Ionia, Phocaea. c. 477-388

Ionia, Phocaea. c. 477-388


EL Hecte, 2.57g (9mm). Athena head with griffin on helmet and seal behind / Quadripartite square incuse

References: Bod. Ph 91

Grade: Lovely toned surfaces and nice strike. Fine Style. EF (gk1290)

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Phocaea was believed to be an Aeolian settlement by the ancient geographer Pausanias. Located on the western shores of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), Phocaea, in Ionia, was among the earliest to strike coinage. Due to the proximity of the water, Phocaea were among the first Greeks to travel by sea voyage, and traveling as far as Spain. Apparently the king of Spain, Arganthonios was so impressed by their seafaring skills that he urged them to settle in his kingdom in Iberia. They refused the kind offer but went away instead with money from the admiring king to build defensive walls around the city to protect themselves from Persian advances.

The Lydian king Croesus controlled the area until the Persians overtook the Lydians in 546 BC. Prior to this Phocaea was largely independent.

The seal is the badge of Phocaea and is usually found somewhere on the coins.