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The electrum coinage of Cyzicus online

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F.RS., F.S.A.,











Purpose of the essay ......... 1

Previous accounts of staters 2

Position of Cyzicus ......... 3

Oldest settlers there . . . 3

Argonauts in connection with Cyzicus . .... 5
Colonized from Miletus ........ 5

Historical account of the state 6

Keligious origin of coinage ....... 7

Authentication of the cut rency . ...... 8

Divinities worshipped at Cyzicus : Cybele, Apollo, Artemis,

Persephone, Dionysus 9

Importance of Cyzicus as a trading community . . .12

No early gold or silver currency iheie ..... 13
Monetary standard, the Phocaic . . . . .13
Electrum, the metal used for the coinage of Cyzicus ; its nature

and composition . . . . . . . . .14

Electrum an artificial and not a natural alloy . . . .15

Did it pass as current for gold ? . . . . . .16

Monetary value of the Cyzicene s-tdter . . . . .17

Cyzicenes, the principal currency on the coasts of the Euxine

Sea during the fifth century B.C. ...... 18

Source of supply of gold for the coinage 19

.First issue of staters, apparently a single one . . . .21
Second i>sue, one of long continuance and variety ... 22
Name of the city not (bund on staters ..... 22

Types on the coinage 23

Representations of gods on the staters ..... 23

Other suhjects, such as heroes, &<. ...... 26

Coin subjects, sometimes adopted frm the coins of other states 27
L;irge and varied number of types on the coinage ... 29
Magisterial devices and not the badge of the state, the principal

subject on the statei s ........ 30

More than one type issued in the course of a year . . . oO
Period of time during wl;ich the staters were issued . . .31
Principal issue commt need about B.C. 500 . . . .32

Classification of staters in respect of date .... 32

Time when the staters ceased to be issued .... 34

Art at Cyzicus .......... 35

Coinage not a complete index of artistic wealth ... 36
Skill of C'yzicene die-engravers . ...... 37

Shown in vhe power of adapting subject to space . . . 3rt
Subjects derivt d from groups mi friezes, &c. .... 39

Discoveries of staters as single coins or in hoaid.s . . .41






Type of earliest stater . . . . . . . .. .45

Types connected with gods, &c.

Zeus . . . . . . ... . . . . .46

Poseidon .'48

Derneter .51

Apollo . . . .. . . . . r . 5-5

Artemis . . . . 60

Pallas CO

Gaia 63

Cet-rops 64

Aphrodite ......... .6-5

Hermes . 66

Dionysus ........... 66

Scylla 73

River God 73

Nike 74

Eleutheria. 76

Cybele 77

Atys . 78

Heracles ..../-. 82

Odysseus . . . . . . . . . . .86

Orestes . . . 87

Perseus ........... 88

Warriors 96

Harpy 100

Sphinx ; 101

Lion .... 102

Chimaera 108

Bull 109

Horse 110

Ass . . .112

Bam . .112

Goat 113

Bour . . ... . . . . . . ... '. 114

Dog . . . .115

Griffin 117

Eagle . . , .119

Fish . . , . 121

Prow .124

Helmet ........... 125

Lyre 125


IT is not my intention in this account of the electrum
coinage of Cyzicus to enter upon a history of the state in
any of its relations, except so far as it may afford an eluci-
dation of my more immediate subject. The purpose of
the essay is to bring together as complete a list as is
possible of all the electrum coins issued by Cyzicus during
the long period of their emission, together with a repro-
duction by the autotype process of each type. It is hoped
that this in itself will be of service to numismatists and
others interested in Hellenic art and its development.

No attempt to publish a full list of these numerous
coins has hitherto been made since the time of Sestini,
whose catalogue, on account of the scarcity of types then
known, was necessarily a very imperfect one. I have long
felt that until a detailed, and to a very large extent an
exhaustive account was given, it was impossible that this
most valuable and extensive series of coin-types could be
presented to numismatic science with any prospect of
being adequately studied. In the hope, therefore, that
I may be able to supply these important materials for
study and research to those desirous of becoming ac-
quainted with the marvellous series of the Cyzicenes,
I have prepared this account of them, the result of much
labour, but not undertaken without quite corresponding
pleasure. The work lays claim to be little more than



an accurate catalogue, though I have also sought to
make it useful to those not deeply acquainted with Hel-
lenic mythology and its various cults, by some illustrative
matter in connection with the different types.

