Sparatocos (Ancient Greek, Σπαράδοκος) was a king of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from ca. 450 BC to before 431 BC, succeeding his father, Teres I. The name reminds greatly of Spartacus and historians believe he could be the inspiration behind the famous Thracian gladiator.
The coins of Thrace are of high interest. Here and in Macedonia we observe the early efforts of barbarous tribes to coin the produce of their silver mines, and the splendid issues of the Greek colonies; and we see in the weights the influence of the Asiatic Greeks and the Athenians. The oldest coins are of the early 5th century B.C., and there are others of all subsequent times, both while the country was independent and while it was subject to the Romans, until the cessation of Greek coinage. Some of the best period are of the highest artistic merit. So long as they maintain any general distinctive peculiarities of fabric and design, that is, from their commencement until the age of Philip, the Thracian coins resemble those of Macedonia. The money of Abdera comprises tetradrachms and smaller coins of the periods of archaic and fine art, all but the latest of the Phoenician standard, ultimately superseded by the Persic. The principal type is a seated griffin, copied from its mother-city, Teos. The reverse type, an incuse square, has at first four divisions, but in the age of the finest art contains a variety of beautiful subjects, the signets of the magistrates. Aenus is remarkable for the great beauty of some of its coins. These are tetradrachms of Attic weight, of the late archaic and best ages. The interesting turning-point from growth to maturity is seen in a vigorous head of Hermes in profile, wearing the petasus. A little later is the splendid series of facing heads, the broad, severe, and sculptural treatment of which is truly admirable, and far superior to the more showy handling of the same subject in later drachms. A goat is the reverse type of the larger coins. The money of the city of Byzantium begins with coins on the Persic standard of good style, having on the obverse a bull above a dolphin and on the reverse an incuse square of four divisions, and closes with the series of bronze coins issued under the empire. The star and crescent type first appears in the Roman period. Of Maronea, anciently famous for its wine, there is an interesting series,. among which we notice fine tetradrachms of Phoenician weight, having on the obverse a prancing horse and on the reverse a vine within a square. The standard changes to Persic, of which there is a beautiful series of didrachms. Then the series is interrupted by the rule of the Macedonian kings, and resumed in a barbarous coinage of the native Thracians, issued in the second and first centuries before the Christian era, consisting of spread Attic tetradrachms with the types of the head of beardless Dionysus crowned with ivy and on the other side his figure. The Greek imperial coins of Pautalia and Perinthus are worthy of notice. Among those of the latter town we may mention fine pieces of Antoninus Pius and Severus, and large coins, commonly called medallions, of Caracalla and other emperors. The money of the imperial class issued by Philippopolis, Serdica. and Trajanopolis should also be noticed. In the Thracian Chersonese the most important series is one of small autonomous silver pieces, probably of the town of Cardia. There is a limited but highly interesting group of coins of Thracian kings and dynasts. The earliest are of kings of the Odrysae, including Sparadocus and Seuthes I., who began to reign in 424 B.C., and whose money bears the two remarkable inscriptions Eeyoa Komma and Eeyoa APrYPION. It closes with the issues of Roman vassals, such as Cotys IV. (A.D. 12-19). Lysimachus, commonly classed as king of Thrace, belongs to the group of Alexander’s western successors (see below). Among the islands of Thrace, Imbros with its trace of Pelasgic worship, and, equally with Lemnos, showing evidence of Athenian dominion, and Samothrace with the Asiatic worship of Cybele yield in interest to Thasos. Here a long and remarkable currency begins with very early Persic didrachms, the obverse type a Silenus carrying a nymph, the reverse an incuse square of four divisions. Under the Athenian supremacy we see a decline of weight, and in style the attainment of high excellence. After this we observe coins of Phoenician weight, bearing for their obverse types the head of Dionysus. These are of the best period of art, and some tetradrachms are among the very finest Greek coins. The head of Dionysus is treated in a sculptural style that is remarkably broad and grand. The massive, powerful features, and the formal hair, nearly falling to the neck in regular curls like those of the full beard, are relieved by a broad wreath of ivy-leaves, designed with great delicacy and simplicity. The reverse bears a Heracles kneeling on one knee and discharging his bow – a subject powerfully treated. Of a far later period there are large tetradrachms, much resembling those of Maronea, with the same type of the beardless Dionysus, but on the reverse Heracles.
Horseman advancing left, clad in chlamys and wearing small hat; two spears in left hand; helmet in upper left field; amphora with high handles below horse
Eagle with spread wings left, serpent in beak; inscription clockwise around; square linear border; all within incuse square
ΣΠΑΡ / ΑΔ / ΟΚΟ clockwise around
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