Aegina, situated in the Saronic Gulf, was, in the seventh century b.c., the great commercial island of a great commercial period. She traded with Syracuse on the west and with the ports of the Euxine on the east. Her sailors steered boldly to all parts of the known world; from Illyricum to Egypt; from the coasts of Africa and of Gaul to the Crimea. They had instilled into them by their wandering life, and by the incessant dangers that beset them on every side, a contempt for peril and a love of the unknown. Wherever a possibility of trade showed itself, there, soon, would also be found ships from Aegina. As a very necessary phase of her commercial life, which led her ships so far from home, Aegina had need of friendly ports throughout the Mediterranean world in which they could be safely refitted. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that she had a sort of connection with Sinope on the Pontus, as well as with Panticapaeum in the distant Crimea. That these commercial connections were closely intertwined, is shown by the fact that both Sinope and Panticapaeum, though so distant from Greece where the influence of Aegina was principally felt, when they first struck coins, issued them on the Aeginetan standard. 1 Like a powerhouse Aegina radiated its influence throughout the ancient world. She put her wares on every market, and set an example in commerce which many countries subsequently thought well to follow.
The efforts of the Aeginetans, however, were not wholly expended in roving the seas in search of trade. They were naturally great lovers of art. They built several temples in Aegina, of which the one to Aphaea, the chief local divinity, built about 475 b.c., and the one to Aphrodite, the patron of all their sea exploits, built a few years earlier, are the finest. The temple to Aphaea was on the height on the northeastern part of the island, while the one to Aphrodite was in the town itself. Both of these were hexastyle, that is, with six columns in front. The temple to Aphaea is the better preserved of the two, and its sculptures show remarkable ability in their conception and in their execution. From the scanty remains, and from what can be found in the ancient writings, the one to Aphrodite seems to have been the larger and the more beautiful. Both temples were built just before the development which came with Phidias and his pupils, and consequently in the statues that remain to us, we find the stiff figure and the rigid smile of archaism still persisting. The front elevation of the temple to Aphrodite has been partially restored. It is probable that the pediment was occupied by a group depicting Aphrodite speeding departing mariners. Both temples were of the Doric order.
There has been much discussion as to whether Pheidon, king of Argos, struck coins at Aegina and the question is still unsettled owing to the lack of evidence concerning the date of Pheidon's rule. It is, however, possible to conjecture his dates with a fair amount of accuracy, by studying the passages in the ancient writings relating to that time. Herodotus, 2 who, however, must not be taken too literally since he often confuses the mythical with the historical in a manner most bewildering to the seeker after truth, writing about 446 b.c., makes the statement that Pheidon lived circa 600 b.c., and that his son Leocedes was a suitor of Agariste, the daughter of Cleisthenes, king of Sicyon. Strabo, 3 about 20 b.c., on the authority of Ephorus, said that Pheidon, king of Argos, was the tenth in descent from Temenus. The Etymologicum Magnum 4 (compiled about 900 a.d.) made the same statement, probably copying Strabo. Pausaniass 5 (writing circa 135 a.d.), said that Pheidon celebrated the eighth Olympiad—this was in 748 b.c. The Parian Chronicle states that Pheidon was the eleventh in descent from Herakles, that is the seventh from Temenus. Herodotus, then, places Pheidon as reigning about 600 b.c. Strabo, quoting Ephorus, places him around 758 b.c. The Etymologicum Magnum does the same. Pausanias puts him circa 748 b.c. The Parian Chronicle dates him around 850 b.c. As has been already intimated, the story of Herodotus seems rather undependable. This leaves but two of the dates given by the ancient authorities in which Pheidon might have lived. The bulk of evidence seems to place him at about 750 b.c. Only the Parian Chronicle puts him as far back as the middle of the ninth century. Since Pausanias, a very reliable authority, and Ephorus, an entirely independent writer, give him the later date, it is very possible that that is the correct one. But even if he did live in the middle of the ninth century, instead of in the middle of the eighth, that would not affect in the least the conclusion evidently to be drawn from the statement, that he did not issue coins at Aegina, for we know that the earliest electrum of Asia Minor was not struck much before 700 b.c., and the Aeginetan coins are certainly later than these. And if he had lived about 600 b.c., as Herodotus had said, that also, would not affect this conclusion, because the extremely archaic style of the earliest staters proves that they could not have been struck later than about 650 b.c. Also, although Pheidon may have had some influence in Aegina, it is very unlikely that Aegina was ever a part of his dominions. 6
Aegina, then, not slow to realize the immense superiority of coinage over all other methods of exchange and barter for her extensive commerce, struck her first coins not later than 650 b.c. These coins were the first to be issued in European Greece. 7 Her mariners, voyaging to all parts of the ancient world, were among the first to learn of the invention of coinage. From the coast of Asia Minor the tales they brought back of its great convenience probably hastened the adoption of this new medium of exchange. Though all the early coins of Asia Minor are electrum, none of the Aeginetan coins, even the earliest, are anything but pure silver. This may be explained by the circumstance that the Ae- ginetans had much easier access to silver than to gold mines. Most of the gold of the ancient world at this time came from Asia Minor and Pæonia. There is one electrum coin in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, which has sometimes been attributed to Aegina. But the fabric is different, the oblong incuses are very unlike any Aeginetan reverse, and even the tortoise on the obverse is very unlike the Aeginetan. So it may safely be asserted that no gold or electrum was ever issued on the island.
