Xanthos, Lycia (Unknown Lycian Dynast)
[b]Xanthos, Lycia (Unknown Dynast; ca.400 BC.)
[u]Obv[/u]: Helmeted head of Malija (Athena), facing right; raised circular border.
[u]Rev[/u]: Laureate head of Apollo, facing right; diskeles behind; Xanthos legend right field; dotted circular border.
[u]Attribution[/u]: SNG v.Aulock 4197; Morkholm/Neumann 240a; BMC Pl.VI, 7.; cf. Vismara II, 143 (Falghera Coll.)
[u]Provenance[/u]: ex. CNG e150 (#139), 10.18.06; ex. Richard Winokur Coll.
[u]Weight[/u]: 8.10 gm.
[u]Maximal Diameter[/u]: 21 mm.
[u]Note[/u]: Xanthos is mentioned by numerous ancient Greek and Roman writers. Strabo notes Xanthos as the largest city in Lycia. Both Herodotus and Appian describe the conquest of the city by Harpagus on behalf of the Persian Empire, in approximately 540 BC. According to Heredotus, the Persians met and defeated a small Lycian army in the flatlands to the north of the city. After the encounter, the Lycians retreated into the city which was besieged by Hapargus. The Lycians destroyed their own Xanthos acropolis, killed their wives, children, and slaves, then proceeded on a suicidal attack against the superior Persian troops. Thus, the entire population of Xanthos perished but for 80 families who were absent during the fighting.
During the Persian occupation, a local leadership was installed at Xanthos, which by 520 BC was already minting its own coins. By 516 BC, Xanthos was included in the first nomos of Darius I in the tribute list. Xanthos' fortunes were tied to Lycia's as Lycia changed sides during the Greco-Persian Wars, archeological digs demonstrate that Xanthos was destroyed in approximately 475 BC-470 BC, whether by the Athenian Kimon or by the Persians is open to debate. As we have no reference to this destruction in either Persian or Greek sources, some scholars attribute the destruction to natural or accidental causes.
In the final decades of the 5th century BC, Xanthos conquered nearby Telmessos and incorporated it into Lycia.
Reports on the city's surrender to Alexander the Great differ: Arrian reports a peaceful surrender, but Appian claims that the city was sacked. After Alexander's death, the city changed hands among his rival heirs; Diodorus notes the capture of Xanthos by Ptolemy I Soter from Antigonos. Appian, Dio Cassius, and Plutarch each report that city was once again destroyed in the Roman Civil Wars, circa 42 BC, by Brutus, but Appian notes that it was rebuilt under Marc Antony.
Malija is featured in the Greek form as Athena. Malija/Athena may have had a cult center at Xanthos and she was the goddess responsible for punishing the violators of Lycian tombs.