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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000061

Demetrias

Triton XV, Lot: 61. Estimate $300.
Sold for $950. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Demetrias (IACP-; Hellenistic Settlements, p. 111)

Located in Magnesia, Demetrias was founded in 293 BC by Demetrios Poliorketes, and formed part of a larger Hellenistic synoikismos, consisting of several neighboring towns – Halos, Homolion, Iolkos, Pagasai, and Rhizos – which in the Classical period issued their own coinages. Demetrias served as a major Macedonian stronghold. According to Strabo (9.5.15), Demetrias controlled the Vale of Tempe, as well as Mts. Pelion and Ossa, and was a naval station. Demetrias was so strategically important that Philip V of Macedon personally referred to it, together with Chalkis and Corinth, as πέδας Ἑλληνικάς, "the fetters of Greece" (Polyb. 18.11.5). The city was also an important administrative center; both Strabo (op. cit.) and Livy (35.31.9) refer to it as a royal residence for the Antigonids. Plutarch (Demetr. 53) asserts that Antigonos II Gonatas buried his father, Demetrios Poliorketes, in Demetrias; a sanctuary (which possibly included his grave), honoring the heroes of the towns of the synoikismos, as well as the founder of Demetrias, is located there. Following the end of the Second Macedonian War, Demetrias, now a member of the Aitolian League, became allied with Rome. As that League's relationship with the Republic became increasingly strained, the League subsequently allied itself with Antiochos III, and Demetrias came under his control. In 192 BC, the city came under the control of Philip V (with Roman approval [Liv. 36.33; 39.23.12]), where it remained until the end of the Third Macedonian War. In 167 BC the city’s fortifications were partially razed by the Romans. Although Demetrias subsequently became the capital of the Magnesian League, the city went into decline. Considerable remains can be found at the site, including fortification walls and the foundations of at least 182 towers, and the ruins of a Macedonian palace. The city is also known for the collection of decorated and painted stelai that were found reused in the building of the city towers.

The city’s coinage began in the 290s BC and did not continue very much longer. Beginning in the 2nd century BC, however, Demetrias became the mint of the coinage of the Magnetes, which included silver and bronzes that were struck from the 170s BC down into the 130s BC. Other coins were minted in the 40s BC and 30s BC. The city’s coinage concludes with a range of rare Imperial issues ending in the 3rd century AD.

THESSALY, Demetrias. Circa 290 BC. AR Hemidrachm (15mm, 2.32 g, 12h). ΔΗΜΗ - [Τ]ΡΙΕΩΝ, prow of galley to l. / bust of Artemis to r., quiver over her l. shoulder, below monogram. McClean 4567, pl. 171, 21; see also Nomos 4, 1034 (same rev. die). Good VF, edge showing signs of crystalization, fraying obv. at 1 o’clock, rev. at 2 o’clock.