KHAN EL-ABDE,1 some 15 kilometers to the North of Tripolis, is an old caravanserai near the point where the highway crosses the mouth of the Nahr el-barid. During the month of April, 1938, workmen engaged in digging earth to build up an embankment for a new bridge on the river, began to find silver coins, which promptly appeared on the market at Tripolis, and a few days later at Beyrouth. It seems that the coins did not properly constitute a hoard, but were scattered in the earth, from which the workmen continued to pick them up for several weeks. As the ruins of ancient Orthosia 2 lie in the immediate vicinity of Khan el-abde, it seems probable that the original hoard, or hoards, were connected with that town, and that the coins, in the course of time, had been washed down by the waters.
All coins found at Khan el-abde were of silver, and were characterized at first sight by a peculiar, thick, purple patina, of a horny substance.3 After removal of that heavy crust, which often obscured every detail, the coins all showed a deep crystallization of the metal, and some of them were broken into small pieces by careless handling. The patina was removed only with difficulty, and the lack of expert care of some dealers ruined more than one beautiful specimen. It will be seen also that the weight of the coins was much affected by the process of cleaning, the difference rising sometimes as high as 1.5 grams.
The coins found at Khan el-abde are all tetradrachms, struck by Tryphon, Antiochus VII, Ptolemy II, Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV. The writer believes that he has seen a large proportion of the Tryphons, as the high prices offered for them at Beyrouth, and the lack of such a market at Tripolis, probably brought most of them to the capital. A few specimens, ruined by unskilful cleaning and thereupon lost in the bazaars, could not be recorded, and the same is true for some of the better coins, known to have reached foreign markets almost directly. On the contrary, the Ptolemaic coins, and possibly also the Seleucid tetradrachms, attracted less attention and many may well have remained in various hands, without coming to the writer's notice.
The coins that have been recorded are as follows; those illustrated on the plates are indicated with an asterisk.
Legend: β α σ ι λ έ ω ς Tρ ύ φ ω ν ο ς α ύ τ ο κ ρ ά τ ο ρ ς
A. ATTIC TETRADRACHMS
Obv. Head of Tryphon r., diad. Fillet border.
Rev. Helmet adorned with horn of ibex. Oak wreath.
|No.||Monograms and Letters||Dies||Weight||Weight|
|No.||Monograms and Letters||Dies||Before Cleaning||After Cleaning|
B. PHOENICIAN TETRADRACHMS
Obv. Bust of Tryphon r., draped, diad. Border of dots.
Rev. Eagle to r. on thunderbolt. Border of dots.
|No.||Monograms and Letters||Monograms and Letters||Monograms and Letters||Dies||Weight||Weight|
|No.||to l.||to r.||Between Legs||Dies||Before Cleaning||After Cleaning|
Legend: β α σ ι λ έ ω ς ‘Aν τ ι ό χ ο ν Eύ ε ρ γ έ τ ο υ
Obv. Head of King r., diad. Fillet border.
Rev. Pallas standing 1., holding Nike. Wreath of olive.
Legend: β α σιλέως 'AντιόΧον
Obv. Bust of king r., diad. Border of dots.
Rev. Eagle to 1.
Obv. Head of Ptolemy I r., diad. Border of dots.
Rev. Eagle 1. on thunderbolt. Border of dots.
|No.||Svor.||to l.||to l.||to l.||to r.||Below||Legend||Mint|
|No.||Svor.||to l.||to l.||to l.||to r.||Below||Legend||Mint|
|No.||Svor.||to l.||to r.||Below||Mint|
Legend: Πτολεμαίου βασιλέως
Obv. Jugate busts of Serapis and Isis, r. Border of dots.
Rev. Eagle 1. on thunderbolt, with double horn of plenty. Border of dots.
|No.||Svor.||to l.||to r.||Legs||Mint|
The coins of Ptolemy II and III, just described, form a group by themselves. The most recent among the dated ones (no. 104) goes back to 245/244 b.c. Yet the presence of only one coin of Ptolemy III, whose Syrian issues were quite considerable, is not in favor of connecting the group with the tetradrachms of Ptolemy IV (nos. 105–118). Probably the coins were put aside in the first years of Ptolemy III, and the preponderance of local issues among them gives an interesting picture of the currency that was then prevalent in Phoenicia under Egyptian suzerainty. All of them show notable signs of wear.
The coins of Ptolemy IV again seem to form a closed group. They are almost in mint condition and must have been withdrawn from use very shortly after their issue. The only dated one among them, a new variety from Ascalon (no. 105), goes back to 219/218 B.C., and the other ones have also been reasonably supposed to belong to the beginning of the king's reign.3a
All coins of Tryphon, and of Antiochus VII, are in mint condition, and obviously were hoarded very soon after their issue. A striking fact is that the thirteen dated coins go back to the fourth (and last) year of Tryphon's reign, while no coin of year 3 (of which more numerous varieties had hitherto been known, than of year 4) accompanies them.
The contents of the find are difficult to combine into a single picture. The three groups of coins (if the tetradrachms of Antiochus VII are to be joined to those of Tryphon) have the appearance of three separate hoards. Yet it is hardly likely that three such hoards, buried separately, should have been washed together by the waters. Perhaps they may have been parts of the treasure of a temple, to which various deposits were added in the course of time. An additional possibility cannot be completely ignored. It will be remembered that Tryphon, besieged in Dora near mount Carmel by Antiochus VII, managed to escape in a boat and landed at Orthosia, only to throw himself into Apamea, where he was again besieged, captured and suppressed. As we have seen, Khan el-abde is no other than the site of ancient Orthosia, and it is not altogether impossible that the tetradrachms of Tryphon, all belonging to his last year, should have been left there by his party on their flight, and have joined the treasure in some way or other.
The great rarity which has hitherto characterized the coins of Tryphon should be attributed, not to the fact that they were struck in small numbers, but rather to the pains that Antiochus VII must have taken to melt them, as the monuments of the worst insult that his dynasty had suffered. That Tryphon's money was plentiful, seems to appear from the fact that the Attic tetradrachms of his two last issues ( and "no monogram"), show the use of 13 obverse dies and 14 reverse dies for the 22 specimens known to this day, and bear the secondary marks of four distinct monetary officials. As for the Phoenician tetradrachms of year 4, the 14 known specimens show the use of 7 obverse dies and 10 reverse dies.
It will be noted that no coin later than the tetradrachms of Antiochus VII seems to have been found at Khan el-abde, as if the hoarding had ceased after that prince's reign. It is, however, not impossible that other coins are still scattered among the sands of the Nahr el-barid, so that new finds may very well, some day, alter the general picture given by the present hoard.
|E. T. Newell, Two Recent Egyptian Hoards (N.N.M. 33), p. 6 ff.|
|R. Dussaud, Topogr. historique de la Syrie, p. 78; J. Sauvaget, Ars Islamica, VII, 1940, p. 16, no. 22 ("Orthosie").|
|R. Dussaud, loc. cit.|
|On that patina, see O. Ravel, Rev. Num., 1933, p. 14 ff.|
|I Maccab. XV; 25; 37; 39; Joseph., Ant. jud., XIII, 223 f.; B. Niese, Gesch. der griech.-maked. Staaten, III, p. 293; F.. Bevan, House of Seleucus, II, p. 238. A fragment of Charax Perg. says that Tryphon escaped from Dora to Ptolemais: F. Jacoby, Fragm. hist. gr., II A, p. 488, 29.|
The Attic tetradrachms of Tryphon in the Khan el-abde find include some of the most splendid coins ever struck for the Syrian monarchy. Yet their reverses, when compared to earlier issues of Tryphon, show some signs of haste. Babelon, publishing the specimen in the Luynes collection,5 was able to describe in detail the two medallions which adorn the helmet's body: one of them contains an eagle with spread wings, the other a panther holding a thyrsos. Such minutiae are no longer worked out on our specimens. These, in compensation, show a feature not yet noticed: a thunderbolt that embellishes the cheek-pieces.
