Minting System and Typology
The meaning of the legend TPIH or TPIE on small silver coins (with a diameter of around 8–10 mm and a weight of ca. 0.45 g) has long been debated in numismatic research.1 While some scholars advocate for assigning it to a city of Trieros, others believe it represents a nominal name, such as a trihemiobol.2 These coins are dated stylistically to the second half of the 5th century BC.3
First, two groups can be distinguished iconographically. One depicts the laureate head of Apollo to the left or right on the obverse and an upright laurel branch with one of the two aforementioned legends in quadratum incusum on the reverse.4 A second group bears the same legend on the reverse in quadratum incusum without any figurative addition and a horse protome to the right on the obverse.5 Despite similarities in diameter and weight, as well as in find spot,6 the affiliation of these two groups can certainly be doubted. Other textless coins with a horse protome on the obverse and a quadratum incusum on the reverse are also assigned to this series.7
Regarding the attribution of these coins to a city, Tr(i)eros, or a tribe of Trier, the research is based on reports of Strabo, Stephanus of Byzantium and Theopompus,8 who locate the Thracian Trier tribe between Maroneia and Abdera on Lake Bistonis.9 Based on the fact that some of the small coins were found near Olynth and in the city itself, as well as on stylistic similarities of the head of Apollo featured on the small coins to that on those of the Chalcidian League, the excavators D.M. Robinson and P.A.Clement concluded that the coins were minted in Olynth.10Based on stylistic comparisons, they dated the coins to ca. 430–400 BC. However, due to their weight, the trihemiobols cannot fit into the Chalcidian series because they are too light.11 These coins with the laureate Apollo were also attributed to the Clacididan League by S. Psoma. Concerning the coins with the horse protome, S. Psoma advocated that these emissions should be regarded as coins with a registered denomination and assigns them to Alexander I and Perdiccas II on the basis of a single piece of a similar type with an entire horse on the obverse and the letters ΔΙΟΒ in the quadratum incusum of the reverse.12 The nominal designation on the coins had become necessary after the reduction of the monetary standard.13
The inclusion of the TPIE/H marked coins in the type list of Thracian coins is due to the convention that many of these coins are still assigned to the Thracian area in collections and literature.
Our type catalogue represents the state of research from August 2019 and does not take into consideration any coin types that have become known later. Further information, especially about new types, is always welcome.
Imhoof-Blumer 1873, 3, with a list of possible attributions. ↑
Imhoof-Blumer 1873, 1, The use of the same letters TPIH in Corinth as a nominal designation for the trihemiobol is analogous to ΔΙΩ for diobol. Gardner 1871. Psoma 1996. ↑
Psoma 1996, 104 with Note 3 about a stylistic comparison to the coinage of Olynths 420–390 BC. ↑
North coast of the Aegean between Chalcidice and Maroneia, especially in the excavations of Olynth and Akanthos, Psoma 1996, 104. ↑
e.g. Slg. Klein Nr. 98, SNG Kopenhagen Nr. 820–821. ↑
Strabo I, 59; Steph. Byz. s.v. Τρηρος. ↑
Robinson – Clement 1938, 336. ↑
Robinson – Clement 1938, 336-338. ↑
The middle weight of 0.30 g would be equivalent to a chalcidic hemiobol. ↑
Psoma 1999, 273 with a listing of eleven known copies. ↑
Furthermore, she discusses a type of a male head with Petasos on the obverse and TPIH in the quadratum incusum on the reverse, Psoma 1999, 277–278. ↑
- Gardner 1871 = P. Gardner, On Some Coins with the Inscription TPIH, Numismatic Chronicle, 1871, 162–165.
- Imhoof-Blumer 1873 = F. Imhoof-Blumer, L‘inscription „TRIH“ sur des monnaies grecques antiques, Numismatic Chronicle, 1873, 9–18.
- Psoma 1996 = S. Psoma, Des monnaies aux initiales TPIH, in: A.P. Tzamalis (Hr.), MNHMH Martin J. Price (Athen 1196), 104–110.
- Psoma 1999 = S. Psoma, Monnaies de poids réduit d’Alexandre I et de Perdiccas II de Macédoine, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 128, 1999, 273-282.
- Robinson – Clement 1938 = D. M. Robinson – P. A. Clement, Excavations at Olynthos IX, The Chalcidic Mint and the Excavation Coins found in 1928-1934 (Oxford 1938), 336–338.
- Schönert-Geiss 1999 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Bibliographie zur antiken Numismatik Thrakiens und Mösiens (Berlin 1999), S. 1181–1186.