Pergamene mint under Philetaerus

Newell, Edward Theodore, 1886-1941
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




By Edward T. Newell.

In recent years fortunate chance has brought upon the international coin market a number of rare and splendidly preserved specimens belonging to the coinage of those three illustrious contemporaries: Lysimachus, Seleucus and Philetaerus. Some are as yet unpublished varieties. 1 All contribute their quota to a better understanding of the issues of the Pergamene mint in the second, third and fourth decades of the third century B. C. As a result, the sequence of coin types and legends becomes clearer for that somewhat dark period which extends from the first issues of Lysimachus, through those of Seleucus, to the coinages which Philetaerus himself put forth as ruler of Pergamum under Seleucid suzerainty.

Much of the spade work for the coinages which we propose to discuss here has already been done by Imhoof-Blumer in his brilliant study entitled: Die Münzen der Dynastie von Pergamon, Berlin, 1884. The Swiss scholar, however, was not in a position to indicate which particular varieties of the voluminous coinages of Lysimachus should be assigned to the royal mint at Pergamum—though in this connection he did make a step forward in showing 2 that the several varieties assigned by previous writers to Pergamum cannot be accepted as having actually been coined there. This weakness at the outset, and the absence from his list of certain important varieties since discovered, render somewhat inadequate Imhoof-Blumer's materials covering the years from Philetaerus' rebellion to his death in 263 B. C.

As is only natural to suppose, Lysimachus coined extensively in Pergamum, that powerful and strategically situated fortress where he had stored an immense amount of treasure 3 and where a mint had already existed since early in the fourth century B. C. 4 We have not the space here to enter into a detailed discussion of this large coinage, to which a chapter in the writer's forthcoming work on all the coinages of Lysimachus will be devoted. For the present, a group of selected specimens from the final Pergamene issues of Lysimachus, Plate I, nos. 1-3, Plate II, 1, must suffice. All of these bear in the field, immediately in front of the seated Athena, a curious symbol, apparently a facing simulacrum not unlike the well known Ephesian Artemis. In addition to the numerous accompanying letters and monograms the accessory symbols are invariably star (Plate I, 3), crescent (Plate I, 2, Plate II, l) or herm (Plate 1,1). All of these, it is to be noted, recur again and again on later coinages of this mint. The assignment to Pergamum of these particular Lysimachan issues is based on a series of numismatic, stylistic, historic and geographic observations too involved and too numerous to find a place in this short study dedicated, not to the coinages of Lysimachus, but to the succeeding issues of Seleucus and of Philetaerus. A few coins of Lysimachus are here illustrated solely for the purpose of familiarizing the reader with the immediate fore-runners of the coins which we propose especially to discuss.

The event which precipitated the end of Lysimachus' empire and resulted in the rise to power of the Attalid Dynasty, was the execution in 286-5 B. C. of his son, the heir apparent Agathocles. For Philetaerus the situation had now become impossible. He belonged to the faction which had gathered about that able and much beloved young man—in opposition to the party headed by Lysimachus' wife, the ambitious Arsinoé, scheming for the preferment of her own children. So, after having functioned for many years as the governor of Pergamum and the trusted guardian of the great treasure there deposited, Philetaerus was now forced to take steps for his own safety. Sometime between 284 and 282 B. C. many of the Asiatic cities and certain officers of Lysimachus openly rebelled, 5 and called upon Seleucus for aid. Philetaerus also wrote 6 to the Syrian king, placing himself, and the treasure under his care, at the latter's disposal. Seleucus led his army, together with a large contingent of elephants, 7 into the Asiatic provinces of Lysimachus. In the summer 8 of 281 B. C. the Thracian king, at the head of his army, advanced to meet the invader. On the plain of Corupedium in Lydia 9 there occurred the final and decisive battle in which, as is well known, Lysimachus lost both life and empire.

To the period between the revolt of Philetaerus and the death of Seleucus Imhoof-Blumer has assigned 10 coins of Alexander's types but inscribed with the name of Seleucus. We shall soon have occasion to show that between the battle of Corupedium and the assassination of Seleucus seven months later, coins of quite another type were issued. Hence the period during which the SeleucidAlexanders may have been struck is more restricted than Imhoof-Blumer supposes. That Imhoof-Blumer was fully justified in attributing these SeleucidAlexanders to the Pergamene mint, how ever, few subsequent scholars have ever doubted. 11 Style and fabric of the coins point definitely to western Asia Minor. The principal, and conspicuous, symbol in the field, an Athena head in Corinthian helmet, as well as the subsidiary symbols crescent or star—all unmistakably suggest Pergamum. 12 But to the present writer style and fabric of these coins give the impression of their being slightly later in date, probably after 280 B. C. rather than before. Unfortunately our knowledge of the events between the execution of Agathocles and the death of Lysimachus is so scanty as to throw little light upon the coinage in question. All that is vouchsafed us is the statement that Philetaerus, fearing the ill-will of Arsinoé and her malevolent influence over her aged husband, wrote to Seleucus offering him both his loyalty and the treasure under his care.

No date for this action is given. For all that our sources state, it might have taken place in 284; it may have been in 283; more probably it was as late as 282 B. C. We possess, as mentioned above, the statement that Seleucus with a large army invaded Lysimachus' realm. We learn details of the strategem by which Seleucus secured the fortress of Sardes and the treasures there deposited. 13 And then, suddenly, Lysimachus and Seleucus are face to face at Corupedium and the fateful battle takes place. Not one further word refers to any action of Philetaerus, or what befell him before the great battle finally put an end to his problems so far as Lysimachus was concerned.

