A Numismatic Riddle from Arykanda: The God of the Water Spring


ADALYA, vol.23, pp.311-341, 2020 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Name: ADALYA
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), International Bibliography of Art
  • Page Numbers: pp.311-341
  • Keywords: Kakasbos, Herakles, Dioskouroi, Helios, Nymphs, Arykanda, Lykia, ANCIENT
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Among the coin types minted for Arykanda under Emperor Gordianus III, there is a new reverse type depicting Kakasbos wearing military attire and a Thracian helmet. His club is lowered, and he is holding the reins of his horse which stands next to him. On Kakasbos's right the horse with its right front hoof is striking a rock from which water flows. The iconography is new for Kakasbos and has never been seen before. In fact, he is always shown riding his horse with his club raised to strike. This article explains why this is an image of Kakasbos and not some other deity. It uses other archaeological finds - epigraphic and iconographic - found during the excavations at Arykanda. The authors also identify the water source meant on the coin type and the cult area that existed next to it at Suyun Gozu, the main source of the Arykandos River.