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ΙΝΣΤΙΤΟΥΤΟ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΡΩΜΑΪΚΗΣ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΤΗΤΟΣ
ΕΘΝΙΚΟΝ ΙΔΡΥΜΑ ΕΡΕΥΝΩΝ

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR GREEK AND ROMAN ANTIQUITY

NATIONAL HELLENIC RESEARCH FOUNDATION

MΕΛΕΤΗΜΑΤΑ 63

ROMAN PELOPONNESE III

SOCIETY, ECONOMY AND CULTURE UNDER THE ROMAN EMPIRE:

CONTINUITY AND INNOVATION

Edited by

A. D. RIZAKIS, CL. E. LEPENIOTI

ATHENS 2010

DIFFUSION DE BOCCARD - 11, RUE DE MEDICIS, 75006 PARIS

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Cover illustration: Head of city goddess (�����) of Sparta

(Sparta Archaeological Museum inv. no. 7945; photo courtesy of O. Palagia)

Maps: Yvonne-Dominique Rizakis

Layout: Dionysia Rosgova

ISBN 978-960-7905-54-3

© The Nationale Hellenic Research Foundation

Institute for Greek and Roman Antiquity

48 Vasileos Constantinou Ave., GR – 116 35 Athens – tel.: 0030. 210 72 73 673-4

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Achaean triobols which are located in a few coin

hoards outside mainland Greece (e.g. Italy and
Crete) constitute lots assembled later, rounded-up

groups of diverse emissions that can be interpreted

as products of looting. The Agrinion Hoard, com-

prised by Achaean triobols, Roman denarii and

Athenian tetradrachms, stands out as an exception

regarding the geographical distribution and a con-

firmation at the same time of this phenomenon.

The outline of the coin production in the area

of the Peloponnese and of the coin circulation after

the defeat and disintegration of the Achaean League

can be drawn as following:

Ι. Middle and Late Republican Times

a. Coin production dramatically ceases after the
dissolution of the League at Corinth.9 Partial and

selective operation of certain mints in the Pelo-

ponnese (silver and bronze coins) is observed only

during the 1st c. B.C. and particularly at the begin-

ning – when, most probably, and not in the 2nd c.

B.C. as it was believed by Dittenberger, Schwert -

feger, Sherk and others – a number of federal or-

ganizations is revived (Paus. VII. 16, 10) and in

combination to military-political events pertaining

to Romans themselves.

239

Coin production and coin circulation in the Roman Peloponnese

9. Theory launched by Thompson 1968, supported by Price 1987, 95-103 and followed by Touratsoglou, Tsourti

1991, 171-84. Opposite views concerning prolonged continuation of the Achaean League issues with no interruption

until the first quarter of the 1st c. B.C. expressed first by C. Boehringer, and supported by J. Warren, J. Kroll and C.

Grandjean are to be found in Warren 1999, 99-109 and in Grandjean 1999, 139-46. See also Grandjean, Guerra 2000,

300-05 and Boehringer 2008, 83-89.– Τhe recent monograph by Warren 2007 does not seem to follow for the bronze

coinage the low chronology previously accepted by her. Views supporting the traditional dating are expressed by

Lakakis-Marchetti 1996, 147-56; by Tsangari 2007 and recently by Oikonomides, Lakakis-Marchetti, Marchetti

2007, 379-426 (negative review of this article is undertaken by A. Walker, in ANS, Winter 2008, 53-58).

Map 1. Geographical and chronological repartition of coin hoards with Achaean League triobols.

Page 12

The local mints contribute each time that the

Roman generals confront the last Hellenistic rulers

of the East or face each other, while seeking to pre-

vail at Rome, bringing conflict on Greek territo -

ry.10 Such were the confrontations of Sulla versus

Mithridates VI of Pontos, of Pompey versus Iulius

Caesar, of Brutus versus Octavian and Mark Antony

and finally, at Actium, of Mark Antony and Cleopa-

tra versus Octavian.11 At this point of time (87-86

B.C.) are to be dated also two coin series of the

Athenian mint (most evidently, despite some re-

serves), i.e. silver New Style issues (broad-flanned
tetradrachms and smaller modules); one series

bears no legend and the other (inscribed with

monograms) is probably in the name of Sulla’s

quaestor, Marcus Licinius Lucullus, the brother of
L. Lucullus.12 These coin series were supplemen-

tary to the other monetary revenues, in order to

finance the military operations of Sulla.

