Oldest Line in the Book

History doesn’t repeat itself, but the rhetoric sure does.

Antigonus, when the Spartans were thus reduced, pitying the distress of so famous a city, prohibited his soldiers from plundering it, and granted pardon to all who survived, observing that “he had engaged in war, not with the Spartans, but with Cleomenes, with whose flight all his resentment was terminated; nor would it be less glory to him, if Sparta should be recorded to have been saved by him by whom alone it had been taken.   – Justin 28.4

 

Our only enemy is Saddam and his brutal regime — and that regime is your enemy as well.  – Bush on Iraq War

 

Our enemy is Saddam and his regime, not the Iraqi people. Our forces are friends and liberators of the Iraqi people, not your conquerors.   – Blair on The Iraq War

311 out of 410 days: Greek Coins in the West

Image

So I was reading Pere Pau Ripollès’ fascinating ‘The X4 Hoard (Spain): Unveiling the Presence of Greek Coinages during the Second Punic War’ (2008) this morning. I fervently wish I’d read it before now.  The problem with real publication, rather than this blogging non-sense, is its not easy after the fact to rethink and amend and correct your former ideas.  Also real publication takes a very long time, so by the time it is out there for the world one’s intellectual engagement with the content has already moved on to something else or ‘evolved’ as Mr. Obama’s position has done on some issues.  I’m thinking about my piece in this book.  I’ll put a clean copy up on academia.edu one of these days.

Anyway.  Pere Pau Ripollès goes along way towards illuminating circulation of Greek coinage in the Western Mediterranean.  He tentatively still supports Crawford’s 1985 thesis that any Greek coins arrived with the Romans, although saying ‘this may be too categorical’.  I’m inclined to see the evidence he collects as requiring this hypothesis to be seriously re evaluated.  As he himself says in his conclusion the Greek coinage found in the hoards of Sicily are more similar to those in Spain than either is to Italy where there is a greater dearth of such Eastern coinages in the hoards.

One of the coins in Hoard X4 that he publishes is of the same type as that illustrated above.

Image

This coin type, Crawford suggests, is the inspiration for the prows on Roman bronze series (See RRC p. 42 esp. n. 5; earlier post).  It’s nice then to see that some specimens did in fact reach the Western Mediterranean relatively swiftly after its production.

I also note the rendering of the ram on this type (red circle above) is not unlike that found on the Athlit Ram.

And, while were talking about things I said in print I no longer believe, I can’t stand by a 260s date for the Heracles and Wolf and Twins didrachm after all the reading I’ve done for this new book.  It fits better at the end of the First Punic War.  I’m not sure how much that messes with my use of it as comparative evidence in the chapter linked above, but it does have some impact…

Wider Contexts

Image

 

I came across this image in my reading today and was immediately struck by the visual similarities with the Doson coin I posted about earlier.  How common is this image?  Not that common really.  Besides Doson, Magnetes of Thessaly has a similar type with Artemis:

 

And it is also a standard type of Histiaea in Euboia:

 

But that seems to be about it.  The publishers of the seal focus on the coins of Sidon, such as this:

Image

 

 

OR this: 

 

Neither is really that close in design or style even if they show a figure on a ship. There might be a lost Sidonian type with a figure seated on just prow, but I suspect the inspiration for the design came from trade connections with the North.