The type of these tetradrachms, the helmet, spiked and brimmed, with ibex horn, cheek-pieces and wreath of laurel, somehow combined with the royal diadem, is usually considered as Tryphon's personal badge, either his own helmet, or a symbol of the army that had elected him.6 Its presence on the last issues of Antiochus VI should then be explained as a sign of Tryphon's gradual rise to power. Revolutionary as the coinage of Tryphon appears to be in respect to dates and royal titles,7 the choice of such a purely human emblem seems hardly probable in Hellenistic Syria. A general's hat, however superb, could not be a fitting type for the most important denomination in the coinage of the realm.
The mythological ornaments on the helmet would not be decisive in themselves, as their presence could also be justified on a soldier's armour. Yet their content is interesting. The panther alludes to the cult of Dionysus, which was important in Apamea:8 a circumstance that may have played its part in the assimilation of Antiochus VI to that god, soon after his elevation, which had taken place precisely at or near Apamea. The eagle and the thunderbolt are the emblems of Zeus. Perhaps we should now remember that the city-coins of Apamea, which was not only the place where Antiochus VI had been proclaimed, but also the native town of Tryphon and the cradle of his revolt, show a peculiar figure of Zeus.9 The type, otherwise unknown in Syria, occurs a few years before Tryphon, in 150/149 b.c., and this in two variants: the god is simply standing, or he puts his foot on a pile of shields and armour. But in both cases, he carries on his extended hand a helmet. Such an image of a warlike Zeus is likely enough to have stood in the military capital of the Seleucids, and to have received a special worship from the army. It may now be asked: cannot the helmet on our coins be the main attribute of thegreat god of Apamea?10 The highly religious significance thus given to the type, and its link with the cults of a city so important in the life and adventures of Tryphon, seem more plausible than a purely human allusion, not to speak of an alleged pun on the word τρυΦάλεια, sometimes used for a helmet by Homer. Certainly the oak-wreath around the type, a unique appearance in the silver coinage of the Seleucids, seems to confirm our interpretation.
|E. Babelon, Rois de Syrie, no. 1043; J. Babelon, Coll. de Luynes, no. 3376.|
|E. Babelon, op. cit., p. cxxxix; E. T. Newell, Seleucid Mint of Antioch, p. 73.|
|Below, p. 12.|
|BMC, Galatia etc., p. 234, nos. 9 ff.; cf. the dionysiac reliefs from Apamea: F. Mayence, Mélanges syriens off. à R. Dussaud , p. 975 ff.|
In order to make the following pages easier to read, a synopsis of the coinage of Tryphon, to which the references in the text are made (syn.), has been provided (pp. 22–23).
The Khan el-abde find contains a notable proportion of Phoenician tetradrachms of Tryphon's fourth year, on which the eagle stands on a thunderbolt, without any accessory symbol. This type recurs on some other coins of Tryphon, and on a solitary tetradrachm of Antiochus VII, none of which has been attributed to a definite mint. The group, then, includes the following issues.
The coastal towns of Syria were careful, when they minted such eagle-coins for the kings, to distinguish their respective issues by symbols. The eagle stands on the ram of a war-galley at Tyre, on a thunderbolt at Ascalon and Ptolemais, on a palm-branch at Berytus, on nothing at Sidon. Moreover the bird is accompanied by a palm branch at Ascalon, Tyre, Sidon and Byblus, by a trident at Berytus. At the mint of Ptolemais, such a secondary symbol is absent, except on a short series of coins from Alexander I to the third year of Tryphon, where an ear of wheat appears on the eagle's shoulder.11 It would therefore seem that our coins of Tryphon's fourth year and of Antiochus VII, being entirely similar to the later issues of Ptolemais, should also be attributed to that mint. It may be object to such an attribution, that our coins do not bear the monogram , characteristic of Ptolemais. But a glance at the catalogues will show that while it was used fairly constantly under the Lagids,12 it was dropped after the Seleucid conquest (obviously when the town was renamed Antiochia after Antiochus III); that it was resumed under Antiochus VI;13 and that it only recurs sporadically, in later times, on one issue after Demetrius II’s return, and on one issue under the joint reign of Cleopatra and Antiochus VIII.14 Its presence therefore cannot be regarded as essential. The writer is inclined to think that the identity of type, the striking continuity in the style of the eagle, the perfect congruity of the dates, show that this series, otherwise unattributed, closes the gap (year 3 of Tryphon, to year 185 of the Seleucids) left in the coinage of Ptolemais between the two sequences established by Mrs. Brett and E. T. Newell. The suppression of the ear of wheat must have taken place in the course of Tryphon's year 3, for which we have two tetradrachms with the ear of wheat (syn., no. 32; 33), and a didrachm without it (syn. no. 34). This attribution fits very well with the fact that Ptolemais appears from other documents to have been Tryphon's stronghold in Phoenicia: it is natural that it should have been his principal mint.
In addition to Ptolemais, Tryphon seems to have controlled the mint of Ascalon,14a to which an issue of chalkoi is usually attributed (syn. nos. 39–40; Plate II, B). The portrait on these coins is strikingly similar to that on the Phoenician tetradrachms struck at Ptolemais (see Plate II, 23).
Other coins of Tryphon were issued from Byblus. That city, the source of numerous issues of bronze under several kings, has otherwise never served as a royal mint for silver. Tryphon probably had his own reasons for innovating, and it may be conjectured that, with Tyre and Sidon closing their gates to him,15 with Berytus laid waste by him,16 he found it convenient to establish his mint for Northern Phoenicia in that ancient and venerable town, whose military strength was probably not sufficient to keep him in check. The unique tetradrachm of the de Clercq collection (syn. no. 30) is not the only coin of Tryphon that has come down to us from that mint. In recent years, the children of Byblus have been picking up on the beach, where the sea washes the foot of the acropolis, numerous coins, among which the following are fairly common, and have found their way into several collections in Beyrouth.
Obv. Head of Tryphon, diademed, r. Border of dots.
Rev. Six-winged god of Byblus walking 1., leaning on staff with his r. hand, crowned with a disk between cow's-horns. TPYΦωNOC BACIΛεωC. Border of dots. Lebanese Museum, Beyrouth; etc. 15 to 17 mm.; 2.50 to 4 grms. Plate I, A.
|A. B. Brett, "The Mint of Ascalon under the Seleucids," A. N. S. Museum Notes IV, 1950.|
|E. Babelon, Rois de Syrie, nos. 912–921. The god here represented is not Poseidon, but Zeus. It should also be noted, in this connection, that the coin listed under Apamea, no. 2, by the BMC (Galatia etc., p. 233), does represent Poseidon but belongs to Attalea Pamphyliae (other specimens: BMC, Lycia etc., p. 110, nos. 1 ff.). Thus disappears the only instance of the cult of Poseidon in Apamea.|
|There is of course no difficulty in the fact, that the helmet held by the statue on the coins of 150/149 is of a much simpler design. The helmet on the coins of Antiochus VI and Tryphon may have been a spectacular offering, made by the young king, or in his name by his minister, to the god who had favored their rise. On the cult of Zeus in Apamea, see the coins, especially the rich series in Glasgow (G. Macdonald, Catalogue of the Hunterian Coll., III, p. 190–195); also the inscription from Vaison (Dessau, Inscr. lat. selectee, 4333) on the oracle of the god, there named Belus.|
|A. B. Brett, A.N.S. Museum Notes, I, 1945, p. 19–35; E. T. Newell, Late Seleucid Mints (N.N.M. 84), p. 4, no. 2 to p. 35, no. 51.|
|J. Svoronos, Nomismata tόn Ptolemaiόn, II, pp. 113 ff.; 163; 169; 192; A. B. Brett, A.N.S. Museum Notes, II, 1947, pp. 8 f.|
|A. B. Brett, A.N.S. Museum Notes, I, 1946, pp. 17 ff.|
|E. T. Newell, Late Seleucid Mints (N.N.M. 84), pp. 4 ff.|
|As proved by their continuous series of coins with the effigy of Demetrius II.|
|Strab., XVI, 2, 19 (p. 756); see below, p. 12.|
Tryphon on his coins shows a decided will to break with Seleucid tradition.17 Instead of adding a religious epithet to his name as his predecessors had done, he assumed the military title of autocrator, and instead of reckoning the years according to the established dynastic era, he began to date by his regnal years, as was usual among the Lagids. The result is, unfortunately, that the chronology of his ephemeral reign remains uncertain, and has been an occasion of considerable variations among the historians. It is interesting, however, to review the existing evidence.