The standard used has been a matter of much controversy. It is called the Pheidonian because it seems certain that Pheidon either originated it or made a modification of the standard then in use in the Peloponnesus, his name becoming attached to the modified one. This has also given some weight to the theory that Pheidon struck coins at Aegina, but at the same time it practically disproves the theory that he lived circa 600 b.c. There seems no good reason, however, why Pheidon might not have arranged the weights and measures of the Peloponnesus in 750 b.c., and the Aeginetans have used those weights, the standard of their own island as well as of the Peloponnesus, when they first issued coins. And this is apparently exactly what happened. That Pheidon adjusted the measures and weights of the Peloponnesus is attested by the statements of several ancient authorities. Herodotus 8 said that he established the measures of the Peloponnesus. Ephorus 9 said that he invented the weights and measures called Pheidonian. Aristotle 10 spoke of certain measures as being fixed by, and named after, Pheidon. The Parian Chronicle, also, spoke of the measures of the Peloponnesus as being adjusted by Pheidon. He apparently did not invent an entirely new system, but in a rational manner adjusted the measures, then in use, to the weights, so that a certain number of units in weight would equal a measure containing a certain quantity of water. These weights and measures became so popular on account of their convenience, that not only the Peloponnesus, but also the Aegean islands, the towns of central Greece and even Athens used them in commerce for a long time—many, until the time of Alexander the Great. 11
Several writers have believed that the standard used for the Aeginetan coins was derived from the Euboic; others have thought it was a modification of an Egyptian gold standard. But although the stater happens to be exactly one thirty-fifth of the Euboic mina, this may be just a coincidence. We know that the Aeginetans were striving to equate their silver coins with the bronze and iron spits that had been in use before, rather than with any gold coins. Moreover it was very uncommon in Greece at the time of the beginning of coinage to find cities that issued silver coins only, striking them on a gold standard. Also, seeing that these bronze spits were made on a standard so well equated with the other measures, the magistrates would not wish to court unpopularity for their coins by issuing them on a differing standard, but would employ that one which they were using for every- thing else, and to which they had become accustomed.
The relation between silver and bronze at that time was probably about 120 to 1. This is substantiated by the following facts: A pelanor—an iron spit used as money by the Spartans—weighed 9600 grains, (622 grams) which is exactly the weight of an Aeginetan mina of six hundred obols. 12 Hultsch 13 gave reasons for believing that each of these iron spits was equal in value to an obol of silver. This gives a relation between the two metals of 600 to 1. In Greece at about the same time the relation between iron and bronze was 5 to 1. This would make the ratio between bronze and silver 120 to 1. Thus an obol of silver (16 grains or 1.04 grams) would equal an obol of bronze of 1920 grains (124.4 grams). And this is just about the weight, so far as we can discover, of the bronze spits issued on the Pheidonian standard. From this we may gather that the Aeginetan coins were not issued on a foreign standard of gold or other metal, but their weights were merely the continuation of a standard existing in their own island, (possibly of Mycenaean origin).
The standard, as far as can be ascertained, is as follows:
Didrachm or stater 12.57 gm. or 194 gr.
Drachm 6.28 gm. or 97 gr.
Hemidrachm or triobol 3.11 gm. or 48 gr.
Diobol 2.07 gm. or 32 gr.
Trihemiobol 1.55 gm. or 24 gr.
Obol 1.04 gm. or 16 gr.
Hemiobol 52 gm. or 8 gr.
Tetartemorion 26 gm. or 4 gr.
This leaves out of the calculation several unique pieces of over 200 grains. The mint-masters had no accurate means of fixing the exact weight for each individual coin. They very probably were more particular to get a certain required number of coins from each ingot of metal than to have each separate piece conform to an exact weight.
As has been stated above, Aphrodite was worshipped by the Aeginetan people as a sea-goddess. She was the divinity looked upon as the one most helpful to them in all their sea-going affairs. Therefore it is not surprising to find that the sea-tortoise, a creature sacred to Aphrodite, 14 was the type placed on their first coins. Phidias, the noted sculptor, made for the people of Elis a statue of Aphrodite Urania, resting her foot on a tortoise. 15 The fabric of the Aeginetan coins is also uncommon. There were apparently two methods of striking coins in general use among the ancients. For one known as "Anvil striking", the reverse was let into an anvil, while the obverse die was placed in the punch. The result was very flat surfaces in the field surrounding the design on the anvil side. The other method, "Punch striking", was to let the obverse die into the anvil, and to strike the reverse with the punch, which was usually a little smaller than the blank. The result of this method was unevenly raised or concave edges on the reverse. Most of the ancient mints used the latter, or, if they began with anvil striking, changed later. The reason, seemingly, for the greater use of punch striking was that the obverse, being usually more elaborate and more deeply engraved was more apt to break under strain, and thus needed the additional support of the solid anvil. But Aegina was almost alone in using the anvil striking just as long as she struck silver coins.
The coinage of Aegina may be divided into the following periods:
To be able rightly to understand the reasons for the immense circulation of the coins of Aegina, one must examine her history.
Tradition derives her name from Aegina, the daughter of the river-god Asopus, who was carried off by Zeus to the island of Oenone 16 . There was born a son named Aeacus, who later ruled over the island, which was then called Aegina, in honor of his mother. Aeacus was a just and impartial ruler, and, so the tradition goes, when he died he was made a judge of the under-world. A temple was dedicated to him in Aegina. Later, many of his de- scendants also were worshipped, especially Achilles.
Because of her location Aegina prospered and waxed more and more important. Her island situation gave her an advantage over the many malaria-infested sections of the mainland. Situated in the temperate climate of central Greece, while she kept the artistic ability of southern peoples, she was freed from their lazy idealism. Also, while she had a great deal of the sustained aggressiveness of northern peoples, indispensable in commerce, she was freed from their gross materialism. Her position, moreover, was the key to the entire eastern coast of Greece. All of the shipborne commerce to and from the isthmus of Corinth had to pass nearby. Much of the coastwise trade of Greece stopped there for provisioning and refitting. These advantages contributed to the growing importance of Aegina in the ancient world. A glance at her history will show that her people made the most of their opportunities. Jewelry slightly later than that found in Mycenaean graves of the mainland, is cited 17 as evidence of the Mycenaean culture having survived in Aegina for a considerable period after the mainland civilization had yielded to the invaders 18 .
She was a member of the league of Calauria, a purely naval confederation, which was organized to check the piracy in the Aegean, sprung up as a result of the decay of the power of the Mycenaean princes. This league was composed of Aegina, Athens, Hermione, Nauplia, Orchomenos, Prasiae, and Troezen. Her maritime importance, therefore, dates back to pre- Dorian times. Her wealth slowly but surely increased with the passing years, and about 750 b.c., while a member of the Eretrian league, we find that she was given an important part in the war against Samos, an ally of the rival Chalcidians. As her wealth increased she was enabled to fit out additional ships, so that in 650 b.c., about the time of the commencement of her coinage, she was one of the greatest commercial states in Greece, and commercially the greatest of the islands. She was one of the three favored states trading in the empo- rium of Naucratis, at which place she dedicated a temple to Zeus. She was also the entrepot of the Pontic trade, later, after Aegina's overthrow, a monopoly of Athens. And so, on account of her immense commerce, when Aegina introduced coinage as a medium whereby her mariners, citizens, and others should buy and sell goods more easily, it almost immediately became more than a local coinage.
