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

Boiotia, Greece

Boiotia, also spelled Boeotia, was a region of Greece north of Attica and the Gulf of Corinth. The cities formed the Boeotian League in the sixth century B.C. but were usually under the dominance of Thebes. It was the constant ambition of the Thebans to absorb the other towns into a single state, just as Athens had annexed the Attic communities. But the cities successfully resisted, and only allowed a loose federation. Resistance to Thebes led to repeated interference by Athens and Sparta. After Thebes was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 335 B.C., the Boeotians never again pursued independence. About 245 B.C., Boeotia was for a short time a member of the Aetolian League, but it was generally loyal to Macedonia and supported Macedonia against Rome. Rome dissolved the league, but it was revived under Augustus and merged with the other central Greek federations in the Achaean synod. The death-blow to the country's prosperity was devastation during the First Mithridatic War.Central Greece


Thebes, Boiotia, c. 363 - 338 B.C.

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The largest city in Boeotia, leader of the Boeotian confederacy, and rival of Athens, Thebes sided with Persia during Xerxes' invasion in 480 B.C. Thebes ended Sparta's power of at the Battle of Leuctra in 371. The Sacred Band of Thebes famously fell to Philip II at Chaeronea in 338. After a revolt in 335, Alexander the Great destroyed the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar.
GS84245. Silver stater, BCD Boiotia 556; Hepworth 90; SNG Cop 325; Head Boeotia p. 66; BMC Central p. 84, 164, VF, toned, light bumps and marks, obverse a little off center, small obverse die cracks, weight 12.358 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, Thebes mint, magistrate Timo..., c. 363 - 338 B.C.; obverse Boeotian ox-hide shield; reverse ornate amphora, TI-MO divide across field below center, all within a round concave incuse; ex Jencek Historical Enterprise; $550.00 (€489.50)
 


Thebes, Boiotia, Greece, 405 - 395 B.C.

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The largest city in Boeotia, leader of the Boeotian confederacy, and rival of Athens, Thebes sided with Persia during Xerxes' invasion in 480 B.C. Thebes ended Sparta's power of at the Battle of Leuctra in 371. The Sacred Band of Thebes famously fell to Philip II at Chaeronea in 338. After a revolt in 335, Alexander the Great destroyed the city, except, according to tradition, the house of the poet Pindar.
GS74435. Silver tetartemorion, BCD Boiotia 466; BMC Central p. 77, 87; SNG Cop 294; Bérend Fractions 35; Head Boeotia 37, Choice VF, toned, weight 0.163 g, maximum diameter 6.4 mm, Thebes mint, 405 - 395 B.C.; obverse Boiotian ox-hide shield; reverse bunch of grapes on stem, Θ−E flanking above; ex BCD Collection; $320.00 (€284.80)
 


Boiotia, Greece, Boiotian League, c. 225 - 171 B.C.

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After the destruction of Thebes by Alexander in 335 B.C., the Boeotians never again pursued independent policy, but followed protecting powers. Unable to defend its frontiers, the land became more than ever the "dancing-ground of Ares." Boeotia was generally loyal to Macedon, and supported its kings against Rome. Devastation during the First Mithridatic War was a death-blow to the country's prosperity. Rome dissolved the league, but it was revived under Augustus and merged with the other central Greek federations in the Achaean synod. - Wikipedia
SH79751. Silver drachm, BCD Boiotia 127; Cop 387 var. (ΓAN monogram); BMC Central p. 42, 99 var. (same); Weber 3306 var. (different monogram), VF, nice style, light toning, some die wear, light marks, tiny punch or flan flaw inner right on reverse, weight 4.902 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 45o, Thebes(?) mint, c. 225 - 171 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Poseidon right; reverse Nike standing left, raising wreath in right hand, trident vertical behind in left, BOIΩTΩN downward on left, AN monogram inner left; rare variant; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


Boiotia, Greece, Boiotian League, 287 - 244 B.C.

