, eagle standing right with closed wings, in left field, trident above M, monogram beneath throne.

Price 3635; Newell "Reattribution" 227
Nathan PDec 30, 2018
Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Alexandria. Ptolemy I Soter (Circa 305-282 BC)32 viewsAR Tetradrachm

26.5 mm, 13.25 g

Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemy I right

Reverse: ΠTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings closed; P / AΠP monogram.

Svoronos 255
2 commentsNathan PDec 11, 2018

Random files - Nathan P's Gallery
Kings of Macedon. Alexander III ‘The Great’ (Circa 325-315 BC)22 viewsAR Tetradrachm

26 mm, 16.77 g

Late lifetime or posthumous issue struck under Antipater or Polyperchon. Pella Mint. Circa 325-315 BC

Obv: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin headdress.

Rev: Zeus Aëtophoros seated left, thunderbolt in left field, ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ to right.

Price 232
Nathan P
Calabria. Tarentum. (Circa 332-302 BC)37 viewsAR Nomos (21 mm, 7.76 g)

Obverse: Warrior, preparing to cast spear held in right hand, holding two spears and shield in left, on horse rearing right; ΣA below

Reverse: Taras, holding kantharos in extended right hand, cradling trident in left arm, astride dolphin left; AP to left, TAPAΣ (Taras) to right; below, small dolphin left.

Vlasto 614-20; HN Italy 937.
2 commentsNathan P
Sicily, Kamarina. (Circa 410-405 BC)17 viewsAE Tetras

14 mm, 2.7 g

Obverse: Facing gorgoneion.

Reverse: KAMA. Owl standing right, holding lizard; in exergue three pellets.

HGC 2, 546.

Kamarina was usually at odds with Syracuse but gave it some aid during Athens' disastrous Sicilian Expedition (415-413 BC) in the Peloponnesian War. The city was destroyed in 405 BC by Carthage. There is a (likely) myth told by the ancient Greek geographer/historian/philosopher, Strabo, that just before the Carthaginians razed Kamarina, the Kamarinians were plagued by a mysterious disease. The marsh of Kamarina had protected the city from its hostile neighbors to the north. It was suspected that the marsh was the source of the strange illness and the idea of draining the marsh to end the epidemic became popular. The town oracle advised the leaders not to drain the marsh, suggesting the plague would pass with time. But the discontent was widespread and the leaders opted to drain the marsh against the oracle's advice. Once it was dry, there was nothing stopping the Carthaginian army from advancing. They marched across the newly drained marsh and razed the city, killing every last inhabitant." Despite Strabo's story, the truth appears to be that the inhabits of the town had largely fled for Syracuse before the army arrived.
Nathan P
Thessaly, Larissa (Circa 356-342 BC)17 viewsAR Drachm

18mm, 5.83g

Obverse: Head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly left, hair in ampyx, wearing necklace

Reverse: Horse standing right, preparing to lie down.

BCD Thessaly 1154-7; SNG Copenhagen 120.
1 commentsNathan P