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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Anatolia| ▸ |Lydia| ▸ |Tralleis||View 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, 131 - 130 B.C.

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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. Tralles was destroyed by an earthquake but was rebuilt by Augustus and took the name of Caesarea.

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.
SH64043. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, Cohen Dated 353; BMC Lydia p. 332, 44 ff. (other years), SNGvA 3262 ff. (same); SNG Cop 662 - 663 (same); SNG Tüb -; SNG München -, VF, weight 12.880 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, 131 - 130 B.C.; obverse Cista mystica with half open lid, from which a snake emerges left, all within ivy wreath; reverse two coiled serpents, heads erect, flanking ornamented bow-case, bow sticking out of case top left, ∆ (year 4) over TPAΛ left, ΠTOΛ (magistrate) above case; Dionysos on right, standing right, holding thyrsos and mask of Silenos; ex Numismatik Lanz; scarce type, rare year; SOLD


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 München 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


Claudius, Messalina and Britannicus, 43 - 49 A.D., Tralleis (as Caesarea), Lydia

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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.
RP84886. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 2654; SNG Cop 691; SNG München 740; SNG Righetti 1107; BMC Lydia p. 345, 124; Waddington 5423; Lindgren III 535; SNGvA -, gF, toned coppery surfaces, tight flan cutting off much of the legends, porous, weight 5.559 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, 43 - 49 A.D.; obverse TI KLAY KAI CEBAC, confronting heads of Messalina and Claudius, Claudius laureate; reverse KAIΣAPEΩN BPETANNIKOΣ, togate figure of Britannicus standing slightly left, head left, holding ears of grain in right hand; SOLD


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

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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.
SH29098. Bronze AE 18, Kunker 67, 421 (same dies); Elsen 86, 124 (same), BMC Lydia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Tübingen -, Weber -, Lindgren -, Mionnet -, aEF, nice green patina, weight 4.580 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, c. 2nd - 1st century B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ∆IOΣ TPAΛ/ΛIANΩN and winged thunderbolt within wreath; rare; SOLD


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia in Alliance with Tralleis, Lydia

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In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor or Libya.
RP80383. Bronze AE 31, SNGvA 2249 (same dies); countermark Howgego 774i, gF, weight 16.352 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 180o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AY KAI M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, countermarked Γ; reverse ΣMYPNAIΩN OMONOIA TPHΛANΩN, turreted and cuirassed Amazon Smyrna (to left) standing right, facing turreted city-goddess of Tralles standing left, EΠΠOΛΛI/ANOY exergue; 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


Tralleis, Lydia, c. 140 - 133 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.
GS81784. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, BMC Lydia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, Weber -; et. al., nice VF, weight 12.766 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, c. 140 - 133 B.C.; obverse snake emerging from a cista mystica with half-open lid, all within ivy wreath; reverse TPAΛ, two snakes, heads erect, around ornamented bow-case, poppy head and stalk of grain right, magistrate's name ΠAMM above; very rare; SOLD


Tralleis, Lydia, c. 140 - 133 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
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. Tralles was destroyed by an earthquake but was rebuilt by Augustus and took the name of Caesarea.

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.
GS81790. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, BMC Lydia p. 330, 34, VF, weight 12.505 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 30o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, c. 140 - 133 B.C.; obverse snake emerging from a cista mystica with half-open lid, all within ivy wreath; reverse bow-case ornamented with an apluster, strung bow emerging upper left, flanked on each side by a snake with head erect, AΠOΛ above case below heads of snakes, TPAΛ left, hand holding caduceus right, straps from case draped over snakes below; SOLD


Tralleis, Lydia, c. 140 - 133 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
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. Tralles was destroyed by an earthquake but was rebuilt by Augustus and took the name of Caesarea.

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.
GS81782. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, BMC Lydia p. 331, 35, VF, weight 12.512 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, c. 140 - 133 B.C.; obverse snake emerging from a cista mystica with half-open lid, all within ivy wreath; reverse two snakes, heads erect, around ornamented bow-case, ∆ION above, TPAΛ left, herm(?) right; SOLD


Claudius, Messalina and Britannicus, 43 - 49 A.D., Tralleis (as Caesarea), Lydia

Click for a larger photo
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.
RP84552. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 2654; SNG Cop 691; SNG München 740; SNG Righetti 1107; BMC Lydia p. 345, 124; Waddington 5423; Lindgren III 535; SNGvA -, aF, green patina, weight 3.806 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Tralles (Aydın, Turkey) mint, 43 - 49 A.D.; obverse TI KLAY KAI CEBAC, confronting heads of Messalina and Claudius, Claudius laureate; reverse KAIΣAPEΩN BPETANNIKOΣ, togate figure of Britannicus standing slightly left, head left, holding ears of grain in right hand; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Babelon, E. La collection Waddington au cabinet des médailles. (Paris, 1897-1898).
Bloesch, H. Griechische Münzen In Winterthur. (Winterthur, 1987).
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Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber, Vol. III, Part 1. (London, 1926).
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Grose, S. Catalogue of the McClean Collection of Greek Coins, Fitzwilliam Museum, Vol. III: Asia Minor, Farther Asia, Egypt, Africa. (Cambridge, 1929).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain VI, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, The Lewis Collection II: The Greek Imperial Coins. (Oxford, 1992).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain XII, The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, Part 2: Roman Provincial Coins: Cyprus-Egypt. (Oxford, 2008).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Österreich, Sammlung Leypold, Kleinasiatische Münzen der Kaiserzeit. Vol. I. Pontus - Lydien. (Vienna, 2000).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II. Münzen der Antike. Katalog der Sammlung Jean-Pierre Righetti im Bernischen Historischen Museum. (1993).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 5: Tire Museum (Izmir), 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).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, November 13, 2019.
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Tralleis