Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Greek Macedon | Uranopolis

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Antik Sikkeler

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Heavenly City Uranopolis - ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΠΟΛΗΣ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΠΟΛΙΣ

Uranopolis it was founded in the Chalcidice around 316 BC by Alexarchus, an eccentric brother of the Macedonian regent Cassander, as the home for a utopian community that he led. Within Uranopolis, the name of which literally means Heavenly City, Alexarchus is said to have been revered as a living embodiment of the sun god Helios.

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He is even reported to have created a special Uranopolitan dialect for his use and that of his followers that was so full of neologisms that it was incomprehensible to others. Indeed, this dialect was said to have been so difficult to understand that the Hellenistic philosopher Heraclides Lembus remarked that even Apollo Pythios, a god closely associated with wisdom and riddles, could not decipher a letter written by Alexarchus. Despite the peculiarity of Uranopolis and its inhabitants, the city was a real going concern at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the third century BC, particularly from a numismatic perspective.

The city struck not only rare civic silver and bronze coins for local use, but also posthumous-Alexander tetradrachms for wider use. The present coin is a rare stater that features the same civic emblems found on the bronze issues. The sun is depicted on the obverse, apparently in symbolic reference to the leadership of Alexarchus Helios, while Aphrodite Urania appears on the reverse.

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She is represented seated on a celestial globe and wearing a remarkable conical sun-tipped headdress to indicate her universal and heavenly authority. Her celestial seat may also serve to imply the belief of Alexarchus and his followers that their utopian society should be embraced everywhere. Interestingly, the Greek legends on the staters name the issuing authority as the Uranids whereas those of the bronze identify them as [coins] of Uranopolis, perhaps indicating the production of each in different periods. While the tetradrachms carry the usual types of Alexander the Great, they are identified as coming from Uranopolis by the use of the headdress of Aphrodite seen on the stater as a civic symbol.