The coinage of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium:

Bronze coins

24 September 2022

Contents of this page

  1. Introduction
  2. Apollonia
  3. Dyrrhachium

1. Introduction

Bronze coins were the small change for the everyday, small transactions. Despite the monetary alliance of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium for the cow-calf type silver coins (staters and drachms), the bronze coins were not part of this: they display town-specific features and are of different weight standards. The low intrinsic value pieces were not accepted outside the borders of the city states. Hoards are rare, some will be tackled with in the sections below.

Bronze coins corrode easily in aggressive (acidic) soil unless a resistant patina protects them. Few pieces have been preserved in fully identifiable condition. Ceka suggested that the bronze pieces were produced during the drachma period1, that is acceptable to me, too (208 - 48 BC). It is plausible that those with names were struck during the year of the matching names on the reverse of he drachms; and those without name were the earliest ones.

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2. Apollonia

All Apolloniate bronze coins display the ethnic in full, ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΙΑΤΑΝ. Beware, if the last vowel is omega, the coin was not produced in Illyrian Apollonia.

  1. Artemis - tripodArtemis-tripod

    Obv. Head of Artemis to right, wearing stephane and earring. Rev. Tripod-lebes; all in laurel wreath. AΠOΛΛΩ/NIATAN (APOLLO/NIATAN). 9.4 g, 20.7 mm. BMC 47.

  2. Demeter/tripod
  3. Dionysos/cornucopia
  4. Apollo/obelisk
  5. Apollo/lyre
  6. Athena/thunderbolt
  7. Apollo/three nymphs
  8. Roman provincional types

The Apollo/obelisk and the Apollo/lyre types are present in the Dimalla hoard among the so far richest find of Apollo denars2, in two different modules. Those displaying head of Apollo to left with name anticlockwise left in field on the obverse and border of dots on the reverse, and the Apollo/three nymphs types belong to the era of the Apollo denars, therefore they are dealt with in chapter of the Apollo denars; and the provincial types in the Roman provincial issues.

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3. Dyrrhachium

  1. Zeus/tripod. Obv. Head of Zeus to r. Rev. Tripod lebes between name in two parts, ΔΥΡ below. This is the most frequent Dyrrhachian bronze type. Almost all known varieties were found in two temple urns, see the Elbasan hoard3.Since the names on these pieces correspond with those found on the reverse of the cow/calf type silver drachms (eponymous persons from Class D2 till D5), I conclude that these bronze pieces were produced as the small change of the drachms, almost throughout. Their average weight is around 5 g and the diametre is around 17 mm.
  2. Herakles/arms. Smaller module. Obv. Head of young Heracles wearing lion skin facing L or R. Rev. Bow, club, and quiver. Legend can be ΔΥΡ usually within bow. A name can also appear in two parts, above and under club, in the genitive case. Those with names can be regarded the later ones.
  3. Helios/prow
  4. Aphrodite/eagle. Found exclusively with the name ΓΑΙΟΣ, a Latin name (Gaius).
  5. Nike/palm and bunch of grapes. Probably was minted during the civil was 49/48 BC.

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Ceka, H. Questions de numismatique illyrienne. State University, Tirana, 1972.

Gjongecaj S, Picard, O. Le trésor de Dimalla 1973 et le passage du monnayage hellénistique
au monnayage impérial é  Apollonia d'Illyrie. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique
122 (1998) 511-527

Gjongecaj, S. Le trésor de Lleshan (Elbasan). Revue Numismatique 163 (2007)
712-713 + Pl XXV-XXXVIII
  1. http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/

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