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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ Lydia ▸ TralleisView Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Coins of Tralleis, Lydia

On the slopes of Mount Messogis in the valley of the Meander, Tralles, was one of the largest and richest cities of Lydia. King Attalus had a splendid palace there. The local god was Zeus Larasios, but Apollo Pythius and other divinities were also worshiped. On the defeat of Antiochus, 190 B.C., Tralles, with the rest of Lydia, was assigned to the kingdom of the Attalids, under whose gentle sway it enjoyed peace and prosperity, and was one of the chief mints of the Cistophori. When Attalus III died without an heir in 133 B.C., he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war. Tralles was destroyed by an earthquake but was rebuilt by Augustus and took the name of Caesarea.


Tralleis, Lydia, 2nd - 1st Century B.C.

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The city of Tralles, or Tralleis, said to have been founded by Argives and Thracians (Tralli), stood upon a lofty plateau on one of the southern spurs of the Messogis range overlooking the plain of the lower Maeander. At Tralles, Zeus was called Larasios, from a sanctuary at the neighboring village of Larasa. Zeus Eumenes (the Kindly) may have had a separate sanctuary.
GB90181. Bronze AE 17, SNG Tub 3869; SNG Munchen 709; BMC Lydia p. 336, 61 var. (no star); SGCV II 4759 var. (same); SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, F, weight 4.359 g, maximum diameter 16.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse Zeus standing left, Nike in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left, all within laurel wreath; reverse humped bull walking right, TPAΛΛI/ANON above and below in two lines, star above; ex Rudnik Numismatics; scarce; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Gaius Julius Caesar, 17 B.C. - 21 February 4 A.D., Tralleis (as Caesarea), Lydia

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The brothers, Caius and Lucius, were the sons of Agrippa and Julia, the daughter of Augustus. They were adopted by Augustus in 17 B.C. and were due to succeed him but predeceased him in 4 and 2 A.D. Augustus' wife, their step-mother, Livia, was rumored to have arranged both of their deaths to advance her son Tiberius, who was later adopted as Augustus' son and heir.

RPC I describes the type with a star on the obverse and notes "the star is not usually clear, but was probably present on all specimens." We disagree. Many specimens, including this one, do not have even the slightest indication of a star.
RP84838. Bronze AE 21, BMC Lydia p. 344, 121; RPC I 2649 var. (star below bust); SNG Munchen 734 var. (same); Waddington 5421 var. (same); SNGvA -; SNG Cop -, F, porous, scratches, reverse slightly off center with exergue and plowman partly off flan, weight 5.583 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, c. 2 B.C.; obverse ΓAIOΣ KAIΣAP, bare head right; reverse colonist plowing right with yoke of two oxen, KAIΣAPEΩN in exergue; scarce; SOLD


Tralleis, Lydia, c. 128 - 85 B.C.

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The cista mystica was a basket used for housing sacred snakes in connection with the initiation ceremony into the cult of Bacchus (Dionysus). In the Dionysian mysteries a snake, representing the god and possibly symbolic of his phallus, was carried in a cista mystica on a bed of vine leaves. The cista in the mysteries of Isis may also have held a serpent, perhaps associated with the missing phallus of Osiris.
GS62553. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, BMC Lydia p. 330, 31; SNG Cop 661; SNGvA 8287, VF, weight 11.442 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, c. 128 - 85 B.C.; obverse snake emerging from a cista mystica with half-open lid, all within ivy wreath; reverse TPAΛ, ornamented bow-case flanked by two snakes, TIME (magistrate's name) above, TPAΛ left, cult statue of a veiled goddess standing facing on right; SOLD







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
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Tralleis