Schlagwort-Archive: Artemis

Why not Myonnesos?

Anhang 3MY is a common beginning of greek city names, especially in Asia Minor. Coins bearing the legend MY… are in many cases attributed to Myous in Ionia, mostly because of the meander pattern. Others, like early Poseidon/Dolphin bronzes, seem to belong to either Myndos (Sear, Aulock) or Mygissos (SNG Tübingen, Klein), an obscure, almost unknown town in Caria. Furthermore, an attribution to Myrina, Mylasa or even Mykale (if it was an independent Polis in early times) is possible as well, also highly unlikely for historical and stylistic reasons.

Anhang 4Now a new typ occured, depicting a female head (it seems to be female to me because of the hairdress and the necklace) on the obverse and bow, arrow and the legend MY on the reverse. Because of the completely different iconography I am tempted to atrribute this coins to a different, further mint. Unfortunately, there are allmost no usefull hints. The head on the obverse show more or less certain Artemis, the hair typically pushed up, wearing a necklace. The huntress is further charaterized by bow and arrow on the reverse. Otherwise, bow and arrow can also stand for Herakles or Apollon. In case of Apollon, bow and arrow can be interpretated as divine weapons against any kinds of parasits, like locusts and mice. SmintheusAs protector against mice, Apollon bore the epithet Σμινθεύς, Smintheus („Mice-destroyer“). Imperial bronzes from Alexandreia Troas show the statue of Apollon Smintheus who still was worshipped in roman times (see right).

The small town of Myonnessos in Ionia, situated on a promontory between Teos and Lebedos, was discribed as an independent Polis by Hekataios in the 6th century BC (cited Steph. Byz.). In the second century BC the Teians persuaded Rome to prevent the fortification of Myonnesos (Strabo XIV.643), which implies the independence of the town in this time. As Myonnesos means Mice-Island, it seems very well possible to me that this city, like Airai near Teos, minted a small series of bronze coins which depicts the attributes of the local Apollon cult – Apollon, the „Mice-destroyer“. This is a vague speculation of course, but perhaps, as long as there is no other evidence or hint, not the worst one…

Myrina finally…

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No reindeer but a stag from Myrina finally made it into my collection

If you love your family, it is not always a good idea to invest on ebay items which end at strange times. In my case, I had to interrupt our chrismas dinner – I AM sorry, of course – to bid on a rare Myrina Trihemiobol, said to be the second known example. And: I made it and I am still somewhat proud of, what I call my own special chrismas gift!

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Trihemiobol of Myrina, depicting the head of Artemis to the left, wearing an artfull hairdress

Unitl about 2008 no early fraction of Myrina occured. Head, the BMC, Sear etc. suspected the first coins of this city to be minted about 300 BC or later. There are only two different types of coins of early Myrina fraction which I know: Obols (two or a few more examples known, check http://www.asiaminorcoins.com ), depicting a female head  which is frontal on the obverse and a he-goats head on the reverse and the type subsequently presented. While the obols bear the inscription MYPI, the belonging of the Trihemiobol to Myrina is confirmed by the letters MYPINAON.

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Reverse showing a grazing stag to the left, legend around

The attribution to Myrina in the Aeolis seems certain to me, although there existed another polis, bearing the same name: The ancient capital of the island of Lemnos was named after a leader of the mythological amazons, Myrine. Both Myrina and the second Lemnian City, Hephaistaia, became Athenian clerouchies in the early fifth century. For stylistic reasons, I assume that the coin was minted between ca. 420 BC and 400 BC. At this time, Lemnos was still under Ahtenian power – that is why Lemnian Myrina issued only small coins of bronze in the later fourth century, depicting the head of Athena on reverse and an owl on reverse – Athens sends its bests!

The later Tetradrachms are inscripted MYPINAION, with an I between A and O, which means „of the Myrinaians“ within the meaning „coin of the Myrinaians“. The genitive plural form implies that Myrina must have had a democratic government in times when the Tetradrachms were struck (second and first century BC according to Head) – legends say that those coins were issued by the peoples decision.

Our present inscription, MYRINAON, therefore only means „of Myrina“ and is little more than the localisation of the issuing mint. But, reading between the lines, this legend excludes a peoples decision, which enables us to come to some interesting conclusion about the political situation in Myrina at that time.

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The virgin huntress looking left…

George Bean (Aegean Turkey, p.105-109) says that Myrina is a ‚city without history‘. Although little is know about the early history of this polis, there are still some interesting facts handed down concerning the fate of this town. As most of the Aeolian poleis Myrina paid a phoros of one talent to the Athenian-Delian League. More interesting for understanding the story of the coin is the fact that the Persian king gave Myrina to the Greek commander Gongylos in 475 BC. As a defector, Gongylos helped some Persian noblemen to escape from Byzantion and, when Byzantion was captured by Pausanias in 476, Gongylos had to flee to Persia himself. Persian King, Xerxes rewarded Gongylos for his services – similar to Themistokles, who got Magnesia and some smaller towns – with the dominion over Gambrion and Palaigambrion in Mysia and Gryneion and its close neighbour: Myrina.

With the interruption of the period when Myrina joined the Delian League the city seems to have belonged to Gongylos and his son and successor Gongylos the Younger. According to Xenophon, in 399 Gongylos son Gongylos the Younger ruled over Myrina and Gryneion, another son Gorgion was tyrant of Gambrion and Palaigambrion. While Gorgion strucked coins at Gambrion, bearing his name (Head, p. 528), no coins of the other Gongylids, Gongylos the Elder and Gongylos the Younger are known(yet). At least no coins bearing his name, as the earliest fraction of Pergamon are assumed to be issued by Gongylos II.