Apollonia Pontica (or Apollonia Pontika) meaning, “Apollonia on the Black Sea”, became Sozopolis by the 1st century AD. Today it is the modern town of Sozopol located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Black Sea Coast in Bulgaria.
Providing a noteworthy counterbalance to his role as Smintheus, the “Mouse God”, who unleashed plagues (Hom. Il. 1.39-52), Apollo also was associated with healing and bore the epithet Iatros, or “Healer”. Although this latter function became more specifically the role of his son, Asklepios, a number of sacred sites remained dedicated to Apollo Iatros. One such site was in the city of Apollonia Pontika, and it is highly likely that the figure represented on this tetradrachm is the colossal statue of that god by the fifth-century BC Athenian sculptor Kalamis which, according to Strabo (7.6.1), stood in the local temple there, until the statue was carried off by the Romans in the early first century BC under the command of the Macedonian governor, M. Terentius Varro Lucullus (Plin. NH 34.18.39).
Laureate head of Apollo right
Apollo standing facing, head left, on low basis, holding in right hand a laurel branch, bow and two arrows in left hand
AΠOΛΛΩNOΣ IATPOY, AΘ-H flanking Apollo’s feet
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