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Couldn't find the city, but I now have a coin!


kirispupis

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On our recent trip to Greece, my wife made it clear that she wanted to visit beautiful islands and not ruins. So, I traveled a week ahead of time to get a lot of ruins in, but I also neglected to mention that the islands we chose - Santorini, Mykonos, and Kephalonia, also have some very nice ruins.

In the case of Kephallonia, the large island harbored not one but four ancient cities that each minted coins. On our last day, our flight left from Agristoli, which happened to be the rough location of ancient Kranion.

Below is Asos, which lies at the far north of Kephallonia and is where we stayed.

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Below is modern Agristoli. It's not really a very interesting town, but it's all most cruise passengers ever see of Kephallonia since all the ships arrive there and, due to the topography, distances on the island take a long time to travel. The bridge is called the De-Bosset bridge and is the longest stone bridge over the ocean in the world. I wouldn't really say it's "over the ocean", but it's a cute bridge. In the middle is a statue that commemorates the British for being British.

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In the water are a number of sea turtles. They were the real reason I agreed to lunch in the town.

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Here's a closeup of Agristoli.

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Anyways, while we were driving around the area, I saw a sign that said "to ancient Kranion". So, we followed it and the signs went all over the place until we were royally lost.

Not one to be so easily defeated, I looked up the ruins on my phone and found the gps coordinates. I then had my phone find a route. The road kept getting narrower and narrower until it was just a dirt thing with lots of rocks. We took it very carefully but with 1 km to go my wife freaked out that we were going to bottom out the car and get stuck there. Earlier in our trip rats had eaten wires in our engine and we got stuck at this spot.

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It was a very pretty place to get stuck, but the winds were really high and a few times it felt like they would lift our little car and throw it off the edge. My wife was probably thinking of that as we went down this little road.

So, she insisted we stop and I suggested we take the remaining 1 km by foot since we had time, but she was done with Kephallonia so, to this day, I don't know whether we were close. I suspect we were going the wrong way based on the descriptions of Kranion.

William Martin Leake, the explorer, did manage to find Kranion and remarked that its city walls were nearly intact and in excellent condition. Their location was also nearly impenetrable, which didn't match the description of where we were. Someday I'd like to return to Kephallonia and find them.

But, in the meantime I have this coin that I just won at auction. It may be the best example of the type in private hands.

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Islands off Elis, Kephallenia. Kranion
4th century BCE
Æ 13mm, 2.48 g, 5h
Crestic Attic helmet left /
K within circular border.
HGC 6, 150; SNG Copenhagen –; BMC 28
Ex St. George Collection
Ex CNG inventory 2001

 

We did manage to find the ancient ruins of Same. There, we happened across an expert who gave us a private tour of the ancient city, which was very large. One thing I learned from visiting ancient cities in Greece is that many of them were quite large and today a car is useful to go from one part to another. Unlike the more touristed ruins, Same hasn't received much archeological attention.

Here's the entrance gate.

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Here's an interesting tree growing over some of the ruins.

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These are the remains of the city walls, viewed from the opposite hill.

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And here are the remains of a tower. 

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I also have coins of Same and Pale, two of the other ancient cities of Kephallonia.

This coin helped me plan my trip. I was looking through photos of some of my coins from island and I thought Kephallonia looked very pretty. When I showed it (the photos, not the coin) to my wife, she agreed. A large number of historians now agree that the peninsula on which Pale sits was the home of Odysseus and not Ithaca. The problem is Homer's description of Ithaca's topography isn't in agreement with the actual island. However, Kephallonia is in line. Recently, scientists have shown that the land was lower back in Mycenaean times, which made the peninsula of Paliki its own island and the most likely location of Odysseus' home. Unfortunately, we didn't have time during our trip to visit it. 😞 

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Islands off Elis. Kephallenia. Pale.
4th century BCE
AE 14.81mm 2.81g
Obverse: Head of Persephone left
Reverse: ΠA monogram
Attribution: SNG Copenhagen 465
Ex E. Boudeau, Paris prior to 1912

 

For some reason, the coin below is often mis-attributed to Pronnoi, the one city I whose coin I do not have. I'm not sure why someone would attribute a coin with 'SA' to Pronnoi and not Same.

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Islands off Elis, Same
circa 370-189 BCE
Æ 15 mm, 2,69 g
Filleted bull's head facing / ΣΑ.
HGC 6, 204

Edited by kirispupis
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Beautifull photos/ very scenic and historical. I have a lot of coins from diverse locales/ but never seen sites in person. 

I am glad you had a wonderfull trip/ and nice coins to boot!

My wife loves historical places/ she is nudging me to spend less $$$$ on coins and instead take her away on a trip

😇  Her number one pick Rothenburg and der Tauber/ second Rome/ third Athens

plonlein-germany.webp

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11 minutes ago, panzerman said:

Beautifull photos/ very scenic and historical. I have a lot of coins from diverse locales/ but never seen sites in person. 

I am glad you had a wonderfull trip/ and nice coins to boot!

My wife loves historical places/ she is nudging me to spend less $$$$ on coins and instead take her away on a trip

😇  Her number one pick Rothenburg and der Tauber/ second Rome/ third Athens

You should just do both! I've never been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (though I did nearly go there when I was in college and living in Germany), but I've been to Rome and Athens. Definitely prefer Rome between the two. Rome has more to see and parts of Athens have safety concerns. Here are some photos from recent trips.

LuxembourgAM2I0345.jpg.9c4da81107154bb03384f30851d9244b.jpg

 

Santorini
331A9224.jpg.3d06f22ea6d1f57b5165e7e14329b7c8.jpg

 

Mykonos
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Bologna
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San Marino
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Venice
331A2331-Edit.jpg.ac70b1fdce4b0c4ad98858b3b740bd78.jpg

 

Dominican Republic
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Zimbabwe
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South Africa
331A5011-Edit.jpg.1ca13c1264ae35af2ede4d95edd41e56.jpg

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1 hour ago, kirispupis said:

You should just do both! I've never been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (though I did nearly go there when I was in college and living in Germany), but I've been to Rome and Athens. Definitely prefer Rome between the two. Rome has more to see and parts of Athens have safety concerns. Here are some photos from recent trips.

LuxembourgAM2I0345.jpg.9c4da81107154bb03384f30851d9244b.jpg

 

Santorini
331A9224.jpg.3d06f22ea6d1f57b5165e7e14329b7c8.jpg

 

Mykonos
331A9288.jpg.b9b9371310d08b49758590eae70855d9.jpg

 

Bologna
331A0932-Edit.jpg.7547008ed7df896e839411c42758319a.jpg

San Marino
331A1725.jpg.a4d58b946eabf43153cf2e98d0d0ea6e.jpg

Venice
331A2331-Edit.jpg.ac70b1fdce4b0c4ad98858b3b740bd78.jpg

 

Dominican Republic
331A6854-Edit.jpg.631c2b1d369d1047e1fe992fa6226334.jpg

Zimbabwe
678A2091-Edit.jpg.8b54dfde67488e026989be1753c4b236.jpg

 

South Africa
331A5011-Edit.jpg.1ca13c1264ae35af2ede4d95edd41e56.jpg

Fantastic images, definitely worthy of NG, I particularly love pictures from Africa and Venice - great composition and lighting. Very well done!

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