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Research Coins: Feature Auction



Triton XV, Lot: 129. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $25000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Larissa (IACP 401)

Inhabited since Paleolithic times, Larissa was an important agricultural center and in antiquity was particularly renowned for its horses. Like many other towns in the Pelasgiotis region of Thessaly, its name was of Pelasgian origin meaning "citadel". According to the Scholiast on Apollonios (1.1, v.40), Larissa at the time of Homer was called Argissa, and it is thought to be where the famous Greek physician Hippocrates and the famous philosopher Gorgias of Leontini died. The city was home to the most important of Thessaly's aristocratic families – the Aleuadai, who before 369 BC frequently furnished the ταγός.The principal rivals of the Aleuadai were the Scopadai of Krannon. Larissa was the birthplace of Meno, who, along with Xenophon (among others), led the ill-fated expedition of Greek mercenaries in 401 BC to help Cyrus the Younger overthrow his elder brother Artaxerxes II and take the throne of Persia. Meno is also the subject of a Platonic dialogue of the same name.

Larissa was directly annexed by Philip II of Macedon in 344 BC. In 302 BC, Demetrios Poliorketes gained possession of Larissa for a time. It was in Larissa that Philip V of Macedon in 197 BC signed a treaty with the Romans after his defeat at Kynoskephalai. In 192 BC, Antiochos III won a great victory there during the Roman-Syrian War. In 196 BC, Larissa became an ally of Rome and the headquarters of the Thessalian League. Pompey sought refuge at Larissa after his defeat at Pharsalos in 48 BC.

THESSALY, Larissa. 479/475 - circa 460 BC. AR Drachm (17mm, 5.06 g, 12h). Horse with lowered head, grazing l. on dotted ground line, above, cicada l., all in dotted circle / ΛΑRΙ - 𐌔ΑΙΟ - Ν, sandal of Jason to l., above, double axe to r., all in shallow incuse square. Herrmann pl. I, 2 (different dies); BMC p. 24, 1, pl. IV, 4 (different dies); SNG Delepierre 1100 and 1101 (different dies); see also Nomos 4, 1095 (different dies) and Triton VIII (11 January 2005) 278 (same obverse die but the reverse without the double axe). Near EF, has been cleaned, the obverse shows striking slippage on the ground line and the reverse is struck off centre, otherwise a fresh and attractive coin of good metal.

New dating of the “sandal” coinage (as it should be called, and not Persian standard coinage) is 479/475 - circa 460 BC. See Kagan so-called p. 79 ff.