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

Ancient Coins of Lydia, Antatolia

Lydia lies in east-central Anatolia (Asia Minor) between Ionia and Phrygia. The kingdom of Lydia gradually rose in power in the 7th Century B.C. and by the time of Alyattes and Croesus, it was controlling most of Anatolia after rebuking Medes (the pre-Achaemenid empire). The most important city was Sardis, today Sart, housing impressive ruins. The Lydians were viewed as a merchant people and the kings as extremely wealthy. Croesus gained mythical status and today we still use the expression, "rich as Croesus."


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes II - Darius III, c. 375 - 340 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GA86615. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IV (late) C, 46 ff.; BMC Arabia 172 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1031; SGCV II 4683; Rosen 674; Klein 763; Carradice Price p. 77 and pl. 20, 387 ff., aVF, unusual facing head banker's mark, weight 5.376 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 375 - 340 B.C.; obverse Kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, bearded, crowned, dagger in right hand, bow in left hand; reverse irregular oblong punch; $380.00 (€323.00)


Seleukid Kingdom, Achaios, 220 - 214 B.C.

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Achaios was an uncle of Antiochos III. He proclaimed himself King in Anatolia. After a two-year siege of his capital of Sardes, Lydia, he was captured and beheaded.
GY76100. Bronze AE 15, Houghton-Lorber I 956 var. (unlisted control symbol), SNG Spaer 834 var. (same), Newell WSM 1442 var. (same), HGC 9 436 (S-R1), VF, nice green patina, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 220 - autumn or winter 214 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right; reverse eagle standing right, head right, wings closed, wreath in talons, BAΣIΛEΩΣ / AXAIOY in two flanking downward lines, X (control symbol) outer right; unpublished extremely rare variant; $300.00 (€255.00)


Maionia, Lydia, 161 - 180 A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the kingdom of Lydia, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king of Lydia. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own.

Omphale bought Herakles from Hermes, who sold him after an oracle declared Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. Hercules had sought the oracle to learn what he must do to purify himself, after he murdered his friend Iphitus and stole the Delphic tripod. As a slave, Herakles was forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning. Meanwhile, Omphale wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Herakles' olive-wood club. But it was also during his stay in Lydia that Herakles captured the city of the Itones and enslaved them, killed Syleus who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard, and captured the Cercopes. He buried the body of Icarus and took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Argonautica. After some time, Omphale freed Herakles and took him as her husband.

The Greeks did not recognize Omphale as a goddess. Omphale's name, connected with omphalos, a Greek word meaning navel (or axis), may, however, represent a Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude and marriage may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. This myth may have been and attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB83463. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG Munchen 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17, VF, superb style, well centered, light marks and corrosion, weight 4.380 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Maeonia mint, rule of Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 180 A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, holding lion's skin and club across shoulder; $250.00 (€212.50)


Otacilia Severa, Augusta, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. The wreaths refer to the games sponsored by each of the two cities, the ΠYΘIA games held by Hierapolis, and the XPVCANΘINA games held by Sardes.
RP77256. Bronze AE 25, Franke-Nolle, type V, 838 (Vs. A/Rs. 11); cf. Lindgren-Kovacs 976; BMC Phrygia p. 260, 175, F, weight 7.301 g, maximum diameter 25.0 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Feb 244 - End Sep 249 A.D.; obverse M ΩT CEVHPA, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, plait up the back of head; reverse IEPAΠOΛEITΩN K CAP∆,IANΩN NEΩ/KOPΩN (ending in two lines in exergue), two wreaths side by side with inscriptions within, left wreath XPV/CAN, right wreath ΠVΘ/IA, OMONOI/A in the field above; very rare; $195.00 (€165.75)


Sardes, Lydia, c 98 - 117 A.D.

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CTP in the reverse legend identifies the magistrate, Lo. Io. Libonianos, as a strategos. Strategos, plural strategoi, is Greek meaning "general." In the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Greek army, it is the highest officer rank.
RP82728. Bronze AE 16, RPC Online III 2393 (18 spec.); SNG Cop 508; SNG Leypold 1201; SNG Tatis 757; Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 139, 13; BMC Lydia p. 246, 75; Winterthur 3917, VF, attractive dark green patina, bumps and marks, earthen deposits, weight 2.366 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, time of Trajan, c. 98 - 117 A.D; obverse CAP∆IA-NΩN, draped youthful bust of Dionysus right, wearing ivy wreath; reverse CTP ΛO IO ΛI-BΩNIANOY, filleted thyrsus, bee to right; ex Numismatic Naumann GmbH auction 60, lot 326; $185.00 (€157.25)


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes I - Artaxerxes II, c. 450 - 375 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire
GA86618. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IIIb (late), pl. XIV, 36 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1029; Rosen 671 - 672; SGCV II 4682; Klein 761; Carradice Price p. 69 and pl. 18, 79 ff., VF, well centered, dark toning, minor bumps and marks, weight 5.451 g, maximum diameter 16.7 mm, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 375 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned, stylistic drapery with broad semi-circular sweep of folds; banker's mark; reverse irregular rectangular punch; $180.00 (€153.00)


Persian Empire, Lydia, Anatolia, Artaxerxes I - Artaxerxes II, c. 450 - 375 B.C.

