Page IV
Megara (Megaris), a definite maritime presence pioneering commercial sea-routes, positioned between Attica and Corinth’s Isthmus, circulated coinage applying Euboïc standards, offering a fourth century B.C. hemidrachme with an Apollo obverse accompanying a triskelis reverse. Experts suggest Megara minted early sixth century B.C. having increased trade and defence fortifications allowing its emergence as a city-state (circa 800 B.C.) quasi simultaneous with Athens. An era of Queens, Tyre’s Princess Elissa-Dido founds Carthage — apparently Jezebel’s grandniece (814-813 B.C.) — whilst Sammuramut ruled Assyria, 810-805 B.C.

Following custom, Megarians created colonies: Heraclea (Crimea), Thracian Byzantium (657 B.C.) and another seventh-century Sicilian colony, Megara Hyblaea, established near Syracuse. Byzantium found itself named after a distinguished Megarian navigator, Byzas. The Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) heralded Megara’s downfall and subjugation to Athens.

Boasting over 200 tribes, the who’s who of “harsh-wintered” Thrace presents complex routing. Herodotus (425 BC), equally bemused, wrote: “The Thracian people are the most numerous of the world”. Wild Thrace, north of Greece and Macedonia, formerly spread over areas of modern Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. Unlike the Macedonians, Thracians ignored Greek culture. Gold mines represented its great asset. We shall settle for the few fine threads relating to the symbol, whilst pointing out Euboea (above) possessed many colonies therein.

This triskelis Odomanti silver specie forthcame ca. 500-480 B.C.[ 17 ] We know Cyrus’ Persians overran Thracian Lydia up to southern Marmara shores. Darius I, launched in 512 what developed into the king’s strangest battle, pursuing Scythian shadows. En route he suffered attack by Odomanti Thracians in fear of losing their independence. Eventually this did not prevent Persian or Greek domination controlling the Thracian peninsula. Such events put forward both Eastern and Grecian origins backing Thracian triskeles.

A Macedonian tetrobol reverse of Acanthus circa 500, seems similarly stylised to number 17 above. [ 55 ] North of Hellas and west of Thrace, a turbulent, violent land dropped as pupil centering the Cyclone’s eye, Macedonia, once reigned in by sagacious Philip (382-336 B.C.), next whirled out beneath his phalanx.

Afterdays, a Thracian Macedonian would astound the world: Alexander the Great.

It is believed Ionians of Asia Minor amongst the first inhabitants of Chios (Hios / Khios) and that Homeric epics sourced inspiration from this Northern Aegean Island famed for its school of bards. One theory (but only a theory) explains the name “Chios” as Phoenician for the word mastic.

The process of iron soldering apparently was discovered by Glaucus (Glafkos) of Chios in the 7th century B.C. Possibly a leader in the theory of democracy Chians established around 600 B.C. a Law titled Megali Ritra or “Great Clause”. From this text democracy would blossom . Later, Hippocrates of Chios would establish a foundation for geometry , circa 470-410 . The Island's procession of exceptional sculptors point to one in particular, Achermos, designated as the creator in stone of Nike, winged goddess of victory, often accompanying triskelions. * 22

Famous for mastic and wine, Chians welcomed Alexander the Great's rule and Macedonia's influential head-of-Herakles coin having Zeus enthroned on the reverse. Minted during Alexander's lifetime and decades thereafter as international coinage, these were struck throughout the empire, some with triskelions as in Perga and Phaselis noted here. A series of “Alexanders” as we call them, were issued on the Island of Chios, one such bearing the triskelis beneath Zeus' outstretched arm [ 73 ] *21. After Alexander's death Chios formed part of the Macedonian State. Theopompos, Chio's renowned historian had joined Alexander, recording his deeds.
The pearls adorning Magna Graecia’s ampyx were Greek settlements sprouting in Italy, appearing around the eight century B.C, but oftentimes these hung as pearls of tears and discord.

