- Coins tell the fascinating history of a fortress city in Asia Minor prior to its absorption by the Roman Empire.
The city of Pergamum, in northwestern Asia Minor, rose from humble origins to become one of the premier cities of the Greco-Roman world. Collectors are fortunate that for about seven centuries, untold millions of coins were struck within its fortified walls, and that a great many of them survive to this day.
Pergamum was situated in the foothills of a mountain range about 15 miles from the Aegean Sea. A natural fortress, it was ideally placed along major trade routes and commanded a large, fertile plain.
Though archaeological evidence shows its site had been occupied since at least the 8th Century B.C. (if not even earlier, during the Bronze Age), Pergamum is not mentioned by ancient authors until historical events of about 400 B.C.
The dates of this city's earliest coins are not known, though they appear to have been struck in the 5th Century B.C. - most likely between c.450 and 400 B.C. Above are two such coins, both small and both bearing on their obverse the head of the god Apollo. First is a silver diobol with the head of a satrap (Persian ruler) on its reverse, the second a 9mm bronze showing a grain ear between confronted bull heads.
An isolated issue of gold staters was struck at Pergamum in the 330s B.C. under circumstances which seemingly relate to the campaign of the Macedonian King Alexander III 'the Great' (336-323 B.C.) against the Persian Empire. An example is shown above; it bears the head of Heracles and the cultus statue of Athena.Read the Entire Article