The coinage of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium:
9 March 2021
Contents of this page
There is neither a complete collection nor a published practical manual for all these coins. It is still interesting to read Maier's article for the summary of the early views on the Apolloniate and Dyrrhachian coins; and his list of the different types are still orientative. Ceka wrote the only monograph on the entire Illyrian coinages, in two editions. The first (Ceka 1965) is in Albanian, containing several coin pictures and lists the symbols on the obverse of the emissions. The second edition is in French (Ceka 1972) but without pictures, and without the essential description of the symbols and distinctive features of the coins. Therefore the usefulness of the French edition (without the Albanian one, which is not easy to find) is limited.
The catalogue numbers of the name combinations in the French edition is commonly used in the literature, also here. However, the list is incomplete, contains errors, and includes several imitations, which are not authentic emissions.
All Dyrrhachian silver coinages are tackled with in a recently published monograph by Albana Meta, based on her 2013 doctoral thesis. This is a huge work that has been the most elaborate publication covering the entire Dyrrhachian silver coinage. The catalogue and the plates are the most valuable parts of the book. Almost all coins listed are shown on the plates; several from so far unpublished collections (Berlin, Paris, Tirana) and many others from published collections, beyond those few displayed in the book (like the British Museum or Vienna collections). Below I review only the chapters on the cow/calf type drachms in detail.
The numerous coin pictures helped me clarify the authenticity of certain rare name combinations for my database. On the other hand, while she did not publish emissions unknown to me, I miss around 100 (23%) from a total of 434 name combinations I recorded and regard authentic. Many of these have actually been published here and there or hide in important museum collections unseen by her (Budapest, St. Petersburg, Zagreb). Among these, there are seven obverse names, without which her catalogue and chronology is rather incomplete (that is, around 8% missing of those persons, who, according her, would determine the time of the issue): ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΗΣ, ΑΛΕΚΚΑΣ, ΑΝΔΡΟΝΙΚΟΣ, ΔΑΜΑΤΡΙΟΣ, ΓΕΝΘΙΟΣ, ΚΟΜΩΝ, ΛΕΑΜΗΔΗΣ. Awkwardly, except the first two, the other five are listed in Ceka's books. Why were these omitted from her book? I have started to put, and if time allows, illustrate more and more of these missing emissions in the tables in the chapter of the Dyrrhachian issues.
Albana Meta's methods and conclusions are different from my ones in several aspects, for example, the chronological frame for the drachma production seems to be too wide; without acceptable supporting evidence. She regards the name on the obverse as the more important for the chronology and sequence of the emissions - the missing obverse names definitely perturb the catalogue numbers.
Unlike to the usual catalogues, she does not give catalogue numbers to the name combinations to find them easily. Only the obverse names are numbered; but to find a name combination one should know in advance in what chronological group the name on the obverse should be looked for.
There is also some weakness in her methodology. The best evidence for the time sequence of the coin emissions must come from the comparison of the hoard contents. Unfortunately, the simple presence or absence of coins arbitrarily diminishes the power of information coming from the numeric representation of the emissions in the hoards. This omission is most striking in the last phase of the drachma production: without real justification, she puts the rarest and least weighing coins at the beginning of the last series, which - indeed - must have been the final issues of the entire production. She does not use proper statistical methods to compare the mean weight of the coins; without this, one cannot draw reliable conclusions from these variables. In the catalogue there are many coins regarded as fourrees, despite their weight is far too high to be a plated coin. She does not pay enough attention to the fact that the region came under Roman protectorate in 229 BC. Without this event, would it be possible to start and maintain a local, small-size silver coinage of unprecedented long duration without true devaluation in that troublesome region, which (by a suddenly blown-up mint output) could even replace the role of the Roman Republican denarii in the North-East Balkan area when the denarii were in short supply for a while? These questions should be resolved by further discussion.
Despite our confronting views and the methodological problems detailed above, the possession of this book is a must for any numismatic library and for all serious students of the Illyrian coinage.
A book on the archaeology and history of Apollonia contains a chapter on the entire Apolloniate numismatics can be a companion to Meta's book; but again, I disagree with the chronology, especially that of the cow/calf type drachms, as detailed in this home page in the relevant chapters, and also in my own publications. The tables list only 74 of the drachma emissions (instead of my findings of around 120), not only for not knowing several, in part, published ones, but regarding different dialectic name variations as the same person diminishes the total number. On the other hand, they list several name combinations from Ceka's catalogue, which are either hybrid imitations or wrongly identified ones (not seen by Ceka himself). A critical review of this approach can be found in my publications (No. 9). The book contains several illustrations of all types of Apolloniate coins.
The richest published collection at present is of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (W) but the coins are not illustrated in the book. Runner-up is the British Museum collection (BMC); unfortunately, with very few pictures in the printed catalogue.
Early, but still very useful articles on the Greek-Illyrian coins, emissions, and name combinations can be found in Austrian, Bosnia-Herzegovinian and Croatian numismatic journals, by Patsch, Brunschmied, and Münsterberg.
The Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum series describes and illustrates the contents of several museum collections from many countries; of which the richest in Illyrian material is SNG Tübingen followed by SNG Copenhagen. Almost all other SNGs contain some Illyrian coins. Not in this series, but a similar publication contains a very rich Illyrian material of the Osijek Museum in Croatia.
