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Coin Typology of

Kabyle *

Topography and History

Kabyle, modern-day Kabile, is a Thracian inland city located not too far from Augusta Traiana and Tonzos. It can be assumed that a local ruler was appointed after the conquest of the city by Philip II. 1  In the 3rd century, the Thracian dynasts Spartokos and Skostokos had coins minted in Kabyle. 2  At the end of the century, the coins of the Celtic ruler Kavaros were minted in the city, possibly "as expression of good neighbourly relations" 3 .

  1. Peter 1997, 210
  2. Peter 1997, 215; 227.
  3. Peter 1997, 251.

State of Research

The coinage of Kabyle was examined in detail by D. Draganov in the form of an extensive catalogue. 1  The issues of the rulers Spartokos and Skostokos were also handled in U. Peter's dissertation published in 1997. 2  In addition, the coinage for Skostokos has recently been reviewed in a die study presented by W. Fischer-Bossert. For the posthumous Alexander issues minted in Kabyle, the extensive catalogue by M. Price has been authoritative for our type catalogue. 3 

  1. Fischer-Bossert 2015
  2. Peter 1997
  3. Price 1991.

Minting System and Typology

The Hellenistic dynasts Spartokos and Skostokos minted bronze coins in Kabyle. The Skostokos coins feature a head on the obverse, which can be interpreted partly as a portrait of a ruler and partly as Apollo, and the depiction on the reverse of the coin is of a horseman who can probably be identified as the ruler. 1  The cult statue of Artemis Phosphoros was depicted on the reverse sides of other coins in the bronze series  2 . The obverse sides of the coinage of Spartokos depicts a Janus-shaped lion’s head and a bearded man; the reverse shows Artemis standing left with a wreath in her right hand. The reverse sides of this series of coins are each inscribed ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΠΑΡΤΟΚΟΥ. 3 

In addition to these rulers’ imprints, an autonomous bronze series was also issued in Kabyle. The coins minted in the first half of the 3rd century BC each bear the head of Apollo or Artemis turned to the right on the obverse and a representation of Artemis with a patera and torch or Artemis Phosphoros on the reverse. 4  The coins dating to the second half of the century or the early 2nd century BC feature a head of Heracles turned to the right on the obverse and Artemis Phosphoros standing on the reverse 5 . Another coin type shows an unidentifiable male head turned to the left on the obverse and the enthroned Artemis Phosphoros on the reverse. 6  This representation of the enthroned goddess is largely unique for the Hellenistic period. 7  According to D. Draganov, two nominal levels can be distinguished, 8  which in our type catalogue are alternatively called the "large nominal" and "small nominal". On some coins of this series, the city ethnic is indicated in the reverse legend.

The posthumous tetradrachms of Alexander the Great emitted in Kabyle show a very conventional head of Heracles with the lion’s pelt on the obverse and Zeus Aëtophoros on the reverse. On the reverse of the coin, a small representation of Artemis Phosphoros is depicted as the mint mark to the left of Zeus. No other monograms are represented on the coin type;  9  all other coins show different monograms above and below the Artemis Phosphoros or under the throne. 10 

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.

Bibliography

  • Draganov 1993 = D. Draganov, Monetosečeneto na Kabile (Sofia 1993).
  • Fischer-Bossert 2015 = W. Fischer-Bossert, Die Lysimacheier des Skostokos, RBN 151, 2005, S.49–74.
  • Peter 1997 = U. Peter, Die Münzen der thrakischen Dynasten (5.-3. Jahrhundert v. Chr.). Hintergründe ihrer Prägung, Griechisches Münzwerk (Berlin 1997).
  • Price 1991 = M. Price, The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. A British Museum Catalogue, Vol. I: Introduction and Catalogue (London 1991).

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