hoard from Side

Seltman, Charles Théodore 1886-1957
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 C. T. Seltman

In the autumn of 1922 a small hoard of coins, mainly of the fifth century b.c., was brought to Greece by a refugee from Eski-Adalia—the ancient Side—close to which place the man declared it had been found. He stated that the complete hoard had comprised 26 silver pieces as well as a gold and carbuncle bracelet of Cypriote type [Fig. 1]. The latter I was able to study in Athens along with 18 of the silver pieces, which were all marked by the same type of patination characterized by a considerable deposit of iron oxide. The hoard had evidently been buried in some iron receptacle. This uniform oxidization makes it clear that the silver, at any rate, is all from the same small find.

The following list includes all the pieces which I have been able to examine personally. The eight coins which I did not see were, I was informed, duplicates of Nos. 6, 7 and 9 described below.


Before b.c. 407.

1 Tetradrachm.

Head of Athena of archaistic style to r. in high relief; upon her helmet three olive-leaves and a floral scroll, her hair in bands across her temples; necklace with pendant pearls, large Θ earring.

Rev. ΑΘΕ to r. downwards: owl r., head facing; behind, twig with olive and two leaves, and small decrescent moon: incuse square.

a. Theophiles. Athens: 17.24 g (266 grains). Plate I

Corinth .

Before b.c. 480.

2 Stater.

image below: Pegasus, bridled and with curled wing, to r.

Rev. Head of Athena to r. of archaic style wearing Corinthian helmet, hair in queue: incuse square.

a. Theophiles, Athens: 8.62 g. (133 grains). Plate I


Fifth Century b.c.

3 Stater.

Pomegranate in high relief, stalk curved to 1.: to r. of it image [?]: guilloche border.

Rev. Head of Athena to r.; of archaic style wearing Corinthian helmet, hair in queue: incuse square.

a. Jameson, Paris: 10.89 g. (168 grains). Plate I

4 Stater.

Similar: no trace of a letter: guilloche border.

Rev. Similar; head smaller, the helmet tipped back: incuse square. a. Petsalis, Athens: 10.92 g. (168.5 grains). Plate I

5 Stater.

Similar: traces of ghilloche border.

Rev. Head of Athena r. in crested Corinthian helmet, hair in curls at back of neck: incuse square.

a. Petsalis. Athens: 10.80 g. (168 grains). Plate I

b. Theophiles, Athens: 10.95 g. (169 grains). On both specimens a large flaw on the obv. to r. of the fruit. From the same pair of dies is the coin in B. M. C. Lycia, etc., p. 144, 8, Pl. xxvi, 1, struck before the flaw developed. From the same obv. die is the coin in Babelon, Traité No. 874, Pl. xxiv, 4 (Paris).

6 Stater.

Pomegranate, stalk curved to 1.; to 1. of the fruit image [?]: border of dots.

Rev. Similar; the helmet larger, the crest with two tails; the head smaller, eyelashes indicated, hair short, neck- lace with pendant pearls; in front above, twig with olive and two leaves: incuse square.

a. Seltman, Cambridge: 10.43 g. (161 grains). Plate II

b. Petsalis. Athens: 10.69 g. (165 grains). Plate II

c. Seltman, Cambridge: 10.61 g. (163.7 grains).

7 Stater.

Same die as last.

Rev. Similar; crest with one tail; the head large and in higher relief, hair in short curls, truncation of neck meets lower border of square: in front above, twig with olive and four leaves: incuse square.

a. Petsalis, Athens: 10.90 g. (168.2 grains). Plate II

b. Theophiles, Athens: 10.69 g. (165 grains).

c. Theophiles, Athens: 10.66 g. (164.5 grains).

d. Theophiles, Athens: 10.69 g. (165 grains).

e. Comte de Nanteuil, Paris: 10.96 g. (160.2 grains). Plate II

Countermark on obv. above a four-legged animal [?] to 1., (cf. the countermarks on coins of Nagidos and Side, Babelon, Traité, Pl. cxli, 12, 16; Pl. cxlii, 21).

