Corinthian hoards (Corinth and Arta)

Ravel, Oscar
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents



CORINTHIAN HOARDS (Corinth and Arta)

By Oscar Ravel

Regret has frequently been expressed at the small amount of information to be obtained from the hoards of pegasi which have been unearthed in Sicily and Southern Italy. The few hoards recorded are described so summarily that it is nearly impossible to identify most of the coins mentioned. This lack of information is one of the chief difficulties met in attempting to date the Corinthian staters. Recently in the Numismatic Chronicle, 1 Mr. Zograph published a Sicilian hoard of pegasi formerly in Count Shuwalow's collection and now in the Hermitage. This hoard seems to be the first carefully described find of pegasi. It is to be regretted, however, that the other coins which were certainly in the hoard are not known, and that no practical conclusions concerning the chronology of the pegasi can be drawn from it, due to the wide range of the coins, which cover almost the entire period of the Corinthian issues.

The writer has recently been fortunate in securing two small hoards of Corinthian coins; one composed exclusively of archaic issues, the other of the very latest pegasi of Corinth and Acarnania. In the fol- lowing notes a careful description of these finds is given.


The coins here described were bought in Paris from several dealers all of whom had received them from the same source. All the coins, 36 in number, were covered with a thick coating of purple oxide. Since their appearance was identical, it is obvious that they all belonged to the same find. Whether the thirty-six coins form the entire hoard could not be ascertained. Probably they did not. What available information there is would seem to indicate that, if any, only a few small pieces were lacking. At any rate, the thirty-six coins obtained from the Paris dealers certainly represent the bulk of the find. According to report, they seem to have been found near Corinth just after the earthquake of 1928. A peculiarity of the hoard is that all are of Corinth with the exception of three coins hitherto attributed to Tegea. Not a single coin of another mint was found among them.

It is well known that most of our Corinthian coins come from hoards found in Sicily or Southern Italy. Very few archaic coins, 1 however, or those of small denominations are found there. This would seem to indicate that only after the archaic coinage had ceased (about 450 B. C.) did the pegasi become a kind of international currency, and that the small coins or fractions of staters then, as well as previously, were employed chiefly as local currency and were only exceptionally exported with the pegasi.

Due to the thick oxidization, the coins had to be cleaned, and many, though originally in good condition, suffered and lost weight in the cleaning process.

1. Pegasos with the curled wing flying l., beneath, ♀.

Rev. Modification of the incuse "swastika" pattern. This consists of a cross in relief, inside an incuse square; a small bar branches off from the middle of each cross-bar, all four in the same direction, clockwise, from left to right.

B. M. Cat. Corinth. No. 42.

Obol. grm. 0.42.

2. Pegasos as above, but flying r., beneath, ♀.

Rev. Same incuse pattern, but the four branches are in the opposite direction, counter-clockwise, from right to left.

B. M. Cat. Corinth No. 46 var.

Obol. (?), grm. 0.50.

3. Bridled Pegasos with curled wing flying r., beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena r., with hair in queue ending in a small knot and wearing a Corinthian helmet without neck-guard, a necklace and a grape-cluster earring composed of a transverse bar and five beads. The lips of the goddess are almost vertical. Deep incuse square.

B. M. Cat. No. 73 var.

Stater, grm. 8.25 fine.

4. Very similar to previous.

Rev. Large head of Athena r., wearing Corinthian helmet, necklace, and grape-cluster earring composed of five beads. Hair in queue tied with a ribbon forming a loop. Deep incuse square.

B. M. Cat.— —.

Stater, grm. 8.00. Although the coin has suffered from oxidization, it also shows traces of wear.

5. Very similar Pegasos, probably same die.

Rev. Small head of Athena to r., hair in queue ending in a small knot. The goddess wears a Corinthian helmet, necklace, and grape-cluster earring composed of a transverse bar and three beads. Incuse square.

B. M. Cat.— —.

Stater, grm. 8.10. Very fine. This, like the previous coins, has suffered through oxidization.

6. Bridled head of Pegasos to l., eye very large and seen full face.

Rev. Large Δ in deep incuse square.

B. M. Cat.— —.

Diobol, grm. 0.65.

7. Bridled head of Pegasos to l, beneath, ♀.

Rev. Large Δ, in deep incuse square.

B. M. Cat. No. 97.

Diobols, 12 specimens from different dies. grm. 0.68 to 0.90.

8. Same, but Pegasos head to r.

Rev. Same as above.

