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HOME : Greek Coins : Archive : Anatolian Silver Tetradrachm from the Island of Kos
Anatolian Silver Tetradrachm from the Island of Kos - C.2283
Origin: Island of Kos
Circa: 366 BC to 350 BC

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Silver

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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Obverse: Portrait of Herakles Clad in the Skin of the Nimean Lion

Reverse: A Crab and a Club Framed by a Dotted Square

After the decline of Minoan Crete, the Achaians arrived on the island Kos. According to Homer, Kos, played an important part in the Trojan war. After the fall of Troy, Podarios, son of the God Asklepios and doctor from Thesaly, settled on the island after being shiprecked. Podarios founded the family of the Asklipidai, of which Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is a decendant. In the 11th century B.C., the Dorians invaded Kos and expelled the Achaians. In the 7th century B.C., Kos entered a federation with six other cities in Asia Minor, Rhodes, Kalymnos and Nisyros. At the end of the 6th century, Kos, along with most of the other cities in Asia Minor, was subdued by the Perian King Darius. After the battle of Salamina in 479 where the Persian King Xerxes was defeated, the island was liberated by a united Greek army. Unfortunately, Greece unity was fleeting and during the Peloponnesian war (431-404 B.C.) Kos allied with Athens. For this allegience, the island paid a high tribute when the Spartan Commander Astochos invaded the island. In 394 B.C., after a treaty with Sparta, the Koans once again allied with Athens. Under the influence of Athens, democracy was introduced and the culture, education, and economy of Kos all thrived. This prosperity continued unabated until King Mausolus from Halikarnasos conquered the island in 358 B.C. Later, the island allied with Macedonia and Alexander the Great and, after 82 B.C., Kos became a part of the Eastern colony of the Roman Empire. However, during the reign of August, certain privileges originally bestowed upon the island were revoked, instigating a period of stagnation. This decline was followed by a terrible earthquake in 27 B.C. signaling an end to the glory days of Kos.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine- made currencies. The style of this coin is modeled after those of Alexander the Great, thus revealing his lasting influence upon this island. This remarkable numismatic specimen is a memorial to the island of Kos passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.
- (C.2283)


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