Ex Münzen und Medaillen 88, 17 May 1999, 331 (illustrated on the front cover!)
124
LYDIA. Hyrcanis. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Hemiassarion (Bronze, 16 mm, 2.63 g, 6 h), time of Commodus, circa 180-182 (?). MAKЄΔONΩ Mask of Silenos to right, wearing wreath of ivy and fruit. Rev. YPKANΩN Pan, nude and with animal tail, dancing to right, holding pedum in his right hand and raising his left. BMC 2 = RPC IV.2 online 1746.1 (same reverse die). Winterthur 3748 (same reverse die). Very rare. An exceptionally well preserved example of this very interesting issue, perfectly struck and by far the finest known. Extremely fine.


Ex Münzen und Medaillen 88, 17 May 1999, 331 (illustrated on the front cover!).


Hyrcanis was a Seleukid foundation in the Hyrcanian Plain west of Sardis, a fertile region in the Hermos Valley named after colonists from Hyrcania on the south-east shore of the Caspian Sea settled there by the Achaemenid Kings. Seleukid interest in the area arose from the need to defend their Anatolian possessions from the Galatian menace and Hyrcanis was just one of a whole number of military colonies where the Kings of Asia settled veterans to bolster local defenses.

RPC roughly dates our coin to the second half of the 2nd century AD, but we can perhaps be more precise, as its Dionysiac motives, as well as its inscriptions, fit in perfectly with a series of 'mythological' coins struck under Commodus, one of which shows a procession of Dionysus on the reverse (RPC IV.2 online 11429). The remarkable legends attest to the vivid awareness of the citizens of Roman Hyrcanis of their descent, as the obverse refers to the Macedonians, whereas the name of the polis on the reverse alludes to the far-away Caspian Hyrcanians. This is also mirrored in Pliny's Natural History and in Tacitus' Annals, who speak of 'the Macedones, surnamed Hyrcani' (Plin. Nat. hist. 5.31) and the 'Hyrcanian Macedonians, as they were called' (Tac. Ann. 2.47), respectively.
Price: 6,500 CHF

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