Thursday, September 29, 2011
Ancient Coins of Cyprus 13.6.1977
Cyprus was, in the 6th century B.C., divided into ten kingdoms, those of Salamis, Paphos, Kourion, Kition, Lapithos, Marion, Amathus, Tamasos, Idalion and Soloi. Each kingdom had its own government with the Kings as an absolute monarch, who also had the right to strike coins. This right was continued to be held by the Kingdoms of Cyprus until the Ptolemaic conquest of the island at the end of the 4th century B.C. The most important of the kingdoms of Cyprus was that of Salamis where the first coins were struck circa 538 B.C., during the reign of King Evelthon. The remaining kingdoms struck coins in the 5th century B.C. The coins of the kingdoms of Cyprus were mainly of silver, but Salamis, Kition and Marion struck coins of gold during the 4th century B.C., most probably for economic reasons. Bronze was also used for the Cypriot coins.
The symbols on the Cypriot coins were at first of oriental origin but later in certain kingdoms they were replaced by Greek figures, mainly those of Gods Apollo and Athena. The inscriptions on the coins were at first in the Cypriot syllabary, but later from the 4th century B.C. in the Greek alphabetic writing. During the Ptolemaic period after 294 B.C. the coins of Cyprus struck in the three Cypriot mints of Salamis, Paphos and Kition, copied the types of Ptolemaic coins of Egypt. Of special importance were, in the Roman times, the coins of silver or bronze which had on the reverse the inscription "KOINON KYPRION" or the temple of Aphrodite and Paphos. These coins were struck in Cyprus as from the 1st century A.D.
My dear friend Merja gave me this First Day Cover commemorating The Ancient Coins of Cyprus which was issued on 13.6.1977. The coins featured on the stamps are (top left) bronze coin of Emperor Trajan; (top right) silver tetradrachm of Demetrios Poliorcetes; (lower left) silver tetradrachm of Ptolemy VIII; (lower right) gold octadrachm of Arsinoe II.