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The curious formation of Alexandria Troas


kirispupis

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Alexandria Troas, also spelled Alexandreia or Troad, had an interesting formation. There the Greeks were in the Troad, just minding their own business, when along came Antigonos Monophthalmos.

Since all the rage back then was naming a city after yourself, Antigonos - being the baddest boy on the block - had to have one. The only problem was you needed actual people to create a city. Well, if you're king, then you're king. So, Antigonos grabbed a bunch of cities and forcibly moved them to his new metropolis, now called Antigoneia.

Per Strabo, these were the unlucky customers.

Neandria

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Troas, Neandria
Circa 350 BCE
AR Obol .57g, 9mm
Laureate head of Apollo right
Ram standing right "NEA-N", all within an incuse square
SNG Cop 446
Ex Aegean Numismatics

 

Skepsis

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TROAS. Skepsis
Circa 400-310 BCE
AE 11 mm, 1.23 g
Forepart of Pegasos to left
Rev. Σ-Κ Palm tree; all within linear square
SNG Copenhagen 477. SNG München 329
Ex Savoca

 

Achilleion or Achaion

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Troas. Achilleion/Achaion
circa 350-300 BCE
Æ 10 mm, 0,97 g
Crested helmet left
Civic monogram
SNG Ashmolean –; SNG Copenhagen 64
Ex Savoca

 

Kebren

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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

 

Kolone

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TROAS. Kolone
4th century BCE
Chalkous AE 15.5 mm, 3.79 g
Helmeted head of Athena to right. Rev. KOΛΩNAEΩN between the rays of an eight-pointed star.
SNG Copenhagen 277. SNG von Aulock 1552
Ex Nomos

 

Hamaxitos

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Troas, Hamaxitos
10.61mm, 1.52g 4th Century BCE
Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo Smintheos right
Reverse: ΑΜΑ-ΞΙ, lyre
SNG Copenhagen 341
Ex Marc Breitsprecher

 

Now that he had his big, unhappy, family, Antigonos may or may not have minted some coinage there. This coin was attributed to Antigoneia when I bought it, and is relatively rare. I now understand that the mint is debated, but I'm sticking with Antigoneia...

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Antigonos I Monophthalmos
Antigoneia 305-300 BCE
29mm 16.33g
Head of young Herakles facing right, wearing a lion's skin. / ALEXANDPOY, Zeus enthroned left, holding an eagle and a sceptre, X on left, M on right, Ph below throne.
Price 3195, Müller 804
Ex Mike Vosper

 

So, all was going well in the city until Antigonos was defeated and Lysimachos took over. Now, Lysimachos was a stickler for the rules and promptly brought out his rule book an naming ancient cities.

To all the personnel who erstwhile served under Alexander the Great, a word regarding the naming of new cities. If a ruler desires to name a city after his own self, he must first confirm whether a city has been named after Alexander the Great. If such a city has not been founded by the said ruler, then the first city he founds must bear Alexander's name. Subsequent cities may be named after the ruler as he deems fit.

But if a city is named inappropriately, according to these guidelines, and the territory is lost, the new ruler must rename the city to pay homage to Alexander. This city shall henceforth be counted as belonging to the new ruler, for he has honored Alexander, and the previous ruler must start anew and found another city, this time bearing the name of Alexander.

Clearly, Antigonos was in violation of the rules, so Lysimachos renamed the city to Alexandria (Troad) and was now per the guidelines. Of course, Lysimachos had earlier founded Lysimachia, but perhaps there was some other rule that has been lost to history.

Shortly afterwards, Alexandria Troad began minting these coins.

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Troas, Alexandria Troas
301-281 BCE
AE 22mm 8.03g
Head of Apollo right
Horse feeding right, palm to right, grain ear in exergue "ΑΛΕΞΑΝ-ΔΡΕΩΝ"
Bellinger A28c
Ex Aegean

 

The dating of these coins has been debated, but a paper by Meadows suggests this particular one was minted very soon after the city's creation. His logic is based on its similarity to some silver issues, but more particularly due to the mint symbol in the center and the fact that the horse faces right. 

I've often wondered why the horse changed direction on coinage. In the earlier case of Philip II, the horse faced left until 348 BCE, after which it turned right. Perhaps the horses get tired after so many years going in the same direction? Maybe they get lost?

A bigger "smoking gun" is the late bronze coinage of Neandria, which depicts a nearly identical horse facing right along with the same mint mark. This would imply that the gap between the two issues was not long.

