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Area: Attica: Athens
Period: 186 BC - 147 BC
Denomination: AR "New Style" Tetradrachm
Obverse: Head of Athena Parthenos, right, wearing triple-headed Athenian helmet.
Reverse: Owl standing right, head facing, on prostrate amphora. Dioscuri bottom right, facing left, one holding patera, the other a spear. Around owl: "AΘE/ MIKIΩN/ EYPYKΛEI/ APE/ ΣTO/Σ", "K" on amphora, "ME" under. All within olive-wreath. ;
Reference: BMC 465
Weight: 16.7 gms
Diameter: 28.6 mm
Comment: Names on reverse are those of magistrates Mikion and Eurykleides.
Letter on amphora (not visible) denotes month of issue, while small letters to the left may indicate the origin of the bullion from which the issue was made.

ATHENS

The city-state of Athens was founded in the mid-9th century BC. In 594 BC, Solon established a council (boule), a popular assembly (ekklesia), and law courts. He also encouraged trade and reformed the coinage.

In 492 BC, Darius I of Persia invaded Greece, but was defeated at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. His son, Xerxes tried again in 480 BC. After marching through Thrace, Thessaly, and Locris, he was delayed at Thermopylae by the Spartan king, Leonidas I, and his force who courageously defended the narrow pass for ten days. Xerxes then advanced into Attica and burned Athens, which had been abandoned by the Greeks. At the Battle of Salamis later that year, his fleet was defeated by a much smaller fleet of Greek warships commanded by the Athenian Themistocles. Thus Athens was saved.

Themistocles set about restorating the city, building defensive walls around both Athens. His work was continued by Pericles around 450 BC, when Athens reached it's apogee. As head of the Delian League of Greek city-states, Athens was held sway over the entire Aegean.

After its defeat by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), the city began to decline, although philosophy and the arts flourished.

Athens lost its independence to Philip II of Macedonia in 338 BC. It was taken by Rome in 146 BC but maintained good relations with the Romans until they sacked it in 86 BC.

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