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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ Ionia ▸ SmyrnaView Options:  |  |  | 

Smyrna, Ionia

Smyrna was an ancient Greek city in Ionia. Located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia and aided by its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defense and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence before the Classical Era. Smyrna claimed to be the birthplace of the poet Homer. In Revelation 2:8-11, Smyrna, Ionia is the church that would suffer persecution. The core of the late Hellenistic and Roman Smyrna is preserved in the Izmir Agora Open Air Museum.


Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown.

Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $1300.00 (€1157.00)
 


Smyrna, Ionia, c. 190 - 170 B.C.

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Apparently unpublished. The magistrate Pytheos is known at Smyrna but the type is not listed for Pytheos in the many references examined. We did find a couple of misdescribed examples online.

A cestus or caestus is an ancient battle glove, sometimes used in pankration. They were worn like today's boxing gloves but were made with leather strips and sometimes filled with iron plates or fitted with blades or spikes, and used as weapons.
GB84111. Bronze AE 13, cf. Milne Smyrna 1927, type L, 86; BMC Ionia p. 243, 61 ff.; SNG Cop 1166 f.; SNG Tub -; SNGvA -; Lindgren - (none by Pytheos), VF, attractive style, reverse off center, scratches, inscription weak, edge chip, weight 1.504 g, maximum diameter 13.2 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna mint, magistrate Pytheos, c. 190 - 170 B.C.; obverse classical style laureate head of Apollo right, hair bunched in the back, loosely waved locks falling down neck; reverse two hands in caestus (fighting gloves) downward, the right hand is nearer with back of hand visible, the left hand is farther and clenched with palm facing, two palm fronds flanking forming arch above, ΠYΘEOΣ (magistrate name) downward on left, ZMYPNAIΩN downward on right; very rare; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Smyrna, Ionia, c. 145 - 125 B.C.

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Homer is a legendary ancient Greek epic poet, traditionally said to be the author of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. Smyrna was one of several cities that claimed to be the birthplace of the poet and at the source of the Meles River was a cave where the residents claimed he composed his poems. The city had a temple with a square portico in honor of Homer, which they called the Homerium. According to Strabo, they also called their bronze coins, this very type, Homerium.
GB78000. Bronze Homerium, Milne Smyrna 183a; SNG Cop 1140; BMC Ionia, p. 245, 93; SNGvA 2167; SNG Tub 3175, aF, corrosion, weight 9.208 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, c. 145 - 125 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse ΣMYPNAIΩN, Homer seated left in himation, right hand raised to chin, left holding volume on his knees, uncertain magistrate's name downward on left, Π outer left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $32.00 (€28.48)
 







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REFERENCES

Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Babelon, E. La collection Waddington au cabinet des médailles. (Paris, 1897-1898).
Brett, A.B. Catalogue of Greek Coins, Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (Boston, 1955).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Franke, P.R. & M.K. Noellé. Die Homonoia-Münzen Kleinasiens und der thrakischen Randgebiete. (Saarbrücken, 1997).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922 - 1929).
Head, B. A Catalog of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Ionia. (London, 1892).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Kleinasiatische Münzen. (Vienna, 1901 - 1902).
Klein, D. Sammlung von griechischen Kleinsilbermünzen und Bronzen, Nomismata 3. (Milano, 1999).
Klose, D.O.A. Die Münzprägung von Smyrna in der römischen Kaiserzeit. AMUGS X. (Berlin, 1987).
Lindgren, H. Ancient Greek Bronze Coins. (Quarryville, 1993).
Lindgren, H., & F. Kovacs. Ancient Bronze Coinage of Asia Minor and the Levant. (San Mateo, 1985).
MacDonald, G. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the Hunterian Collection. (Glascow, 1899)
Milne, J.G. "The Autonomous Coinage of Smyrna" in NC 1923, 1927, and 1928.
Mionnet, T. E. Description de Médailles antiques grecques et romaines. (Paris, 1807-1837).
Müller, L. Numismatique d'Alexandre le Grand; Appendice les monnaies de Philippe II et III, et Lysimaque. (Copenhagen, 1855-58).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 2, Asia and Africa. (London, 1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 5: Ionia, Caria and Lydia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen, Part 4: Mysien - Ionien. (Berlin, 1989).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock, Vol. 1: Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Mysia, Troas, Aiolis, Lesbos, Ionia. (Berlin, 1957).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, Part II: Asia Minor except Karia. (Helsinki, 1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 5: Tire Museum, Vol. 1: Roman Provincial Coins From Ionia, Lydia, Phrygia, etc. (Istanbul, 2011).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 7: Odemis Museum, Vol. 1: Roman Provincial Coins of Ionia, Lydia and etc. (Istanbul, 2012).
Thompson, M. "Posthumous Philip II Staters of Asia Minor" in Studia Naster (1982).

Catalog current as of Sunday, April 30, 2017.
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Smyrna