Of this remarkable and large series of coins, Eckhel, as
I shall have occasion to mention again, knew nothing.
The first account of them was given by Sestini in his
Stateri antichi, published in 1817, where figures of several
staters and parts of the stater are given, not, however,
very correctly. The next account is one by M. Charles
Lenormant, Essai sur les Stateres de Cyzique, in the first-
volume of the new series of the Revue Numismatique, in
1856, followed in 1864 by a paper by his son M. Francois
Lenormant, Stateres inedits de Cyzique, in the ninth volume
of that periodical. The same learned author has also
given an account of the coins of Cyzicus in Dictionnaire
des Antiquites of Daremberg and Saglio. Though I am
unable to agree with these eminent authors in some of
their views, I feel myself under great obligations to them
for much information and many suggestions. Two most
valuable papers by Mr. B. V. Head have appeared in the
Numismatic Chronicle, new series, vols. xvi. and xvii.,
" On a recent find of Staters of Cyzicus," and " Additional
Notes," &c., the latter being accompanied by a letter
from M. Six containing many valuable remarks on some
of the staters described in Mr. Head's first paper. Several
scattered notices of one or more of these coins have been
given by De Koehne, Mr. Borrell, Dr. Imhoof-Blumer,
and Herr Lobbecke in various serials.

It remains to mention Marquardt's very complete work,
Cyzicus und sein Gebiet, published in 1836. Though a small
epace only is devoted to the electrum coinage indeed at
the time he wrote not many staters, &c., were known on


all other subjects connected with the state he gives a very
full account, and I am indebted to him for much of the
material I have used in this essay.

The pleasing task is left me of expressing my deep
obligation to the keepers of the various public collections
noticed in the following account of the different coins, and
to the private collectors who have most freely placed their
coins at my disposal for publication. To Mr. Poole and
the other officers of the Medal Room in the British
Museum it is impossible for me to fully express my grati-
tude, for the courteous and untiring way in which they
have received me in my numerous visits to that splendid
collection, and for most valuable information and counsel.

The position of Cyzicus was one admirably fitted for the
site of a great trading community. It shows us how the
genius of the Hellenic race instinctively selected places
suitable for colonization, and which afforded scope for the
development of that spirit of commercial enterprise, which,
existing at the time of our earliest acquaintance with that
people, has continued with many vicissitudes to our own
day. The town was placed on the neck of a promontory
which projected into the Propontis (Sea of Marmora), on
the northern coast of Mysia, about the middle of the
waterway between the -ZEgean and Euxine Seas, and had
therefore the advantage not only of the local trade with
the opposite coast of Thrace, but of the wider traffic with
the various towns on the shores of the two important seas
between which it was planted.

The oldest settlers in Cyzicus are stated to have been
Doliones, who were seated on the skirts of the Mysian


Olympus and around the shores of Lake Ascanius. This
people had probably relations with the Hellenic stock, but
had affinity also with the Phrygians. They in this way
became influenced by the religious culture and civilisation
of the more eastern branches of the great Hellenic family,
which extended itself through Thrace to Hellas proper
and to countries still farther to the west. Mysians, we
are told, were settled in the plain of the river ^Esepus, a
kindred people, differing little either in habits or lan-
guage from the earlier occupants. To these were added
Phrygians from Thrace, and the whole population became
so intermixed and fused that neither the autochthons nor
the later immigrants can be separated the one from the
other. It is due, probably, to there not having been any
very distinctive difference between the several elements of
the population that the inhabitants became one, and to
some extent a homogeneous people. The next occupation
was by Pelasgi from Thessaly, driven out thence by the
^Eolians, and who at a still earlier period had been dis-
possessed of Magnesia by Cretheus, son of ^Eolus. Ac-
cording to Conon, the author of the Anyy^o-eis, their
leader was Cyzicus, son of Apollo, or, as was other-
wise said, of ^Eneus and ^Enete, daughter of a Thra-
cian king, Eusorus. Cyzicus was married to Cleite,
daughter of Merops, king of Percote ; but according to
another account he died unmarried, though about to take
to wife Larissa, daughter of the Thessalian Piasus. These
genealogical stories appear to corroborate the Thessalian
origin of the Pelasgi who occupied Cyzicus. Conon
further relates that Cyzicus had no successor, and that
the Tyrrheni (Pelasgi) took possession of the Cyzicene
Chersonnese, subjugating the earlier Thessalians. Still
#mong the mist of mythical events we next come across


