Featured Some more Epeiros additions

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Pavlos, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    I have obtained two more Epeiros additions which I am really happy about. First coin is a diobol from the Epeirote league. I have a drachm of this and a diobol is a great addition since it is a quite scarce denomination. The second coin is a rare municipal mint from Ambrakia during the Epeirote League.
    Epeirote League Diobol (234–168 B.C.). Mint ?
    Head of Zeus Dodonaeus right wearing oak wreath, monogram behind.
    Reverse: ΑΠΕΙ - ΡΩΤΑΝ; thunderbolt, oak wreath around.
    1.41g; 14mm

    The mint of these Epeirote League coins is a bit of a mystery. In what city is it minted? Is it Dodona, is it Phoenice or is it Kassope, or who knows another city?

    Phoenice is the capital of the Epirote Republic and makes known municipal bronze coins and it is thought that the federal mintage occurs there as well, because after all it is the capital and the political center.

    However others think the mintage was at Dodona, it's Zeus oracle was considered second only to the oracle of Delphi in prestige. Zeus was worshipped there as Zeus Dodonaeus because of the sacred grove of oaks. Zeus Dodonaeus is the one visible on all the coins of the Epeirote League. Also, King Pyrrhos made Dodona the religious capital of his domain and beautified it by implementing a series of construction projects (i.e. grandly rebuilt the Temple of Zeus, developed many other buildings, added a festival featuring athletic games, musical contests, and drama enacted in a theatre). Wouldn't it be obvious the mintage would be there? Dodona did not make any coins in his name and William Martin Leake takes that as another argument to place the Federal coinage in Dodona.


    However, other scholars disagree and say if Dodona did not make any municipal coins in his name it would be very unlikely it did mint federal currency. They suggest the place of mintage is in Kassope. The style of coins of the federal currency is very much alike the municipal coins of Kassope. Also, the ruins of Kassope are among the most extensive in Northern Greece. However, one of the authors does claim that the didrachms and some drachms of the Epeirote league have a different style than the municipal coins of Kassope and the Kassopaian style federal drachms, indicating there could be multiple mint places.

    In the above picture two coins are seen, the bottom one is the drachm I own, the so called 'Kassopaian style'. On the top the drachm with a different style which the author claims it is most likely from another mint place than Kassope.

    Morale of the story? We don't know yet!

    My other addition:

    Ambrakia Municipal Bronze coin (238–168 B.C.) - Epeirote/Aetolian style. Rare.
    Laurate head of Apollo right.
    Reverse: AMBP; Zeus to right hurling thunderbolt.
    6.75g; 20mm

    Ambrakia is a bit of an interesting town. Originally a Corinthian colony, captured in 338 B.C. by Philip II and after 43 years of occupation it was given by the son of Kassander to Pyrrhos, king of Epeiros in 294 B.C., who made it his capital, and adorned it with a palace, temples and theaters. Since then Ambrakia started to get an "epeirote" identity. Ambrakia was part of the Epeirote League, however because of the position of the city, it was only little under control by the league. Because of this it got some sort of autonomy, and minted both bronze and silver coin in their own name and not in the name of the Epeirote people. During the war of Epeiros with the Aetolian league and Akarnanian league in 220-205 B.C., Ambrakia continuously switched between leagues. That is why 3 types of bronze coins from Ambrakia can be categorized, the Epeirote style, Aetolian style and the Akarnanian style. The Epeirote and Aetolian style are very much alike and are quite impossible to separate from eachother. The Akarnanian style however, is almost identical to the coins from Akarnania and is easily to distinguish, this is because the Akarnanians featured the man-headed bull on their coins. These Akarnanian style coins are very cool and I am actively looking for them, unfortunaltly they are rare and quite pricy.

    On the above municipal Epeirote/Aetolian style coin I purchased is both Zeus (reverse) and Apollo (obverse) visible. Zeus has always have a special position in Epeiros, worshipped as Zeus Dodonaeus, Zeus Naios (god of the spring below the sacred oak in the Dodona sanctuary) and Zeus Bouleus (Counsellor). However, Apollo had a special position in Ambrakia because the sacred conical stone (vaitylion) of the Apollo Ayiéfs (guardian of streets and roadways) is situated there. For this reason, coins from Ambrakia often have the obelisk of Apollo on their coins.

    Drachm from Ambrakia during Epeirote League, extremely rare. On the reverse the sacred conical stone of Apollo is visible.

    I hope you guys like this read into the more "unknown" part of Greek history (since not many people collect coins from Epeiros).
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
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  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

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  4. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Well memo to myself: Don't bother posting anything related to Epeiros anymore. There is little to no interest and after less than 1 day the thread already drowned into page 3. That is not so hard at Forvm but I did not expect that to happen at cointalk.

    And thanks @Bing
  5. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Don't be disheartened.