Her traders, wandering to all parts of the Mediterranean world, naturally took their own money with them, so that Aegina's "turtles" grew to be looked upon by most of the merchant cities at which her ships called, as the standard coinage. This state of affairs, besides requiring the mint at Aegina to strike very large quantities of coins, also prevented it from introducing any really important changes in the types through fear lest the altered types might not be as acceptable to the merchants as the former ones. This is probably the reason why there is so great a uniformity in this coinage for at least two hundred years. Whenever a coinage be- comes international, this phenomenon may be observed. It is illustrated by the "Owls" of Athens, and by the Pegasus issues of Corinth. The coinage seems to have been accepted as standard even after the first issuance of the Athenian "Owls", for in an inscription found in the ruins of the Heraeum of Argos, which enumerated the contributors to the common fund, the sums given by the various cities are counted in Aeginetan money. These cities included Heraclea, Hypata, Aechinus, Larissa, Cierium and Phalanna, all in Thessaly, and Oreos in Euboea. The inscription dates from the time of the first successors of Alexander. 19
The types of this period are as follows:
Obv. Sea-tortoise (Chelone Caouana) or common loggerhead turtle of the Mediterranean; the ridge of the shell ornamented with a row of dots (usually six).
Rev. Incuse square divided by lines into eight triangular compartments. The die nearly always shows extensive signs of wear, bending or fracture resulting in some of the triangles being slightly irregular or filled to a greater or lesser degree. Pl. I, 1-5
Obv. Same as obv. of (a); the division of the shell into plates is roughly indicated.
Rev. Same as rev. of (a). Pl. I, 6
The denominations are the stater or didrachm, the drachm, triobol, obol and hemiobol.
The second type is almost unique, only a few examples being known to exist. They were probably unpopular among the foreign merchants, and were immediately discontinued. The staters were, of course, the most abundant of this period, as indeed of all the periods until 456 b.c., being issued for international circulation, while the smaller denominations were only struck for local use.
Counterstamps occur very frequently on Aeginetan coins, and their presence may be explained by no less than four theories. First—as the stamps or signets of bank- ers or prominent merchants. Second—as the coats-of-arms of cities other than the issuing one. Third—as seals of the temples to which the coins had been brought as thank offerings. Fourth—several distinctly Aeginetan forms are taken to be some manner of mint-mark.
These countermarks occur not only on the coins of Aegina, but on those of Elis, on the sigli of the Persian kings and on the issues of Athens which penetrated to the Asiatic markets. Of the theories advanced above, the last is the least tenable, for any such distinction between mints would have been made in the dies themselves rather than in the coins after they had come from the dies. As for the temple-marks, as such they might be placed in the same category as the counterstamps of the bankers—but little more than a certification that the piece was of full weight and of good metal. Messrs. Hill, Babelon and Newell incline to the first explanation—that these are the symbols of bankers or important traders, and as an offset to the second of our theories, Mr. Hill remarks that though types recognizable as being common to other cities do occur, they are more likely to be the signets of bankers from those respective cities than the imprints of the cities, though of course not necessarily so.
A comparison of the counterstamps used at Aegina with those employed on the sigli published by Mr. Hill 20 and with the ones used on the coins of Elis listed by Mr. Seltman, 21 bears out to some extent the first of these theories. In the case of the Olympian issues, Mr. Seltman offers suggestions for the identification of certain of the marks, although he is careful to add that they may have been impressed by cities, leaving open the question whether this or the banker-theory explains all of them. However, in support of the second theory, a coin with the fish counterstamp, like the fish emblem of Psophis in Arcadia (Pl. II, 4), has been cited as evidence that the Aeginetan coins were officially established as a part of the coinage of Psophis. It may be noted that the sea-turtle used as a countermark, occurs on a stater of Aegina, on several coins of Elis, and on a sigli. With one exception (possibly two), none of the countermarks occurring in the Cilician Hoard described by Mr. Newell, occur on the Aeginetan coins so far as I have been able to examine them. Nor do any of the triskeles or tetraskeles which are frequent on the sigli, and which would reasonably be accepted as marks of Lycian bankers, appear on the Aeginetan staters—which is just what one would expect. The mark "disc in a square" (Hill, No. 2) occurs in all four sources. The proportion of the forms occurring both at Olympia and Aegina is slight; and of the two, the Aeginetan are simpler and more primitive. There is but slight evidence against the banker-theory, if one accepts the proviso that for a like reason temples may also have counterstamped coins and that civic types such as the turtles mentioned above are probably badges of patriotic citizens rather than of the city involved.
This period saw Aegina's prosperity and influence grow steadily. Throughout the entire Mediterranean world, her money, her ships, her sailors, were to be found. But also during this period, there was a development of that hostility to Athens which slowly increased until it broke out into a war in which all of the prosperity of Aegina faded. Of course the underlying reason for this animosity was commercial rivalry, and all the incidents of the long conflict may be directly traced to that.
Herodotus, who often combines the fictitious with the authentic, assigns another reason for the dispute. While he is the only authority for the tale, it shows that Athens and Aegina were hostile even in early times, since the story would hardly have originated had not these two cities been traditional enemies. The Epidaurians who, it is said, were the original colonizers of Aegina, had two images of their patron divinities, the one of the goddess Damia, and the other of the goddess Auxesia. These two statues were made of olive-wood, which had been obtained from the Athenians. In payment for the wood, the Athenians exacted an annual offering of animals, from the Epidaurians, to the Athenian divinities Athene Polias and Erechtheus. The Aeginetans, seemingly, were hostile to the Epidaurians, and so one night in about 570 b.c., some of their young men made a raid and carried off the two images. The Athenians did not mind who had the statues, so long as the offerings were received regularly, and so they did nothing at first. But the Aeginetans had no intention whatever of sending offerings, and when the day set for the giving of the tribute passed by without any sign, the Athenians made an attack on Aegina, but were repulsed. This whole incident has a mythical atmosphere, the more so, in that the Athenians were said to have been repulsed by the intervention of the images themselves, who bowed their heads and made strange sounds, so terrifying the Athenians that they were easily overpowered by the Aeginetans. Would it not, therefore, be safer to ascribe the growing hostility of these two cities to their commercial relations? The Aeginetan merchants were the natural rivals of those of Athens, and this trade rivalry might easily have been converted into real enmity by any slight clash between the two.
