Asia Minor

Asia Minor is a geographic region in the south-western part of Asia comprising most of what is present-day Turkey. The earliest reference to the region comes from tablets of the Akkadian Dynasty (2334-2083 BC) where it is known as "The Land of the Hatti" and was inhabited by the Hittites. The Hittites themselves referred to the land as "Assuwa" which actually only designated the area around the delta of the river Cayster in Lydia but came to be applied to the entire region. Assuwa is considered the Bronze Age origin for the name 'Asia' as the Romans later designated the area. It was called, by the Greeks, "Anatolia".


The name 'Asia Minor' was first coined by the Christian historian Orosius (c. 375-418 AD) in his work Seven Books of History Against the Pagans in 400 AD to differentiate the main of Asia from that region which had been evangelized by the Apostle Paul (which included sites known from Paul's Epistles in the Bible such as Ephesus and Galicia). The Byzantine Empire of the 9th century AD referred to the region as "East Thema" which meant, simply, Eastern Administrative Division, and later sailors called it "The Levant" which meant 'the rising' or 'to rise' referring to how the land rose up out on the horizon of the sea.In the ancient world, Asia Minor was the seat of the kingdoms and cities of Thrace, Bythinia, Paphlagonia, Aeloia, Phrygia, Galicia, Pontus, Armenia, Urartu, Assyria, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lycia, Pisidia, Lycanoia, Caria, Mysia, Ionia, Lydia and, most famously, Troy.

CILICIA, TARSUS.  MAZAIOS, satrap of Cilicia, 361-328 BC. AR Stater, 24mm, 10.88gr. Obv. B'LTRZ (in Aramaic), Baaltars enthroned left, holding eagle, grain ear, grapes and scepter, Aramaic monogram in lower left, Aramaic M below throne. Rev. MZDY (Mazaios in Aramaic), lion attcking bull. Casabonne Series 2, group C; SNG France 335; SNG Levante Supp. 20. An exceptionally high-grade coin with a stunning multicolored iridescence. NGC Ch. MS 4/5, 5/5.

Scenes of a lion attacking either a bull or a stag occur on coins throughout the Greek world. One instance is at Tarsus, the most important city of Cilicia, in southern Turkey. In the years just before the arrival of Alexander III "the Great" it was ruled by Mazaeus, a satrap of the Persian king, whose main type shows the supreme god Ba'al and a lion attacking a bull. In ancient Near Eastern mythology the lion, besides being a symbol of royalty, represented the sun, and the bull represented the moon. The triumph of the bull over the lion in this combat scene would seem to represent the daily victory of the rising sun over the darkness of night.

PAPHLAGONIA. Sinope. Ca. 330-300 BC. AR drachm (17mm, 4.97 gm, 5h).  Agre-, magistrate. Head of nymph left, with hair in sakkos / Sea eagle left on dolphin; AΓP[E] above, ΣINΩ below. SNG BM Black Sea 1481. NGC AU★ 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

ISLANDS off CARIA, RHODES (RHODOS), 3rd century BC. AR Didrachm, 20 mm, 6.73 gr. Obv. Facing head of Helios. Rev. Rose with bud, figure (perhaps Pan) in left field, TIMOΘΕΟΣ (magistrate) above. Ashton 209; SNG Keckman 540-1; SNG Copenhagen 767-8; BMC 150-2; SNG von Aulock 2808. An exquisite bright gem struck in the typical high relief of the Rhodian mint in this period. NGC Choice AU★ 5/5, 5/5. 

AEOLIS. Cyme. Ca. 155-145 BC. AR Tetradrachm (30mm, 16.78 gm, 11h). Metrophanes, magistrate. Head of the Amazon Cyme right, her hair bound with a taenia / KYMAIΩN, horse standing to right, its left foreleg raised, a one-handled cup below; MHTPOΦANHΣ in exergue; all within laurel wreath. Oakley, AMNS 27, 1. SNG Copenhagen 104. Crisply struck on a broad flan. NGC MS 4/5, 5/5, Fine Style.

From The California Collection.

AEOLIS. MYRINA. Circa 155-145 BC. AR Tetradrachm. 32mm, 17.01gr. Sacks Issue 20; SNG Copenhagen 223. Obv: Laureate head of Apollo right. Rev: Apollo Grynios to right, standing, holding branch and phiale, omphalos and amphora at lower right, monogram in left field, all within wreath. Superb coin for the type. Superb strike and centering. NGC MS 5/5, 4/5. 

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