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apollonia

Dramma della Tessaglia con raffigurazione frontale di Aleuas

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apollonia
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Salve

Il mio interesse per questa moneta (esemplare CNG 73) è dovuto alla sua possibile relazione con la casa reale macedone.

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THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 370-360 BC. AR Drachm (5.89 g, 1h). Head of Aleuas facing slightly left, wearing conical helmet; labrys behind / Eagle standing right, head left, on thunderbolt; ELLA to left. Herrmann group VIII, pl. VII, 11; SNG Copenhagen -; BMC 12; Jameson 2469; Gulbenkian 473 (all from the same dies). Good VF, lightly toned.

From the David Herman Collection. Ex Gorny & Mosch 138 (7 March 2005), lot 1273.

 

Le interpretazioni più comunemente accettate di questa enigmatica emissione della coniazione di Larissa, unica del genere, sono quelle proposte da C. Seltman e da M. Sordi. Per Seltman (Monete greche, p. 161), Aleuas o Aleva, il fondatore della casa regnante della Tessaglia, è raffigurato per promuovere la protesta di Eliocrate, un nobile tessalo, nei confronti di Alessandro di Fere nel 361 a. C. A sostegno di questa ipotesi c'è la legenda ELLA sul rovescio vista come una forma contratta di Eilocrate. Invece M. Sordi (La drachma di Aleuas e l'origine di un tipo monetario di Alessandro Magno, Annali 3 [1956]) ha datato questo tipo al regno di Alessandro III di Macedonia, che dopo la sua ascesa al trono divenne anche lagos della Tessaglia. Secondo Sordi è possibile che Alessandro emise questa moneta per sottolineare la discendenza congiunta della Tessaglia e la regalità macedone, entrambe discendenti da Dodona in Epiro. Sordi osserva che, assieme alle monete Epirote, questo tipo monetale si trova anche nelle prime emissioni di Alessandro III di Macedonia (Monetazione dell'”Aquila”, cfr. Price pl. CXLIII).

Oltre a questa relazione con gli alessandri dell’aquila coniati ad Anfipoli, ricordo che originaria di Larissa era Filinna, la moglie di Filippo II di Macedonia madre di Filippo III Arrideo, il successore del fratellastro Alessandro Magno sul trono di Macedonia assieme al figlio di quest’ultimo, Alessandro IV.

E anche un’altra consorte di Filippo, Nicespoli, era tessala.

 

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Note biografiche su Filinna.

Secondo la testimonianza di Ateneo, Filinna era originaria di Larissa, in Tessaglia. È probabile che il matrimonio con Filippo II fosse motivato da un'alleanza dinastica come avvenne per altre consorti come Nicespoli, anch’essa tessala, Audata, principessa illira, Fila, figlia del re di Elimea, Meda di Odessa, principessa tracia, e finalmente Olimpiade, figlia del re dell’Epiro.

Ateneo riporta il nome di Filinna al quarto posto nella lista delle mogli del re di Macedonia, successivamente a quello di Nicesipoli e prima di quello di Olimpiade, anche se sappiamo che il matrimonio con quest'ultima avvenne prima di quello con Filinna.

Le nozze tra il re di Macedonia e Filinna avvennero probabilmente tra il 358 e il 357 a. C. e dato che Alessandro Magno nacque nel 356 a. C, si può dedurre che Filippo III e Alessandro Magno fossero praticamente coetanei, anche se non è certo quale dei due fosse il maggiore.

Plutarco testimonia invece che Filinna era una donna di origini oscure, mentre Giustino riporta che era una ballerina, insinuando addirittura che fosse una prostituta. Inoltre, Ateneo riporta un frammento di Tolomeo di Agesarco, che confermerebbe la sua professione di ballerina e che si trattasse di un'amante, e non una moglie, del re macedone. In ogni caso Filinna era di una bellezza sconvolgente, alla quale uno come Filippo non poteva resistere.

Gli storici moderni sono però orientati a considerare che le illazioni su Filina siano dovute ad una propaganda volta a screditarne il figlio Filippo III Arrideo, nel tentativo di evidenziare la sua illegittimità a sedere sul trono macedone. È invece probabile che si trattasse di una nobildonna tessala, come sembra evidenziare Ateneo, quando associa i matrimoni con Filinna e Nicesipoli all'alleanza con la Tessaglia.