The following are the types of this period:—
Obv. Same as obv. of Period I (a).
Rev. Mill-sail pattern incuse, i.e., four deep triangular depressions, so disposed as to form the arrangement known in heraldry as gyronne. A few of the earlier specimens show traces of an enclosing square, but this is more usually absent. The impress is often somewhat irregular, with five and sometimes even six depressions but the general effect is retained. Pl. I, 11
Obv. Sea-turtle, the division of the shell into plates is roughly indicated.
Rev. Same as rev. of (a)—[staters only]. Pl. I, 12
Denominations: staters, drachms, triobols, obols, hemiobols.
Again we find an attempt at showing the plates of the carapace, this time more carefully executed, but the coins of this type were apparently not very popular, as this is the last attempt of the kind for almost a hundred years.
The counterstamps on the coins of this period are very numerous.
During this period the relations between Aegina and Athens grew steadily more and more strained, until finally they broke out into open warfare. Until 488 b.c. there was no fighting, but up to that time both cities were slowly preparing. In 507 b.c. Thebes was at war with Athens and evidently Thebes was hard pressed, for she appealed to Aegina for assistance. But the Aeginetans, apparently, thought that the time was not yet ripe for war, and so refused to take active measures, merely sending images of the Aeacidae, sons of Aeacus, the tutelary heroes of their island, expressing the pious hope that the influence of these might help the Thebans.
In 491 b.c. Aegina was one of the states that gave the symbols of submission (earth and water) to Persia. Commerce was, of course, the chief source of her prosperity. She had very close commercial relations with the Levant, and these would have been hurt by any break with that empire. Whatever her reasons for it may have been, this defection was deeply resented by the other Greek states. Athens, especially, was aroused, and appealed to Sparta to punish this offense against all the patriotic and anti-Persian sentiments of the Greek world. Cleomenes, the co-ruler of Sparta with Demaratus, crossed over to Aegina to arrest those responsible. This attempt proved futile, partly on account of the resistance of the Aeginetans, but principally because of the opposition of Demaratus. Cleomenes, incensed by this hostility of his colleague, persuaded Leotychides, a kinsman and enemy of Demaratus, to claim the throne, on the ground that Demaratus was the son of his mother's first husband, and not of her second, who was Ariston, the former king. The affair was brought before the Delphic oracle, and the oracle, influenced by the bribes of Cleomenes, pronounced in favor of Leotychides. Shortly after this, Cleomenes made a second attempt, and succeeded in seizing ten of the foremost citizens of the island, whom he deposited at Athens as hostages. The Aeginetans, probably fear- ful of Cleomenes, took no active measures towards the recovery of the hostages, or towards any retaliation. But soon afterwards, circa 488 b.c., Cleomenes died, and in that very year, upon the refusal of the Athenians to return the hostages, at a festival at Sunium, the Aeginetans avenged the seizure of their chief citizens by themselves capturing a number of Athenians. The Athenians had no intention whatever of submitting passively. They therefore plotted with Nicodromus, the leader of the democratic party at Aegina, that he should capture the inner city at the same time as the Athenian fleet and army were attacking the outer walls of the city. The plan miscarried through a misunderstanding about the time set for the attack, and the Athenians arrived only to find the entire island prepared against them, and Nicodromus in flight. Nevertheless, the Athenians continued the reprisal, and a naval engagement took place, in which the Aeginetans were defeated. However, the war which followed was marked apparently by no further Athenian victories, and the Aeginetans pressed the Athenians at every point. Athens finally was placed in such an unfavorable position, that in 483 b.c., Themistocles was able to pass an order for building two hundred triremes out of the surplus funds of the state "For use in the war against Aegina". This surplus had come from the lately discovered mines at Laurium, in the southern part of Attica. It had become the custom to distribute this among the Athenian citizens but the Aeginetan danger was so serious that strong measures had to be taken. Evidently, however, these new war vessels also proved ineffective against the powerful fleet of the Aeginetans, for soon afterwards Athens invited Aegina to a peace congress. Aegina acquiescing, the congress was held on the isthmus of Corinth in 481 b.c. It is not surprising to find that Aegina had the best of this war, since the period 490-480 b.c. was the one in which the Aeginetans were at the height of their prosperity, and the one in which they had the actual supremacy of the seas, while the Athenians had as yet only a comparatively small amount of power and resources. Peace was hastened by the fact that the old enemy Persia began at about that time a new expedition against the Greek cities. Aegina was forced by the other states to join them against Persia. Once committed to this course, however, Aegina spared no resources in helping to defeat the common enemy. It was in large part due to the Aeginetan fleet's bravery that the battle of Salamis, in 480 b.c., was won.
Cimon by this time had risen to power at Athens, and his philolaconian policy saved Aegina, as a member of the Spartan league, from attack. Throughout the duration of Cimon's leadership, 481-461 b.c., Athens grew slowly more and more powerful, while the strength of Aegina derived almost solely from commerce, had been sadly depleted by the Persian war. So that when the war, usually known as the first Peloponnesian war, broke out, (460454 b.c.) Athens had become by far the stronger of the two. Furthermore, Aegina and Corinth had to bear the brunt of the fighting, since all the other states kept out of it as much as possible, feeling probably that they were not strong enough as yet to oppose Athens. Athens laid siege to the island of Aegina, and in 456 b.c., the Aeginetans were forced to surrender. This ended the real autonomous existence of this island; at one time one of the most powerful in Greece, it was now reduced to a subject ally of her old enemy. This war, like the greater one which followed, was not between powers striving for empire, nor was it on account of racial enmities. Though the struggle began partly through commercial rivalry, it resolved itself into one between oligarchy and democracy, for at the end of the second war, all the forces ranged against Athens and her allies were oligarchies, and all the allies of Athens were democracies.
The coinage of this period is as follows:
Obv. Sea-turtle, the ridge of the shell ornamented with a row of dots, usually five, and one dot on each side at the head.
Rev. Approximately rectangular incuse of small size, divided by broad bands into a conventional pattern of five compartments; one or more deeply indented. Pl. I, 13
Obv. Similar to obv. of (a) but more advanced in style.
