Coinage of the two Greek-Illyrian city states

Apollonia and Dyrrhachium

By Gyula Petrányi

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Aristen-Psyllou

The coinage of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium is a less known area 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. Following the probably earliest coin series (the Pegasus-type Corinthian staters), the characteristic silver 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 between the end of the 3rd c B.C. and the mid-1st c. when this area was 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 showing signs of further integration of this coinage into the Roman republican system: the silver Apollo denars with head of Apollo on the obverse and three dancing nymphs on the reverse; with silver and bronze fractions during the last decades of the 1st c. B.C. Later, from time to time, few Roman emperors issued provincial bronze coins in Apollonia.

The most elaborate part of this website is on the cow/calf type drachms; but the Apollo denar, the Bronzes, and the Countermarks chapters have been re-working upon finding interesting, so far unpublished pieces.

Many aspects of the Illyrian coinage in the following pages are based on my own observations and scientific methodology; contrasted with other views and stipulation. I am open for debate, send me an email with your counter-arguments, questions, and suggestions.

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