Greek city of Rhodes ( Rhodos ) an Island off Caria
Bronze Chalkous 8mm (1.04 grams) Struck mid 4th century B.C. under Memnon of Rhodes.
Reference: Ashton, Memnon 1 (A1/P1); SNG France –; SNG Copenhagen (Caria) 914. Very rare, only 14 examples known to Ashton.
Radiate youthful head of Helios right.
Rose in profile; M E flanking.
* Numismatic Note: This very rare issue of chalkoi is the only known bronze coinage that accompanied the rare silver drachms featuring a similar obverse portrait set on a radiate disk. The series of "solar disk" drachms have been variably attributed to Megiste, Nisyros, and Euthana. Recent hoard evidence, as well as single finds, particularly regarding this bronze issue, has prompted a reattribution of the coinage to a single location in the Troad, probably Lampsakos (See Ashton, Memnon, pp. 11-15). Ashton suggests that these coins were struck by Memnon of Rhodes at a time when he controlled the city, and that the coins with ME specifically refer to him, while those inscribed EY and NI are possibly his subordinates.
The large and important island of Rhodos, off the south-west coast of Asia Minor, produced a considerable coinage in the archaic period from its three major cities, Ialysos, Kamiros and Lindos. After the Persian wars no further coinage was issued on the island until the foundation of the new federal capital circa 408 B.C. This splendid city, situated on the northern promontory only 12 miles from the mainland, was given the same name as the island. It quickly achieved great prosperity and eventually became one of the principal trading centers of the ancient world. In the third century Rhodos exercised much political influence in the eastern Mediterranean, through the strength of its fleet. But in 167 B.C. the Romans declared Delos a free port, and the Rhodians, their prosperity now greatly diminished, sank into comparative obscurity.
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Memnon of Rhodes (Μέμνων ὁ Ῥόδιος, 380 – 333 BC) was the commander of the Greek mercenaries in the service of the Persian king Darius III when Alexander the Great of Macedonia invaded Persia in 334 BC. Memnon famously advocated a scorched earth policy against Alexander, aware of the Macedonian's lack of supplies and funds. He commanded the mercenaries at the Battle of the Granicus River, where his troops were massacred by the victorious Macedonians.
He then began a campaign to capture the Aegean islands using the Persian fleet and led a direct assault on Macedonia, while Alexander was resting at Phaselis. Memnon managed to capture the island of Chios and most of Lesbos. Demosthenes, after hearing of Memnon's successes, began to prepare Athens for a revolt against Alexander, along with other Greek cities, while Sparta began to prepare for war. By a stroke of fortune for Alexander, Memnon died of illness at Mytilene after transferring command to his nephew, Pharnabazus.
Many scholars maintain that had Memnon's campaign been successful, Alexander would have had difficulty in continuing his campaign in Asia, and might have soon been defeated. It was not until after the major Persian defeat at the Battle of Issus that Memnon's strategy was revitalised and finally put into action, but by then the advantage had been lost, and Alexander showed himself willing to forfeit Greece if necessary in favor of his greater goals.
Memnon was the brother of Mentor of Rhodes, brother-in-law of Artabazus of Phrygia, and husband and uncle of Barsine, Artabazus' daughter and Alexander the Great's mistress.
In Greek mythology, the sun was personified as Helios (pronounced /ˈhiːli.ɒs/, Greek: Ἥλιος "sun", Latinized as Helius). Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod (Theogony 371) and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia (Hesiod) or Euryphaessa (Homeric Hymn) and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn. The names of these three were also the common Greek words for sun, moon and dawn.
Helios was imagined as a handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. Homer described Helios's chariot as drawn by solar steeds (Iliad xvi.779); later Pindar described it as drawn by "fire-darting steeds" (Olympian Ode 7.71). Still later, the horses were given fiery names: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.
As time passed, Helios was increasingly identified with the god of light, Apollo. However, in spite of their syncretism, they were also often viewed as two distinct gods (Helios was a Titan, whereas Apollo was an Olympian). The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, specifically Sol Invictus.
Rhodes is a Greek island approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) southwest of Turkey in eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007 of which 53,709 resided in the homonymous capital city of the island.
Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today Rhodes is a tourist destination.