It is almost certain that the three following staters are a part of the hoard:

f. Cat. Naville v (Lucerne, 1923), Pl. lxxiv, 2707: 10.80 g. (166.7 grains).

g. ibid. 2708: 10.59 g. (163.5 grains).

h. ibid. 2709: 10.82 g. (167 grains).

From the same pair of dies are the coins in B. M. C. Lycia, etc., p. 144, 7; Pl. xxv, 11; and in Babelon, Traité No. 883, Pl. xxiv, 9 (Paris); and in the Cat. Philipsen Coll. (Hirsch Cat. xxv, Munich, 1909), Pl. xxx, 2634.

Aspendos .

End of Fifth Century b.c.

8 Stater.

Two wrestlers: the one to the r. grips his opponent by the neck and 1. thigh: the other grips the first by the 1. arm and by a belt which the right-hand man wears: exergual line: border of dots.

Rev. [E]ΣΡFΕ to 1. downwards: nude slinger discharging sling to r.: in field triskeles of human legs turning to 1.: dotted square within incuse square.

a. Peterson. St. Andrews: 10.92 g. (168.5 grains). Plate III

9 Stater.

Similar, but each grasps at the other’s belt: no exergual line: border of dots. Rev. Slinger looking up and discharg- ing sling to r.; he wears short chiton: triskeles as before: dotted square within incuse square.

a. Peterson, St. Andrews: 11.08 g. (171 grains). Plate III


Ba'alram, circa b.c. 400–392.

10 Stater.

Heracles, wearing lion’s skin over head and hanging down back, tail curling up behind, advancing to r. brandishing club behind his head: border of dots.

Rev. image above; lion r. bringing down stag which kneels r.: square of small dots within incuse square.

a. Petsalis, Athens: 11.01 g. (170 grains). Overstruck on an Æginetan stater of circa B.c. 404. On rev.; to the 1. of the flan appears the head of the tortoise, its r. hind foot above the nose of the stag. In front of Heracles, traces of the Æginetan incuse square. Plate III

Silver Finger-Ring.

11 Weight of a reduced Æginetan Stater.

Outer diameter 2.5 mm. Each extremity ending in a lion’s head, the one overlapping the other. Cypriote fabric.

Peterson, St. Andrews: 11.79 g. (182 grains). Plate III

Gold and Carbuncle Bracelet.

12 Eleven Carbuncle Beads of astragaloid shape joined by links of gold wire: at one end a golden lion’s head.


Fig. 1

This hoard presents several points of interest which appear to make it worthy of publication.

As regards its composition, sixteen pieces certainly—twenty-four, according to the report of the refugee—come from the southern Anatolian region and Cyprus, while two are issued by states of Greece Proper. The Athenian tetra- drachm (No. 1) is an admirably preserved piece—well struck, but made from coarsely engraved dies—which is in all probability to be assigned to the period between b.c. 412 and 405.1

Earlier in date—indeed the earliest coin in the hoard—is the Corinthian stater (No. 2) which betrays all the characteristics of real archaism, including that of the full almond-shaped eye. Sir Charles Oman has shown 2 that coins of a style slightly later than this piece are to be placed immediately after the Persian Wars, whence it would seem that this coin must be dated between 500 and 480 b.c. The obverse die closely resembles another from which was struck a stater in the British Museum,3 the latter stater obviously being a contemporary coin. Its presence in the company of the Sidetan pieces is of interest as showing that this Corinthian stater, and others like it, served as prototypes for the coins of Side with the head of Athena.

