IONIA, Smyrna

AE14. 1.93g, 14mm
MINTED: IONIA, Smyrna, circa 75-50 BC. Paramonos, magistrate
REF: BMC Ionia p. 242, 57; Milne, Autonomous, p. 71, 239
OBVERSE: Laureate head of Apollo with flowing locks right.

REVERSE: Boxer’s hand in caestus flanked by palm branches; ΣMYPNAI to right, ΠAPAMO (magistrate) to left.



Dusky olive-green patina. A couple of light scratches on obverse. 

An interesting reverse type, probably a reference to Onomastos, a native of Smyrna who won the first boxing tournament of the ancient Olympic games in 688 BC (the 23rd Olympiad).  The hand depicted on the reverse wears a caestus, a glove used by boxers and fighters made from leather strips.  The caestus could also be equipped with blades or spikes to inflict further damage on the fighter's opponent.  


Historical Notes:

Smyrna (modern day Izmir in Turkey) was an ancient and important city on the Ionian coast inhabited by Greeks as early as the 11th century BC.  During the 6th century BC, it was captured first by King Alyattes of Lydia, and then by the Persians, both of them destroyed large parts of the city.  Some centuries later, Alexander the Great was said to have drawn up new designs for the city and begun work on its reconstruction.  From that period and well into the Roman era, Smyrna prospered both as a port as well as a production centre for textiles, wine, and perfumes and prawns.  Smyrna was one of a number of cities that claimed to be the birthplace of the legendary poet Homer.  On visiting Smyrna in the late 1st century BC, geographer and historian Strabo noted the shrine there dedicated to Homer and their bronze coins which they named after him.

IONIA, Smyrna . 75-50 BC . AE14 . First Boxing Champion of the Ancient Olympics

SKU: 2881
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