Featured The Great Transformation:Meadows

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by NewStyleKing, May 17, 2020.

  1. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    The Great Transformation.Civic Coin Design in the Second Century BC
    (Plates XL-XLVIII)
    Andrew M

    In 2001 Jonathan Williams and I published an article in which we examined the phenomenon of the paradigm shift in coin design at the mint of Rome, which seems to have begun around the 130s BC. At this point the traditional designs of the denarius began to be abandoned in favour of an annually changing series of designs, which tended to be based on the familial history of the moneyers responsible for the coinage. This was something distinctly Roman, we suggested,to do on the one hand with the relationship between the concepts of money and memory inherent in the identity of Moneta, a word which meant both remembrance, mint (and by extension money), and on the other hand between the strongly familial nature of political competition in the Republic of the second century BC. The spur to this change at Rome is perhaps to be seen in the widening imperial horizons of the Republic in the second half of the second century BC, the attendant social upheaval that this occasioned in the city of Rome, and the threat this began to create to the established political order.
    As we composed that paper, we looked briefly to the Greek world to see if we could detect any similar shift in behaviour in Greek coins, but it was immediately apparent that this personal or familial element was essentially absent from Greek coin designs. Nonetheless, in this paper I want to suggest that there was a paradigm shift in Greek coinage in the second century BC. This did not manifest it selfin the form of the iconographic preoccupations of individuals or families, but

    Professor of Ancient History and Tutorial Fellow, New College, Oxford. OX1 3BN. UnitedKingdom. andrew.meadows@new.ox.ac.uk.1. M

    rather in a new view of communal identity, which may be witnessed in other aspects of civic behaviour in the same period.As will become clear, there is a massive body evidence to be considered, far beyond the scope of this short paper, so I shall try to give first an overview of the phenomenon, second to examine some particularly instructive cases, and finally to suggest how the numismatic material fits against a broader backdrop of evidence during this period.
    The basic nature of the Transformation of Greek coin design that took place in the second century BC can most simply be appreciated by examining a few specific cases. We may begin with one of the most familiar, that of Athens. The archaic, classical and early Hellenistic coinage of Athens is familiar almost to the point of banality (Pl. XL, 1). Through a period of 300 years or so it underwent some stylistic change, but the basic conception remained remarkably constant.But in c. 164/3 BC, (Pl. XL, 2) the Athenians began the production of a New Style coinage, with a clear change in design. The basic types remain the same, but the execution is completely different. Athena’s head is now treated in exquisite detail,such that most have been tempted to see in this new depiction a rendering of the head of Pheidias’ statue.
    Whatever the model, the effect is certainly more specific than the generic portrayals of the earlier coinage. The reverse is completely encircled in a wreath — the detail that is perhaps most frequently noted of these coins, and which gave rise to their nickname of “stephanephoroi”.
    The wreath, of course, is of olive and is surely to be connected with the other new feature of the reverse design: the owl now stands on an amphora, generally assumed to represent one of the prize amphorae from the Panathenaic Games. The combined effect of these two new designs is surely to make us think not only of a specific,Athenian manifestation of Athena, but also of her temple on the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and her great games and festival, the Panathenaia. Athena and her


    owl have changed from the plain canting types of the early coinage, to bear more specific meanings about the city and its relationship to its goddess.In this development the Athenians were far from alone. Chalcis and Eretriain Euboea, almost simultaneously with Athens, it would seem, struck brief seriesof coinage on a similar model.
    The issues of Chalcis (Pl. XL, 3) are characterized by a unique portrayal of Hera wearing a veil on the obverse, while on the revers ethe goddess appears driving a chariot. This is a phenomenon that becomes widespread in a number of coinages that we shall consider below: a deity shown full figure. There is no question here of a simple head, or a cult statue, but ratherHera is shown in action. As in the case of Athens, the difference from the earlier coinage of the city (Pl. XL, 4) is quite marked.
