Greek city of Philadelphia 2-1st Century BC Dioscuri Cult Ancient Coin i34346

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller highrating_lowprice (20,797) 100%, Location: Rego Park, New York, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 321290480599 Item: i34346 Authentic Ancient Coin of: Greek city of Philadelpheia in Lydia Bronze 16mm (4.25 grams) Struck 2nd-1st Century B.C. Reference: Sear 4722; B.M.C.22.189,19-22 Jugate heads of the Dioscuri right, laureate. Caps of the Dioscuri, surmounted by stars; monogram between, ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦEΩΝ beneath. Founded by Attalos II Philadelphos, King of Pergamon 159-138 B.C., Philadelpheia was situated south-east of Sardeis and commanded the important valley of Kogamis. You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. In Greek and Roman mythology , Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioskouri. Their mother was Leda , but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus , the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus , who seduced or raped Leda in the guise of a swan (Greek myths concerning divine sex are often vague on the issue of female consent). Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra . In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini or Castores. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini . The pair was regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire , and were also associated with horsemanship. They are sometimes called the Tyndaridae or Tyndarids, later seen as a reference to their father and stepfather Tyndareus . Birth and functions Castor depicted on a calyx krater of ca. 460–450 BC, holding a horse's reins and spears and wearing a pilos -style helmet The best-known story of the twins' birth is that Zeus disguised himself as a swan and seduced Leda . Thus Leda's children are frequently said to have hatched from two eggs that she then produced. The Dioscuri can be recognized in vase-paintings by the skull-cap they wear, the pilos , which was explained in antiquity as the remnants of the egg. Whether the children are thus mortal and which half-immortal is not consistent among accounts, nor is whether the twins hatched together from one egg. In some accounts, only Polydeuces was fathered by Zeus, while Leda and her husband Tyndareus conceived Castor. This explains why they were granted an alternate immortality. It is a common belief that one would live among the gods, while the other was among the dead. The figure of Tyndareus may have entered their tradition to explain their archaic name Tindaridai in Spartan inscriptions or in literature Tyndaridai, in turn occasioning incompatible accounts of their parentage. Castor and Polydeuces are sometimes both mortal, sometimes both divine. One consistent point is that if only one of them is immortal, it is Polydeuces. In Homer's Iliad , Helen looks down from the walls of Troy and wonders why she does not see her brothers among the Achaeans. The narrator remarks that they are both already dead and buried back in their homeland of Lacedaemon, thus suggesting that at least in some early traditions, both were mortal. Their death and shared immortality offered by Zeus was material of the lost Cypria in the Epic cycle . The Dioscuri were regarded as helpers of mankind and held to be patrons of travellers and of sailors in particular, who invoked them to seek favourable winds. Their role as horsemen and boxers also led to them being regarded as the patrons of athletes and athletic contests. They characteristically intervened at the moment of crisis, aiding those who honoured or trusted them. Classical sources Ancient Greek authors tell a number of versions of the story of Castor and Pollux. Homer portrays them initially as ordinary mortals, treating them as dead in the Iliad , but in the Odyssey they are treated as alive even though "the corn-bearing earth holds them." The author describes them as "having honour equal to gods," living on alternate days due to the intervention of Zeus. In both the Odyssey and in Hesiod , they are described as the sons of Tyndareus and Leda. In Pindar , Pollux is the son of Zeus while Castor is the son of the mortal Tyndareus. The theme of ambiguous parentage is not unique to Castor and Pollux; similar characterisations appear in the stories of Hercules and Theseus . The Dioscuri are also invoked in Alcaeus ' Fragment 34a, though whether this poem antedates the Homeric Hymn to the twins is unknown. They appear together in two plays by Euripides , Helen and Elektra . Cicero tells the story of how Simonides of Ceos was rebuked by Scopas, his patron, for devoting too much space to praising Castor and Pollux in an ode celebrating Scopas' victory in a chariot race . Shortly afterwards, Simonides was told that two young men wished to speak to him; after he had left the banqueting room, the roof fell in and crushed Scopas and his guests. Adventures Both Dioscuri were excellent horsemen and hunters who participated in the hunting of the Calydonian Boar and later joined the crew of Jason 's ship, the Argo. As Argonauts During the expedition of the Argonauts , Pollux took part in a boxing contest and defeated King Amycus of the Bebryces , a savage mythical people in Bithynia . After returning from the voyage, the Dioskouroi helped