Online English-Georgian Catalogue of Georgian Numismatics
Aka stater
Type: Aka stater

Description, picture:
Pure gold. Weight – 8,5 gr.
d=17/18 mm.

Obverse: Diademed head of Alexander the Great, right, wearing horn of Ammon.

Athena Pallas enthroned, left, holding Nike in an open right hand and resting left hand on the arm of the throne. Shield on the backside of the throne. Trident below, dolphins on both sides of trident. The Greek inscription behind the composition –ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ, in front – ΑΚΟΥ.

Scholarly commentary:   
    Alexander the Great’s conquests had huge impact on coinage as well as on every aspect of life of the Antique states. Money system of this unique person became dominant almost in the whole world of those times. After the death of Alexander of Macedon, Lysimachus, one of his distinguished military commanders (the Diadochi), the king of Thrace and Macedon, struck coins with the depiction of Alexander and they gained great international recognition. The coins of Alexander and Lysimachus became so popular in the Ancient world that minting of the coins of both types with their names on them continued some two or three centuries after the death of these monarchs on the different territories by different juridical organs (or persons).
    Termination of the emission of Colchian money (“Colchian tetri”) is linked with the massive influx of the staters of Alexander the Great. Moreover, the coins struck later on the territory of Ancient Colchis and Iberia typologically are connected to the coins struck with the name of Alexander and Lysimachus, thus they are imitations.
    Aka stater is the exact copy of the gold coins struck with the name of Lysimachus which were issued by Byzantium after 195 B.C.  The emblem of this city – trident with two dolphins on the handle is depicted on the coins struck in Byzantium. Aka stater is dated to the times after 195 B.C., the 80s of the 2nd c. B.C.
The weight of the coin is 8,45 gr., pure gold. Only two specimens are known.
Stylistically, technically and artistically the coin is no less than its prototype.
    The topography of the coin findings proves their local, Colchian origin – they are discovered in Trabzon/Trapezus (1865), on the territory once being Colchian and in Kinchkha, Khoni district, Georgia (1946).
    The name of the king on the reverse of the coin (ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΚΟΥ) is in possessive case and can be translated as “of king Akes/Aka or Akos”, in common case it would be Aka, Akes or Akos. The Colchian king with this name is unknown from the other sources. Prof. D. Kapanadze from Georgia “made” the king’s name Georgian and translated it as Aki. The latter is very spread name in Georgian onomastics. Russian scientist L. Kharko considered that “Aku” was the distorted version of “Lysim-achu” (“Ch” changed to “K”). There is widespread criticism of this opinion – the coin is struck with such a high artistic level that it is impossible for artisan to mix the letters so much.
    According to another opinion, “Aku” could be a reduced version of the name of the king “Aku-silokh”, mentioned by Polybius, the Greek author of the 2nd c. B.C. Despite the fact that the author does not specify which country’s king Akusilokh is, the king is mentioned in such geographical nomenclature that it is quite possible to be Colchis. According to Polybius, the king ruled the county in the 70s of the 2nd c. B.C. This coincides with the emission of the coin (after 195 B.C.). But, normally, on the Hellenistic coins they did not reduce name of a king. Besides, there was no need to reduce the name of king on Aka Stater, the area of the stater was enough to place the full name of Akusilokh.
    Despite different opinions about the issuer of the Aka stater, on the basis of topography of the findings, it should be connected with the Colchian world.
    In conclusion we can say that Aka stater is connected with the Colchian world and if the future discoveries prove this fact undoubtedly, then this will be one of the strongest arguments for the existence of the kingdom in the 80s-70s of the 2nd c. B.C. since the person depicted on the coin is titled as a king.
    Aka stater is followed by the series of local imitations, the Georgian imitations to Alexander and Lysimachus’ type staters (the Georgian imitations to Lysimachus’ type staters. Obv. Non-naturalistic head, right; radiant hair-style sometimes ornamented with bird-effigies. Rev. Schematic Athena enthroned, left/right, holding Nike, trident below. The Georgian imitations to Alexander’s type staters. Obv. Non-naturalistic head, right. Rev. Bull-headed or ram-headed schematic Nike, facing). The earliest is the one discovered in Reke village (Zugdidi district, Georgia) in 1920 which imitates the staters struck with Lysimachus’ name in Byzantium or even Aka stater. Supposed date for the coin issue is the 60-50s of the 2nd c. B.C.
    Later, step-by-step depictions of the imitations became rough, schematic and very distant from the originals.

