The coinage of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium:
1 December 2022
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 good for orientation.
Hasan Ceka wrote the only monograph on all Illyrian coinages, which has three editions. The first one (Ceka 1965) is in Albanian. In addition to the chapters describing and discussing all Illyrian coinages, several listings contain the coin descriptions, and the plates show samples for each type. Unfortunately, the photos aren't of good quality. The second edition is in French (Ceka 1972) but without pictures. The essential description of the symbols and distinctive features of the coins are also missing. The lists of the name combinations of the Apolloniate and Dyrrhachian drachms is sill in use by museum and auction catalogues despite it is far from complete, contains lapses, and includes several imitations as they were authentic emissions. The third, posthumous work was edited by his son, Neritan Ceka is also in Albanian (Ceka 2008). It is similar to the first edition, but extended mainly with several bronze coin issues. However, the listings don't contain important details of the coins, which are present in the first edition. Therefore one should use these two books together to get out the whole information.
All Dyrrhachian silver coinages are tackled with in a recently published monograph by Albana Meta, following 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 Almost all coins listed are shown on the plates; several from so far unpublished museum collections (Berlin, Paris, Tirana) and many coin pictures in addition to those which have not been shown in the publication (like the British Museum or Vienna collections). Below I review only chapters on the cow/calf type drachms of Meta's book.
The abundance of 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 name combinations from a total of 434 (23%) I recorded and regard authentic Dyrrhachian drachms. Many of these name combinations have been published here and there or hide in important museum collections unseen by her (Budapest, St. Petersburg, Zagreb). Among the coins not listed in Meta's book there are seven obverse names, without which her catalogue and chronology is rather incomplete (that is, around 8% missing of those persons, who, according to her, would determine the time of the issue as the eponymous person): ΑΓΑΘΟΚΛΗΣ, ΑΛΕΚΚΑΣ, ΑΝΔΡΟΝΙΚΟΣ, ΔΑΜΑΤΡΙΟΣ, ΓΕΝΘΙΟΣ, ΚΟΜΩΝ, ΛΕΑΜΗΔΗΣ. Interestingly, except the first two, the other five are listed in Ceka's books. Why were these omitted by her? I have started to put, and if time allows, illustrate more and more of these missing emissions in the chapter of the Dyrrhachian issues.
Albana Meta's methods and conclusions are different from my ones in several aspects:
- The chronological frame for the drachma production (270 - 55 BC) seems to start and ends too early.
- She regards the name on the obverse as the more important for the chronology and the sequence of the drachma issues. The missing obverse names definitely shorten her presently declared number of drachma issues.
- Unlike the usual catalogues, she does not allocate catalogue numbers to the name combinations to find them easily. Only the obverse names are numbered (but there are seven missing ones, as already mentioned). To find a certain name combination one should know first in what chronological group the name on the obverse should be looked for.
- Weaknesses in methodology:
- The best evidence for the time sequence of the coin emissions should come from the meticulous comparison of numerous hoard contents. She uses the simple presence or absence of coins for the comparison. This arbitrarily diminishes the statistical 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 should have been among the final issues of the entire production.
- She does not use appropriate statistical methods to compare the mean weight of the coins. Without this, one cannot draw reliable conclusions. She doesn't recognize the diminishing mean weight of the last issues of the Dyrrhachian drachms, when they replaced the role of the roman republican denarii in the North-East Balkan area.
- In her 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 status in 229 BC. Without this event, could it be possible to start and maintain a local, small-size silver coinage maintaining the weight standard unchanged more than 150 years, unprecedentedly in that troublesome region, and it could even replace the role of the Roman Republican denarii in the North-East Balkan area when the denarii were in short supply?
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.
- Ceka 2008:
- Ceka, H. Monedhat e Dyrrahut dhe të Apollonisë. Academy of Science of Albania, Tirana, 2008.
- 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 trésor de Dimalla 1973 et le passage du monnayage hellénistique au monnayage impérial à 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
- 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.