Orientation of the Kelenderis staters


Kelenderis staters bear a rider on the obverse and a goat on the reverse throughout the whole Classical period. Only three things changed: the replacement of the front part of the goat with the whole animal shortly after the start of coinage, the gradual development of the artistic style and the changes in the orientation of the images on the obverse and reverse.

All four combinations of obverse and reverse orientation can be found on these coins, i.e. left–left, left–right, right–left and right–right. The orientation of the image on the obverse seems to show the development over time. At first the horse and rider were oriented to the left (Groups 1 and 2), but probably before the end of the 5th century BC the orientation changed to the right (Group 3). The reason for this change may have been the start of a new phase of Kelenderis coinage. Coins of other mints depicting dismounted horsemen1 do not give us a clue, as we can find both left and right orientations of this scene on them.

Interestingly, no such temporal regularity applies to the image on the reverse. In the first phase of coinage, the goat was oriented exclusively to the left (Group 1), but later both orientations were used (Groups 2 and 3). Both reverse orientations can be found even in issues that, according to their style, can be classified in the late phase of minting. See, for example, Types 3C.1 and 3J.1, which share the same obverse die but the reverse orientation is different.2


1Holmoi and Issos in Cilicia; Tarentum in Calabria; Gela, Himera and Motya in Sicily; perhaps Erythrai in Ionia.

2For further reasons that both these issues belong to the last phase of the Kelenderis coinage, see section Quantitative Analyses / Weight Analyses / Kelenderis, staters.


22 January 2022 – 31 July 2023