(25) Amphipolis, Macedon (Greece) - AR tetradrachm, 356-355 B.C.,
14.34 g. (inv. 93.008).
Obverse: Three-quarter facing head of Apollo wearing laurel wreath.
Reverse: Race torch in square, border inscribed: of the Amphipolitans.
Provenance: Harlan Berk, 1990.
Bibliography: C.M. Kraay, Archaic and Classical Greek Coins (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1976) 151-152.
Amphipolis, a strategic city on the river Strymon in the Chalkidike, was important for its access to the gold and silver mines and timber of Mt. Pangaion. The city was founded by Athens in 437 B.C. and did not issue coins while it was under Athenian control. In the Peloponnesian War, however, the Spartan general Brasidas took the city from Athens and from shortly afterward until the city was taken by Philip of Macedon in 357 B.C. it issued its own coins, of which the most well known are its beautiful tetradrachms.
The obverse depicts the nearly facing head of Apollo, undoubtedly inspired by the facing heads of Kimon on Syracusan coins of the period (see no. 17). The Amphipolitan head, however, with its very full face and extremely thick hair, differs significantly from the Syracusan versions and was probably the work of local die-cutters. The race-torch on the reverse refers to the local cult of Artemis Tauropolis or Brauronia, in whose honor torch races, the Lampadephoria, were held.
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