    Eretria (Pl. XL, 5), on the otherhand went for a sumptuous depiction of the goddess Artemis, and on the reverse a sacrificial, filleted bull, as there had been on earlier Eretrian coinage (Pl. XL, 6),but here shown in its entirety. Further north in Thrace, again probably in the 160s, two more cities would transform their coinage. Thasos (Pl. XL, 7) and Maroneia (Pl. XL, 8) both abandoned past coin designs (Pl. XLI, 9 and 10) to produce coinage on a pattern that is beginning to become familiar.
    On the obverse of both is a detailed rendering of Dionysus. For Thasos this is the replacement for an earlier portrait; for Maroneia it is new. The reverses of both coins are similar too in conception. At Thasos we find a standing, statuesque figure of Herakles; at Maroneia we have Dionysus in similar posture but in place of a club he holds grapes, and where Herakles holds a lion’s pelt, Dionysus has a cloak. But, as much as the designs of these coins, it is the legends that strike us. In addition to giving the impression that we are looking at figures based on specific depictions or statues, the coins explicitly tell us about the relationship between the cities and their deity and hero, for they have not just an ethnic, but also the name of the god and his local epithet: ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΘΑΣΙΩΝ andΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΑΡΩΝΙΤΩΝ. These two figures represent not just t
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    For those interested I posted a small portion of Andrew's paper above which is totally available on his academia.edu page. Really interesting. I like articles that go with my collecting sphere not pure cataloguing which is only many collector's aim which is related to the great grading debates and nothing really to do with numismatics.
  4. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    These two figures represent not just the guardians of the cities,
    but their saviours. These basic patterns of elaborate ‘portraits’ of deities, full figure depictions,and concentration on specific local cult or association with the issuing city are repeated on almost 40 coinages, that all seem to begin in or after the decade 170-160 BC (see Table 1).

    There are, of course, differences among these issues. Some have wreaths on the reverse, some do not; some have gods on the reverse, some do not; some have legends naming the gods, others do not. And there has been a tendency in past examinations of these types to break them down by such typological distinctions.
    As a result, there has been little attempt to consider this group of coins as whole.However, they all share obvious technical characteristics such as spread or hammered flans, or at least dies that are smaller than the flans on which they are used;
    their Attic weight standard; increased elaboration in the ‘portraiture’ of the obverse; and a tendency to frame reverse types with wreaths or legends. And almost all of the coins that can be reasonably firmly dated by hoard evidence seem to belong between c. 175 and 140 BC, that is to say within a generation.
    There is, clearly, a danger that if we artificially break these coinages down into groups on the basis of certain design features we miss a broad, sweeping transformation that has its roots much deeper than the choices of those design features.But while we may be able to identify a broad movement that extends from mainland Greece through Thrace to Western Asia Minor, it is equally clear that the design decisions taken are fundamentally local. In this respect, I think, they exemplify a tension visible elsewhere in this volume between explanations that may be universally applicable for coin design choices, and those that focus on the individual circumstances of the issuing state. It is a tension we also see in the distinction articulated in a famous passage of Plato’s
    , where the philosopher proposes that we may distinguish coinage that is ‘Hellenic’, use able ‘internationally’ in the Greek world (Ἑλληνικὸν νόμισμα ἕνεκά τε στρατειῶν καὶ ἀποδημιῶνεἰς τοὺς ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους) from that which is ‘epichoric’ (τὸ ἐπιχώριον),designed for local use only.
    So to investigate the Great Transformation that I have just outlined in these civic coinages, we need to keep one eye on the local and one eye on the more general historical circumstances behind them. To begin with I want to take a look at some of the local circumstances in cases where there seems to be some surviving epigraphic and literary evidence.
