Coinage of the two Greek-Illyrian city states

Apollonia and Dyrrhachium

By Gyula Petrányi

Last modification: 27 January 2018 - see actual 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 obervations and scientific methodology; contrasted with other views and stipulation. I am open for debate, send me an email with your questions and suggestions.

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