As the coins are the only contemporary documents, it will be convenient to examine them first.
Antiochus VI has left three main categories of coins: 1. an issue of 146/145 B.C., probably struck at Apamea;18
2. three issues of 145/144, 144/143 and 143/142 B.C., apparently struck at Antioch;19 3. an issue of 142/141 B.C., struck at Ptolemais.19 His reign, then, seems to have lasted three full calendar years, plus two fractions of years.
As Tryphon is accused of having murdered the young king in order to take his place, the natural step would be to count as his first regnal year, according to the custom, the remaining months of his predecessor's last year. Tryphon's year 1, in that case, would be 142/141 B.C., and his year 4 would be 139/138 B.C. His reign, then, would have lasted two full calendar years, and two fractions of years.
In 139/138 B.C. also, Antiochus VII arrived in Syria to claim the throne of his ancestors. He struck coins at once in Seleucia Pieriae,21 Antioch22 and Tyre;23 Sidon was added to his mints in the following year,24 and his coinage thenceforward takes its regular course.
If we were to judge only by the coins, everything would therefore seem very simple.
Of the two main literary sources of these events, the 1st book of Maccabees 25 contains nothing incompatible with such a chronology. It gives the date of Antiochus VII's advent as the 174th year of the Seleucids (139/138 B.C.), which agrees with the coins. Furthermore the war against Tryphon is described as the first aim of Antiochus VII after his arriva; and the siege of Dora, the flight of Tryphon to Orthosia, the king's pursuit of the usurper are told in rapid succession, as if they had suffered no delay, and had been favored by the fact that everybody joined the legitimate king, so that Tryphon only kept a few followers around him. If the above chronology is accepted, all this well agrees with the fact that we have no coin of a fifth year of Tryphon.
Our second main source, Josephus, says that Antiochus VI reigned four years,26 and that Tryphon reigned three years.27 This rough information, taken from some chronological list, fits rather well with the system just offered. But we come to an open contradiction when Josephus states that Tryphon took the diadem after the capture of Demetrius II by the Parthians,28 an event safely dated as having taken place in the late summer or autumn of 139 B.C. 29 In that case, Tryphon's year 1 should probably be 139/138 B.C., coinciding with the 1st year of Antiochus VII, and his year 4 should be 136/135. While there is no positive impossibility to bring the coins of Tryphon down to those late dates, the chronology thus proposed, and accepted by Kahrstedt,30 needs to be confronted with other evidence.
At first sight the Khan el-abde find would seem to bring an argument in favor of the Josephus' chronology. The coins of Tryphon, all of his year 4 and all in mint condition, are associated with four coins of Antiochus VII, the latest of which is dated Sel. 178 (135/134 b.c.), also in mint condition. This association, together with the absence of any older or more recent coins, would fit quite well with an equation of Tryphon's year 4 to Sel. 177, or 136/135 b.c., which is the equivalence postulated by Josephus. Such a conclusion, however, would only be safe if the coins had been found as a real hoard. In fact, as has been said above, they were found scattered, and it is not plain that all of them belong together. Their testimony in favor of Josephus is therefore uncertain.31
Other numismatic evidence, though of a negative nature, would rather speak against Josephus. It seems obvious from the Khan el-abde find, that the Phoenician coins of Tryphon's year 4, and the same monarch's undated "Attic" coins, both with the monogram , are contemporary, and that the "Attic" issue with that monogram is therefore the last of Tryphon's issues at Antioch. If we accepted the late chronology, that issue would fall in 136/135 b.c. a date at which the mint of Antioch had already been in the hands of Antiochus VII for three years.32 This objection, which could only be removed, in our present state of knowledge, by very complicated assumptions,33 is so strong, that it seems difficult to maintain the synchronism established by Josephus between the capture of Demetrius II and the accession of Tryphon. It also hardly appears likely that it took four years for Antiochus VII to reduce Tryphon, especially if his forces were rapidly increasing, as Josephus himself tells us.34
A mistake in Josephus could perhaps be explained by the same writer's information about the death of the boy-king Antiochus VI. Josephus says that Tryphon murdered the child in order to succeed him, after the capture of Demetrius,35 therefore about 139/138 B.C. This statement has the support of Livy,36 who reports the murder in 138/137 B.C., and whose source is rather likely to be a lost part of Polybius. If we accept this evidence,37 it may be, as Kolbe conjectured, that Tryphon did not kill the boy immediately, but merely put him out of the way, and murdered him only later. Josephus, then, knowing Tryphon as the successor of Antiochus VI, may have erroneously connected his accession with the boy's murder. A further probability in favor of such an assumption may be found in the fact that Josephus gives Antiochus VI a reign of four years,38 which is quite correct according to the numismatic sources, but remains in hopeless contradiction with Josephus himself, when it comes to the dating of the child's death.
Altogether, then, the early chronology seems the more acceptable, and Tryphon's year 1 probably coincides with the disappearance of Antiochus VI from the coins in 142/141 B.C. as numismatists have always maintained.
|E. Bikerman, Institutions des Séleucides, p. 10.|
|E. T. Newell, Seleucid Mint of Antioch, p. 61, note 31.|
|Ibid., nos. 216 ff.|
|S. Ben Dor, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 1946/1947, pp. 43 ff.; A. B. Brett, A.N.S. Museum Notes, I, 1946, p. 27 f., nos. 21; 21 A.|
|G. Macdonald, Zeit. f. Num., XXIX, 1912, p. 99, no. 27; cf. E. T. Newell, apud C. B. Welles, Royal Correspondence, p. 292, note 3, in fine. This a very interesting coin. It is not a royal issue, but, as the legend shows, a municipal one, on which the king's head is put by courtesy. According to the date, the coin was struck, in a rather unusual denomination, on the king's arrival from Side, obviously to congratulate him on his accession, on his marriage to the legitimate queen Cleopatra who was then residing at Seleucia, and on his will to restore legitimacy and lawful order in the realm of his fathers.|
|E. T. Newell, Seleucid Mint of Antioch, p. 81.|
|E. T. Newell, Seleucid Coinages of Tyre (N.N.M. 73), nos. 108 ff.|
|E. Babelon, Rois de Syrie, nos. 1070 f.|
|I Maccab., XI, 39 to XV, 39.|
|Joseph., Ant. jud., XIII, 218.|
|Ibid., 187; 218.|
|As there are no coins of Demetrius II for 139/138 B.C., his capture must have taken place in 140/139; but as his coins of the latter year are quite numerous, it should have taken place rather late.|
|U. Kahrstedt, Syrische Territorien in hellenist. Zeit, pp. 130–132.|
|It must be noted that the Tyrian tetradrachm of Antiochus VII really looks like a late intruder among the coins from Khan el-abde. It is dated 178: yet, not a single specimen of the same king's Tyrian or Sidonian issues of the years 174, 175, 176, or 177 has turned up at Khan el-abde, or has been observed on the market at the time of the find.|
|E. T. Newell, Seleucid Mint of Antioch, p. 81.|
|To reconcile the late chronology with the numismatic evidence, it would be necessary to suppose that the " Attic" coinage of Tryphon was not struck in Antioch, but for instance in Ptolemais while Antiochus VII already was minting in Antioch. It is true that Newell’s attribution of those coins to the mint of the capital is based on the monograms that they have in common with those of the preceding and following kings, an argument perhaps not too certain in itself, as there are numerous cases when a single person signed the issues of several mints: in the present instance the monogram is common to the Attic issues, attributed by Newell to Antioch, and to the Phoenician issues, which we have just attributed to Ptolemais. It was also possible to transfer the personnel of a mint to another town (E.T. Newell, Sel. Mint of Antioch, p.91; E.T. Newell, Late Seleucid Mints, pp. 8 f., 54, 61; A. R. Bellinger, Hesperia, XIV (1945), p. 59; A. B. Brett, A.N.S. Museum Notes, I (1945), p. 31). But Newell's reconstruction of the mint of Antioch still appears as a solid block. In any case, the chronology of Josephus could only become valid if it was to be supported by an entirely new and plausible arrangement of the coins which have been attributed to the capital, and ignored by Kahrstedt.|
|Joseph., Ant. jud., XIII, 223; cf. I Maccab., XV, 10.|
|Josephus, op. cit., XIII, 187; 218.|
|Liv., per. 55; cf. W. Kolbe, Beiträge zur syr. und jüd. Geschichte, p.63–65. Cf. Justin., XXXVI, 1, 7; Appian., Syr., 67 f.|
|In I Maccab., XIII, 31, the boy's murder is alluded to, just before the report on the events of 144/143 B.C. (Sel. 169), but no chronological relation is implied, and in any case, the coins are a decisive obstacle to such a chronology. — I also feel unable to draw a conclusion from Diodorus Sic., XXXIII, 20 (excerpta de legat. II, 406). See however W. Kolbe, op. cit., p. 64.|
|Joseph., Ant. jud., XIII, 218.|
Obv. Bust of Tyche, r., with hair veiled. Border of dots.
