Silver Stater with an interesting countermark, minted in Selge, Pisidia, Circa 350 BC
On the obverse, two athletes wrestle, grasping each other’s arms with a circular countermark in the shape of a curved triskelion. On the reverse, a slinger advances, about to discharge his shot; in right field, triskelion.
The obverse countermark is similar to reverse types commonly used by the dynasts of Lycia, and could indicate usage in that nearby province.
A triskelion or triskele is a motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs. The triskelion symbol appears in many early cultures, including the earliest known astronomical calendar in Ireland at the famous megalithic tomb of Newgrange (c. 3200 BC, Mycenaean vessels, on coinage in Lycia and on staters of Pamphylia (at Aspendos, 370–333 BC) and Pisidia. It also appears as a heraldic emblem on warriors’ shields depicted on Greek pottery.
Strabo states that Selge was founded by Spartans. It was built on fertile land, producing an abundance of oil and wine. The town was difficult to access, being surrounded by cliffs and streams. Bridges were required to make them passable. Because of its location, excellent laws and Spartan-like warriors, Selge became the most powerful city of Pisidia and at one time was able to send 20,000 men into the battlefield if necessary. Because of this, the Selgians were never subject to any foreign power. When Alexander the Great passed through Pisidia in 333 BC, Selge sent an embassy to him and gained his favour and friendship.
Ancient city of Selge is on the southern slope of Mount Taurus, modern Antalya Province, Turkey.