DYNASTS OF LYCIA. Mithrapata, circa 390-370 BC.
Stater (Silver, 23 mm, 9.84 g, 5 h), uncertain mint (Zagaba or Phellos?). Forepart of a roaring lion to right. Rev.
𐊎𐊆-𐊉𐊕𐊀-𐊓𐊀𐊗𐊀 ('mithrapata' in Lycian) Bare head of Mithrapata to left; to lower right, triskeles; all within shallow incuse square. Mildenberg, Mithrapata, pl. XXXIV, 5 (this coin
, O3/R4). Müseler VII, 70 (same dies
). Podalia 57 (this coin
, A3/P4). W. Schwabacher: Lycian Coin-Portraits, in: Essays Robinson (1968), pl. 12, 4 (this coin
). A beautifully toned example with an incredibly detailed portrait and a fine pedigree. Very minor weakness and light doubling on the reverse, otherwise,
nearly extremely fine.
Ex LHS 95, 25 October 2005, 692 and Hess-Leu 45, 12 May 1970, 313, and from the 1957 Buçak [Podalia] Hoard (IGCH 1262).
Lycian coins are particularly noteworthy for carrying some of the earliest numismatic portraits of living humans in history - and what portraits they are! Far from the idealized, often perpetually youthful portraits of the Hellenistic world, Lycian dynasts such as Mithrapata are depicted as bearded, middle-aged men with prominent facial features. That is not to say that these are necessarily more 'realistic' than Hellenistic portraits, rather, they send out a different message. Clearly, the Lycian dynasts preferred to be portrayed as experienced and confident rulers, not as youthful and impetuous conquerers of the world, as was the case with many of Alexander's successors.