Greek city of Alexandria Troas in Troas
Bronze 9mm (0.64 grams) Struck circa 261-227 B.C.
Reference: Cf. SNG Copenhagen 80 (thunderbolt in ex.).
Laureate head of Apollo left.
AΛEΞ, Horse grazing left, symbol below.
A coastal city situated south-west of Ilion, it was founded circa 310 B.C. by Antigonos and originally bore the name Antigoneia. A decade later Lysimachos renamed the place Alexandreia.
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In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo, is one of the most important and diverse of the Olympian deities. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; archery; medicine and healing; music, poetry, and the arts; and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. Apollo was worshiped in both ancient Greek and Roman religion, as well as in the modern Greco-Roman Neopaganism.
As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god — the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing were associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague as well as one who had the ability to cure. Amongst the god's custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musagetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.
In Hellenistic times, especially during the third century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios, god of the sun, and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene, goddess of the moon. In Latin texts, on the other hand, Joseph Fontenrose declared himself unable to find any conflation of Apollo with Sol among the Augustan poets of the first century, not even in the conjurations of Aeneas and Latinus in Aeneid XII (161–215). Apollo and Helios/Sol remained separate beings in literary and mythological texts until the third century CE.
All foundation myths about Hamaxitus in Classical Antiquity were related to the foundation of the nearby temple of Apollo Smintheus. The subject attracted much interest in Antiquity because in the opening of Homer's Iliad the Trojan priest of Apollo, Chryses, addresses the god in the vocative as Σμινθεῦ (Smintheu, 'O, Sminthian') when imploring him to send a plague against the Greeks because Agamemnon had seized his daughter Chryseis and refused to ransom her. The epithet Σμίνθος (Sminthos) caused some confusion to Greek speakers since they did not recognize it as being Greek in origin, and attributed it to the Pelasgian or Mysian languages. The consonantal string -nth- (also found in place names such as Corinth) is considered by philologists to be non-Greek, and possibly Luwian, in origin. The passage of Homer gives no indication as to its meaning, and so myths about Apollo Smintheus primarily arose from attempts to aetiologize the epithet.
The earliest tradition comes from Callinus, an elegiac poet from Ephesus who lived in the mid-7th century BC. He relates that Hamaxitus was founded by a band of Teucrian (i.e. Trojan) Cretans who were told by an oracle to found a city wherever the 'earth-born' (γηγενεῖς) attacked them. When they reached the area of Hamaxitus, a great horde of field mice ate all the leather on their equipment, and so they settled on the spot, interpreting the 'earth-born' of the oracle to have been the mice. This myth thus glosses the term sminthos as 'mouse'. Callinus' aetiology takes into account both Apollo's role as a god of disease and the fact that it was in precisely this role that Chryses had invoked him as 'Sminthian' in the Iliad. However, in discussing the cult, the Augustan geographer Strabo noted that the epithets of gods worshipped at several other Greek sanctuaries were also explained by reference to a god bringing an end to a plague of small animals, and so it is not clear how Callinus arrived at this specific explanation of sminthos as 'mouse'. The term appears again as a poetic word for mice several centuries later in a fragment of the early 5th century BC tragedian Aeschylus, indicating that by this time Callinus' aetiology of 'Sminthian' had been generalized from an explanation of a particular epithet into an independent lexeme.
Callinus' version predominated in Classical Antiquity and is reflected in the local traditions of Hamaxitus. Coins minted by the city in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC feature Apollo Smintheus, and after Hamaxitus was synoecized, coins depicting Apollo Smintheus continued to be produced by the mint of Alexandreia Troas until the reign of the Empreror Gallienus (AD 260–268). In the early 1st century AD, Strabo described the sanctuary of Apollo Smintheus as having a statue of Apollo with his foot on a mouse created by the sculptor Scopas of Paros (c. 395 – c. 350 BC), while the Roman scholar Aelian (c. AD 175 – c. 235) related that mice were kept at public expense in the sanctuary and nested beneath the altar. The extensive remains of the Hellenistic temple can now be seen on the northern outskirts of the modern village of Gülpınar. The most recent Turkish excavations indicate that the Hellenistic temple was constructed c. 150–125 BC, and therefore at about the same time that the main festival of Alexandreia Troas changed from being the Πύθια ἐν Τρωάδι (Pythia en Troadi, 'the Pythia in the Troad') to the Σμίνθια (Sminthia, 'the Sminthia'). The cult spread to the island of Rhodes, where a month was named Σμίνθιος (Sminthios) and a festival known as the Sminthia was held which the scholar Philomnestus discussed in On the Sminthia at Rhodes.