Rev. Similar to rev. of (a) but incuse square is very shallow and occupies the whole of the field. On some specimens of the smaller denominations it is divided into four triangular compartments. Pl. I, 14-15
Obv. Same as obv. of (a).
Rev. Incuse square, within which triskelis of three human legs r., in the center is a large pellet. Unique stater. Pl. I, 16
Obv. Sea-turtle with smooth shell, line down back.
Rev. Incuse square, within which, a dolphin r. On some specimens there are one or two floral ornaments in various comers. Obols only. Pl. I, 10
Denominations for (a) and (b) staters, drachms, triobols, obols, hemiobols.
There is some doubt as to whether (c) may safely be attributed to Aegina. There are two main objections to so doing. First, the reverse is punch-struck, while, as has been already said, none of the Aeginetan coins were struck in any other way but anvil-striking. The second objection is that no other silver Aeginetan coin ever had a type on the reverse so elaborate as this. In fact, with the exception of a few small coins with a dolphin on the reverse, the origin of which is also doubtful, none of the silver coins had anything but incuse patterns. Mr. Head 22 points out that this triskelis is very similar to that on the coins of Phlius in the Peloponnesus. The coin may well have been struck at Phlius in alliance with Aegina, since there were very close relations between Phlius and Aegina, as is shown by the fact that Phlius used the Aeginetan standard from the first, and that the reverse type of her early coins is very like the Aeginetan incuse.
Throughout this period, Aegina held a very subordinate position in the Mediterranean world. Her commerce had become practically non-existent, and all her oldtime monopolies, such as the Pontic trade had been taken over by Athens. Also, having to pay a tribute of thirty talents to her conqueror was a still further blow to the former prestige of Aegina. After the thirty years truce was agreed upon in 445 b.c., Athens covenanted to restore to Aegina her former autonomy, but this provision of the truce was never carried into effect, and Athens slowly increased her hold upon the island.
In the first winter of the second Peloponnesian War, which began in 431 b.c., Athens expelled the Aeginetans from the island, probably fearing that they would take advantage of their strategic position, and revolt. Even for those days, this was considered most brutal, and the indignation against the deed probably influenced several of the "doubtful" states in their decision to enter the war against Athens. Athens then established a cleruchy on the island, a system of colonization adopted by the Athenians about 506 b.c. Under its usages, conquered territory was divided equally into ten portions—one for each of the ten Athenian tribes. Each portion, in turn, was divided into small parcels, which were assigned by lot to the poorer citizens of the tribe. These men were called cleruchs, and although living in the conquered territory, often at a long distance from Athens, they retained their Athenian citizenship, which in turn was inherited by their sons. These, however, were obliged to present themselves at Athens at the age of eighteen, and to have their names registered in their proper demes.
Upon being expelled from their island, the Aeginetans appealed to Sparta for aid, and Sparta, in return for help given her by them in the past, established them in Thyreatis, near the border-line between Laconia and Argolis. But even there, the hostility of Athens pursued them, and in 424 b.c. the Athenian general, Nicias, who was afterwards killed at Syracuse in 413 b.c., led an expedition against them, and put a large number to death. When finally in 404 b.c., Sparta emerged triumphant from the war, with the power of Athens forever broken, Lysander restored the scattered and harassed remnants of Aegina's once powerful and prosperous population to the island.
As regards the affairs of the island itself during the second part of this period, there is not much known. The cleruchy, of course, supported Athens in every possible way, and Aegina was used as a naval base by that city during the greater part of the war.
It has always been accepted that the coinage of the Aeginetans did not stop until their expulsion from the island in 431 b.c. Fox, in his article in the Corolla Numismatica, places here triobols of poor workmanship, with a crescent on either obverse or reverse, or both, in which he is followed in the second edition of the Historia Numorum (cf. Pl. II, Nos. 5-8). These triobols have in recent years appeared in considerable numbers, and usually when it has been possible to ascertain their provenance, it has proved to be Cretan. They appear in one hoard whose date of burial is as late as 150 b.c. which contained one of these pieces in good condition (Richard B. Seager, Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 23, A Cretan Coin Hoard). The turtle on these triobols is apparently an imitation of our Period VI (d), although the workmanship is noticeably cruder.
In view of these circumstances, we may feel warranted in rejecting Fox's assignment of these triobols to this period, the more so that it would have been contrary to the Athenian procedure to allow the conquered Aeginetans to strike any coins. There have been discovered at Siphnos and at Smyrna copies of an Athenian decree, 23 forbidding to subjugated cities the use of any silver coinage save that of Athens. The decree dates from 418 b.c. or earlier, and was later supplemented by another tending to enforce the rule more strongly. Though the decree has a later date than that of the expulsion of the Aeginetans, it seems probable that it was merely a formal announcement of a policy which had long been followed by the Athenians. There is no reason for supposing that Aegina would have been favored above other cities in this matter—the probabilities are that with its proximity to Athens, there would have been even greater strictness than with more distant "allies." Mr. E. S. G. Robinson of the British Museum is preparing a paper which will have this Crescent Series as its subject.
In the period between the expulsion of the Aeginetans in 431 b.c. and until their restoration in 404, it has been generally considered that no coins were issued either by the Aeginetans at their place of refuge, Thyreatis, or by the Athenian cleruchs on the island. This may be true, but there is one coin which is rather hard to place unless we concede that it is within reason that the Aeginetans at Thyreatis, might have struck coins. The single specimen recorded is a diobol which was at one time in the Consul Weber Collection (no. 1764). The obverse is of the earlier type, i. e., sea turtle, and hence must come before 404 b.c. at which time the change to a land tortoise took place. The style is very similar to that on the coins minted just before 456 b.c.
The reverse is exceptional. As is shown by the cut it is unlike any incuse reverse struck at Aegina. Also, upon comparison with the reverse on several of the smaller coins of Argos of about 421 b.c., as for example pl. xxvii, nos. 2, 4, 5, in B. M. C., the striking resemblance is immediately seen, both in the form of the incuse and in the arrangement of dots within it. As has been noted, Thyreatis, where the Aeginetans settled in about 431 b.c. is on the border of Argolis, and the influence of Argos was naturally considerable there. If the Aeginetans issued any coins at this time, the logical types would be a combination of those of their old and new homes. Mr. Head in the last edition of the Historia Numorum, places the final date of early Argive coins at 421 b.c., or later.
