(23) Olynthos/Chalkidian League, Macedon (Greece) - AR
tetradrachm, c. 360 B.C., 14.29 g. (inv. 91.049).
Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo r.
Reverse: Lyre; : of the Chalkidians.
Provenance: Bank Leu, 1972.
Bibliography: D.M. Robinson and P.A. Clement, Excavations at Olynthos IX: the Chalcidic mint and the excavation coins found in 1928-1934 (Baltimore 1938).
Olynthos was one of several towns founded by the Euboian city Chalkis in the three-fingered peninsula in southern Macedonia that became known as the Chalkidike. In the early years of the Peloponnesian War several of the cities in the Chalkidike formed the Chalikidian League, which was based in Olynthos and which issued its own federal coinage. The coinage of the League began c. 432 B.C., but it was only c. 420 B.C. that its most well-known coins, the tetradrachms, appeared. On the obverse was the patron deity of the League, Apollo, the major deity of its mother city, Chalkis, and on the reverse one of his major attributes, the lyre. The coins can be dated by stylistic changes in the head of Apollo and, in many cases, by magistrates' names on the reverses.
The tetradrachms continued as an important regular series until the coinage of the League ended with the rise of Philip II of Macedon, who completely destroyed Olynthos and dissolved the League in 348 B.C. Philip, however, acknowledged the importance of the coins for the area when he adopted the League's main coin type, the head of Apollo, for his own gold coins.
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