Jason and Peleus to destroy the city of Iolcus in revenge for the treachery of its king Pelias . Rescuing Helen When their sister Helen was abducted by the legendary Greek king Theseus , the brothers invaded his kingdom of Attica to rescue her. In revenge they abducted Theseus' mother Aethra and took her to Sparta while setting his rival, Menestheus , on the throne of Athens. Aethra was then forced to become Helen's slave. She was ultimately returned to her home by her grandsons Demophon and Acamas after the fall of Troy. The Leucippides, Lynceus and death Roman sarcophagus (160 AD) depicting the rape of the Leucippides, Phoebe and Hilaeira (Vatican Museum) Castor and Pollux aspired to marry the Leucippides ("daughters of the white horse"), Phoebe and Hilaeira , whose father was a brother of Leucippus ("white horse"). Both women were already betrothed to cousins of the Dioscuri, the twin brothers Lynceus and Idas of Thebes , sons of Tyndareus 's brother Aphareus . Castor and Pollux carried the women off to Sparta wherein each had a son; Phoebe bore Mnesileos to Pollux and Hilaeira bore Anogon to Castor. This began a family feud among the four sons of the brothers Tyndareus and Aphareus. Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus by Rubens , ca. 1618 The cousins carried out a cattle-raid in Arcadia together but fell out over the division of the meat. After stealing the herd, but before dividing it, the cousins butchered, quartered, and roasted a calf. As they prepared to eat, the gigantic Idas suggested that the herd be divided into two parts instead of four, based on which pair of cousins finished their meal first. Castor and Pollux agreed. Idas quickly ate both his portion and Lynceus' portion. Castor and Pollux had been duped. They allowed their cousins to take the entire herd, but vowed to someday take revenge. Some time later, Idas and Lynceus visited their uncle's home in Sparta. The uncle was on his way to Crete, so he left Helen in charge of entertaining the guests, which included both sets of cousins, as well as Paris, prince of Troy. Castor and Pollux recognized the opportunity to exact revenge, made an excuse that justified leaving the feast, and set out to steal their cousins' herd. Idas and Lynceus eventually set out for home, leaving Helen alone with Paris, who then kidnapped her. Thus, the four cousins helped set into motion the events that gave rise to the Trojan War. Meanwhile, Castor and Pollux had reached their destination. Castor climbed a tree to keep a watch as Pollux began to free the cattle. Far away, Idas and Lynceus approached. Lynceus, named for the lynx because he could see in the dark, spied Castor hiding in the tree. Idas and Lynceus immediately understood what was happening. Idas, furious, ambushed Castor, fatally wounding him with a blow from his spear—but not before Castor called out to warn Pollux. In the ensuing brawl, Pollux killed Lynceus. As Idas was about to kill Pollux, Zeus, who had been watching from Mt. Olympus, hurled a thunderbolt, killing Idas and saving his son. Returning to the dying Castor, Pollux was given the choice by Zeus of spending all his time on Mount Olympus or giving half his immortality to his mortal brother. He opted for the latter, enabling the twins to alternate between Olympus and Hades . The brothers became the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini ("the twins"): Castor (Alpha Geminorum) and Pollux (Beta Geminorum). As emblems of immortality and death, the Dioskouri, like Heracles , were said to have been initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries . Iconography Coin of Antiochus VII with Dioskouri Castor and Pollux are consistently associated with horses in art and literature. They are widely depicted as helmeted horsemen carrying spears. The Pseudo-Oppian manuscript depicts the brothers hunting, both on horseback and on foot. On votive reliefs they are depicted with a variety of symbols representing the concept of twinhood, such as the dokana (δόκανα – two upright pieces of wood connected by two cross-beams), a pair of amphorae , a pair of shields, or a pair of snakes. They are also often shown wearing felt caps, above which stars may be depicted. They are depicted on metopes from Delphi showing them on the voyage of the Argo (Ἀργώ) and rustling cattle with Idas. Greek vases regularly show them in the rape of the Leucippides , as Argonauts , in religious ceremonies and at the delivery to Leda of the egg containing Helen. They can be recognized in some vase-paintings by the skull-cap they wear, the pilos (πῖλος), which was already explained in antiquity as the remnants of the egg from which they hatched. Shrines and rites Fragmentary remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in Rome . The Dioskouri were worshipped by the Greeks and Romans alike; there were temples to the twins in Athens , such as the Anakeion , and Rome, as well as shrines in many other locations in the ancient world. The Dioskouri and their sisters having grown up in Sparta , in the royal household of Tyndareus , they were particularly important to the Spartans , who associated them with the Spartan tradition of dual kingship and appreciated that two princes of their ruling house were elevated to immortality. Their connection there was very ancient: a uniquely Spartan aniconic representation