This is VERY exciting

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by CoinDoctorYT, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member

    So if you don't already know I'll give you a brief backstory before I break the news:

    The Temple of Athena at Magarsos, near Mallos, was an important cult sanctuary in the Hellenistic period. The central statue of Athena Magarsia is known only from the handful of coins that have survived, which show a blending of Greek and eastern motifs. The town of Margasos is thought to have been founded in the Hittite era, established by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, in the aftermath of a naval victory at the mouth of the Pyramos river that flows through the town, who dedicated the shrine to the goddess Anat or Ishtar.


    So just a few months ago the ancient Greek city of Magarsos, which was unearthed during archaeological works in the southern Turkish province of Adana, has shed light on its fascinating history and will answer all questions once excavations are completed.

    This is what remains of the temple:

    Ancient geographer Arianos, who lived 1,800 years ago, documents that when Alexander the Great came to the region, he first visited the Temple of Athena Magarsia, which is located 200 meters away from the ancient theater, and then moved to Mallus.

    So what could have been in the temple that people so desperately want to find, you guessed it the Athena Magarsia. The Athena Magarsia was a magnificent statue that was adopted by the Seleucids around 300 BC. The identification of the statue as Athena is thought to have been made by Alexander the Great, who made a sacrifice at the temple just prior to the Battle of Issos in 333 BC.

    How does this have to do with coins you may ask?

    In 138 BC, Antiochos VII Sidetes Euergetes struck a ceremonial Tetradrachm with the depiction of the Athena Magarsia on the reverse. (see below)

    Screen Shot 2020-06-29 at 12.45.30 PM copy.png
    Antiochos VII Sidetes Diademed head of Antiochos VII right
    Cult statue of Athena Magarsia, wearing aegis, standing facing on basis; monogram below left legend, M with incurved sides below right legend (138-129 BC)
    *Extremely Rare

    I cannot stress enough how rare this coin is. There are only a handful in existence. Below is a copy of the Athena Parthenos, which is the closest relative to the Magarsia.

    But one question remains, where is the statue now?

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  3. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    If I recall, the bottom statue you posted is a 2nd C Roman copy of the Athena Parthenos, the so-called Varvakeion Athena. It is supposedly the most accurate and faithful copy of the Parthenos, despite being only a bit over 1 meter tall.

    How large was the Magarsia? Depending on the size, it may have been transported to Constantinople. The great Olympia Zeus and (possibly) the Parthenos were taken to the Palace of Lausus, and henceforth perished in a great fire that took down all of the works of art and much of the building itself.

    The likelihood of the statue being removed is very high. Most cult statues were removed from their original cella in the Roman period.

    There are a few exceptions: the Delos Apollo and the Knidos Aphrodite come to mind.

    In addition, the number of extant cult statues of any kind are extremely low. You have Delos Apollo, a few chryselephantine statues of Apollo and Artemis, the Venus of Morgantina, and some Roman "cult style" statues of Domitian, Constantine, and a few other emperors.

    My conclusion is that the statue was either
    a) moved to Rome, Constantinople, or other major city and subsequently destroyed either by fire or by Christian iconoclasts
    b) deteoritated beyond recognition in situ when the original temple fell or was destroyed.
    tibor and CoinDoctorYT like this.
  4. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    The cult statue of Athena Magarsis was regularly depicted on the provincial coins of Mallos into the 3rd century. One can reasonably infer that the statue was still in place at that time.
    hotwheelsearl, tibor and CoinDoctorYT like this.
  5. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member


    And personally, I think it was buried during the 2nd crusade. There is evidence that a few troops went into syria to explore some supposed "holy ruins". They ended up sacking everything and cannibalizing the natives. let me find the link.
  6. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Wait they actually ate people? Wild
  7. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member

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