Le fonti antiche non riportano altre notizie su Filinna, se non la probabile menzione di Plutarco che testimonia quanto Olimpiade, la moglie preferita da Filippo (almeno fino al matrimonio con Cleopatra Euridice), fosse gelosa della moglie tessala, anche se non sappiamo con certezza se lo storico di Cheronea si riferisse a Filinna (com'è più probabile, visto che aveva un figlio maschio, coetaneo di Alessandro e suo potenziale rivale nella successione al trono) o a Nicesipoli.

 

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Per quanto concerne le dramme dell'aquila di Alessandro Magno, mentre nella dramma di Larissa l’aquila sul fulmine è in piedi a sinistra con la testa rivolta a destra, in quelle di Alessandro il volatile è in piedi a destra con la testa rivolta a sinistra (Price 2, 7, 85, 96, 101).

Esemplare della dramma Price 101 (Triton VIII).

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KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III. 336-323 BC. AR Drachm (4.24 gm, 2h). Amphipolis or Aigai mint. Lifetime issue struck under Antipater, circa 325-323 BC. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion's skin headdress / ALEXAN-DROU, eagle standing right, head left, on thunderbolt; horizontal caduceus in right field. Price 101 (this coin referenced); Troxell, Studies, Issue E9, 163; Müller -. Good VF, attractively toned, minor flan flaw on cheek, small die break on reverse. Extremely rare; five specimens noted by Troxell. ($1000)

Ex Hess-Leu (12 April 1962), lot 186.

Sale: Triton VIII, 10 January 2005, Lot: 156. Estimate $1000. Sold For $1500. 

 

Negli altri esemplari riportati dal Price l’aquila è a destra (Price 33, 60, 69, 74, 77, 87A, 95) o a sinistra (Price 40A, 52), con la testa rivolta sempre dalla stessa parte.

La mia dramma è una Price 33, con il caduceo come simbolo di controllo (Münzen & Medaillen 32).

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KINGS of MACEDON. Alexander III ‘the Great’. 336-323 BC. Drachm (Silver, 15mm, 3.954 g), Amphipolis, c. 336-323. Head of young Herakles in lion skin headdress to right. Rev. AΛEΞAN-ΔΡOΥ Eagle with closed wings standing right on thunderbolt; to right, caduceus to right. Price 33; Troxell, SMCA 31, 162 (Rv. stgl.). Rare. Slightly corroded surfaces. Very fine.

 

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Ho ripreso questa mia discussione per presentare altre monete della zecca di Larissa di particolare qualità e rarità, che si trovano descritte nei negozi e nelle aste della rete.

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THESSALY, LARISSA AR Drachm (6.06 gm) c. 410-400 B.C.

Bull wrestler flying horizontally beside bull r. / Horse galloping r. Herrmann Group III K, pl. iv, 2.

Very Rare. Extremely Fine.

 

Ho lasciato la didascalia originale per quanto non sia il lottatore ma il suo petaso a volare orizzontalmente dietro al toro.

Durante i giochi religiosi, i giovani della Tessaglia partecipavano alla lotta contro il toro, saltando da cavallo vestiti solo di un clamide e un petaso sul toro che dovevano trascinare a terra. Il rovescio mostra il cavallo che corre libero dopo che il cavaliere gli è saltato giù. Il gioco può avere avuto origine in Asia Minore e poi introdotto a Creta, dove è noto che il popolo della Tessaglia ha appreso lo sport.

 

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Emidramma NAC 77.

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Greek Coins 
Thessaly, Larissa 
Hemidrachm circa 479/475-460, AR 2.01 g. Head of Jason l., wearing petasus . Rev.
ΛA / RI retrograde Sandal l. BCD Thessaly –, cf. 346.2. An apparently unrecorded variety of an extremely rare type. Toned and good very fine Privately purchased in 2001.