This same explanation might hold for a group of minute coins, two of which are reproduced, which seem to have another origin than Aegina. Though the practice of having the reverses consist of single letters or monograms was not instituted until some little time after 404 b.c., when the Aeginetans returned to their island, this would not preclude the coins being of Argive origin, for it was there that this practice was most common. These coins might have been issued at a date considerably later than that of the coin shown in Fig. 1—the choice of the sea-turtle type having been influenced by the comparatively recent stay of the Aeginetans in Argos. Of course, the pieces may have no connection at all with Aegina.
From the time when Lysander, that very able Spartan general, restored the scattered remnants of Aegina's population to their island, until the end of Spartan domination in 379 b.c., the island was used as a naval base by the Spartans. Its geographical position enabled them to keep a careful watch on Athens, and to thwart incipient uprisings in that city to throw off the yoke of Spartan rule. In 388 b.c. Chabrias the noted Athenian general, defeated the Spartans at Aegina. This does not, however, seem to have affected the Spartan rule over the island, which continued, as has been said, until 379 b.c. Aegina, despite this fortunate position of hers in the Mediterranean world, from then on played a very unimportant part in the drama of history. Her ancient greatness was at an end, for, although she tried to regain her prosperity, her re- sources had been sapped to too great a degree for any substantial recovery.
There were three great reasons why Aegina's fall was so absolutely and astoundingly complete. One was, of course, the development of the Athenian navy, which was to a great extent the deciding factor in the conquest of Aegina in the first Peloponnesian war. Another was that her commerce, the one source of her prosperity and greatness, being chiefly with the Levant, was almost completely ruined by the Persian war of 482-480 b.c. But the third reason was probably the main one, since it was the most fundamental— the fact that she depended entirely on slave labor for work of any kind. It has been estimated that there were 400,000 slaves on the island as opposed to 80,000 free men. This may be an exaggeration, but nevertheless the ratio between the slaves and the free men was very nearly as large as this. A civilization based on this corrupting and enervating system is bound to fall sooner or later. The Roman empire was undefeatable so long as the citizens retained their simple and severe habits, but as soon as quantities of prisoners of war began to be brought to Rome, to be sold as slaves, and when these slaves began to be used for every type of work, the Romans grew indolent and pleasure-loving. When the barbaric hordes commenced to stream into the Roman territory, the Romans were so demoralized and so lazy that they were unable to check them, and their final doom was certain. And thus, most probably, it was with the Aeginetans, so that when misfortune overtook them, they were too effeminate and corrupt to rise above their adversities and with determination to set about bringing prosperity back to their island.
The silver coins of this period are as follows:
Obv. Testudo Graeca, or small land turtle of the Mediterranean in high relief and in fine style, usually thirteen plates to the carapace.
Rev. Very shallow incuse, approximately rectangular, divided by broad bands into a conventional pattern of five compartments. Pl. II, 12, 13
Obv. Similar to obv. of (a) but more spread.
Rev. Similar to rev. of (a) but the dividing bands are thinner. Pl. II, 14, 15
Obv. Similar to obv. of (b) but less accurate.
Rev. Similar to rev. of (b) but there are two pellets in one compartment. (No staters?) Pl. II, 16
Obv. Similar to obv. of (b).
Rev. Similar to rev. of (b) but Θ in one compartment. Pl. II, 17
Obv. Similar to obv. of (b).
Rev. Similar to rev. of (b) but Ο one compartment. Pl. II, 18
Obv. Same, but фΑ.
Rev. Same, but ф.
Obv. Same, but Α (obol).
Rev. Same, but no letter.
Bronze coin types:
Obv. Three dolphins swimming to r. in a circle; in the midst of them, Α.
Rev. Incuse of conventional Aeginetan pattern. 15mm. Pl. IV, 1
Obv. Two dolphins swimming upwards, between them, Α.
Rev. Similar to rev. of (a). 15 mm. Pl. IV, 2
No plausible explanation has as yet been put forward for this change from the sea-tortoise to a land turtle. Is it not possible that the land turtle was considered sacred either at Thyreatis, or at Sparta, probably as the symbol of some god or goddess? If this were so, then the change in type might be explained by the desire of the Aeginetans to show gratitude to their helpers in time of need, while still retaining on their coins a type enough like the original to be accepted as genuine by the merchants of other cities. This is hardly more than a supposition, but at least it may be considered possible, and there is no other theory which seems any more so.
These coins are fairly numerous, though they are not found in as many distant places as the earlier staters. Their numbers show, however, that the coinage of Aegina was still "standard", even while the island itself had lost its prestige. The workmanship on the obverse is far better than that on the coins before 431 b.c. For the first time in that long series, does the type approach anything like fine art. Even this lasted but a short while, for towards the end of the period, as shown by (c), we find decidedly careless execution.
Bronze coinage appears during this period for the first time in the history of the island. One of the principal reasons for this was that all the silver for the coins came from foreign states. Upon the restoration of the inhabitants, the merchants naturally recommenced trading. But this was on not nearly so extensive a scale as formerly, chiefly because the Aeginetan ships had been almost entirely destroyed. Therefore there was much less silver coming into the island through the channels of trade. Bronze was obtainable in far greater quantities than silver, since there were many copper mines in the Peloponnesus near Aegina. The mint-masters, therefore, in order to strike as many staters as possible, for only these coins ever had international circulation, followed the example of the majority of the other states, impoverished by the long wars, and struck nearly all the local issues in bronze. These are the first coins to break away from the custom of placing a tortoise on the obverse. They retain, however, the usual five-compartment pattern on the reverse, a form which had become almost as familiar as the tortoise itself.
Athens, from 404 b.c. until the end of Greek autonomy, had not the slightest cause for fear or jealousy of her ancient rival, Aegina. That island, once an important factor in every situation that concerned the affairs of Greece, was in this period a neglected pawn in that exciting game that was to come to such a spectacular climax in the conquests of Alexander the Great. Still, since man has always been very averse to changing his habits quickly, the Aeginetan coins were looked upon as the most reliable medium of exchange. Indeed, an Athenian of that time once said "Virtue and wisdom are conquered by tortoises".
The following are the types on the silver coins of this period:
Obv. Land turtle, similar to obv. of Period V, no letters on the obv.
