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Aioleion - the city that never was


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This coin, which I admit has seen better days, is from the extremely rare city of Aioleion.


Troas, Aioleion
C 310 BCE
Æ 10,3mm, 0.72g
Laureate head of female (Hera?) right /
Thunderbolt, grape bunch
Lenger type N, Khalkous


This coin is often mis-attributed and recently I found one for sale attributed to Methymna on Lesbos, but this is clearly an Aeolian coin. However, the city has something incredible about it - something that no other mapped city such as Rome, Istanbul/Constantinople/Byzantion, or Athens can claim: the city never actually existed.

As Lenger details in his paper on the coinage, Aeoleion's coinage had long perplexed scholars. It all started in SNG Turkey 9, where the city was assigned to the Troad. Later on, Imhoof-Blumer published that it may belong to Methymna, which is why some attributions still list the city. Several later studies then proceeded to rule out every place where such an Aioleion could be, then moved on to "somewhere south of Assos". This made sense since eleven of the seventeen coins found were from Assos.

It is now widely accepted that the reason most of these coins were found in Assos is because they were minted there. Aioleion was really just the "Koinon of Aeolis", centered at Assos. To me, that's still interesting because I enjoy coins that illustrate the change in politics.

What also intrigues me is this particular coin seems to be a rare type. It most resembles Lenger's N3, but is a much smaller denomination.

Feel free to post your own coins from Aeolis or the Troad!

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