the Argonauts on their way to Colchis. On landing at
Cyzicus they were kindly received by the inhabitants, but
after leaving and being driven back on the coast during
the night, they were mistaken for enemies, and in the
ensuing fight Cyzicus was slain by Jason or Heracles. His
death was mourned by the Argonauts as well as by his
own people, and his wife Cleite killed herself for grief,
the tears of the nymphs originating a fountain which in
her memory was called Cleite. During the stay of the
Argonauts Hera instigated the giants, who dwelt on
Mount Dindymus close by Cyzicus, to destroy Heracles.
When Jason and the Argonauts were reconnoitring on
the mountain, Briareus and his brother giants threw
rocks down upon Heracles, who was left in charge of the
ships, and endeavoured to close the mouth of the river
Rhyndacus. The rocks were changed by Persephone
into an island called Besbicus, and the giants were slain
by the arrows of Heracles and his companions. Before
leaving the place the Argonauts besought Dindymene for
a favourable voyage, and are reported to have erected a
temple to Rhea-Cybele, which existed there in after years,
together with an image of the goddess, made of the wood
of the vine, and like the Artemis at Ephesus and Dionysus
of Naxos, no doubt a primitive agalma. As might be
looked for, some of the coin-types have reference to Jason
and other heroes of the Argonautic myth.

Passing onwards to later times, we arrive at what may
be considered the historical origin of the city, in the
advent of a colony from Miletus, actuated, it is said, by
an oracle from Apollo. This apparently took place, though
different dates are given, in 01. vi. 1, B.C. 756. Accord-
ing to an inscription of Roman times, four of the six
tribes into which the Cyzicenes were divided were of


Athenian origin, coming from the Asiatic settlement of
Miletus. 1 Another colony is said to have come from.
Megara, about a century later, in B.C. 675. From this
time until the extension of the Lydian kingdom under
Gyges, nothing appears to be known of Cyzicus. It came
to some extent under the Lydian power when that was
carried up to the Hellespont, including the whole of the
north of Mysia and almost all the coast from Adramyteum
to the Pthyndacus. Though it may be disputed to what
extent the Lydian king exercised authority in the
time of Gyges, it is clear that Croesus, by his first
invasion of Ionia, made all the Greeks tributary. On the
overthrow of the Lydian empire by Cyrus in B.C. 546,
and the succeeding conquest of Miletus and other
Greek cities in Asia Minor, Cyzicus became subject to
Persian rule, and remained in that condition until B.C. 477,
when the supremacy of that empire over the Hellenic
cities of Asia Minor was overthrown. Cyzicus then came,
more or less, under Athenian hegemony. It revolted
before the battle of Cynossema, B.C. 411, but was, after
the defeat of the Spartans there, again brought under the
influence of Athens, whose power was farther strengthened
by the total defeat at Cyzicus of the Spartan fleet under
Mindarus, who fell in the battle, by Alcibiades and the
Athenians, B.C. 410. The rule of Athens continued up to
B.C. 405, when, at .ZEgospotami, Lysander, the Spartan
commander, destroyed the Athenian fleet, and for the time
broke up the thalassocracy of Athens. Sparta then became
predominant, and remained so until B.C. 394, when Conon
and Pharnabazus defeated Peisander, and slew him in the
battle off Cnidus. Freedom was then restored to the

1 Caylus, torn, ii., PI. 6062.


various Greek towns of Asia which had been under Spar-
tan authority, and this they retained up to B.C. 387, when,
by the provisions of the peace negotiated by Antalcidas,
they again submitted to Persia. In this condition Cyzicus
remained till, in B.C. 364, it once more came under
Athenian hegemony, to be under her rule but a short time,
for after the defeat of Athens at Chios, B.C. 357, the Asiatic
towns regained their freedom. From this time until
B.C. 334, when Alexander conquered Asia Minor, Cyzicus
was a free and very flourishing state. It is unnecessary
to carry farther the history, for the issue of the electrum
coins, with which alone this essay is concerned, had cer-
tainly ceased before then.