Meadows remarks that this brings up an interesting question. Could the city have been renamed during Antigonid times?  Maybe someone sent Antigonos a copy of the rule book, and he voluntarily changed the name? Therefore, it seems that these coins either date from 301-281 BCE - roughly corresponding to Lysimachos' rule, or are slightly earlier - 306-281 BCE. Of course, that would imply continuity between these two rulers, who were known for disliking each other.

For example, Antigonos' son Demetrios I Poliorketes minted this coin, depicting him riding a horse over a lion - which was Lysimachos' namesake animal. This was minted right around the whole dispute with Lysimachos and friends killing Antigonos I Monophthalmos, then potentially renaming his city and all, and clearly Demetrios was bitter about the matter.

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Demetrios I Poliorketes
AE 18 mm, 5.20 g, 6 h
uncertain mint in Macedon or Greece (?)
circa 300 BCE
Prow to left. Rev. ΔΗΜ / ΒΑΣΙ Demetrios on horseback galloping left, hurling spear; to left, forepart of a lion right.
HGC 3, 1024. Newell 179 and pl. XVII, 18. SNG Alpha Bank -. SNG München -.
Ex Leu

 

Strabo does note that when Lysimachos took over Antigoneia/Alexandria, he sent the citizens of Skepsis home. Eventually, those of Kolone and Hamaxitos also left. Perhaps at this time the Neandrians exerted some (small) dominance and began issuing coins similar to theirs? Given the changes, it would certainly seem that there would be some modification to the coinage. Therefore, my belief is these bronzes started in 301 BCE with Lysimachos, and probably continued until his defeat in 281 BCE. After this, control fell to the Seleukids, who must have had some issue with a right-facing horse.

Eventually under the Romans the city became among the most powerful and populous in the region.

Feel free to post your own Alexandria Troad coins!

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1 hour ago, kirispupis said:

Feel free to post your own Alexandria Troad coins!

I have only two Commodus provincial bronze coins from Alexandria Troas.

 

 

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Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus
Reign: Commodus; Mint: Alexandria, Troas; Date: 180/183 AD; Nominal: Bronze; Material: AE; Diameter: 24.5mm; Weight: 6.79g; Reference: Yothr CRP.28.1a, RPC IV.2 154; Rare: Specimens 5 (4 in the core collections); Provenance: Comptoir des Monnaies Anciennes Lille, France; Obverse: Laureate head of Commodus, right; Inscription: IMP CAI(sic) M AVR COMMOD AVG for Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Augustus; Reverse: To left, cult statue of Apollo Smintheus standing on column, right, having quiver at shoulder, holding patera and bow; to right, Alexander on horseback, left, wearing military dress, raising arm containing flowers; Inscription: COL AVG TROA for Colonia Augusta Troad (Troas)

Comment: On the reverse, shown on the right, we see Alexander the Great, in military dress, on a horse. The depiction thus refers to the alleged (and unhistorical) founding of the city of Alexandria Troas by Alexander the Great himself. However, the city was founded and named Antigonia shortly after 310 BC by Antigonos I Monophthalmos (general and one of Alexander the Great’s most important diadochi) and then renamed Alexandria Troas by Lysimachus only around 301/300 BC. The new city name resulted on the one hand from the honouring of Alexander the Great, but also to distinguish it by name from the cities of Alexandria ad Issum and Alexandria in Egypt.

Also visible on the left is the cult status of Apollo Smintheus. Homer refers to Apollo in the Iliad as Smintheus. The etymology of the non-Greek word is not certain. It is derived from the Cretan or Phrygian word sminthos for „mouse“ or „rat“ and can be translated as „mouse exterminator“. To what extent Apollo Smintheus can be equated with Apollo as a plague god is unclear. Mice or rats may indicate plagues, which according to Greek mythology emanated from Apollo. But the epiklese was also chosen for the expulsion of mice that had ravaged the vineyards. The temple of Apollo Smintheus is the only one of its kind in the Troas region due to its architectural design in the Hellenistic period. The sanctuary of Smintheus was one of the most important cult centres in antiquity. The reliefs on the temple take up themes from Homer’s Iliad epic. It was probably built in the Hellenistic period around 150 BC. The temple housed a large marble statue of the god, of which only a leg section has survived. At the feet of the statue, according to tradition, sat a mouse, which may symbolize the role of this god.