The coin designs of Larissa underwent a gradual transformation from the first issues, which probably commenced in about 479 B.C., to the last civic issues, comprised of bronzes of the 2nd and 1st Centuries B.C. This remarkable hemidrachm belongs to the earliest series, the designs of which overwhelmingly honored the Greek hero Jason (of Argonaut fame) and the sandal he lost in the River Anaurus. This mythological episode must have been quite important to the people of Larissa in the early 5th Century, yet it hardly was recalled on later issues. Also appearing on the coins of this first issue are the nymph Larissa and a horse, two subjects that in later times would dominate the designs of Larissan coinage. A grazing horse is shown on the obverse of the largest denomination of this early series, the drachm, and the nymph is portrayed on the obverse of obols; in both instances the reverse type is the sandal of Jason. Another important design subject, the bull, appears on early silver fractions. On obols the head and neck of a bull are paired with the reverse type of a horse head set within an incuse square. Also, bull’s hooves appear on hemiobols, being paired with a variety of reverse types. During the period c.450-400 B.C. the designs on Larissan coinage shifted focus from Jason and his sandal to bulls, horses and the nymph Larissa, who on trihemiobols and obols is shown engaged in a wide range of activities. Also honored on these small denominations is the healing-god Asclepius. By the early 4th Century the silver coinage of Larissa entered a new phase in which drachms and hemidrachms began to be struck in large quantities. Horses and bulls (often attend to by men) and the nymph are now the exclusive design types, except for an enigmatic and rare drachm with the facing head of Aleuas and an eagle standing on a thunderbolt, which is known from a single die-pair. For what remained of the 4th Century the drachms of Larissa abandoned the bull in favor of a singular type that pairs the facing head of the nymph with a horse. The animal typically is shown grazing or preparing to roll, but sometimes is shown prancing, appears startled, or is accompanied by a man or a foal. The nymph head on these familiar issues was inspired by the facing-head masterpiece of Kimon that appeared on tetradrachms of Syracuse late in the 5th Century. Its perfect composition was influential at mints throughout the Greek world, notably in Macedon, Thessaly and southern Asia Minor.

 

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Dramma (Nomos 4).

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Coins of Thessaly, the BCD Collection
Larissa
Circa 370-360 BC. Drachm (Silver, 6.10 g 12). LARISA Head of the nymph Larissa to right, her hair bound at the top of her head, wearing triple-pendant earring and pearl necklace. Rev. LAR - I- SAI - WN Bridled horse trotting to right, tail in a curl; below, in very small letters, EPI. Lorber 2008, pl. 45, 100 var. Extremely rare and of superb style. Extremely fine. Ex Giessener Münzhandlung 44, 3 April 1989, 275 (DM 24,000).
This rare coin has been dated as early as the 390s but that seems too high. The head of Larissa has a reasonably close relationship to the Demeter on the staters of Lokris, but it also harks back to the work of Euainetos at Syracuse. This must have been the prototype issue with the following lot coming shortly thereafter. They were followed by issues bearing the head of Aleuas and by those with a bull fleeing before a pursuing rider, both types also rare; and then, finally, by the long series of drachms with facing heads of the nymph, so familiar to collectors.
A note from BCD : The date of this and the next lot, the high relief profile drachms, is still open to discussion but recent hoard evidence points to circa 370 and not 395 BC as suggested by Herrmann, p. 39. For further comments on these coins and the problems of striking that caused them to be such a short lived issue, see Obolos 7, pp. 18-19.

 

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Triobolo (Triton XIV).

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THESSALY, Larissa. Circa 479-460 BC. AR Triobol (12mm, 2.59 g, 7h). Head of Jason left, wearing petasos / ΛAR-IΣA within incuse square. Herrmann Group I, b1 corr. (incorrect weight listed); Moustaka -; SNG Copenhagen -; SNG München -; Traité I 1413 = de Luynes 1831 (same dies); CNG E-131, lot 34 (same dies). Near EF, minor die break on reverse. Exceptional relief and quality. Extremely rare.