Did Philetaerus openly revolt before 282 B. C. or was his treasonable correspondence successfully concealed until the arrival of Seleucus before Sardes made concealment no longer necessary? Upon the determination of the actual date at which Philetaerus definitely took his stand as a rebel against his former master Lysimachus and an ally of the latter's Syrian rival, must depend the period at which we are to place the Seleucid Alexander tetradrachms in question (Plates III, IV, V, VI). Imhoof-Blumer adopted the theory that Philetaerus revolted as early as 284 B. C. The three years between that date and the battle of Corupedium in the summer of 281 B. C. might have been sufficient for the very considerable coinage of those SeleucidAlexanders. But the mere striking of such coins (bearing as they do the name of Seleucus) would definitely proclaim Philetaerus as being in open rebellion. If this took place as early as 284 B. C. he, as the most prominent of the rebels and the holder of an immense treasure, would have found himself in a most dangerous position, during the time Seleucus was assembling his army, crossing the Taurus, invading Asia Minor, and laying siege to Sardes. By his very character, and by all considerations of policy and strategy, Lysimachus would not allow so flagrant an act of treason and treachery to pass unnoticed, nor could he quietly sit by while so considerable a portion of his kingdom's monetary reserves was falling into other hands. In spite of the admitted scantiness of our records, it does seem very strange that not the slighest mention is made of any action taken by Lysimachus against his long trusted and erstwhile loyal governor Philetaerus. This difficulty has apparently been fully appreciated by the latest historians of the period. Thus Beloch places the revolt of Philetaerus as late as 282 B. C. Tacitly he suggests that Lysimachus was probably surprised by both rebellion and invasion, and that he must have deemed it wiser to try conclusions with his more powerful and dangerous enemy Seleucus before pausing 14 to attend to his own rebellious subjects. To the present writer it seems preferable to suppose that the treasonable correspondence between Philetaerus and Seleucus was successfully concealed until almost the last minute and that Philetaerus wisely refrained from coming out into the open until, perhaps, the siege of Sardes and the nearer approach of Seleucus.

To such a conclusion the writer has been especially led by his studies of the Lysimachus' issues of the Pergamene mint. Technical and numismatic considerations point to the fact that issues of that particular type commenced there only after the destruction of Lysimachia by earthquake in 288-7 B. C. The three or four years between that event and circa 284 B. C. would hardly be sufficient to allow for the large issues of coin which now took place at Pergamum. Hence he is forced to suppose that these issues probably continued to appear until circa 282 B. C. at least. The obvious corollary is that Philetaerus did not openly rebel until that year.

With the death of Lysimachus at Corupedium the situation in Asia Minor was instantly changed and the country became a province of the Syrian Empire. Seleucus spent several months 15 here pacifying the district and tightening his hold over his new dominions. In this process the aid of his new subject, the able and astute Philetaerus, probably proved invaluable. For was not the latter commandant of the powerful and strategically important fortress of Pergamum and also the actual custodian of an immense treasure? It is the writer's belief that the Pergamene mint at once commenced an issue the types of which obviously glorify the recent triumph of the new suzerain Seleucus Nicator, now ruler over practically the whole of Alexander's great heritage. It is here proposed to assign the following beautiful but exceedingly rare tetradrachms 16 to the Pergamene mint for the short period which intervened between the decisive battle of Corupedium and the assassination of Seleucus at Lysimachia.

In the following catalogue the several obverse dies are each indicated by Roman, the reverse dies by italicized numerals.


Remainder of 281 to March 280 B. C.

1. Horned and bridled head of a horse to r. Circle of dots. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ above, ΣΕΛΕϒΚΟϒ below elephant to r. In upper field, bee. In lower field, anchor.
  • I.—1. Newell, ↖ gr. 16.74, Plate II, 2.
  • II.—2. Berlin, 17 ↑, gr. 16.59. Cf. Zeitschr. f. Num. XXI, 1898, p. 230 Plate VI, 6; K. Regling, Die Antike Münze als Kunstwerk, Plate XLI, No. 839; Seltman, Greek Coins, Plate LII, 2.
2. Similar. Similar, but the upper symbol is a star.
  • III.—3. Paris, deLuynes Coll., ↖, gr. 16.75, Plate II, 3. Cf. Babelon, Rois de Syrie etc., p. 9, No. 55, Plate II, 9; Imhoof-Blumer, Tier und Pflanzenbilder, Plate II, 17 and Plate IV, 6.

The splendid style displayed by these impressive coins is obviously of Asia Minor and of the early third century B. C. Their fabric, too, is not only typical of that same general district, but also exactly similar to that of the preceding Pergamene issues of Lysimachus (Plate I, 1-3, Plate II, 1). The size of the planchets; gentle nuances of their form and concavity; the delicate circle of dots on the obverse and their complete absence on the reverse; especially the strong, even, well-made and beautiful letters of the inscriptions are all identical in the two groups. Like all the Lysimachus issues of Pergamum the die positions of nos. 1 and 2 are ↑ or ↖. Furthermore, the accessory magistrate's symbols, bee and star, are typical of the Pergamene mint. The star had appeared before on the Pergamene issues of Lysimachus (Plate I, 3), 18 and was to appear again on the Alexandrine issues with the name of Seleucus (Plate III, 2-4, Plate IV, 1-2). It had already been used as a type on Pergamene bronze coins 19 and was later not only to appear again as a type on Philetaerid bronze coins 20 but also as a very frequent countermark 21 on Pergamene copper coins both of the Attalids and during the second century B. C.

The bee symbol of no. 1 appears, likewise as a symbol, on autonomous bronze coins of Pergamum (Plate II, 4) 22 which v. Fritze dates 23 in the first half of the third century B. C. and in the time of the first Attalids. It further occurs both as a symbol 24 and as a type 25 on later Attalid bronze coins. Thus both of these accessory symbols point definitely to Pergamum as the mint of nos. 1 and 2.

