Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Greek Thessaly Pherae

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Antik Sikkeler

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Pherai was one of the oldest cities of Thessaly situated in the region of Pelasgiotis. It’s fame stretched back to the age of myth, when Herakles aided Admetos, the king of Pherai in rescuing his wife Alcestis from Hades. In a selfless act of love, Alcestis had volunteered to take the place of Admetos in death in order that her husband might live forever. Herakles, seeing what a grievous blow the loss of his wife was to Admetos and desirous of repaying the past hospitality of the king of Pherai undertook the dangerous journey to return Alcestis from the Underworld.

In the fifth century BC Pherai was often allied with Athens, but as the Peloponnesian War [441-404 BC] drew to a close the government of the city was seized by a certain Lykophron, who established himself as tyrant [406-390 BC] and embarked on a series of struggles with Larissa for dominance in Thessaly. His successor, Jason of Pherai [390-370 BC], was powerful enough to influence the peace settlement between Thebes and Sparta following the Battle of Leuktra [371 BC] and his mercenary army was poised to exert Thessalian hegemony over all of mainland Greece when Jason was assassinated.

The tyrants of who followed lacked the gifts and vision of Jason, and Pherai, with the rest of Thessaly, ultimately fell under the domination of Philip II of Macedon. Although this stater was struck after the end of the great tyrants of Pherai and Thessalian independence, its types represent traditional deities of the city. The obverse depicts the local Pheraian fountain nymph, Hyperaia, clearly identified by the lion’s head spout pouring water behind her head. Also local in flavor is the reverse type, which features Ennodia, a specifically Pheraian deity. Ennodia, whose name literally means by the roadside was a terrifying goddess of the roadside and the dead, whose power was regularly invoked by witches and necromancers. The cult of Ennodia spread throughout Thessaly under Jason of Pherai until she was recognized as a national Thessalian deity as much as a local Pheraian one.

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