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Coin Typology of

Madytos *

Topography and History

Located on the east coast of the Thracian Chersonese, the narrowest point of the Hellespont, 1  Madytos had a favourable port 2  and can probably be identified as modern-day Eceabat. 3  Originally a foundation of the Aeolians from Lesbos in the 7th century BC, 4  Athenians had also settled there in the late 6th century BC. During the Peloponnesian War, Madytos probably played a role as a supplier of grain for the Athenian troops and as a base for the Athenian fleet. 5 

Madytos appears together with the other cities of the Chersonese in the tribute lists of 453–447 BC, and paid only 500 drachmas in 442–439 BC and 2000 drachmas in 434–420 BC. 6 

  1. Ps. Skylax 67; Hdt. VII 33.
  2. Xen. Hell. I 1,3; Liv. XXXIII 38,9.
  3. Isaac 1986, 194.
  4. Ps. Skyl. 67, Ps.-Skymn. 709; Strab. 7, fr. 55.
  5. Xen. hell. 1,1,3.
  6. Isaac 1986, 194.

Minting System and Typology

Madytos probably minted a small bronze series around the middle of the 4th century BC, like the other locales of the Chersonese. A single example of a silver emission from the city has survived. 1  It depicts the same motifs as the bronze series and can probably be dated similarly to the middle of the 4th century BC. Coinage from the Roman period is not yet known.

The predominant coin design of Madytos is a kicking bull (to right or left) on the obverse in combination with a sitting dog to the right (and once to the left) on the reverse. The dog probably symbolizes Cynossema and refers to the tomb of Hecuba, which is said to have been near Madytos. Hecuba, wife of Priam and mother to Paris and Hector, was abducted from Troy by Odysseus. In order to not serve Odysseus as a slave, she threw herself from his ship into the sea near the Thracian Chersonese. Hecuba turned into a dog and died. A tomb in the shape of a dog was erected for her on land near the city of Madytos. This served as a point of orientation for sailors and is depicted on the reverse of the city's bronze coins.

These two main images are accompanied by various countermarks and so far once by a monogram. 2  The countermark is often an ear of corn, which is commonly used to refer to the mints of the Chersonese of this period and probably indicates the richness of the grain on the peninsula. These countermarks and the monogram are type-forming. On the reverse, the legend ΜΑΔΥ is regularly added. Up to now, two types are known to differ from this pictorial scheme: one type, probably created at the same time as the bronze coinage described above, shows an Athena head on the obverse and the usual dog motif on the back. 3  Another type with a woman's head to the left on the obverse, which can be interpreted as Hecuba, depicts a lyre on the reverse. 4  According to F. Imhoof-Blumer, this type was minted later than the rest of the series; it may be dated to the 2nd century AD or later. 5 

The preserved silver coin weighs 2.4 g and may be interpreted as an Attic triobol. 6  The bronze coins have three different weight and diameter classes; the largest nominal size ranges between 20 and 21 mm in diameter and weighs between 6 and 8.5 g, the medium size is between 15 and 16 mm and between 3 and 5 g, and the smallest size measures between 12 and 14 mm and weighs between 2 and 3 g. 7 

Our type catalogue represents the state of research from August 2019 and does not take into consideration any coin types that have become known later. Further information, especially about new types, is always welcome.

  1. CN_Type8142.
  2. CN_Type8158.
  3. CN_Type8153.
  4. CN_Type8151.
  5. Imhoof-Blumer 1885, 129; Hoover 2017, 124, 2nd century BC or later.
  6. Hoover 2017, 124.
  7. Hoover 2017, 124.

Bibliography

  • Hoover 2017 = O. D. Hoover, Handbook of Coins of Macedon and Its Neighbors. Part II: Thrace, Skythia, and Taurike, Sixth to First Centuries BC (The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series, Volume 3) S. 123–124.
  • Imhoof-Blumer 1885 = F. Imhoof-Blumer, Beiträge zur griechischen Münzkunde, Zeitschrift für Numismatik 13, 1885, S. 129, Nr. 4 Taf. 4,2.
  • Isaac 1986 = B. H. Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Thrace Until the Macedonian Conquest (Leiden), S. 194.
  • Schönert-Geiss 1999 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Bibliographie zur antiken Numismatik Thrakiens und Mösiens (Berlin), S. 1477–1481.

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