The somewhat arresting types employed for this issue were not new to Seleucus' many coinages. Not only had they frequently been used singly, 26 but in one instance 27 had even appeared in conjunction as in the present case. This particular piece, however, is a bronze coin of typically Syrian, not Pergamene, fabric, and so, beyond the more general relationship of a community of types, could have had little to do with the silver tetradrachms described above. The significance of the types of the horned horse's head and of the elephant have been so thoroughly discussed by Babelon 28 that we need not weary the reader by repeating them here in extenso. Whether the horned horse's head was intended to represent the world famous Bucephalus 29 —thus recalling the memory of the great Alexander whose empire Seleucus had now all but succeeded in reconstructing—or whether it represented Seleucus' own mount, 30 it would be difficult to decide. As for the horns, leaving aside their possible application to the name of Alexander's own horse, they were in any case a divine attribute and, among Oriental peoples especially, emblems of power and might. Furthermore it must be remembered that Seleucus was for some years after Alexander's death at the head of the mounted "Household Cavalry" (Hetairoi) and owed his further advancement to the use he made of this important position during those troublous times, especially in the crisis which followed Perdiccas' death and at the meeting of the generals at Triparadeisus.

The elephant, even at this early date, had probably become the special emblem of the Seleucid power. 31 Certainly it appears time and again on Seleucus' own coins. Sometimes we see the head alone, sometimes the entire animal standing or majestically striding along, sometimes in twos or fours, horned and with raised trunks, drawing the chariots of Athena or of Artemis.

Taken in conjunction, the horse and the elephant typify the especial pride and principal strength of the Seleucid army. They specifically signalize the recent great victory, in which they had probably played a conspicuous and essential role. 32 In the final analysis, our tetradrachms may be looked upon as something in the nature of "victory medals," or at least commemorative medallions, reminding Seleucus' new subjects not only of the decisive victory but also of his power and dominion—the resistless weight and impetus of his armed might.

But this new and splendid coinage was destined to be of but short duration. Seleucus and his army had hardly set foot upon the European continent, on their way to Macedonia, when he was treacherously assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus. This event is generally placed by historians in the winter of 281-280 B. C., 33 seven short months— according to Justin 34 —after Corupedium. With the death of Seleucus the issue doubtless ceased. As we shall see, other coins were now produced by Philetaerus, whose types are more in consonance with the increasing independence towards which he was steadily working. The three specimens of the horse-elephant issue which have survived emphasize their present great rarity—a rarity far from surprising when we consider the extremely brief period during which they could have been struck. The invariably splendid preservation of the three known specimens also seems to indicate that they could have circulated for but a short time. But the issue itself must have been planned on a more grandiose scale—as is shown by the fact that these three coins possess not a single die in common. Evidently there had been time to prepare numerous dies and to commence at least a restricted use of some of them. Perhaps few coins had actually been produced or put into circulation when the momentous news arrived at Pergamum of Seleucus' murder and the disaffection of his army to Ceraunus. Probably the coining was immediately stopped—for none could tell what the next turn of events would be. And Antiochus, Seleucus' son and heir, was far away in distant Babylonia.

The careful Philetaerus, for safety's sake, now seems to have had recourse to a coinage bearing the blameless name and types of Alexander. For to this most difficult period—when all central authority had been so suddenly removed, when the Seleucid field army was at the disposal of Seleucus' assassin, when Bithynian chiefs, Greek cities, local rulers were thinking or acting independently, when the still loyal Seleucid governors in Asia Minor were left powerless and isolated, stunned by the dread event, when Antiochus was still far away and anything might happen—to this interval of stress, uncertainty and even despair the writer would assign the following extremely rare Pergamene issue.

End Notes
The tetradrachm in Hirsch Sale XIII (Rhousopoulos Coll.) no. 4429, later in Hirsch Sale XXI (Consul Weber Coll.) no. 4031, is a modern forgery.
Cf. Müller, Die Münzen des thracischen Königs Lysimachus, No. 288. There are also other varieties of this mint bearing the star symbol not known to Müller.
Von Fritze in Corolla Numismatica, p. 52, Pl. ii, 12, where they are dated by him in the time of Lysimachus. Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, p. 112, Nos. 24-5, Pl. XXIII, 10, dates these coins 310-283 B. C.
Imhoof-Blumer, Die Münzen der Dynastie von Pergamon, p. 11. no. 61, Pl.III, 5-6.
Examples in the author's collection. Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., Pl. III, 15.
Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, p. 111, No. 13, Pl. XXIII, 5. Sir Herman Weber Coll. No. 5162, Pl. 188.
v. Fritze, loc. cit., pp. 52-3.
Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 7, No. 24 (Pl. II, 14) and Nos. 25-29 (Pl. II, 15); p. 8, Nos. 30-32 (Pl. II, 16) and No. 33 (Pl. II, 17); p. 10. No. 53.
Ibid., p. 11, No. 62, Pl. III, 7.
For the horse's head see Babelon, loc. cit., Pl. II, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16. For the elephant see Babelon, loc. cit., Pl. II, 14, 15, Pl. III, 1-6.
Babelon, loc. cit., Pl. II, 14.
Babelon, Rois de Syrie etc., Introd. pp. XVIII-XXV.
As is believed by Imhoof-Blumer, Tier und Pflanzenbilder, p. 12, following Haym, Thesauro Brittanico, vol. II, p. 20, ed. 1772, and de Luynes, Annali dell' Istituto Arch, di Roma, vol. XIII, 1841, pp. 165-169. Cf. also C. T. Seltman, Greek Coins, Cambridge, 1933, p. 228.
As Babelon, loc. cit., p. xxiii, would have it. He there calls attention to a passage in Mallala (Bonn ed., p. 202) who tells us that Seleucus erected outside the walls of Antioch the effigy of a horse's head. Accompanying this was an inscription commemorating the animal by whose swiftness Seleucus had barely managed to escape the clutches of Antigonus.
Cf. the anecdote in Plutarch's Demetrius, 25 where Seleucus is humorously dubbed 'Εληφαντάρχης.
Cf.note 7.
Babylonian tablets prove his death to have taken place between November and the 1st of Nisan. Cf. Cambridge Ancient History, VII. p. 98, note 1.
XVII, 2. 4.


