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The 10,000


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Not long ago, I read Xenophon's Anabasis and was greatly impressed with the world's first (first hand) adventure story. Although I had my hands full with Philip II, Alexander III, and a bevy of Diadochi, I decided to put together a small collection that would help retell that story. After a few recent pickups, I now have enough to temporarily call it complete. I say "temporarily" because there are a few others I wouldn't mind adding, but they're very rare and I'm not sure when/if I'll be able to take a stab at acquiring them.

Also note that I've gathered here a rather arbitrary group of coins. Certainly arguments can be made for other ones, but I didn't want it to grow anywhere near the size of my Philip+Alexander+Diadochi collection, which is now targeted at over 400 coins.

So, here's my collection. Please post your own coins from the 10,000!

We start in Athens, where Xenophon was born. 


ATTICA, Athens
AR Tetradrachm 22.5mm, 17.18g, 1h
Circa 454-404 BCE
Kroll 8; HGC 4, 1597
Ex CNG inventory June 2004
Ex CNG January 2021


Next, we move to Ataxerxes II, who may have minted this coin. I've attempted to find coinage of Cyrus the Younger, but I haven't found any definitive coins of his. There is some speculation that Persian Siglos with an Aramaic 'm' are his, but that seems a bit arbitrary since it was common for coins to be marked back then for a variety of reasons. I've also read that there exist some coins of his that show the king without a beard, but I've yet to see even a photo of one, let alone one for sale (which I presumably wouldn't be able to afford).


Achaemenid Kings of Persia
AR-Siglos 5.6 gm, 15mm
Sardis. c. 375-340 BCE
Obv: King r., dagger and bow. Rev: Incuse rectangle
Carradice Type IV C (pl.14, 49); BMC Arabia pl. 27, 19
Ex Akropolis Coins (PeteB)


Tissaphernes was probably the Greek's main adversary - especially in the beginning.


MYSIA. Astyra. Tissaphernes, Satrap of Mysia
circa 400-395 BCE
Bronze, 10.5 mm, 0.96 g, 5 h
Helmeted head of Athena to right. Rev. ΤΙΣΣΑ Satrap, holding spear in upraised right hand, on horseback right.
Klein 255. SNG BN -. Winzer 6.3
Ex J. Metzger Collection
Ex Nomos


Pharnabazos also arrayed against them at times, though he wasn't super-chummy with Tissaphernes.


Cilicia, Tarsos: Pharnabazos
379-374 BCE
AR stater, 24mm, 10.3 g
Female head facing
Bearded and helmeted head left, test cut and two countermarks, one of "bull crossing (with crescent?)" and one of "wolf leaping with crescent at rear" (Callatay countermarks B and C)
SNG Cop. 266
Ex Marc Breitsprecher
Ex Wayne G Sayles


Tiribazos hounded the 10,000 as they crossed his territory, though they didn't fight any direct battles.


Cilicia, Soloi Tiribazos, satrap.
AR Stater 9.92g, 21mm, 6h
Circa 385-380 BCE
Bearded head of Herakles to right, wearing lion skin around neck
Bearded head of satrap to right, wearing bashlyk; ΣΟΛEΩ[N] around
SNG BnF 159; Traité II, 566; SNG Levante -
Ex Roma


Orontas was another adversary, though he had a much longer history quarreling with Tiribazos.


Mysia. Adramyttion. Satrap Orontas
4th Century BCE
10.94mm 1.80g
Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus right
Reverse: Protome of Pegasos right
Traité Plate CLXX, No. 14. Collection Small 247
Ex Marc Breitsprecher


Syennesis tried to play things neutral between Cyrus the Younger and Ataxerxes II, so as to keep his satrapy regardless of the winner.


Cilicia, Tarsos
AR Stater 10.62g, 20mm, 9h.
Circa 440-400 BCE
Horseman (Syennesis?) riding to left, wearing kyrbasia, holding lotus flower in right hand and reins in left, bow in bowcase on saddle; key symbol below horse, eagle(?) standing to left behind / Archer in kneeling-running stance to right, quiver over shoulder, drawing bow; key symbol behind, 'trz' in Aramaic on the lower right; all within dotted border within incuse square
BMC -; SNG von Aulock -; SNG Copenhagen -; SNG Levante -; SNG BnF -, cf. 213 for types = Casabonne Type D2, pl. 2, 10 = MIMAA pl. V, 6 = Traité II, 523
Ex Roma


Metokos is an interesting one. This is the name that Xenophon used for the King of the Odrysae. The Greeks contend with his subordinate Seuthes I while in Thrace. My Landmark Xenophon's Anabasis identifies him as Amatokos I. However, it's my understanding that Amatokos came later, and the period for this coin from Metokos is right when Xenophon would have been there, so I believe this is the correct one and that Amatokos I issues (fat issues with grapes) are from a later period. Metokos coins are quite rare, so it's possible the author wasn't aware of them.