Jason was the son of Aison, king of Thessaly. When Aison’s half-brother, Pelias, overthrew Aison and seized the kingdom, he sought out all of Aison’s progeny for destruction. Fortuitously, Jason was spared and spent his youth in the Thessalian countryside, where he grew to young manhood under the tutelage of the great centaur Chiron (who also tutored Achilles). In the meantime, it had been prophesied to Pelias that he would be destroyed by a man wearing one sandal. On his way to Iolchos to claim his throne, Jason lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros while helping an aged woman (the goddess Hera in disguise) across it. Arriving at the city, he demanded the throne from Pelias who, in turn, said he would relinquish it on one condition – that Jason successfully bring back the Golden Fleece from where it was at the edge of the world in the kingdom of Kolchis. To do this, Jason called together all the great heroes of his day, including Herakles, to assist him, and had built a special vessel for the voyage, the Argo.
Arriving at Kolchis after a series of adventures, he demanded the Fleece from its king, Aietes, the son of the god Helios and brother of the witch Kirke. Aietes responded that he would hand over the Fleece only after Jason performed a series of three supposedly impossible tasks. To accomplish them, Jason had the assistance of Aietes’ young daughter, Medea, who, like Kirke was also a witch. After Jason, with the help of Medea (who, by now, had “fallen in love” with Jason), had taken the Golden Fleece, Aietes plotted to take his revenge and pursued the young couple as they fled in the Argo. To hedge against this, Medea had taken her younger brother, Apsyrtos, as hostage. As Aietes drew closer in pursuit, Jason and Medea distracted him by dismembering Aspyrtos and throwing parts of his body overboard. By causing Aietes to stop to collect them, the lovers were able to escape.
Back in Iolchos, Pelias, thinking that Jason would never have been successful, hesitated to relinquish his throne. Medea then devised a way to remove the old king and give Jason the throne. Restoring a dismembered old sheep to its youthful appearance, she convinced the daughters of Pelias that their aged father could be restored to his youth if they likewise dismembered him and applied Medea’s sorcery. The daughters gladly chopped Pelias to bits, but Medea secretly withheld the necessary magical herbs, causing the restoration of the king to fail.
After becoming king, Jason soon tired of Medea. In order to strengthen his political position, he sought to put aside Medea, take the children of their union, and marry the daughter of the king of Corinth. To avenge herself, Medea did not slay Jason directly, but killed him by making him a pariah with no hope of descendants; she not only slew the king of Corinth and his daughter, but she slew her own children with her own hands. Afterward, lonely and disconsolate, Jason fell asleep under the stern of the Argo. Now old and in disrepair, a rotten beam fell from the ship upon Jason, killing him.

 

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Obolo (NAC 82).

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The J. FALM Collection: Miniature Masterpieces of Greek Coinage depicting Animals 
Thessaly, Larissa 
Obol late 2nd quarter of 5th cent., AR 1.01 g. Head of bull facing; behind, to l., half figure of hero holding the bull’s neck with his l. arm, his r. hand below its muzzle. Rev. Head and neck of bridled horse r.: in lower r. field.
ΛA upwards. Hermann Larissa, group III B and pl. 1, cf. 25 (hero r.). BCD, Thessaly Triton 353.3 (these dies). Demeester 123 (this coin). 
Rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. 
Good very fine / about extremely fine
Ex Dr. Busso Peus sale 340, 1994, Jamoghian, 190.

 

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Triemiobolo (Nomos 8).

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GREEK COINS
Thessaly
Larissa. Circa 420-400 BC. Trihemiobol (Silver, 13mm, 1.10 g 5). Small, round shield, with dotted border, bearing as a device a bull’s hoof to right; all within an outer dotted border. Rev.
ΛAΡI Diademed bust of Asklepios to right, wearing long beard and with slight drapery over his chest; before him, snake turned to right. BCD 1120 ( this coin ). Herrmann F/G IIIβ II, II and pl. III, 15 var. (there a horse’s hoof). Traité 690 and pl. CCXCVII, 23. Very rare, beautifully preserved and with a superb head of Asklepios. Extremely fine. From an American Collection and from the BCD Collection, Nomos 4, 10 May 2011, 1120.
 

This wonderful coin serves as a perfect parallel to the unusually magnificent fractions issued in contemporary Sicily. Those coins were issued in small numbers and must have initially served as donatives given away by local magnates; the present coin seems to be one of a small number of coins that were produced in Thessaly for the same purposes. They can be distinguished from more normal issues by their exceptional style and quality and, interestingly enough, by their low value: after all, they were meant to be given to numerous people, perhaps even thrown to them.

 

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Didramma (NAC 25).

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Greek Coins
Thessaly, Larissa
No.: 163
Schätzpreis - Estimate CHF 9000
d=24 mm
Didrachm circa 350-340, AR 12.21 g. Head of the nymph Larissa facing three-quarters to l., wearing ampyx, earring and plain necklace. Rev. LARI - S Bridled horse advancing r., r. foreleg raised; in exergue, AIWN. Boston 894. SNG Copenhagen 119. ACGC 396 (this reverse die). F. Hermann, Die Silbermünzen von Larissa in Thessalien, Zeitschrift für Numismatik XXXV, pl.
V, 2.
An exceptional specimen of this desirable issue. Well-struck in high relief,
good extremely fine / almost Fdc

 

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Dramma (Nomos 4).