Group A 280 B. C.

3. Head of young Herakles to r. wearing lion's skin. Circle of dots. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ on r., ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟϒ on 1. Zeus seated to 1. on high-backed throne. He holds eagle in his outstretched r. and rests 1. upon a sceptre. In 1. field, bust of Artemis 35 to r. Beneath the throne, crescent.
  • IV.—4. Berlin (Prokesch-Osten Coll.), ↑, gr. 17.03. Plate III, 1.

A careful comparison of this unique variety with the succeeding group, nos. 4-8 (Plate III, 2-3, Plates IV, V and VI), will be sufficient to prove that it cannot be far separated from them in point of time and not at all with regard to its mint. Barring only the name of Alexander and the symbol in the field, it is identical with them in types, style, fabric and the crescent beneath the throne. In appearance of flan, position of dies, details of lettering, presence of fine beading on the obverse but not on the reverse, it is also very similar to the immediately preceding Seleucid tetradrachms nos. 1 and 2.

The symbol of the Artemis bust is new, in this form, for the Pergamene series. It is, however, but the Greek counterpart of the Ephesian type of Artemis which was such a conspicuous symbol for several years on the final Pergamene issues of Lysimachus (Plate I, nos. 1-3, Plate II, 1). The crescent, on the other hand, is of frequent occurrence on the coinages of our mint both under Lysimachus (Plate I, 2, plate II, 1) as well as under Philetaerus (Plate VII, 1, 2).

This particular issue would seem to have been of but short duration, to have come down to us in only one specimen; though it would not be surprising if future finds added further examples.

Immediately following the preceding variety, as shown by the closely similar style, comes the far more common series of tetradrachms bearing the name of Seleucus.

End Notes
Under the magnifying glass indications of a quiver at the shoulder of this rather minute symbol may be distinguished.


Group B 280 to circa 274 B. C.

4. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding but with ΣΕΛΕϒΚΟϒ on the r. and ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ in the exergue. In 1. field, helmeted head of Athena to r. Beneath the throne, star.
  • V.— 5. Berlin (Morel), ↑, gr. 16.97, Plate III, 2.
  • VI.— 6. Vienna, gr. 16.95, Plate III, 3.
  • VII.— 7. Berlin (Löbbecke), ↖, gr. 16.935, Plate IV, 1.
  • VIII.— 8. Milan, ↑, Plate IV, 2.
5. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding, but with crescent beneath throne.
  • V.— 9. Whitehead Coll. (Sotheby Sale, May 1898, No. 15 = No. 297, Sparkes Coll.), Plate IV, 3.
  • 10. α) Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, p. 113, No. 26, Plate XXIII, 11 = Brit. Mus. Cat., Seleucid Kings of Syria, p. 2, No. 12, gr. 16.83. The coin illustrated on Plate XXIII, 11 of the Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, is the following specimen from the Northwick-Bunbury-Sir Herman Weber-Rogers Collections. Whether the British Museum coin is from the same pair of dies, or not, the writer is unable to state as he has not received casts of the coin actually in the London collection, β) Naville Sale X, June 1925, No. 758, gr. 16.81, Plate XXVI (= Sir Herman Weber Coll., Vol. Ill, Part 2, No. 7830, gr. 16.82, Plate CCLXXXV = Bunbury Coll. II, Sotheby Sale, Dec 1896, No. 427, grains 259 = Northwick Coll., Sotheby Sale, Dec. 1859, No. 1265, grains 259.5).
  • 11. Münzhandlung Basel Sale No. 4, Oct. 1935, No. 863, gr. 16.86, Plate XXX.
  • 12. Paris (Babelon, Rois de Syrie, p. 3, No. 11, Plate I, 7), gr. 17.05.
  • VI.—13. Berlin (Löbbecke), ↗, gr. 17.085, Plate V, 1.
  • 14. Löbbecke Coll. (Hess Sale, Jan. 1926, No. 318), gr. 16.65. Because of damage to the cast (or double striking of the coin itself) the photograph is none too clear. Hence it may not be absolutely certain that this coin was really struck from obverse die VI.
  • VII.—15. Prowe Coll. (Egger Sale XLVI, May 1914, No. 2437), gr. 16.65, Plate XXXIX.
  • VIII.—12. Schlessinger Sale 13, Berlin, Feb. 1935, No. 1417, gr. 16.9, Plate L.
  • 16. Newell (Philipsen Coll., Hirsch Sale XXV, Nov. 1909, No. 2853), ↑, gr. 15.90, Plate V, 2.
  • IX.—13. Cambridge (McClean Coll., III, p. 324, No. 9238 = Montagu Coll., Sotheby Sale, March 1896, No. 688), ↑, gr. 17.07, Plate V, 3.
  • 17. α) Naville Sale X, June 1925, No. 757, gr. 16.93, Plate XXVI.
  • β) Bement Coll. (Naville Sale VII, June 1924, No. 1389), gr. 16.86, Plate XLVIII.
  • 18. Hirsch Sale XII, Nov. 1904, No. 125, Plate III.
6. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding, but the symbol in the field faces left, and beneath the throne are two crescents.
  • VI.—19. Berlin (Imhoof-Blumer), ↑, gr. 16.97, Plate VI, 1.
7. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding, but the symbol in the field faces right.
  • X—20. Munich, Plate VI, 2.
  • XI.—21. Ratto Sale, May 1912, No. 1073, gr. 16.44, Plate XX.
8. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding, except that there is no back to the throne, and beneath which is the symbol, oval.
  • VI.—22. α) Newell, ↖ gr. 16.90, Plate VI, 3.
  • β) Copenhagen, gr. 16.56.

