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Aspendos, Pamphylia (archaic)


[B]Aspendos, Pamphylia (Mopsus, founder of Pamphylia; 420 - 400 BC.) AR Drachm[/B] [U]Obv[/U]: Mopsos, founder of Aspendos, galloping left on horse and raising lance w/ right hand; dotted circular border. [U]Rev[/U]: (Calydonian?) boar in attack position, facing right; EST legend below boar; dotted circular border. [U]Attribution[/U]: BMC Pl.XIX, 9; cf. SNG Von Aulock 4487; Babelon Traite' 143, 14. [U]Provenance[/U]: ex. Tom Cederlind, 3.17.07; ex. Busso Peus Nachfolger 380 (#558), 11.3.04; ex. Munzen und Medaillen Basel 41 (#260), 1970. [U]Weight[/U]: 5.35 gm [U]Maximal Diameter[/U]: 17 mm [U]Axis[/U]: 10 [U]Notes[/U]: Second, more refined and rare, example of this archaic Pamphylian issue. Mopsus, a celebrated prophet, son of Manto and Rhacius or Apollo. He officiated at the altars of Apollo at Claros; and from his unerring wisdom and discernment gave rise to the proverb, "more certain than Mopsus". He distinguished himself at the siege of Thebes; but he was held in particular veneration at the court of Amphilochus, at Colophon in Ionia. Having been consulted, on one occasion, by Amphilochus, who wished to know what success would attend his arms in a war which he was going to undertake, he predicted the greatest calamities; but Calchas, who had been the soothsayer of the Greeks during the Trojan War, promised the greatest successes. Amphilochus followed the opinion of Calchas, but the prediction of Mopsus was fully verified. This had such an effect upon Calchas that he died soon after. His death is attributed by some to another mortification of the same nature. The two soothsayers, jealous of each other's fame, came to a trial of their skill in divination. Calchas first asked his antagonist how many figs a neighboring tree bore; ten thousand and one, replied Mopsus. The figs were gathered, and his answer was found to be true. Mopsus now, to try his adversary, asked him how many young ones a certain pregnant sow would bring forth, and at what time. Calchas confessed his inability to answer, whereupon Mopsus declared that she would be delivered on the morrow, and would bring forth ten young ones, of which only one would be a male. The morrow proved the veracity of his prediction, and Calchas committed suicide through the grief which his defeat produced. (Tzetz., ad Lycophr., 427.). After the death of Calchas, Mopsos joined forces with Amphilochus and they led the people into Pamphylia, whence they scattered into Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia in the years after the Trojan War. Mopsos was believed to have founded Aspendos in Pamphylia and Mallos in Cilicia (Strabo 675). Amphilochus subsequently entrusted the sovereign power of Argos to Mopsus, to keep it for him during the space of a year. On his return, however, Mopsus refused to restore to him the kingdom, whereupon, having quarreled, they engaged and slew each other. (Tzetz., ad Lycophr., 440). According to another legend, Mopsus was slain by Hercules. (Tzetz., ad Lycophr., 980). This coin is interesting in its apparent conflation of two ancient heroes named, Mopsus. Clearly a tribute to the founder of Aspendos, Mopsus, son of Manto and Rhacius or Apollo (see above), this coin also seems to reference the other Mopsus, the Argonaut, who was featured in Ovid's Metamorphoses as one of the two seers for the Argonauts and one of the hunters of the Calydonian Boar (Ovid VIII, 316). This conflation of the two Mopsus may have been an attempt at deification by the Pamphylian celators who produced this archaic issue of Aspendos. GK253

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