Rev. Nike standing 1., holding aplustre. To r.: P∆IΩN in 1. field: BKP, ΠC. Wreath of laurel. Beyrouth, Museum of the American University. 15.20 grms.
This coin, dated from the 122nd year (138/137 B.C.) of the era of Aradus, is the earliest known specimen of a long and popular series. To be sure, it is only one year older than the oldest one hitherto published, but the period in which it was minted remains so obscure, that even a year's difference may be of interest.
Aradus, under the Seleucid monarchy, always enjoyed singular privileges, probably due to her almost impregnable position on her island, to the strength of her fleet and wealth of her foreign trade.40 This situation is reflected in the early autonomy of her coinage.41 Aradus apparently never served as a royal mint, and remained entirely free to strike bronze and small silver in her own name. Restrictions however seem to have been put on her issues of tetradrachms. In their earlier period, indeed, these large coins carry the types and legends of Alexander, and do not express the town's sovereignty: a mint-mark is the only sign of their origin. Quite exceptionally, and for reasons which are not known, an isolated tetradrachm, struck in the town's name, appeared in 174/173 B.C.,42 but three years later, in 171/170 B.C., perhaps owing to a tightening of royal authority in such matters, even the Alexander issues come to an end. Then, after forty-three years of silence, in 138/137 B.C., the mint suddenly begins its famous series of autonomous tetradachms, showing on one side the head of the city-goddess, on the other a figure of Nike holding an aplustre. These issues, of which our coin is the earliest, were to continue, with a few interruptions, as late as 46/45 B.C.
It seems unlikely that mere chance should explain the coincidence of this sudden, massive output of autonomous currency, the first of its kind in Syrian annals, with the pressing need for Aradian help, which the Seleucid king must have felt at that very moment.43 The preceding year, 139/138 B.C., had witnessed the arrival in Seleucia Pieriae of the legitimate heir to the Seleucid throne, Antiochus VII. All elements loyal to the dynasty, disgusted by Tryphon's tyranny, gathered around the new king, whose first and immediate concern it was to run down the usurper. Tryphon had to leave Antioch and fled to Phoenicia, where Tyre and Sidon alone had the strength to resist him, and where Ptolemais seems to have been his stronghold. In recent years also the Maccabees had taken advantage of the struggle to extend their boundaries, and were holding several towns and tracts of land on the seaboard between Dora and the border of Egypt. One of the first steps in order to reconquer the coast must have been for Antiochus VII to secure the assistance of a strong fleet. In such an enterprise, a state like Aradus was certainly able to play a leading part. The Aradians however are likely to have asked for compensations, of which our coin, and the subsequent issues, may well have been the visible sign.
Another coin also seems to bear the trace of an episode in the same struggle.
The city of Tyre was powerful enough to keep Tryphon out of her walls. A royal epistates probably resided in the town, and the royal mint never stopped its issues, with the head of Demetrius II until he was captured, and thenceforward with the head of Antiochus VII.44 Among the issues of Demetrius, there is a very exceptional one45 in 141/140 B.C., which, instead of bearing, according to the custom, the king's name alone with the mint-mark of Tyre, bears as a secondary legend the town's name in full: Tρον ίερᾶς καί άσλον. There certainly must be a reason for this unprecedented appearance. It will be noted that the subsequent issues of royal silver from Tyre, although they do not bear the city's name in full, never fail to bear in their field, along with the Tyrian monogram, two groups of letters not to be found earlier, which are abbreviations of the titles ίερά, σνλος.46 Our special issue, in 141/140 B.C., is therefore the head of a series, and it cannot be doubted that this first and emphatic use of the titles, "sacred and inviolable,'' means that the city did not have them before, and that the royal authority allowed by special favor their full mention on the first issue that followed their grant.
The date of the asylia of Tyre being thus ascertained,47 it remains to see what reason may have prompted its concession. In an earlier article,48 the writer endeavored to show that the procedure for acquiring the privilege of asylia was the following. The king, as sovereign, consecrated the town to one of its principal deities, making it "sacred," ίερά, and probably thereby renouncing some of his rights in favour of the god, to whom the city now was reputed to belong. The town then sent embassies to the foreign powers, including the great sanctuaries of the ancient world, asking them to recognize it as "inviolable," σνλος. As a result, every violation of the town was considered as a sacrilege, and the transgressor was liable to be outlawed. It is difficult for us to see in what measure and fashion such offences were really punished, but the eagerness shown by Hellenistic cities to acquire that form of inviolability certainly testifies that a deep religious fear was attached to such violation, perhaps less by some cynical generals or condottieri, than by their simpler minded troops. In the present case, it is interesting to see Tyre, anxious to spread that religious fear at large by publicizing her new title on the issues of her mint.
In the majority of cases, fear of the pirates seems to have induced the coastal towns to apply for asylia. The interest of the present case is in the fact, which follows from the date on our coin, that Tyre must have applied for such a privilege by fear of no other than Tryphon. Very probably the same reasons explain the asylia of Seleucia. 49
It is likely that similar circumstances will explain the gradual extention of asylia to the cities of inner Syria during the first century,50 while it had been almost restricted to the coast in Hellenistic times. The chaos that followed the decay of the monarchy, and the constant changes brought about by the civil wars of Rome, made security an illusion, and men saw no other refuge than divine protection.
The grant of asylia to a town probably had its political implications; it may have had, as Professor Rostovtzeff maintains, its economical aspects; but above all, it bears an exceptionally striking and interesting testimony to the religious mentality of the times.
