SKYTHIA. Olbia. Eminakos, circa 450-425 BC. Stater (Silver, 21 mm, 11.66 g). EMINAKO Herakles, nude but for lion skin draped over his head and his back, kneeling to right, holding the end of his bow in his right hand and stringing it with his left. Rev. Wheel of four spokes; four dolphins swimming around; all within square incuse. Anokhin 167. Boston MFA Supp. 46. Peykov G0040. Rosen 147. SNG BM Black Sea 358. SNG Stancomb 342. Traité IV, 1771. Very rare. A beautiful example of this enigmatic issue. Patchy toning and with two small scuffs on the obverse, otherwise, good very fine.
Eminakos is only known from his impressive silver coinage, which boasts a wonderful archaic rendering of Herakles stringing his bow on the obverse. He is commonly associated with the city of Olbia, as some of his staters were found there, and a similar wheel frequently appears as a reverse type on the 5th-century cast bronze coinage of this city.
The name Eminakos is not Greek, and we may presume that he was of 'barbarian' background, perhaps a Skythian. Much like its neighbors, Tyras and Nikonion, Olbia was heavily influenced by its Skythian surroundings and always in danger of losing its autonomy to the tribes. It seems likely that Eminakos was a Skythian dynast or a warlord, who either controlled Olbia for some time in the mid to late 5th century BC or, at the very least, had his bullion struck into coins in the Greek city for payments to soldiers or trade. Eminakos' name is otherwise unattested, except perhaps for a graffito on a fragment of a black-glazed skyphos found in Olbia in the mid-20th century, which reads [...]νάκō εἰμὶ[...] (SEG 32:803). This has been expanded to '[Ἐμι]νάκō εἰμί', 'I am Eminakos', which, if the reading is correct, provides further evidence for assigning Eminakos' coinage to Olbia.