The ancient city of Kyzikos was located on a peninsula jutting out into the Propontis (ancient name for the Sea of Marmara). Named after Kyzikos, the son of Apollo and legendary founder of the city, Kyzikos thrived for more than 2,000 years ruling over a large area from the Hellespont, the Bosphorus, all of the Propontis, and its interior lands. Kyzikos played a significant role in the long Greek history. It shared in the unceasing fight of the Greek cities of Asia Minor against the Persians. After the Midian wars, Greek independence was established in the cities of Asia Minor. Kyzikos, an independent and strong Greek city, was a desired ally of the Athenians and Spartans and, with the rise of Alexander the Great, became part of the massive unified Greek Empire he established. After Alexander’s demise, during the reign of his heirs, Kyzikos kept friendly relations with the neighboring kingdom of Pergamon. Its relationship warmed even more when the king of Pergamon, Attalos I, took as his wife, Apolloniada, who hailed from Kyzikos.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or your purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we hesitate to think of who touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after us. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and place, whether currency in the age we live or an artifact of a long forgotten empire. Kyzikos was one of the earliest minting cities to strike coins, beginning its series of electrum staters and fractional denominations around 600 BC. From the late 6th century until late in the 4th century, coins were issued continually, with hundreds of types now known. It was the large issues of Philip and Alexander that finally displaced the Kyzikene standard. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine- made currencies. This coin is more than an artifact; it is a memorial an ancient city that managed to maintain a level of autonomy while confronted by some of the largest empires the ancient world had known. - (C.7494)