  5. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    A particularly intriguing case is provided by the mint of Knidos, some time probably in the second quarter of the second century (Pl. XLVI, 39). The traditional Knidian types of Aphrodite and a lion (Pl. XLVI, 40) are abandoned.Instead, on the obverse appears a distinctively rendered head of Apollo; but it is the reverse that captivates the attention. Here we see a standing figure of Artemis,fully draped and apparently holding a bowl. At her feet stands a stag. As we have long known from Knidian inscriptions the local cult was of Artemis Hyakinthotrophos, and this must be her.
    We have, then, a representation of a distinctive local deity. But what lifts this type out of the ordinary is that we have in this design not one, but two depictions of the deity. For, in addition to the anthropomorphized depiction of the goddess, we can see that she is resting her left elbow on an archaic cult statue—presumably her own (Pl. XLVII, 41).
    What is going on here? Why are there two depictions: one of the goddess in ‘human’form, the other of her object of cult reverence at Knidos? The answer, I think, can be found in a pair of inscriptions from Kos, published by G. Pugliesi-Caratelli in 1987. They record a diplomatic exchange between the cities of Kos and Knidos,which the editor dated, on the basis of letter forms, to around the beginning of the second century.
    The city of Knidos had apparently sent out embassies to its neighbours and allies announcing that they had added an extra title to the name of their goddess: she was now to be known as Artemis Hyakinthotrophos Goddess Epiphanes (‘θεὸν Ἐπιφανῆ’), on account of a recent epiphany. As part of this process, the Knidians had established a penteteric festival in her honour and sent to Delphi for recognition of the festival as Isopythian. The Koans responded favourably to the Knidian request and presumably were not the only ones to do so.The occasion of the epiphany is not recorded, however it is more than likely that this occurred during a period of military conflict, and all commentators on these inscriptions have assumed that it must have occurred during the attack on the city by Philip V in 201 BC.
    Artemis presumably appeared and saved the city from conquest. In this extraordinary coin type, I would suggest, we can see the engraver’s attempt to show the goddess Artemis manifest (Epiphanes, in the human figure) protecting her cult statue and, by metonymy, the whole city of Knidos. We cannot say for certain that this coin was struck in the immediate aftermath of the epiphany, or, for example, the first celebration of the games. It might be tempting to suggest this; but the point I want to make is more general.In this particular case, the Knidians’ choice of coin type seems to exist in the
    same realm of civic activity as the recognition of their local deity, and of their establishment of an international festival in her honour. In this respect, the unique coin from Knidos in fact seems to fall into a shift in pattern of civic behaviour we can identify elsewhere. In two classic articles Angelos Chaniotis has drawn attention to two parallel phenomena in the Hellenistic period: the rise of the civic festival (sich selbst feiern) and an increased theatrical dimension to the transaction of civic activity in the same period; and in a recent book Verity Platt has emphasised the role that epiphanies of gods play at the intersection of these two movements.
    Knidos is one place where the epiphany of the god led to the establishment of a major festival, but it is not the only one.The same had happened slightly earlier at Magnesia on the Meander, where the epiphany of Artemis Leukophryene led to an international campaign (the record of which survives in inscriptions) to seek recognition of the goddess’sanctuary and her games as isopythian.
    The early second century saw also the construction of a new temple, and the establishment of a festival of Eisiteria to mark the goddess’ installation in her new home.
    And so, on the coinage of the second century we find Artemis brought to prominence, in contrast to the earlier coinage of the city where she is nowhere visible (cf. Pl. XLV, 31 and 32). Similarly at Kolophon, an epiphany of Apollo Klarios seems to have led to the establishment of a penteteric festival around the end of the third century.
    Again,we can see the adaptation of earlier types of the city with generic Apollonian types to ones of greater detail (cf. Pl. XLV, 28-29). We might note here that Apollo is depicted full figure and standing, but since we know that this cannot represent the cult statue of Apollo Klarios (which was seated),
    it is tempting to suggest that we may again have a depiction of the epiphany. And, of course, there is Pergamon (Pl. XLII, 18), where an epiphany of the goddess Athena has been taken to have given rise to the city’s cult of Athena Nikephoros.
