MACEDON. Philippoi. Circa 356-345 BC. Stater (Gold, 17.5 mm, 8.61 g, 9 h). Head of Herakles to right, wearing lion's skin headdress. Rev. ΦΙΛΙΠΠΩΝ Tripod with three high, oval handles and feet ending in lion’s paws; in field to right, bunch of grapes. Bellinger, Philippi 20. Very rare. Very sharply struck and perfectly centered. Some die rust on the obverse, otherwise, good extremely fine.
From the Villiers Collection, ex Roma XIII 23 March 2017, 152.
The city of Philippoi was founded by Thasos in 360/359 BC under the name Krenides (Springs). It was on the Macedonian/Thracian coast to the west of Thasos, a site well calculated to control the gold and silver mines of the area. Shortly thereafter, in 356, the city was conquered by Philip II who renamed it in his own honor. He furnished it with colonists, drained some of the nearby marshes, and gave it full autonomy within the Kingdom of Macedonia. It was only under full royal control beginning with Philip V well over a century later. Perhaps the best known event in the city's history was the battle that took place there in 42 BC when Antony and Octavian destroyed the forces of Brutus and Cassius Longinus. It then became a Roman colony, ultimately Colonia Augusta Iulia Philippensis after 27 BC. The city had a thriving Christian community and St. Paul visited several times. In 619 there was a massive earthquake from which the city never recovered.
The city's coinage reached its zenith under Philip II, producing coins using metal from the nearby mines prior to the transfer of all minting activities to Pella and Amphipolis. Stylistically, the links between the early issues of Philippoi and the coins minted in the great Macedonian mints are quite strong: the quality of the best issues from all three mints is outstanding.
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