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Phillip II and the Perrhaiboi

While the history is for me usually the draw, a first impression of the portrait and provenance are the reason that I now own this coin. I haven't had a lot of time for history & coins recently with other life events taking priority. This coin from Thessaly, I found intriguing, with more research to be done on who, why, when and where? The haunting image of Hera, queen of the Greek gods and wife of Zeus, facing forward, with BCD provenance was unusual, and attractive despite imperfections.

Thessaly, Perrhaiboi, 4th century BC, Æ Trichalkon (20mm, 6.62g, 12h) Obv: Veiled head of Hera facing slightly left Rev: ΠΕΡΡΑΙ[ΒΩΝ], Zeus standing left, holding scepter and thunderbolt; star to inner right Ref: Rogers 438, fig. 238; BCD Thessaly I 1244; From the BCD Collection.

The tag from BCD in small, careful writing documents the acquisition by BCD in Nov 1988.

and here is the fig. 238 from Rogers:

The 2011 Nomos 4 catalog, and the 2012 Triton XV have a bit of the story of this coin and some exceptional examples.

Thessaly was also inhabited by several ancient peoples who inhabited the Balkan Peninsula before the advent of the Greeks: the Palasgoi, the Aioleis, the Parrhaiboi, and the Magnetes.
-Triton XV, BCD Thessaly II

More information can be found in Rogers, Thessaly, published in 1935:

"The Perrhaebi were one of the ancient races, possibly Pelasgic, dispossessed by the Thessalians, and such as remained of them held the fertile slopes of the Cabunian range from Pindus to Olympus. Their capital was Olooson, near Tempe, which goes back to Homeric times; and there was situated the mint.

After the retreat of Xerxes they became definitely subject to the tyrants of Larissa, until they fell to Jason of Pherae and finally to the Macedonians. The types of their coinage resemble other Thessalian types. The appearance of Zeus upon their coins is to be expected from their situation on Olympus. The first copper issue is from 400-344..."

Thessaly and Perrhaiboi would come under the control of Philip II of Macedon in the 4th Century:

"The intervention of Macedon into Thessalian affairs under Phillip II began a new chapter into the history of Thessaly, as that region eventually became a part of the rising Macedonian Empire. Before the reign of Philip II, the Thessalian nobles periodically appealed to the Kingdom of Macedon for assistance in their internal affairs."
-BCD, Triton XV Catalog 

Kings of Macedon, Philip II, 359-336 BC, Æ Unit, uncertain mint in Macedon.

Obv: Diademed head of Apollo right

Rev: ΦIΛIΠΠOY, youth on horseback riding right; ΔI below

Ref: SNG ANS 913

Notes: Apollo became the patron god of Philip II in 353 BC during the Third Sacred War (circa 356–346 BC). The rider on the reverse could celebrating his victory in the horse race at Olympia in 356 BC and or emphasize his Macedonian ancestry with imagery shared with previous rulers.

Philip II saw opportunity to expand his empire when the Thessalian nobles, led by Aleudai, sought support to check the successors of Alexander or Pherai. It is noted by Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian from the 1st Century BC, that during the successful siege of Methone, Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, was struck by an arrow an lost sight in an eye.

"After this Philip in response to a summons from the Thessalians entered Thessaly with his army, and at first carried on a war against Lycophron, tyrant of Pherae, in support of the Thessalians"
-Diodorus Siculus, Library, 16.35 

Although he struggled at first, Philip II eventually defeated Onomarchus with the support of a Thessalian cavalry.

Philip, after his defeat of Onomarchus in a noteworthy battle, put an end to the tyranny in Pherae, and, after restoring its freedom to the city and settling all other matters in Thessaly, advanced to Thermopylae, intending to make war on the Phocians. But since the Athenians prevented him from penetrating the pass, he returned to Macedonia, having enlarged his kingdom not only by his achievements but also by his reverence toward the god.
-Diodorus Siculus, Library, 16.38

For a related article on Philip II see: Who is Buried in Philip II's tomb?


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Alfred Kowsky
Alfred Kowsky
Sep 19, 2022

Both coins are attractive & the writeup excellent 😊. I think it would be a good idea to identify who "BCD" is, I'm sure most collectors don't know 🤔.

Al 😎

Sep 19, 2022
Replying to

Thanks, Al, I am always grateful for your suggestions! Here’s my favorite page from Curtis Jackson-Jacob’s on BCD with lots of informarion and links to other references related to this anonymous and scholarly researcher. BCD‘s collections have become reference catalogs for multiple areas of ancient coin collecting. Best,


PS here’s a set of notes on another of my coins from the BCD collection :

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