Obverse description : Tête de Minerve à droite, coiffée du casque corinthien.
Obverse legend : MAS.
Reverse description : Guerrier debout.
MASSALIA - MARSEILLE
(Ve - first century BC)
Marseille, the "Massalia" Greeks, founded by the Phoenicians in 600 J. C-. Is born from the desire to promote Greek trading posts in order to compete with the Carthaginians and Etruscans for dominance of the western Mediterranean. The foundation of the city's mythological. When the young OM, Protis, an expedition leader, addressed in a creek, he was received by nannos king of Segobriges and married his daughter Gyptis. Greek received as dowry a cove around the Lacydon natural port on the current location of the Old Port. Marseille is absolutely not a Celtic or Gallic creation and belongs to the Greek world. With its metropolis, the colony grew and received a booster of population from its metropolis with people fleeing the Persian threat in the early Persian Wars (494-479 before J. C-. ). Greeks mastered perfectly the rules of maritime navigation and trade counters or implanted colonies on the western coast of the Mediterranean Emporium (Aumpurias) in Nikaia (Nice) through Agathe (Agde), Olbia (Hyères) and Antipolis (Antibes), not to mention that of Alailia (Aleria, Corsica), founded in 565 before J. C-. The Massaliotes tried with varying success to trade with the hinterland and salyennes tribes. Nevertheless they founded outposts of Avenio (Avignon) and Cavaillo (Cavaillon). Between the fourth and the first century before J. C-. , Gulf of Lion is often compared to the Gulf OM which shows the role played by merchants and sailors of Massalia. Marseille from the outset faces a double danger that will his strength inside, she must fight against the Ligurian native tribes outside, she must confront the Carthaginian naval power which extends its hegemony over the islands of the western Mediterranean, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and the Balearic Islands. Political power is in the hands of a Greek oligarchy composed of the Council of Fifteen and a Boulé six hundred members. Very early, in the sixth century, Massaliotes placed themselves under the protection Delphian Apollo and Artemis, which are found on the coins of the city. A temple dated before 530 J. C-. , Dedicated to Apollo, has also been found in excavations from 1967. Taking Phocaea by the Persians around 540 before J. C-. , Made Marseille a metropolis that soon swarmed throughout the western Mediterranean, despite the Carthaginian presence and market competition of the Etruscans. Between the fifth and the first century BC, Marseille and its hinterland experiencing unprecedented development. Marseille enjoyed great prosperity in the fifth century before J. C-. Through a period of tranquility in the western Mediterranean after the Carthaginian defeat at Himera in 480 J. C-. The Etruscans were defeated in turn by the Syracusans at Cumae. For nearly seventy years massaliotes ships could quietly roam the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The case of Sicily in 413 before J. C-. and the Athenian and Carthaginian intervention accompanied by the destruction of Agrigento, led to a serious conflict that lasted half a century and spread to the Great Greece (Southern Italy). The fourth and third centuries BC appear to be a difficult period marked by economic recession Marseille. The Carthaginians are proving to be formidable competitors in both Western and Eastern, Mediterranean. The fall of Athens, political and economic problems of Sicily and Syracuse in particular, have affected the trade massaliote. In Gaul, in Marseille hinterland, the city faces incursions Ligurian tribes. Opposed to Carthage, very early Massaliotes seek friendship of the Romans (before the beginning of the first Punic War). Marseille provide triremes and other quinqueremes their Roman ally. However, in the early third century BC, they saw a dim view of the conquest of southern Italy (Magna Grecia) by the Romans, which ends by taking Taranto in 272 before J. C-. The rise of Rome from the first Punic War (268-241 before J. C-. ) And the strategic choice of Marseille, who plays Rome against Carthage, will return in the second half of the third century BC, Massalia a leading role in international trade in the western Mediterranean. The second century BC marked the decline of Marseille. Privileged ally of the Romans, Marseille, thanks to them, succeeded in imposing its authority in Marseille hinterland. The Romans, stopping the Cimbri and Teutons, saved southern Gaul invasions. From 118 before J. C-. The situation changes and becomes a Roman province Provincia. Marseille merchants compete with Roman traders in Spain, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Nevertheless, they remain allies of the Romans until the first century BC. This is the beginning of the civil war between Caesar Pompey before 49 J. C-. which will be fatal to the city. Marseille was not able to choose between the two protagonists. Caesar besieged and took the city may suffer as its means of communication between Gaul and Italy can be cut. Fleet of Marseille was too important for it to fall into the hands of his mortal enemy, Pompey. Conquered the city was still not sacked and remained an important port at the beginning of Roman rule. Greek remained, it was never really assimilated to Roman Gaul and kept a sort of independent status, mixed cosmopolitanism where all religions crossed all races for the benefit of the Marseilles Trade.