Northern Greece. Thrace, the Chersonese. Kardia (?), Miltiades II.
Tetradrachm, c. 495 - 494 BC. (Silver, 16.20g., 24mm). Lion standing to right, his head turned back to left, his left forepaw raised, and his tail curled around over his back / Head of Athena to left, wearing crested Attic helmet, disc earring and pearl necklace. Berlin = Regling, Die Antike Münze als Kunstwerk, 230. = Traité I, 1798, pl. LVII, 15 (same dies). Bruxelles = de Hirsch 897. London = Seltman 489a = Weber 2400 (same obverse die). Seltman Group Q iv, 488 var. (A332/P-. = Berlin, but not the same piece as the one listed above, and Pozzi 1101: same obverse die but reverse unlisted).
This coin was almost certainly issued in Kardia (IACP 665) in the Thracian Chersonese (present-day Gallipoli), a city first founded by the Milesians and then refounded c. 560/550 by the Athenian Miltiades the Elder. In 524/3 his namesake and nephew Miltiades (II) was sent by Hippias to reinforce Athenian control of the city; the Chersonese was a vital choke point protecting Athens’ grain supply. He submitted to the Persians under Darius, but attempted to convince the other Greek allies during the Persian invasion of Scythia to destroy the Danube bridge, thus marooning Darius and his army. This plot failed and Miltiades fled back to Athens in 511/510. He joined the Ionian revolt in 499 and returned to the Chersonese in 496. Shortly thereafter he issued this small series of tetradrachms: the first pair of dies is marked with the legend ΧΕΡ, thus confirming their attribution. The lion on the obverse refers to Miletus, the original mother-city of the area, and the head of Athena is, of course, a reference to Athens.
Grading/Status: Extremely rare. A splendid example, probably the finest known; nicely toned. Good very fine.
L. R. Stack Collection, Stack’s, 14 January 2008, 2162.
Triton VIII, 11 January 2005, 247.
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