Following on from my last post. There seems to be at least three different types of 1/16 shekel with turrets and single lion below. The majority of coins have a crouching lion left in exerque with tail curled in an upward motion. There are also coins depicting a lion running left with tail curled downwards, these are slightly less common. The final type and one which i would like to share here today, depicts a crouching lion right with tail curled upwards. I am unable to find any more samples of this type on numismatic websites. All of my reference books describe these coins as just lion in exerque and are of little help.
Could the various positions of the lions be symbolic in anyway ?
Please follow provided link for coins attribution.
The engraver seems to have crammed in so many features on this early coin of Sidon. On the obverse there are three turreted city towers forefront, we can also see distant walls behind the turrets (image below). Below in exerque a lion standing left below the city walls, unfortunately the lions legs are slightly of flan and the head is extremely worn. On the reverse Persian King Abd´esmun wearing crenelated crown (Kidaris) standing right shooting bow, in left field a goats head and in right satyr or bes (dwarf god).
Please follow provided link for coins attribution.
Coins baring the name of Mazday and dated years 1-4 were made by the same workshop has those of the Sidonian kings. Mazday was awarded the satrapy of Sidon after helping suppress the failed attempt by ´Abd ´astart I, to lead his people to independence. When normality returned to the region, Persia then placed Tennes on the throne of Sidon.
Although Mazday was replaced by Tennes, he did however continue is satrapy of Cilicia and Samaria.
Intriguingly, the kings name was abbreviated using Aramaic letters, this replacing the Phoenician letters normally found on coins of this type. According to Betylon, Mazday reigned in Sidon from 362-358 and again between 347-341 B.C, this would date my coin at approximately 343-342 B.C (regnal year 9).
Please follow provided link for coins attribution:
‘Abd ‘astart meaning the servant of Astart (Astarte) or Ba´ alat, which is the feminine version of Ba´al (lord).
There is conflicting evidence to when ‘Abd ‘astart I ruled Sidon, many would have is reign dated to between 365-352 B.C (14 years), others including J.W Betylon prefer 372-361 B.C.
‘Abd ‘astart I father Ba’ lsallim II issued a late double seqel (shekel) dated regnal year 14, this if correct, tells us that Ba’ lsallim II reigned from 386-372 B.C (14 years).
‘Abd ‘astart I more than likely inherited the satrapy from his father after his defeat in the second campaign of Egypt in 373-372 B.C. It is written that ‘Abd ‘astart I personality was that of a complex, cultured and courageous man, this courageousness became his undoing after the revolt of 362-361 B.C, in which he was soundly defeated by the army´s of Belesys & Mazday, sent by the Persian King Artaxerxes III. (Mazday was awarded the satrapy of Sidon between the years 362-358 B.C).
The coin i am sharing with you today, is an extremely rare year nine minted during ‘Abd ‘astart I reign. The obverse shows a galley with row of shields extending along the bulwark, a figurehead on the bow and a ornament over the stern, below the galley there are four zigzag lines representing waves, all within a cable border. On the reverse we see the Persian King (‘Abd ‘astart I) slaying a lion with dagger held in right hand, between are the letters beth & ayin or Abd ‘astart I in it´s abbreviated form.
Please follow provided link for the coins attribution;
There are two different types of this coin, one with era date in field above (type 1) and the other with date in exerque (type 2). The coin i am showing today is of type 1 and extremely rare. I managed to track down 13 other coins of type 1 using all the major websites and museums. Eight of the coins are undatable due to their bad condition, four are year 40 and one is year 36. My coin appears to be the first of it´s type that can be clearly dated as year 54.
This fascinating Sidonian coin attracted my attention almost immediately in a recent auction, not just because of its wonderful patina but also for the interesting countermark behind Tyche in left field. Those of you who are aware of my collecting interests and recognised the countermarks theme, including the coins geographical origin will have realised that i was not going to let this coin slip through my fingers. There is no mistaking that this countermark is the beak of a galley ram. I found a reference to a coin of the same type in BMC Phoenicia on page 156, plate XXXI. 6. Although i have to confess i can not make out the countermark on the coin imaged in BMC Phoenicia, my age and failing eyesight are probably to blame.
Obverse: Turreted and draped bust of Tyche right, hair in chignon with curl behind, border of dots (Ram of Galley countermark in left field).
Reverse: Horizontal rudder, Pheonician legend above and below in four lines meaning “belonging to Sidonians, mother of Kambe, Hippone, Citium and Tyre”.