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Roma Numismatics Ltd
Auction XIV  21 Sep 2017
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Lot 270

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Estimate: 50000 GBP
Price realized: 50000 GBP

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Bithynia, Kios AV Stater. Circa 340-330. Hierokles, magistrate. Laureate head of Apollo to right / Prow of war galley to left, ornamented with a star on fighting platform; club above, eagle standing to left before, IEPO-ΚΛΗΣ above and below. Cf. Waddington, Recueil Général des Monnaies Grecques d'Asie Mineure, pl. XLIX, 2 (same obverse die) and 3 (same magistrate). 8.62g, 18mm, 12h.

Near Mint State. Extremely Rare; one of fewer than a dozen known examples of which almost all are in museums.

According to myth, Kios was founded on the Propontic coast by the Argonaut Polyphemos, with Herakles' approval. In practice, the site appears to have been first a Mysian, then a Karian colony, which was refounded by Milesians in circa 626/5 (Euseb. Chron. 97b). Nothing is known about the city's early history, but it was under Persian domination from as early as 547/6 onwards. The Kians made several attempts to shake off the Persian yoke, first taking part in the Ionian Revolt in 497, then twice joining the Delian League, but though a Greek settlement, it is described as both small and barbarised, and in the Athenian tribute-list it is one of the many insignificant places assessed at 1,000 drachmai. Each time therefore, it is unsurprising that it was quickly brought back under Persian rule, and from 404 Kios made no further bids for independence.

Kios' civic coinage is confined to a narrow period in the mid 4th century BC, struck either shortly before or immediately after Alexander's invasion of Asia Minor. Though it has been suggested that the coinage may have been intended to pay Mercenaries, this seems unlikely since the circulation of all the Kian coin series seems to have been limited.

Throughout Alexander's reign Kios was in the hands of a Persian dynast, Mithridates, uncle of the founder of the kingdom of Pontus, who ruled there from 337 to 302. While he lived, the city was never in the Hellespontine satrapy, demonstrated by the fact that when Antigonos drove out the Hellespontine satrap in 318, he fled to Kios (Diod. XVIII, 72, 2). Given that the Kian coins feature the names of civic magistrates rather than those of a local dynast, it seems possible that a short-lived uprising, unknown to history, may have occurred in the early part of the second half of the fourth century which occasioned the striking of a small number of gold staters, silver drachms and hemidrachms.


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