Ceka's attempt for the chronological classification of the drachms was improved by Conovici. His and Melinda Torbágyi's suggestions gave fundamental inspiration to my work on the Greek-Illyrian coinage, the results of which can be found in this website. Further details of methodology and supporting arguments are in my published articles
2. General literature references
- Maier, A. Die Silberprägung von Apollonia und Dyrrhachion. Numismatische Zeitschrift 41 (Neue Folge 1), 1908, 1-33.
- Ceka 1965:
- Ceka, H. Probleme të numismatikës ilire. State University, Tirana, 1965.
- Ceka 1972:
- Ceka, H. Questions de numismatique illyrienne. State University, Tirana, 1972.
- Meta, Albana. Le monnayage en argent de Dyrrachion 375-60/55 av. J.-C. École française d'Athènes 2015.
- Gjongecaj, S, Picard, O. Les Monnaies d'Apollonia. In: Apollonia d'Illyrie 1. Atlas archeologique et historique. Collection de l'École française de Rome 391, 2007, 81-106.
- Schlosser, J. Beschreibung der altgriechischen Münzen. I. Thessalien, Illyrien, Dalmatien und die Inseln des Adriatischen Meeres, Epeiros. A. Holzhausen, Vienna, 1893.
- Gardner, P. A catalogue of the Greek coins in The British Museum. Vol. 7: Thessaly to Aetolia. London, 1883. Also, in reprint edition: A. Forni, Bologna, 1963.
- SNG Tb:
- Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. Deutschland. Münzsammlung der Universität Tübingen. Vol. 2. Taurische Chersones - Korkyra. Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1982.
- SNG Cop:
- Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum. The Royal Collection of coins and medals, Danish National Museum. Part 11: Thessaly-Illyricum. Copenhagen, 1943. Also in a 8-band reprint edition: Vol.3: Greece, Thessaly to Aegean islands. Sunrise Publications, New Jersey 1982.
- Göricke-Lukiċ, H. Grčki, grčko-kolonijalni i keltski novac iz Muzeja Slavonije Osijek. Osijek, 2004.
- Conovici, N. Cultura şi civilizaţie la Dunarea de Jos. Calarasi 1 (1985) 35-43.
- Torbágyi, Melinda. Umlauf der Münzen von Apollonia und Dyrrhachium im Karpatenbecken. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Numismatic Congress. Vol. 1, 119-122. Louvain-la-Neuve 1993.
4. Hoards mentioned in the chapters
- Gjongecaj S, Picard, O. Le trÃ©sor de Dimalla 1973 et le passage du monnayage hellÃ©nistique au monnayage impÃ©rial Ã Apollonia d'Illyrie. Bulletin de Correspondance HellÃ©nique 122 (1998) 511-527
- Gjongecaj, S. Le trésor de Lleshan (Elbasan). Revue Numismatique 163 (2007) 712-713 + Pl XXV-XXXVIII
- Gjongecaj S. Le Trésor de Kreshpan (Albanie). Revue Numismatique 153 (1998) 81-102 + 7 pl
3. My publications
- Petrányi, G. Comments on the chronology of the final minting period of the Apollonian-Dyrrhachian drachms. Bulletinul Societatii Numismatice Romane 86-87 (1992-1993) 67-75.
- Petrányi, G. Contemporary imitations of Dyrrhachian cow-calf drachms. Numizmatikai Közlöny 92-93 (1993-1994) 109-111.
- Petrányi, G. On the position of the Aibatios/Chairenos issue in the sequence of Apollonian drachms. Studii şi cercetari de numismatica 11 (1995) 59-63.
- Petrányi, G. Relative chronology of the drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium in the final period of minting. Numizmatikai Közlöny 94-95 (1995-1996) 3-18 + 2 Pl.
- Petrányi, G. Gardens of Alkinoos: Fact or fiction? On the reverse pattern of the silver coins from Corcyra, Apollonia and Dyrrhachium. The Celator, November 1998, 22-24.
- Petrányi, G. Apollonia és Dyrrhachium drachmaverése [Drachm minting of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium] [in Hungarian]. Az Érem 58 (2002/2) 10: 1-6.
- Petrányi, G. Srebrne drahme Apolonije i Dirahiona [Silver drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium] [in Serbo-Croatian]. Dinar (1998) 10: 6-8.
- Petrányi, G. The Greek-Illyrian drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium - trade coins for the North-Eastern Balkan region in the early phase of the 1st century BC? Bulletin du Cercle D'etudes Numismatiques 43 (2006) 263-267.
- Petrányi, G. Which name represents the eponymous magistrate on the drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium? Numizmatikai Közlöny 106-107 (2007-2008) 75-82.
- Petrányi, G.: Cow-calf type Greek-Illyrian drachms: chronological questions. Journal of Abgadiyat (2010/5) 28-32.
- Petrányi, G.: Cow/calf type Greek-Illyrian drachms: Problems and facts. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Numismatic History and Economy in Epirus during antiquity. Kerma 3 (2013) 77-86 + Pl. 9.