AE16. 3.84g, 16.3mm
MINTED: BOEOTIA, Thespiae, circa 210 BC
REF: BCD 612; SNG Cop 406-7
OBVERSE: Head of Arsinoë III right, wearing modius and veil.
REVERSE: ΘEΣΠI/EΩN, Lyre; all within laurel wreath.
Ex Swiss Collection formed in the 1990s (Obolos 4, 21 Feb 2016, Lot 240)
The Thespians of Boeotia were the organizers of the Mouseia (known locally as the Thespiadae), a festival dedicated to the Muses of Mount Helikon that was held once every four years. There is some evidence that suggests that Arsinoë III, wife of Ptolemy IV of Egypt, helped finance some of the festivals held between 215 and 208 BC.
Thespiae was the chief city of southern Boeotia in central Greece. It was situated on the banks of the river Thespius, 15 miles from Thebes, and boasted three ports on the Corinthian Gulf. At the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC), seven hundred Thespian troops led by their commander Demophilus fought and died alongside the three hundred Spartans under King Leonidas. In reprisal, the Persian king Xerxes had Thespiae burnt to the ground after the battle.
The subsequent rebuilding of the city was financed by the Athenians, though the city later sided against them during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC). Destroyed in 423 BC by neighbouring Thebes, the city was restored once again, this time by the Spartans, who used it as a base against the Thebans.
BOEOTIA, Thespiae . Circa 210 BC . AE16 . Ptolemaic Queen Arsinoë . Ex Obolos 4
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