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A bronze from Kardia


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I thought I'd share this bronze from Kardia that I recently acquired.


The Thracian Chersonese. Cardia
circa 350-309 BCE
Æ 21 mm, 8,09 g
Ex Savoca


I hadn't really anticipated acquiring it, as I had many higher priorities at the auction, but the city name was easy to read and the major features were there, so I put a lowball bid on it and won the coin.

Most know Kardia from the widespread hemidrachms that are usually labeled as Chersonesos. I have one, but haven't gotten around to photographing it.

Kardia played a relatively unknown but key role in the trajectory of Philip II and Alexander III. Perhaps the best article I've read on the subject is The Coinage of Kardia by Julia Tzvetkova. The city was originally founded as a colony of Miletos and Klazomenai. You can see the influence for the lion on this coin from Miletos.


IONIA. Miletos
Circa 350-325 BCE
Bronze, 11 mm, 2.38 g
Lion standing left, looking back; above, monogram of Miletos. Rev. Stellate pattern. Deppert-Lippitz 297-303. Weber 6041
Ex J. Metzger Collection
Ex Nomos

Later on, it was additionally colonized by Athens, which would play a growing role in the city. At some point, Kardia was controlled by the Odrysian kings - especially Kotys I and his son Kersebleptes. It's widely believed that some of their coinage was minted in Kardia, and it was one of their principal cities.


Kings of Thrace. Kotys I.
13.49mm, 1.89g 383-359 BCE
Obverse: Wreathed head of Cybele right (ours looks like Mercury?)
Reverse: Diota (Two-handled cup)
HGC 3.2, 1700
Ex Marc Breitsprecher



AE 14 mm, 1.93 g

When Athens gained influence in Thrace, Kardia was always the exception. All that changed, though, with a new guy on the field - Philip II. 

Through diplomacy and arms, Philip II overran the Odrysian kings. Per Tzvetkova, this is when the Kardia bronzes began minting. Before then, they minted Odrysian coins. Kardia itself was never besieged by Philip, but instead signed an agreement with him. Through the reigns of Philip and Alexander, it remained independent but was a strong ally of Macedonia. When Athens attempted to interfere, Philip was quick to act, resulting in a famous speech from Demosthenes predicting Philip's ultimate goal.

Were my copy a bit sharper, you would see a spear in the lion's mouth. You can clearly see a spear below the lion. Tzvetkova speculates that this image, similar to those of Amyntas III, could emphasize Kardia's friendship with Macedon, but states that there's no way to know for sure. In fact, due to the lack of find data, she found it wasn't possible to give any ordering of the bronze coinage or more specific dates.

The coinage of Kardia likely ended with the city's destruction by Lysimachos in 309 BCE. The populace was then moved to the newly created Lysimacheia.

Perhaps even more telling of how close Kardia and Macedonia were was the presence of several Kardians among Alexander's most trusted companions.

Eumenes - He was Alexander's scribe and later played famous games in the desert with Antigonos I Monophthalmos.

Hieronymos - A famous historian for Alexander, Eumenes, and Antigonos. Sadly, his works are now out of print.

Feel free to show your own coins of Kardia and the Chersonesos!

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Nice snack and great write up!

Screenshot_20210423-103316_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.3c9bdb42a49dfabd5bf2d646f87ac6e8.pngTHRACE, Chersonesos.
 Circa 386-338 BC. AR Hemidrachm (11mm, 2.26 g). Forepart of lion right, head reverted / Quadripartite incuse square with alternating raised and sunken quarters; pellet over AΓ monogram and cicada in opposite sunken quarters. McClean 4096 (described as fly); SNG Copenhagen –; SNG Berry 503. Good VF, minor porosity.

A fun fourré:Screenshot_20210423-103217_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.b915856ca498f21f6f72174f44f903b1.png

I bought this one due to the explicit grain ear

IMG_5824.jpg.033d2a68b20e0fe2162bfd3d529f182b.jpgTHRACE. Chersonesos
Ae (Circa 386-309 BC). Kardia or Agora. Obv: Head of lion left. Rev: XEP / PO. Grain ear; uncertain symbols (piloi) around. SNG Copenhagen 844-5 var. (no symbol on rev.); HGC 3.2, 1439. Condition: Weight: 2.14 g. Diameter: 13 mm. very fine Ex: Savoca

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