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This type was minted in Lydia, Anatolia, while under Persian control, prior to Alexander the Great's conquest. The Persian or Achaemenid Empire (c. 550 - 330 B.C.) was the largest empire in ancient history extending across Asia, Africa and Europe, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and much of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya.Persian Empire

GA86542. Silver siglos, Carradice Type IIIb (late), pl. XIV, 36 ff.; SNG Kayhan 1029; Rosen 671 - 672; SGCV II 4682; Klein 761; Carradice Price p. 69 and pl. 18, 79 ff., VF, typical tight flan, rectangular punch on obverse, weight 5.535 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, c. 450 - 375 B.C.; obverse kneeling-running figure of the Great King right, transverse spear downward in right hand, bow in extended left hand, bearded, crowned, stylistic drapery with broad semi-circular sweep of folds; banker's mark; reverse irregular rectangular punch; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $160.00 (€136.00)


Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia in Homonoia with Sardis

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This coin commemorates the homonoia (alliance) between Phrygia and Sardis. Cities in Thrace and Asia minor sometimes formed alliances with other cities. The competition for prestige and rivalry between cities in the East was intense. Alliances could enhance a city’s status by aligning either with many cities or with particularly important ones. Homonoia was part of civic "foreign policy" and might have involved the exchange of delegates and joint celebrations and sacrifices. At least 87 cities issued homonoia coins celebrating their alliances.
RP77255. Bronze AE 30, cf. Franke-Nolle, type VI, 848 ff. var. (Vs.C/Rs.-, unlisted reverse die); SNGvA 3668; SNG Tubingen 4054; Lindgren III 596, aF, obverse rough, weight 10.243 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Phrygia, Hierapolis (near Pamukkale, Turkey) mint, Oct 253 - c. Jun 260 A.D.; obverse AY• K• - ΠOY• ΛIK• OYAΛEPAN/OC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front, round countermark on face; reverse IEPAΠOΛE/ITΩN - KE - CAP∆IANΩN NEWK/OPΩN, Apollo on left, standing right, plectrum in right hand, kithara in left hand; cult statue of Kore facing, wearing kalathos and veil, OMONOYA in exergue; very rare; $150.00 (€127.50)


Maionia, Lydia, 2nd - Early 3rd Century A.D.

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Omphale was queen of the kingdom of Lydia, the wife of Tmolus, the oak-clad mountain king of Lydia. After he was gored to death by a bull, she continued to reign on her own.

Omphale bought Herakles from Hermes, who sold him after an oracle declared Hercules must be sold into slavery for three years. Hercules had sought the oracle to learn what he must do to purify himself, after he murdered his friend Iphitus and stole the Delphic tripod. As a slave, Herakles was forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning. Meanwhile, Omphale wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Herakles' olive-wood club. But it was also during his stay in Lydia that Herakles captured the city of the Itones and enslaved them, killed Syleus who forced passersby to hoe his vineyard, and captured the Cercopes. He buried the body of Icarus and took part in the Calydonian Boar Hunt and the Argonautica. After some time, Omphale freed Herakles and took him as her husband.

The Greeks did not recognize Omphale as a goddess. Omphale's name, connected with omphalos, a Greek word meaning navel (or axis), may, however, represent a Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude and marriage may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. This myth may have been and attempt to explain why the priests of Herakles wore female clothing.
GB86735. Bronze AE 20, SNG Cop 222; SNGvA 3011; SNG Munchen 302; BMC Lydia p. 129, 17; RPC Online temp 9330, VF, rough, reverse scratches, weight 5.130 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Maeonia mint, 2nd - early 3rd century A.D.; obverse bearded head of Herakles left; reverse MAIONΩN, Omphale advancing right, holding lion's skin and club across shoulder; $150.00 (€127.50)


Plotina, Augusta 105 - 129 A.D., Wife of Trajan, Gordus-Julia, Lydia

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"The colonial coins of Plotina are, according to Vaillant, of the highest degree of rarity. Amongst those bearing Latin inscriptions are issues from Cassendreia in Macedonia, and Corinth in Achaia." -- Dictionary of Roman Coins
RP83943. Bronze AE 22, RPC online III 2550 (11 spec.); SNG München 189; BMC Lydia p. 92, 18; Prowe-Egger 1460; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aF, dark patina, legends mostly weak/unstruck, porosity, small edge chip/crack, weight 4.137 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 180o, Gordus-Julia mint, magistrate Poplius, c. 112 - 117 B.C.; obverse ΠΛΩTEINA CEBACTH, draped bust right, hair in plait behind; reverse ΓOP∆HNΩN EΠI ΠOΠΛIOY, Zeus seated left on throne, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; very rare; $150.00 (€127.50)




  






REFERENCES

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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).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Lydia. (London, 1901).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Münzen der Kilbianer in Lydien" in NZ 20 (1888).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Kleinasiatische Münzen. (Vienna, 1901-2).
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Noe, S. Two Hoards of Persian Sigloi. ANSNNM 136. (New York, 1956).
Price, M. The Coinage of in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. (London, 1991).
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Spier, J. "Notes on Early Electrum Coinage and a Die-Linked Issue from Lydia" in Studies Price. (London, 1998).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 5: Ionia, Caria, and Lydia. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland, The Erkki Keckman Collection in the Skopbank, Helsinki, Part II: Asia Minor except Karia. (Helsinki, 1999).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain VI, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, The Lewis Collection II: The Greek Imperial Coins. (1992).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Österreich, Sammlung Leypold, Kleinasiatische Münzen der Kaiserzeit. Vol. I. Pontus - Lydien. (Vienna, 2000).
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Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. (Istanbul, 2002).
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Waggoner, N. Early Greek Coins from the Collection of Jonathan P. Rosen (ANS ACNAC 5). (New York, 1983).

Catalog current as of Monday, July 16, 2018.
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Lydia, Anatolia