Basic information Coinage in the Classical Period

Ancient Greek name: Νάγιδος
Latinized name: Nagidus


Basic information

Nagidos was located on the outskirts of the present-day town of Bozyazı in Mersin Province, Turkey. Approximately 20 km as the crow flies to the west lay ancient Anemourion (Cape Anamur) and approximately 30 km to the east Kelenderis. The acropolis was situated on the Paşabeleni hill at the mouth of the River Bayat. Opposite the acropolis, about 200 m from the coast, is a small island which was called Nagidoussa in ancient times.1

According to Pomponius Mela, Nagidos, like Kelenderis, was founded by Samos.2 Stephanus of Byzantium, quoting Hekataios of Miletos, states that the city was named after its mythical founder, a helmsman Nagis.3 The founding of the city by the Samian colonists probably took place as early as the 8th century BC.4 However, the finding of Iron Age shreds suggests the existence of a native settlement antedating the Samian colonization of the site.5

An inscription from Nagidos records the participation of Nagidos together with Mallos in Plain Cilicia in the foundation of a city called Antioch that took place sometime in the period 294–270 BC. During this period, Cilicia was controlled by the Seleukids, so either Seleukos I or Antiochos I requested Nagidos to send colonists. However, it is not clear which of the many cities of this name it was.6

Probably in the 260s BC, the city of Arsinoe was founded to the east of Aphrodisias by Aetos, the Ptolemaic strategos (the military governor) of Cilicia.7 The new city was named for Arsione II, the co-ruler and sister-wife of Ptolemy II. The territorial losses associated with the foundation of Arsinoe probably led Nagidos to seek to subjugate the unwanted neighbor. An agreement was later reached, under Aetos’ son and successor Thraseas who become strategos of Cilicia for Ptolemy III. Nagidos and Arsinoe concluded an isopoliteia agreement (a treaty of equal citizenship rights between both cities) and the citizens of Arsinoe became apoikoi of Nagidos, meaning that Arsinoe was formally founded by the Nagidians and Nagidos was their mother city.8

Cilicia again came under Seleukid rule in 197 BC under Antiochos III. However, as a result of the Peace of Apamea concluded in 188 BC, Rough Cilicia west of the Kalykadnos River apparently fell outside Seleukid rule.9 The absence of a strong central power had a negative impact on the region at the time. Nagidos was abandoned towards the middle of the 2nd century BC, probably as a result of the increasing activity of Cilician pirates.10


Coinage in the Classical Period

Silver denominations: Staters, third staters, obols, hemiobols and tetartemorions (Persian weight standard).
Bronze denominations: Probably two denominations.
City ethnic on coins: NAΓIΔEΩN = “(coin of the people) of Nagidos”, NAΓIΔEΩ, NAΓIΔE, NAΓIΔ, NAΓI, NAΓ, NA, N, NAΓIΔIKON = “(coin) of Nagidos”, NAΓIΔIKON TΩNΔΩ (unclear meaning) and NAΓIΔI. There are also anepigraphic issues and coins with the distorted inscription NAΓIIΔIKON. The staters minted by the Persian satrap Pharnabazos at the turn of the first and second quarter of the 4th century BC bear, in addition to the city ethnic in Greek, the satrap’s name in Aramaic.
Further information: Coin Catalogue / Nagidos


1Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica, Vol. I, A.558. Pseudo-Skylax, Periplous, 102, also mentions the island, but without giving its name. The island is now connected to the mainland by a causeway.

2Pomponius Mela, De chorographia, 1.77. The relationship between Samos and Nagidos may be indicated by a decree of Samos dated to the period after 321 BC that honors two brothers from Nagidos, although it does not mention the connection between the two cities (Jones and Russell 1993, pp. 295–6).

3Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnica, Vol. I, A.558 = Hekataios of Miletos, FGrHist 1 F266.

4Shipley 1987, p. 41; Jones and Russell 1993, p. 294.

5Jones and Russell 1993, p. 294.

6Jones and Russell 1993, pp. 299–304.

7Several other cities of the same name were also colonized or founded by the Ptolemies or their agents, see Cohen 1995.

8Cohen 1995, pp. 363–4; Jones and Russell 1993, p. 296.

9Tempesta 2013, pp. 27–8.

10Durukan 2009, pp. 78–9.


14 July 2021 – 21 June 2023