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HOME : Greek Coins : Greek City States : Autonomous Tetradrachm of Seleukis and Pieria
Autonomous Tetradrachm of Seleukis and Pieria - C.0189
Origin: Eastern Mediterranean
Circa: 1 st Century BC

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Silver

Location: United States
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Obverse: Turreted and Veiled Head of Tyche Facing Right

Reverse: Zeus Enthroned Left, Holding Nike and Scepter

The Seleucid Kingdom was established by Seleukos I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, following the death of Alexander and the division of his empire. At its peak under Seleukos I and Antiochus I, the Seleucid Kingdom comprised almost the whole of the conquests of Alexander with the exception of Egypt. Seleukis and Pieria, also known as Seleucia Pieria, was a Mediterranean port located near the mouth of the Orontes River in modern Turkey. It served as the main port for the Seleucid capital of Antioch, much the same way Ostia would later serve as the main port for Rome. Functioning as both a commercial and naval seaport, the city was of immense strategic importance to the Seleucids. During their war with Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleukis and Pieria was captured, liberated, and recaptured several times until finally in 219 B.C., Seleucid King Antiochus III the Great liberated the city from Ptolemaic occupation for the final time. Soon after, the city obtained autonomy and was granted the right to mint coinage, revealing the extent of its commercial wealth. Historically, Seleukis and Pieria is noted as being the point of departure from which St. Paul set forth on his first missionary journey.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your 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 touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether currency in the age we live or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. This ancient coin is more than an artifact; it is a memorial to a lost kingdom passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation.
- (C.0189)


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