Sunday, 19 June 2016

Three ancient Greek fractional coins

This isn’t an oversized pound coin, it is a normal 22.5mm diameter piece, yet it comfortably displays three ancient Greek fractional silver coins.

Kolophon in Ionia
AR hemiobol
c.5th cent BC
O - Head of Apollo right
R - Pebbled quadripartite incuse square with pellet in centre
Klein 401v

Kolophon in Ionia
AR hemiobol
6th cent BC
O - Archaic female head left
R - Quadripartite incuse square
SNG Kayham 342, SNG von Aulock 1808

Kolophon  was an ancient city in Ionia. Founded around the turn of the first millennium BC, it was likely one of the oldest of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. In ancient times it was located between Lebedos (120 stadia to the west) and Ephesus (70 stadia to its south). Today the ruins of the city can be found south of the town Değirmendere Fev in the Menderes district of Izmir Province, Turkey.

The city's name comes from the word κολοφών, "summit", which is also the origin of the bibliographic term "colophon", in the metaphorical sense of a 'crowning touch', as it was sited along a ridgeline. The term colophony for rosin comes from the term colophonia resina, that is, resin from the pine trees of Kolophon, which was highly valued for the strings of musical instruments.

Kyzikos in Mysia
AR hemiobol
480-450 BC
O - Forepart of boar left, tunny fish behind
R - Head of lion left, cross above
SNG Cop 49

Kyzikos was an ancient town of Mysia in Anatolia in the current Balıkesir Province of Turkey. It was located on the shoreward side of the present Kapıdağ Peninsula (the classical Arctonnesus), a tombolo which is said to have originally been an island in the Sea of Marmara only to be connected to the mainland in historic times either by artificial means or an earthquake.

Today the site of Kyzikos, located on the Erdek and Bandırma roads, is protected by Turkey's Ministry of Culture. Historically the monuments of Kyzikos were used by the Byzantine emperor Justinian as a quarry for the building of his Saint Sophia cathedral, and were still exploited by the Ottomans.