Alongside with the occasional issues, this period

is noted for the bronze issues of various cities of

the Achaean League – quite worn by prolonged use

– which were countermarked by their own issuing

authority in order to be revaluated for the new era:

emissions of Elis, countermarked with an eagle,

that circulated after 146 B.C.13 This feature is re-

peated in the mid-30s B.C. when the very worn

copper coins of Messene, struck after 180 B.C., are

countermarked on both sides (eagle and tripod). A

bit later, maybe ultimate, proofs of this practice

provide the copper coins of Messene of the years

40-30 B.C., countermarked in the mid-20s B.C.

(Augustus’ head); the issues of Lakedaimon, 35-31

B.C., countermarked in the mid-20s B.C. (Augustus’

head); and the silver triobols of Elis of the years

40-30 B.C., bearing a countermark of the early im-

perial times. Finally, perhaps at the time of Antony,

bronze coins of Cythera of the first half of the

1st c. B.C. were countermarked with Cupid.14 This

practice, besides highlighting the lack of sufficient

metal at the time of countermarking, hints at a

prolonged circulation since the flans bear very

worn initial types. On other occasions it is proba-

ble that countermarks simply aimed at the valida-

tion of older issues.

Mutatis mutandis, a similar picture is drawn re-
garding Macedonia, where the royal and the civic

issues are interrupted by the fall of the Antigonids

at Pydna. The issues that follow – minted for Ma -

cedonia as a Protectorate (168 B.C.) and for the

Four Regions (Merides), into which the land is di-
vided from 168 to 148 B.C. – are short emissions

underlining the events that transformed the politi-

cal scene. On the other hand, as a vehicle for mak-

ing war against the barbarian tribes of the north

were employed the so-called New Style Athenian

tetradrachms, which were produced in large quan-

tities after the middle of the 2nd c. B.C. at the urge

and by arrangement of the Romans.15 Similarly, the

brief, incidental issues of the first half of the 1st c.

B.C. (silver emissions in the names of Aesillas and

Sura as well as MΑΚΕΔΟΝΩΝ and LEG MΑΚΕΔΟ­-

ΝΩΝ, etc.) are primarily connected with specific

events and satisfy mainly needs for prestige of the

Romans as successors of the Macedonian kings.16

Likewise incidental was an issue of the inactive for

quite some time mint of Thessalonike; this emis-

sion was produced under Pompey at the instance

of colony foundation, in order to legitimize the

election of magistrates away from Rome, but on

Roman ground.17 In Macedonia, from the time of

the proclamation of the territory as Roman province

(148 B.C.) to the Late Republican period, the lack

of metal and the return to barter also led to the

production and circulation of barbarian-style coins

modelled on the last civic issues under the kings.

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I. Touratsoglou

10. The recently published book on this subject by Benner 2008 summarizes the latest opinions on this matter

based mainly on the propositions of A. Walker in LHS Numismatics, Auction 96, 8-9 May 2006.
11. See for the period Rizakis 2001b, 81-82. Especially for the minting activity of Antony in the Peloponnese see

Amandry 1982/83, 1-6. Lately, on coin production at Patrai during the Late Republican Period, see E. Haug, “Local

Politics in the Late Republic: Antony and Cleopatra at Patras”, AJN 20, 2008, 405-20.
12. Lucullan πλάτη (‘flats’) or Lucullan coinage: Kraay 1968, 15. Grandjean 1999, 141. Touratsoglou 2006/07, 245.
13. Νicolet 1992, 287-89.

14. A. Walker, LHS Numismatics, Auction 96, 8-9 May 2006 (Coins of Peloponnesos. The B[asil] C. D[emetria -
des] Collection), nos 671, 692.1 (Elis), nos 756, 758-59 (Messene), nos 926.4, 926.6 (Lakedaimon), no. 999 (Κythera).

Cf. Kroll 1996, 49-73 and id., 1997, 123-36.
15. De Callataÿ 1991/92, 11-20. See also Dreyer 2000, 39-60.
16. Touratsoglou 1993, 18, 21-22.

17. Id. 1987b, 885-90.

Page 22

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Coin production and coin circulation in the Roman Peloponnese

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