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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Ex von Aulock Collection

Sale: Triton X, Lot: 349. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 8 January 2007. 
Sold For $1600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SATRAPS of CARIA. Hidrieus. Circa 351/0-344/3 BC. AR Drachm (3.77 g, 12h). Head of Apollo facing slightly right, wearing laurel wreath, drapery at neck / IDRIEWS, Zeus Labraundos standing right. Traité II 102; SNG Keckman 278; SNG Copenhagen -; BMC -; SNG Kayhan 883 (same obv. die); SNG von Aulock 2367 (this coin). EF, attractively toned. Superb style and exceptional for issue.

From the David Herman Collection. Ex von Aulock Collection, 2367.

As part of the Achaemenid Empire, Caria in the fourth century BC was under the rule of a family of semi-independent satraps known as the Hekatomnids after the dynasty's founder, Hekatomnos. Born in Mylasa, Hekatomnos was appointed satrap of Caria by Artaxerxes II after the fall of Tissaphernes in 392/1 BC and was later given control of Miletos in 386 BC. Interested in Hellenic culture (and possibly hedging his diplomatic bets), Hekatomnos sent his youngest son, Pixodaros, to Athens as part of a deputation; his older son, Maussolos, was bound by xenia, or guest friendship, with Agesilaus, king of Sparta. Hekatomnos died in 377/6 BC and was succeeded by Maussolos.

At the time of Maussolos’ accession, Achaemenid power was weakened by the independence of Egypt and a revolt of the subject Kadusioi. As a result, the satraps of Asia Minor were able to exercise considerable independence; an opportunity of which Maussolos took full advantage. Moving the satrapal capital to Halikarnassos, he fortified the city and allowed its population to increase in size. As part of the civic building program, he constructed a massive tomb for himself near the city’s center. Known later as the Mausoleum, its size and elaborate decoration made it one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. In addition, Maussolus moved and refounded the Greek cities of Knidos, Erythrai, and Priene. His relations with the Persians took a downturn when he briefly joined the Great Satrap Revolt, a series of rebellions that continued to spring up in the Persian Empire throughout the 360s, all of which ultimately failed. For the remainder of his rule thereafter, Maussolos continued to act more or less independently, although he had to accept a Persian garrison in Halikarnassos.

When Maussolus died in 353/2 BC, his sister-wife, Artemisia, succeeded him. Her rule, however, was short-lived, and in 351/0 BC power passed to Hidrieus, Artemisia's brother and the second son of Hekatomnos. When Cyprus revolted following the Persian defeat against the pharaoh Nektanebo, Hidrieus was ordered to raise a force to retake the island. He complied with the command by ferrying the forces of the Athenian general Phokion and Evagoras II to Cyprus. At the same time, judging from a somewhat cryptic contemporary reference by the Athenian orator Isocrates, Hidrieus may have been engaged in clandestine diplomatic negotiations with Philip II of Macedon against Persia. Either way, by 344/3 BC, the rebellion in Cyprus was crushed and Hidrieus was dead of disease. He was succeeded by his sister, Ada.

In 341/0 BC, Pixodarus, the youngest son of Hekatomnos, overthrew his sister. Such a move, possibly aided by the external support of the Persian commander of Asia Minor, Mentor of Rhodes, did little to endear the new satrap to Artaxerxes III, who had already approved Ada’s appointment. Ada, nevertheless, continued to receive support from the countryside, and still held the city of Alinda. As a result, Caria was thrown into turmoil and hesitated to support Persia with troops following the invasion of the Macedonians under Parmenion in 336 BC. Pixodaros, however, had secretly been forging diplomatic alliances with the Macedonian king. In 337 BC, he attempted a marriage between one of his daughters and the future Philip III Arridaios. Believing himself overlooked, Alexander III sent a private embassy to Halikarnassos, asking for the hand of the same princess. When word of this reached Philip II, he cancelled the Macedonian-Carian alliance. When Pixodaros died in 336/5 BC, he was succeeded by Orontobates, an otherwise unknown Persian, who apparently married the princess Pixodarus had attempted to betroth to Philip III. The fate of Orontobates is uncertain, but after Caria was conquered by Alexander III in 332 BC, the Macedonian made diplomatic overtures to Ada, and reappointed her as satrap.