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Coin Typology of

Bisanthe *

Chronology of the Coinage

Bisanthe (modern-day Rodosto or Tekir-dağ), like nearby Perinth, lay on the Propontis River and was founded by the Samians. 1  The city was mentioned in written sources for the first time in 430 BC. 2  It belonged to the Delian-Attic alliance, then to Alexander and the Diadochi. Judging by the city emissions, Bisanthe was relatively autonomous after the time of Lysimachus. However, coins were only emitted in bronze, and only during an apparently homogenous period in the 3rd century BC. A chronological internal structure of the emissions cannot be made, which is why E. Schönert-Geiss first made an order for weights and divided them into the three groups of Nominal A, B, and C. 3  In her opinion, these should represent the relation 1:2:4 (where 1 coin of Nominal A = 2 coins of Nominal B = 4 coins of Nominal C). 4  To date, these nominal levels have been assigned a total of 14 types, which are named after the iconography present on their obverses and reverses. In several cases, a type comprises only one specimen, which means that their assignment to a nominal can only be done tentatively; only the discovery of more pieces could confirm or refute their assignment. Schönert-Geiss grouped these coins into nominal levels predominantly based on the diameters of the specimens as opposed to their weight; 5  her assignments for individual cases are therefore still quite debatable.

Whether the coins of Bisanthe were issued at the same time or in succession cannot be deduced from the material. It is more likely, however, that the series were produced at the same time. 6  The reasoning behind this is iconographic in nature: The gods Dionysus 7 , Demeter 8 , Zeus 9 , Apollo, 10  and Athena 11  were honoured on these coins. Presumably, therefore, not only three types – one per nominal level – were issued, but at least so many that each of the standing deities in Bisanthe was represented on the city coinage. 12 

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. Isaac 1986.
  2. Hdt. 7.137.
  3. Schönert-Geiss 1975. A: CN_Type644; CN_Type645; CN_Type646; B: CN_Type647; CN_Type648; CNType653; C: CN_Type655; CN_Type708; CN_Type710; CN_Type727; CN_Type716; CN_Type2032; CN_Type754; CN_Type3826.
  4. She was not convinced by Martin Jessop Price: ‘… lacks conviction’. Price 1977, 237–238, here 238.
  5. Compare for instance CN typeID 653 = Dionysus/Cluster of Grapes in Nominal B at 1.72 g with CN typeID 716 = Dionysus/Cluster of Grapes in Nominal C, which is only marginally lighter at 1.49 g. The coins in Nominal B have a diameter of 12–15 mm, and in Nominal C a diameter of 11–13 mm. Here is an intersection (12 and 13 mm). In each case, only one copy is available.
  6. Hoover 2017, 67–68, dates the Zeus-Eagle type to the years 178–168 BC, the Athena-Owl type to the years 145–133 BC, and the Dionysus-Grape and Dionysus-Kantharus types to the second century BC.
  7. CN_Type754; CN_Type2032; CN_Type716; CN_Type653.
  8. CN_Type644; CN_Type655; CN_Type708.
  9. CN_Type645.
  10. CN_Type3826; CN_Type710; CN_Type647; CN_Type646.
  11. CN_Type648; CN_Type727.
  12. Hoover 2017: 12 types.

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. 66-69.
  • Isaac 1986 = B. Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Thrace until the Macedonian Conquest (Leiden 1986), S.212-213.
  • Jurukova 1992 = J. Jurukova, Monetite na trakijskite plemena i vladeteli [Монетите на тракийските племена и владетели] (Sofia 1992), S. 144.
  • Schönert-Geiss 1975 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Die Münzprägung von Bisanthe, Dikaia, Selymbria (Berlin 1975).
  • Kurz 1979 = K. Kurz, Metodické Poznámky k nové literatuře o řecké numismatice,Numismatické Listy 34 Nr. 3, 1979, 79-81.
  • Price 1977 = M. J. Price, Numismatic Chronicle, 1977, 237-238.
  • Schönert-Geiss 1999 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Bibliographie zur antiken Numismatik Thrakiens und Mösiens (Berlin 1999), S. 629-634.

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