Rev. Usual form of rev. but with diagonal downward to r. and Α ΙΓΙ and a dolphin in the divisions. Didrachms. Pl. III, 1
Obv. Similar to (a).
Rev. Similar to (a), but with Α, ΙΓ and dolphin in the divisions. Didrachms. Pl. III, 2
Obv. Similar to (a).
Rev. Diagonal downward to 1. and with ΑΙ, Γ and dolphin in the divisions. Drachms. Pl. III, 3
Obv. Similar to (c), but with Α to 1. and Ι to r.
Rev. Diagonal downward to 1., Α and Ι in the divisions, no dolphin. Drachms. Pl. III, 4
Obv. Similar to (d).
Rev. Similar to (a). Drachms. Pl. III, 5
Obv. Similar to (d), but with С or crescent to 1.
Rev. Diagonal to 1., and with letters Α and ф in the divisions, the Α being lower. Triobols only. Pl. III, 7
Obv. Similar to (d), but with Α only.
Rev. As rev. of (d), but with Α and ф in the divisions. Obols only.
Obv. Similar to (d).
Rev. Similar to rev. of (d), but with Х in upper r. division. Hemiobols only. Pl. III, 8
The bronze coins of this period have the same types as those of the preceding period.
The silver coinage of this period is chiefly of importance because by 320 b.c. or a little later, the Aeginetans ceased from coining silver. Thus these coins are the last examples of that long line of "Tortoises", which stretched back three hundred years or more to the time when Greece was in her infancy, and when the name of Athens was hardly known in the outside world. For three centuries these coins had been "standard" over the length and breadth of the ancient world, civilized and barbarous. But when Alexander of Macedon gained ascendency over the enfeebled Greek states, Aegina discontinued all attempts at commerce, and, there being practically no trading, silver became unnecessary, and the mint confined itself to issuing the small bronze coins which were to form the only currency of the island until Rome stopped even this.
At this time Aegina followed the example of Athens, by placing the initials of magistrates, or mint officials on her coins. But, unlike Athens, these initials were never in the form of monograms. Also, there were fewer varieties.
The following are the types on the silver issues:
Obv. Land turtle, same as obv. of Period VI (d); Α Ι.
Rev. Incuse square of usual Aeginetan pattern; in three compartments Ν Ι and dolphin. Pl. III, 6
Obv. Same as obv. of (a); Α Ι.
Rev. Similar to rev. of (a), in one, two or more compartments, Ν Ι, Ε Υ, Δ Ι, or ΔΙΚΑΙΟ. Obols only. Pl. III, 9-13
The types on the bronze coins of this period are as follows:
Obv. Two dolphins swimming upwards, between them Α.
Rev. Incuse square of regular Aeginetan pattern; in one or more compartments Α, ΑΓ, ΔΙ, or ΝΟ. 12 mm. Pl. IV, 3
Aegina, being most unimportant after 320 b.c., had very little written about her. It is, therefore, impossible to give a detailed account of her history during this period. Although she was not friendly with Macedonia, she did not participate in the revolt of some of the Greek states upon the death of Alexander. This was principally because Demosthenes, the great Athenian orator, was the chief instigator of the revolution, and Aegina had always hated Athens. This revolt was called the "Lamian War", because the Greek allies at its commencement had besieged Lamia, which was being held by Antipater, regent of Macedonia. However, Antipater conquered in the battle of Crannon, and thereby ended all further Greek resistance to Macedonian supremacy.
Aegina probably joined the Achaean league, when it was at its height under the able leadership of the Sicyonian general Aratus, in 229 b.c. But if she did, she played a small part in the wars which followed shortly with Sparta and with the Aetolian league, for we find no mention of the numbers or conduct of her soldiers. The island finally came under the domination of Pergamum. When Attalus III, that cruel profligate, died, instead of giv- ing his half-brother the kingdom, he bequeathed it, together with Aegina, to Rome. Aristonicus, his half-brother, naturally resented being deprived of his inheritance, and collecting a strong force, he captured Apollonis and Colophon in Ionia, and the island of Samos. He then added to his victories by defeating the pontifex maximus, P. Licinius Crassus Mucianus. However, his success was short-lived, and in 130 b.c. the Roman general Marcus Perpenna defeated and captured him. Soon afterwards he was executed. His resistance had kept the Romans busy for three years, so it was not until 130 b.c. that they were able to take over complete control of the empire of Attalus. With that year, therefore, the coinage of Aegina ceased temporarily, for the Romans at that time allowed comparatively few of the conquered Greek cities to issue coins.
Throughout this period a desultory bronze coinage was kept up. The rarity of these coins proves that very few were minted. The island was much reduced in population, and the few people that re- mained on it were poor and not at all industrious. Therefore they did not need an abundance of coins.
The following are the coin-types of this period:
Rev. Dolphin r., beneath, ΑΙ or Α. 15 mm. Pl. IV, 4
Obv. Bucranium. ΑΙ.
Rev. Dolphin 1., above, ΝΙ; beneath, ΑΡΙ. 15mm. Pl. IV, 5
Obv. Prow r. ΑΙΓΙ.
Rev. Ram's head within a border of dots. ΑΙΓΙ or ΑΓΛΑ. i8 mm. Pl. IV, 6, 7
Obv. Prow r. ΑΙΓΙΝΑ.
Rev. Ram'shead 1., beneath, Α. 17 mm.
Obv. Head of Zeus r., laureate within a border of dots.
Rev. Naked archaic statue of Apollo r., holds in r. hand laurel branch bound with fillet, and in 1. hand strung bow. Α Ι / Γ Ι / Ν Η 16 mm. Pl. IV, 8
Obv. Similar to (e).
Rev. ΑΙΓΙΝΗ. Serpent, head upward, to 1. of temple key (?). Pl. IV, 9
The type on the reverse of (e) is apparently a copy of an early work of Aeginetan art. Unless this were so, the extreme archaism of the statue would seem unexplainable.
We know nothing about the history of Aegina from the time when she was taken by Rome in 130 b.c. until nearly an hundred years later. When open war broke out between Antony and Octavian, Aegina was again used as a pawn in the affairs of men, but for the last time. Antony was greatly in need of allies, and he felt that if he could once win over Athens, many other states would follow her example. Therefore, in order to gain her favor he granted her Aegina. When he was so disastrously defeated near Actium in 31 b.c. all his plans came to naught, and shortly afterwards Octavian revoked the grant, and allowed Aegina a quasi-freedom.