The principal symbol, in the left field, is the helmeted Athena head of certain tetradrachms yet to come, namely No. 10 (Plate VII, 2). The accessory symbols are the familiar crescent (No. 5, Plate IV, 3, Plate V, 1-3; No. 6, Plate VI, 1; No. 7, Plate VI, 2) or star (No. 4, Plate III, 2-3, Plate IV, 1-2). As stated before, these are both common symbols on the Pergamene tetradrachms of Lysimachus (Plate I, 2-3, Plate II, 1). The star also appears on the Seleucus' tetradrachm No. 2 (Plate II, 3), the crescent on the Alexandrine tetradrachm No. 3 (Plate III, l), as well—in the form of the waning moon—as on the later tetradrachms Nos. 9 and 10 (Plate VII, 1-2).

The comparatively large number of component issues (four subsidiary symbols), the numerous dies (seven obverse and eighteen reverse dies are known), 36 and the many specimens (twenty-three) show that the entire issue was an extensive one and probably covered a period of at least five or six years' duration. This fact alone precludes the assignment of these coins to the period of Philetaerus' revolt preceding the triumph of Seleucus. 37 Nos. 4 to 8 must have commenced after, but presumably not long after, Seleucus' death. The presence of his name on a posthumous issue need not surprise us, in view of the frequent occurrence of this very phenomenon on coins of the Diadochi and their successors. 38

After the first shock of the news of the assassination had passed, Philetaerus apparently at once decided that his best policy was to play in closely with the Syrian kingdom. As its most conspicuous protagonist in Asia Minor at this distressing juncture, he doubtless felt that he had more to gain than to lose 39 by such a stand. Even some of the Greek cities were of the same opinion. 40 Pursuant to his decision he immediately made overtures to Ptolemy Ceraunus for the body of Seleucus. Having secured this, at no small financial cost to himself, he gave it an impressive state funeral, and then forwarded the ashes with appropriate ceremonies to Antiochus. It was doubtless at this juncture that the SeleucidAlexanders commenced to appear. As stated above, the number of known specimens, of magistrates symbols and of dies show that they must have continued to appear for a period of at least five or six years.

During all that time Antiochus was exerting almost superhuman efforts to hold together his immense heritage 41 and was gradually bringing a little order out of the chaos occasioned by his father's sudden death. There took place, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes in rapid succession: revolts in Syria and elsewhere; the war with Ptolemy Ceraunus which soon ended in a peace treaty with mutual concessions; the disastrous campaign of Hermogenes in Bithynia; the fruitless wars with Antigonus and with the Northern League (Nicomedes of Bithynia, Heracleia, Calchedon, Byzantium); the sudden attack by Ptolemy and the opening of the second Syrian War; the devastating irruption into Asia Minor of the Gallic hordes and the notable victory which Antiochus won over them. Throughout this period Philetaerus, still commandant of Pergamum and possessor of its treasure, played perhaps a quiet but surely an important role as Antiochus' leading subject and ally in Asia Minor. On some occasion, in or around 275-4 B. C., he saw fit suddenly to cease coining the SeleucidAlexanders described above and to inaugurate the following new and apparently more independant coinage.

End Notes
Surely only a portion of the number which originally existed.
In all fairness to Imhoof-Blumer, who first suggested this assignment, it must be remembered that he was under the impression that these coins covered not only the actual revolt of Philetaerus, but also the succeeding seven months of Seleucus' reign in Asia Minor, and might even have continued (as he states on p. 20 of his work) for a few years after Seleucus' death. Imhoof-Blumer was too good a numismatist not to have been fully aware that the number (even in his day) of known specimens and varieties of these SeleucidAlexanders pointed to a coinage of several years duration. What prevented him from recognizing the real truth of the matter was the fact that the existence of coins such as our Nos. 3 and 8 was as yet unknown to him, nor did he sense the fact that the tetradrachms bearing Seleucus' own types (our Nos. 1 and 2) must also be assigned to Pergamum for the seven months of his reign there.
A careful study of the early Seleucid issues will reveal several instances of such a procedure.
Cf. Bevan, House of Seleucus, Vol. I, pp. 130-1.
Ilium, for instance. Cf. the inscription found there by Schliemann. Michel, No. 525—Dittenberger I, 156—C. I. A. 3595.
Memnon 15—F. H. A. III, p. 534.


Circa 274 to 263 B. C.

