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stater - Tomis - Greek coin
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stater struck at Tomis by Mithradates VI Eupator - reverse stater struck at Tomis by Mithradates VI Eupator - obverse
19-20 mm diameter, 8.3 grams, gold
Reverse: goddess Athena sitting on a throne, to the left, holding Nike in the right hand, with the left hand propping a shield and holding the spear. The goddess Nike has spread wings and holds a laurel wreath in hands. A trident with dolphins above and below is placed in exergue. Under Athena's left hand lies the ensign ΘEM and under the throne lies TO, the first two letters from the name of the city where the coin was struck. Sideways the inscription BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXΩY is placed.
Obverse: head of the god Alexander the Great to the right, wearing the horns of Zeus Amon

The gold coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. Clark Smith, numismatist and renowned specialist in world gold coins. The coin corresponds to the description at number 1785 in the Moushmov catalog.

About the coin

Although the inscription is BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXΩY (BASILEOS LYSIMAHOI, king's Lysimachus coin), these coins were struck in 88-86 B.C. by Mithradates VI Eupator the Great, king of Pontus, during the time of one of his first wars with Rome. The coin was struck at Tomis, this being the reason of its inclusion on the site. The letters TO placed under the goddess Athena's throne testify the fact. Similar staters were also struck at Histria (Istros) and Callatis, these mints marking their issues with letters IΣ and respectively KAΛ, also under Athena's throne.

This monetary type imitates the staters of Lysimachus, king of Thrace (360 - 281 BC, one of the successors - diadochoi - of Alexander the Great). The staters of Lysimachus are better struck, with a very fine design. All mentioned coins can be seen on Wildwinds.

About the representation of Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great is represented on the obverse as a god, wearing the horns of Zeus-Amon (by the way, in the Arabian stories of "The Thousands and One Nights" Alexander appears under the name Iskandar-with-Horns). After the fightless occupation of Egypt, Alexander the Great visited the oracle of Amon from Siwah (an oasis in the western desert of Egypt, today near the border with Libya). Amon, king of Egyptian gods, was represented as a ram or as a man with ram head. The Greeks assimilated Amon with Zeus. At Amon's temple Alexander was greeted as a Pharaoh and son of the temple's patron. This pilgrimage confirmed the legend that Alexander was son of Zeus (spread by his own mother in his childhood) and strengthened the belief in the divinity of the great Macedonian.

About Mithridate VI Eupator the Great, king of Pontus

Mithridate (or Mithradate) VI Eupator (born in 132 BC at Sinope, died in 63 BC at Panticapaeum - today the city of Kerch in Crimea) was king of Pontus beginning with 112 BC. Mithradate means "gift of the god Mithra" and Eupator means "[born] from a noble father". Pontus, placed on the south coast of the Black Sea, was Persian satrapy and afterwards kingdom - founded in 301 BC by a Persian originated dinasty. Mithradate VI was a great enemy of the Romans. He unsuccessfuly tried to eliminate them from Asia. By his conquests Mithradate was the greatest of Rome's enemy in the Orient of his times.


Amon (Amun, Ammon) was the Egyptian god of fertility and life, being worshipped mainly at Thebes (modern Luxor and Karnak). His cult has spread, associated with the sun god Ra or Re, under the name Amon-Re being the king of the gods. The name Amon means "hidden", one of the main attribute of Amun being invisibility. He was represented by Egyptians as a ram or a ram headed man. The Greeks assimilated Amon with Zeus, and the Romans with Jupiter. The cult of Amon was slowly replaced by the cult of Isis and Osiris.

The History of Tomis
and More
The Ancient Pontic World
and Its Connection to Romanians (with Map)
About Athena
About Nike

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