The inner polity of an Hellenic state cannot be discon-
nected from the religion professed within it. The state
was supposed to have its origin in some one of the deities
of the Hellenic Olympus, or to be the offspring of the
prompting or leadership of a god or of some other being
in close relationship to him. Its medium of exchange in
the shape of money was, therefore, in one sense an out-
come of its religion, and received its authentication from
a religious sanction. According to Dr. Ernst Curtius,
so great an influence had the religion of the state upon
its coinage, that it was issued from the temples, and
was the vo/utoym of the god therein worshipped rather
than of the civic community, if, indeed, in 'early times
the god and the state can be separated. The temples
were, on account of the offerings and bequests, and from
other sources, the great receptacles of property, the banks
in fact of the time, and were therefore under the most
favourable circumstances for becoming the issuers of
money, and to profit by the transaction. A somewhat
similar position was occupied by the great religious houses


of the Middle Ages, which accumulating wealth by offer-
ings made to the shrines of saints and for masses, were
enabled through the possession of money to become
lenders of it, and so in the end, by obtaining mortgages
upon land, to become its owners.

The authentication of the currency being, therefore, a
religious privilege, whether the money was issued from the
temple treasuries or from the mint of the state, the designs
on the coins, which were the tokens of its being of a certain
weight and quality, were symbols associated in one way
or another with the deity whose temples were within the
limits of the state. The symbol, therefore, which con-
stituted the badge or arms of the state, was in every sense
a religious one, and signified that the city was under the
protection of the divinity with whom the symbol was
connected. To give a single well-known example, the
coins of Athens, from the earliest to the latest period of
its independence, bore on one face the head of Athena,
and on the other the owl and olive- spray, both so inti-
mately connected with her. The coin-types, therefore, of
a Greek state usually bear upon them the impress of the
religious cults of the state. In the case of Cyzicus, how-
ever, the coin-types do not appear to have been selected
with the same rigid adherence to local worship as in most
Hellenic cities, though the practice had still a certain and
even considerable influence upon the coinage. It will be
desirable, therefore, to give a short account of the various
cults which, as we learn from historical relation, prevailed
at Cyzicus.

The city was provided with a large number of temples,
witnessing to the skill of its architects, who were renowned
throughout Greece. Cicero (Pro lege Manilla) tells us
that Cyzicus was one of the most beautiful cities of the


Greek world, and according to Strabo, it rivalled the first
cities in Asia in size and beauty. 2 Among its buildings
the temples ranked as the most beautiful, and in them
were honoured nearly the whole of the gods and goddesses
of the Hellenic Pantheon. It is not impossible that the
large and wide connection which Cyzicus had with the
trading communities of various countries may have been
the means of introducing some of their cults into the
state, and that as she derived many of her coin-types from
the currency of other cities, so she may also have adopted
their peculiar gods and worship.

Among the divinities worshipped at Cyzicus, one of the
most popular was Cybele, the Magna Mater of Phrygia,
who ultimately became merged in the Hellenic E-hea, the
mother of the gods, herself probably of Oriental origin.
Her worship was introduced at an early period from
Phrygia, and she was known at Cyzicus under the name
Dindyinene, from the mountain Dindymus, in Phrygia,
which had its counterpart in another Dindymus close by
Cyzicus. She also appears under the name Lobrina, from
the mountain Lobrinion, and Placiana, from a town,
Placia, where she had a shrine, near Cyzicus. A legend
tells us that her worship was brought into Mysia and the
Troad by Dardanus. The worship of Rhea appears to
have been carried into the Troad and the district about
Mount Ida at an equally early period, and Mysia seems
to be the country where the two myths, the Phrygian and
Hellenic, became united in one.

In intimate association with Cybele is Atys, the shep-
herd changed into a pine, a tree which, keeping its verdure
through the winter, is a fitting emblem of the vivifying

2 Book xii. p. 71.


influence of the sun, with whom Atys may perhaps be
identified. He appears to occupy much the same position
in regard to Cybele as Alexander-Paris does to Aphro-
dite, who again, in her Oriental aspect as Astarte, comes
into very close relationship with Cybele, as Atys does
with Adonis. The Phrygian goddess especially associated
with mountains, where her images, many of them unhewn
stones, probably aerolites, were most frequently placed,
as the great goddess of the wild, is usually accompanied
by the lion. She is represented in a car drawn by lions,
or seated on a throne with a lion on each side. 3 She
usually wears the turreted crown, and the pine-tree was
sacred to her. Herodotus relates that when Anacharsis
visited the city, there was a great feast held at Cyzicus in
honour of this goddess. 4

