By Robin Eaglen
AR Stater, c.410 - 400
10.70g (21mm diameter). Author's
collection. Ex David Miller, 2004.
Fig 1. Obverse:
Naked rider, with whip in right
hand, dismounting from horse prancing r., framed by border of fine
Fig 2. Reverse: Male
goat l., kneeling on left
foreleg, with head turned back. KE..E
above, with N between hind legs. T in exergue. All within an
Celenderis, on the
south-eastward coast of Turkey about fifty miles north of Cyprus,
is said to have been founded by Sandokos, father of Kinyras. 1 It
was later colonised from Samos, possibly before 700 BC. 2 Under
Persian suzerainty it thrived as an important city and harbour3 on
the northerly Mediterranean sea route, reflected in the quantity of
coinage struck there to the Persian standard from the mid -fifth
The obverse (Figure 1) of a naked,
dismounting horseman was introduced at the outset and continued
until the last third of the fourth century. 5The scene, with the
horse facing left or right, has been identified with the 'kalpe'
(êÜëðç), a horse race in which the bare-back, stirrupless riders
jumped down to finish the race running alongside their mount.6 The
event, as a trotting race (êáëðçò äñüìoò), was part of the Olympic
games from 496 to 444, and thus discontinued soon after the
introduction of the obverse at Celenderis.7 However, as the horse
was in motion, the image would not appear to depict simply a
dismounting rider. Although horses with naked riders was a popular
design on Greek coinage, most notably at Tarentum over the same
period,8 the horse men shown as dismounting all carry a shield,9
some have a lance,10 some wear a helmet11 and others have both
trappings,12 showing that a warrior rather than competitor was
The reverse (Figure 2) of a
kneeling goat, with his head turned back to face either left or in
later issues right, enjoyed a long currency at Celenderis,
stretching from the mid-fifth to the first century BC.13
Accompanied by an abbreviation of the city name, like the owls of
Athens it must have been the city's emblem. Kraay saw it as a
punning allusion to the city name, as 'some goats were known as
êåëÜäåò.'14 Their precursors appear on coins from eastern Macedonia
at the beginning of the fifth century BC.15 Later, Archelaus, king
of Macedon (413-399 BC) issued a reverse depicting the forepart of
a kneeling goat16 and Ainos, in Thrace, provides good examples of
the animal standing upright (Figures 3 and 4).17 Nevertheless,
given the importance of goats in the ancient world, it is perhaps
surprising that they do not figure more prominently on Greek
AR Diobol, c.435-405
1.08g (11mm diameter). Author's
collection. Ex Spink, 2004
Figure 3 Obverse:
Figure 4: Reverse
At a practical level, goats were
major contributors to basic diet in the form of cheese, alongside
stone-ground bread, olives, figs, wine diluted with water, honey,
eggs and fish.18 Goat cheese also appears to have been an important
constituent of military rations.19 Goat meat was much less consumed
and, if so, more probably as kid,20 killed for sacrificial or other
festive purposes to be eaten upon or after such occasions.21
Although there are some differences of view,22 it is believed that
milk of cows, goats and ewes were not important to the Greek diet,
partly owing to the climate and partly because lactose was
indigestible to many people.23 It was nevertheless valued for
medicinal and cosmetic purposes.24 Hides also had their uses,
including an alternative to papyrus for writings,25 but fur was
spurned as a characteristic of northern barbarian dress.26
The goat also enjoyed an important,
if not greatly distinguished place in Greek mythology. Pan was half
man, half goat, as befitted his role as the guardian of flocks, and
shepherds would sacrifice kids, goats or sheep to him. This cult
spread from Arcadia to the rest of Greece in the fourth century
BC.27 Satyrs, the boon companions of Dionysus, god of wine,
fertility and rebirth, were often portrayed with goat-like
characteristics.28 The mythical beast slain by the hero
Bellerophon, the chimaera, embodied the forepart of a lion, of a
goat sprouting from the back and a snake at the rear.29 The Greek
words for a shegoat (÷ßìáéñá) and chimaera were the same.30 At
Celenderis the depiction is of a male.
The omnipresent and omnivorous goat
has often been blamed for the bleak mountainsides of modern
Greece,31 but it is harsh to blame it as main culprit for the loss
1 Barrington Atlas of the Greek and
Roman World, edited by R.Talbert (Princeton, 2000), Map 66, C4. B.
V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1911), p.718.
2 G. Shipley, A History of Samos,
800 - 188BC (Oxford, 1987), pp.41-42. N. G. L. Hammond, A History
of Greece to 322 BC, 3rd edition, (Oxford, 1986), pp.121, 660,
dates the Samian foundation as 'probably' in the sixth century
3 Strabo, Geographia, 14.5.3.
4 C. M. Kraay, Archaic and
Classical Greek Coins (Berkeley and London, 1976), p.280. Head,
Historia Numorum, p.718. The Persian standard was of a double
siglos of 11.0g (C.
M. Kraay and M. Hirmer, Greek Coins (New York), p.17.
5 D.R.Sear, Greek Coins and their
Values (GCV), II (London, 1979), pp.502-3.
6 G.C. Brauer, ' The Kalpe - an
Agonistic Reference on several Greek Coins?', SAN 6, no. 1 (fall
1974), pp.6-7. J Swaddling, The Ancient Olympic Games, 3rd edition
(London, 2004), pp. 87,89.
7 H. G. Liddell and R. Scott,
Greek-English Lexicon, 9th edition with a revised
Supplement (Oxford, 1996), p.870.
8 A. J. Evans, 'The Horsemen
of Tarentum', NC (1889), pp.1-228.
9 Evans, Plates II. 7, III. 9 and
10 Evans, Plate VII. 10.
11 Evans, Plate VII. 9.
12 Evans, Plate II. 6.
13 GCV, pp.502-03.
14 C. M. Kraay, Archaic and
Classical Greek Coins, p.279. The word is not listed in the
Greek-English Lexicon and the further suggestion, that the obverse
- showing a race-horse (..........) - is also punning, stretches
15 These coins were until recently
attributed to Aigai (see, for example, Kraay,Archaic and Classical
Greek Coins, p.141) but are now considered as tribal issues
Bisaltia or Mygdonia, further to the east (see, for example, C.
Lorber, 'The Goats of Aigai', in pour Denyse: Divertissements
Numismatiques, edited by S. M. Hurter and C. Arnold - Biucci (Bern,
16 GCV, I (London, 1978), GCV 1494,
17 GCV, p.158.
18 P. Green, Ancient Greece, a
Concise History, (London, 1973), p.20.
19 A Dictionary of Ancient Greek
Civilisation, (London,1966), p.203.
20 C. M. Bowra, The Greek
Experience, (London, 1957), p.5.
21 The Oxford Classical Dictionary
(OCD), edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, revised 3rd
edition (Oxford, 2003), p.603; Dictionary of Ancient Greek
22 Bowra, The Greek Experience,
p.4; Dictionary of Ancient Greek Civilisation, p.203.
23 OCD, p.981.
24 OCD, p.981.
25 OCD, p.250.
26 OCD, p.497.
27 OCD, p.1103.
28 C. Jones, Sex or Symbol? Erotic
Images of Greece and Rome, (London, 1989), pp.78, 82.
29 OCD, p.322.
30 Greek-English Lexicon,
31 Bowra, The Greek Experience,