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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Anatolia ▸ Mysia ▸ CyzicusView Options:  |  |  |   

Ancient Greek Coins of Kyzikos, Mysia

Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. It was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later, allegedly in 756 B.C., it received many colonists from Miletus. Owing to its advantageous position it speedily acquired commercial importance, and the gold staters of Cyzicus were a staple currency in the ancient world till they were superseded by those of Philip of Macedon. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C. In 74 B.C. allied with Rome, it withstood a siege by 300,000 men led by King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, Cyzicus was made the capital of Mysia, and afterward of Hellespontus. Gallienus opened an imperial mint at Cyzicus, which continued to strike coins well into the Byzantine era. The site of Cyzicus, located on the Erdek and Bandirma roads, is protected by Turkey's Ministry of Culture.


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 550 - 450 B.C.

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Kyzikos, purportedly the first Milesian colony, was located on the southwest shore of the Propontis in ancient Mysia next to the river Aisepos. Its prosperity was due principally to its two fine harbors, which made the city a convenient stopping point for merchant ships trading between the Aegean and Black Seas. Its principal export was the tunny, of which its waters had abundant stock. The prevalence of winged beings in Kyzikene coinage is a reflection of archaic mythological convention that assigned wings to most divine or sacred entities as an immediately visible and understandable symbol of their nature, and in the case of gods, of their power to move at will across great distances. In the case of the winged animals, we should probably understand these to be attributes of or animals sacred to a particular Olympian god.
SH86217. Electrum stater, Von Fritze I (Nomisma VII) 104 & pl. 3, 23; Boston MFA 1433; SNG BnF 245; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; BMC Mysia -, VF, tight flan, edge cracks, weight 16.091 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos mint, c. 550 - 450 B.C.; obverse winged dog seated left, head turned back right, curved archaic wing, wearing collar, tunny fish below to left; reverse quadripartite incuse square; extremely rare; $7800.00 (€6630.00)
 


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Cyzicus, Mysia

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This is the finest of only two specimens of this type known to Forum, the other example in SNG Von Aulock. Although we can't quite agree, NAC graded it extremely fine.
RP86162. Bronze AE 26, SNGvA suppl. 7377, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tübingen -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Righetti -, SNG Leypold -, BMC Mysia -, McClean -, Mionnet -, gVF, nice dark green patina, marks, small patina chips, reverse slightly off center, weight 10.976 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 194 - 217 A.D.; obverse IOYΛIA CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse KYZIKHNΩN NEOKOPΩN, man sitting right on rocks under a tree, milking goat standing right, goat's head turned back looking left; ex Numismatica Ars Classica auction 100 (29 May 2017), lot 1212; ex Gorny & Mosch sale 237 (7 Mar 2016), 1656; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 34 (2 Aug 2015), lot 581; extremely rare; $1500.00 (€1275.00)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, 550 - 500 B.C.

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Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. It was said to have been founded by Pelasgians from Thessaly, according to tradition at the coming of the Argonauts; later, allegedly in 756 B.C., it received many colonists from Miletus. Owing to its advantageous position it speedily acquired commercial importance, and the gold staters of Cyzicus were a staple currency in the ancient world till they were superseded by those of Philip of Macedon. The site of Cyzicus, located on the Erdek and Bandirma roads, is protected by Turkey's Ministry of Culture.
SH85573. Electrum hemihekte, Von Fritze I (Nomisma VII) 53 & pl.2, 3; Boston MFA 1409; BMC Mysia p. 19, 13; SNG BnF -; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; Rosen -, VF, marks, edge split, slightly off center, weight 1.323 g, maximum diameter 8.5 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 550 - 500 B.C.; obverse dolphin left, tunny left below; reverse quadripartite incuse square; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 49 (8 Jan 2017), lot 188; rare; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign or on his return from a distance. They may also refer to his arrival in some other city or province of the empire. At their accession, emperors were not conveyed in a chariot nor in any other vehicle, but went on horseback or on foot when they made their first public entry into the capital of the Roman world.
RA86183. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 904 (S); Cohen VI 69; Pink VI-1, p. 43; Hunter IV 311 var. (A in ex); cf. SRCV III 11195 (Rome mint, etc.), Choice aEF, well centered, some silvering, porosity, light marks and corrosion, weight 3.752 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 2nd emission, end 276 - beginning 277 A.D.; obverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), radiate, helmeted, and cuirassed bust left, spear in right hand over right shoulder, oval shield decorated with charging horseman on left arm; reverse ADVENTVS PROBI AVG (the arrival of Emperor Probus), Probus on horseback left, raising right hand in salute, long scepter in left hand, horses' right foreleg raised over bound captive seated left, nothing in exergue; scarce; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

