The coinage of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium:
Roman provincial issues
Coin example added: 14 May 2018
Contents of this page
The final period of the Greek-Illyrian coin production is during the Roman imperial era, when Apollonia belonged to Macedonia provincia and produced bronze coins in the name of several Roman emperors, wives, and sons; in the mathching standard of the Roman small change. Ususally, the emperor's or his relatives' head, bust, or standig figure. The reverse displays various devices: deities, cornucopia, tripod, temple, emperor on horseback, Apollo sitting and playing harp, or (seldom) the three nymphs dancing. The legends are in Greek on both sides. The obverse shows the name and titles of the displayed person; the reverse points at the Illyrian origin of the coin by the ethnic attribute AΠOΛΛΩNIATAN, in this spelling.
These coins are rare, usually in bad condition (worn, and/or heavily corroded). Ceka's first book (in Albanian)1 describes a lot different pieces; but the richest, developing, and online available source is the Roman Provincial Coinage Online2.
Fractions and multiples of the as were minted: quadrans (quarter as), semis (half as), as, dupondius (double as) and sestertius. Most probably, the coins were hand-struck using hinged dies thus keeping the obverse/reverse axis 6 h or 12 h like in the other mints of the empire.
This is a chronological list of emperors from whom provincial issues minted in Apollonia are known:
Several types are known from his co-emperorship (177-180 AD) under his father Marcus Aurelius but one has an unquestionable relationship to Apollonia Illyrici even the ethnic is just Apollonia (not showing the charteristic genitive plural suffix, -tan): the reverse displays three nymphs dancing (but without fire).
Obv. Laurate bust of young Commodus r. [ΚΟΜΜΟΔω ΑΥΤΟΚΡΑΤ]. Rev. Three nymphs dancing hand in hand, r. one holds torch, l. one wreath. A-Π-O-Λ in field between them, in ex., [ΛΩΝΙΑ] retrograde. 33 mm, 21.9 g, die axis 12 h. BMC 85, RPC Online IV/4575. Badly corroded with dark green patina. Photo with permission of the dealer.
- Septimius Severus
- Julia Domna
3. Literature refernces
- Ceka, H. Probleme të numismatikës ilire. State University, Tirana, 1965.