Odessa, Thrace is Varna, Bulgaria today. Miletian Greeks founded an apoikia (trading post) at the Thracian settlement around 600 B.C., creating a mixed Greek and Thracian community. Philip II besieged the city in 339. Getae priests persuaded him to make a treaty but the city surrendered to Alexander the Great in 335 B.C. Odessus, along with other Pontic cities and the Gatae, rebelled against Lysimachus in 313 B.C. After Lysimachus’ death in 281, the city reverted to striking in the types and names of Alexander the Great and continued to strike Alexandrine tetradrachms until at least 70 B.C. After the Battle of Pydna in 168 B.C., Thrace passed to Rome. The Thracians, however, did not all readily accept Roman dominion. Several revolts occurred. The next century and a half saw the slow development of Thracia into a permanent Roman client state. According to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Ampliatus, a follower of Saint Andrew preached in the city in 56 A.D. Public baths erected in the late 2nd century A.D. are the largest Roman remains in Bulgaria and the fourth-largest known Roman baths in Europe. During the Middle Ages, control changed from Byzantine to Bulgarian hands several times. On 10 November 1444, the Ottoman army routed an army of crusaders outside the city. The failure of the Crusade of Varna made the fall of Constantinople all but inevitable.
The early Macedonian kingdom did not have sufficient access to mines to be able to mass-produce influential coinage. However, when Philip II rose to power in 359 BCE, he recognized the importance of mining and prioritized the acquisition of metals in his early conquests.
After defeating Amphipolis and Crenides, Philip was able to secure a consistent annual supply of nearly 30 metric tonnes of precious metal, striking them into new, iconic coinage. This production volume made Philip’s coins immensely popular throughout the world.
His son, Alexander the Great, continued Philip’s coinage and improved upon it, refocusing the silver mintage on a tetradrachm based on the Athenian weight standard that could be used easily throughout Greece. For more than two hundred years, Alexander the Great Tetradrachms would be minted at a prolific rate, sourced from his father’s mines in Thrace and Macedonia as well as the new bullion Alexander received when he conquered the Persians.
A single coin represented approximately four day’s pay for a common laborer, so Alexander also minted bronze coinage for small transactions in local markets. However, Alexander the Great Tetradrachms were the most famous of his denominations, becoming one of the staple coins of the Greek world through their use in substantial purchases, international trade, and for mercenary payments.
Bust of Herakles right, wearing Nemean Lion skin, scalp over head, forepaws tied at neck
Zeus Aëtophoros seated left on throne, right leg drawn back, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY; monogram in left field; ΣΙ below throne
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.