When Septimius Severus assumed the imperial power, he allowed many of the Greek cities to resume coinage of bronze. Among these Aegina was included, and for less than a score of years she minted small bronze pieces. Upon the assassination of Caracalla and the ensuing confusion, this right of coinage lapsed, and from then on Aegina never issued any coins, either silver or bronze.
This list of Imperial bronzes includes all the types known to the author, but does not pretend to be complete. New types are constantly being identified; of some of these only one example is known, and that example in a private collection and unpublished.
Obv. Laureate head of Septimius Severusr., ΑV. Κ. Α. СЄΓ. СЄΒΗΡΟС. ΓΕ.
Rev. ΑΙΓЄΙΝΗΤωΝ. Zeus, nude, striding r., holding thunderbolt and eagle (probably statue of Zeus Panhellenios). 23 mm. Pl. IV, 10
Obv. Bust of Sept. Severus r., crowned with laurel and wearing the paludamentum.
Rev. Hermes carrying ram, facing. Inscr. as on (a). 20 mm. Pl. IV, 11
Obv. Same as obv. of (a).
Rev. Small temple, tetrastyle, prostyle. Inscr. as on (a). 23 mm. Pl. IV, 12
Obv. Same as (a).
Rev. Inscr. as on (a). Hermes, facing 1., carrying a ram. 21 mm. Pl. IV, 13
Obv. Same as (a).
Rev. Inscr. as before. Hecate triformis; each of the two visible arms holds a long torch. 23 mm. Pl. IV, 14
Obv. Same as (a).
Rev. Inscr. as before. Woman in a stola, holding r. hand to her mouth, and with a cornucopiae in her 1. hand. 23 mm. Pl. IV, 15
Obv. Same as (a).
Rev. ΑΙΓЄΙΝΗΤωΝ. СΑΛ. Two female figures standing.
Obv. Same as (a).
Rev ΑΙΓЄΙ….. Helmeted Athena to r. with spear in her r. hand, the 1. resting on a shield. 22 mm. Pl. IV, 16
Obv. Α.ΚΑ.Μ.ΑV.ΑΝΤωΝЄΙΝ. Laureated bust of Caracalla wearing the paludamentum.
Rev. ΑΙΓωΙΝ ΗΤωΝ. Nude figure of Zeus striding to r., holding thunderbolt and eagle. 24 mm. Pl. V, 3
Obv. Μ.ΑVΡ.ΑΝΤωΙΝΟС. Similar to (a).
Rev. ΑΙΓЄΙΝ ΗΤωΝ. Zeus, holding thunderbolt in r. and sceptre in 1. hand, standing beside Aphaea.
Sestini is the source of this description—he is copied by Mionnet, but Imhoof-Blumer in citing this piece in his "Num. Comm, on Pausanias" notes that neither the engraving nor the description is to be trusted implicitly.
Obv. Bust of Geta r., head bare. Λ. СЄΓΤΙ.ΓЄΤΑС.ΚΑΙ.
Rev. ΑΙΓЄΙΝ ΗΤωΝ. Neptune, three-quarters to 1., with trident in 1. hand and dolphin in r. 17 mm. Pl. V, 4
Obv. Same as (a).
Rev. Prow 1. 17 mm. Pl. V, 5
Second variety. Pl. V, 6
Obv. фΟVΛΒΙΑ ΓΛΑVΤΙΛΛΑ. Bust of Plautilla to r.
Rev. ΑΙΓЄΙΝ ΗΤΩΝ. Woman seated to 1., her r. hand extended, and holding a sceptre in her 1. (Pallas?). 22 mm. Pl. V, 7
Obv. фΟVΛΒΙΑ ΓΛΑVΤΙΛΛΑ. Similar to (a), but with a tiny cornucopiae at her 1. shoulder.
Rev. Hecate triformis, two arms only visible, each holding a long torch. Inscr. as on (a). 22 mm. Pl. V, 8
Obv. Same as (b).
Rev. Inscr. as before. Aphrodite draped, holding branch in her r. hand and an apple in 1. (Venus Victrix)
Obv. Same as (b).
Rev. Hermes carrying ram to r. (copy of a statue?). Inscr. as before. 23 mm. Pl. V, 9
Obv. Same as (b).
Rev. Inscr. as heretofore. Neptune(?) facing 1., holding trident or sceptre (?) in his 1. hand, and a dolphin in his r. 21 mm. Pl. V, 10
Obv. Same as (b).
Rev. Nemesis (?) draped in a stola, holds in r. hand a patera, and in 1. a cornucopiae. Inscr. as before. 21 mm. Pl. V, 11
Second var. 19 mm. Pl. V, 12
Obv. Same as (b).
Rev. Victory walking to r., holding crown in her r. hand and palm in her 1. Inscr. as before. 22 mm. Pl. V, 13
Second var. 19 mm. Pl. V, 14
Obv. Same as (b).
Rev. Bearded terminal figure. Inscr. as before. 18 mm. Pl. V, 15
Gardner. History of Ancient Coinage, p. 200.
Herodotus, VI, 127.
Strabo, Bk. viii, Ch. III, 33.
Pausanias VI, 22.
Head. Historia Numorum, p. 395.
Head. op. cit. p. 394; Fox, Corolla Numismatica, p. 34.
Herodotus, VI, 127.
Strabo, Bk. viii, Ch. VI, 17.
Pollux, X, p. 170.
Gardner, op. cit. p. 112.
Gardner. l. c. pp. 116-120 and 5; Svoronos. Rev. Num. Belge, 1909, p. 113-129.
Hultsch. Metrologie, p 535.
This theory has been assailed by some authorities, but nevertheless it seems to be the only one that meets all the facts of the case.
Pausanias VI, 25.
Pausanias II, 29.
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Article "Aegina".
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Article "Aegean Civilization".
Rhangabé. Ant. Hellén. No. 2346.
Hill. Jour. Hell. Studies. Vol. 39. p. 116.
Seltman. Temple Coins of Olympia, p. 5.
Head. op. cit. p. 397.
See Weil, Zeit. f. Num. XXV, 52, for Greek text; and also cf. Gardner in Jour. Hell. Studies (1913), p. 150.