9. Head of the deified Seleucus r., wearing taenia. Circle of dots around. ΦΙΛΕΤΑΙΡΟϒ on r. Athena to 1. on curved, marble (?) seat with a lion's leg and palmette ornament. She rests her outstretched r. upon a shield adorned with a Medusa head. Her spear, point downward, is in the background. In upper 1. field, crested attic helmet to r. In the exergue, waning moon.
  • XII— 23. Newell, ↑, gr. 16.85, Plate VII, 1.
10. From the same die as the preceding. Similar, but Athena's spear is in the foreground, resting against her 1. shoulder. In outer 1. field, helmeted head of Athena to 1. In the exergue, waning moon.
  • XII.—24. α) F. W. Watkins Coll., ↑, gr. 16.41. β) Berlin (Fox Coll.), ↑. Cf. Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 3, No. 1, Plate I, 2. γ) R. Jameson Coll., No. 448 (= Hirsch Sale XII, Nov. 1904, No. 231, Plate VI), ↑, gr. 16.96, Plate VII, 2.
11. From the same die as the preceding. Similar, but Athena's 1. elbow rests upon a sphinx to r. In outer 1. field, herm to 1. In outer r. field, bow. In the exergue, image.
  • XII.—25. α) Cambridge (Leake Coll.), ↑, gr. 16.93. Cf. Leake, Num. Hell., Suppl., p. 7 and Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 3, No. 3. Imhoof-Blumer is mistaken in describing the herm as facing right, and indicating this coin as a variation of his. Actually the two coins are from identical obverse and reverse dies. β) Berlin (Imhoof-Blumer Coll.), ↑, gr. 16.66, Plate VII, 3. γ) Schlessinger Sale 13, Feb. 1935, No. 1197, gr. 16.7, Plate XLIII.
12. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding. In upper 1. field, ivy leaf. In outer r. field, bow. In the exergue, image.
  • XIII— 26. Salting Coll., No. 31, Plate VIII, 31 (= Carfrae Coll., Sotheby Sale, May 1894, No. 210, Plate VIII, 15), ↑, gr. 16.79.
  • XIV.—27. α) Hirsch Sale XII, Nov. 1904, No. 232, Plate VI. β) Berlin (Imhoof-Blumer Coll.), ↑, gr. 16.72, Plate VIII, 1. Cf. Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 4, No. 4, Plate I, 4.
  • 28. Berlin, ↑, gr. 16.82. Cf. Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 4, No. 5.
  • XVa.—29. (First state of the obverse die.) London (Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, p. 114, No. 27), ↑, gr. 17.14, Plate VIII, 2.
  • XVb.—30. (Second state of the obverse die, which has now been reçut in places), α) Boston (Warren Coll.), ↑, gr. 16.88. Cf. Regling, Sammlung Warren, p. 161, No. 1024, Plate XXIV. β) Glasgow (Hunterian Coll., vol. II, p. 277, No. 4, gr. 17.07, Plate XLVIII, 12.
13. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding. In upper 1. field, ivy leaf. In outer r. field, bow. In the exergue, image.
  • XIV.—31. Hirsch Sale XXXI, May 1912, No. 447, gr. 17.00, Plate XII.
  • 32. Paris, ↖, gr. 16.78, Plate VIII, 3. Cf. Trésor de numismatique et de glyptique; Numism. des rois grecques, 1849, Plate XXX, 6. Also Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 4, No. 6 where, however, the monogram has been erroneously reproduced.
14. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding, except that there is no monogram in the exergue, which here remains blank.
  • XVb.—33. α) H. A. Greene (Egger Sale, Jan. 1908, No. 541, Plate XVI), ↗ gr. 16.78. β) London (Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, p. 114, No. 28, Plate XXIII, 12), ↗ gr. 16.82.
  • 34. α) London (Brit. Mus. Cat., Mysia, p. 114, No. 29), ↑, gr. 16.98. β) Brussels, Plate IX, 1.
  • 35. Paris, ↖.
  • XVI.—36. ↖) Pozzi Coll., Naville Sale I, Apr. 1921, No. 2248, gr. 16.94, Plate LXVII. β) Vienna.
  • 37. Brussels, Plate IX, 2.
  • XVII.—38. ↖) Newell (= Philipsen Coll., Hirsch Sale XXV, Nov. 1909, No. 1823, Plate XXII = Tysckiewicz Coll.), ↑, gr. 16.72. β) Paris, ↖, Plate IX, 3.
15. Similar to the preceding. Similar to the preceding, but instead of the palmette ornament on the throne there is an image. In upper 1. field, ivy leaf. In outer r. field, bow. The exergue is blank. 42
  • XVIII.—39. Pozzi Coll., Naville Sale I, Apr. 1921, No. 2249, Plate LXVIII (= Egger Sale XLV, Nov. 1913, No. 549, Plate XVI), gr. 17.14.
  • 40. Cambridge (McClean Coll., III, No. 7671, Plate 263, 20 = Bunbury Coll., Sotheby Sale II, Dec. 1896, No. 107, Plate I = Northwick Coll., Sotheby Sale, Dec. 1859, No. 994 = Thomas Coll., Sotheby Sale, July 1844, No. 2000), ↑, gr. 17.00, Plate X, 1.
  • XIX.—41. Paris (Valton Coll., Rev. Num., 1909, Plate XIII, No. 417), ↑, gr. 17.10, Plate X, 2.

The sequence of these issues is identical with that already determined by Imhoof-Blumer and established by a study of the dies themselves, particularly those of the obverse. The only modification lies in the fact that coin No. 9 (a variety unknown to Imhoof-Blumer) must come at the head of Series III. The obverse (Plate VII, 1) presents a splendid and rugged portrait of the aged Seleucus. The seated Athena of the reverse is obviously copied from the coins of Lysimachus (cf. Plate I, 1-3, Plate II, 1), but offers an important modification of the scheme there adopted. Instead of resting her left elbow upon a shield (placed behind her) and holding a Nike in her outstretched r., the goddess now lightly places her r. hand upon the shield, holding it upright upon the ground in front of her. Exactly as upon Lysimachus' coins, Athena's spear remains in the background, with no visible support. The shifting of the shield has also removed any very obvious resting place for her left elbow. At first (reverse dies 23 and 24, Plate VII, 1-2) the elbow appears to enjoy only a very vaguely suggested support in a probably supposed back to the throne which is, furthermore, hidden by the folds of her mantle—a not very satisfactory solution of our artist's problem. On the reverse of this first issue the principal symbol is a crested attic helmet, thereby constituting a new variety apparently here published for the first time. The subsidiary symbol, a waning moon, in the exergue suggests the crescent which has appeared so frequently on the preceding Lysimachus and Seleucus issues of Pergamum.

The immediately succeeding issue (No. 10, Plate VII, 2) continues the use of the same splendid obverse die, but now with a slight recutting noticeable in the end of the lock of hair directly above the left-hand corner of the eyebrow. On the new reverse die (24), however, the artist has recognized the precarious and unsatisfactory position of the spear and so now shifts it to Athena's left side where it rests safely against her shoulder and is, furthermore, held in place by her bent left arm. The principal symbol is here, again, the helmeted Athena head as on Nos. 4-8, but always facing 1., as on No. 6. The subsidiary symbol waning moon is found in the exergue as on No. 9.