Of the history of Side before the con- quests of Alexander we know next to nothing. Arrian4 relates that the city was the earliest colony of Cyme in Æolis, and that the Sidetans had forgotten their own Greek language and formed a peculiar speech of their own differing from their neighbors’ tongue. A fourth-century Greek inscription found on the site,5 however, proves this statement to be an exaggeration, though the fourth-century coins of Side show that the Phœnician alphabet and a dialect akin to Aramaic were more popular in the city than was Greek. For on the coins we find a legend which Six6 has read as 143 ЅVΩYΝ [ ="Αδωυνι Σ(ι)δ(ή)τ(оυ)], or “Lord of Side,” placed beside the figure of Apollo. On these same coins a statue of Athena appears upon the obverse, and beside her the pomegranate (σίδη)—the city’s coat-of-arms. The cults of these two deities which predominated in Side are perhaps significant of the amalgamation of an Anatolian-Hittite with an Hellenic population. If so, the god represented in the guise of Apollo is akin on the one hand to the Lycian deity, and on the other hand to the Anatolian Attis-Adonis; while Athena is the goddess of the Greek-Æolic element in the city.

It is worthy of note that on the sixth-century coins of Side there appear the dolphins sacred to the god.7 In the early fifth century the head of Apollo at first occupies the reverse of the coins,8 to be succeeded shortly by the head of Athena wearing an Attic helmet.9 To the second half of the fifth century belong the coins from the present hoard, as well as others related to them, all bearing a head of Athena wearing a helmet of Corinthian shape; while in the fourth century, as we have seen, Athena and Apollo are given equal honour, each deity appearing on either side of the coins.

Our main concern must, however, be with the Sidetan coins on the reverses of which appears the head of Athena wearing a Corinthian helmet—a type derived from the coinage of Corinth, as is proved by Nos. 2, 3 and 4 of the hoard under discussion. We are accustomed to associate the Corinthian money with the western rather than with the eastern trade-routes; especially since it is probably found in larger quantities in Italy and Sicily than in Greece Proper. Side, however, appears to have had a considerable amount of trade with the west; for not only are the heads on Nos. 3 and 4 copies of those on Corinthian coins, but the guilloche border, which on the obverse surrounds the pomegranate, seems to be adopted from even more westerly prototypes, namely, from the issues of Magna Græcian cities and notably from that of Tarentum.10 In view of the fact that the facing head of Arethusa by the Syracusan Kimon was copied closely on the coins which Pharnabazus struck in Cilicia, this need occasion no surprise.

On No. 5, of which a better specimen exists in the British Museum,11 the guilloche border still appears; but the reverse design has departed from its Corinthian prototype, for the helmet is now decorated with a crest. This decoration is likewise found upon the broad pieces of subsequent issue (Nos. 6, 7), which have a further addition to the type in the shape of a twig of olive. On the obverses of these coins—all struck from a single anvil die—a circle of dots has replaced the guilloche border. This die is represented by eleven specimens in the hoard, as well as by three other specimens which are noted above. On all these examples there appear to the left of the pomegranate certain lines which resemble the letters image у (Σδ), while on No. 3 of our hoard the letter image (Σ) seems visible, touching the right "shoulder” of the fruit.

Now, we have already seen that on the fourth-century staters of Side the letters 43—of which the fifth-century equivalents would be 'у—appear regularly in the ethnic. Hence, it is probable that image and image у stand for the Greek Σ and ΣΔ, initials of the first or two first syllables of the Sidetan name. The two characters are, of course, placed in the wrong order upon the later die, in which respect the legend would be at variance with the normal Phœnician or Aramaic practice. But a mixed population, which, as Six has shown,12 inserted a Greek Ω and ϒ into an Aramaic alphabet, would not be too scrupulous about a retrograde legend.

Before passing on to the remainder of the hoard it may be worth summarizing such of the Sidetan staters with the head of Athena in a Corinthian helmet as have come under my notice, since the specimens in this find seem to elucidate their sequence:—

No Crest.

i. Side hoard No. 3.

ii. British Museum, formerly Sir H. Weber Coll. Num. Chron. 1920. Pl xiv, 12.

iii. Side hoard No. 4.

Crest on Helmet.

iv. B. M. C. Lycia, etc., Pl. xxvi 1.