of the Tyndaridai was as two upright posts joined by a cross-bar; as the protectors of the Spartan army the "beam figure" or dókana was carried in front of the army on campaign. Sparta's unique dual kingship reflects the divine influence of the Dioscuri. When the Spartan army marched to war, one king remained behind at home, accompanied by one of the Twins. "In this way the real political order is secured in the realm of the Gods". Their herōon or grave-shrine was on a mountain top at Therapne across the Eurotas from Sparta, at a shrine known as the Meneláeion where Helen, Menelaus, Castor and Pollux were all said to be buried. Castor himself was also venerated in the region of Kastoria in northern Greece. Relief (2nd century BC) depicting the Dioskouri galloping above a winged Victory, with a banquet (theoxenia) laid out for them below They were commemorated both as gods on Olympus worthy of holocaust , and as deceased mortals in Hades, whose spirits had to be propitiated by libations . Lesser shrines to Castor, Pollux and Helen were also established at a number of other locations around Sparta. The pear tree was regarded by the Spartans as sacred to Castor and Pollux, and images of the twins were hung in its branches. The standard Spartan oath was to swear "by the two gods" (in Doric Greek : νά τώ θεὼ, ná tō theō, in the Dual number ). The rite of theoxenia (θεοξενία), "god-entertaining", was particularly associated with Castor and Pollux. The two deities were summoned to a table laid with food, whether at individuals' own homes or in the public hearths or equivalent places controlled by states. They are sometimes shown arriving at a gallop over a food-laden table. Although such "table offerings" were a fairly common feature of Greek cult rituals, they were normally made in the shrines of the gods or heroes concerned. The domestic setting of the theoxenia was a characteristic distinction accorded to the Dioskouri. The image of the twins attending a goddess are widespread and link the Dioskouri with the male societies of initiates under the aegis of the Anatolian Great Goddess and the great gods of Samothrace . The Dioscuri are the inventors of war dances, which characterize the Kuretes . Indo-European analogues The heavenly twins appear also in the Indo-European tradition as the effulgent Vedic brother-horsemen the Ashvins , the Lithuanian Ašvieniai , and the Germanic Alcis . Italy and the Roman Empire From the fifth century BC onwards, the brothers were revered by the Romans, probably as the result of cultural transmission via the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia in southern Italy. An archaic Latin inscription of the sixth or fifth century BC found at Lavinium , which reads Castorei Podlouqueique qurois ("To Castor and Pollux, the Dioskouri"), suggests a direct transmission from the Greeks; the word "qurois" is virtually a transliteration of the Greek word κούροις, while "Podlouquei" is effectively a transliteration of the Greek Πολυδεύκης. The construction of the Temple of Castor and Pollux , located in the Roman Forum at the heart of their city, was undertaken to fulfil a vow (votum) made by Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis in gratitude at the Roman victory in the Battle of Lake Regillus in 495 BC. The establishing of the temple may also be a form of evocatio , the transferral of a tutelary deity from a defeated town to Rome, where cult would be offered in exchange for favor . According to legend, the twins fought at the head of the Roman army and subsequently brought news of the victory back to Rome. The Locrians of Magna Graecia had attributed their success at a legendary battle on the banks of the Sagras to the intervention of the Twins. The Roman legend may in fact have had its origins in the Locrian account and possibly supplies further evidence of cultural transmission between Rome and Magna Graecia. The Romans believed that the twins aided them on the battlefield. Their role as horsemen made them particularly attractive to the Roman equites and cavalry. Each year on July 15, the feast day of the Dioskouri, the 1,800 equestrians would parade through the streets of Rome in an elaborate spectacle in which each rider wore full military attire and whatever decorations he had earned. In the comedies of Plautus , women swear by Castor, and men by Pollux. Etruscan Kastur and Pultuce Etruscan inscription to the Dioskouri as "sons of Zeus" on the bottom of an Attic red-figure kylix (ca. 515–510 BC) The Etruscans venerated the twins as Kastur and Pultuce, collectively the tinas cliniiaras, "sons of Tinia ," the Etruscan counterpart of Zeus. They were often portrayed on Etruscan mirrors. As was the fashion in Greece, they could also be portrayed symbolically; one example can be seen in the Tomba del Letto Funebre at Tarquinia where a lectisternium for them is painted. They are symbolised in the painting by the presence of two pointed caps crowned with laurel, referring to the Phrygian caps which they were often depicted as wearing. Celtic Dioscuri The 1st-century BC historian Diodorus Siculus records counterparts of the Dioskouri among the Atlantic Celts : The Celts who dwell along the ocean venerate gods who resemble our Dioskouri above any of the gods, since they have a tradition handed down from ancient times that these gods came among