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Coins of Thessaly, the BCD Collection
Larissa
Circa 365-356 BC. Drachm (Silver, 6.17 g 3). LARISAION Bull rushing to right. Rev. Thessalian horseman, Thessalos, wearing petasos, cloak and tunic, galloping to right. Herrmann pl. IV, 17. Lorber 2008, pl. 46, 101. SNG Copenhagen 118. A superb coin of wonderful quality, fresh and sharp. Slightly double struck on the obverse, otherwise , good extremely fine. This type of Larissa drachm is normally found in no better than very fine condition: the issue must have seen virtually continuous circulation for at least 50 years or so. Thus, the outstandingly fine and unworn state of this coin is quite astounding; the coin must have been buried almost as soon as it was minted.
A note from BCD : An exceptionally sharp strike for this type that usually comes weakly struck and/or off center. Probably one of the best, if not the best known.

 

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Altro esemplare della dramma al post # 4.

996550558_9.DrammaLarissaaltroesemplare1resize.png.f7dc597a128f793a16c68d8f0942bba6.png

Obverse: Youthful wrestler subduing bull by the horns, with chlamys and petasus.
Reverse: Bridled horse galloping right with a trailing rein; within square incuse

LEGEND SYMBOLS
Obv. Naked Thessalos wrestling bull striding right, with petasus flying in the wind and cloak over his shoulder, holding a band around the head of the rushing bull’s horns. Rev. Bridled, bareback horse with trailing rein galloping right,
ΛΑΡ above and IΣΑΙΑ below; all within a shallow incuse square.

The ancient city of Larissa was the leading city of Thessaly and is located inland from the Aegean along the Pineios River. The region surrounding Larissa is perhaps the most fertile agricultural land in Greece. The vast Thessaly pasture lands were well known during antiquity for the breeding of fine horses. The ancient historians believe Larissa was founded by Acrisios, father of Danae, and accidentally killed by Persus, and so named after the eponymous fountain nymph Larissa, prophetess of Apollo (Pausanius 2.24.1). The great wealth and ancient prosperity of Larissa allow her to be the most prolific mint in the region. From the early 5th century to the end of the 4th century, Larissa produced a long series of coins whose two principal themes centered on celebrating livestock and the famous Larissa fountain nymph (see: Larissa as nymph). This classical period coin features a lively action scene illustrating the Thessalian pastime of bull wrestling, a sport thought to have been associated with honor and mythic importance. Both sides of this magnificent coin taken together represent the festival game known as the Taurokathapsia. The game requires a young nobleman or “toreador” to leap from his galloping horse and wrestle down the bull on his bare feet with the aid of a band passed around the horns of the bull’s head. Perhaps the coin itself suggests that a successful outcome by Thessalos elevated his status to mythological hero in the eyes of a Thessalian? The coins obverse depicts the Thessalian wrestler in action, grasping the running bull by its horns. The reverse depicts the riderless horse galloping onward, perhaps to stable. Virtually identical coins where struck by all Thessaly during this period and is a testament to the united league of this ancient Greek city-state.

 

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Larissa Cremaste: AE 17 mm Testa di Achille/Teti su ippocampo (Triton X).

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THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. Circa 302-286 BC. Æ 17mm (5.60 g, 12h). Head of Achilles left / LA-RI, Thetis seated left on hippocamp, holding shield of Achilles with AX (=Achilles) monogram; no symbol to left. Rogers 315; SNG Copenhagen 151. EF, dark green-brown patina. Exceptional for issue. Very rare.
 

Larissa Kremaste was believed to have formed part of the dominions of Achilles, and this coin honors the ancient king and his mother, Thetis.
Estimate: $1500

 

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Larissa Cremaste: Æ Trichalkon Testa di Achille/Teti su ippocampo (Triton X).

430937668_11.LarissaCremaste1174340.m.jpg.d8cd6c8bdcdac60471ad936a3a6e4ba8.jpg

THESSALY, Larissa Kremaste. 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (20.5mm, 6.27 g, 9h). Bare head of Achilles to r., border of dots / ΛΑΡΙΣΑΙΩΝ from the bottom, towards the r., up and circular, Thetis, veiled, wearing long chiton and holding shield of Achilles with his monogram on it, seated l. on hippocamp; below, in front of her feet, dolphin l. Heyman, p. 116, 1; see also SNG München 91 (same dies); one more is at the ANS [1944.100.17230] (same dies). Fine, green patina with some areas of brown, fine cleaning marks; obv. softly struck, the reverse of exceptionally fine artwork and charming detail; one of three known (?) of these dies .