V. Side hoard No. 5 (same dies as iv).

vi. Babelon, Traité, Pl. xxiv, 4 (same anvil die as iv and v).

vii. Babelon, Traité, Pl. xxiv, 7. Guilloche border still present, but flan broader.

viii. Cat. R. Jameson Coll., Pl. lxxix, 1593= well-known Amateur (Warren) Sale, 197=Benson Sale, 732.

ix. Side hoard No. 6.

x. Side hoard No. 7 and three other specimens cited.

xi. Cat. Hirsch xxxi (Munich, 1912), Pl. xiii, 479: apparently a semi-barbarous imitation of x.

Two staters of Aspendos formed part of the hoard, and of these the first (No. 8) would seem to be the prototype of the very abundant coinage which covers most of the fourth, and possibly a part of the third, century. On this piece the wrestlers are depicted with a rendering which is far superior to that of any of the Aspendian pieces hitherto published;13 particularly noticeable is the admirable treatment of their muscles. The reverse of the coin differs from all recorded specimens in that it shows a nude slinger instead of the usual figure wearing a short chiton. Epigraphically the coin is linked with the earliest specimen of the series which the British Museum possesses, for our coin has the legend EΣTFE, which reappears, written from right to left upon the piece in the National Collection.14

The other Aspendian stater (No. 9) differs only in minor details from the coin just referred to in the British Museum.

From the composition of this hoard, it would appear that this type may have originated in Aspendos shortly before 400 B.C.—the earliest date usually assigned to these coins. In confirmation of this we may note that several coins of Side which were issued in the early years of the fourth century are overstruck upon coins of Aspendos with the “slinger and wrestlers” type.15 This makes it all the more probable that the earlier Aspendian staters were issued in the fifth century B.C.

Finally we must consider the two Cypriote pieces in the hoard, the rare stater of Ba’alram, king of Citium, and the silver ring. Of these the former, (No. 10), in spite of the fact that it is overstruck, seems to afford a clearer picture of Heracles than do either of the published staters of this king.16 This may possibly be the latest coin in the find, for it has been shown by Babelon and Hill17 that Ba’alram reigned at Citium between 400 and 392 B.c. Additional interest is given to this specimen by the fact that it is overstruck on an Æginetan “tortoise” which cannot have been issued before 404 b.c., since it is of the type struck by the Æginetans when Lysander had restored them to their island after the downfall of Athens. As the weight of the coin is, like all contemporary Cypriote pieces, considerably below the standard Æginetic weight, it follows that the “tortoise” must have been pared down before the types of Citium were struck upon it.

Not so the piece, possibly a coin which we may presume was used by some Cypriote silversmith for conversion into a finger-ring, (No. 11). The monetary standard of Cyprus has been regarded as “a reduced form of the Æginetic,”18 and the best evidence is afforded by a tetrobol of the sixth century which yields a stater of 11.91 grammes (183.9 grains).19 This corresponds closely with the ring which weighs 11.79 grammes (182 grains) and shows signs of considerable wear. It may well be as old as the oldest coin in the hoard—the Corinthian stater—and if this were so, it might be contemporary with the sixth- century tetrobol just referred to. In any case the ring likewise appears to point to the derivation of the Cypriote standard from the Æginetan.

Perhaps the main point of interest about this small Pamphylian hoard is the fact that the local currency was buried in company with money which hailed originally from the three most prolific coining centers of Hellas—Ægina, Corinth, and Athens. The hoard is a fresh index of the constant trade relations between west and east.