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The Julio-Claudian princes depicted on this type are uncertain. References most often identify them as Caius and Lucius caesars, but Drusus and Germanicus have also been suggested, and there are other possibilities. The features of both portraits on this coin resemble Augustus, which doesn't help.
RP77421. Bronze AE 15, RPC I 2246 (7 spec.), SNG Ashmolean 1188, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, gF, nice green patina, old scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.040 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Erdek, Turkey) mint, c. 4 B.C. - 2 A.D.; obverse bare headed male head right; reverse KYZI, bare headed male head right; very rare; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 450 - 400 B.C.

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These very small fractions always weigh less than the theoretical weight for the denomination. They were often struck significantly below the theoretical weight. Wear, corrosion and porosity have usually further reduced the weight over time. They may even weigh less than half their theoretical weight. Assigning the denomination during attribution is often speculative.
GA85721. Silver obol, SNG BnF 378; SNG Cop 48; SNG Kayhan 55; BMC Mysia p. 35, 118; Von Fritze II 11, gVF, sharp detail, lightly etched surfaces, earthen deposits, tight flan, weight 0.798 g, maximum diameter 11.7 mm, die axis 270o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 400 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar running left, reversed E on side, tunny fish upwards behind (tunny off flan); reverse head of roaring lion left within incuse square; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 200 - 100 B.C.

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The torch is a symbol of Demeter. After Hades abducted Demeter's virgin daughter Persephone to be his wife, Demeter searched for her lighting her way through the earth with torches. While she searched, she was preoccupied with loss and grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Demeter grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Persephone's return brings the spring.
GB84944. Bronze AE 22, SNGvA 1239 var. (r. control); SNG Cop 81 var. (same); Von Fritze III 13 var. (same); SNG BnF 490 ff. var. (controls); BMC Mysia p. 39, 161 ff. (same), VF/F, well centered, reverse flatly struck, tiny flan crack, light corrosion, centration dimples, weight 7.706 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 200 - 100 B.C.; obverse bull butting right on exergue line; reverse flaming torch, KYZI/KHNΩN in flanking downward lines starting on the right, monograms (controls) flanking the bottom of the torch; unpublished variant(?); $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT85729. Billon follis, Hunter V 80 (also 4th officina), RIC VI Cyzicus 10b, SRCV IV 13269, Cohen VI 184, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, light marks, some porosity, weight 9.230 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 295 - 296 A.D.; obverse IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius of the Roman people standing facing, head left, nude but for kalathos on head and chlamys on shoulders and left arm, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, K∆ in exergue; $95.00 (€80.75)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, 480 - 450 B.C.

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Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) Cyzicus was subject to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians alternately. In the naval Battle of Cyzicus in 410, an Athenian fleet completely destroyed a Spartan fleet. At the peace of Antalcidas in 387, like the other Greek cities in Asia, it was made over to Persia. Alexander the Great captured it from the Persians in 334 B.C.
GA84061. Silver trihemiobol, SNG BnF 361; SNG Cop 45; BMC Mysia, p. 34, 108; SGCV II 3846, F, dark toning, tight flan, edge split, weight 1.210 g, maximum diameter 10.3 mm, die axis 180o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 480 - 450 B.C.; obverse forepart of boar running left, tunny fish upwards behind; reverse roaring lion head left, within incuse square; ex-Tom Cederlind; $80.00 (€68.00)
 


Kyzikos, Mysia, c. 1st Century B.C.

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In 74 B.C. Cyzicus, allied with Rome, withstood a siege by King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Rome rewarded this loyalty with territory and with municipal independence which lasted until the reign of Tiberius. When it was incorporated into the Empire, it was made the capital of Mysia, afterward of Hellespontus. Cyzicus was one of the great cities of the ancient world.
GB71745. Bronze AE 19, SNG BnF 472 ff. (letter below wreath obscure); SNG Cop 70 var. (M below); SNGvA 1235 - 1236 var. (monograms); BMC Mysia p. 39, 150 ff. (same), VF, weight 5.278 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, c. 1st century B.C.; obverse bust of Kore Soteira right, wreathed with grain; reverse KY/ZI in two lines, divided by PE monogram at center, all inside oak wreath, Σ below wreath; $50.00 (€42.50)
 




  



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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
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Kyzikos