Rogers’ reference to a coin such as this, published in the Numismatic Chronicle 1893, p. 25, is mistaken (and so is Heyman’s entry who copied Rogers); that coin is the small denomination, nymph / harpa in wreath. Both the Munich and the ANS coins are in a poor state and do not show the detail on the reverse; their obverses appear to be similarly weakly struck as this coin. Finally, the Athens coin illustrated by Rogers (fig. 155) is of the later type with the smaller head on the obverse and the partial ethnic on the reverse (as Nomos 4, 1175, and lot 400 in this catalogue).
The reverse die of this coin is surely a prototype, probably executed by a master die cutter especially commissioned for the inaugural coinage of the city. Because of its weakly struck obverse, ASW chose not to include this coin in Nomos 4, opting instead for the slightly later issue that is of clearly inferior artwork. This writer agrees with him concerning the dating of these early bronzes. The reverse die of this coin belongs to the fourth century, probably to the first half of it and certainly not to the time of Demetrios Poliorketes. The dies featured in Nomos 4, 1175 as well as lot 400 in this catalogue, come immediately after this issue and are still earlier than the 3rd century much commoner coins (see lots 403.1 to 403.5 below).

 

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Tricca: emidramma Tessalo e parte anteriore di toro/Parte anteriore di cavallo (Triton XV).

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THESSALY, Trikka. 2nd half of the 5th century BC. AR Hemidrachm (17mm, 2.91 g, 3h). Youthful hero, Thessalos, naked but for cloak and petasos over his shoulders, holding a band with both hands below the horns of the forepart of a bull leaping r., border of dots / TPI-K-KAI-И ( sic ) from l. up, to r. and down circular, forepart of bridled horse prancing r., all in incuse square with rounded edges and corners. This die combination not found in references consulted. VF, lightly toned; reverse die flaw at horse’s truncation.
 

Trikka produced vast quantities of hemidrachms if we are to judge from the number of dies that have survived. Probably a kind of agreement was reached with Larissa that produced equal amounts of taurokathapsia drachms because, up to now, no Trikka drachms are known to us. Larissa did strike hemidrachms of this type but in small quantities and from few dies. They were probably exceptional issues and most of them have various symbols or are signed by the die cutters, indicating a special purpose or status.

 

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Orthe: Æ Trichalkon Testa di Atena/Parte anteriore di cavallo emergente dalle rocce, su cui cresce un cespo di olivo (CNG 90).

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THESSALY, Orthe. Late 4th-early 3rd centuries BC. Æ Trichalkon (22mm, 7.26 g, 11h). Helmeted head of Athena right / Forepart of horse right springing from rock upon which grows olive bushes; all within olive wreath. Rogers 421; BCD Thessaly II 500. Good VF, dark green and red patina, a little minor roughness. A bold and clear strike. The BCD II specimen sold for $4250.

 

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Ainiani: triemidramma Testa di Atena Parthenos/Femio (Nomos 3 & 4).

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THESSALY, Ainianes. Circa 80s (- 40s?) BC. Trihemidrachm (Silver, 7.40 g 12), Reduced Aiginetic, Hypata. Eukrates. Head of Athena Parthenos to right, wearing an Attic helmet adorned with Pegasos, tendril, and four horse protomes. Rev. ΑΙΝΙΑΝΩΝ/ΕΥΚΡΑΤΗΣ Phemios, as a slinger, nude but for chlamys over his shoulder and sword on baldric, standing facing, head turned to right, shooting his sling to right; behind him, two spears leaning against his right leg; to right, trophy. De Callataÿ 2004, 22 (this coin). SNG Copenhagen 13. Extremely rare. Attractively toned and very pretty. Nearly extremely fine.


Ex Sternberg XI, 20 November 1981, 85 (CHF 1900) and from the collection of G. Philipsen, Hirsch XXV, 29 November 1909, 578.