SYNOPSIS OF THE COINAGE OF TRYPHON
I. ATTIC SERIES. MINT OF ANTIOCH. REVERSE TYPE: HELMET.
|No.||Metal||Denomin.||Monograms and Letters||Reference|
|1||Tetradr.||None||BMC 2; Khan el-abde 1–4.|
|2||Tetradr.||Babelon, Rots de Syrie, 1044; Kan el-abde 5–12.|
|3||Drachm||Egger Sale, Jan. 1908, 615 = Newell, Sel. Mint of Antioch , 271.|
|4||Tetradr.||pellet||Khan el-abde 13–14.|
|5||Tetradr.||A Γ||Khan el-abde 15.|
|6||Tetradr.||Δ I||Naville Sale I (Pozzi), 2996; Khan el-abde 16–17.|
|7||Tetradr.||Π A||Khan el-abde 18–19.|
|8||Tetradr.||Khan el-abde 20.|
|9||Tetradr.||Regling-Sallet, Die ant. Münzen (Berlin 1922), p. 43.|
|10||Tetradr.||Babelon, Rois, 1043; Egger Sale XLI 1912, 716.|
|11||Drachm||Hirsch Sale 1905 (Rhousopoulos) 4461.|
|12||Tetradr.||no Wreath||Macdonald, Hunterian Coll., no. 1.|
|13||Drachm||Newell, Antioch 265a; Naville Sale X (Rogers) 1245.|
|14||Drachm||X P||Macdonald, Hunterian Coll, no. 3.|
|15||Drachm||Babelon, Rois, 1046; Voigt, Journ. intern. d’arch. num., 13, 1911, p. 161, 541.|
|16||Drachm||Π P||Egger Sale XLI 1912, 717 = Newell, Antioch 268; Naville Sale VII (Bement) 1696.|
|17||Drachm||Π||Hirsch Sale XXX, 597 = Newell, Antioch, 272.|
|18||Drachm||Macdonald, Hunterian Coll., 2; Forrer, Weber Coll., 7918, Newell, Antioch, 267; Rollin et Feuardent Sale 1910 (Duruflé), 626; Naville Sale X (Rogers), 1246.|
|19||Drachm||Babelon, Rois, 1045; BMC 3; Voigt. Journ. int. d'arch. num., 13, 1911, p. 161, 540; Jameson, Monn. gr., 1729; Naville Sale X (Rogers), 1247; Syll. Num. Gr. I 2 (Newnham Davis) 424.|
|20||Drachm||Naville Sale I (Pozzi) 2997.|
|No.||Metal||Denomin.||Monograms and Letters||Reference|
|21||Chalkous||pilei||Babelon, Rois,1053; 1054; BMC 8; 9; 10.|
|22||Chalkous||aplustre||Babelon, Rois, 1051; BMC 14.|
|23||Chalkous||star||Babelon, Rois, 1052; BMC 11; 12.|
|24||Chalkous||palm-branch||Babelon, Rois, 1049; 1050; BMC 13.|
|25||Chalkous||ear of wheat||(?) Newell, Antioch, p. 173.|
|26||Chalkous||A Σ||BMC 6.|
|27||Chalkous||A Σ K||Babelon, Rois, 1047; 1048; BMC 5.|
|28||Chalkous||B Σ K||(?) BMC 7.|
|29||½ chalk||pilei||BMC 15.|
|No.||Metal||Denomin.||Types of Rev.||Mint-marks||Mint||Reference|
|30||Tetradr.||Eagle with palm||LB||Byblus||Saulcy, Mel. den num. 1877, p. 83 (now de Clercq Coll., Paris).|
|31||½ chalk.||Six-winged god of Byblos||None||Byblus||As above.|
|32||Tetradr.||Eagle on thunderbolt, with ear of wheat||LΓ||Ptolemais||Babelon, Rois,1056.|
|33||Tetradr.||Eagle on thunderbolt, with ear of wheat||LΓ||Ptolemais||Imhoof, Z.f.N. III 1876, p. 81.|
|34||Didrachm||Eagle on thunderbolt||LΓ AΣ||Ptolemais.||BMC. 1.|
|35||Tetradr.||Eagle on thunderbolt||LΔ Δ||Ptolemais||Khan el-abde 21|
|36||Tetradr.||Eagle on thunderbolt||LΔ||Ptolemais||Khan el-abde 22|
|37||Tetradr.||Eagle on thunderbolt||LΔ||Ptolemais||Khan el-abde 23|
|38||Tetradr.||Eagle on thunderbolt||LΔ||Ptolemais||Babelon, Rois, 1057; Khan el-abde 24–33.|
|39||Chalkous||Zeus standing||LΔ AΣKΛ||Ascalon||Babelon, Rois, 1058; BMC 16|
|40||Chalkous||Zeus standing||AΣKΛ LΔ||Ascalon||Babelon, Rois, 1059.|
|E.T. Newell, Miscell. numism. (N. N. M. No. 82), p. 35, no. 15.|
|On the liberties of Aradus: Strab., XVI, 2, 14 (p. 754). Cf. U. Kahrstedt, Syrische Territorien, p. 27; 75 f.; A. H. M. Jones, Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces, p. 239; E. Bikerman, Institutions des Séleucides, p. 140; 155; M. Rostovtzeff, Soc. and Econ. Hist, of the Hellenistic World, p. 846.|
|On the history of the coinage of Aradus: G. F. Hill, BMC, Phoenicia, p. XII ff.; E. T. Newell, Reattrib. of Certain Tetrs. of Alexander , p. 47 ff.; J. G. Milne, Iraq, V, 1938, pp. 12 ff.|
|E. Babelon, Perses acheménides, no. 964; G. F. Hill, Brit. Mus. Cat., Phoenicia, p. 20, no. 146.|
|See above, p. 13 f.|
|E. T. Newell, Seleucid Coinages of Tyre (N.N.M. 73), p. 31 f.|
|E. Rogers, Second and Third Seleucid Coinage of Tyre (N.N.M. 34), nos. 39–40.|
|These letters appear immediately after the special issue just considered, in 140/139: E. Rogers, op. cit., no. 38 (where the coin in rather unfortunately put among the earlier series, in which the letters are absent). On the interpretation of the letters, which is certain in spite of their somewhat curious arrangement: E. Babelon, Rois de Syrie, p. CXXXIV. See also the same titles abbreviated in another fashion on the "Attic" coinage of the Tyrian mint: E. Rogers, nos. 126 ff.|
|Ad. Wilhelm, Anzeiger Wiener Akad., LIX, 1922, p. 13 followed by M. Rostovtzeff, Soc. and Econ. Hist, of the Hellenistic World, p. 846, writes that Tyre received the privilege of asylia from Antiochus IV, but quotes no precise evidence to that effect,—and there is none.|
|Syria, XX, 1939, p. 35 ff. (Antiq. syr., Ill, p. 1 ff.). On the asylia of Syrian to was see especially E. Bikerman, Institutions des Séleucides, p. 149–156; M. Rostovtzeff, Soc. and Econ. Hist, of the Hellenistic World, pp. 844 ff. With regard to the latter reference, I should not be inclined to think that the Syrian cities applied for a recognition of their asylia on the part of the pirates. As the reader will find it expressed below, I would rather believe that an attack on a "sacred and inviolable" town brought upon the offender some sort of reprisals on the part of the states which had recognized that privilege, and that very possibly the town would also sometimes be protected by a kind of religious awe. Nor do we know that the king ever found it necessary to recognize the asylia of one of his own towns: he declared the town "sacred," and the application for asylia remained for the town itself a matter of foreign policy.|
|Seleucia does not bear any titles on her issues of 147/146 B.C. (BMC, nos. 11 ff.; etc.); then come undated issues, two of which have the mere title of ίερά (unpublished; cf. E.T. Newell, apud C. B. Welles, Royal Correspondance, p. 292, note 3), showing the preliminary stage to the grant of asylia, which usually rather closely follows it ( Syria , XX, 1939, p. 38). The title of άσνλος then appears in 139/138 B.C. (on the issue quoted above, note 21). The whole procedure is almost certainly in relation with the beginnings of Tryphon's power, when, as a minister of Antiochus VI, about 144 B.C., he made an expedition to Cilicia in order to weaken the party of Demetrius II (then residing in Seleucia). According to Strabo (XIV, 5, 2, p. 668) he made the fortress of Coracesium the center of a vast organization of piracy, thus threatening all the coastal towns in the neighborhood. M. Rostovtzeff (op. cit., p. 846) writes that Seleucia probably owed her asylia to Tryphon. The dates would fit all right, but Seleucia having remained constantly loyal to the legitimate dynasty, there is no probability that the usurper spent his favors on her.|
|Syria XX, 1939, p. 39. In those days, the long formalities and consultations that had attended the petition for asylia in Hellenistic times seem to have been reduced to a minimum, obviously owing to the fact that the Romans were now the only authority able to grant asylia and to enforce its respect. We thus find Caesar bestowing on Antioch by a single action the three titles of sacred, inviolable and autonomous (Joh. Malalas, p. 216) cf. Syria , xxvii, 1950, pp. 10; 14.|
The tetradrachms struck in large numbers at Aradus between 138/137 B.C. 1 and 46/45 B.C. 2 bear in their left field the following signs: 1) a Greek date; 2) a Phoenician letter; 3) a group of two Greek letters. The dates are clear; the Phoenician letters, of which there are six varieties, are probably serial numbers, or the marks of officinae; the pairs of Greek letters have been the subject of careful study, 3 but are perhaps liable to a simpler explanation, towards which the present note is an attempt.