Mint: Unknown.
Nominal: Stater (8,45 gr.).
Date: The beginning of the 2nd c. B.C. (the 80s.)
Collection: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia – 1 sample (discovered in Kinchkha, Khoni disctrict), GF. (Fund of Treasury, Numismatic Collection, Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia) №4872; Paris, Cabinet des Médailles – 1 sample (discovered in Trabzon/Trapezus).
G. Dundua.
Coins Struck with the Name of Alexander and Lysimachus Spread in Georgia. “Matsne”. Series of History, Archaeology, Ethnology and Art History. №1. Tbilisi. 1973 (in Georg.); Money in Georgia (Georg. and Engl. parallel texts) (T. Dundua, N. Javakhishvili and A. Eristavi as co-authors). Tb. 2003 (2nd Edition); Georgian Numismatics. I. Tb. 2006 (T. Dundua as co-author) (in Georg.).

D. Kapanadze. Georgian Numismatics. Tbilisi. 1969 (in Georg.).

Г. Ф. Дундуа.  Нумизматика античной Грузии. Тб. 1987.

А. Н. Зограф. Античные золотые монеты Кавказа. Известия Государственной Академии Истории Материальной Культуры (ИГАИМК). вып. 110. 1935;  Распространение находок античных монет на Кавказе. Труды Отдела Нумизматики Государственного Эрмитажа (ТОНГЭ). т. I. Л. 1945.

Д. Г. Капанадзе. Грузинская нумизматика. М. 1955.

Е. А. Пахомов. Монеты Грузии.ч. I. СПб. 1910; Монеты Грузии. ч. I-II. Тб. 1970.

Imported coins found in Georgia:
Imported gold coins of the 4th -3rd cc. B.C. found in Georgia

Coins struck  with the name of Alexander of Macedon

a) Staters struck with the name of Alexander of Macedon.

1. Gold coins struck with the name of Alexander of Macedon are discovered in Svaneti (in different places) – 367 pieces (majority of them is discovered in the hoards), Reke (Zugdidi district) – 2, Vani – 2, Pichvnari, Lentekhi, Phartskhanakanevi (Tskaltubo district), Gulripshi district, Chiora (Oni district) and Mtskheta (East Georgia) – 1 respectively. Obv. Athena with long hair in Corinthian helmet, right. In some cases, coiled snake is depicted on the helmet. Also, in some cases, the goddess has beads on her neck and earrings on the ears. Rev. Winged Nike in a long chiton, standing left. Crown in the right hand and stylus in the left. The Greek inscription is behind it on the early samples – ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ. Later ones have the inscription – ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ in front, and ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ behind. In addition, different monograms and symbols are placed on the area of the coin and they give us information about the mint. The average weight  – 8,50 gr., pure gold.

b) Silver coins struck with the name of Alexander of Macedon (different nominals).
2. From Alexander’s silver coins discovered on the territory of Georgia two are drachms and one is tetradrachm. Topography of the findings is the following: Kutaisi, surroundings of Kvirila river and Kachreti (Gurjaani district, East Georgia). Obv. Heracles in the lion’s skin, right. He has Alexander’s features.  Rev. Zeus enthroned, left. Eagle on his right hand. The Greek inscription behind the depiction – ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ. Different monograms and symbols on the area of the coin.

Gold staters of Philip III of Macedon (323-316 B.C.).

3. Two coins of Philip III are discovered on the territory of Georgia, one is an accidental finding in Agudzera (Abkhazia), on the seashore and the other one was found in Vani, during archaeological excavations. Gold coin of Philip III of Macedon is an exact copy of Alexander’s stater. The difference is just in a legend: ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΥ.

Staters and silver coins struck with the name of Lysimachus (king of Thrace and Macedon in 306-282 B.C.) (They are of the same type).

4. Six staters struck with the name of Lysimachus are found on the territory of Georgia. Two of them are discovered in Svaneti, two – in Vani, one – in Eki (Senaki district) and also one – in Gulripshi. One of the two silver coins is discovered in Vani and the other one – in Makriala (part of Batumi region earlier, now in Turkey). Obv. Diademed head of Alexander the Great, right. Rev. Athena Pallas enthroned, left, holding Goddess Nike in the right open hand, resting on spear and shield by the left. The Greek inscription behind the figure – ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ, in front of the figure – ΛΙΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ. Additional symbols and monograms on the reverse of the coin indicating mint of each sample.

Panticapaeum (modern Kerch) staters (the last quarter of the 4th c. B.C.).

5. Panticapaeum staters, about 30-32 pieces, are discovered in Svaneti as a hoard and one in the region of Mingrelia. Obv. Head of bearded satyr with the plush crown, left. Rev. Lion-headed Gryphon, left, wheatear below. The Greek inscription ΠΑΝ – gives us the name of the city.

Syracuse (Sicily), half stater of Hieron II (275/4-216 B.C.).

6. This gold coin was discovered in Vani during archaeological excavations. This is the only case of finding of the coins from the distant Sicily in Georgia. Obv. Head of Persephone, left. Rev. Nike on the phaeton with two horses, right. The Greek legend for the name of Hieron.