Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Greek Lesbos Methymna

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Antik Sikkeler

4 Şub 2022
Methymna - MAⴲVMNAIOΣ

Little is known concerning the foundation of Methymna; the earliest finds for the city date to the early Bronze Age and evidence continues down to the late Roman period. The city later extended its territory when it conquered the neighbouring city of Arisba, the sixth polis on Lesbos, and enslaved its population [Herodotus, 1.151]. Herodotus provides the earliest written record for the city through this brief note, but provides further evidence for the ealier history of the city through the story of Arion, a native of Methymna, who was a contemporary of the Corinthian tyrant Periander [627-585 BC], and composed the first dithyramb. Herodotus records that Arion is said to have hired a Corinthian ship to take him to Italy and Sicily but the crew, desiring to rob him, threatened to kill him if he did not kill himself. Arion leapt into the sea and was saved by a dolphin who carried him safely to Taenarus [1.23-24]. This tale suggests that at this time Methymna must have already been a prominent city with far-reaching contacts across the Greek world.


Viewed as the second city of Lesbos after Mytilene, the two cities were long-standing rivals. With the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, Mytilene revolted against Athenian hegemony [428 BC], and was joined by all the other cities of Lesbos except for Methymna, which despite Mytilenaian collaboration with an anti-Athenian faction in Methymna, sided with Athens. When the revolt was put down the following year, only Methymna was spared from having its territory colonised and garrisoned by the Athenians. Indeed, after 427, along with Chios, Methymna was the only member of the Delian League allowed to remain self-governing and exempt from paying the phoros [tribute]. The city's unwillingness to join the other cities of Lesbos in revolt does seem to have been motivated by a genuine sense of loyalty within the city's populace, as Thucydides indicates that the Methymnaians were much more inclined to side with Athens than Sparta, and when the Spartan commander Kallikratidas besieged Methymna in 406, the city stayed loyal to its Athenian garrison and held out until betrayed by several traitors.