Troas, Birytis (W. Asia Minor)
C. 300 BCE
Bronze AE 10 – 0.82g; 10.1mm; 180°
Obv: Bearded head of Kabeiros (Axiocercus) right wearing pilos
Rev: B-I/PY (clockwise, P reversed) – Triskeles formed by three crescents, linear border
S 4059, SNG Cop 251 ff, FORVM 80626
Birytis & the Kabeiroi:
The precise location of the city of Birytis in Troas remains unknown, though it was probably situated slightly south of Troy or near the Hellespont. Numismatics provides the only evidence of its existence. The popular cult in Birytis was worship of the Kabeiroi (Cabeiri), most often depicted as an old man, Axiocercus, & his son, Cadmilus, & locally referred to as “the great gods”. The cult’s secrecy leaves many mysteries of the Kabeiroi, and their precise role as deities remains unclear, though speculations exist that they originated as Phrygian fertility deities, while some evidence points to the cult’s associations with worship of Hephaestus. There may have been a raucous character to the Kabeiroi with wine-vessels being characteristic archaeological finds.