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Thraco-Macedonian Tribes - The Edones

The Edones, a Thraco-Macedonian group living east of the Strymon River near Mt. Pangaion, claimed descent from their eponymous founder Edonos, the grandson of Ares. Like other groups of the region, they were headed by chieftains who eventually adopted the nominal title of Basileus. Little is known of the early history of the region, but as was confirmed by Doris Raymond (Macedonian Regal Coinage) the local tribes formed a regional alliance whose coinage adopted a common weight standard and employed designs with regional mythological associations.

Babelon, and later, Kraay suggested the earliest Getas coinage, that with the name the obverse (Tatscheva Type II) was struck to pay Persian tribute. Early on, Gaebler doubted the authenticity of the only known example of this type. The Decadrachm Hoard’s downdating of the issue and the discovery of contemporary fractions have seriously challenged this hypothesis. Tatscheva left the matter open. She did, however, assign the start date for her Type III, of which our coin is an example, to no earlier than 476 BC, a date based on the stylistic similarity of the type to that of the Raymond Group I Alexander I octodrachms. This date is confirmed by the presence of a Raymond Group II Alexander I octadrachm in the Asyut hoard which closed circa 475 BC. She proposed that event which prompted this issue’s introduction was the Kimon’s expulsion of the Persian’s from the region in 476 BC.

After the end of the Persian wars, Alexander I moved to extend his control over the Thraco-Macedonian region. To emphasize his authority, he now added ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ on the reverse of the horseman types he continued to strike. During this same period, the Edones, like the Orreskioi, continued to strike the herdsman type, first struck by the Ichnai in the late sixth century BC, a type the Macedonians did not use. By now including ΓΕΤΑ[Σ] ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥ[Σ] ΗΔΩΝΕΩΝ on the reverse, Getas emphasized not only his role as king, independent of Alexander, but also the sovereignty of the Edonian territory in the face of Macedonian expansion.

THRACO-MACEDONIAN TRIBES, The Edones. King Getas. Circa 492-464 BC. AR Oktadrachm (28.04 gm, 5h). Struck circa 476/3-465 BC. Herdsman guiding two bulls right upon solid groundline / ΓΕΤΑ Β−ΑΣΙΛΕ−Υ ΗΔΩ−ΝΕΩΝ in shallow incuse around quadripartite square. Tatscheva Type III, 6-7; AMNG III pg. 144, 1 var. (legend); HPM pl. IV, 4; Traité pl. XLV, 6; SNG ANS -; Weber 1853.