    While the coins of Knidos, Magnesia, Kolophon and Pergamon might allude to epiphanies, an issue of Klazomenai, that has only recently been recognised as such, is much more explicit (Pl. XLIV, 27). On the obverse appears a striking head of Zeus, and on the reverse the standing figure of an Amazon. The legend,however, draws us back to the obverse: ΔΙΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣKΛΑΖΟ. This coin claims to be of the people of Klazomenai and of Zeus Soter Epiphanes (or perhaps of the Zeus Soter Epiphanes of the Klazomenians). We know nothing of the occasion of the epiphany, although since it was of Zeus Soter, it is perhaps plausible to suggest again that this occurred in a time of war. I have suggested elsewhere that we might see the circumstances in a war between Klazomenai and Temnos that is epigraphically attested to have taken place in the first half of the second century.
    Irrespective of the specific circumstances, how-ever, we are left with a very clear case of a coinage that makes explicit reference to a specific deity and his relation to the city. One cannot help but be reminded of the coinages of Thasos and Maroneia we have already noted, which share similar forms of legends: ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΘΑΣΙΩΝ (of Herakles Soter [and?]of the Thasians) and ΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΜΑΡΩΝΙΤΩΝ (of Dionysus Soter[and?] of the Maroneians) (Pl. XL, 7-8). In these cases it is unclear whether a reference to a specific act of Soteria is being referred to, but the attempt seems to be being made to refer to a specific cult within the cities. This is in contrast, as we have noted, to the more generic references we find earlier on the coinages of these cities.Other examples of such specific reference, alongside similarly statuesque representations are not difficult to find. So at both Parion and Alexandria Troas(Pl. XLII, 17 and Pl. XLIII, 20) we have standing figures of Apollo. At the former city he is depicted holding a bow at his feet and laurel branch in his outstretched hand, at the latter he holds the bow up, but carries a bowl in his right hand. The difference in representation is explained in the legend. At Parion we haveΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΟΣ ΑΚΤΑΙΟΥ ΠΑΡΙΑΝΩΝ—Apollo Actaeus of the Parians; at Alexandria we have ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΟΣ ΣΜΙΘΕΩΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝ—Apollo Smintheus of the Alexandrians. Closely connected to these in style are the coins of Ilion, where the deity is Athena, described as ΑΘΗΝΑΣ ΙΛΙΑΔΟΣ—Athena Ilias(Pl. XLIII, 21). In all these cases we are told quite explicitly that these are representations of the local deity.There is, of course, another explicit way to identify the representation of a deity as being that of specific cult, and that is to represent the statue itself unambiguously. We have already seen one example of this at Knidos(Pl. XLVII, 41). Another stunning instance can be found on another unique coin,this time of Samos (Pl. XLVI, 37). Here we have a head of Zeus on the obverse and what is clearly the archaic cult statue of Hera on the reverse. This needs no labelling—ΣΑΜΙΩΝ will suffice.
    A similar case can be made for the distinctive representation of Dionysus on the wreathed issues of Mytilene (Pl. XLIV, 26).
    But perhaps the most extraordinary example comes from Apollonia Pontica,(Pl. XLI, 14) where the die-engraver has gone out of his way to make it clear that he is representing a statue, and a big one at that. Here we have Apollo Iatros, duly labelled (ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΟΣ ΙΑΤΡΟΥ) standing on a truncated pedestal. The laurel he holds is lifted above its usual depiction as a single branch to take on the appearance of an entire tree. As it happens, we have literary testimony to the identity of the statue, the work of Calamis (at a reputed cost of 500 talents), and to the prominent place it took within the city.
    Prior to its removal by Lucullus this colossal statue, with a height of 30 cubits (45 ft = 13.7m) was a major land-mark within the city.And even where the representation may not be absolutely certain to us,because the cult statue is lost, we should bear in mind that there may be other cases where the identity would have been obvious to the ancient citizen of the issuing city. One obvious candidate here is the coinage of Kos, with the depiction of Asclepius standing leaning on his snake staff (Pl. XLVII, 44). Like the coinage of Samos, this first turns up in a hoard of the late 160s, and so both have every chance of being contemporary with the Artemis coin of Knidos.
