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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Greece| ▸ |Thessaly||View Options:  |  |  |   

Thessaly, Greece

Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000 B.C. - 2500 B.C. Mycenaean settlements have also been discovered. In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, such as the Aleuadae of Larissa or the Scopads of Krannon. In the 4th century B.C. Jason of Pherae transformed Thessaly into a significant military power. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, and the region was associated with the Macedonian Kingdom for the next centuries. Later Thessaly became part of the Roman province of Macedonia.Thessaly


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 300 - 150 B.C.

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According to mythology, Larissa was founded by Acrisius, who was killed accidentally by his grandson, Perseus; the nymph Larissa was a daughter of the primordial man Pelasgu; Achilles was born at Larissa, and Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine"; died there. Today, Larissa is the capital and largest city of the Thessaly region and an important commercial, agricultural, and industrial center of Greece.
GB92063. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly 1172.1 (same countermark), BCD Thessaly II 394.1 (same countermark), SNG Cop 147, Rogers 309, HGC 4 530 (S), BMC Thessaly -, VF, well centered, attractive dark patina, interesting countermark, some flatness of strike, edge crack, beveled obverse edge; c/m: VF, weight 11.952 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 300 - 150 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa right, monogram behind; countermark on cheek: spiked helmet with visor, neck and cheek guards in a c. 6mm oval punch; reverse cavalryman prancing right, wearing spiked helmet, couched lance in right hand, star upper left, ΛA-PI/ΣNΩN divided above and below; ex Numismatik Lanz München, auction 112 (25 Nov 2002), 193; scarce; $400.00 (€352.00)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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BCD Thessaly II notes this obverse die appears to have been altered (reworked).
GS73413. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 3 (O25/R6), BCD Thessaly II 197 (same dies), Lorber Early 11.- (same obverse die), F, etched surfaces, die wear, weight 5.793 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa facing slightly right, partially radiate hair with hornlike locks of hair on crown above ampyx, drop earring, plain necklace; reverse horse grazing right, legs straight, ΛAPI above; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thessaly, Sept. 2004, €55.-" ; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


The Perrhaiboi, Thessaly, Greece, 4th Century B.C.

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The Perrhaiboi were a Pelasgian (indigenous non-Greek) tribal people who lived in Perrhaibia, north of Thessaly proper and bordering Macedonia. Their capital was Phalanna, and their most significant town was Olosson. In the Iliad, Homer wrote of "the valiant Perrhaiboi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresios, which sends its waters into the Peneus." The Perrhaiboi fought in the Battle of Thermopylae. Through most of their history they were overshadowed and controlled by Thessaly, although they had two votes at the Delphic Amphictyony. Philip II of Macedon took their kingdom and it remained under Macedonian control until the Roman conquest in 196 B.C.
GB92798. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly I 1244, BCD Thessaly II 558, Rogers 439, Traité IV 582, SNG Cop 196, HGC 4 156 (S), BMC Thessaly -, gVF/VF, smoothing, weight 6.392 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 255o, Olosson (Elassona, Greece) mint, 4th century B.C.; obverse veiled head of Hera facing slightly left, wearing necklace; reverse Zeus standing left, nude, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, star ΠEPPAI/BΩ-N (downward in two lines, the first on the right, the second divided on the left); ex BCD Collection with his round tag noting, "found near Phalanna, Dec. 1996, SFr. 110.-"; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 369 - 360 B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73410. Silver drachm, BCD Thessaly I 1146, HGC 4 439 (R1), BCD Thessaly II 281 - 282, F, etched obverse surface, punch on obverse left eye, weight 5.906 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, c. 369 - 360 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly right, hair floating freely, round curl on right, neck truncation elongated and very gently bow-shaped; reverse ΛAPI above, horse grazing right with straight legs; ex BCD Collection with his tag; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 405 - 370 B.C.

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This obverse is described in Lorber Early as wearing a taenia instead of an ampyx.

The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
SH73427. Silver drachm, Lorber-Shahar early group 1 (O7/R2); Lorber Early 29.5 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 217 - 218; HGC 4 432, F, corrosion, weight 5.382 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Larissa mint, c. 405 - 370 B.C.; obverse head of nymph Larissa facing slightly left, wearing taenia and necklace, hair floating freely; reverse horse grazing left, legs straight, short forelegs, shoulders lower than rump, grass under nose, ΛAPIΣAI above; ex BCD Collection; $160.00 (€140.80)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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During religious games, the young men of Thessaly participated in bull jumping and bull wrestling. In bull wrestling, participants would jump from a horse, naked save a chlamys (cloak) and petasos (hat), to bring a bull down to the ground. The obverse shows a wrestler bringing down a bull and the reverse shows the horse running free after the leap was made. The game may have originated in Asia Minor and then traveled to Crete, where it is known the people of Thessaly learned the sport.
GS73425. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 50, SNG Cop 110, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, well centered, die wear, obverse rough, weight 5.760 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 45o, Larissa mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse hero Thessalos restraining bull, both left, holding band around its head, nude but for billowing chlamys tied around his neck, petasos tied around neck flying behind; reverse bridled horse running right, trailing rein, ΛAPI/ΣAIA in two lines above and below, all within shallow incuse square; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Ex Spink's Auction 36, 30/31 May 84, lot 11 (part), the lot for £130.-"; scarce; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Larissa, Thessaly, Greece, Late 4th Early - 3rd Century B.C.

