Satraps of Caria. Mausolus. 377-353 BC

Satraps of Caria. Mausolus. 377-353 BC

7,500.00

AR Tetradrachm, 15.20g (22mm, 12h). Three quarter facing laureate head of Apollo / ΜYΣΣΩΛΛΟ Zeus Labrandeus standing holding scepter and double headed axe. In front, symbol 'B'.

Pedigree: Sold privately to a collector who owned it for over 25 years

References: SNG Copenhagen 590 . SNG von Aulock 2360

Grade: A beautifully sculpted head of Apollo without any wear. Some light iridescence. Reverse Zeus has details but some overall wear. Legend is also slightly worn. Toned EF (gk1269)

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Caria, located on the western shores of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) was ruled by the Hectamonid Dynasty for over half a century. Since the Achaemenids had ownership of Caria at the time, Hecatomnus was installed as satrap of Caria by the ruler Artaxerxes II.  Once Hecatomnus died in 377 BC the oldest of his children Mausolus succeeded him. Mausolus was an interesting figure in this period. His charge was to be a satrap under the Persians but he virtually functioned as an independent princedom. Not only was Caria under his leadership but a considerable section of Ionia and and Lycia on the western coast of Asia Minor. He instigated fighting amongst the Greek islands allegiant with Athens in order to protect his cities and expand his power. The wars of Athens against its allies from 357-55 BC were a direct result of his meddling. Mausolus was successful in his plan and separated Athens from many of its allied Greek city states. He then started to drive out the democratic rulers and replace them with oligarchies that were obedient to himself.

When Mausolus died in 353 BC he was followed by his sister Artemisia, who was also his wife. Her story is likely what is most profoundly remembered about Mausolus. So great was her love for him she is said to have drunk his ashes little by little everyday in order to be the embodiment of her deceased husband. Furthermore she built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the mausoleum, which was named after the ruler and stood for all to see.