    Lest we become fixated with statues, we might compare the circumstances of the wreathed tetradrachms of Cyzicus (Pl. XLII, 15). Louis Robert first suggested that the issue of these was connected with the reorganisation of the Cyzicene festival of Kore Soteira, which is attested in inscriptions from Delos and Delphi, where the gods declared the festival holy and perhaps Panhellenic. The coins cannot
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
  6. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    belong to the precise period of reorganisation, since it now seems that this took place during the reign of Philip V,
    i.e. before 179 BC, whereas the coinage seems to date from the late 170s or early 160s at the earliest.
    However, the recent redating of a Rhodian inscription recognising the
    Soteria to some time between169 and 167 BC shows that the diplomatic activity surrounding the recognition of the festival carried on for some time and into the period in which we can comfortably date the beginning of the coinage.
    The important point to stress is that, at the city of Cyzicus, the period of the creation of this new style of coin coincides with one in which the city was upgrading its civic festival and embarking upon a major, international effort to have this recognized. Finally we can return to Athens, which inaugurated its wreathed coinage perhaps 10-15 years later. As Julia Shear has put it:
    In 167, the Roman Senate rewarded the Athenians with control of Delos,Lemnos, Imbros, and Skyros…. Delegations from these four islands very probably took part in the succeeding Great Panathenaia in 166/5. The importance of the celebration and its clear association with the identity of the city may be seen in the introduction at just this time of Athenian new-style coinage which, on the reverse, showed an owl standing on a horizontal Panathenaic amphora and surrounded by an olive crown. Although this new type may be connected with the political events of the 160’s, it could equally have been intended to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Great Panathenaia and it emphasised the close connection between the city, the goddess, and the festival.
    In fact, although the Great Panathenaia of 162 occurred at a remarkable confluence of Athenian good fortune and a major anniversary, the games had been growing for a while. In particular, the tribal hippic events had increased to 4 by 182/1 BC, and were further augmented with horse races and the four-horse chariot in 178/7 BC, and a second set of tribal events in the hippodrome and in the Great games of 162/1 theatrical contests were added to the festival. AsS.V. Tracy and C. Habicht, writing of these years have put it, the Athenians chose… to use the Panathenaia to showcase their city and to remind their contemporaries of Athens’ role as the cultural leader of the Hellenic world. In response to their invitation, professional athletes, influential politicians, royal ministers and generals, queens and kings flocked to Athens or sent their horses, jockeys, and chariots.
    The advent of the New Style coinage thus falls within a period of significant augmentation of the festival to which it seems to refer in its reverse type.
  7. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    I have suggested that there was a Great Transformation in coin design in the second quarter of the second century BC, and that by consideration of specific types against their specific civic historical background, we can begin to ‘read’these coinages and the messages that their issuers sought to convey. But, if this reading is correct, we cannot deny that this was, at the same time, a movement that was bigger than the individual city. Although their preoccupations were local, these coinages form part of a much broader shift in civic self-representation that is observable in other areas such as the appearance of gods to groups of citizens, the development of cults and attendant festivals and, we might add, the requests for recognition of Asylia that frequently accompanied the announcement of such festivals on the international stage. In this sense, therefore, it is important that we view this ‘Great Transformation’ in coin design against a broader background than merely coinage.But here we return to the tension noted earlier between local and general explanations for iconographic choices. In this context we must consider the question that has been posed by the editors of this volume about issuers and audience, intent and reception. The types I have been discussing were local, polis-driven, and at that level capable of explanation at the local level, but in seeking to explain these choices we cannot ignore the more general phenomenon: the fact that it occurred in multiple cities at more or less the same time. Two major interrelated questions (at least) require answer: first, why now, in and shortly after the 160s BC? And, second why did
    coinage respond in this particular way?These questions are susceptible to two types of answer. On the one hand we may appeal to general historical circumstances. A broad change in the political environment was taking place in Greece and Asia Minor in the 170s and 160s BC.Traditional models of monarchy were disappearing; Rome was arriving; and cities were becoming independent, some for the first time in living memory. As Polybius famously put it, “In the 149th Olympiad (184-180 BC) a greater number of embassies came to Rome from Greece than had ever been seen before”.