End Notes

The plated tetradrachms with copper core to which Aristophanes refers (Frogs, 725 f.)—“Sorry brass just struck last week and branded with a wretched brand,” show the same character and must certainly belong to the year 406 b.c. (cf. Hist. Num. 2 p. 373). The less coarsely drawn coins, as in B. M. C. Attica Pl. iii, 2, 3, 4, 6 to 8, belong to the Pentecontaety and the earlier period of the Pelopennesian War.
C. W. C. Oman in Corolla Numis., p. 209.
B. M. C. Corinth, Pl. ii, 6.
Arrian, Anab. i, 26, cf. also Scylax, Periplus p. 40, Strabo xiv, p. 667, and Stephanus Byzantius s. V. Side.
Lanckoronski, Städte Pamphiliens u. Pisiden (Vienna 1890) i, p. 185, No. 106.
Six, Num. Chron. 1897, p. 194 ff.
G. Macdonald, Cat. Hunterian Coll, ii, Pl. lviii, 7; cf. Babelon, Traité, Pl. xxiv, 11, 13. The order in which the coins are described and figured in Traité is at variance with the proper sequence of fabric and technique.
Macdonald, l. c. Pl. lviii, 6. Babelon, l. c. 878, Pl. xxiv, 5.
Babelon l. c. 879, 880, Pl. xxiv, 6. B. M. C. Lycia, etc., Pl. xxv, 7, 8, 9.
Evans, “Horsemen of Tarentum,”' p. 2, however, looks upon this border as Assyrian in origin.
B. M. C. Lycia, etc., p. 144, 8; Pl. xxvi, 1.
Num. Chron. 1897, p. 202.
Cf. B. M. C. Lycia, etc., Pl. xix, 12 to 15; Babelon, Traité, Pl. cxliii, 16 to 18.
B. M. C., l. c., p. 95, 14; Pl. xix, 12.
Six, Num. Çhron. 1897, p. 195, 6. “Coll. Weber, surfrappée”; and 7,"Tous deux surfrappées sur des statères d’Aspendus.”
B. M. C. Cyprus, Pl. xix, 4, 5; the first coin in Paris, the second in Berlin. At the time of the catalogue’s publication the British Museum possessed no specimen of this rare stater.
L. c. p. xxxiii.
Hill, l. c. p. xxii.
L. c. p. xxiii; p. 48, No. 13.


Plate I


Plate II


Plate III


Numismatic Notes and Monographs

  • Sydney P. Noe. Coin Hoards. 1921. 47 pages. 6 plates. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. Octobols of Histiæa. 1921. 25 pages. 2 plates. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—Introduction and Kyparissia Hoard. 1921. 21 pages. 2 plates. 50c.
  • Howland Wood. The Mexican Revolutionary Coinage 1913-1916. 1921. 44 pages. 26 plates. $2.00.
  • Leonidas Westervelt. The Jenny Lind Medals and Tokens. 1921. 25 pages. 9 plates. 50c.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Five Roman Gold Medallions. 1921. 103 pages. S plates. $1.50.
  • Sydney P. Noe. Medallic Work of A. A. Weinman. 1921. 31 pages. 17 plates. $1.00.
  • Gilbert S. Perez. The Mint of the Philippine Islands. 1921. 8 pages. 4 plates. 50c.
  • David Eugene Smith, LL.D. Computing Jetons. 1921. 70 pages. 25 plates $1.50.
  • Edward T. Newell. The First Seleucid Coinage of Tyre. 1921. 40 pages. 8 plates. $1.00.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. French Orders and Decorations. 1922. no pages. 35 plates. $2.00.
  • Howland Wood. Gold Dollars of 1858. 1922. 7 pages. 2 plates. 50c.
  • R. B. Whitehead. Pre-Mohammedan Coinage of N. W. India. 1922. 56 pages. 15 plates. $2.00.
  • George F. Hill. Attambelos I of Characene. 1922. 12 pages. 3 plates. $1.00.
  • M. P. Vlasto. Taras Oikistes (A Contribution to Tarentine Numismatics). 1922. 234 pages. 13 plates. $3.50.
  • Howland Wood. Commemorative Coinage of United States. 1922. 63 pages. 7 plates. $1.50.
  • Agnes Baldwin. Six Roman Bronze Medallions. 1923. 39 pages. 6 plates. $1.50.
  • Howland Wood. Tegucigalpa Coinage of 1823. 1923. 16 pages. 2 plates. 50c.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards—II. Demanhur Hoard. 1923. 162 pages. 8 plates. $2.50.
  • Harrold E. Gillingham. Italian Orders of Chivalry and Medals of Honour. 1923. 146 pages. 34 plates. $2.00.
  • Edward T. Newell. Alexander Hoards. III. Andritsaena. 1924. 39 pages. 6 plates. $1.00.