Alexandria Troas ("Alexandria of the Troad", modern Turkish: Eski Stambul) is an ancient Greek city situated on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of Turkey's western coast, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). It is located in the modern Turkish province of Çanakkale. The site sprawls over an estimated 400 hectares (1,000 acres); among the few structures still extant today are a ruined bath and gymnasium complex and a recently uncovered stadium.
Aleaxandria Troas Therme
According to Strabo, this site was first called Sigeia; around 306 BC Antigonus refounded the city as the much-expanded Antigonia Troas by settling the people of five other towns in Sigeia, including the once influential city of Neandria. Its name was changed by Lysimachus to Alexandria Troas, in memory of Alexander III of Macedon (Pliny merely states that the name changed from Antigonia to Alexandria). As the chief port of north-west Asia Minor, the place prospered greatly in Roman times, becoming a "free and autonomous city" as early as 188 BC, and the existing remains sufficiently attest its former importance. In its heyday, the city may have had a population of about 100,000. Strabo mentions that a Roman colony was created at the location in the reign of Augustus, named Colonia Alexandria Augusta Troas (called simply Troas during this period). Augustus, Hadrian and the rich grammarian Herodes Atticus contributed greatly to its embellishment; the aqueduct still preserved is due to the latter. Constantine considered making Troas the capital of the Roman Empire.
In Roman times, it was a significant port for travelling between Anatolia and Europe. Paul of Tarsus sailed for Europe for the first time from Alexandria Troas and returned there from Europe (it was there that the episode of the raising of Eutychus later occurred). Ignatius of Antioch also paused at this city before continuing to his martyrdom at Rome.
Several of its later bishops are known: Marinus in 325; Niconius in 344; Sylvanus at the beginning of the 5th century; Pionius in 451; Leo in 787; Peter, friend of the Patriarch Ignatius, and adversary to Michael, in the ninth century. In the 10th century Troas is given as a suffragan of Cyzicus and distinct from the famous Troy (Heinrich Gelzer, Ungedruckte ... Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum, 552; Georgii Cyprii descriptio orbis romani, 64); it is not known when the city was destroyed and the diocese disappeared. The city remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church, Troadensis; the seat is vacant following the resignation of the last bishop in 1971.
Troas is also a titular see of the Orthodox Church under the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The most recent hierarch, His Grace Bishop Savas (Zembillas) of Troas, served 2002-2011. He is now Metropolitan Savas (Zembillas) of Pittsburgh in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Karasid Turkomans settled in the area of the Troad in the 14th century. Their beylik was conquered by the Ottomans in 1336. The ruins of Alexandria Troas came to be known among the Turks as Eski Stambul, the "Old City". The site's stones were much plundered for building material (for example Mehmed IV took columns to adorn his Yeni Valide Mosque in Istanbul). As of the mid-18th century the site served as "a lurking place for bandetti".
By 1911 the site had been overgrown with vallonea oaks and much plundered, but the circuit of the old walls could still be traced, and in several places they were fairly well preserved. They had a circumference of about ten kilometres, and were fortified with towers at regular intervals. Remains of an ancient bath and gymnasium complex can be found within this area; this building is locally known as Bal Saray (Honey Palace) and was originally endowed by Herodes Atticus in the year 135. Trajan built an aqueduct which can still be traced. The harbour had two large basins, now almost choked with sand. It is the subject of a recent study by German archaeologists who are digging and surveying at the site. Their excavation has uncovered the remains of a large stadium dating to about 100 BC.