No. 11 (Plate VII, 3) is connected with the preceding by the continued use of the obverse die XII, which is now in a more worn condition. On the reverse the herm symbol replaces the helmeted Athena head, while in the exergue the monogram image takes the place of the preceding waning moon. Certain innovations in the details of the reverse type are to be noticed for the first time. A tiny, winged sphinx is introduced as a more convincing support for Athena's left elbow. A strung bow also appears in the outer right-hand field. This bow remains, ever afterwards, as an integral part of the type on all subsequent Philetairid issues down to the end of the dynasty. The sphinx continues to do duty as an arm-rest until the reign of Attalus I (241-197 B. C.), when the main type is once more altered by replacing the shield as a support to the goddess' left arm—just as it had been in Lysimachus' issues.

With No. 12 (Plate VIII, l) an ivy leaf replaces the herm and remains as a conspicuous symbol, not only throughout the rest of Philetaerus' issues but even on through those of his successors, Eumenes I and Attalus I. The connection with the previous issue (No. 11) is maintained by the continued presence of the exergual monogram image. A new obverse die (XIII) cut for this issue greatly resembles XII; but the remainder (XIV and XV) are in somewhat lower relief. Here the cheeks of Seleucus are less fleshy, though the outlines of the profile remain rugged and the hero's look is, if anything, still more austere.

No. 13 (Plate VIII, 3) is closely associated with No. 12 by the continued use of the obverse die XIV, but now the monogram image replaces the previous monogram in the exergue.

No. 14 (Plate IX, 1) still employs an obverse die (XVb) of No. 12, while two new dies (XVI and XVII) make their appearance. Die XVI (Plate IX, 2) is again of higher relief and is obviously inspired by the first die of Series III, namely XII. The cheeks are fleshier and more carefully modelled. Die XVII (Plate IX, 3) presents a smaller head than has been customary heretofore, the locks of hair are more restless, the features more congested, the modelling of neck, cheek and brow more pronounced. This modelling is carried still further on the final dies XVIII and XIX (Plate X, 1-2) of the issue (No. 15), where Seleucus is made to appear as a really old man. Here, too, the palmette design on Athena's throne disappears completely, its place being taken by the monogram image, which continues in this same position on the issues of Philetaerus' successor Eumenes I (Plate X, 3).

Thus Nos. 9-15 obviously fill the interval between the preceding SeleucidAlexanders (Nos. 4-8) and the following issues of Eumenes I (Plate X, 3). By comparing the twenty-nine known specimens which comprise seven distinct varieties (produced from nine obverse and nineteen reverse dies) with the SeleucidAlexanders and their twenty-three known specimens (comprising but five varieties produced from seven obverse and eighteen reverse dies) we gain the impression that Nos. 9-15 covered a slightly longer period of time than did Nos. 4-8. If to the latter five varieties we grant a period of some six years for the duration of their coinage, then we would be fully justified in assigning the remaining ten years at our disposal for the coining of the eight varieties Nos. 9-15. This is admittedly a purely empirical method of ascertaining the probable duration of the two issues in question. The result, however, suggests that the drastic change in type from the Alexandrine, to something much more personal to Philetaerus, apparently occurred about 275-4 B. C.

This date falls precisely in the critical period of the first Syrian War. We propose to follow Tarn's most illuminating discussion and explanation of this struggle in the Cambridge Ancient History VII, p. 702 and in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, XLVI, 1926, pp. 155-62, according to which the principal events of the war were, first, the sudden invasion of Syria and the capture of Damascus by Ptolemy II in the spring of 276, followed by Antiochus' successful counter-attack and recapture of Damascus. 43 In the spring of 275 Antiochus, having received his expected contingent of fresh elephants from the east, recrossed the Taurus and signally defeated the Gauls, thus for the moment freeing his dominions in Asia Minor of imminent danger from that source. Returning to his southern foe, Antiochus next planned to invade Egypt in 274, his ally Magas to do the same from Cyrene. Everyone knows the ultimate complete failure of these plans. The point which interests us at the moment, however, is the fact that precisely in 274 B. C. Antiochus was marshalling all his resources and armies to attempt the invasion of Egypt itself. That was indeed a highly dangerous enterprise, and one which had, on two previous occasions, ended disastrously for even such especially tried and able generals as Perdiccas and Antigonus. Antiochus' resources must now indeed have been strained 44 to the uttermost. Anxiety to be free from attack in his rear, and the safety of his dominions in Asia Minor during the progress of his Egyptian invasion must now have seriously occupied his thoughts. The correct solution to this phase of his problem must surely have seemed to be Philetaerus. The active assistance or, at least, the friendly neutrality of Pergamum would constitute a pretty certain guarantee against possible foreign attack, local rebellion or Gallic irruptions. In consequence, certain concessions, of which the new coinage was a definite symbol, may have been willingly granted at this time by Antiochus, or even boldly assumed by Philetaerus who was doubtless well aware of the Seleucid king's dilemma. Possibly the change did not take place until the following year (273-2 B. C.), by which time Antiochus' ill success in Syria and the complete fiasco attending Magas' abortive invasion from the west were common knowledge. If that be the real case, then probably Philetaerus on his own initiative inaugurated the new coinage as more in consonance with the enlarged freedom to which he aspired and which the changed political situation now favored. The painful situation in which Antiochus found himself would preclude all active protest on his part.

In any event the new issue—by the presence of Philetaerus' personal name on the reverse—clearly proclaims Pergamum's practical independence; while the fiction of continued suzerainty of the Seleucid dynasty was happily maintained by the absence of any title, and by the portrait on the obverse of the deified Seleucus.

Soon after the death of Philetaerus his final issue was replaced by the better known coinages of Eumenes I (Plate X, 3), whose signal defeat of Antiochus before Sardes in 262 B. C. gave complete independence to the Pergamene state. This independence is proclaimed by the new coinage which continued, almost unaltered in type, to the very end of the dynasty itself.