The island of Rhodes is shaped like a spearhead, 79.7 km (49.5 mi) long and 38 km (24 mi) wide, with a total area of approximately 1,400 square kilometres (541 sq mi) and a coastline of approximately 220 km (137 mi). The city of Rhodes is located at the northern tip of the island, as well as the site of the ancient and modern commercial harbours. The main air gateway (Diagoras International Airport, IATA code: RHO) is located 14 km (9 mi) to the southwest of the city in Paradisi. The road network radiates from the city along the east and west coasts.
In terms of flora and fauna, Rhodes is closer to Asia Minor than to the rest of Greece. The interior of the island is mountainous, sparsely inhabited and covered with forests of pine (Pinus brutia) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). The island is home to the Rhodian deer. In Petaludes Valley (Greek for "Valley of the Butterflies"), large numbers of tiger moths gather during the summer months. Mount Attavyros, at 1,216 metres (3,990 ft), is the island's highest point of elevation. While the shores are rocky, the island has arable strips of land where citrus fruit, wine grapes, vegetables, olives and other crops are grown.
Outside of the city of Rhodes, the island is dotted with small villages and beach resorts, among them Faliraki, Lindos, Kremasti, Haraki, Pefkos, Archangelos, Afantou, Koskinou, Embona (Attavyros), Paradisi, and Trianta (Ialysos). Tourism is the island's primary source of income.
Rhodes has experienced severe earthquakes. Notable are the 226 BC earthquake that destroyed the Colossus of Rhodes; the one on 3 May 1481 which destroyed much of the city of Rhodes; and the one on 26 June 1926. 15 July 2008, Rhodes was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake causing minor damage to a few old buildings. One woman lost her life when she fell down stairs while trying to flee her home.
The island was inhabited in the Neolithic period, although little remains of this culture. In the 16th century BC the Minoans came to Rhodes. Later Greek mythology recalled a Rhodian race called the Telchines, and associated the island of Rhodes with Danaus; it was sometimes nicknamed Telchinis. In the 15th century BC, Mycenaean Greeks invaded. After the Bronze Age collapse the first renewed outside contacts are with Cyprus. In the 8th century BC the island's settlements started to form, with the coming of the Dorians, who built the three important cities of Lindos, Ialyssos and Kameiros, which together with Kos, Cnidus and Halicarnassus (on the mainland) made up the so-called Dorian Hexapolis.
Before archaeology, myth stood in for blanks in the historical record/ In Pindar's ode, the island was said to be born of the union of Helios the sun god and the nymph Rhode, and the cities were named for their three sons. The rhoda is a pink hibiscus native to the island. Diodorus Siculus added that Actis, one of the sons of Helios and Rhode, travelled to Egypt. He built the city of Heliopolis and taught the Egyptians the science of astrology.
In the second half of the eighth century the sanctuary of Athena received votive gifts that are markers for cultural contacts: small ivories from the Near East and bronze objects from Syria. At Kameiros on the northwest coast, a former Bronze Age site, where the temple was founded in the eighth century, there is another notable contemporaneous sequence of carved figurines. Phoenician presence on the island at Ialysos is attested in traditions recorded much later by Rhodian historians.
The Persians invaded and overran the island, but were in turn defeated by forces from Athens in 478 BC. The cities joined the Athenian League. When the Peloponnesian War broke out in 431 BC, Rhodes remained largely neutral, although it remained a member of the League. The war lasted until 404 BC, but by this time Rhodes had withdrawn entirely from the conflict and decided to go her own way.
In 408 BC the cities united to form one territory. They built the city of Rhodes, a new capital on the northern end of the island. Its regular plan was superintended by the Athenian architect Hippodamus. The Peloponnesian War had so weakened the entire Greek culture that it lay open to invasion. In 357 BC the island was conquered by the king Mausolus of Caria, then it fell to the Persians in 340 BC. Their rule was also short. To the great relief of its citizens, Rhodes became a part of the growing empire of Alexander the Great in 332 BC, after he defeated the Persians.
Following the death of Alexander his generals vied for control of the kingdom. Three: Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigonus, succeeded in dividing the kingdom among themselves. Rhodes formed strong commercial and cultural ties with the Ptolemies in Alexandria, and together formed the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance that controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the 3rd century BC. The city developed into a maritime, commercial and cultural center; its coins circulated nearly everywhere in the Mediterranean. Its famous schools of philosophy, science, literature and rhetoric shared masters with Alexandria: the Athenian rhetorician Aeschines, who formed a school at Rhodes; Apollonius of Rhodes; the observations and works of the astronomers Hipparchus and Geminus, the rhetorician Dionysios Trax. Its school of sculptors developed a rich, dramatic style that can be characterized as "Hellenistic Baroque".
