Archiv für den Monat Oktober 2013

Galepsos – a side trip to Thrace

Although this blog is about Asia Minor fractions, this hemiobol is worth a short visit to ancient neighbouring Northern Greece.

Aquired as a Trieros Hemiobol Galepsos(actually, TPIE-inscriped coins seems to belong to the Chalkidean League mint of Olynthos, the inscription simply means TPI(h)Emiobol), the
inscription differs from the commom TPIE, as I read ΓA. There were quite a couple of poleis beginning with GA.., like Gargara, Gambreion etc., but if you look more closely there’s only one GA-city which could have minted the introduced coin. The obverse shows a female head which, without any further symbols or details, cannot be further determined, perhaps a depiction of a local nymph. The inscription on the revers is framed by a subject of technical charakter. At first I thought of the inner side of a shield, on the second glance it reminded me of a wheel.

IMG_3661The combination of a wheel and the GA initials points to the town of Gargara in the Troas (check But on the one hand, the fine style of the ΓA hemiobol do not really fit into the Aeolian-styled Gargarian fractions, on the other hand the wheel on our coin shows a different design. A fabrication which rather reminds me of some dodekadrachms, strucked by various Macedonian tribes, like the Edones or Krestones. The three-spoke wheel depicted on those heavy coins seems to be typical for this region, which may indicate that the mint must be situated in close proximity to those martial tribes.

Galepsos, a small Parian colony of IMG_3662minor importance, situated on the southern shore of Mount Pangaion, seems to be a suitable candidate. Until now, only some few bronze coins of the fourth century are know, showing a protome of a goat (as in Paros) and the head of Dionysos. The female head on the hemiobol shows obvious parallels with the nymph head of the neighbouring Dikaia fractions or the late fifth century Thasos hemiobols. For the Galepsian history see Benjamin Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Greece until the Macedonian Conquest, p. 63: ‚About Galepsos we know almost nothing‘. As in nearby Argilos, Galepsos might have served as seaport for the hinterlands trading activities. This close connection may be reflected by a shared iconographic topic, supplemented by the initials of the Galepsians.

A Carian dwarf – fractions for Pixodauros?

Head of Apollon, wearing a laurel wreath, looking right

Today I’d like to introduce a tiny coin which seems to be the first known (to me, actually) silver fraction of Carian ruler Pixodauros. Bought as an „unknown hemiobol, probably from Cilicia“ it reminds of Cilician fractions
on the first look. The delicate portraits, especially the avers (?) could be interpreted as belonging to the early Cilician coinage, like the Datames Staters of Tarsos, depicting a nymph.

But there is one details which makes another origin more probable. The indicated drapery on the reverse‘ head neck is to be interpreted as a chlamys. This piece of clothing, some kind of cloak, is typical for the depiction of Apollon on staters and minor units of the Carian dynasts, the Hekatomnids. Until today, no fractions of Carian dynasts coins (from Hekatomos down to Pixodaros) smaller than the denomination of a Trihemiobol are known – except some early Hekatomnos Hemiobols.

But again, the resemblance of style and fabric is striking. The head of Apollon, shown slightly right, wearing a chlamys and laurel branch, became the badge of the hekatomnid coinage. For the first time, the head of Apollon looking right seems to appear during the reign of Pixodauros (340 – 335 B.C.). This innovation suggests that the side showing Apollon looking right must be the coins obverse.

..laureated head of Apollon again, facing slightly right.

..laureated head of Apollon again, facing slightly right.

As Pixodauros capital, Halikarnassos was also the mint of his coinage, both gold and silver issues. Unlike all other known Pixodauros coins this anepigraphic hemiobols doesn’t refer to its minting authority – rather unusual for dynastic coins. On the other hand: combining both popular motives (Apollo right, Apollo en face) must have been hint enough at the time to recognize Pixodauros as the Issuer.

The question remains open why Pixodauros should have minted uninscribed fractions – for local use at Halikarnassos? – from which only a single specimen is known until today…