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Coins and Coinage of Antiquity and the middle Ages

Posted by admin 10/10/2019 0 Comment(s) News,


In the last three years coins and coinage have been the topics of a couple of books covering the period from the fourth century BC until the fifteenth century AD.




Most recently a detailed catalogue including 124 coins has been released on occasion of the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna’s temporary exhibition “Cretan Cities: The Testimony of the Coins” (Nicolas Chr. Stampoulides / Dimitra I. Tsangari / Mimika Giannopoulou (eds), Cretan Cities. The Testimony of Coins, Athens: Alpha Bank 2019, ISBN 978-618-5072-39-1). The exhibition is organized by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Rethymno, the University of Crete and the Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection. It showcases Cretan history through a collection of ancient coins.


The Section of Greek and Roman Antiquity at the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation at Athens has published several studies on coins (see below “Related products). The most recent title by Sophia Kremydi is devoted to ‘Autonomous’ Coins under the Late Antigonids, i.e. the period of ca. 221-168 BC (Sophia Kremydi, ‘Autonomous’ Coins under the Late Antigonids. Μελετήματα 79, Athens: National Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute of Historical Research/Section of Greek and Roman Antiquity 2018, ISBN 978-960-9538-69-5). Kremydi is a renowned specialist for the topic as she had authored two monographs on the coinage and coins hoards from Dion in Macedonia (Μελετήματα 35 and Η νομισματοκοπία της ρωμαϊκής αποικίας του Δίου, Αθήνα: Ελληνική Νομισματική Εταιρεία 1996, ISBN 978-960-85522-4-1), the region examined also in the present book. Kremydi systematically studies the silver and bronze issues of the Macedonians, the Botteatai and the Amphaxians, of people that resided in distinct areas of the Macedonian Kingdom, the so-called districts (merides). These are the only non-regal coins of the Macedonian state that were minted during the reigns of Philip V and Perseus, or even somewhat earlier. The book discusses the relation of the ‘autonomous’ coins to the royal issues, studies their metrology, their presence in hoards and connects their iconography to its historical context. Finally, based on the re-examination of the material as well as on new evidence, the study revises earlier theories on the dating and interpretation of the ‘autonomous’ coins.


The Benaki Museum in collaboration with the Welfare Foundation for Social and Cultural Affairs (Κοινωφελές Ίδρυμα Κοινωνικού και Πολιτιστικού έργου) has introduced a new series for lectures on important topics related to numismatic research, the Memoranda Numismatica Atheniensia. The second volume by Sergei Kovalenko is devoted to portraiture on coins (Sergei A. Kovalenko, Monetary Portraiture in the Northern Black Sea Littoral, Athens: Μουσείο Μπενάκη 2018, ISBN 978-960-476-233-0). This study is linked to the exhibition Heads and Tails – tales and Bodies: Engraving the Human Figure from Antiquity to the Modern Period that was on display at the Pushkin Museum, Moscow in 2016. Some little-studied questions relating to the problem of portrait imagery on the coin issues of those poleis and states of the region, which struck their own coins, namely, Olbia and the Tauric Chersonesos, as well as the Bosporan kingdom are addressed.


The proceedings of the sixth academic conference organized by the Friends of the Numismatic Museum at Athens in collaboration with universities, as well as archaeological authorities and institutes are devoted to the Peloponnese: Έυα Αποστόλου/Charles Doyen (eds), La monnaie dans le Péloponnèse. Production iconographie, circulation, histoire. De l’Antiquité à l’époque modern. Actes de la sixième rencontre scientifique des Amis du Musée numismatique, Argos, 26-29 mai 2011. Bulletin Correspondance Hellènique Supplement 57 = Όβολος 10, Paris: École française d’Athènes 2018, ISBN 978-2-86958-279-8. The first volume contains 37 contributions in Greek, French and English covering mainly the period from the fourth century BC until the fourth century AD. The conclusions of the papers are summarized in a final chapter by Olivier Picard. The proceedings of the seventh academic conference appeared as volume 13 of the series Όβολος. It was dedicated to the memory of the former director of the Numismatic Museum Mando Oeconomides: International 2-day Symposium on Numismatics “Mando Oeconomides”, Athens, 20-21 April 2016, Όβολος 13, Αθήνα: Οι Φίλοι του Νομισματικού Μουσείου 2018. The volume contains papers dealing with the activities of Mando Oeconomides at the Numismatic Museum at Athens during her tenure as well as contributions on numismatic topics in Greek, English and French.


Demetrius Siatras has produced an English translation and edition of a study on a find of copper coins of Cassander unearthed in 1914 at Pella: Demetrius N. Siatras (ed.), ΤΟ ΧΑΛΚΟΥΝ ΚΟΜΜΑ. The Pella find (1914) and the Copper Coinage of Cassander. Siatras Series of Numismatic Studies 1, Athens: Δημήτριος Σιάτρα 2017, ISBN 978-618-82459-5-2. The book first appeared in Greek as an article by G. P. Oeconomus in 1921 in Archaiologikon Deltion vol. 4 (1918) but this edition is supplemented with new bibliography and an index by the editor. The new edition makes this old find of 231 copper coins and one silver tetradrachm accessible to a boarder international readership.