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The third specimen known to Forum. The usual type, but still rare, has Nike on the reverse in a similar pose. BMC Central Greece and Head Boeotia list the type (both the same coin) with Athena, but do not include the coin in the plates. BCD Boiotia 86, from different dies, sold for $395 plus fees. We do not know of any other examples.
GB74961. Bronze AE 19, cf. BMC Central p. 39, 71 = Head Boeotia p. 83; BCD Boiotia 86 var. (wreath behind, undivided inscription); SNG Cop -; SNG Christomanos -, F, green patina, obverse off-center, scratches, weight 4.641 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Thebes mint, 287 - 244 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse Athena standing right, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet, [brandishing thunderbolt in right?], aegis on extended left arm, B−OIΩTIΩN downward on right; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Procured near Thebes."; extremely rare; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Boiotia, Greece, Boiotian League, 287 - 244 B.C.

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This is the first example of this type handled by Forum. BCD notes this type is not particularly rare but circulated extensively and are therefore very difficult to find in nice condition.
GB74962. Bronze AE 20, BCD Boiotia 82, Head Boeotia p. 83, pl. VI, 2; BMC Central Greece p. 39, 64 and pl. VI, 2; SNG Cop 376, VF, weight 6.592 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, 287 - 244 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing a crested Corinthian helmet; reverse trophy of arms, B-OIWTWN downward on right; ex BCD with his tag noting, "Ex D.D. Thz. exch. Nov. 86 to the value of $15.-"; scarce; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Boiotia, Greece, Boiotian League, 287 - 244 B.C.

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Apollo's most famous attribute is the tripod, symbolic of his prophetic powers. His priestess sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves and inhaling hallucinating vapors from a fissure in the floor. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it. The tripod is also a symbol of Dionysos because the bowl was used to mix wine. Ancient Greeks sayings include, "wine is truth" and "wine reveals the heart of man," and those who speak the truth were said to "speak from the tripod." Athenaeus wrote, "The tripod is proper to Apollo because of its prophetic truth, while to Dionysos it is proper because of the truth of wine" (Deipnosophistae 2).
GB74963. Bronze AE 17, BCD Boiotia 87 corr.; Head Boeotia p. 83, pl. VI, 4; BMC Central p. 40, 72, pl. VI, 5 corr.; Winterthur 1929 corr., F, green patina, well centered, a little rough, weight 3.189 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 180o, 287 - 244 B.C.; obverse head of young Dionysos right, wearing ivy-wreath; reverse Apollo seated left on cippus decorated with trident head left, bow in right hand, leaning back on left hand on cippus behind, tripod on far side of cippus behind Apollo; Π within wreath on left, BOIΩTΩN downward on right; ex BCD with his round tag noting, "ABH, Oct. 78, £5.-"; rare; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Boiotia, Greece, Boiotian League, c. 225 - 171 B.C.

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Because nearly all examples of this type are very worn, most references incorrectly identify the patera as a wreath.

After the destruction of Thebes by Alexander in 335 B.C., the Boeotians never again pursued independent policy, but followed protecting powers. Unable to defend its frontiers, the land became more than ever the "dancing-ground of Ares." Boeotia was generally loyal to Macedon, and supported its kings against Rome. Devastation during the First Mithridatic War was a death-blow to the country's prosperity. Rome dissolved the league, but it was revived under Augustus and merged with the other central Greek federations in the Achaean synod.
GB74969. Bronze AE 14, BCD Boiotia 145; Imhoof-Blumer Boeotiens 33; BMC Central p. 43, 105, pl. VI, 11 corr.; Head Boeotia p. 90, pl. VI, 8 corr.; SNG Cop 394 corr., F, green patina, corrosion and encrustation, weight 3.065 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, federal mint, c. 225 - 171 B.C.; obverse Boiotian ox-hide shield, club across one end; reverse BOIΩTΩN (downward on right), Nike standing left, patera in right, trident vertical behind in left; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting, "Procured at Elatia."; extremely rare; $95.00 (€84.55)
 


Thebes, Boiotia, Greece, c. 363 - 338 B.C.

