The city of Tralles, or Tralleis, said to have been founded by Argives and Thracians (Tralli), stood upon a lofty plateau on one of the southern spurs of the Messogis range overlooking the plain of the lower Maeander (B. M. C., Lyd., p. cxxxiii). Its earliest coins (bronze, late third century B.C.), belong to the period when the city bore for a short time the name Seleuceia. Obv. Head of Zeus, rev. ΣΕΛΕΥΚΕΩΝ, Humped bull with magistrates’ names in nominative case in circular Maeander border. Other specimens have ΔΙΟΣ ΛΑΡΑΣΙΟΥ or ΔΙΟΣ ΛΑΡΑΣΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΔΙΟΣ ΕΥΜΕΝΟΥ on the reverse, instead of the Maeander border (Imhoof, Lyd. Stadtm., 169). Zeus at Tralles was called Larasios from a sanctuary at the neighbouring village of Larasa. Zeus'Eumenes’ or'The Kindly’ may have had a separate sanctuary.
On the defeat of Antiochus, 190 B.C., Tralles, with the rest of Lydia, was assigned to the kingdom of the Attalids, under whose gentle sway it enjoyed peace and prosperity, and was one of the chief mints of the Cistophori. The cistophori of Tralles, with their halves and quarters, range in date from B.C. 189 down to B.C. 48. They fall into four classes : (i) with no symbol or magistrate’s monogram between the serpents, and with a varying symbol in the field. (ii) With magistrates’ monograms or symbols between serpents, and varying symbol in field. (iii) Do., but monograms resolved into, usually, four separate letters. These three classes belong to the Pergamene period before B.C. 133. Under Roman rule, from B.C. 133, the cistophori of Tralles, like those of Ephesus, bear, in addition to a magistrate’s name and a symbol, a date reckoned from the era of the Province of Asia, B.C. 134-133, but only down to B.C. 126, when the series comes abruptly to an end; and it was not until after the death of Mithradates that Tralles was again in a position to strike cistophori. These later cistophori (iv) are known as Proconsular, and bear the names of the Roman governors in Latin characters across the reverse, viz. T. Ampius T. f., Procos. (B.C. 58-57); C. Fabius M. f., Procos. (B.C. 57-56); C. Septumius T. f., Procos. (B.C. 56-55); C. Claudius Ap. f. Pulcher, Procos. (B.C. 55-53); and C. Fannius, Pont. Praetor (B.C. 49-48). They bear in addition the name of the municipal magistrate in Greek characters, usually at full length in the nominative case, sometimes with titles ιερευς or στεφανηφορος (B. M. C., Lyd., Pl. XLV).
During the Mithradatic war and the brief rebellion in Asia Minor against the Roman domination, 88-84 B.C., Tralles, like Ephesus, Pergamum, Miletus, Smyrna, and Erythrae, in Asia, and Athens, in Europe, seems to have issued, probably for war expenses, and perhaps also for the sake of emphasizing its independence of Roman suzerainty, a few gold staters, of which the only specimen at present known is in the Waddington Collection, Paris. Obv. Head of Zeus; Rev. ΤΡΑΛΛΙΑΝΩ[Ν], Humped bull on Maeander symbol (Invent. Wadd., Pl. XIV. 23).
There are also autonomous bronze coins, second or first century B.C., inscr. ΤΡΑΛΛΙΑΝΩΝ, and Magistrate’s name in nominative case (B. M. C., Lyd., Pl. XXXIV).
In 26 B.C., Tralles was ruined by a great earthquake. Augustus helped to restore it, and, in his honor, it adopted the name of Caesareia; and from this time down to the reign of Nero the coins of Tralles are inscribed simply ΚΑΙΣΑΡΕΩΝ, with or without the head of the Emperor. From Nero to Domitian the coins sometimes read ΚΑΙCΑΡΕΩΝ ΤΡΑΛΛΙΑΝΩΝ, and, after Domitian down to the time of Gallienus, ΤΡΑΛΛΙΑΝΩΝ only, with the occasional addition, from Caracalla's time, of ΝΕΩΚΟΡΩΝ or ΝΕΩΚΟΡΩΝ ΤΩΝ CΕΒΑC[ΤΩΝ], or of ΤΡΑΛΛΙΑΝΩΝ ΠΡΩΤΩΝ ΕΛΛΑΔΟC, this last probably a self-assumed title; cf. Πρωτων'Ασιας at Ephesus and Smyrna.
On the quasi-autonomous and Imperial coins the magistrate’s name is in the nominative case down to Nero’s time. From Domitian onwards the name is usually preceded by επι γρ[αμματεως], and in the time of Gordian and Philip by επι γρ[αμματεων] των περι τον δεινα, implying that the coinage was sometimes issued in the name of the whole board of magistrates, with special mention of the President’s name. The Town Council of Tralles is sometimes distinguished by the title ΚΛΑΥΔΙΑ ΒΟΥΛΗ, probably because the Emperor Claudius had endowed it with some special privileges.
The chief types of the coins of Tralles refer to the cultus of Zeus, Apollo, Helios, and Selene. The large coins of Ant. Pius exhibit most interesting reverses, e.g. ΔΙΟC ΓΟΝΑΙ'Jovis incunabula’, the infant Zeus nursed by Adrasteia, with three Kuretes grouped around; Dionysos and Apollo in car drawn by panther and goat ridden by Seilenos; Selene in biga of bulls; the Nuptials of Io, ЄΙΟΥC ΓΑΜΟΙ, showing Io as a veiled bride conducted by Hermes as νυμφαγωγος, or the meeting of Zeus with Io in her father’s cow-shed (βουστασις) (Aesch., Prom. Vinct. 652); ΤΡΑΛΛЄΥC ΚΤΙCCΤΗC (sic) The founder as a standing warrior (Imhoof, Gr. M., p. 203). These types refer to the Argive origin of the city. Other less characteristic types are—Dionysos supported by satyr; Helios in quadriga; Rape of Kore; Hekate triformis; Artemis Ephesia before seated Zeus. Also busts of ΖЄΥC ΛΑΡΑCΙΟC; ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ ΗΛΙΟC; ΗΛΙΟC CЄΒΑCΤΟC; ΙЄΡΟC ΔΗΜΟC; ΙЄΡΑ CΥΝΚΛΗΤΟC; and figures of Apollo ΠΥΘΙΟC and ΛΥΔΙΟC.
Games—ΠΥΘΙΑ, ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ, and ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ ΑΥΓΟΥCΤЄΙΑΠΥΘΙΑ.