Apollo and his sister Artemis are also prominent deities
at Cyzicus ; and as the father of Cyzicus, no god might
seem to have greater claims than Apollo for worship at a
city founded by his son. In his capacity, also, of apx 1 ??"" 1 ? 5
of the colony from the Ionian city Miletus, Apollo Didy-
mseus was regarded as a second founder of the state. 5 The
connection between Cyzicus and Miletus, through the god,
appears to have been long maintained, for in the time
of Prusias II (B.C. 180 149), Cyzicus gave presents
to the temple of Apollo at Miletus. 6 As Lycius,
the god of light, he was worshipped at Zeleia, a town
in Cyzicene territory, and at Adrastia, as 'E/c/Wt'os and
'A/<ratos, he had an oracle, jointly with Artemis. The

3 In her temple at Cyzicus, under the name Dindymene,
there was a marble statue of the goddess between two lions
held by her. Zosimus II. 81.

4 Herod, iv. 76. Clem. Alex. 1715, ed. Potter, vol. i. p. 20.

5 Aristides, vol. i. p. 388, &c. (Dindorf, 1829.)

' Boeckh, Corp. Inscr. Grac., vol. ii. Nos. 2855, 2858.


Hyperborean Apollo naturally has an intimate relation
with the city, through the gold which, brought from the
regions guarded by his griffins, so abundantly supplied the
mint of Cyzicus.

The worship of Artemis may have been brought from
Miletus together with that of Apollo, her brother. A
feast was held in her honour, and gifts were made to
her by the people of Cyzicus, at her temple at Munychia,
from which she had one of her names. 7 As Ai//,ei/oo-K07roe,
the harbour-guardian, she was especially and appropriately
reverenced at so important a sea-port as Cyzicus. 8 She
was also worshipped in Cyzicene territory as ep/^ata, at hot
springs on the river .ZEsepus. 9

Persephone, equally with Cybele, was worshipped at
Cyzicus with peculiar cults and usages. According to
Appian, 10 the city was given to her by Zeus as a marriage-
gift, and in consequence she was honoured there above all
other gods, and a black cow was sacrificed to her, pos-
sibly as the wife of Hades, the god of the lower regions,
the abode of darkness. Appian tells a story which pos-
sesses much picturesque interest. During the siege of the
city by Mithradates, the people were reduced to such
straits that they were unable to provide a suitable cow to
sacrifice to Persephone ; they therefore prepared one made
of flour as a substitute. And now a marvellous event
took place ; a black cow swam through the hostile fleet
and placed herself in front of the altar ready to be sacri-
ficed. So moved was Mithradates by the incident that he
raised the siege, not daring farther to molest a city that

7 Boeckh, vol. ii. No. 3657.

8 Callimach., Hymn, in Dianam, vv. 39, 259.

9 Aristides, Orac. Sacr. iv., vol. i. p. 503 (Dindorf).

10 Belliun Mithrad. vol. i., ed. 1670, p. 371.


was protected by so powerful a goddess. 11 Cyzicus claimed
also to be the scene of the rape of Persephone. 12

Of her mother Demeter historical relation gives but
little account in connection with Cyzicus. Nor is any-
thing recorded which enables us to obtain a knowledge of
the worship of any of the other gods there, except what
Athenseus relates, 13 that there was in the city a statue of
Dionysus in the form of a bull.

The Argonautic expedition is the most important myth
in connection with the history of Cyzicus, and includes
Heracles and the young king Cyzicus, slain through mis-
adventure by the Argonauts. The latter, as the founder,
is most intimately associated with the city which bore his
name, and there is an inscription which records that a
statue was dedicated to him as KT/o-n/y. 14 Games were held
in his honour, 15 and his tomb is mentioned by Deilochus. 16

The importance of Cyzicus as a commercial and trad-
ing community began at an early time. Already in the
sixth century B.C., if not before, its trade had extended
widely, and it became a place whose alliance was sought
for by other and distant states, It is true that it was
not until a later period that its business intercourse with
the Euxine was completely developed, by which it was
enabled, besides other lucrative commodities, to draw a
large supply of gold on very favourable conditions,
through Panticapseum, from the rich metalliferous district

11 Plutarch, in his " Life of Lucullus," also relates that the
image of the cow was made of paste, and adds that the sacri-

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