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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Thrace & Moesia ▸ OdessosView Options:  |  |  | 

Odessos, Thrace - Moesia Inferior

Odessa, Thrace is Varna, Bulgaria today. Miletian Greeks founded an apoikia (trading post) at the Thracian settlement around 600 B.C., creating a mixed Greek and Thracian community. Philip II besieged the city in 339. Getae priests persuaded him to make a treaty but the city surrendered to Alexander the Great in 335 B.C. Odessus, along with other Pontic cities and the Gatae, rebelled against Lysimachus in 313 B.C. After Lysimachus' death in 281, the city reverted to striking in the types and names of Alexander the Great and continued to strike Alexandrine tetradrachms until at least 70 B.C. After the Battle of Pydna in 168 B.C., Thrace passed to Rome. The Thracians, however, did not all readily accept Roman dominion. Several revolts occurred. The next century and a half saw the slow development of Thracia into a permanent Roman client state. According to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Ampliatus, a follower of Saint Andrew preached in the city in 56 A.D. Public baths erected in the late 2nd century A.D. are the largest Roman remains in Bulgaria and the fourth-largest known Roman baths in Europe. During the Middle Ages, control changed from Byzantine to Bulgarian hands several times. On 10 November 1444, the Ottoman army routed an army of crusaders outside the city. The failure of the Crusade of Varna made the fall of Constantinople all but inevitable.


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Odessos, Moesia Inferior

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As first noticed by von Sallet in the Berlin Catalogue, the obverse die of this coin was also used to strike medallions for Marcianopolis and Tomis (see AMNG Marcianopolis 1098 note).
SH85459. Bronze medallion, hexassarion; Varbanov 4434 (R8, same dies), AMNG I/II 2315 (4 specimens), EF, nice dark green patina, well centered on a broad flan, marks and scratches, weight 25.655 g, maximum diameter 36.8 mm, die axis 180o, Odessos (Varna, Bulgaria) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANT ΓOP∆-IANOC AVΓ, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust left, almost half-length, seen from front, raising right hand in greeting, globe in left hand; reverse O∆HC-C-EITON, On the left, Hygeia standing right, holding phiale in her left hand from which she feeds snake held in her right; to right, Asklepios standing left, holding serpent-entwined staff in his right hand; ex Stack's NYINC auction (9 Jan 2015), lot 261; ex Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale (25 Sep 2013), lot 23297; ex Heritage-Gemini VIII (14 Apr 2011), lot 406; $900.00 SALE PRICE $810.00
 


Gordian III and Tranquillina, May 241 - 25 February 244 A.D., Odessos, Moesia Inferior

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Major athletic games were held at Odessa every five years. Gordian III may have attended them in 238 A.D.
RP77986. Bronze pentassarion, AMNG I/II 2386, Varbanov I 4559 (R3), Moushmov 1683, BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, aVF, well centered, some corrosion, edge crack, centration dimples, weight 11.438 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Odessos (Varna, Bulgaria) mint, May 241 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AVΓ CE, TPANKVΛ/ΛEIN (ending in two lines below), confronted busts of Gordian on left, laureate, draped, and cuirassed, and Tranquillina on right, draped and wearing stephane; reverse O∆HCCEITΩN (ΩN ligate), Athena standing slightly left, helmeted head left, owl in raised right hand, inverted spear vertical in left hand, grounded shield at her right side, E (mark of value) in left field; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00
 


Odessos, Thrace, c. 240 - 180 B.C., Civic Issue in the Types and Name of Alexander the Great

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Herakles is most often depicted on coinage wearing the scalp of the Nemean lion over his head. The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by his cousin King Eurystheus, was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. Herakles discovered arrows and his club were useless against it because its golden fur was impervious to mortal weapons. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight, the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.
SH71037. Silver tetradrachm, Price 1174, Topalov Odesos 59, Prokesch-Osten (1) 266, AMNG I.2 2140, Müller Alexander -, Choice gVF, superb style, toned, obverse double struck, weight 16.650 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Odessos (Varna, Bulgaria) mint, magistrate Eupro.., c. 240 - 180 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, monogram under throne, EYΠPO in exergue; SOLD







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REFERENCES

de Callataÿ, F. L'histoire des guerres Mithridatiques vue par les monnaies. (Louvain-La-Neuve, 1997).
Marinescu, C. & C. Lorber. "The 'Black Sea' Tetradrachm Hoard" in Studies Prokopov.
Müller, L. Die Münzen Des Thracishen Konigs Lysimacus. (Copenhagen, 1858).
Müller, L. Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grand; Appendice les monnaies de Philippe II et III, et Lysimaque. (Copenhagen, 1855-58).
Pick, B. & K. Regling. Die antiken Münzen von Dacien und Möesien, Die antiken Münzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/II. (Berlin, 1910).
Poole, R. ed. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thrace, etc. (London, 1877).
Price, M. The Coinage in the name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (Zurich-London, 1991).
Prokopov, I. Coin Collections and Coin Hoards From Bulgaria, Vol. I: Numismatic Collections of the Historical Museum Lovech & the Historical Museum Razgrad. (Sofia, 2007).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 10/11: Makedonien - Könige. (Berlin, 2001).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 2: Sicily - Thrace (gold and silver). (London, 1939).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. (London, 1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. (Oxford, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italy, Milano, Civiche Raccolte Numismatiche VI: Macedonia-Thracia, Part 3:...Thracia, Chersonesus Thraciae, Isole della Thracia. (Milan, 2000).
Topalov, S. Odesos: Contribution to the Study of the Coin Minting of the City, 4th-1st C. B.C. (Sofia, 1999).
Varbanov, I. Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Vol. I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior. (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005).
von Prokesh-Osten, A. "Liste des Alexandres de ma collection qui ne se trouvent pas dans le catalogue de Mr. L. Müller" in NZ 1 (Constantinople, 1869). pp. 31 - 64.

Catalog current as of Friday, October 20, 2017.
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Odessos