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Details about  Rare origina ancient coin Greek Island city Chios Sphinx Amphora Club ship prow

Rare origina ancient coin Greek Island city Chios Sphinx Amphora Club ship prow

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US $199.50
Approximately C $218.48(including shipping)
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Item specifics

Material:

Bronze

 
s609

Rare ancient Greek coin of Chios 190BC

AE 18-19mm. 5.00gm. Original tone and patina. 

  Obv./Sphinx seated right, Heracles club.

Rev./ XAIKL- XIOS either side of Amphora, ship prow below.

Authenticity guaranteed. 

The city of Chios, the chief settlement on the large and important island of the same name, started producing coinage in the middle of the 6th century B.C. It had a fine harbor and achieved great prosperity, as well as being a cultural center. In 86 B.C. the city was sacked by Mithradates' forces, but Sulla restored the place and thereafter the Chians enjoyed special privileges under Roman rule.

You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity.

Chios as seen from space, in June 1996Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres (five miles) off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages. The eleventh century monastery of “Nea Moni”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on the island.

"Chios" is also the name of the island's main town and administrative centre, although locals refer to it as "Hora" ("Χώρα" literally means land or country, but usually the name given to the capital or a settlement at the highest point of a Greek island). Administratively the island forms a separate prefecture (nomós- νομός) within the North Aegean Periphery.

Known as "Ofioussa" (having snakes) and "Pityoussa" (having pine trees) in antiquity, during the medieval age the island was ruled by a number of external powers and has been also known as Scio (Genoese), Chio (Italian) and Sakız (صاقيز —Ottoman Turkish). The capital has also been called "Castro" or "Kastron" (Καστρον; meaning castle).

History

 Pre-historic Period

Archaeological research on Chios has found evidence that the island has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic era. The primary sites of research for this period, have been cave dwellings at Hagio(n) Galas, in the north, and a settlement and accompanying necropolis in modern-day Emporeio at the far south of the island. The lack of information on this period however, cannot be overstated and theories on the size and duration of these settlements have not been well established.

The British School of Athens excavated the Emporeio site in 1952–1955, and most of our current information comes from these digs. The Greek Archaeological Service (G.A.S.) has been excavating periodically on Chios since 1970, though much of their work on the island remains unpublished.

The noticeable uniformity in the size of houses at Emporeio is what primarily drives scholar's theory that there may have been no serious social distinction during the Neolithic on the island, the inhabitants instead all benefiting from agricultural and livestock farming.

It is also widely held by scholars that the island was not occupied by humans during the Middle Bronze Age (2300–1600), though researchers have suggested recently that the lack of evidence that exists during this period may only demonstrate the lack of excavations on Chios and the northern Aegean.

By at least the eleventh century BC the island was ruled by a kingdom/chiefdom, and the subsequent transition to aristocratic (or possibly tyrannic) rule occurred sometime over the next four centuries. Future excavations may reveal more information about this period. Ninth-century Euboean and Cypriote presence on the island is attested by ceramics, while a Phoenician presence is noted at Erythrae, the traditional competitor of Chios on the mainland.

 Classical Period

Pherecydes, native to the Aegean, wrote that the island was occupied by the Leleges, aboriginal Greeks themselves reported to be subject to the Minoans on Crete. They were eventually driven out by invading Ionians.

Chios was one of the original twelve member states of the Ionian League. As a result, Chios, at the end of the 7th century BC, was one of the first cities to strike or mint coins, establishing the sphinx as its specific symbol. A tradition it maintained for almost 900 years.

By the fifth to fourth centuries BC, the island had grown to an estimated population of over 120,000 (two to three times the estimated population in 2005), and based on the huge necropoli at the main city of Chios, the asty, it is thought the majority lived in that area. Now a powerful Greek city-state, Chios was the last member of the Delian League to revolt.

 Hellenistic Period

In the decades immediately preceding Macedon's domination of the Greek city-states, Chios was home to a school of rhetoric which Isocrates had opened, as well as a faction aligned with Sparta. After the Battle of Leuctra, supporters of the Lacedaemonians were exiled. Among the exiled were Damasistratus and his son Theopompus, who had received instruction from the school and went on to study with Isocrates in Athens before becoming a historian.[citation needed]

Theopompus moved back to Chios with the other exiles in 333 BC after Alexander had invaded Asia Minor and decreed their return, as well as the exile or trial of Persian supporters on the island. Theopompus was exiled again sometime after Alexander's death and took refuge in Egypt.