The colonies following Corinth's monetary system were: Syracuse, Ambrakia (Arta), Anactorium, Dyrrhachium (Durazzo) and Terina. *6

Fourth and third century B.C. tetradrachmas of Syracuse place Nike, goddess of victory alongside a trophy, a triskelis hovering aloft. Additional issues poise her whipping forth a galloping quadriga beneath the symbol seemingly in chase. Certain such coins show it appearing to tight-rope race along Nike’s horse-whip [ 18 ].The Arnoldi Forni Catalogue terms this triskelis: a “triquetra of legs”. The following Treviri issue exemplifies Celtic styling of the galloping quadriga, a favourite amongst Celts. *7
[ 19 ] Stepping behind her leading Corinthian sister [ 15 ] comes a Syracusian silver stater shown here by permission of Guy Clark — www.ancient [ 21 ]

A Corinthian colony founded 734 B.C., Syracuse in Cicero’s opinion stood finest and largest of all Greek cities. Fondly remembered is her imaginative citizen Archimedes. The Syracusian’s famed “ quadriga “ above (18), similarly appeared throughout many Sicilian cities such as Himera, Agrigentum and Camarina. Such issues blossomed under deft-fingered fifth century master engravers (celators) : Mai, Exakestidas, Plynaenus and Phrygillos…..the list is long.

Part 1 shows a Syracusian coin of the Agathokles period, 317-289 B.C. This silver tetradrachm dated circa 305-295 B.C. portrays a wreathed head of Kore while the reverse sees Nike erecting a trophy. Triskeles occasionally position themselves elsewhere rather than topping the trophy and furthermore Tinoleontic bronze litras (344-336 B.C.) see the symbol take a primary role, completely filling certain reverses behind obverse laureate heads of Zeus.
The Cleveland Museum of Art describes an exhibition ceramic bowl , ca. 610-600 B.C. as follows:
“This deep bowl for the mixing of wine was made in Gela, but the inspiration for its shape and decoration derives from an Eastern Greek model. The bottom of the bowl's exterior depicts the triskeles, a Near Eastern motif composed of three bent legs converging in a circular area at the center.” *8

Befittingly, the bowl described reposes midst the inventory of Agrigento’s Regional Archaeological Museum. Pindar in the fifth century praised this city’s beauty. [ 42 ] Beneath Gela’s touch it belatedly arose 581 B.C. and was named Akragas (Akracas). Desipite this delay, the colony developed nevertheless into one of the wealthiest, vying with Syracuse and Athens. Confirming this success Akragas proudly “stamped” Zeus’s majestic eagle upon local coinage. South of today’s Agrigento (Agrigentum), a sixty kilometres bird’s flight from Gela, lays the Akragas Unesco heritage site. Its circa 154 A.D. bronze triskelis currency appears unusually late under Roman rule, Agrippa’s head dominating obverses.

The first Punic War brought Rome victory over Carthage following a six month siege of Agrigentum, undertaken 262 B.C. The Romans dispossessed and enslaved Agrigentum’s entire population, the colony’s definitive end, presaging Rome’s control over Sicily.

Gela and the Island of Rhodes founded Akragas. Gela in turn was founded (according to Thucydides) 680-690 B.C., through Crete and Rhodes. Though outmatching Syracuse (600’s B.C.), positioned at cross-spears between Greeks and Carthaginians brought about Syracusian rule and later that of Carthage. Obtaining silver via grain exports, Gela emerged as a minting city around 490 (the British Museum suggests the 6th century B.C) a considerable advantage when paying Greek mercenaries warding off Carthaginians who destroyed it nevertheless, in 405. [ 57 ] 282 B.C. the Mamertini from Messana destroyed the city.

Panamoros, (Panormus and several other spelling variations) grew into a city Phoenicians colonized. We know it today as Palermo, a name derived from its later Arab name. Proof Magna Graecia records a civilization rather than political cohesion, this city resisted numerous attacks her covetous neighbour Syracuse initiated, yet the triskelis was common to both [ 22 ], Rome maintaining it thereafter. (see Rome below). Nearby Iaetia issues commenced circa 210 B.C. Their bronze coins with triskelis display a Gorgoneion head [ 23 ]. An example is the full-legged figure heading this exposé.
Sicilian museums :

The seventh century B.C. witnessed Greeks colonizing Italy’s southern mountainous yet fertile regions, adventurously founding numerous cities. However they progressively succumbed either to self-inflicted internecine strife or to non-Greek Samnium Lucanians. These were Oscan-speaking Samnites originating from Central and Southern Italy. Periodically enjoying acceptable terms with Greek and Phoenician Colonies, Lucanians caught the art of striking coins in the 4th century B.C.

