The Coinage of Knidos
|Sale: Triton XIII, Lot: 202. Estimate $2500.
Closing Date: Monday, 4 January 2010.
Sold For $2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Circa 411-405/4 BC. AR Drachm (6.14 g, 3h). Head and foreleg of roaring lion right / Head of Aphrodite right, hair in sphendone decorated with ivy leaves; A behind neck; all within incuse square. Cahn Series VI.1, 93 (V45/R63); SNG Keckman 138 (same dies); SNG von Aulock 2598 (same rev. die); SNG Copenhagen 252 (same dies); Waddington 2354 (same dies); de Luynes 2704 (same dies); Boston MFA 1956 (same rev. die). EF, toned, a couple minor die breaks on reverse.
An important city which comprised settlements on both the mainland and an adjoining island that was bridged by a causeway, Knidos was a partner in the Dorian Hexapolis, a federation of six regional cities of Doric colonization, which included Kos, Halikarnassos, Lindos, Ialysos, and Kamiros. Because of its connection with the trading routes along the Ionian coast, Knidos became an important and affluent trading center, and the city was adorned with numerous impressive public buildings, both within the city itself and in the surrounding countryside. Among these buildings were the Temple of the Triopian Apollo, where the members of the Hexapolis met and whose symbol was the lion; hence, the use of the lion as one of the civic badges on the coinage.
Because Knidos had been originally settled by Phoenicians prior to its Doric colonization, it also possessed a large temple dedicated to Aphrodite Euploia – the Phoenician Asherar-yam. As a result of the godessess’s importance to the city, the head of Aphrodite was included on the coinage. Because of the city’s connection with Aphrodite, in the fourth century BC, Knidos acquired a cult-statue of the goddess by the sculptor Praxitiles. After it was rejected by the citizens of Kos – for whom it had been commissioned – because it showed Aphrodite nude for the first time, Knidos purchased the statue, erecting it in an open air temple so that it could be viewed from all angles. As a result, it became a popular tourist attraction and the subject of numerous tales of all types.