During this period, the island also had become the largest exporter of Greek wine, which was noted for being of relative high quality (see Chian wine). Chian amphoras, with a characteristic sphinx emblem and bunches of grape have been found in nearly every country that the ancient Greeks traded with from as far away as Gaul, Upper Egypt and Eastern Russia.

 Roman Period

During the Third Macedonian War, thirty-five vessels allied to Rome, carrying about 1,000 Galatian troops, as well as a number of horses, were sent by Eumenes II to his brother Attalus.

Leaving from Elaea, they were headed to Phanae, planning to disembark from there to Macedonia. However, Perseus's naval commander Antenor intercepted the fleet between Erythrae (on the Western coast of Turkey) and Chios.

According to Livy, they were caught completely off-guard by Antenor. Eumenes' officers at first thought the intercepting fleet were friendly Romans, but scattered upon realizing they were facing an attack by their Macedonian enemy, some choosing to abandon ship and swim to Erythrae. Others, crashing their ships into land on Chios, fled toward the city.

The Chians however closed their gates, startled at the calamity. And the Macedonians, who had docked closer to the city anyway, cut the rest of the fleet off outside the city gates, and on the road leading to the city. Of the 1,000 men, 800 were killed, 200 taken prisoner.'

After the Roman conquest Chios became part of the province of Asia.

A sphinx is a mythical creature with, as a minimum, the body of a lion and the head of a human or a cat.

In Greek tradition, it has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories, as they are killed and eaten by this ravenous monster.[1] Unlike the Greek sphinx which was a woman, the Egyptian sphinx is typically shown as a man (an androsphinx). In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent in contrast to the malevolent Greek version and was thought of as a guardian often flanking the entrances to temples.

In European decorative art, the sphinx enjoyed a major revival during the Renaissance. Later, the sphinx image, something very similar to the original Ancient Egyptian concept, was exported into many other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to other cultural traditions.

Generally the role of sphinxes is associated with architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. The oldest known sphinx was found near Gobekli Tepe at another site, Nevali Çori,[2] or possibly 120 miles to the east at Kortik Tepe, Turkey and was dated to 9,500 BC.

Egyptian sphinxes

The sphinx is located in the north and below the pyramids. What names their builders gave to these statues is not known. At the Great Sphinx site, the inscription on a stele by Thutmose IV in 1400 BCE, lists the names of three aspects of the local sun deity of that period, KheperaAtum. The inclusion of these figures in tomb and temple complexes quickly became traditional and many pharaohs had their heads carved atop the guardian statues for their tombs to show their close relationship with the powerful solar deity, Sekhmet, a lioness. Other famous Egyptian sphinxes include one bearing the head of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in granite, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the alabaster sphinx of Memphis, Memphis, Egypt, currently located within the open-air museum at that site. The theme was expanded to form great avenues of guardian sphinxes lining the approaches to tombs and temples as well as serving as details atop the posts of flights of stairs to very grand complexes. Nine hundred with ram heads, representing Amon, were built in Thebes, where his cult was strongest.

Perhaps the first sphinx in Egypt was one depicting Queen Hetepheres II, of the fourth dynasty that lasted from 2723 to 2563 BC. She was one of the longest-lived members of the royal family of that dynasty.

The largest and most famous is the Great Sphinx of Giza, sited at the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile River and facing due east (29°58′31″N 31°08′15″E). It is also from the same dynasty. Although the date of its construction is uncertain, the head of the Great Sphinx now is believed to be that of the pharaoh Khafra.

The Great Sphinx has become an emblem of Egypt, frequently appearing on its stamps, coins, and official documents.[4]

Greek traditions

From the Bronze Age, the Hellenes had trade and cultural contacts with Egypt. Before the time that Alexander the Great occupied Egypt, the Greek name, sphinx, was already applied to these statues. The historians and geographers of Greece wrote extensively about Egyptian culture. Heredotus called the ram-headed sphinxes, criosphinges, and the hawk-headed ones, hieracosphinges.

