Dynasts of Lycia, Kheriga - Fifth Dynast of Lycia

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Known to history since the records of ancient Egypt and the Hittite empire in the Late Bronze Age, Lycia was populated by speakers of the Luwian language group. Written records began to be inscribed in stone in the Lycian language (a later form of Luwian) sometime after the conquest of Lycia for the Achaemenid Persian empire by the Median general Harpagos in 546 BC. This conquest was a bloody one, with the Lycians apparently effecting a determined resistance which resulted in the decimation of the native Luwian speakers and an influx of Persian speakers.

Herodotus related that in the Xanthos Valley an army of Xanthians sallied out to meet the Persians, fighting determinedly, although vastly outnumbered. Driven into the citadel, they collected all their property, dependants and slaves into a central building, and burned them up. Then, after taking an oath not to surrender, they died to a man fighting the Persians, foreshadowing Spartan conduct at the Battle of Thermopylae a few generations later.

Due to an influx of Greek speakers following Alexander III of Macedon's overthrow of the Persian empire and the sparsity of the remaining Lycian speakers, Lycia became totally Hellenized under the Macedonians, and the Lycian language disappeared from inscriptions and coinage, becoming totally extinct by the beginning of the first century BC. The lack of sufficient surviving inscriptions and keys to comparison with other contemporary languages has resulted in a considerable level of ignorance in modern times concerning Lycia, its government and personalities. Indeed, Kheriga was thought by M. Six (Monnaies Lyciennes, 1886/7) to be the wife of Kuprilli, despite his name being a masculine one.

More modern study has placed Kheriga as fifth in the line of succession since the Persian-installed Lycian dynasty was established in Darios I's reorganizing of the satrapies in 525 BC, and has judged him to be the grandson of Kuprilli, succeeding at Xanthos in circa 400 BC. He is mentioned numerous times on the grand stele of Xanthos.

Dynasts of Lycia, Kheriga AR Stater. Kadyanda, circa 410-400 BC. KHADAWÃTI EI, (retrograde, in Lycian), head of Athena right, wearing Attic crested helmet decorated with griffin right / KHEREWKH-T W (retrograde, in Lycian), head of Hermes left, wearing winged petasos. Unpublished in the standard references; for types cf. Peus sale 407, 2012, 762-5 (Kadyanda). 8.43g, 24mm, 4h.

Extremely Fine. Apparently unique and unpublished, and of considerable numismatic interest.