Stater, second half 2nd century. Thessalian League.



Unusual fine style Zeus portrait

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Greek. Thessalian League. Stater, second half of the 2nd century BC. Simios and Pole(…) magistrates.
Obverse: ΣIMIOY.
Bearded head of Zeus to the left, wearing an oak wreath.
Reverse: ΘEΣΣA – ΛΩN.
Athena Itonia advancing right, holding spear in her right hand and shield on her left arm, stars flanking her head, in the field Π-O/Λ-E.
Dimensions: AR, 6.45 g, 25 mm, 1h.
References: BCD Thessaly 822;
McClean 4716;
HGC 208.
Condition: Struck on a large flan, beautiful style and details on the obverse, nice light toning. Almost very fine.
Provenance: From a private German collection, established in the 1990s,
Ex Gorny & Mosch 73 (1995), 123.
Comment: After the Macedonian King Philip V was defeated in the Battle of Kynoskephalai (197 BC), the Roman general T. Quinctius Flamininus declared in 196 BC at the Isthmian Games the freedom of the Hellenes. In this context, the Thessalian League was re-established as a sovereign league of cities based on the archaic period model. An annually changing strategos acted as head of the Thessalian Federation. A covenant cult for Zeus Eleutherios was also introduced in the capital Larissa, in whose honor agons were held. The Thessalian League existed throughout the Roman Empire, but the importance was reduced to only a ceremonial body.

The images on the obverse of the coin, the Zeus head, probably refers to the identity-creating agons in Larissa. The reverse shows Athena Itonia, an important goddess with the main sanctuary in the Thessalian city Iton. There were cult games and festive gatherings in her honor. “Athena Itonia” was the Thessalian battlecry and a Thessalian month was Itonios.

Additional information


AR (silver)


6.45 g


25 mm

Die axis

1 h