    We may explain the growth of civic cults, and their fierce promotion by the cities they graced as the result of a peer-polity interaction of a particularly competitive kind.In this environment kings, leagues, other cities and perhaps, above all, Romans had to be convinced of the antiquity, venerability and Panhellenic importance of a city’s festival. Against this background we can read the Transformation of coinage as part of this promotional activity. On this somewhat modernistic interpretation, the issuers of the new iconography were the cities qua cities, and the audience was external.But I am personally reluctant to reduce Greek religious expression to such entirely instrumental interpretation. Epiphanies were not invented; belief in a local deity was not a matter of choice or convenience. The local cult was part of local identity and the recognition of that cult through ritual acts and service was part of what bound the
    polis together. In this sense we might view the issuers of these coins as the communal whole of the city, but the audience as being the same communal whole. The designs chosen served as communal self-reinforcement in a period of communal crisis of identity.Another form of explanation that we may pursue is numismatic, and can be appreciated most clearly if we turn to one aspect of the Great Transformation that I have not yet outlined: a significant number of the cities we have surveyed had in fact recently issued Attic weight coinage before the Great Transformation,but they had done so in the form of posthumous Alexanders or Lysimachi. So, for example, Cyzicus, Lampsakos, Parion, Alexandria Troas, Tenedos, Kyme,Myrina, Mytilene, Klazomenai, Kolophon, Lebedos, Magnesia, Miletos, Priene,Smyrna, Teos, Samos, Alabanda, Knidos, Kos and Phaselis.
    But by the mid 150s all of these coinages had ceased, to be replaced by the new, civic types.Here once more, we return to our tension between the local and the general.These posthumous royal coinages had been Hellenic coinages, wherein local identity had been suppressed in favour of universal acceptability. Types were chosen on the basis of the economic message they conveyed. The extraordinary feature of the second century post-Transformation issues is that economically they were no different from the Alexanders they followed, either in intent or,apparently, behaviour. They were Attic weight coins, and circulated far beyond their cities of issue.
    So they were both epichoric in design and Hellenic in nature. What seems to have happened is that the issuers of these coins were now free to ignore one audience for their coins, and concentrate on another.So we have to ask why these cities abandoned such convenient ‘Hellenic’designs in favour of their new esoteric, locally motivated types. And how did coinage come to be the place for the expression of such local religious concerns?
  8. NewStyleKing

    NewStyleKing Beware of Greeks bearing wreaths Supporter

    Here we must introduce one final piece of the numismatic puzzle: the parallel development that occurred in royal coinage at the same period. In the early years of the second century BC the young king Ptolemy V took the epiklesis Epiphanes,and around 199/8 BC coins were struck according this title, but with a significant departure from the standard Ptolemaic reverse (Pl. XLVIII, 48).
