Aspendus Stater 385 - 370 BC

Obv: Two naked athletes, wrestling grasping each other by the arms. Rev: Slinger advancing right about to discharge his sling; triskeles before "ESTFEDIIVS (in Greek) This coin honors Olympic events. Metal: Silver 11.1 grams, 22 mm diameter. Condition: abt VF.

History Aspendos

Pamphylia (Aspendos) The city was established by the Greeks, traditionally by "Mopsos" of Argos, after the Trojan war. However, an inscription found in 1947 records that Asitawada the king of Adaya established the city of Aztawadda = Aspendos?. The city was an unimportant city under the Lycian hegemony. In 546 BC, it became part of the Persian empire. Since it continued to mint coins, it must have maintained a degree of autonomy within the Persian empire. The river Eurymedon was navigatable at the time and in 468 BC was used to harbor the Persian fleet while waiting on an additional 80 ships from Phoenicia. While the Persian fleet was in the river, the Greek commander "Cimon" moved in for the battle of Eurymedon, the Persian fleet (over 350 ships maybe as many as 600 by some reports) was destroyed using 200 ships. He tricked the Persians into believing that he was returning some Persian captives and used the celebration to infiltrate the Persians. Cimon than sailed to Syedra where he met and destroyed the Phoenician fleet before they had received the word of the Persian defeat. After this defeat, the Persian king is said to have signed a treaty that the Persians would not go closer than 1 days distance to any Greek coastal city and no Persian warship would sail west of Cyanean and the Chelidonian islands. Aspendos then became part of Athens' Delian Confederacy. The Persians recaptured the city in 411 BC. In 387 BC, Athens sent a fleet to recover the city. To avoid a war, the citizens of Aspendos offered the fleet commander a bribe to leave the city alone. The commander accepted the bribe and then ordered his soldiers to trample all of the fields. This angered the citizens and they killed the Athenian commander. Although Aspendos was a Greek city, it generally prefered to be under Persian rule. When Alexander III (the Great) came in 333 BC, the citizens of Aspendos sent envoys. They agreed that Alexander III would not sack the city or station troops in the city, if Aspendos paid tribute to Alexander III equal to what they were paying the Persians. Alexander III continued to Side and stationed a garrison of troops. Meanwhile, he found out that the citizens of Aspendos did not ratify the terms agreed to by their envoys and were preparing defenses. Alexander III moved to the city and again envoys were sent. This time peace cost the city a very high tribute and a garrison was established in the city. After Alexander III, the city came under Ptolomy control, then Selucid control, then Pergamon control. In 190 BC, Aspendos entered into good relations with Rome and prospered under Roman rule. The city's prosperity was based on its inland position with a river harbor that permitted trade but hindered military fleets and pirates. The city had good farm land and extensive forests. The city exported salt, wine, horses, furnishings and carvings made from lemon tree wood, and was famous for its tapestries with gold and silver embroidery. Aspendos was famous for its wine, but unlike other Greek cities they did not sacrifice wine to the Gods - their explanation was if the Gods wanted wine they would not let birds eat the grapes. During the reign of Trajan, the mayor of Aespendos offered his daugter to the citizen who gave the city the greatist gift. Zeno gave the city a great theater (still standing) and Tiberius Claudius gave the city an aquaduct. The mayor could not decide which was the greater gift, so he decided to cut his daughter in half. Zeno conceded and for his unselfishness he was given the girl and a large estate.