Obverse legend : M.
Obverse description : Tête de Minerve à gauche.
Reverse description : Dauphin à gauche.
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. Marseille is absolutely not a Celtic or Gallic creation and belongs to the Greek world. Between the fifth and the first century BC, Marseille and its hinterland experiencing unprecedented development. 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 peoples for the benefit of the Marseilles Trade.