Thanks to the increased material at our disposal, it has been possible to show that the Pergamene coinage, for those twenty stirring years from circa 283-263 B. C, was somewhat more varied than has hitherto been supposed. Its successive changes and modifications of type and inscription follow the kaleidoscopically shifting political events more closely than had previously been suspected. It offers, to a quite remarkable extent, an interesting numismatic illustration and commentary on the ever changing conditions, aspirations and plans of Philetaerus. We are enabled, as it were, to be present at the very commencement of the new state which henceforth was destined to dominate the affairs of western Asia Minor until the coming of the Romans.

End Notes
There was also a specimen of this variety in the Bompois Collection (Bompois Sale, 1882, No. 1417, gr. 16.92). But as the coin was not illustrated it is impossible to determine from which particular dies it had been struck. It cannot be either the Pozzi or the Valton specimens as its weight is much too low.
It might even be supposed that it was at this juncture that Philetaerus had proclaimed his greater independence by issuing nos. 9-15, thus taking advantage of Antiochus' absence in Syria. It might well have seemed to Philetaerus that, with the Gauls roaming Asia Minor and Antiochus in a life and death struggle with Ptolemy in Syria, the Syrian kingdom's days were numbered. This solution is possible, but hardly probable in view of the material at our disposal.
For Antiochus a serious matter. Not only had he inherited a sadly diminished army from Seleucus (owing to mass defections to Ceraunus and to the immediately preceding serious disaster in Pontic Cappadocia described by Trogus, Prolog. 17) but the years since had been spent in constant wars against Ceraunus, the Northern League, the Bithynian Kingdom, Antigonus, and Ptolemy, as well as in the suppression of numerous rebellions.

End Notes

The writer desires to express his deep gratitude to the authorities in charge of the numismatic collections at Berlin, Brussels, Cambridge, Copenhagen, London, Munich, Paris, The Hague, and Vienna for kindness in supplying casts. Also Messrs. H. A. Greene, R. Jameson and F. Watson have most generously forwarded casts of certain rare coins of Philetaerus in their collections.
Loc. cit., p. 15.
Nine thousand talents, according to Strabo XIII, 4, 1.
von Fritze in Corolla Numismatica, p. 47ff.; Babelon, Traité, II2 , pp. 1345-52.
Justin XVII, 1; Memnon VIII—F. H. G. III, p. 532; Strabo XIII, 4, 1. The date 284-3 B. C. has been adopted by Droysen for Philetaerus' rebellion. In this he is followed by Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit., p. 26; while Cardinali, Il Regno di Pergamo , p. 8, places the event in 283-2 B. C. Cambridge Ancient History VII, p. 97, assigns the revolt, more acceptably, to 282 B. C.
Pausanias I, 10, 4.
Droysen II, 2, p. 326. The presence of elephants is practically certain, although no ancient author is responsible for the statement. Elephants were ever the pride and frequently the main reliance of Seleucid armies. Especially to meet so powerful an adversary as Lysimachus would Seleucus be inclined to employ every means at his disposal. What became of these elephants after the battle of Corupedium can well be surmised. We possess a distinct hint that some of them at least were secured by Ceraunus when Seleucus' army went over to him at Lysimachia. An issue of coins, certainly struck in Lysimachia at just about this very time, bears the unusual symbol of an elephant in its field (cf. Müller, Die Münzen, des thracischen Königs Lysimachus , No. 55; Pozzi Coll., Naville Sale I, Apr. 1921, nos. 1169-70, pl. xxxviii). Justin XVII, 2, 14 states that Ceraunus lent fifty elephants to Pyrrhus for the latter's campaign in Italy (279 B. C.) while Plutarch, Pyrrhus , 15, gives the number as twenty. Ceraunus could only have secured these from Seleucus' army (C. Klotsch, Epirotische Geschichte , p. 216, note 1; Armandi, Histoire militaire des Eléphants, pp. 69, 106) as the elephants previously in Macedonia, in Antipater's army, had perished during the siege of Pydna (Armandi, loc. cit., p. 113).
Beloch, Griechische Geschichte , IV, 1 , p. 244 and note 2; IV, 2 pp. 108 ff. and 460-1.
Eusebius, versio Armen, p. 234. The site in Lydia is confirmed by the inscription of Menas, Bull. Cor. Hell. vol. XXIV, 1900, p. 380; Keil, Rev. de Phil. XXVI, 1902, p. 257; cf. also Bevan, The House of Seleucus, Vol. I, p. 322 f.; Beloch, IV, 2, p. 458 ff.
Loc. cit. pp. 15-16, 26, Plate III, no. 19-21. On page 26 Imhoof-Blumer claims the date for this issue to have been between 284-281, B. C., but goes on to admit that it may have continued for a few years after Seleucus' death.
Babelon, however, in his Rois de Syrie, p. XXXVII, haa erroneously assigned similar coins to Side, without giving definite reasons for his divergence from the accepted attribution. Wroth (B. M. Cat. Mysia, p. 113, note 2) strongly supports Imhoof-Blumer's attribution as against Babelon's impossible suggestion.
As pointed out and discussed by Imhoof-Blumer, loc. cit. p. 26.
Polyaenus IV, 9, 4.
Beloch, IV, 1, p. 244 depicts Lysimachus as marching past the unsubdued Pergamum without stopping, on his final march to meet Seleucus at Corupedium.
Justin, XVII, 2, 4.
So far as the writer is aware, only one scholar has previously attempted (Dressel, Zeitschr. für Num. XXI, p. 230 suggests Ephesus, with but little conviction, as the mint of the Berlin specimen) to attribute these particular coins to a definite mint. In his Greek Coins, Cambridge, 1933, pp. 227-8, Mr. Seltman recognizes in these coins "possibly the first issue of the Antiochene mint," without however advancing very satisfactory or sufficient reasons for so doing. Such an assignment is stylistically and numismatically impossible. Under Seleucus the silver issues of Antioch all bear Alexandrine types and in both style and fabric differ radically from the horse-elephant coins described in the present study.