Kings of Odrysian Thrace, Metokos
Circa 407-386 BCE
AR Diobol 1.07g, 11mm, 4h
Bare head to right
MHTOKO, labrys; all within shallow circular incuse.
Peykov B0180; Topalov I 3; HGC 3.2, 1685 (trihemiobol).
Ex Roma


Okay, I admit this one's a stretch. We don't know who this satrap was, but the 10,000 crossed right through the area, so presumably they would have had to deal with him.


Troas, Kebren/Satrap
8.68mm, 0.42g 412-399 BCE
Obverse: Head of Satrap left, wearing tiara
Reverse: KE monogram
SNG Copenhagen 261; SNG von Aulock 1547
Ex Marc Breitsprecher


This one's only a bit less of a stretch. Here, we know the name of the satrap, but he's not mentioned anywhere in the Anabasis. Still, they were in his vicinity, so they would have had to deal with him.


Satraps of Lydia, Gamerses
AE 13mm 1.23g
Head of a male youth right with long braid hanging down.
Zeus standing right, star to left
Klein 563
Ex Aegean Numismatics


Now we're onto the allies. Gongylos helped Xenophon escape after a botched kidnapping attempt. The only thing is there were three Gongylos' and we're not exactly sure which one minted this coin


Mysia, Pergamon
450-400 BCE
Laureate head of Apollo right
Bearded head right, wearing a Persian tiara within an incuse square. ""ΠΕΡΓA""
SNG BN 1546-8
Ex Aegean Numismatics


Prokles also helped them to escape, and was himself a descendant of the Spartan king Damaratos.


Mysia. Teuthrania. Prokles, Satrap of Teuthrania and Halisarna
Circa 400 BCE
Ae 10.57mm 0.86g
Obverse: Teuthrania. Prokles, Satrap of Teuthrania and Halisarna
Reverse: Head of Prokles right.
SNG Copenhagen 549; Traité II 42
Ex Savoca
Ex Lodge Antiquities


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What an incredible read it is! You feel like you were there as the story unfolds. You can feel the tension as the lie unravels, the Greek pride in their pyrrhic victory and the fear of the unknown as they travel home. 

As you know "The a travel up country" is what inspired Philip ll and Alexander in conquering Persia!

Here are some coins of the time and areas...




Edited by Ryro
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I still haven't quite recovered from the part where he describes some tribe in  Pontus using  dolphin  blubber instead of olive oil.

But here is  a coin  of Pharnabazos.

Tarsos AR Stater.

Then followed by a Zanklean dolphin!



Edited by Deinomenid
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  • 1 month later...

Xenophon was the first author we read at the secondary school I attended (a VERY long time ago). To us 14-year olds it was very dreary reading, all those parasangs these Greeks marched and all those tribes they fought in hostile country. But there were enchanting elements, like fascinating Cyrus the Younger, like the rough nature of the Anatolian landscape, and naturally that liberating shout at the end: Thalassa! Thalassa! I'm still mumbling it whenever I see the Sea, and that's often, for I live only one mile from it as the raven flies, or the vulture (they were rife in those threatening surroundings). And unknowingly I learned the basics of Greek grammar and I was imbued with the Greek breath, the roots of our civilisation, the atmosphere of rationality. 

Are there any Ancient coins showing Thalassa? the Sea? Waves? That's what we need for our Xenophon collection. 

Don't know if Cyrus the Younger ever issued coins, but I have some Persian sigloi and several fractions. And when one says 'siglos fractions' the tetartemoria are jumping into one's mind that were issued by unknown satraps and petty rulers. 


Siglos. Achaemenid Empire. Silver Siglos Carradice Type 3a, Darius I-Xerxes I 490-475 BC. 15 mm, 5.03 gr.


Iran, Achaemenid Empire. Temp. Artaxerxes III to Darios III. (4th century BC.) Silver Tetartemorion (1/24 siglos). Obv.: Persian Great King in kneeling-running stance right, holding dagger in his right hand and bow in his left. Rev. Forepart of a horse running to right. 5.5 mm. Sunrise 101. 


Achaemenid Empire. Local issues. Tetartemorion. Uncertain mint in Cilicia? 4th cent. BC. Obv. Persian king or hero, in kneeling-running stance right, holding dagger and bow. Rev. Head (Male? Female? Athena?) to the right. 5 mm, 0.17 mm.


Achaemenid Empire. Local issues. Tetartemorion. Uncertain mint in Cilicia? 4th cent. BC. Obv. Persian king or hero, in kneeling-running stance right, holding dagger and bow. Rev. Hair-circled head (male? Female?) facing slightly left in incuse field. 5 mm, 0.18 mm. Cf. Sunrise 98. 


Edited by Pellinore
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