Sikyonia, Sikyon - The Social War

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This issue was struck at Sikyon under the auspices of the Achaian League as part of that alliance's war effort to counter the multiple invasions that were at that time bringing it near to collapse. Aratos, strategos of the Achaian League, was a native of Sikyon and because that city was not only his home, but also the occasional headquarters of the League, it was a focal point for the League's enemies.

By the end of the 220s Greece was effectively split between two great alliances - the Aitolian League on the one hand formed by the Aitolian states, Athens, Elis and Sparta, and the Hellenic Symmachy on the other, which was principally controlled by Philip V of Macedon, and Epeiros, though it also included the Achaian League and Boiotia. Concerned about the prospect of Achaia forming an alliance with the territory of Messenia and thus leaving the Aitolian League surrounded by its enemies, the Aitolian strategos Ariston sent a force through Achaia to the city of Phigaleia, in Messenia. A declaration of war by Macedon and the Hellenic Symmachy followed; Achaia was then assailed from the south by Sparta under Lykurgos, from the west by Elis, and from the north by the Aitolians – attacks which Achaia was unable to face alone, and which brought it to its knees. Sikyon fared very badly – it was besieged by the Spartan Kleomenes for three months, and its territory was severely ravaged.

In the winter of 219 however, Philip launched a counter-offensive, devastating Elis and central Aitolia, as well as launching a series of successful raids on Sparta. The war came to an end only when in the summer of 217, Philip received word of Rome's crushing defeat at Lake Trasimene, and called for peace in order to focus his attentions on Rome. Despite this inconclusive end to the war, Philip was left the undisputed military power in central Greece.

Sikyonia, Sikyon AR Tetradrachm. Social War issue, circa 225-215 BC. In the name and types of Alexander III of Macedon. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin headdress / Zeus seated left, holding eagle and sceptre; youth holding taenia over his head in left field, wreath above, monogram below throne. Price 724; Noe, Sikyon 55. 16.97g, 30mm, 3h.

Near Extremely Fine. Very Rare.