The Colosseo Collection ……
Akragas was a wealthy and powerful Greek state on the southern coast of Sicily, second only to Syracuse in importance. The city was famous for its lavish building projects, proudly displaying its wealth in the form of numerous massive temples, many of which still stand today.
The early designs of the coinage of Akragas remained consistent for nearly a century, depicting Zeus’ standing eagle on the obverse and a crab on the reverse. As their societies matured, the aristocratic rulers of Akragas and its surrounding cities became highly competitive, especially in horse races, but also in the artistic beauty of the coinage they produced, resulting in a flourishing numismatic arms race.
Around 415 BCE, a dramatic shift took place, reinvigorating all denominations of their coinage. The designs became much more intricate, and the new coins have been ranked as some of the most beautiful coinage ever produced, clearly the work of the finest Sicilian artists of the time.
By Joe Jaroch – Posted with Permission from AUCM
Amassing a collection of ancient coins can seem like a daunting task: the U.S. Mint has existed for little more than two hundred years, but the Classical world spans a colossal twenty-one centuries. Where would a collection begin, let alone end?
That’s where we come in.
You don’t need to own a museum or be a Rockefeller to collect ancient coins. There are indeed thousands of possible collections, but we’ll cover the ones that could be most comfortably completed, including variations based on the overall price tag: some sets have individual coins that could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but there are alternate sets and subsets which are equally exciting and historical at more affordable prices.
But even though ancient coins have been collected by such noteworthy historical figures as Thomas Jefferson, Louis XIV, and Augustus Caesar himself, the field is open to all comers. We have observed that the market on these coins is less mature than that of U.S. ones, so coins of smaller mintage and greater intrinsic value are actually far less expensive today than their American counterparts. Additionally, there is such an extensive pool of variations that you could contentedly collect for decades to come and never run out of new sets to complete.
The history of Kamarina, a port city on the southern coast of Sicily, is among the most tumultuous of Ancient Greece. It was founded in 599 BCE by settlers from Syracuse and its location allowed it to grow quickly and amass substantial wealth through trade.
However, within 40 years of its founding, Syracuse began to perceive it as a threat because of its success. The city was destroyed by Syracuse in 553 BCE and then re-founded by colonists from Gela, only to be destroyed again by Syracuse and re-founded for a third time by Gela in 461 BCE.
Even with Gela’s support, Kamarina was still weak, leading it to look for stronger allies to defend against future attacks from Syracuse. It sought out the support of Leontinoi until that city was destroyed by Syracuse in 422 BCE. It finally reached some semblance of stability through the protection of Athens, but Kamarina approached this alliance cautiously while waiting to see if Athens was indeed stronger than Syracuse.
The Colosseo Collection ……
One of the few ancient traditions to survive until the modern world is the Ancient Olympics. Occurring in the same four-year cycle today as in antiquity, they mark a time when differences are put aside and the world’s attention focuses on athletic competition between nations.
The name “Olympics” originates from where they were played. Olympia was a sanctuary of ancient Greece near the city of Elis, a fertile country in the northwest of the Peloponnese. It featured temples, sporting grounds, and accommodations for the athletes. The inhabitants of Elis were responsible for organizing the games every four years. The stadium at Olympia seated no less than 45 thousand, and the publicity for the winners was immense.
Fearful of Athens and the growing power of the Macedonian Kingdom, Olynthus and the other free cities of the Chalcidice banded together in 432 BCE, forming the Chalcadian League as a defensive coalition. Athens failed to break up this union due to its focus on the Peloponnesian War and its general disinterest in the region, helping solidify the strength of the League.
The capital was placed at Olynthus on a peninsula of northern Ancient Greece, on the shores of the Aegean Sea. The name “Olynthus” originates from the Greek olunthos, a fig which matures early, as this fruit was plentiful in the area.
The Chalcadian League was at the height of its power in the late fifth century BCE but soon became the center of conflict. In 393 BCE, Amyntas III of Macedonia was under attack by the Illyrians and temporarily transferred territory to Olynthus for protection. When he regained control, the League refused to return his lands and he called upon Sparta to intervene.
Undoubtedly the finest specimen known of this wonderful issue bearing one of the finest front facing portraits on Greek coins. Of extraordinary late Classical style and with a delightful old cabinet tone.
Perhaps unexpectedly, Clazomenae produced some of the finest facing-head portraits on all Greek coins, with most of them being unsigned masterpieces. However, one artist, Theodotos must have been renowned in his day, for he boldly signed his work “Theodotos made it”.
Erhart notes that this kind of declaratory signature has few parallels in Greek coinage, perhaps only at Cydonia on Crete and at Thurium in Lucania.