It was first suggested by Hill that the first letter in the pair could have denoted the month of issue. The letters known to him were A, B, Γ, Δ, E, Ө, I, K, M, and N, which, it must be confessed, do not make a very satisfactory system of numeration. 4 Dr. Milne, more recently, suggested that the second letter (N, Σ, seldom E ) could have stood in each case for a distinct shop of the mint.
The whole system, however, suffers from the fact that it only takes into account the letters on the tetradrachms, while there are similar pairs of letters on some of the drachms and bronze coins. To quote only one instance, the letters ӨC, current on tetradrachms of year 141 (Arad.), are also to be found on the bronze of the same year, 5 obviously with the same meaning, and prove that bronze and silver should both be consulted. The following table is an attempt to put together the whole material: the pairs given without reference are those already listed by Dr. Milne, while additions are justified by their references.
|A N||ΔC, Δ Σ||I N6||CI8|
|A C, AΣ||ЄN||KN||CN9|
|ΓC||ӨЄ, ӨE||MC, MΣ||CѠM11|
|Δ I||ӨN||NC, NΣ||ϕΣ12|
|Δ N||ʘC, ӨC||ΠC7||XN 13|
From this series, it appears that there are at least thirteen varieties of the first letter: more than are necessary for the twelve months.
Among the twenty-four groups listed above, eight end in the letter N, and eleven end in the letter Σ, while the remaining five end in Є, I, M, and T. Yet our table does not do justice to the frequency of N and Σ : one and the same group sometimes recurs on a large number of issues, and a glance at Dr. Milne's survey will show that the pairs with N and Σ occur, in fact, in the overwhelming majority of Aradian issues.
It seems difficult to forget, in this connection, that the letters N and Σ also form the ending of the overwhelming majority of Greek men's names. I should therefore like to suggest that the coins of Aradus show a very exceptional, but a very clear system of abbreviation by contraction, in which the name of the magistrate or official of the mint is represented by its initial and final letters. The reader will easily supply, from the treasure of current Greek onomastics, a number of names to fit the clues on the coins.
There remain, to be sure, the five groups that do not end in N or Σ, but all of them are immediately intelligible as Greek names abbreviated by suspension: for instance Δ I (ων), ӨЄ (όδωρς), C I (μος), C T (ράτων), C Ѡ M (βροτος). In some cases it is even possible to conjecture the reason, for which those magistrates did not conform to the general custom. Magistrate ӨЄ, for instance, occurs in years 174, 177 and 183 of the Aradian era: the presence of his colleague Ө C on numerous issues between years 152 and 176 would seem to have justified the choice of a different signature to prevent confusion, unless ӨЄ and ӨC are simply one and the same person. The case of CI, CT, and C ѠM, all three beginning with C, is different: apparently these gentlemen wished to avoid the signature C C. Their colleague C N had been less disturbed. For Δ I, I have no explanation, and probably it does not need one.
Perhaps it should be added that the way in which the two letters are closely coupled on the coins, seems best explained if they both belong to the same word. There do not seem to be any instances, at least on Syrian coins, where serial letters of different meanings are so intimately joined together.
Abbreviation by contraction, although a good many examples of it have been collected even for classical times, always remained exceptional, and close parallels to the practice of Aradus are rare. 14 Coins of Smyrna 15 in the second and first centuries B.C. seem to bear the letters BAYC for βασιλ ες. ΛOΣ. is found for Λοκιος at Tithora in Boeotia,16s and KΛΣ for Kλ αδιος at Magnesia on the Maeander.17 To these examples, however, a few others can be added, to show the special favor which such a system seems to have enjoyed in Syria.
An inscription from Atil 1818 in the Hauran has the letters K Σ for Kαίσαρος, under Antoninus Pius.
The silver coins of Tyre sometimes bear, between 42/41 and 16/15 B.C., instead of the usual monograms of the magistrates, a group of two letters. Three varieties seem to be known: BN, ZN and HΣ. 19 Is it by mere chance that the three pairs have endings suitable for Greek men's names, like Bion, Zenon or Heraclides? 20
Another instance seems to occur in Gabala. Newell, in a discussion on the era of that town, 21 remarked that the letters Δ C, on a coin with the effigy of Commodus, could not possibly stand for a date, and therefore probably denoted a magistrate's name. This fits very well into our evidence, and the magistrate's name is abridged by contraction.
Probably a similar case is to be recognized on a tetradrachm of Seleucus VI, struck at a Cilician mint which Mr. Bellinger recently suggested to have been Elaeusa. 22 Each variety of these coins bears two groups of letters or monograms. We thus have:
|P||A Λ E||Δ H23|
|A Π O Λ||A Λ E||Δ I ϕ|
|Z H||ϕ I||A N|
|A||I Σ I||A N24|
|N E||I Σ I||Π O||A Π O25|
|Π O||I Σ I||T I||26|
As all these abbreviations obviously denote magistrates' names, it seems difficult to understand the group K Σ, on the last coin, otherwise than as meaning K—ς.
It may be added that monograms, even when they do not confine themselves to a combination of the first letters of the name, sometimes leave out a number of letters from the middle of the name, which amounts to a kind of abbreviation by contraction. On a leaden weight28 from Antioch (middle of the first century B.C.), for instance, the names of the two agoranomoi, Apollonides and Nikanor, are accompanied by the monograms and , which evidently represent those two officials: the second monogram can in no case be made to contain an omega. Such examples could easily be multiplied.
