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Coin Typology of

Krithote *

Topography and History

The city of Krithote, an Athenian foundation under Miltiades, lay on the eastern side of the Thracian Chersonese. S. Casson identified the city as the modern Kirte (Krithia) in the south-east and considered it a suburb of Elaious. 1  In contrast, B. Isaac sought to locate the city much further north based on ancient sources, which often refer to Krithote in connection with Paktye. 2 

  1. Casson 1926.
  2. Isaac 1986, 191–192; Ps. Skymnos 711–712; Ps. Skylax 67; Strabo VII Fr. 55; Plin. IV 11, 48.

Minting System and Typology

Krithote minted bronze coins in the period from between ca. 350–281 BC. The reverse side always shows a barley grain (ἡ κριθή) as a sign (parasemon) of the city, 1  which is often framed by a wreath of corn. A depiction of the goddess Demete en face is featured on the obverse 2 , while other obverses feature the head of Athena in profile. 3  The coin images indicate the importance of the city as grain supplier.

Perhaps three nominal levels can be distinguished in Krithote. 4  The largest, with a diameter of 19–22 mm and a weight of 5.5–9 g (on average 7.4 g.), and the smallest, with a diameter of 11–12 mm and a weight of just over 1 g, are quite clearly defined. Two types, which could be assigned to a middle nominal level, however, are somewhat difficult to accommodate in this schema, since one type is significantly lighter than the other (on average 3.3 g: Head of Demeter/Grain 5  and 4.78–5.62 g: Head of Athena/Grain).

Examples of coins from Krithote were found during the excavations of Zone-Mesembria. 6 

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. Fietze 1913; McCartney 1919.
  2. CN_Type486; CN_Type489; CN_Type493; CN_Type494; CN_Type2415
  3. CN_Type491
  4. Hoover 2017, 114–115: three nominal levels, B (20–22 mm, 6.12–9.11 g, Persephone/Grain in Wreath), C (18–22 mm, 4.25–6.32 g, Head of Athena/Grain), D (12–13 mm, 1.19–1.32 g). Dating: late 4th century BC, 350–309 BC because of simultaneity to Kardia.
  5. So far only occupied by the copy CN_Type11896 in Paris.
  6. Gallane-Krikou 1996.


  • Casson 1926 = S. Casson, Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria, Their Relations to Greece from the Earliest Times Down to the Time of Philip, Son of Amyntas (Oxford 1926), S. 218–219 und Karte 12.
  • Fietze 1913 = W. Fietze, Redende Abzeichen auf antiken Münzen, Journal International d'Archéologie Numismatique 15, 1913, 24.
  • Gallane-Krikou 1996 = Πρoσέγγιση στη νoμισματoκoπία της Ζώνης. Η μαρτυρία της ανασκαφής στην αιγαιακή Mεσημβρία-Ζώνη, in: N. Zaphiropoulou (Hg.): Χαρακτήρ. Aφιέρωμα στη Mάντω Oικoνoμίδoυ (Athen 1996) 63–80.
  • McCartney 1919 = E. S. McCartney, Canting Puns on Ancient Monuments, American Journal of Archaeology 23, 1919, 63.
  • 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. 114–115.
  • Isaac 1986 = B. Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Thrace until the Macedonian Conquest (Leiden 1986), S.191–192.
  • Schönert-Geiss 1999 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Bibliographie zur antiken Numismatik Thrakiens und Mösiens (Berlin 1999), S. 1447–1452.