Coin of the Month

July 2022: Parion instead of Abydos

The Coin of this Month is presented by Katharina Martin

The coin of July comes from the Münster University collection and may look familiar to regular readers of the "Coin of the Month". Its obverse shows the bust of Artemis wearing stephane who is clearly recognizable by the quiver and bow behind her shoulder. Her hair is parted, rolled up on both sides and gathered in a bun at the back of her head. The reverse pictures an eagle with spread wings, encircled by a wreath. This combination of motifs appears on late Hellenistic stephanophoric tetradrachms of Abydos in the Troad. Vladimir Stolba first introduced such a coin as a COM in January 2020, and, in September 2021, another one, issued by a previously unknown magistrate.

However, this time we are not in Abydos in the Troad, but in Parion, about 65 km to the northeast! The ethnic-name ΠΑΡΙΑΝΩΝ on the reverse clearly identifies the citizens of this Mysian city as minting authority. Not only their general design but also the image details and style of the coins of Abydos and Parion are similar. In the case of Parion, however, we deal with a specimen of a significantly lower value, which differs not only in its size but also in metal.

The Parian coin, which reproduces the coin type of Abydos, belongs to a small group of which only a handful of specimens are known to date. They all bear magistrate names, of which only Metrodoros and Asklepiades were attested hitherto. Our specimen furnishes a new official name, Agathonymos. This is a rather uncommon Greek name, with a few examples being recorded in the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names (LGPN), although none from north-western Asia Minor. It is also missing from Leschhorn’s massive Lexicon of Inscriptions on Greek Coins. Strikingly, Metrodoros and Asklepiades also appear on the aforementioned tetradrachms of Abydos, which raises the question of whether we are dealing with the same individuals or this is a pure coincidence. Moreover, where does Agathonymos come from? Again, why was this ‘foreign’ coin type reproduced in Parion? At present, one can only speculate about the nature of the (numismatic) connections between these two cities. A careful study of dies and overstrikes will possibly clarify some of these questions in the future.

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