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Kyrene, Cyrenaica (Ptolemy II Euergetes Reign)


[B]Kyrene, Cyrenaica (Ptolemy II Euergetes Reign; 246-234 BC.) AE 22[/B] [u]Obv[/u]: Diademed head of Ptolemy Soter, facing right; dotted circular border. [u]Rev[/u]: Bust of Libya, facing right; cornucopia below chin; PTOΛEMAIOY BAΣIΛEΩΣ legend surrounding & within dotted circular border. [u]Attribution[/u]: Buttrey Cyrene Final Reports, Pl.7, 220. [u]Provenance[/u]: ex. Zuzim Judaea (Vcoins, 7.15.07) [u]Weight[/u]: 6.6 gm. [u]Maximal Diameter[/u]: 22.5 mm [u]Axis[/u]: 12 [u]Note[/u]: There is some debate between Robinson (BMC) and Buttrey on the chronology of the Kyrene Soter/Lybia AE issues. A plate example from Buttery "Cyrene Final Reports (Vol. VI)" assigns this issue to the Group II - Module B type, which are more heavily represented during Ptolemy III (Euergetes) reign. However, Robinson's BMC Cyrenaica suggests it may be a coin of Ptolemy IV (Philopator) and ranked in Group IV. Less similar than the Buttrey plate example, this issue does share features with BMC Pl. XXXI, 6 (43). ----------------------------------- When Magas died, old and portentously fat, after a reign in Kyrenaica, first as viceroy and then as king, of fifty years, he left a widow, the Seleucid princess Apama, and a daughter called, like her grandmother and like her cousin, Berenice. Before his death he had come to an agreement with his half-brother, Ptolemy II, that his daughter and heiress, Berenice, should marry Ptolemy's son, the heir-apparent to the Egyptian throne. That would be a happy way of reuniting Kyrenaica to Egypt. After his death, however, Apama, who naturally inclined rather to the side of the Syro-Macedonian entente than to the side of Egypt, sent to Macedonia to procure a husband from that quarter for Berenice. The husband was to be Demetrius the Fair, a half-brother of the king Antigonus Gonatas and a son of Ptolemy's half-sister Ptolemais. He was, indeed, so fair that, when he arrived, Apama could not resign him to her daughter. Although officially he was Berenice's husband, he was actually Apama's paramour. But Berenice, although still little more than a child, refused to accept the humiliating situation, conspired with the soldiers of the royal guard, and had Demetrius assassinated in her mother's bedchamber. She herself maintained command of the operation, and saw to it that, whilst Demetrius was properly killed, her mother was spared. There was now nothing to prevent Berenice being married to her first cousin, the young Ptolemy II, according to her father's arrangement, and becoming eventually, as she no doubt desired, queen of Egypt. Yet the marriage of Berenice to Ptolemy II Euergetes ("Benefactor") did not take place till on the eve of Euergetes' setting out for the war in Syria (i.e., 3rd Syrian War, 246-241 BC.), where his sister, Berenice II, was trying to secure the throne for her son. Berenice and her son seem to have been murdered before Euergetes could arrive, and Seleucus II held the throne, though the Egyptian king won a brilliant if impermanent victory. There after, Egyptian fleets controlled most of the southern coast of Asia Minor and numerous Aegean ports. Ptolemy II and Berenice's marriage reunited Kyrenaica under Ptolemaic reign, and upon his return to the region from the Syrian War, new names were given to three of the primary Kyrenaic towns: Euhesperides became Berenice, Tauchira became Arsinoe, and Barca became Ptolemais. GK262

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North Africa - Cyrenaica

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Sadly for my coin habit and wallet, anything from Kyrenaica is rare relative to other regions.


The Soter/Lybia AEs aren't the most rare from the region, but they are very hard to find in the condition above. Most of the regal AE coinage from Kyrenaica is in steady decline of quality from Ptolemy III forward. The last regal coinage of Apion (101 - 96 B.C.) is generally pitiful and very rough (see below). For post-archaic issues from the region, I think many would argue that the issues produced soon after Alexander's visit to the region to be the high-water mark (see AR didrachm in my collection as example).






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