|The earliest known tetradrachm of the series is discussed above, p. 17.|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. 35, 291.|
|More recently G. F. Hill, BMC, Phoenicia, p. XXXIII; J. G. Milne, Iraq, V, 1938, pp. 16 ff.|
|See the doubts already expressed by E. T. Newell, Miscell. Numism., p. 36|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. 39, 319.|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. 41, 333 (bronze, 85/84 B.C.).|
|See above, p. 16.|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. 42, 339 (bronze, 76/75 B.C.).|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. 41, 330 f. (bronze, 86/85 B.C.); cf. Babelon, Perses etc., 1085.|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. 42, 339 (bronze, 76/75 B.C.).|
|E. Babelon, Perses etc., 1097 (bronze, 79/78 B.C.); BMC, Phoenicia, p. 44, 355 (under Antony, prob. 35/34 B.C.).|
|BMC, Phoenicia, p. XXXI; p. 22, 165 (attic drachm, 152/151 B.C.).|
|Beyrouth, collection of Mr. Ibrahim Sursock (tetradrachm: ΔMP, , XN)|
|See especially E. Nachmanson, "Die schriftliche Kontraktion in griech. Inschriften" (Eranos, X, 1910, pp. 101–141). Also L. Traube, Nomina sacra (1907), and the important remarks of U. Wilcken, Grundzüge und Chrestomathie der Papyruskunde, I 1, p. XLIII ff.; M. Avi Yonah, Abbrev. in Greek Inscr. (Suppl. to vol. IX, Zuart, of the Dept. of Ant. in Palestine, 1940), p. 25 ff. Further bibliography in W. Larfeld, Griech. Epigraphik, 3rd. ed., pp. 279 f. K. Regling's article "Abkürzungen," in Schroötter's Wörterbuch der Münzkunde, is most disappointing. Two recently published examples are: I. Robert, Rev. dé philol., 1944, p. 41, note 4: βκσν = βασκοσνη (with the first letter of each syllable); C. Bonner, Studies in Magical Amulets, p. 50: ττ = τοτο.|
|BMC Ionia, p. 246, no. 105; cf. R. Münsterberg, Beamtennamen, p. 102 f. B. Keil, Anonymus argentinensis, p. 72, note 1.|
|IG IX 1, 194, 1. 17.|
|Denkschr. d. Wiener Akad., LIII, 2, p. 5.|
|Waddington, Inscr. grecques et lat. de la Syrie, 2372 a.|
|See the London and Paris catalogues.|
|The group KP is not to be included here although it could easily be conjectured to represent a name, for instance, like Kastor. These letters have greatly puzzled some commentators, as they are to be found on all autonomous silver issues of Tyre for the last ninety years of that coinage. It should have been observed, however, that the Tyrian silver issues are constantly marked with one monogram or one group of two letters, and that KP, from13/12 B.C. onwards, comes as a regular addition to those traditional marks, and probably has a different meaning.|
|E. T. Newell, apud Ph. Lederer, Zeit, f. Num., XXXIV, 1924, p. 366.|
|A. Bellinger, A.N.S. Museum Notes, III, 1948, p. 27–30.|
|A specimen (15.87 grms.), recently copied by me in Munich (Staatliche Münzsammlung), sammlung), seemed to me to read ΔH. Cf. A. Bellinger, p. 28, where a possible confusion with ΔlΦ is noted.|
As soon as it had acquired its autonomy in 126/125 B.C., the city of Tyre began to strike its well known silver issues with an eagle on the reverse. These coins are dated according to the era of the liberty of Tyre, from year 1 (126/126 B.C.) to year 195 (A.D. 69/70). Except on the coins of year 1, there is always a Phoenician letter between the eagle's feet, and that letter is always either an aleph, or a beth. Its presence has not been explained. 29
Some bronze coins of Sidon, dated according to the era of the liberty of Sidon, and running, as it seems, from year 155 (A.D. 44/45) to year 198 (A.D. 87/88), bear, in addition to their usual legends and dates, the sign ς (for 6), accompanied by the Greek letters A or B. These marks also "await explanation." 30
The clue to their meaning, however, is given by a Sidonian half-shekel of year 154 (A.D. 43/44), which bears, after the date, the letters B-E Ξ. 31 These can only stand for δεντέρας έξαμἡνον, "in the second semester." On the bronze coins the letters E Ξ were replaced by the sign for 6, alternatively preceded by A and B, for πρώτης and δεντης. A number of epigraphical parallels, collected from Syrian inscriptions only, will, I think, convince the reader.
An inscription from Sidon,32 of Hellenistic times, mentions a citizen, Apollophanes, as having been "one of the First Friends, and having exercized authority during the second semester, and having been agoranomos." An inscription from Tyre 33 praises a certain C. Julius Candidus, in A.D. 60/61, for "having been agoranomos in the second semester of that year." In Gerasa,34 in A.D. 42 and 43 (or later), two citizens are praised for having been gymnasiarchs during the first semester of their respective years and for having given oil to the city (for the contests) and money to the temple of the Zeus. In 46/45 B.C., a lady is honored in Seleucia Pieriae 35 for having exercised a priesthood during the first semester of the year. A weight, apparently found in Gaza, 36 and probably to be dated A.D. 25/26 according to the era of that city, is signed by a certain Alexandros, who was agoranomos in the second semester of that year. And finally another weight, preserved in Rome 37 and possibly Syrian, mentions another agoranomos as having held his office for a semester.
It was, therefore, a common practice in the more important cities on the Syrian coast, for magistrates and priests to remain in function only one half of the year. Probably the burden of public office was too heavy to be carried by most individuals during a whole year.
The custom of putting dates and various mint-marks on coins probably arose from the wish to be able to identify the authorities responsible for each issue. In cases when the magistrates or officials entrusted with the striking of coins were not annual, but semestrial, it was normal that the date should be semestrial as well: some cities even dated their issues by months. 38 It will be noted that at Sidon, the mention of the semester on a coin is always exclusive of any magistrate's initials or monogram, as if it was sufficient in itself to identify the issue and to define the responsible authority.
It seems likely that the two Phoenician letters aleph and beth on the silver of Tyre have the same meaning as the corresponding Greek letters on the coins of Sidon. It has been noted above that these letters are absent, in Tyre, only on the coins of the city's first year. If our explanation is correct, it will also explain that peculiar absence. In that year (126/125 B.C.), indeed, the mint of Tyre first issued numerous coins of Demetrius II. 39 Thereupon the city received its liberty, and at once began to strike her own silver, dated year 1. But that year, of course, consisted only in the months that were left over after liberty had been proclaimed: there probably was no room, then, for two semesters, and the authorities responsible for the issue could be identified without that mention.
|Writer's coll. (15.35 grms.).|
|Munich, Staatliche Münzsammlung (14.02 grms.).|
|Brussels, de Hirsch Coll.|
|Milan, Castello Sforzesco, from the Brera Coll., no. 3364.|
|E. Babelon and A. Blanchet, Catal. des bronzes antiques de la Bibl. Nat., no. 2248.|
|For the most recent discussion of these matters, see G. F. Hill, BMC, Phoenicia, p. CXXXV. The same letters are found on the gold double shekels. The specimen quoted by Hill has a beth near the tip of the cornucopiae. Another specimen, known to the writer, has the date 25 (E K), the same monogram, and the same letter beth.|
|G. F. Hill, op. cit., p. CIX. These marks should of course not be confused with very similar ones on late Cilician coins, on which they are marks of value: BMC, Lycaonia etc., p. 291.|
|G. F. Hill, op. cit., p. 161, nos. 116; 117.|
|B. Haussoulier and H. Ingholt, Syria V, 1924, p. 323; L. Robert, Syria , VI, 1925, p. 365: ρξαντα τἡν ὲξάμηνον.|
|R. Mouterde, Mélanges de l’ Univ. St. Joseph , XXVI, 1946, p. 61; no. 12: άγορανομἡσαντα τῆι მεντέραι ὲξαμἡνωι το ςπῥ ἕτονς. ϰησας|
|Gerasa, City of the Decapolis, p. 374, no. 3; 375, no. 4 (C. B. Welles): γνμνασιάρϰησας τἠν πρώτηνον.|
|P. Perdrizet and Ch. Fossey, Bull. de corresp. hellén., XXI, 1897, p. 75: ίερασαμένην ὲν τῆι მεντέρα ὲξαμἡνω το მξ’ ἕτονς. The absence of iota adscriptum is incompatible with a Seleucid date. The era is that of the liberty of Seleucia.|
|Ch. Clermont-Ganneau, Recueil d’ archéol. Orient., Ill, p. 82 ff., p1. II: ἕτονς ςπ’, ὲξαμἡνου, έπί’ Aλ εξάνმρου Aλ φίου άγορανόμου.—Clermont-Ganneau was embarrassed by the date, as the aspect of the weight and its lettering seemed to him incompatible with A.D. 25/26. He therefore suggested an attribution to Ascalon, which would allow the date to be A.D. 190. After having handled large numbers of Syrian lead weights, I must say that the lettering of this specimen seems to me entirely in accordance with what might be expected in A.D. 25, and that the attribution to Gaza, if otherwise justified, is certainly acceptable on that account. The date of A.D. 190, on the contrary, is very difficult to reconcile with that form of lettering.|
|Secchi, Campione d’ antica bilibra (Rome 1835), p. 16 (IG xiv 2417): άγορανομοντος τἠν ὲξάμηνον T. Aίλ ίου Δομιτιανο —Father Secchi says that "la sua greca inscrizione corrosa nel rovescio e quasi totalmente perduta." It would be worth while, trying to find this weight, which is now presumably in the Museo delle Terme: perhaps it is still possible to make out the name of the city who issued it.|
|See the coins attributed to Seleucia on the Tigris: G. F. Hill, BMC, Arabia etc., pp. 143 ff.: R. H. McDowell, Coins from Seleucia , pp. 103; 138.|
On many Syrian coins, the date is introduced by the sign L. The following survey, although probably not exhaustive, is an attempt to define the area in which that custom prevailed, and is mainly concerned with the Hellenistic period. In imperial times, dates become rarer, and no longer obey the rather strict rules to which they had previously been submitted. Current references to the London and Paris catalogues, probably accessible to most readers, are omitted.