    (As it happens,this type was also taken by one of the wreathed coinages, that of Myndos [Pl. XLVII, 43]). Kings had long been gods, of course, but one of them waspushing the notion a stage further by adopting an epithet that calls to mind precisely the epiphany of gods to mortals that, as we have seen, was starting to appear in the civic epigraphic record.A quarter of a century later, shortly after 175 BC, the first Seleucid king would give himself the same title, Epiphanes. The development of Antiochos IV’s epithets, and the accompanying changes in his coinage at the mint of Antioch make fascinating reading. Between 175 and 173/2 (Series 1) he was known asΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ and his coins had the usual Apollo on omphalos reverse (Pl. XLVIII, 49). Between 173/2 and 169/8 (Series 2) he changed his legend to ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΝΤΙΟΧΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ, and the reverse type was personalised to present a god new to Seleucid silver, Zeus, holding a Nike(Pl. XLVIII, 50). Around 168 BC (Series 3) he introduced a new type that replaced his own portrait with a head of Zeus (Pl. XLVIII, 51), and then, probably to mark his great Panhellenic festival at Daphne in 166 BC, he issued a remarkable coinage (Pl. XLVIII, 52), with a head of Apollo on the obverse and a standing figure of the god on the reverse. The latter is generally assumed to represent the cult statue of Apollo at Daphne by Bryaxis.
    In broad conception of design, we are clearly in the same world as the trans-formed civic designs, and we are in exactly the same chronological period as the beginning of that phenomenon. In the development in Antiochos’ coinage from portrait of king to portrait of god we see perhaps where the portrait-like depiction of deities on the civic coins takes its inspiration. In the utilisation of deities to represent dynastic origins, or other religious association, and the framing legends of Antiochos’ coinage, we find a parallel for the development in civic coin. In a sense then we can describe the designers of the new civic coinage as being themselves the audience of royal coinage. But we can see also that they were potentially speaking to a similar audience in similar ways.So to conclude: who were these designers? The answer is that we do not know. But since the famous Sestos stele is discussed elsewhere in this volume
    ,and since it forms one of the very few pieces of evidence we have on this subject,it is worth adducing here.
    τοῦ τε δήμου προελομέ|ν
    ου νομίσματι χαλκίνῳ χρῆσθαι ἰδίωι χάριν1.
    τοῦ νομειτεύεσθαι μὲν τὸν τῆς π[ό]|[λ]εως χαρακτῆρα,2.
    τὸ δὲ λυσιτελὲς τὸ περιγεινόμενον ἐκ τῆς τοιαύτης προσόδου
    | λαμβάνειντὸν δῆμον,καὶ προχειρισαμένου τοὺς τὴν πίστιν1.
    εὐσεβῶς τε καὶ |2.
    ικαίως τηρήσοντας, vvΜηνᾶς αἱρεθεὶς μετὰ τοῦ συναποδειχθέντος τὴν κα|θ
    ήκουσαν εἰσηνέγκατοἐπιμέλειαν, ἐξ ὧν ὁ δῆμος διὰ τὴν τῶν ἀνδρῶν1.
    αιοσύνην τε καὶ2.
    φιλοτιμίανχρῆται τῶι ἰδίωι νομίσματι
    Through the description of Menas’ involvement in the coinage there is, very clearly, a tension between pride (φιλοτιμία), religious propriety (εὐσέβεια) and civic self-representation (ἰδιότης) on the one hand and the economic function(λυσιτελεία, πρόσοδος) and reliability (δικαιοσύνη) of coinage on the other. This bipolar opposition is expressed no less than three times. If Menas did not choose the designs himself, he was surely involved. But the reference to the city as communal entity should not mislead us. Menas was a member of its elite. And the choices he made may have been on behalf of the city, and had an audience beyond its boundaries. But he was also a representative of one social and economic part of that city—the wealthy.
    And his audience was no less the people of his city; his choices present the conscious modeling of civic identity by just one part of it.This brings us back one last time to Athens. Just as they were redesigning their coinage, the people of Athens were, as we have seen, augmenting their games. They expanded the tribal hippic contests. Seating was erected either side of the Panathenaic Way, and citizens, and only citizens, would race its length,watched by the crowds who had assembled in the city for the Great Games.
    Among this audience were many foreigners who could only look on at the spectacle of the racing citizens. But also on the seats were many Athenians, who could never hope to have sufficient wealth to compete in these games. The audience of this self-conscious display of civic pride was multifaceted, multi-national and drawn from multiple layers of Athenian society. And so it is for coinage; an audience is never singular.
    eparch likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page