The word sphinx comes from the Greek Σφίγξ, apparently from the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō), meaning "to squeeze", "to tighten up".[5][6] This name may be derived from the fact that the hunters for a pride of lions are the lionesses, and kill their prey by strangulation, biting the throat of prey and holding them down until they die. The word sphincter derives from the same root. However, the historian Susan Wise Bauer suggests that the word "sphinx" was instead, a Greek corruption of the Egyptian name "shesepankh," which meant "living image," and referred rather to the statue of the sphinx, which was carved out of "living rock" (rock that was present at the construction site, not harvested and brought from another location), than to the beast itself.[7]

There was a single sphinx in Greek mythology, a unique demon of destruction and bad luck. According to Hesiod, she was a daughter of Orthus[8] and either Echidna or the Chimera, or perhaps even Ceto;[9] according to others, she was a daughter of Echidna and Typhon. All of these are chthonic figures from the earliest of Greek myths, before the Olympians ruled the Greek pantheon. The Sphinx is called Phix (Φίξ) by Hesiod in line 326 of the Theogony, the proper name for the Sphinx noted by Pierre Grimal's The Penguin Dictionary of Classical Mythology.

In Greek mythology, a sphinx is represented as a monster with a head of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and a serpent headed tail.

The sphinx was the emblem of the ancient city-state of Chios, and appeared on seals and the obverse side of coins from the 6th century BC until the 3rd century AD.

Athena appears in the middle of the upper-half of the middle of a sarcophagus found in the middle pyramid of Giza, with two sphinxes at her side.

Assyrian Lamassu dated 721 BC Institute Museum, University of Chicago.
Marble Sphinx dated 540 BC Acropolis Museum, Athens

The Riddle of the Sphinx

The Sphinx is said to have guarded the entrance to the Greek city of Thebes, and to have asked a riddle of travellers to allow them passage. The exact riddle asked by the Sphinx was not specified by early tellers of the stories, and was not standardized as the one given below until late in Greek history.[10]

It was said in late lore that Hera or Ares sent the Sphinx from her Ethiopian homeland (the Greeks always remembered the foreign origin of the Sphinx) to Thebes in Greece where she asks all passersby the most famous riddle in history: "Which creature walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?" She strangled and devoured anyone unable to answer. Oedipus solved the riddle by answering: Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then walks with a cane in old age. By some accounts[11] (but much more rarely), there was a second riddle: "There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?" The answer is "day and night" (both words are feminine in Greek).

Bested at last, the tale continues, the Sphinx then threw herself from her high rock and died. An alternative version tells that she devoured herself. Thus Oedipus can be recognized as a "liminal" or threshold figure, helping effect the transition between the old religious practices, represented by the death of the Sphinx, and the rise of the new, a title="Twelve Olympians" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Olympians"> Olympian gods.

In Jean Cocteau's retelling of the Oedipus legend, The Infernal Machine, the Sphinx tells Oedipus the answer to the riddle, to kill herself so that she did not have to kill anymore, and also to make him love her. He leaves without ever thanking her for giving him the answer to the riddle. The scene ends when the Sphinx and Anubis, who is there to kill the victims who cannot answer the riddle, ascend back to the heavens.

There are mythic, anthropological, psychoanalytic, and parodic interpretations of the Riddle of the Sphinx, and of Oedipus's answer to it. Numerous riddle books use the Sphinx in their title or illustrations.[12]

An amphora (plural: amphorae or amphoras) is a type of vase-shaped, usually ceramic (specimens in materials such as metal occur occasionally) container with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body. The word amphora is Latin, derived from the Greek amphoreus (αμφορεύς), an abbreviation of amphiphoreus, a compound word combining amphi- ("on both sides", "twain") plus phoreus ("carrier"), from pherein ("to carry"), referring to the vessel's two carrying handles on opposite sides.

Further, the term also stands for an ancient Roman unit of measurement for liquids. The volume of a Roman amphora was one cubic foot, ca. 26,026 L.

Amphorae were used in vast numbers to transport and store various products, both liquid and dry, in the ancient Mediterranean world and later the Roman Empire, and in some periods the shape was also used for luxury pottery, which might be elaborately painted. Stoppers of perishable materials which have rarely survived were used to seal the contents. Two principal types of amphorae existed: the neck amphora, in which the neck and body meet at a sharp angle; and the one-piece amphora, in which the neck and body form a continuous curve. Neck amphorae were commonly used in the early history of ancient Greece but were gradually replaced by the one-piece type from around the 7th century BCE onwards. Most were produced with a pointed base to allow upright storage by being partly embedded in sand or soft ground. This also facilitated transport by ship, where the amphorae were tightly packed together, with ropes passed through their handles to prevent breaking or toppling during rough seas. In kitchens and shops amphorae could be stored in racks with round holes in them.