them from the ocean. Moreover, there are on the ocean shore, they say, many names which are derived from the Argonauts and the Dioscuri. Diodorus cites Timaeus (3rd century BC) as his source, so the passage is usually regarded as a description of an authentic Celtic tradition rather than an adoption from the Romans as a result of the conquest . The divine twins among the Celts would be analogous in the Indo-European tradition to the Vedic Aśvins, or to the Germanic twins mentioned by Tacitus . Their Celtic names are unknown; the conjecture Divanno and Dinomogetimarus, based on an inscription from Hérault naming a pair of young warrior gods (Martes), has not found wide support. The 19th-century Celticist Marie Henri d'Arbois de Jubainville equated Cernunnos with Castor and Smertullos with Pollux, and conjectured that Cúchulainn and Conall Cernach were later equivalents: "on the whole, the theory is more ingenious than convincing." The Pillar of the Boatmen depicts the twins among Celtic figures such as Cernunnos and Esus, as well as Roman deities such as Jupiter and Vulcan. The Dioscuri are widely portrayed in Gallo-Roman art , and references to them are more numerous in Gaul than in any other part of the Roman Empire. Christianization Zeus, Hera , and Amor observe the birth of Helen and the Dioscuri (Dutch majolica , 1550) Even after the rise of Christianity , the Dioskouroi continued to be venerated. The fifth-century pope Gelasius I attested to the presence of a "cult of Castores" that the people did not want to abandon. In some instances, the twins appear to have simply been absorbed into a Christian framework; thus fourth-century AD pottery and carvings from North Africa depict the Dioskouroi alongside the Twelve Apostles , the Raising of Lazarus or with Saint Peter . The church took an ambivalent attitude, rejecting the immortality of the Dioskouroi but seeking to replace them with equivalent Christian pairs. Saints Peter and Paul were thus adopted in place of the Dioskouroi as patrons of travelers, and Saints Cosmas and Damian took over their function as healers. Some have also associated Saints Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Melapsippus with the Dioskouroi. In culture The twins are mentioned in the Bible as being the logo for a shipping company that carried Paul to Rome: Acts 28:11 (KJV)—"And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux." Castor et Pollux was the title of a 1737 opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau (libretto by Bernard), modified in 1754. The latter version became quite popular. The Italian composer Francesco Bianchi wrote another version called Castore e Polluce , first performed in 1779, and there was yet another opera by the same title by Georg Joseph Vogler in 1787. It is also the name of a 1952 composition by the American composer Harry Partch . In 1842 Lord Macaulay wrote a series of poems about Ancient Rome (the Lays of Ancient Rome ). The second poem is about the Battle of Lake Regillus and describes the intervention of Castor and Pollux. They are referred to as the "Great Twin Brethren" in the poem. Castor and Pollux (elephants) were killed and eaten during the 1870 Prussian siege of Paris. There are at least four sets of twin summits named after Castor and Pollux. In Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming , USA, the peaks are found close to the headwaters of the Lamar River in the Absaroka Range . Another pair is located in the Pennine Alps at the Swiss-Italian border. A third is in Glacier National Park of western Canada , within the Selkirk mountains . The fourth is in Mount Aspiring National Park of New Zealand , named by the explorer Charlie Douglas. Castor and Pollux are characters that appear in a few of Robert A. Heinlein's books. Castor Troy and Pollux Troy are villains (brothers) that appear in the 1997 film Face/Off . Castor and Pollux are twin cameramen in the final book of Suzanne Collins ' The Hunger Games trilogy . Like in the myth, Castor was killed and Pollux survived. Also, in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians fantasy series of novels series, Dionysus' twin sons are named Castor and Pollux. In the fourth book of the series Castor is killed in the battle, thus following the story of one passing and the other living. In Persona 3 Pollux (Polydeuces) and Castor appear as the Personae of Akihiko Sanada and Shinjiro Aragaki respectively, who are good friends. Shinjiro is killed, following the myth. In Homestuck , a character named Sollux Captor has a name that bears resemblance to Castor and Pollux. In the story, he is represented by the Gemini (♊) symbol. In God of War: Ascension , Castor and Pollux appear as conjoined twins , the tall, strong Castor having the small, withered Pollux attached to his torso. The protagonist, Kratos, must defeat them in a boss battle . In The Eye of Judgment: Legends Castor and Pollux are Antagonists that merge to form Dioskuri. They are both Biolith's and both deal magic damage. Alaşehir (Greek: Philadélphia (Φιλαδέλφεια)) is a town and district of Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey . It is situated in the valley of the Kuzuçay (Cogamus in antiquity), at the foot of the Bozdağ (Mount Tmolus in antiquity). The city is connected to İzmir by a 105 km (65 mi) railway. It stands on elevated ground