Mên, Amastris, Who?!?

Specimen in Trade

These coins of Amastris in Paphalagonia have been studied in depth by de Callataÿ.

This funny happened in my mind. It made me think of a mash up of two RR coin types, 385/4 which I’m working on with a research assistant and 305/1 which came into the conversation about small change last week. The observation isn’t profound, or even very interesting, but the coins are nice. I wanted there to be a connection where there isn’t one because I want to know what deity is on the obverse of 385/4, or at least have satisfying speculation. BUT should I ever actually write my commentary on Memnon, the type above must be included!

Specimen in trade
Specimen in trade

Hmmmm….. I’m on to something else but came across this electrum fro Mytilene with a young Kabeiros … now this seems plausible…

MFA collection

Sicily not Spain

Specimen in Trade

I know I know this but as the blog is my external mind to help me remember things and I cannot seem to find a post to add this too as a note…. Here goes.

As the catalogue notes, Burnett 1983, p. 11 believes this type with an African Elephant was made in Sicily c. 213-210 by the Carthagianians for the Hannibalic War. This corrects the views of Robinson.

Also note that the specimen appears lightly double struck. See second nose under proper nose of final strike.

A Queen (nearly) Erased

MFA specimen
Reverse of the same.

We only know her name, Philistis, from her coins and an inscription from the theater in Syracuse:

But we assume that this passage from Polybius describes her:

“Hiero had observed that the dispatch of a Syracusan army on an expedition under the command of the supreme magistrates invariably resulted in quarrels among the leaders and the outbreaks of revolutionary activity of some kind. He also knew that of all his fellow Syracusans it was a certain Leptines who commanded most supporters and the highest prestige and was particularly popular with the masses. He therefore made a family alliance with Leptines by marrying his daughter, so that whenever he had to go away on active service he could count on leaving Leptines behind as the guardian of his interests at home.”

And if that is correct then she is likely the mother of Hiero’s daughters, Damarata and Heraclia, known for Livy 24.26. We don’t think Neireis is her daughter as Justin 28.3 would suggest, but I’ve not investigated enough to be 100% confident.

Her coinage is extensive and beautiful and yet there is so little trace of her in the written records…

Bibliography to learn more down the road…

Storaci, Ermelinda and Manenti, Angela Maria. “Un nuovo ripostiglio di Filistide a Siracusa.” Annali dell’Istituto Italiano di Numismatica 59 (2013): 217-223.

Dimartino, Alessia. “Ierone II, Filistide e il teatro greco di Taormina: note in margine a IG XIV, 437.” In Immagine e immagini della Sicilia e di altre isole del Mediterraneo antico, Edited by Ampolo, Carmine. Seminari e Convegni / Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa; 22, 721-726. Pisa: Ed. della Normale, 2009.

Caccamo Caltabiano, Maria, Carroccio, Benedetto and Oteri, Emilia. “Il sistema monetale ieroniano: cronologia e problemi.” Atti della Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti, Classe di Lettere, Filosofia e Belle Arti 69 Suppl. 1 (1993): 195-280.

Caccamo Caltabiano, Maria and Oteri, Emilia. “Cronologia e sistemi di produzione e di controlla delle monete dei «Siracusani di Gelone».” Numismatica e Antichità Classiche 22 (1993): 91-110.

Missing Blog Post on Scruples

I swore I had a post on this topic back from like 2013 when the blog was still anonymous. Can’t find it, so am throwing some info up for future reference.

#Scripulum #Scripula #Scrupulum #Scrupula

A scruple is a 1/288 division of something, usually a pound, so 1/24th of an ounce or uncia.

For the use in land division where a scripula was the 1/288 of a iugera and thus 10×10 Roman feet or a decempeda.

Sulpicius’ Uncia (312)

Now you’re thinking to yourself: why, why did she skip Herennius? Cast your mind back, dear reader, to the semunciae post. As detailed there, Herennius likely comes later in the series, so we have to treat Sulpicius first! RRC 312

Ex RBW, of course

Are you reminded of the dog (who was a very good boy, of course!)? I am reminded of that dog too (RRC 293/3)! And that goatish, horsish quadruped?! Yes! exactly! That too (RRC 292/5 new)! But wait. Those were reverses, here its an obverse. The reverse is our moneyer’s name in a wreath! We’ve seen that too in just the last post for 305/2 and also on two of the three semunciae and will see it on later unciae (links to come).

So what’s with this? It feels like no one can decide what small change SHOULD look like or at least the idea of what it should look like is in flux. As I mentioned in the semunciae post, the wreaths with inscription in it are well known on various regional coins (including those of Cossura!).

A round of the sort of coins I’m thinking of (ignoring Augustan era ones):

The Kampanoi. Mercenaries in the Aitna area. Ae (ca. 344-336). In trade.
PANORMOS, before 135 BCE. In trade.
HIMERA, c. 413-408 BCE. In trade.
Time of Pyrrhus? Note oak leaves. In trade. Also just a stunning coin. Cf. this specimen.
overstrike! In trade.
Himera, c. 400-380 BCE. In trade.
Melita, 3rd cent? In trade.
oak leaves again. Fourth Democracy, 289-287. In trade.

Pegasus is rare on the republican series, but not so rare we should make too much of it. I suppose it had some significance to the moneyer… No particular relation as far as I can make out to symbols on rest of RRC 312 series.

Coins of Cossura

In trade, late 3rd early 2nd cent BCE?
In trade, 2nd cent. BCE?
mint location

Some literature. Some types also spelt Kossura. Modern Panterellia.

I want to learn more!!!

NOTICE REG counter marker and sign of Tanit on reverse, specimen in trade another great example
Example of RRC 56/3 with same counter mark. In trade.

Alföldy, Géza. “Ein römischer Ritter aus Cossura (Pantelleria).” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, no. 151 (2005): 193-213.

APh has about 25 more relevant records but one must search Pantelleria to find them.

Also think about in light of coins of Melita (Malta), e.g.

CHECK OUT THE SPECIMENS IN BERLIN!! Go here. Then enter Cossura as your search term. Also this twitter thread.

Late Unciae (305)

Schaefer binder image detail (image of coin)
from same but image of cast from Crawford’s plates

Crawford knew two specimens of RRC 305/2: Copenhagen illustrated above and in Crawford’s own plates and F. Capranesi in D. D. Müller, Memorie, 56. Tracking down the latter is on the to do list. Irritatingly, no weight for either specimen.

Schaefer was concerned that this Copenhagen specimen might be an altered RRC 315/1. I don’t think so but that is primarily based on the obverse. The obverse of this Copenhagen specimen has a bump on its nose, a recessed chin and and a helmet with a side feather and maybe some stars. The rendering of the Roma on the obverse of 315/1 is far more traditional and stylized.

These CRRO specimen of 305/1 show similar features. The reverse of the denarius has an oak wreath as does the uncia. There is also a passing similarity to the obverse of RRC 296/1.

This post is part of a small change series.

Unciae, post 1, post 2, post 3


More to come!