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Coin Typology of

Aigospotamoi *

Coin Production und Metrology

This settlement to the east of the Thracian Chersonese, probably somewhat inland on the river of the same name, is mainly known for the Battle of Aigospotamoi at the end of the Peloponnesian War. 1  In September of the year 405 BC, Sparta won a decisive victory here against Athens under the command of Lysandros. 2 

In the 4th century BC, Aigospotamoi minted bronze coins 3  whose obverses consistently show a female head to the left. The figure is usually adorned with an earring and necklace and wears a wide stephane in her upswept hair, which is further decorated with a laurel wreath and a palmette ribbon. The common interpretation of the head as belonging to Demeter is questionable because of this stephane, which is more likely to be worn by Hera, 4  Artemis, or Aphrodite. The reverses depict as their emblem a standing ram, mostly to the left, 5  and the abbreviation of the city name (which means ‘Goat River’) as AIΓOΣΠO. Occasionally, other signs appear under the stomach of the goat on the reverses of the largest denomination; among these, the star and the grape are known.

In general, at least three nominal levels seem to be distinguishable on the basis of diameter and weight. The largest denomination has a diameter of 19–22 mm and a weight between 7 and 9 g, 6  the middle one has a diameter between 12 und 16 mm and a weight of around 4 g, 7  and the smallest has a diameter of 7 mm and a weight of around 1 g. 8 

Falsely-Assigned Pieces

RPC Suppl. 1 S1738A: Bust of Nike to r. / AI ΠΟ palm branch with taenia, in RPC Suppl. 2, 38, redacted and with reference to M. Amandry, BSFN 57/1, 2002, 173–177, assigned to Artaxata in Armenia.

British Museum Collection Online: Goat protome l. / Incusum, Silver, 0.8 g (Inv. HPB, p. 100.4.E) 9 

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.

  1. Körpe – Yavuz 2009.
  2. Xen. Hell. 2, 1, 16–32; Plut. Alc. 36–37. Plut. Lys. 11–16.
  3. Little is known about the find spots of the coins from Aigospotamoi, but one came to light during the excavations of Seuthopolis; see: K. Dimitrov, Studies of the Numismatic Material Found at Seuthopolis, American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 32, 1987, 3 Nr. 6897.
  4. Hoover 2017, 33.
  5. Also to the right in the smallest denominational level.
  6. CN_Type241; CN_Type1961 and CN_Type1962.
  7. CN_Type273.
  8. CN_Type266; CN_Type279. Compare Hoover 2017, 33–34, three differentiated nominals: 17–21 mm, 6.51–8.7 g (Nominal B), 13–16 mm, 3.12–4.26 g (Nominal C), 10–11 mm, 1.1–1.4 g (Nominal D).
  9. https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1293322&partId=1&searchText=Aegospotami&page=1.

Bibliography

  • Hoover 2017 = O.D. Hoover, Handbook of Coins of Macedon and Its Neighbors. Part II: Thrace, Skythia, and Taurike, Sixth to First Centuries BC, The Handbook of Greek Coinage Series 3 (Lancaster/London 2017), S. 33f.
  • Isaac 1986 = B. Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Thrace until the Macedonian Conquest (Leiden 1986), S. 196.
  • Körpe – Yavuz 2009 = R. Körpe – M.F. Yavuz, The Location of Aigospotamoi, in: C.O. Aygun (Hg.), SOMA 2007. Proceedings of the XI Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology, Istanbul Technical University, 24–29 April 2007 (Oxford 2009) 226–227.
  • Schönert-Geiss 1999 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Bibliographie zur antiken Numismatik Thrakiens und Mösiens (Berlin 1999), S. 1395–1401.

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