The Museum of Cycladic Art and the Numismatic Collection of Alpha Bank organized the exhibition Money. Tangible symbols in ancient Greece that was on display at the Museum of Cycladic Art at Athens from November 2017 until April 2018. The exhibition is accompanied by an abundantly illustrated catalogue: Nicholas Chr. Stampolidis / Dimitra Tsangari / Yorgos Tassoulas (eds), Money. Tangible symbols in ancient Greece, Athens: Alpha Bank, Museum of Cycladic Art 2017, ISBN 978-960-93-9491-8 (English edition), ISBN 978-960-93-9445-1 (Greek edition). Coins are not presented as a mere mean of economic exchange but their symbolic qualities and the specific iconography are especially emphasised. Special reference is given to the content of the depictions on coins by which the issuing authorities communicated symbols, ideas, values and messages to the users of “their” money. The catalogue contains eight thematic essays: Money and Transactions, Money and Trade, Money and Art, Money and History, Money and the Circulation of Ideas, Money and Propaganda, Money and Society, Money and Banks. The 253 exhibits are presented in brief catalogue entries. 




Medieval & Byzantine Period


Monographs or collected volumes on coins and coinage of the Byzantine period do not appear as frequent as for Antiquity.

But most recently a synopsis into Byzantine numismatics has been published: A. G. K. Savvidis in collaboration with E. Lianta, Βυζαντινά νομίσματα και νομισματική (4ος-15ος αι.) – Μια σύνοψη. Ινστιτούτο Έρευνας Βυζαντινού Πολιτισμού, Σειρά Εκδόσεων 4, Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση 2019, ISBN 978-960-02-3502-9. The monograph, written by a historian and a numismatist, is a first attempt to publish a comprehensive handbook on Byzantine numismatics and its basic characteristics in Greece. The abundantly illustrated book adresses scholars, collectors and readers interested in Byzantine history and culture in general.


The second volume of the proceedings La monnaie dans le Péloponnèse. Production iconographie, circulation, histoire. De l’Antiquité à l’époque modern mentioned above contains 14 studies in Greek and one in English covering mainly the period from the fifth century to the fifteenth century AD. The conclusions of the papers are summarized in a final chapter by Despoina Evgenidou. The aforementioned proceedings International 2-day Symposium on Numismatics “Mando Oeconomides” also contain some papers addressing the Byzantine era and the middle Ages. One of the papers presented at that conference in summary was not included into the proceedings due to its size. It just appeared as a separate volume of the series Όβολος: Y. Nikolaou / I. Touratsoglou, Η κυκλοφορία του βυζαντινού νομίσματος στο χώρο του Ελλαδικού κορμού και στα Βαλκάνια. Η Μαρτυρία των «Θησαυρών»: 5ος – 15ος αιώνες = The Circulation of Byzantine Coinage in Mainland Greece and the Balkans. The Hoard Evidence: 5th – 15th centuries, Όβολος 14, Athens: Οι Φίλοι του Νομισματικού Μουσείου 2019.


For the Byzantine period especially the Greek translation of Simon Bendalls An Introduction to the Coinage of the Empire of Trebizond published 2015 in London is to be mentioned: Εισαγωγή στη νομισματική της αυτοκρατορίας της Τραπεζούντας, Αθήνα: Εκδόσεις Κυριακίδη Μονοπρόσωπη ΙΚΕ 2018, ISBN 978-960-599-243-9. The third volume of the series Memoranda Numismatica Atheniensia by Vasiliki Penna is devoted to a medieval coin hoard that was discovered in 1910 at Mesa Gonia on Santorin (Thera): The Thera/1910 hoard: a contribution to the history of Mesa Gonia, Santorin, Athens: Μουσείο Μπενάκη 2018, ISBN 978-960-476-237-8. The publication, through the author's documented text and rich illustrations, presents this hoard, consisting of 450 coins of the 1167-1208 era. The study enriches the limited historical testimony we have for Santorin in the Byzantine period.


In 2016 a third augmented edition of the basic work Coinage of South-Eastern Europe 820-1396 by David M. Metcalf that first appeared in 1965 as Coinage in the Balkans, 820-1355 by the Institute for Balkan Studies (Thessaloniki) was published: Coinage in South-Eastern Europe 820-1396, Athens: Δημήτριος Σιάτρα 2016, ISBN 978-618-82459-4-5. This third edition reproduces the second revised edition of 1979 but features a new introductory essay. In addition, new bibliographical references from 1979 until 2016 have been incorporated into the references. Demetrius Siatras has also published another book on medieval coins and coinage of the Balkans: Anastasios P. Tzamalis, Coins of the Frankish Occupation of Greece 1184-1566, Athens: Demetrius Siatras 2016, ISBN 978-618-81118-1-3. This book is an amalgamation of the first Greek edition of Tzamalis’ book "Nομίσματα της Φραγκοκρατίας 1184-1566 (Athens, 1981) and the articles he published in various periodicals in the years following in which he developed his theories about the Frankish coinage. The two long articles, "The Tornesio" and "The First Period of the Tornesio", as well as "Princess Isabelle and her husbands", "The Frankish Mint of Athens" and "The Elis/1964 Hoard", are particularly important in this respect. Much of the material presented here appears in English for the first time. The edition is featured by a foreword by David M. Metcalf and several plates. The publications of Tzamalis’ have achieved a revision of the numismatic history of Frankish Greece and the English translation will make his thoughts accessible to a wider audience.


Finally the monograph on the Byzantine coinage and coin hoards in the Carpathian-Dniestr regions during the 6th-10th centuries by the Moldavian historian Sergiu Musteata is to be mentioned: Sergiu Musteata, Moneda Bizantina in regiunile Carpato-Nistrene in secolele VI-X = Byzantine Coinage in the Carpathian-Nistrian Regions During the 6th - 10th Centuries, Athens: Εκδόσεις Σιάτρα 2016, ISBN 978-618-82459-2-1. This important study is written in Rumanian with an extensive English summary. It was first published in Moldavia in Romanian 2014 but reedited in Greece by Demetrius Siatras in a bilingual Romanian-English edition.