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Where is that ancient city?


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Once you get off the beaten path of Athens, Rome, Alexandria, Carthage, a few other major cities - ancient coins are often from places where I've had to ask : where the heck is that?

For example: Where is Phrygian Κιβύρα (Kibyra)?  Having access to The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World can be helpful, although you do have to find it under Cibyra and there is another Kibyra (Kibyra Mikra) that is not the same place.  Once you find it on the map - this picture isn't exactly sufficient to know where in the world this is.


So here's a little more context from The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1923 : Cibyra.  (the south western part of modern turkey shown with Cyprus in bottom right)


Strabo is always good for a comment on people and geography:

"It is said that the Cibyratae are descendants of the Lydians who took possession of Cabalis, and later of the neighboring Pisidians, who settled there and transferred the city to another site, a site very strongly fortified and about one hundred stadia in circuit. It grew strong through its good laws; and its villages extended alongside it from Pisidia and the neighboring Milyas as far as Lycia and the Peraea of the Rhodians."

- Strabo, Geography, XIII.4.17

And at last the coin from Kibyra, a coin of Gordian III.


Phrygia, Kibyra, Gordian III (238-244), AE(21.5 mm 6.09g)
Obv: A K M AN ΓOPΔIANOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from the rear.
Rev: KIBYPATΩN, eagle standing facing with open wings standing on caduceus, head left

Ref: RPC VII.1 665

Some time late 2nd to early 3rd century AD a Roman stadium was built in Kybira. Building materials were conserved by building the seating into a natural slope. The stadium woudl have been used for both sporting events, gladitorial fights, and venationes (contest between wild beasts or men and wild beasts). It could seat ~10,000 people - a sizable ancient stadium. Excavation began in AD 2006.


Image from Dökü, F. E.,Kaya, M. C. "The Architecture and Function of the Stadium of Kibyra". Adalya (2013): 177-201. Some other notes on Kibyra and provincial corruption during the time of the Roman republic can be found at http://sullacoins.com.

Post your coins from places that you would not have encountered without an ancient coin.

Edited by Sulla80
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Here's a town in Asia Minor I have not heard of (until I got this coin) 

PISIDIA. Termessus Major. Pseudo-autonomous issue. AE (Bronze, 27 mm, 14.74 g, 12 h), struck under Gallienus, circa 260/1. TЄPMHC[CЄΩN] Laureate head of Zeus Solymos to right. Rev. TΩ[N MЄIZ]ONΩN Emperor, in military attire, standing front, head to left, crowning trophy with his right hand and holding eagle-tipped scepter in his left; at feet to left, eagle standing left, head right. SNG Paris 2212. SNG von Aulock 5358. A lovely piece with attractive earthen highlights. Very fine.


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I have recently posted this coin on another forum post recently, however, given that it is my only provincial, it is adequate that I post it again here.


This is a Gordian III and Tranquillina AE27 from Anchialos (Αγχίαλος) known in latin as Ulpia Anchialus. I don't easily remember what province that city is in, and in fact, to write this line I had to search it up again: Thrace.


Marked in red in the map above, it is very close to Deultum, another famous provincial mint that produced very high quality provincials during the early and mid 3rd Century. They both follow the typical provincial pattern, praising both local Gods on the reverse and the emperor of the time on the obverse, often accompanied by his wife or close female relative.

Nowadays, modern Anchialus sits under the Bulgarian city of Pomorie, which, from what I've seen, looks like a beautiful almost-island place.

Pomorie, Bulgaria - part I - YouTube

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I would certainly never have heard of this city before getting to know its coinage. Halin is a (former) city located in central Myanmar. It was an important city during the Pyu city states period, alongside Sriksetra, from ca. 200 AD to 900 AD. It is now a very small village and pretty much left to itself and looks like major parts of it are still buried. Hopefully it is inscribed at the Unesco with the other main Pyu cities and it seems that measures have been taken locally during the last decades to preserve the site.


There's not much information available online in languages I speak and it is a bit frustrating not to know more about these parts of the world and history. Especially when they issued such impressive coins (in my opinion). 


Pyu States, Hailin AR 96 Ratti. Imitating types of Striksetra. Circa 400-600. Bhadrapitha throne with three lanterns above / Srivatsa (mark of good fortune), conch shell within. Numista # 259078; Mitchiner, SEA 424-425. 10.21g, 30mm.



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Great coins & geography lessons!  Pisidia, Termessus Major * Thrace, Ulpia Anchialus * Myanmar, Halin * not exactly cities that 9/10 people would be able to pinpoint on a map.


Edited by Sulla80
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Tyra - Тира

Tyra is in the SE corner of what is now Ukraine - near the city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, and is one of the oldest known continously occupied cities in the world. It is believed that the original settlement of the area at the mouth of the Dnestr river began in the 6th century BC, it's prominence at the end of the river where it empties into the Black Sea gives it an advantage in trade. Coins from Tyra date into the 3rd century BC, but curiously they are difficult to find as they are never found in any quantity. As the Roman Empire expanded eastward and absorbed Thrace their client states in the region began minting coins in the names of the Roman Emperors.

This coin was minted in the reign of Antoninus Pius(138-161 AD) and bears his portrait and name. The reverse of the coin has Hercules standing with a club and lion skin and the legend "TYPANWN" for the city name. Even during the Roman era there doesn't appear to have been a large output of coinage from Tyra, and this example is only the third one I have seen in ten years of searching for one.

The city of Bilhorod-Dnestrovskyi is one of those places that has changed hands many many times over the years, it has been a part of the Greek Empire, then Roman, Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Bulgaria, then the Ottoman Empire, part of Moldavia in the 18th century, then absorbed into the Russian Empire, then in 1918 was awarded to Romania and became "Cetatae Alba" - literally meaning White City, then in 1940 was taken by the USSR and became a part of Ukraine. There are historical excavations going on in the vicinity of the Fortress of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi - a fortress that dates into Byzantine times



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