The late coinage of the Ainianes is a very strange one, traditionally dated to c. 168-146: this is not conceivably possible. De Callataÿ’s theory of a post-Sullan date for them (in his study of 2004) just has to be correct, though the chronological extent of the coinage may be longer than he suggested. While stylistic comparisons with Athenian New Style tetradrachms are not really helpful, the heads here do look rather post-Sullan in date (compare to the Nestor-Mnaseas group, Thompson 1205-1221 for example). Another factor is the appearance of the magistrate’s name on the obverse, a practice found on Achaian League issues of the 1st century (as those of Elis in BCD Peloponnesos 686-691). As for the denomination: the usual explanation is that they are reduced weight Attic didrachms (they usually weigh from around 7.40 to 7.70), especially since they bear a head of Athena Parthenos. De Callataÿ believes this and, knowing him, he’s probably right. But why on earth should they be: this would be an extremely unusual denomination, one that was nearly completely foreign to central Greece (save for Leukas, far to the west - but see below). In any case, they would have to be very reduced weight Attic since even the latest Athenian tetradrachms are around 16 g and more. No, it seems much more likely that they were produced on the dominant standard used in most of Greece: the reduced Aiginetic, which results in their being perfect trihemidrachms, based on a hemidrachm of c. 2.40-2.50 g. One may repost by pointing out that trihemidrachms would be pretty unusual too, but what else can they be? In any case, while a good number of these coins were originally issued, only a very few survived, indicating that they, and their denomination, were not particularly popular! 
However, BCD has reminded me of the very rare issues, identified as Attic staters, that were produced by Thyrreion (as BCD Akarnanien 403-409). These pieces also bear obverse heads of Athena taken from Athenian New Style issues, but have Athena Promachos on the reverse. They have been dated by Liampi to c. 94 BC and they are distinctly heavier than the comparable pieces of Ainianes that average around 7.5 g. The coins from Thyrreion were a very short-lived, prestige issue (only two obverse and six reverse dies are known for them, all signed by a single magistrate), but they agree in weight with the much larger issues of Leukas, normally dated to c. 167-100 and must be contemporary with them. The fact that the Ainianes pieces are appreciably lighter, implies, as we have written here, that they are later still, but their use of the head of Athena Parthenos as an obverse type must mean that the staters (they are almost certainly Attic didrachms, albeit light ones) of Thyrreion were known to the mint masters of Ainianes.

 

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Ainiani: Dichalkon Testa di Zeus/Femio (Nomos 4).

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Coins of Thessaly, the BCD Collection
Ainianes
Circa 302-286 BC. Dichalkon (Bronze, 20mm, 4.37 g 9), Hypata. Laureate and bearded head of Zeus to left. Rev. AINIAN-WN Phemios, nude but for chlamys over his shoulder and sword in scabbard, shooting sling to right; behind, leaning against his right leg, two spears. BMC 18. Rogers 137. SNG Copenhagen 4-5. An unusually fine example, with a dark, smooth olive-green patina. About extremely fine. Acquired from ASW in July 1983 for CHF 475, originally ex Frank Sternberg stock.

 

The exact dating of the coinage of the Ainianes after the 4th century is rather in flux. We know they were joined to the Aetolian League from c. 286/272 -168, and it is believed that they produced no independent coinage during this period, save for some rare bronze of Aitolian type (as below, lot 1017). Afterwards they produced a considerable coinage in the later 2nd and 1st centuries. The present piece, and the following lot, seem not to fall into either late group: neither have a magistrate’s name, and must be earlier. Neither seem as early as the mid 4th century so they have been given the traditional date of the late 4th or early 3rd century. This surely may change.

 

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Ainiani: didramma testa di Atena Parthenos/Femio (CNG 70).

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THESSALY, The Ainianes. Circa 168-146 BC. AR Didrachm (7.55 g, 12h). Helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, [NIKA]RCOS to left / Slinger (Phemios) standing right, two javelins behind. SNG Copenhagen -; Dewing 1377. Good VF, darkly toned. Very rare. ($2000)

According to Homer (Iliad 2.749), the Ainianes originally inhabited the hill country east of Dodona in Epeiros. In the early Archaic Period, they migrated eastward into Thessaly, settling in the upper Spercheios valley in the region named for them, Ainis. As a tribal state, rather than a more structured polis, the Ainianes joined the amphictionies, or religious leagues, of Pylos and Delphi. Their strategic dependence on the Aetolians brought them into alliance with the Aitolian League during the third and second centuries BC. Subsequently, the Romans granted them independence as a koinon, a status the Ainianes enjoyed well into the imperial period.

 

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Dramma di Pelinna (Nomos 8).

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THESSALY, Pelinna. First half of the 4th century BC, or earlier, perhaps the last quarter of the 5th. Drachm (Silver, 18mm, 6.20 g 10). Thessalian cavalryman, wearing petasos and chlamys, and holding a spear pointing backwards, riding to left on galloping horse; above, in tiny letters, ΑΙ; below horse, Α. Rev. [Π]ΕΛΙΝΝΑΙΚΟΝ (Νs retrograde) Warrior advancing left, his head turned back to right, wearing petasos and chlamys and with a sword in a scabbard held by a baldric, holding short spear in his right hand and a round shield, ornamented with a crescent, and two other spears in his left. BCD 1226 (this coin). Traité IV 527, pl. CCXC, 15. Very rare. A clear and well-centered example. Some minor marks and with a slightly rough surface, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.


