Cypriot 1 Stater silver coin, Paphos,: Cypro Classical (c 460 BC)

1 Stater silver coin, Paphos,

Although King Evelthon of Salamis was the first to mint coins in Cyprus, a couple of decades (?) later, at the start of the Classical period, most of the other Kingdoms of Cyprus issued coins, following his lead.  Coins have been attributed with certainty to the kings of Salamis, Kition, Amathous, Paphos, Marion, Soloi and Lapethos, while unidentified ones may have come from Kourion or other kingdoms.  The earliest coins minted by Paphos were from around 480 BC.

All the kingdoms used the Babylonian/Lydian weights and a Stater (Greek name) or Double Siglos (Persian name) was just over 11gm. A Persan silos is normally between 5.4-5,6gm. My coin is from about 460 BC from Paphos.  Later in the reign of Evagoras I (411-373 BC) the minting of gold coins started in Cyprus.

"AR Stater. Aristo[...], mid-5th century BC. Bull standing to left, winged solar disk above; Cypriot letters below, [ankh in front], Cypriot letters on flank of bull".  On reverse side: "Eagle flying to left within incuse square. BMC 40 (same rev. die); (Traité 1312.).  Weight 11.26g,  22mm, 7h."  Good Very Fine. Extremely Rare".  The Eagle is better preserved than bull on the inverse side.

In later Paphos coins the eagle is standing, not flying. The ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was most commonly used in writing and in Egyptian art to represent the word for "life" and, by extension, as a symbol of life itself. The winged solar disc may also show influence from Egypt.  The Eto-Cypriot writing was syllabic (a letter represented a syllable, not a single sound) and was derived from Cretan Linear A (as was the Mycenaean Linear B).  Later Cyprus changed to using the Greek alphabet (except Kition (Larnaca) which for a while used the Phoenician characters).  Ancient Eto-Cypriot was a completely different Language from Greek and has yet to be translated.  During an intermediate period in Cyprus the ancient script was used to write Greek.

Size: 2.2mm. 11.26gm

(From the collection of an antiquarian, Bavaria, collected 1960s-1990s (also Salamis Stater))

(Aquired Roma Numismatics auction XVIII lot 662)

DJ 163