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The obverse of most of the coins of Larissa depicted the nymph of the local spring, Larissa, for whom the town was named. The choice was probably inspired by the famous coins of Kimon depicting the Syracusan nymph Arethusa. The reverse usually depicted a horse in various poses. The horse was an appropriate symbol of Thessaly, a land of plains, which was well known for its horses. On other coins, there is a male figure, probably the eponymous hero of the Thessalians, Thessalos.
GS73423. Silver drachm, Lorber Hoard pl. III, 27 (same dies); BCD Thessaly I 1158; BCD Thessaly II 316; SNG Cop 121; HGC 4 454, aF, struck with crude and worn dies, weight 5.808 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 270o, Larissa mint, late 4th early - 3rd century B.C.; obverse head of the nymph Larissa slightly left, wearing ampyx, earring, and simple necklace; reverse horse right; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "T/ne ex Thess., total cost (Feb. 87) = 10000 drs."; $115.00 (€101.20)
 


Homolion, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece, Mid 4th Century B.C.

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Homolion was at the foot of Mount Homole but its exact location is still unknown. On the way to Troy, Philoktetes, the king of Homolion and the surrounding area, was bitten by a snake. The stench of his festering wound was so bad that Odysseus and his other companions stranded him on the island of Lemnos. Later they learned from prophesy that they could not take Troy without the bow and arrows of Herakles, which Philoktetes possessed. Odysseus and a group of men rushed back to Lemnos to recover Heracles' weapons. Surprised to find him alive, the Greeks balked on what to do next. Odysseus tricked the weaponry away from Philoktetes, but Diomedes refused to take the weapons without the man. Herakles came down from Olympus and told Philoktetes to go, that he would be healed and win great honor as a hero. Outside Troy a son of Asclepius healed his wound. Philoktetes was among those chosen to hide inside the Trojan Horse, and during the sack of the city he killed many famed Trojans.
GB87117. Bronze trichalkon, Rogers 257, BCD Thessaly I 1064, SNG Cop 72, HGC 4 86 (R1), BCD Thessaly II 91 var. (obv. head left), aVF, tight flan, dark patina, part of reverse legend weak, some corrosion, weight 8.537 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, Homolion (near Omolio, Larissa, Greece) mint, mid 4th century B.C.; obverse head of Philoktetes left, bearded, wearing conical pilos; reverse OMOΛ-IEΩN (clockwise starting at 10:00), coiled serpent, erect head right, a small bunch of grapes behind his head; ex BCD, with his round tag noting, "V. Thess., Nov. 1991, SFr. 175.-"; rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Thebai, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 286 B.C.

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The famous sanctuary of Protesilaos was about ten miles from Thebai, at Phylake. An oracle had prophesied that the first Greek to walk on the land after stepping off a ship in the Trojan War would be the first to die. Protesilaos was the first who dared to leap ashore when the fleet touched the Troad. After killing four men, Protesilaos was slain by Hector, as prophesied, the first Greek to die.

In the war between Demetrius Poliorcetes and Cassander, in 302 B.C., Thebai was one of the strongholds of Cassander. Thebai and Pelinnaeum are mentioned in 282 B.C. as the only Thessalian cities that did not take part in the Lamian War.
GB87154. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly II 760, Rogers 551, HGC 4 34 (R1), BCD Thessaly I -, aF, dark patina, tight flan, light pitting, weight 2.394 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebai Phthiotides (north of Mikrothivai, Greece) mint, c. 302 - 286 B.C.; obverse head of Demeter right, wearing grain wreath; reverse ΘHBAIΩN, Protesilaos advancing right from the prow of a galley right behind him, wearing military garb, sword in right hand, shield on left arm; rare; $105.00 (€92.40)
 


The Perrhaiboi, Thessaly, Greece, c. Late 2nd - Early 1st Century B.C.

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The Perrhaiboi were a Pelasgian (indigenous non-Greek) tribal people who lived in Perrhaibia, north of Thessaly proper and bordering Macedonia. Their capital was Phalanna, and their most significant town was Olosson. In the Iliad, Homer wrote of "the valiant Perrhaiboi, who dwelt about wintry Dodona, and held the lands round the lovely river Titaresios, which sends its waters into the Peneus." The Perrhaiboi fought in the Battle of Thermopylae. Through most of their history they were overshadowed and controlled by Thessaly, although they had two votes at the Delphic Amphictyony. Philip II of Macedon took their kingdom and it remained under Macedonian control until the Roman conquest in 196 B.C.
GB76999. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly I 1247 (same dies); BCD Thessaly II 561; Rogers 440, fig. 239; SNG Cop 197, HGC 4 157, aVF, well centered, some corrosion, weight 6.372 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Olosson or Phalanna mint, c. late 2nd - early 1st century B.C.; obverse head of Zeus right, wearing oak wreath; reverse ΠEPPAI/BΩN (in two lines, starting upward from lower left, ending downward on right), Hera seated right on backless throne, long scepter vertical behind in right hand, resting left hand on knee, no magistrate name or initials; $90.00 (€79.20)
 




  



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REFERENCES|

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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 6, The Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection, From Thessaly to Euboea. (Athens, 2011).

Catalog current as of Sunday, November 17, 2019.
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Thessaly