To begin with Hellenistic Phoenicia, the towns of Berytus, Botrys, Byblus, Dora and Orthosia seem never to have omitted the sign L. For Berytus, the rule is confirmed by six leaden weights, 40 with dates ranging from 155/154 to 93/92 B.C. It was also usual in Ptolemais (with one exception in 126/125 B.C.), in Sidon (with one exception in 36/35 B.C.), and on the bronze of Tripolis. In Tyre, and on the silver of Tripolis, the sign L is used, for the sake of clarity, whenever the date is made of a single figure: in dates of two or three figures, the sign is dropped, as if the figures were clear enough by themselves.
In Palestine, the sign L is constant with the dates of Ascalon (down to the time of Augustus) and Gaza (down to Vespasian); in the latter town, it is also found on a leaden weight of 149/148 B.C. 41 Caesarea, Neapolis, Nysa, Sebaste, who had never enjoyed an autonomous coinage, use it on some of their imperial coins. The Herodian dynasty uses it down to A.D. 78, and it is found on the coins of the Procurators between A.D. 5/6 and 58/59.
In Coele Syria, the same sign is in use among the tetrarchs of Chalcis. Damascus introduces it on her coins under the reign of Cleopatra,42 and keeps it, with rare exceptions, down to A.D. 16/17. In the inscriptions of the great temple of Jupiter Damascenus, 43 the sign L is used in A.D. 15/16, but is replaced by the word ἕτους in 37/28 and 90/91.
In the Decapolis, finally, it is constant, down to the Flavians, on the coins of Gadara (the only town to have enjoyed a pre-imperial coinage). The writer knows of one instance of it on a coin of Gerasa,44 in A.D. 67/68, but it is also found on a leaden weight of that city45 as early as 143/142 B.C.
It is well known that L, preceding a date, is a characteristically Ptolemaic sign. The area in which it is found on Syrian coins and weights is therefore, not unnaturally, the area that had been occupied by the Lagids in the third century: Palestine, the Decapolis, Coele Syria, Phoenicia south of the Eleutherus. It is evidently during that early period that municipal tradition had been formed.
In Damascus, the ephemeral domination of Cleopatra also seems to have encouraged its use. On the contrary, there does not seem to be a single example of it in the central parts of the Seleucid dominions. 46 But a more typical fact is its total absence from Phoenicia north of the Eleutherus. Ptolemaic domination in those parts had always been mitigated, and the coins of Aradus and her colonies on the mainland, dated without the help of the sign L, give an additional proof of the peculiar independence which that district was able to maintain throughout the Hellenistic period.
The regions, where the sign L, is used on coins, also use it in inscriptions, but only in a sporadic fashion. 47
It would be interesting to search for traces of the same custom in such parts of Asia Minor, as were subjected to Ptolemaic rule or influence.The sign L, occurs at least on some issues of Alabanda.48 It is of course current in the inscriptions of Cyprus.
In the remaining parts of Syria, towns with a Hellenistic coinage (Antioch, Apamea, Balanea, Gabala, Laodicea, Larissa, Rhosus and Seleucia) use plain dates like Aradus and Marathus, without any introductory sign or term. The word ἕτους, and its abbreviations, is always a late appearance on coins: it is first found under Cleopatra at Chalcis ad Libanum;48a under Augustus at Antioch; under Claudius at Apamea and Rhosus; under Elagabalus at Aradus; in other towns, later still, or never. In Palestine, where it replaces the sign L on the coins of the Herodian dynasty after A.D. 79, it is current on the imperial issues of most towns.
Leaden weights, the surface of which offers more space than the field of a coin, still avoided the word ἕτους in the second century B.C. It first appears on them, in Antioch, in the middle of the first century B.C. 49
The coins of the Seleucids have plain dates, without introductory sign. Exceptions are confined to Phoenician and Palestinian mints, and concern the sign L. On the silver, which was probably subjected to a tighter control, they are few and generally late. 50 They are much more common on the bronze, where the frequence of local types also shows a greater measure of municipal initiative. The coinage of Tryphon at Byblus and Ptolemais uses the sign L before the regnal year; but precisely because Tryphon was no Seleucid and had repudiated both the era and the usual titles of that dynasty. 51
|Syria , XXVII, 1950, p. 45, cf. 49.|
|E. Rogers, Second and Third Seleucid Coinages of Tyre , nos. 117–120; E. T. Newell, Seleucid coinages of Tyre , no. 116a.|
|E. Babelon and A. Blanchet, Catal. des bronzes antiques de la Bibl. Nat., no. 2250; J. Rouvier, Rev. num., 1897, pp. 369 f.;Suppl. epigr. grace., VII, 806 (but the correct reading is: L κσ’, Δάμονος άγορα., ). The three other weights are not yet published.|
|Ch. Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeol. Res. in Palestine, II, 1896, p. 399, note; cf. E. Michon, "Pondus" (Dict, des antiquités), p. 556.|
|The first issues of Cleopatra in Damascus are simply dated ςοσ’ and ζοσ’ (G. Macdonald, Cat. of the Hunter. Coll., III, p. 218, no. 1; BMC, Galatia etc., p. 282, no. 1). In the next issue, however, L is introduced: L πσ’ (coin in the Leake Coll. in Cambridge, published in Leake's Numismata Hellenica, Asiatic Greece, p. 51.|
|C. Watzinger and K. Wulzinger, Damaskus die Antike Stadt, pp. 28–31. On the correct date of these texts, see Syria , XXVII, 1950, pp. 34ff.|
|A. Kirkbride, Bull. Amer. Schools of Oriental Res., 106, 1947, p. 5, no. 2: L λ ρ’ (year 130 of the Gerasene era).|
|Gerasa, City of the Decapolis, p. 461, no. 251. My reading of the original is: L ορ', ‘Aντωϰέων τῶν πρός Xρυσ., ὲπί Mελ εάγρου ὅγმουν. The era is Seleucid. So dated, the weight fits perfectly into a series of similar objects, dated from the middle of the second century B.C. See Bull. du musée de Beyrouth , VIII, 1949, pp. 46–47, nos. 7–9.|
|It is true that W. Ensslin, Cambridge Anc. Hist., XII, p. 133, note 3, proposes to correct Malalas XII, p. 296, 9 (Bonn), by reading LTI instead of ΔTI: a very hazardous conjecture.|
|In Gerasa ( Gerasa, City of the Decapolis, The Inscriptions, by C. B. Welles) for instance, there are only four examples: no. 5 (A.D. 69/70); 49 (67/68); 116 (92/93); 181 (A.D. 117); perhaps also 43 (A.D. 156); also the inscription from Suf, near Gerasa: W. Dittenberger, Orientis gr. inscr. Sel., 620 (A.D. 98/99). For Tyre: ibid., 594 (A.D. 81).|
|E. Babelon, Mél. de num., 1, p. 12 ( L , ); S. W. Grose, Catal. of the McClean Coll., no. 8440 (LΔ).|
|E. Babelon and A. Blanchet, Catal. des bronzes antiques de la Bibl. Nat., nos. 2246; 2248.|
|An unpublished Phoenician tetradrachm in the American University, Beyrouth, bears the portrait and name of Alexander I, with the date L ςξρ, the monogram and the mint-mark (Ptolemais). On later issues of the same mint, see E. T. Newell, Late Seleucid Mints, pp. 37 f. Also the issues of Antiochus VIII in Ascalon: E. Babelon, Rois de Syrie, no. 1402; P. Gardner, BMC, Seleuc. Kings, p. 91, no. 3; A. Bellinger, The End of the Seleucids, pp. 89 f.|
|See above, p. 12.|
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