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…

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