commanding the extensive and fertile plain of the Gediz River , (Hermus in antiquity) presents at a distance an imposing appearance. It has several mosques and Christian churches . There are small industries and a fair trade. From one of the mineral springs comes a heavily charged water popular around Turkey. Within Turkey, the city's name is synonymous with the dried Sultana raisins , although cultivation for the fresh fruit market, less labour-intensive than the dried fruit, gained prominence in the last decades. Named Philadelphia in antiquity, Alaşehir was a highly important center in the early-Christian and Byzantine periods, and remained a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church . // Ancient Philadelphia Alaşehir began as perhaps one of the first ancient cities with the name Philadelphia . It was established in 189 BC by King Eumenes II of Pergamon (197-160 BC). Eumenes II named the city for the love of his brother, who would be his successor, Attalus II (159-138 BC), whose loyalty earned him the nickname, "Philadelphos", literally meaning "one who loves his brother". The city is perhaps best-known as the site of one of the seven churches of Asia in the Book of Revelation . Lacking an heir, Attalus III Philometer , the last of the Attalid kings of Pergamum , bequeathed his kingdom, including Philadelphia, to his Roman allies when he died in 133 BC. Rome established the province of Asia in 129 BC by combining Ionia and the former Kingdom of Pergamum . Roman Philadelphia Philadelphia was in the administrative district of Sardis (Pliny NH 5.111). In AD 17, the city suffered badly in an earthquake, and the emperor Tiberius relieved it of having to pay taxes (Tacitus Annales 2.47, cf. Strabo 12.8.18, 13.4.10, John Lydus de mensibus 4.115). in response, the city granted honors to Tiberius. Evidence from coinage reveals that Caligula helped the city; under Vespasian, Philadelphia received his cognomen, Flavia. Under Caracalla, Philadelphia housed an imperial cult; its coins bore the word Neokoron (literally, "temple-sweeper"--caretaker of the temple). A small theater located at the northern edge of Toptepe Hill is all that remains of Roman Philadelphia. Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation Although several ancient cities bore the name of Philadelphia, this is definitely the one listed among the seven churches by John in the Book of Revelation . Philadelphia is the sixth church of the seven.( 1:11Revelation). A letter specifically addressed to the Philadelphian church is recorded in (Revelation 3:7-13). According to this letter, the Philadelphian Christians were suffering persecution at the hands of the local Jews, whom Revelation calls "the synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 3:9). The city's history of earthquakes may lie behind the reference to making her church a temple pillar (Revelation 3:12). Permanency would have been important to the city's residents. Byzantine Philadelphia Philadelphia was a prosperous Byzantine city, called the "little Athens " in the 6th c AD because of its festivals and temples. Presumably this indicates that the city wasn't entirely converted to Christianity . Ammia, the Montanist prophetess, was from Philadelphia, however. In about the year 600 the domed Basilica of St. John was built, remains of which are the main archaeological attraction in the modern city. The Byzantine walls that once surrounded the city have all but crumbled away. A few remnants are still visible at the northeast edge of town, near the bus stand. The city was taken by the Seljuk Turks in 1074 and 1093-94. In 1098, during the First Crusade , it was recovered by Byzantine Emperor Alexios I . In the 11th to 15th centuries AD, it was the seat of the doux (governor) and stratopedarches (military commander) of the Thrakesion theme. It was the center of several revolts against ruling Byzantine emperors- in 1182, led by John Komnenos Vatatzes , and 1188-1205 or 1206, led by Theodore Mangaphas , a local Philadelphian, against Isaac II Angelos . In the 14th century, Philadelphia was made the metropolis of Lydia by the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, a status it still holds. It was granted this honor because the city did not capitulate to the Ottomans. The city was prosperous especially in the 13th and 14th centuries; there was a Genoese trading colony and the city was an important producer of leather goods and red-dyed silk (whence, perhaps, its Turkish name, which probably means "red city").[5] By the 14th century, the city was surrounded by Turkish emirates but maintained nominal allegiance to the Byzantine emperor. The town remained prosperous through trade and its strategic location. Philadelphia was an independent, neutral city under the influence of the Latin Knights of Rhodes , when taken in 1390 by Sultan Bayezid I and an auxiliary Christian force under the Byzantine emperor Manuel II after a prolonged resistance, by which time all the other cities of Asia Minor had surrendered to the Ottomans. Manuel had been forced by Bayezid to participate in subjugating Philadelphia to Turkish rule, a bitter irony given its long resistance. Twelve years later it was captured by Timur , who built a wall with the corpses of his prisoners. A fragment of the ghastly structure is in the library of Lincoln Cathedral . Philadelphia was the last Byzantine stronghold in inner Asia Minor. Its Greek inhabitants fled the town during World War I and created Nea Filadelfeia in Greece. Turkish history Greek occupation in Alaşehir (1920-1922) The English traveler r Richard Chandler , visiting in the late 18th century, mentions that the town is of considerable size, with a Greek Orthodox population of about 300 families, none of whom apparently spoke Greek. He says further that the city is on an important road to Smyrna and was frequented by merchants, especially Armenians. The history of Ancient Greek coinage can be divided (along with most other Greek art forms) into four periods, the Archaic , the Classical , the Hellenistic and the Roman . The Archaic period extends from the introduction of coinage to the Greek world during the 7th century BC until the Persian Wars in about 480 BC. The Classical period then began, and lasted until the conquests of Alexander the Great in about 330 BC, which began the Hellenistic period, extending until the Roman absorption of the Greek world in the 1st century BC. The Greek cities continued to produce their own coins for several more centuries under Roman rule. The coins produced during this period are called Roman provincial coins or Greek Imperial Coins. Ancient Greek coins of all four periods span over a period of more than ten centuries. Weight standards and denominations Above: Six rod-shaped obeloi (oboloi) displayed at the Numismatic Museum of Athens , discovered at Heraion of Argos . Below: grasp[1] of six oboloi forming one drachma Electrum coin from Ephesus , 620-600 BC, known as Phanes' coin . Obverse: Stag grazing, ΦΑΝΕΩΣ (retrograde). Reverse: Two incuse punches. The basic standards of the Ancient Greek monetary system were the Attic standard, based on the Athenian drachma of 4.3 grams of silver and the Corinthian standard based on the stater of 8.6 grams of silver, that was subdivided into three silver drachmas of 2.9 grams. The word drachm (a) means "a handful", literally "a grasp". Drachmae were divided into six obols (from the Greek word for a spit ), and six spits made a "handful". This suggests that before coinage came to be used in Greece, spits in prehistoric times were used as measures of daily transaction. In archaic/pre-numismatic times iron was valued for making durable tools and weapons, and its casting in spit form may have actually represented a form of transportable bullion , which eventually became bulky and inconvenient after the adoption of precious metals. Because of this very aspect, Spartan legislation famously forbade issuance of Spartan coin, and enforced the continued use of iron spits so as to discourage avarice and the hoarding of wealth. In addition to its original meaning (which also gave the euphemistic diminutive "obelisk", "little spit"), the word obol (ὀβολός, obolós, or ὀβελός, obelós) was retained as a Greek word for coins of small value, still used as such in Modern Greek slang (όβολα, óvola, "monies"). The obol was further subdivided into tetartemorioi (singular tetartemorion) which represented 1/4 of an obol, or 1/24 of a drachm. This coin (which was known to have been struck in Athens , Colophon , and several other cities) is mentioned by Aristotle as the smallest silver coin.:237 Various multiples of this denomination were also struck, including the trihemitetartemorion (literally three half-tetartemorioi) valued at 3/8 of an obol.: Denominations of silver drachma Image Denomination Value Weight Dekadrachm 10 drachmas 43 grams Tetradrachm 4 drachmas 17.2 grams Didrachm 2 drachmas 8.6 grams Drachma 6 obols 4.3 grams Tetrobol 4 obols 2.85 grams Triobol (hemidrachm) 3 obols 2.15 grams Diobol 2 obols 1.43 grams Obol 4 tetartemorions 0.72 grams Tritartemorion 3 tetartemorions 0.54 grams Hemiobol 2 tetartemorions 0.36 grams Trihemitartemorion 3/2 tetartemorions 0.27 grams Tetartemorion 0.18 grams Hemitartemorion ½ tetartemorion 0.09 grams Archaic period Archaic coinage Uninscribed electrum coin from Lydia , 6th century BCE. Obverse: lion head and sunburst Reverse: plain square imprints, probably used to standardise weight Electrum coin from Ephesus , 620-600 BC. Obverse: Forepart of stag. Reverse: Square incuse punch. The first coins were issued in either Lydia or Ionia in Asia Minor at some time before 600 BC, either by the non-Greek Lydians for their own use or perhaps because Greek mercenaries wanted to be paid in precious metal at the conclusion of their time of service, and wanted to have their payments marked in a way that would authenticate them. These coins were made of electrum , an alloy of gold and silver that was highly prized and abundant in that area. By the middle of the 6th century BC, technology had advanced, making the production of pure gold and silver coins simpler. Accordingly, King Croesus introduced a bi-metallic standard that allowed for coins of pure gold and pure silver to be struck and traded in the marketplace. Coins of Aegina Silver stater of Aegina, 550-530 BC. Obv. Sea turtle with large pellets down center. Rev. incuse square with eight sections. After the end of the Peloponnesian War , 404 BC, Sea turtle was replaced by the land tortoise . Silver drachma of Aegina, 404-340 BC. Obverse: Land tortoise . Reverse: inscription AΙΓ[INAΤΟΝ] ([of the] Aeg[inetans]) "Aegina" and dolphin. The Greek world