    This is the time of year where threads move off the first page rapidly due to all of the Top Ten lists. If you have a coin or writeup that is particularly important to you, you might want to save it until the end-of-year outpouring of new threads calms down. Plus, people are scrambling to get ready for traveling and the holidays.
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  6. Nicholas Molinari

    Nicholas Molinari Well-Known Member

    It is also a busy time of year for many. I’d plan to quote Ephorus’ passage on Acheloios at Dodona in full but I have barely had a second to myself.
    Pavlos likes this.
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Once again I have to agree with my big sister. I seem to have plenty of time on my hands, but, really, people are busy this time of year (too busy for me). Give it some time.
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  8. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Great coins Pavlos!
    Pavlos likes this.
  9. Theodosius

    Theodosius Unrepentant Fine Style Freak! Supporter

    Cool writeup and coins. You have given me some new targets! I have been down in the wine cellar all day looking for the perfect amphora of Falerian for tonight's big Saturnalia feast. :)
    Pavlos likes this.
  10. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King Supporter

    Interesting idea for a collection, I think western Greece is little understood, seldom collected and very little loved. That is probably why this thread didn't get the attention it deserved.
    Pavlos likes this.
  11. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    Hi @Pavlos , I read the boards everyday and your post here must have whizzed by because I never saw it. Nice coins you've posted and an excellent write up too.

    I do have an Epeiros but haven't shown it since I don't have any decent pictures, and I haven't researched it at all, but I hope this will help make you feel better:

    EPEIROS, Ambracia. 238-168 BC. AE20 (5.58 g) Veiled head of Dione right / Obelisk in wreath.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  12. Plumbata

    Plumbata Well-Known Member

    That diobol is a lovely coin, nice style and the oak wreath with its cute acorn and the thunderbolt are very appealing. Quality acquisition, I hope to see more Epeirote additions as you continue expanding the collection!
    Pavlos likes this.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Well, it won't slide off the home page quite so quickly.

    Congratulations on your first Featured Article, @Pavlos.
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  14. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King Supporter

    Congratulations on having your article featured!
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  15. jonathan layne

    jonathan layne Well-Known Member

    how much did you pay for your new adition
  16. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    If you want the thread to stick around you have to end with something to encourage easy replies like "Post anything related to the letter A, or any animal, or an emperor who is now dead".

    To keep it going here is a rare magistrate from Ambrakia. This coin came in a 2x2 labeled Abdera and it took me more than 10 years to identify it as the product of Ambrakia.

    ambrakia-both.jpg Ambrakia, 238-168 BC (?), AE17 7.73g
    Obv: Zeus (Dodona?) head right
    Rev: ΑΝΔΡΟΝΙΚ; Griffin crouching right
    Ref: Rollin et Feuardent, Catalogue d'une collection de médailles des rois et des villes de l'ancienne Grèce (1864), #3160 Cf. SNG Copenhagen 35-37 (magistrate), cf. Sear 1968 (magistrate)

    Very thick. Rare magistrate Andronicus, which I haven't found outside Rollin's 150-year-old catalog. Because of the thickness I am suspect this to be older than 238.

    ex-Clark's Ancients, list 119, November 2004, lot 302 (James Lovette collection); attributed to Abdera
    Old ticket saying ex Clark's Ancients, April 1980
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  17. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Actually here is another coin of Epiros, I think, and I need some help with it.

    Epirus, The Molossi, circa 360-330/25 BC, AE17, 2.39g
    Shield with thunderbolt boss / thunderbolt in wreath
    Sear GCV 1979

    This thing is clearly a coin of The Molossi. I bought it because it had a Greek-style lightening bold on both sides. The thing about it is the weight. It is half the weight of every other specimen I checked. What do you think?

    For those who haven't heard of The Molossi... There is a reason. As Wikipedia says: "The Molossians were part of the League of Epirus until they sided against Rome in the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC). The result was disastrous, and the vengeful Romans enslaved 150,000 of its inhabitants and annexed the region into the Roman Republic."
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  18. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Thank you so much! I did not expect it to become featured, I hope people will enjoy the read of the more unknown part of Greek coinage.

    Yes I agree, there are not many people who collect coins from Epeiros, Aetolia and Akarnania. There are so many coins from Epeiros that are extremely rare and not well published. Atleast I hope I can make the folk from the ancient section of cointalk interested in this part of Greece, just to share my numismatic information. I am really excited where this collection will bring me in the future.
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  19. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Very nice coin :) One of the more common types of Ambrakia.

    Great coin, what a rare beauty, with coins from Epeiros it is not uncommon to get a coin that turns out to be a very rare variant or magistrate.

    Nice and interesting coin. I can tell you atleast that it is not a flan fault or anything that the weight is so low. I have seen 2 specimens in the past who also had a weight below 3g. However I never really dived into it as I don't own a coin from the Molossi yet, unfortunately.

    Here is one of the coins that I managed to find back:


    Weight is 2.73g and 16mm.

    I see similarities in style with this coin and yours. What I just noticed is that both your coin and this coin does not have the inscription of the Molossi people (ΜΟΛΟΣΣΩΝ) or King Alexander I of Epeiros around the shield on the obverse, which is normally seen on these type of coins. The style of the coin shows more barbarism, compared to the other specimens of the same type with higher weight this is quite a clumsy piece (yours not really but the speciment above is). I suggest that this is not a national mint, most probably minted by some crude tribe on the marches or who knows in a village.

    I will research further into this tomorrow and later when I have time, who knows my suggestion is completely wrong.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
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  20. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King Supporter

    So @Pavlos , how did you become interested in Epeiros coinage?
  21. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Well, I am an Epeirote myself :)

    However this is not entirely the reason I collect Epeirote coins as my focus. I wanted to have a few coins, but not necessarily making it my main focus. But then I started reading a lot about the ancient history and coinage of Epeiros and it really interested me how many different tribes there are, each with their own coinage and history. And of course the two great kings from Epeiros, Pyrrhos and Alexander I Molossus who both unified Epeiros and gave it a big boost in power, both these kings also have very interesting coins.
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