 

 

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Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus
Reign: Commodus; Mint: Alexandria, Troas; Date: 184/190 AD; Nominal: Bronze; Material: AE; Diameter: 23mm; Weight: 6.33g; Reference: Yothr CRP.28.2a; RPC IV.2 3172; Rare: Specimens 4 (1 in the core collections); Provenance: Sol Numismatics Maribor, Slowenia (Auction X, Lot 126); Obverse: Laureate head of Commodus to right; Inscription: IMP CAI M AV COMMODO [AVG] [ANTONINVS?] for Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Commodus Augustus Antoninus; Reverse: Temple with four columns in perspective enclosing statue of Apollo Smintheus standing on short column, right, having quiver at shoulder, holding patera over lighted tripod and bow; Inscription: COL AVG TROAD for Colonia Augusta Troad (Troas)

Comment: The reverse shows the temple of „Apollo Smintheus“. Homer refers to Apollo in the Iliad as Smintheus. The etymology of the non-Greek word is not certain. It is derived from the Cretan or Phrygian word sminthos for „mouse“ or „rat“ and can be translated as „mouse exterminator“. To what extent Apollo Smintheus can be equated with Apollo as a plague god is unclear. Mice or rats may indicate plagues, which according to Greek mythology emanated from Apollo. But the epiklese was also chosen for the expulsion of mice that had ravaged the vineyards. The temple of Apollo Smintheus is the only one of its kind in the Troas region due to its architectural design in the Hellenistic period. The sanctuary of Smintheus was one of the most important cult centres in antiquity. The reliefs on the temple take up themes from Homer’s Iliad epic. It was probably built in the Hellenistic period around 150 BC. The temple housed a large marble statue of the god, of which only a leg section has survived. At the feet of the statue, according to tradition, sat a mouse, which may symbolize the role of this god. On the grounds of the sanctuary, besides the temple, there are ruins of buildings that were necessary for the organisation of everyday life, even in a sanctuary. For example, a bath.

More information and pictures you can find here: https://www.antike-orte.de/apollon-smyntheion/ 

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Posted · Supporter

Nice collection of coins from Troy and fun theme!

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TROAS, Dardanos

c. 450-420 BCE

AR obol; 9 mm, 0.56 gm

Obv: cock (or just cock head) standing left

Rev: cross-hatch pattern

Ref: Nomismata 3, 303; Demeester 98; SNG Ashmolean 1119

Former: Savoca

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Troas. Alexandreia. Pseudo-autonomous issue circa AD 200-300. Bronze Æ 22mm., 4,62g. CO-L TROAD, turreted and veiled bust of Tyche right, vexillum at shoulder / COL AVG TRO, horse grazing right. very fine Belinger A486. Ex: Savoca blue 2020

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Troas, Skepsis
400-310 BCE. Forepart of Pegasos right / Palm tree, Σ-K across fields; all within linear square. SNG Copenhagen 474. 1.2 g, 12mm

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Antiochus Hierax
Mint: Alexandria Troas
AR Tetradrachm
242 to 227 BC
Obvs: Diademed head of Antiochus Hierax with prominant cheekbone.
Revs: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ on r., ANTIOXOY on l., partially nude, with slight drapery on thigh, Apollo seated l. on omphalos, testing arrow and resting l. hand on grounded bow that has pellets that symbolize the handle. Horse symbol in exergue and two control monograms in left field.
29x30mm, 16.35g
Ref: Sear GCV 6919; SC 877.2; HGC 9, 405g(R1)

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TROAS

upload_2022-4-26_10-43-51.png
TROAS Neandria AR Obol 4thC BCE 0.56g 8mm Laur hd Apollo r - NEA N Ram stdng right within incuse sq SNG Cop 446

 

[IMG]
Troas Kebren AR Obol Archaic hd Apollo L - Hd Ram in Incuse sq 5th C BCE 7.65mm 0.64g SNG Ash 1086

 

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Islands of Troas, Tenedos, 
late 5th-early 4th century BCE. 
AR Obol (8mm, 0.60g, 3h). 
O/ Janiform head, female on l., male on r.
R/ Labrys within incuse square. 
SNG Ashmolean 1235; HGC 6, 387. 

 

[IMG]
Troas Assos 500-450 BCE AR Tetartemorion 6.4mm 0.21g Griffin springing right - Astragalos within incuse square Klein 475 VF R

 

[IMG]
Troas Birytis 350-300 BCE Æ 9mm1.21g Hd Kabeiros L pileos - two stars above Club within wreath SNG Cop 249 Left

 

[IMG]
RI Valerian I 253-260 CE AE 20mm Alexandria Troas mint Horse Grazing

 

 

 

Edited by Alegandron
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