Chalcis. This important Ionic town, the mother-city of so many colonies in Italy, Sicily, and the peninsula of Chalcidice, carried on an extensive commerce in early times with all parts of the Hellenic world. Its relations with the Ionians of Asia Minor were probably instrumental in introducing into Europe the standard for weighing gold and silver, afterwards known as the Euboďc. The earliest Chalcidian coins may have been of electrum (wts. 45 and 22.5 grs.), but, in spite of their types, the provenance of these pieces points rather to Samos as their
1 The doubtful head on this coin has been thought by Gardner (N. C., 1878, p. 98) to be that of Antiochus III, and by J. P. Six (N. C., 1894, p. 299) to be that of Alexander, the son of Crateros, and nephew of Antigonus Gonatas, who appears to have been called King of Euboea, about B.C. 250. Although the portrait bears no special resemblance to those on any coins of Antiochus, there are objections, on various grounds, to so early a date as B.C. 250.
source of origin (B. M. C., Ion., p. xxxi; R. N., 1894, p. 160, Pl. III). The specimens with Chalcidian (?) types are the following:—
|Eagle devouring hare.|
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XX. 1.]
|Irregular incuse square. |
El. 44.4 grs.
|Eagle flying. [Ibid., Pl. XX. 2.]||Id. |
El. 22.1 grs.
|Wheel of four spokes.|
[Ibid., Pl. XX. 3.]
El. 21.8 grs.
The following archaic silver coins may, however, with much greater probability be attributed to Chalcis, though, as M. Svoronos has pointed out, those with the Wheel on the obv. might be assigned to Megara, as specimens have been found along the coasts of the Saronic Gulf (Journ. Int., i. 373 f.).
|Archaic wheel with transverse spokes.|
[Babelon, Traité, Pl. XXXIII. 14.]
|Incuse square diagonally divided. |
|Wheel of four spokes (Fig. 200).||Id. |
|Id. [B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XX. 5.]||Id. |
|Ψ (archaic Χ) on so-called Boeotian shield.||Wheel in incuse square. |
AR Tetradr.[Imhoof, Mon. gr., p. 221.]
|Flying eagle r., holding serpent. [Greenwell Colk, N. C., 1890, PI III. 23; [Z. f. N., xxi. Pl. V. 3.]||ΑV or Α between spokes of a wheel in incuse square; outside wheel, but within square . |
AR Tetradr. 260 grs.
|Similar, but eagle to l.|
[Z. f. N., xvii. Pl. I. 3.]
|Similar, but wheel in incuse triangle instead of square. |
|Flying eagle, holding serpent.||Wheel in incuse triangle. |
AR Didr.[Zeit. f. Num., iii. p. 217.]
|Id. or without serpent.|
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XX. 8.]
|ΨΑ Id. in incuse square or triangle. |
|Eagle flying.|| „ Id. |
For similar coins see also Olynthus in Chalcidice (p. 208).
The conquest of Chalcis by the Athenians in B.C. 507 would seem to be the lower limit of its archaic coinage. Between this date and the time of Epaminondas, circ. B.C. 370, it can hardly have been in a position to strike coins in its own name.
|Female head with ear-ring.|
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XX. 9.]
|ΧΑΛ Flying eagle, holding serpent. |
AR 58 grs.
|Id. [Ibid., Pl. XX. 12.]|| „ Id. devouring hare. |
AR 27 grs.
|Female head with ear-ring.|
[Ibid., Pl. XX. 13.]
|Χ Α Eagle standing. |
|Id. facing, wearing diadem surmounted by live disks, connected by a fillet. [Ibid., Pl. XX. 15.]||ΧΑΛ Id. devouring serpent. |
|Female head in profile, covered with head-dress of pearls. [Ibid., Pl. XX. 17.]|| „ Id. |
The female head on these coins is probably the celestial Hera, a lunar goddess worshipped on Mount Dirphys, overlooking the Chalcidian plain. The disks which encircle the head may symbolize the Planets (cf. Overbeck, Kunst-Mythologie, iii; Gemmentafel, i. 8). The Eagle devouring a Serpent seems to be an emblem of the Olympian Zeus, as on the coins of Elis, for at Chalcis one of the chief shrines was that of Zeus Olympios (cf. Hicks, Gr. Hist. Inscr., 2nd ed., No. 40, p. 65).
Throughout the Macedonian period Chalcis was one of the chief strongholds of the kings of Macedon, and was hence called one of the three fetters of Greece. Tetradrachms of Alexander’s types were struck there , symbol, Head of Hera encircled by disks as above. This type was sometimes used as a countermark over bronze coins of Antigonus (N. C., 1898. Pl. XIX. 9).
In B.C. 197 Chalcis received her freedom at the hands of Flamininus, as did also the other Euboean towns Carystus, Eretria, and Histiaea.
|Head of Hera veiled, and wearing stephane (Fig. 201).||ΧΑΛΚΙΔΕΩΝ Hera with sceptre in quadriga. Magistrate’s name, ΞΕΝΟΚΡΑΤΗΣ. |
AR Attic tetradr.
|Female head, with two long locks at back of neck.||ΧΑΛΚΙ Eagle and serpent. Magistrate’s name, ΜΕΝΕΔΗ ... (Fig. 202). |
AR 84 grs.
|Id. [B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXI. 3.]||ΧΑΛΚΙ Id. |
|Head of Hera, facing, wearing coronet of pearls and fillet.|
[Hunter Cat., Pl. XXXIII. 8.]
| „ Prow. Magistrate’s name, ΣΩΣΙΠΑ. |
[B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXI. 4.]
|Magistrate’s name in wreath. |
|Head of Hera crowned with pearls, or facing on the capital of a column.||ΧΑΛΚΙΔΕΩΝ Eagle and serpent [Ibid., Pl. XXI. 5]. |
On the Imperial coins a head of Hera, crowned with a head-dress composed of three tiers of pearls, and fixed on the top of a column is the most frequent type; but on a coin of Sept. Severus a complete statue of the celestial Hera is seen, accompanied by her name ΗΡΑ. (B. M. C., Cent. Gr., Pl. XXI. 12.) She is seated on a conical stone, and wears a long chiton and peplos, and a lofty head-dress; she holds a phiale and a sceptre. The sacred conical stone also occurs by itself as a reverse type. The magistrates’ names on Imperial coins are L. Livius, L. Rufinus, Tib. Claudius Euthycleides, Mescinius, Cleonicus, etc. (Imhoof, Mon. gr., p. 222.)