Ptolemaic Kingdom, 270-261 BC


ID Number: AC01-0204
Category: Ancient Coins
Description: Ptolemaic Kingdom, 270-261 BC
Country or State: Cyrene (Cyrenaica)
Head of State/Ruler: Ptolemaios II
Reign: 323–283 BC
Face Value:  
Subject/Theme: Magas reconciled with Ptolemaios II
Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemaios I right, aegis tied around neck
Obverse Legend:  
Obverse Designer:  
Reverse: Horizontal winged thunderbolt, ΜΑΓ monogram (for Magas) above
Reverse Designer:  
Edge: Irregular
Mint Mark:  
Composition: Bronze
Diameter: 26.0 mm (irregular)
Weight: 8.9 grams
Krause & Mishler Number:  
Other Catalog Number: Svoronos 324; SNG Copenhagen 431-432
State of Conservation: Extremely Fine (XF)
Rarity: Rare

Proof (Prf) € -
Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) € -
Mint State/Mint Condition (MS) € -
Uncirculated (Unc) € -
Extremely Fine (XF) € -
Very Fine (VF) € -
Fine (F) € -
Very Good (VG) € -
Good (G) € -


Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.

Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar uplands. The city was named after a spring, Kyre, which the Greeks consecrated to Apollo. It was also the seat of the Cyrenaics, a famous school of philosophy in the 3rd century BC, founded by Aristippus, a disciple of Socrates. It has been nicknamed then as "Athens of Africa"

Cyrene was founded in 630 BC as a settlement of the Greeks from the Greek island of Thera (commonly known as Santorini), traditionally led by Battus I, ten miles from its port, Apollonia (Marsa Sousa). It promptly became the chief town of ancient Libya and established commercial relations with all the Greek cities, reaching the height of its prosperity under its own kings in the 5th century BC. Soon after 460 BC it became a republic. In 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, Cyrene supplied Spartan forces with two triremes and pilots. After the death of Alexander III of Macedon (323 BC), the Cyrenian republic became subject to the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Ophelas, the general who occupied the city in name of Ptolemaios I, ruled the city almost independently until his death, when Ptolemaios's son-in-law Magas received governorship of the territory. In 276 BC Magas crowned himself king and declared de facto independence, marrying the daughter of the Seleucid king and forming with him an alliance in order to invade Egypt. The invasion was unsuccessful and in 250 BC, after Magas' death, the city was reabsorbed into Ptolemaic Egypt. Cyrenaica became part of the Ptolemaic empire controlled from Alexandria, and became Roman territory in 96 BC when Ptolemaios Apion bequeathed Cyrenaica to Rome. In 74 BC the territory was formally transformed into a Roman province.