Related Records

Coin Typology of

Zone *

Topography and History

According to Herodotus, the ancient Zone lay in the tribal area of the Cicones at Cape Serreion, modern-day Cape Makri. The city was a Samothracian foundation in the 8th century BC and served as a base on the mainland (Samothracian Peraia). 1  Whether an archaeological site about 20 kilometres west of today's Alexandroupolis is to be equated with the ancient Zone or Mesembria is controversial in research; recently M. Galani-Krikou pleaded the case for the ancient Zone, not least because of the numerous coins of Zone found there. 2  The city name is attested both numismatically and epigraphically. 3  It is also known that in 422/421 BC the city paid a contribution of two talents to the Delian League. 4  The find of a statue similar to the coin imagery secures Apollo as the main god of the city.

  1. Hdt. 7.59.2: Location between Sale and Serreion; Ps.-Skylax 68: Emporion opposite to coast of Samothrace.
  2. Galani-Krikou2015, 91, with description of the excavations and the coins found there. For further individual finds of coins from Zone in Haskovo and in Aquae Calidae, see: Schönert-Geiss 1992, 313–315. Tsatsopoulou 1995, 671–73; Galani-Krikou 1996, contra 1991, 354–55.
  3. Schönert-Geiss 1992, 313.
  4. Isaac 1986, 130–131.

Coin Production und Metrology

City bronze coins were minted at the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC. The obverse motif is the head of Apollo, and the reverse features a lyre, 1  a laurel wreath, or a deer. The coins bear the legend ΖΩΝΑΙΩΝ, ΖΩΝΑΙ, ΖΩΝ, or ΖΩ.

During the excavations of the site mentioned above, 1,850 coins from the mint of Zone were discovered and subsequently processed by M. Galani-Krikou, M. Tasaklaki and P. Tselekas. They identified three emissions and see all the coins minted in Zone in a close temporal context, which they would like to date to the second half of the 4th century BC. 2  With the aid of diameter and weight, different nominal values can be distinguished for the bronzes, whereby in Emissions 1 and 2, the diameter and weight are very close together for all three reverse motifs; it is only in Emission 3 that there seems to be a split in three or possibly only two nominal levels. The reverse motif of the deer 3  appears only in the first and third emissions, with the coins being significantly larger and heavier in the latter. 4  The smaller types with the wreath on the reverse are relatively consistently between 9–14 mm and 0.5–3.0 g in all three issues. 5  The types with the reverse image of the lyre have a relatively large range of diameter and weight, 6  so that within this type a nominal distinction may have to be added. In addition, they feature a branch or a plectrum as the only mintmark. 7  The editors see in the coinage of Zone as emissions for the daily local need above all, which is confirmed by the numerous finds on site. 8 

The motifs revolve exclusively around Apollo, whose sanctuary was in Zone. 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. The number of strings on the lyre may vary.
  2. There is a tendency that longer legends should be classified earlier and shorter ones later; see Galani-Krikou 2015, 19. Due to the small number of digitally published coins from Zone, our type catalogue is to be regarded as a rough summary at first. Further possible types can be distinguished later on the basis of size and weight.
  3. CN_Type4177.
  4. Emission 1: 10–12.5 mm und 0.5-3.0 g; Emission 3: 16–19 mm and 2.5–6.5 g.
  5. CN_Type4180; CN_Type4182.
  6. CN_Type4175; CN_Type4178; CN_Type4179.
  7. Galani-Krikou 2015, 20–23 with tables of diameters and weights of all three types in all three emissions.
  8. Galani-Krikou 2015, 91.
  9. Galani-Krikou 2015, 68–69.


  • Galani-Krikou 1996 = M. Galani-Krikou, The Mint at Zone. The Evidence of the Excavations at Aegean Mesembria-Zone, in: Χαρακτηρ- Aφιέρωμα στην Μαντώ Οικονομίδου, (Athen 1996) 63–79.
  • Galani-Krikou 2015 = M. Galani-Krikou, Τασακλάκη, Μαρίνα - Τσέλεκας, Παναγιώτης, Η νομισματοκοπία της Ζώνης. Αρχαία Ζώνη. Ē nomismatokopia tēs Zōnēs. Archaia Zōnē (Komotini 2015).
  • 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. 176.
  • Isaac 1986 = B. Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Thrace until the Macedonian Conquest, (Leiden 1986), S. 128–33.
  • Schönert-Geiss 1992 = E. Schönert-Geiss, Die Münzstätte Zone in Thrakien, in: Florilegium Numismaticum. Studia in Honorem U. Westermark Edita (Stockholm 1992) 313–316.