Coinage of the two Greek-Illyrian city states
Apollonia and Dyrrhachium
By Gyula Petrányi
Major revisions since 2016 - see dates in the Contents panel
The coinage of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium is a less known chapter in ancient numismatics. Founded by Corcyra, these city states on the east coast of the Adriatic produced parallel series of similar coins during the first four centuries B.C. Except from the probably earliest coin series (the Pegasus-type Corinthian staters), the characteristic coins of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium display devices adopted from Corcyra: the cow with suckling calf on the obverse and a symmetrical geometrical pattern on the reverse, beginning with the staters. The longer, better known drachma series was minted from the end of the 3rd c B.C. until the mid-1st c. under Roman protectorate. The coin above is a typical silver drachma from Apollonia around 64 B.C. Various and town-specific bronze coins were also produced throughout. A large number of cow-calf type drachms from the last phase of their production arrived in the North-East Balkan area, causing much speculation about their role in these far territories.
Following the drachma series and now under direct Roman rule, only Apollonia minted coins. First, pieces in the weight of the Roman denarius with head of Apollo on the obverse and three dancing nymphs on the reverse were produced in the second half of the first c. B.C.; and much later, Roman provincial bronze issues under few emperors.
Many aspects of the Illyrian coinage in the following pages are based on my own observations, published with detailed scientific arguments in the numismatic literature; and some coin pictures have not been published elsewhere. Short explanations help understand numismatic terms for the occasional visitor.
New observations may change earlier suggestions, come back from time to time to see recent developments.