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Area: Leukas - Akarnania, colony of Corinth
Period: 400 BC - 330 BC
Denomination: AR Stater
Obverse: Pegasos with pointed wings flying right.
Reverse: Head of Athena right. Caduceus and "Λ" behind.
Reference: Calciati 95
Weight: 8.5 gms
Diameter: 20.8 mm
Comment: The obverse of the Corinthian coins refer to the myth of Bellerophon and Pegasos, and to the worship of Athena, who assisted Bellerophon to subdue the wondrous winged horse. Pegasos was regarded as the provider of fountains of fresh water, which with a stroke of his hoof he caused to gush forth from the rocks, such as the fountain of the Muses, Hippokrene, which Pegasos produced in this way; hence Pegasos is also the horse of the Muses. On the Acrocorinthus he was said to have alighted, and to have drunk from the fountain of Peirene, where Bellerophon sought in vain to take and tame him, until at last, while the hero lay asleep beside the altar of Athena, the goddess came to him in a vision and gave him a golden bridle, which on awakening he found beside him, and with this he easily subdued the winged steed. Another version of the tale makes Athena herself tame Pegasos, and it is she who hands him over to Bellerophon.

CORINTH and LEUKAS

Leukas was founded by the Corinthians in the 7th century BC and was head of the Akarnanian confederacy from the 4th century.

Corinth sits on the isthmus that divides mainland Greece from the Peloponnese. Harbours on either side of the isthmus provided a gateway for goods travelling between the east and west Mediterranean.

In classical times the ancient city rivalled Athens and Thebes in wealth, based on the Isthmian traffic and trade. In the 7th century BC, when Corinth was ruled by the tyrants Cypselus (c. 657-627 BC) and his son Periander (c. 627-585 BC), the city sent forth colonists to found new settlements: Epidamnus (modern day Durres, Albania), Syracuse, Ambracia (modern day town of Lefkas), Corcyra (modern day town of Corfu) and Anactorium. Periander also founded Apollonia (modern day Fier, Albania) and Potidaea (in Chalcidice). Corinth was also one of the nine Greek sponsor-cities to found the colony of Naukratis in Ancient Egypt. Naucratis was founded to accommodate the increasing trade volume between the Greek world and the pharaohnic Egypt, during the reign of Pharaoh Psammetichus I of the 26th dynasty.

Periander was considered one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. During his reign the first Corinthian coins were struck. He was the first to attempt to cut across the Isthmus to create a seaway to allow ship traffic between the Corinthian and the Saronic Gulf. He abandoned the venture due to the extreme technical difficulties he met, but he created the Diolkos (a stone-build overland ramp) instead. The Corinth Canal wasn't to be built until 1881-93. The era of the Cypselids, ending with Periander's nephew Psammetichus, named after the hellenophile Egyptian Pharaoh Psammetichus I (see above), was the golden age of the city of Corinth.

The city had two main ports, one in the Corinthian Gulf and one in the Saronic Gulf, serving the trade routes of the western and eastern Mediterranean, respectively. In the Corinthian Gulf lay Lechaion, which connected the city to its western colonies (Greek: apoikoiai) and Magna Graecia, while in the Saronic Gulf the port of Kenchreai served the ships coming from Athens, Ionia, Cyprus and the rest of the Levant. Both ports had docks for the large war fleet of the city-state.

The city was a major participant in the Persian Wars, offering 40 war ships in the sea Battle of Salamis under the admiral Adeimantos and 5,000 hoplites (wearing their characteristic Corinthian helmets) in the following Battle of Plataea but afterwards was frequently an enemy of Athens and an ally of Sparta in the Peloponnesian League. In 431 BC, one of the factors leading to the Peloponnesian War was the dispute between Corinth and Athens over the Corinthian colony of Corcyra (Corfu), which probably stemmed from the traditional trade rivalry between the two cities.

After the end of the Peloponnesian War, Corinth and Thebes, which were former allies with Sparta in the Peloponnesian League, had grown dissatisfied with the hegemony of Sparta and started the Corinthian War against it, which further weakened the city-states of the Peloponnese. This weakness allowed for the subsequent invasion of the Macedonians of the north and the forging of the Corinthian League by Philip II of Macedon against the Persian Empire.

Partially taken from Wikipedia

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