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  Greek    >>  CILICIA   >>   Mallus

GreekAccording to legend, Mallos, Cilicia was founded by Amphilochos and Mopsos in the days following the Trojan War. A temple to Athena at Magarsis, apparently a part of the polis at that time, was near to a popular oracle that made the place famous in antiquity. Mallos became a strategic port city in the endless conflict between East and West, but is mentioned only in passing by most historians. The earliest coins from that city were struck while Cilicia was ruled by an indigenous dynast during the first half of the 5th century BC. The region fell under direct Persian control later in that century and was administered by Satraps of the Achaemenid King. An extensive series of satrapal coinage survives from Mallos and sister cities in Cilicia that were of importance to Persian military operations in the Mediterranean. 

 After the victory of Alexander the Great at Issus, Mallos was administered along with neighboring Cilician cities under the Macedonian governor Balakros, who issued coins bearing his own name and references. Eventually falling under the control of Seleukid Kings, the city issued an impressive series of regnal silver coinage with Seleukid portraits. These coins, barely known to numismatists a century ago, are now well catalogued due to recent scholarship. They often bear images of Athena Magarsis on the reverse. The Roman presence becomes evident shortly after the Battle of Actium and Roman Provincial coinage was issued at the Mallos mint up to and including the reign of Valerian. When Valerian was captured by Shapur the Great, the monetary system was severely disrupted and the mint at Mallos was closed permanently. Although the city is still mentioned as an international port of trade in the Middle Ages, there are no coins from that period known to have been struck there.

Coins of Mallos are generally rare due to the heavy and long term silting of the Pyramos River which literally buried the city in alluvial deposits during antiquity. The diversity of subjects on its known coinage is remarkable and there is growing numismatic evidence that the city was a major metropolis at some points in its history. Its precise location is still a matter of conjecture and modern scholarly opinions range as much as 25 miles apart. It is almost certain that the city itself was relocated on at least two occasions as nature's accretions changed the course of the river. The oldest siting is typically associated with the modern city of Karatash, on the Cilician Coast. 

[Contributed by: Wayne G. Sayles] 

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Denomination :

Reference :
Casabonne series 2, group D
SNG France 395

Obv :  Head of Herakles right, wearing lion's skin around neck
Rev :  Head of satrap right, wearing Persian headdress
Denomination :

Reference :
Casabonne type 1
GÖktÜrk 29
SNG France 374
SNG Levante 131-2

Obv :  None
Half-length bust of winged figure standing facing, head right, holding disk
Rev :  MAP
Swan standing left within incuse square
Denomination :

Reference :
Casabonne type 4
SNG France -
SNG Levante -
SNG Cop -; SNG VA -; TraitÉ -; BMC -; Brindley Collection (Baldwins 34), 318 = Hess-Leu 49, 241

Obv :  Winged figure advancing right, holding disk; [ankh symbol to left]
Rev :  MAP
Swan standing right; MAP above, leaf to right; all in dotted square within incuse square
Denomination :

Reference :
SNG BN 401
SNG Levante -

Obv :  Persian king of hero in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear and bow
Rev :  Persian king of hero in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear and bow
Denomination :

Reference :
SNG France -
cf. SNG Levante 145

Obv :  Facing head of Silenos
Rev :  MA
Dove standing right within pelleted border in incuse square
Denomination :

Reference :
SNG Levante 143 (this coin)
Brindley 314

Obv :  Forepart of man-headed bull left
Rev :  M-ΑΡ
Female head facing within incuse square
Denomination :

Reference :
SNG Levante 153 var. (no ethnic)
SNG Levante Suppl. 25 (same obv. die)
SNG France 396 (same dies)
Winzer 10.4 (Tiribazos) var. (same); SNG Cop -; BMC 28; SNG VA 5716 var. (shield on obv.)

Obv :  Bearded head of Herakles right, lion's skin tied around neck
Rev :  ΜΑΛ
Head of satrap (Tiribazos or Autophradates?) right, wearing Persian headdress
Denomination :
Ae 13

Reference :
SNG Levante 172
SNG France 406

Obv :  Obscured (ΠΥ or ΟΛ)
Head of Pyramos?
Rev :  ΜΑΛ
Head of Gorgon facing.
Denomination :
Ae 24

Reference :

Obv :  Anepigraphic
Turreted head of Tyche right (unveiled)
Nike standing left holding wreath, ethnic to left.