Specialists state prosperous Sybaris one of the first to issue coins. Italy’s Achaean colony and Velia’s staunch ally, founded say some by Rhodians, others by Poseidon’s sunken Helike (Helice) about 720 B.C., collapsed when Croton attacked 510 B.C. A policy of liberty had characterized Sybaris whose inhabitants were Achaeans, Troezenians and others. Finally, 443-446 B.C., Pericles accepting their request readied a fresh expedition chosing mixed Greek colonists, future founders of Thourioi (Thurii) nearby destroyed Sybaris. On board arrived a famed immigrant, Herodotus, “father of History” who probably encountered thence, fellow thinkers such as Empedocles of Akragas and Protagoras.
Thourioi soon prospered, attracting new settlers particularly Peloponnesians striking a 443-425 coin portraying the popular galloping biga and charioteer, with a triskelis. Later issues (425-400 B.C.) present a Gorgoneion centred triskelis while third century issues place the symbol hovering behind enthroned Nike. By 390 trouble started with the Lucanians who defeated the colonists. Worse came when Hannibal gutted the city (204) leaving Thourioi a depopulated shell. Though thought buried beneath a Roman colony, the city’s original location is left suspended to conjecture.
Starbo notes, Silarus, named after the river, niched in the Tarentum Gulf, took shape under Troezenian and Achaeans rehabilitating the destroyed Sybaris site. Herodotus describes Silarus as an enterprising city towards 540 B.C. when nearby Velia came about. Lucanians eventually overcame the place, exceptionally allowing Greek immigrants to remain.

Poseidonia, a daughter colony of Sybaris founded during the seventh century B.C., just twenty miles from Velia, conceived a triskelis coin as a note in their Poseidon series. [ 41 ] Early fourth century, the city fell to the Lucanians and thereafter, named Paestum. Malaria and ninth century Arab raids presumably caused this city’s disappearance. [ 56 ]
Velia pairs a lion of its Eastern origins with triskeles. The symbol this occasion rotates ankle-winged. [ 40 ] The coin represents the venerable town founded circa 540 B.C. by Greek Phocaeans escaping Persian rule or so certain historians believe and according to Herodotus, those initiating navigation about Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Iberian coastal waters *15. Phocaeans competed with Etruscans in seamanship and weapon production. Ultimately, the foregoing, using their Phoenician alliance, destroyed Phocaean trade-expansion.

Apparently the new colonists transplanted their own Asian weight system (the Phocaic standard) having early grasped the new Lydian art of coining money when still occupying their city of origin, Phocaea, forty miles north of Smyrna. Stylistically their art and coins direct towards Asia Minor. Unlike their unlucky sister-cities, Velia suffered no Lucanian takeover.
Bruttium is neither Lucania nor Magna Graecia after a term, yet the triskelis likely emerged hither through Terina founded under Croton but overtaken around 356 B.C. by the Bruttians. These were Italy’s original inhabitants as were Lucanians from whom they separated around 356. Roughly representing today’s Calabria, they overtook certain Greek colonies, adopting Greek speech and culture including coin production. Terina’s coinage, initiated around 480 B.C., depicts a local water-Nymph Terina, a triskelis [ 52 ] behind her neck, while Nike dominates reverses, holding a dove. A Kaulonia silver diobol circa 500-480 B.C. offers a lanky-legged triskelis entirely filling its reverse. [ 70 ]

Set against Roman expansion Lucanians stiffly resisted but lost footing 272 B.C. Determined, they strove anew in 216 B.C., joining Phoenicia’s Hannibal. Strabo noted: Sulla would never rest till all Samnites disappeared; he would leave none alive bearing a Samnite name. Sulla stated: “Romans would have scarce peace were such a race to remain in Italy.”
“We have compelled all lands and seas to open paths for our valour and have everywhere planted eternal memorials of our friendship and our enmity” wrote Thucydides (460-400 B.C.) .
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