was divided into more than two thousand self-governing city-states (in Greek , poleis), and more than half of them issued their own coins. Some coins circulated widely beyond their polis, indicating that they were being used in inter-city trade; the first example appears to have been the silver stater or didrachm of Aegina that regularly turns up in hoards in Egypt and the Levant , places which were deficient in silver supply. As such coins circulated more widely, other cities began to mint coins to this "Aeginetan" weight standard of (6.1 grams to the drachm), other cities included their own symbols on the coins. This is not unlike present day Euro coins, which are recognisably from a particular country, but usable all over the Euro zone . Athenian coins, however, were struck on the "Attic" standard, with a drachm equaling 4.3 grams of silver. Over time, Athens' plentiful supply of silver from the mines at Laurion and its increasing dominance in trade made this the pre-eminent standard. These coins, known as "owls" because of their central design feature, were also minted to an extremely tight standard of purity and weight. This contributed to their success as the premier trade coin of their era. Tetradrachms on this weight standard continued to be a widely used coin (often the most widely used) through the classical period. By the time of Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors , this large denomination was being regularly used to make large payments, or was often saved for hoarding. Classical period A Syracusan tetradrachm (c. 415–405 BC) Obverse: head of the nymph Arethusa , surrounded by four swimming dolphins and a rudder Reverse: a racing quadriga , its charioteer crowned by the goddess Victory in flight. Tetradrachm of Athens, (5th century BC) Obverse: a portrait of Athena , patron goddess of the city, in helmet Reverse: the owl of Athens, with an olive sprig and the inscription "ΑΘΕ", short for ΑΘΕΝΑΙΟΝ, "of the Athenians " The Classical period saw Greek coinage reach a high level of technical and aesthetic quality. Larger cities now produced a range of fine silver and gold coins, most bearing a portrait of their patron god or goddess or a legendary hero on one side, and a symbol of the city on the other. Some coins employed a visual pun: some coins from Rhodes featured a rose, since the Greek word for rose is rhodon. The use of inscriptions on coins also began, usually the name of the issuing city. The wealthy cities of Sicily produced some especially fine coins. The large silver decadrachm (10-drachm) coin from Syracuse is regarded by many collectors as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, perhaps ever. Syracusan issues were rather standard in their imprints, one side bearing the head of the nymph Arethusa and the other usually a victorious quadriga . The tyrants of Syracuse were fabulously rich, and part of their public relations policy was to fund quadrigas for the Olympic chariot race , a very expensive undertaking. As they were often able to finance more than one quadriga at a time, they were frequent victors in this highly prestigious event. Syracuse was one of the epicenters of numismatic art during the classical period. Led by the engravers Kimon and Euainetos, Syracuse produced some of the finest coin designs of antiquity. Hellenistic period Gold 20-stater of Eucratides I , the largest gold coin ever minted in Antiquity. Drachma of Alexandria , 222-235 AD. Obverse: Laureate head of Alexander Severus , KAI(ΣΑΡ) MAP(ΚΟΣ) AYP(ΗΛΙΟΣ) ΣЄY(ΑΣΤΟΣ) AΛЄΞANΔPOΣ ЄYΣЄ(ΒΗΣ). Reverse: Bust of Asclepius . The Hellenistic period was characterized by the spread of Greek culture across a large part of the known world. Greek-speaking kingdoms were established in Egypt and Syria , and for a time also in Iran and as far east as what is now Afghanistan and northwestern India . Greek traders spread Greek coins across this vast area, and the new kingdoms soon began to produce their own coins. Because these kingdoms were much larger and wealthier than the Greek city states of the classical period, their coins tended to be more mass-produced, as well as larger, and more frequently in gold. They often lacked the aesthetic delicacy of coins of the earlier period. Still, some of the Greco-Bactrian coins, and those of their successors in India, the Indo-Greeks , are considered the finest examples of Greek numismatic art with "a nice blend of realism and idealization", including the largest coins to be minted in the Hellenistic world: the largest gold coin was minted by Eucratides (reigned 171–145 BC), the largest silver coin by the Indo-Greek king Amyntas Nikator (reigned c. 95–90 BC). The portraits "show a degree of individuality never matched by the often bland depictions of their royal contemporaries further West" (Roger Ling, "Greece and the Hellenistic World"). The most striking new feature of Hellenistic coins was the use of portraits of living people, namely of the kings themselves. This practice had begun in Sicily, but was disapproved of by other Greeks as showing hubris (arrogance). But the kings of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria had no such scruples: having already awarded themselves with "divine" status, they issued magnificent gold coins adorned with their own portraits, with the symbols of their state on the reverse. The