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In 362 B.C., civil war in the Arcadian league led to Mantinea fighting alongside Sparta and Athens, while Tegea and others members of the league sided with Thebes. The Theban general, Epaminondas, headed the large allied army in Peloponnesus. He was met by Sparta (led by Spartan general Archidamus III), Athens, and their allies in the Battle of Mantinea. In the battle, Epaminondas was victorious, but was killed. His dying command to make peace with the enemy was followed by all sides and a general peace was established in Greece. The period of Theban domination of Greece came to an end.
GB76233. Bronze AE 14, BCD Boiotia 564a; Head Boeotia p. 71, type d; BMC Central p. 86, 189, pl. XV, 14; SNG Cop -; SNG Christomanos -, aVF, green patina, obverse slightly off-center, slightly rough, weight 2.545 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thebes mint, magistrate Aris-, 363 - 338 B.C.; obverse youthful head of Herakles left, wearing Nemean Lion skin headdress; reverse club of Herakles right, APIΣ above, Thyrsos right below; ex BCD with his tag noting, "G. Mel. (Th.) May 82, 500 drs."; $75.00 (€66.75)
 


Boiotia, Greece, Boiotian League, 338 - c. 300 B.C.

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In 338 B.C., Thebes joined Athens at Khaironeia against their former ally, Philip II of Macedonia. The Sacred Band distinguished itself, but was completely annihilated. After another revolt in 335, Alexander the Great destroyed the city.
GB74924. Bronze AE 16, BCD Boiotia 55; Head Boeotia p. 78, pl. V, 14; BMC Central p. 38, 57, pl. V, 17; SNG Cop 181, VF, green patina, broad flan, pitting, corrosion, flan crack, weight 1.154 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, federal mint, 338 - c. 300 B.C.; obverse Boiotian ox-hide shield; reverse BOIΩTΩN (upward from lower left), ornamented trident head upward, curved crossbar, dolphin upward on right, ivy leaf with long curved stem lower right; ex BCD Collection with his tag noting "Lot./coll, Feb 1991, 1500 dra."; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Thebes, Boiotia, Greece, c. 368 - 364 B.C.

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Struck during the time of the Theban general and statesman Epaminondas, who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics. In the process he broke Spartan military power with his victory at Leuctra and liberated the Messenian helots, a group of Peloponnesian Greeks who had been enslaved under Spartan rule for some 230 years. Epaminondas reshaped the political map of Greece, fragmented old alliances, created new ones, and supervised the construction of entire cities. He was militarily influential as well, inventing and implementing several major battlefield tactics. The Roman orator Cicero called him "the first man of Greece", and Montaigne judged him one of the three "worthiest and most excellent men" that had ever lived, but Epaminondas has fallen into relative obscurity in modern times. The changes Epaminondas wrought on the Greek political order did not long outlive him, as the cycle of shifting hegemonies and alliances continued unabated. A mere twenty-seven years after his death in 362 B.C., Thebes was obliterated by Alexander the Great. Thus Epaminondas, praised in his time as an idealist and liberator, is today largely remembered for a decade (371 B.C. to 362 B.C.) of campaigning that sapped the strength of Greece and paved the way for the Macedonian conquest.
GB74942. Bronze AE 14, BCD Boiotia 525; SNG Christomanos 785; Head Boeotia p. 70, type b2; BMC Central p. 85, 176; SNG Cop -, SNG Alpha Bank -, VF, well centered, nice reverse, obverse porous and a little rough, weight 2.074 g, maximum diameter 13.6 mm, die axis 210o, Thebes mint, magistrates Laan- and The-, c. 368 - 364 B.C.; obverse youthful head of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse club left, ΛAAN above, arrow left over ΘE below, all within a shallow concave incuse circle; ex BCD Collection with his round tag noting, "C. Pz., May 1977, 350 drs."; $70.00 (€62.30)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Thursday, February 23, 2017.
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Boiotia