PHOENICIA, Arados. Uncertain king. Circa 420-400 BC. AR Shekel (18.5mm, 10.45 g, 3h). Laureate head of Ba'al-Arwad right, with frontal eye / Galley right above waves; M A (in Aramaic) above; E&E-A Group III.1.1; HGC 10, 28. Research on these coins seems fairly scant, but I did manage to cobble a few things together (starting in next paragraph below) from various sources. If anyone thinks I got something wrong or wants to add anything, it would be much appreciated! One area I couldn't quite figure is why CNG posts a date for this issue from 420-400 BC. I think it's definitely an earlier issue because it lacks a third initial (likely designating a king). That said, I've seen other anonymous issues dated 400-384 BC, and can't figure out the difference between those and my coin. Anyway, Settled in the 2nd millennium BC by the Phoenicians, Arados (Greek name) was located three kilometers off the Syrian shore between Lattaquie and Tripolis. Under Phoenician control, it became an independent kingdom called Arvad or Jazirat (the latter term meaning "island"). The island was a barren rock covered with fortifications and houses several stories in height. Just 800m long by 500m wide, it was surrounded by a massive wall with an artificial harbor constructed on the east toward the mainland. Like most of the Phoenician cities on this coast, it developed into a trading city. Arados had a powerful navy, and its ships are mentioned in the monuments of Egypt and Assyria. In ancient times, it was in turn subject to the Egyptians, Assyrians, and then Persians (539 BC). But local dynasts were maintained until Straton, son of Gerostratos, king of Arados, submitted to Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. The earliest coins of Arados (430-410 BC) depict a marine deity, human to the waist, bearded with plaited hair, with the lower body of a fish. He is most likely a marine form of Ba’l – the traditional Phoenician storm god and lord over the fertility processes of the land and sea. In later Aradian coinage (like the example above) a Hellenized depiction of the deity’s head replaces the half-man, half-fish figure. The reverse depicts the usual Phoenician galley with rudder astern and a row of shields along the bulwark. Most Aradian coins bear the same two Phoenician letters aleph (A or ´) & mem (M). In addition, during the first half of the fourth century (until 333 BCE), the inscription M A was followed by a letter, some eight or nine in total. The most logical option is that this third letter represents different Aradian kings. This, plus parallels with contemporary Salaminian coinage, suggests that M A stands for “King” of Arwad rather than “Kingdom” (the more common interpretation). Because the coin above lacks a third letter designating a specific king, it’s most likely an earlier (pre-4th century) example.