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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: Triton VII, Lot: 266. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Monday, 12 January 2004. 
Sold For $500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SATRAPS of CARIA. Hekatomnos. 395-377 BC. AR Drachm (4.14 gm). Forepart of roaring lion left; EKA above / Stellate pattern in square incuse. Traité pl. LXXXIX, 19 var. (round incuse); SNG Kayhan 862; SNG von Aulock 2356; SNG Copenhagen 588 var. (round incuse). Toned EF. ($750)

SECTION INTROBeginning with Hyssaldomos, the satraps of Caria would rule as a virtually independent dynasty for almost a century, strengthening their own position against that of their ostensible overlord, the Persian king in far off Persepolis. Hekatomnos struck the first coins for the Carian satrapy, copying the lion types of Miletos. His later issues introduced the type that would become the emblem of the dynasty, the figure of Zeus Labraundos, whose temple was near Mylasa, the birthplace of Hekatomnos. Hekatomnos died in 377 BC, to be followed in succession by each of his three sons, Maussollos, Hidrieus and Pixodaros. Maussollos expanded his territory at the expense of his neighboring satraps and in defiance of the Persian king. He moved the capital from Mylasa to Halikarnassos, at which point the facing head of Apollo/Helios becomes the standard obverse type for the Carian tetradrachm. Although condemned by the Greek authors for his avarice and thirst for power, the satrap was acknowledged as a man of culture. He embellished his capital with remarkable architecture (his Mausoleum being one of the Wonders of the Ancient World), and encouraged the study of science and art. Hidrieus continued in his brother's footsteps and added the islands of Chios, Kos and Rhodes to his domain, three important centers of commerce which had until then managed to fend off the growing Carian empire (which by now it was in all but name).

The Carians appear to have overextended themselves, however, for by the reign of Pixodaros, the satrap is seen making dynastic marriages to preserve his position between Persia and the Greeks. One of his daughters married Rhoontopates, a Persian courtier who would eventually succeed him, while another was offered to the Macedonian royal house. That offer, which might have altered the course of Western History, was rejected after Alexander's meddling. As it was, Rhoontopates would meet the army of Alexander in battle, and the Carian dynasty would come to a sudden end, absorbed into the expanding Greek empire.