THESSALY, THESSALIAN LEAGUE, minor, no date (196-146 BC), Obverse: head of Apollo R, Reverse: horse R, ΘΕΣΣΑΛΩΝ, bronze, 16mm, 5.07g, SG2238, VF

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The Thessalian League was a confederacy of domains and tribes. Their capital was Larissa. They contended with their neighbors, but the neighbor to the north was Macedon, by which they were eventually overwhelmed.

Thessaly is a region of central Greece with an eastern shoreline on the Aegean Sea. In Homeric times it was inhabitan by Aeolians, who were conquered by the Thessalians. They created a racial oligarchy of a few rich families. The unfair and arbitrary methods of government produced centuries of unrest. Invasion and occupation did not significantly impact the situation on the ground. After the Persians, class strife continued. Phillip II of Macedon interfered, dominating the situation. He was elected “archon” of the “Thessalian League” by “the populace.” The Thessalian League was a sidekick of Macedon until the advent of the Romans, who tucked it into their Province of Macedonia.

We think that our culture grew out of the culture of Greece because it was in Greece (and in China) that people started thinking about how things could be different than they were in a world where everything was dangerous and might made right. They also established principles of artistic expression that we still use today. We see this approach to art in their coins.

“Ancient Coins” includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.