In 305 BC, Antigonus directed his son, Demetrius, to besiege Rhodes in an attempt to break its alliance with Egypt. Demetrius created huge siege engines, including a 180 ft (55 m) battering ram and a siege tower named Helepolis that weighed 360,000 pounds (163,293 kg). Despite this engagement, in 304 BC after only one year, he relented and signed a peace agreement, leaving behind a huge store of military equipment. The Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to erect a statue of their sun god, Helios, the statue since called the Colossus of Rhodes.
In 164 BC, Rhodes signed a treaty with Rome. It became an educational center for Roman noble families, and was especially noted for its teachers of rhetoric, such as Hermagoras and the author of the Rhetorica ad Herennium. At first the state was an important ally of Rome and enjoyed numerous privileges, but these were later lost in various machinations of Roman politics. Cassius eventually invaded the island and sacked the city.
In the first century AD, the Emperor Tiberius spent a brief term of exile on Rhodes. Saint Paul brought Christianity to people on the island. Rhodes reached her zenith in the third century. In 395, the long Byzantine Empire-period began for Rhodes, when the eastern half of the Roman empire became gradually more Greek.
Rhodes was occupied by the Muslim forces of Muawiyah I in 672. In circa 1090 it was occupied by the Muslim forces of the Seljuk Turks, not long after the Battle of Manzikert. Rhodes was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus during the First Crusade.
In 1309 the Byzantine era came to an end when the island was occupied by forces of the Knights Hospitaller. Under the rule of the newly named "Knights of Rhodes", the city was rebuilt into a model of the European medieval ideal. Many of the city's famous monuments, including the Palace of the Grand Master, were built during this period.
The strong walls which the Knights had built withstood the attacks of the Sultan of Egypt in 1444, and of Mehmed II in 1480. Ultimately, however, Rhodes fell to the large army of Suleiman the Magnificent in December 1522, long after the rest of the Byzantine empire had been lost. The few surviving Knights were permitted to retire to the Kingdom of Sicily. The Knights would later move their base of operations to Malta. The island was thereafter a possession of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four centuries.
The island was populated by ethnic groups from the surrounding nations, including Jews. Under the Ottoman Empire rule, they generally did fairly well, but discrimination and bigotry occasionally arose. In February 1840, the Jews of Rhodes were falsely accused of ritually murdering a Christian boy. This became known as the Rhodes blood libel.
In 1912, Italy seized Rhodes from the Turks. The island's population thus bypassed many of the events associated with the "exchange of the minorities" between Greece and Turkey. Due to the Treaty of Lausanne, the island, together with the Dodecanese, was officially assigned to Italy. It became the core of their possession of the Isole Italiane dell'Egeo.
Following the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, the British attempted to get the Italian garrison on Rhodes to change sides. This was anticipated by the German Army, which succeeded in occupying the island. In great measure, the German occupation caused the British failure in the subsequent Dodecanese Campaign.
On 19 July 1944 the Gestapo rounded up the island’s nearly 2000 Jewish inhabitants, to send them to extermination camps. About 160 of the island's more than 600 Greek Jews survived. The Turkish Consul Selahattin Ülkümen succeeded, at considerable risk to himself and his family, in saving 42 Jewish families, about 200 persons in total, who had Turkish citizenship or were family members of Turkish citizens.
In 1948, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese, Rhodes was united with Greece.
In 1949, Rhodes was the venue for negotiations between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, concluding with the 1949 Armistice Agreements.
In ancient times, Rhodes was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World—the Colossus of Rhodes. This giant bronze statue was documented as once standing at the harbour. It was completed in 280 BC but was destroyed in an earthquake in 224 BC. No trace of the statue remains today.
Historical sites on the island of Rhodes include the Acropolis of Lindos, the Acropolis of Rhodes, the Temple of Apollo, ancient Ialysos, ancient Kamiros, the Governor's Palace, Rhodes Old Town (walled medieval city), the Palace of the Grand Masters, Kahal Shalom Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, the Archeological Museum, the ruins of the castle of Monolithos, the castle of Kritinia and St. Catherine Hospice.