Amphorae varied greatly in height. The largest could stand as much as 1.5 metres (5 ft) high, while some were under 30 centimetres (12 in) high - the smallest were called amphoriskoi (literally "little amphorae"). Most were around 45 centimetres (18 in) high. There was a significant degree of standardisation in some variants; the wine amphora held a standard measure of about 39 litres (41 US qt), giving rise to the amphora quadrantal as a unit of measure in the Roman Empire. In all, around 66 distinct types of amphora have been identified.

History

Amphorae dated to around 4800 BCE have been found in Banpo, a Neolithic site of the Yangshao culture in China. In the West, Amphorae first appeared on the Phoenician coast around 3500 BCE and spread around the ancient world, being used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as the principal means for transporting and storing grapes, olive oil, wine, oil, olives, grain, fish, and other commodities. They were produced on an industrial scale from Greek times and used around the Mediterranean until about the 7th century CE. Wooden and skin containers seem to have supplanted amphorae thereafter. Amphorae are closely related to the Russian qvevri, which can be traced back to about 6000 BCE.

They are of great benefit to maritime archaeologists, as amphorae in a shipwreck can often indicate the age of the wreck and geographic origin of the cargo. They are occasionally so well preserved that the original content is still present, providing invaluable information on the eating habits and trading systems of the ancient Mediterranean peoples. Amphorae were too cheap and plentiful to return to their origin-point and so, when empty, they were broken up at their destination. In Rome this happened in an area named Testaccio, close to the Tiber, in such a way that the fragments, later wetted with Calcium hydroxide (Calce viva), remained to create a hill now named Monte Testaccio 45 meters tall and more than 1 km in circumference.

 Ancient Greece

Besides coarse amphora used for storage and transport, high-quality painted amphorae were produced in Ancient Greece in significant numbers for a variety of social and ceremonial purposes. Their design differs significantly from the more functional versions; they are typified by wide mouth and a ring base, with a glazed surface and decorated with figures or geometric shapes. Such amphorae were often used as prizes. Some examples, bearing the inscription "I am one of the prizes from Athens", have survived from the Panathenaic Festivals held between the 6th century BCE to the 2nd century BCE. Painted amphorae were also used for funerary purposes. The loutrophoros, a type of amphora, was used principally for funeral rites. Outsize vases were also used as grave markers, while some amphorae were used as containers for the ashes of the dead. By the Roman period utilitarian amphorae were normally the only type produced.

Ancient Rome

By the Roman period utilitarian amphorae were normally the only type produced.

The first type of Roman amphora, Dressel 1, appears in central Italy in the late 2nd century BCE.[2] This type had thick walls and a characteristic red fabric. It was very heavy, though also strong. Around the middle of the 1st century BCE the so-called Dressel 2-4 starts to become widely used.[3] This type of amphora presented some advantages in being lighter and with thinner walls. It has been calculated that while a ship could accommodate approximately 4500 Dressel 1, it was possible to fit 6000 Dressel 2-4 in the same space.[4] Dressel 2-4 were often produced in the same workshops used for the production of Dressel 1 which almost suddenly ceased to be used.[5] At the same time in Cuma (southern Italy) the production of the cadii cumani type starts (Dressel 21-22). These containers were mainly used for the transportation of fruit and were used until the middle imperial times. At the same time, in central Italy, the so-called Spello amphorae, small containers, were produced for the transportation of wine. On the Adriatic coast the older types were replaced by the Lamboglia 2 type, a wine amphora commonly produced between the end of the 2nd and the 1st century BCE. This type develops later into the Dressel 6A which becomes dominant during Augustan times.[6]

In the Gallic provinces the first examples of Roman amphorae were local imitations of pre-existent types such as Dressel 1, Dressel 2-4, Pascual 1, and Haltern 70. The more typical Gallic production begins within the ceramic ateliers in Marseille during late Augustan times. The type Oberaden 74 was produced to such an extent that it influenced the production of some Italic types.[7] Spanish amphorae became particularly popular thanks to a flourishing production phase in late Republican times. The Hispania Baetica and Hispania Tarraconensis regions (south-western and eastern Spain) were the main production areas between the 2nd and the 1st century BCE due to the distribution of land to military veterans and the founding of new colonies. Spanish amphorae were widespread in the Mediterranean area during early imperial times. The most common types were all produced in Baetica and among these there was the Dressel 20, a typical olive oil container, the Dressel 7-13, for garum (fish sauce), and the Haltern 70, for defrutum (fruit sauce). In the Tarraconensis region the Pascual 1 was the most common type, a wine amphora shaped on the Dressel 1, and imitations of Dressel 2-4.






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