From an American Collection and from the BCD Collection, Nomos 4, 10 May 2011, 1226.

The tiny letters on the obverse are probably magistrates’ control marks. The sculptural quality of the designs that appear on this coin is exceptionally fine; these coins usually appear in much poorer condition.

 

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Obolo di Perrhaiboi (Nomos 8).

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THESSALY, Perrhaiboi. Circa 462/1-460 BC. Obol (Silver, 9.5mm, 0.94 g 6). Forepart of wolf to left; above, monogram of either ΜΑΚ or ΛΑΚ. Rev. ΠΕ Head of bridled horse to right; all within incuse square. Cf BCD 1236 (same reverse die, but no monogram on the obverse). Hoffmann 1890, Photiades Pasha, 136 = Weber 2891 (same dies, now in the BM). Liampi, 1996, I, III, 6 (possibly the same dies, but the monogram is damaged on the illustrated specimen). Extremely rare, the best and most complete known example. Extremely fine.


From a European collection, formed before 2005.

This is quite an extraordinary coin! The types have been known since the Photiades Pasha sale in 1890, but both previously published examples were insufficiently preserved to allow the obverse monogram to be read correctly. In any event, what the obverse monogram signifies is a mystery: magistrates’ names or monograms very rarely appeared on Thessalian coins this early, and being in such a prominent position on the coin would be exceptional. The possibility that it refers to a political grouping or a prominent leader is certainly conceivable. One suggestion is that it refers to the Macedonians who were on Perrhaiboia’s northern border, and implies that there was some form of alliance between the two states.

 

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Dichalkon di Gyrton (CNG 90).

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BCD 1053 – Exceptional

THESSALY, Gyrton. Circa 340s-320s BC. Æ Dichalkon (18mm, 4.81 g, 6h). Helmeted head of Ares right; ΠEI before / Head of the nymph Gyrtone right, wearing stephane; IΠ behind neck. Cf. Rogers 230; BCD Thessaly I 1053 (this coin). Near EF, dark green-brown patina with spots of red. Well centered, and exceptional for this rare series.

 

Sold for $2750. 

 

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Emidramma di Demetrias (Triton XV).

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THESSALY, Demetrias. Circa 192-191 BC. AR Hemidrachm (15mm, 2.51 g, 12h). Head of Artemis right, drapery around neck; bow and quiver behind / Prow right; ΔHMH-TPIEΩN above and below, monogram to left. Furtwängler, Demetrias, Em. B, 4; BCD Thessaly 1429.2; SNG Copenhagen 46 (same rev. die); SNG München 12; SNG Ashmolean 3834 (same rev. die). EF, a hint of die wear on obverse. Exceptional for type, and among the finest known.

 

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Triemiobolo di Skotussa (Nomos 5).

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THESSALY, Skotussa. Later or end 5th century BC. Trihemiobol (Silver, 1.18 g 8). On a small disc encircled with pearls, laureate head of Apollo to right; all within a larger circle of pearls. Rev. Σ ΚΟ Kantharos with high handles; all within incuse square. Apparently unpublished. An extraordinary and exceptional coin, very well preserved. Lightly corroded surfaces, but clear, attractive and otherwise, nearly extremely fine.


From an old English collection.

This quite exceptional piece seems to be hitherto unknown. The laureate head must be that of Apollo and is quite reminiscent of those found on the coinage of the Chalkidian League from Olynthos. The Kantharos is a known type from Skotussa, as BCD 1338.

 

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Dramma di Pelinna (Triton XIII).

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THESSALY, Pelinna. Circa 400-350 BC. AR Drachm (6.17 g, 3h). Horseman, wearing petasos and holding lance, riding right; small IΔ below / Warrior, wearing petasos and shield on right arm, and holding two javelins in his left hand, preparing to throw javelin left; [ΠE]ΛIN[NA] to left; all in incuse square. Moustaka 142a (same obv. die as illustration); SNG Copenhagen -; SNG München 133; BMC 4; Traité IV 528. Good VF, light graffito (K) in field on reverse. Exceptional quality for issue, among the finest known of this very rare issue.


Except for the example shown in Moustaka, the other coins are so worn that it is not possible to verify if the small IΔ is present on their obverses.

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