Archiv der Kategorie: Caria

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…

Iasos – of prawns and boars…

Actually my rarest coin is a Tetartemorion, which took me quite a couple of rainy weekends of research to get identified.

Iasos, obverse of the Tetartemorion

The obverse of the tiny coin bears a head of an animal, which is described in the literature as the head of a boar. To be honest, for a boar I am missing the tusks. The similiarity with boars on coins of the same time, even from the same region, like Euromos (see below) is limited. Any suggestions what kind of animal the stamp cutter had in mind? Might this be a wolf? Howbeit the snout looks piggish anyway....



The revers of the Tetartemorion

Although parts of the coin are covered by a dark film of horn silver, the sea dweller on the revers is determined easily as a prawn or shrimp. As Iasos was famous for its seafood, especially for its big prawns in ancient times it is not suprising that the city authorities decided to put this merchandise on the coins. Noteworthy enough, as there is only one other Polis in Asia Minor bearing the prawn on its coinage, the town of Priapos in Mysia.

This fraction can be ascribed to Iasos with confidence as there are to very similiar coin, Tetartemoria too, bearing the ehnic ΙΑΣ for Iasos (published by K. Konuk, see below). As usual for late fifth century B.C. coins of northern Caria, the Tetartemoria were struck in the reduced milesian weight standard. According to Konuk, this coin is the fifth know Tetartemorion from Iasos, even the third known without inscription – even though I’d rather hold an inscripted one…

swinish hemiobols from Euromos and Kyzikos

Referring to the just mentioned boar, here is a picture of a hemiobol from Iasos neighbouring city of Euromos. Bearing the head of Zeus on the front side, the revers shows a protome (the foreparte of an animal) of a boar, the stiff-bristled crest is clearly visible. The boar is joined by another pig, pictured on a ca. 450 B.C. hemiobol form Kyzikos in Mysia. If the iconographic programme on this Tetartemorions obvers referrs to the civic issues of Euromos – and there is some evidence for this assumption – this would characterize both cities as tied together somehow. If the boar on the Euromos coins is related with Zeus, who is depicted on the obverse, this animal could be an attribute of this God. The local surname of Zeus at Euromos was Lepsynos, a pre-greek name which cannot be translated satisfyingly yet.

For further informartion about the coinage of Iasos see