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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.GS73424. Silver drachm, Lorber Thessalian 52, SNG Munchen 49, BCD Thessaly I 1128, BCD Thessaly II 175, HGC 4 420 (S), F, off-center, uneven strike, die wear, weight 6.075 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 315o, 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, "Thessaly Z hd. early '85."; scarce; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00
Homolion, Magnesia, Thessaly, Greece, Mid 4th Century B.C.
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 the 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.GB85920. Bronze trichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 91 (same dies), Rogers 259, SNG Cop 73 var. (T behind head on obv.), HGC 4 87 (S), BCD Thessaly I -, BMC Thessaly -, VF, well centered and struck, dark patina, marks, corrosion, weight 10.111 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 270o, Homolion (near Omolio, Larissa, Greece) mint, mid 4th century B.C.; obversehead of Philoktetes left, bearded, wearing pilos; reverse OMOΛ-IEΩN (clockwise starting at 9:00), coiled serpent, erect head right, behind his head a small bunch of grapes; ex BCD Collection with his tag; ex Munzhandlung Ritter list 65 (Mar 2004), lot 614 (€140); very rare this nice; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
Marathos, Phoenicia, 173 - 172 B.C.
Marathos, the most northern coastal town in Phoenicia, was apparently under Ptolemaic hegemony when this coin was struck. The bust of Hermes is usually attributed to be also that of Ptolemy VI. Destroyed by its neighbor and rival Aradus, c. 145 B.C., Marathos was later rebuilt as a colony of Aradus.GP73972. Bronze AE 21, Svoronos 1082 - 1085 (various controls); Duyrat Ateliers 252 - 261 (same); Cohen Dated 832; cf. HGC 10 194 (S); SNG Cop -; BMC Phoenicia -, F, black patina, rough, corrosion, weight 6.489 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Marathos (near Tartus, Syria) mint, 173 - 172 B.C.; obverse laureate and draped bust of Ptolemy VI as Hermes, kerykeion over shoulder; reverse Marathos standing left, apluster in right, Phoenician date IIIIIIINNNN (year 87) on left, Phoenician MRT (Marathos) right, Phoenician control letters low across field; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
The Maliens, Lamia, Thessaly, Greece, 325 - 300 B.C.
The Malien tribe inhabited the area around the Malian Gulf. Lamia was their main town and only mint.
Philoctetes was the son of King Poeas of Meliboea, Thessaly. When Herakles put on a shirt stained with Hydra's blood, the blood poisoned him, tearing his skin and exposing his bones. To end his suffering, Herakles built for himself a funeral pyre. Only his friend Philoctetes would light it. As Herakles body burned, but his immortal side rose to Olympus. Philoctetes was given Heracles' bow and poisoned arrows. Later, the Greeks learned through a prophecy that they needed the bow and arrows of Herakles to defeat Troy. Philoctetes shot Paris with one of Herakles' arrows, and he later died from the poison. Philoctetes was among those chosen to hide inside the Trojan Horse, and during the sack of the city he killed many famed Trojans.GB72645. Bronze chalkous, BCD Thessaly I 1093; BCD Thessaly II 125; Rogers 384 (Malia); Georgiou Lamia 16; SNG Cop 87; Traite IV 462, BMC Thessaly p. 35, 3 ff. (Malienses), F, flan crack, weight 1.775 g, maximum diameter 14.0 mm, die axis 0o, Lamia mint, 325 - 300 B.C.; obversehead of Athena right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet and necklace; reverse MAΛIEΩN, Philoktetes standing right, shooting bow at birds, one of which falls before him; quiver on the ground at his feet on right; rare; $45.00 SALE PRICE $40.50
Gyrton, Thessaly, Greece, c. 350 - 330 B.C.
Some sources say Gyrton was named for its founder, Gyrton, a brother of Phlegyas, who built the town on the Peneius river. Other sources say the town was named for the nymph Gyrtone, a daughter of Phlegyas. Both are depicted on this coin.BB90753. Bronze dichalkon, Rogers 227; BCD Thessaly 1051; BCD Thessaly II 83.3; SNG Cop 56; BMC Thessaly p. 20, 1, F, weight 4.006 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 180o, Gyrton mint, c. 350 - 330 B.C.; obversehead of the hero Gyrton right; head and neck of bridled horse right before him; reverse ΓYPTΩNION, head of nymph Gyrtone right, her hair bound in a roll and wearing an earring and a necklace; $40.00 SALE PRICE $36.00
Halos, Thessaly, Greece, c. 302 - 265 B.C.
Athamas, the mythical founder of Halos, had two children with his first wife, Nephele, Phrixus and Helle. Athamas' second wife Ino, jealous for her own two children with Athamas pretended that an oracle demanded that Phrixus and Helle must be sacrificed to Zeus. Just as the sacrifice was prepared, the cloud nymph Nephele descended and placed the children on a ram with a golden fleece given to her by Hermes. The ram flew off to safety but Helle fell off and drowned in the Hellespont, which was named for the accident. Phrixus landed in Colchis, sacrificed the ram to Zeus and hung up the fleece, where Jason would later obtain it.GB75129. Bronze dichalkon, BCD Thessaly II 86.2; Reinder series 6; Rogers 241, fig. 114; SNG Cop 64; HGC 4 8 (R2), gF, rough, corrosion, weight 2.868 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 195o, Halos mint, c. 302 - 265 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reversePhrixos clinging to neck and chest of the golden ram flying right, nude but for cloak billowing behind him, AX monogram to upper left; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 12 (1 Nov 2014), lot 268; ex Frank James Collection; rare; $36.00 SALE PRICE $32.40
Kibyra, Phrygia, c. 100 - 84 B.C.
Kibyra (Cibyra) near the modern town of Gölhisar in south-west Turkey, was possibly originally settled by Lydians. According to Strabo, the Lydian language was still being spoken by a multicultural population in the 1st century B.C.; thus Kibyra was the last place where the Lydian culture, by then extinct in Lydia proper, persevered.GB86109. Brass AE 10, SNG Cop 271; SNG München 284; SNG Tübingen 4079; BMC Phrygia p. 134, 20; SNGvA -, F, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, weight 1.396 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 270o, Kibyra (near Gölhisar, Turkey) mint, c. 100 - 84 B.C.; obverse helmeted bust of Kibyras right, wearing Corinthian helmet; reverse humped bull butting right on ground line, KIBYPA in exergue; rare; $28.00 SALE PRICE $25.20