names of the kings were frequently inscribed on the coin as well. This established a pattern for coins which has persisted ever since: a portrait of the king, usually in profile and striking a heroic pose, on the obverse, with his name beside him, and a coat of arms or other symbol of state on the reverse. Minting All Greek coins were handmade , rather than machined as modern coins are. The design for the obverse was carved (in incuso ) into a block of bronze or possibly iron, called a die . The design of the reverse was carved into a similar punch. A blank disk of gold, silver, or electrum was cast in a mold and then, placed between these two and the punch struck hard with a hammer, raising the design on both sides of the coin. Coins as a symbol of the city-state Coins of Greek city-states depicted a unique symbol or feature, an early form of emblem , also known as badge in numismatics, that represented their city and promoted the prestige of their state. Corinthian stater for example depicted pegasus the mythological winged stallion, tamed by their hero Bellerophon . Coins of Ephesus depicted the bee sacred to Artemis . Drachmas of Athens depicted the owl of Athena . Drachmas of Aegina depicted a chelone . Coins of Selinunte depicted a "selinon" (σέλινον - celery ). Coins of Heraclea depicted Heracles . Coins of Gela depicted a man-headed bull, the personification of the river Gela . Coins of Rhodes depicted a "rhodon" (ῥόδον[8] - rose ). Coins of Knossos depicted the labyrinth or the mythical creature minotaur , a symbol of the Minoan Crete . Coins of Melos depicted a "mēlon" (μήλον - apple ). Coins of Thebes depicted a Boeotian shield. Corinthian stater with pegasus Coin of Rhodes with a rose Didrachm of Selinunte with a celery Coin of Ephesus with a bee Stater of Olympia depicting Nike Coin of Melos with an apple Obolus from Stymphalia with a Stymphalian bird Coin of Thebes with a Boeotian shield Coin of Gela with a man-headed bull, the personification of the river Gela Didrachm of Knossos depicting the Minotaur Commemorative coins Dekadrachm of Syracuse [disambiguation needed]. Head of Arethusa or queen Demarete. ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΟΝ (of the Syracusians), around four dolphins The use of commemorative coins to celebrate a victory or an achievement of the state was a Greek invention. Coins are valuable, durable and pass through many hands. In an age without newspapers or other mass media, they were an ideal way of disseminating a political message. The first such coin was a commemorative decadrachm issued by Athens following the Greek victory in the Persian Wars . On these coins that were struck around 480 BC, the owl of Athens, the goddess Athena 's sacred bird, was depicted facing the viewer with wings outstretched, holding a spray of olive leaves, the olive tree being Athena's sacred plant and also a symbol of peace and prosperity. The message was that Athens was powerful and victorious, but also peace-loving. Another commemorative coin, a silver dekadrachm known as " Demareteion", was minted at Syracuse at approximately the same time to celebrate the defeat of the Carthaginians . On the obverse it bears a portrait of Arethusa or queen Demarete. Ancient Greek coins today Collections of Ancient Greek coins are held by museums around the world, of which the collections of the British Museum , the American Numismatic Society , and the Danish National Museum are considered to be the finest. The American Numismatic Society collection comprises some 100,000 ancient Greek coins from many regions and mints, from Spain and North Africa to Afghanistan. To varying degrees, these coins are available for study by academics and researchers. There is also an active collector market for Greek coins. Several auction houses in Europe and the United States specialize in ancient coins (including Greek) and there is also a large on-line market for such coins. Hoards of Greek coins are still being found in Europe, Middle East, and North Africa, and some of the coins in these hoards find their way onto the market. Coins are the only art form from the Ancient world which is common enough and durable enough to be within the reach of ordinary collectors. Frequently Asked Questions How long until my order is shipped? Depending on the volume of sales, it may take up to 5 business days for shipment of your order after the receipt of payment. How will I know when the order was shipped? After your order has shipped, you will be left positive feedback, and that date should be used as a basis of estimating an arrival date. After you shipped the order, how long will the mail take? USPS First Class mail takes about 3-5 business days to arrive in the U.S., international shipping times cannot be estimated as they vary from country to country. I am not responsible for any USPS delivery delays, especially for an international package. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? Each of the items sold here, is provided with a Certificate of Authenticity, and a Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity, issued by a world-renowned numismatic and antique expert that has identified over 10000 ancient coins and has provided them with the same guarantee. You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. 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