B. M. Cat. No. 103.

Diobols, 15 specimens from different dies, from grm. 0.70 to 0.90.

9. Corinthian helmet, without crest, to r.; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Large T in deep incuse square.

B. M. Cat. Peloponnesus, Tegea No. 3.

Trihemiobols, three specimens, very fine, grm. 0.44, 0.45, before cleaning grm. 0.56.

The earliest coins of the find are the small denominations with the so-called "swastika" pattern on the reverse. No. I is an obol, while No. 2 is probably a trihemiobol since its weight falls below that of the normal obol.

In endeavoring to establish the chronological sequence of the staters of Corinth with the incuse reverses, the author has observed that practically all the specimens examined come from different dies. This is probably due to the fact that but a few coins have yet reached us in comparison to the large number issued. Their die-sequence is, therefore, impossible to ascertain. Nor can the style of the Pegasos be counted on as a safe guide, especially for these very early archaic coins. An attempt to set forth a chronological classification therefore would, be hazardous, were it not possible to note that the incuse device changes gradually from the earliest Aeginetan incuse to the modification of the swastika which we find on the small denominations of the present find.

In order to show the evolution of these incuse reverses, some schematic cuts of the different types are given below:

  • A
    • (a. Coll. Jameson, not in his catalogue.
    • (b. Coll. Warren, pl. XX, 865.
    • (c. Coll. Pozzi 1642.
  • B
    • (a. Coll. de Luynes 2153.
    • (b. Coll. Jameson, not illustrated (Trouvaille de Tarente, Revue Num. 1912 pl. III, 16).
  • C
    • (a. Coll. Pozzi, 1644.
    • (b. Coll. Pozzi, 1645.
    • (c. B. M. Cat. Corinth, pl. 1, n. 6.

The link between the earliest Aeginetan incuse Aa and the swastika is Ac. While it still is composed of triangular compartments, it already suggests the idea of a " crux-gammata " or swastika. The engraver had only to square the central angles to make a real swastika, Ba. The only difference between Ba and Bb is that the small outside branches of the cross are longer on the latter Bb than on the former Ba. The result is, however, that one can see on Bb either the incuse swastika, or, by optical illusion, a deep incuse square divided into four compartments by a central cross in relief. This optical illusion led probably to the following device C, which is no longer an incuse swastika but a cross in relief, inside an incuse square.

Half-way up each cross-bar of the cross, a little bar branches off, all four in the same direction, sometimes clockwise and sometimes counter-clockwise. In some cases there is a pellet in relief in the center of the cross, sometimes a small ring. (Cb-Cc). These C reverses are no longer really incuse, but are the beginning of the relief-reverses. They were certainly issued just before the Athena's head was placed on the reverses of the pegasi. The two small denominations of the find (Nos. 1-2) belong to this group.

The three staters above described (Nos. 3, 4, and 5) have obverses which are very similar. The koppa is placed in the same position, almost horizontal, with the tail toward the right, and only small differences in the shape of the Pegasos' wing show that they do not come from the same die. All the reverses have the goddess wearing the same kind of earring, a peculiarity found only on a small number of late archaic pegasi. These peculiarities indicate that the three coins are almost contemporary. Because of the great difference of style in the treatment of Athena's face, one would otherwise have scarcely reached this conclusion. The face of No. 3, with the quaint expression of the tight-set lips, looks much earlier than the others. The head on No. 4 is more advanced in style, but the eye is large and represented facing. The large size of this head is quite exceptional. On no other archaic stater has the writer seen a head of these dimensions. No. 5 presents, on the contrary, a very small head, and the eye of the goddess is almost in profile.

The bulk of the hoard consisted of a large number of diobols with the delta, practically all from different dies. Only three principal varieties of these are described, as the others offer only slight differences in the size and shape of the head of Pegasos and of the delta. One specimen, No. 6, is interesting; the Pegasos has an eye seen facing just as on the corresponding Athena heads of the staters.

The small coins (No. 9), with the large T on the reverse, have always been attributed to Tegea. Gardner describes the London specimens in the Peloponnesus catalogue of the British Museum, 1 and Head, 1 Babelon, 2 and Grose 3 all repeat the same attribution. They failed to notice that on some well-centered specimens there is a small 9 under the helmet. On most specimens this letter is off-flan. Imhoof-Blumer, in dealing with the coin, noticed the ♀, and preferring not to attribute it to Tegea because of the large T, placed it among " uncertain mints." 4

In the British Museum there is a small coin of Corinth 5 showing the Pegasos head with a very short neck and a ♀ beneath. On the reverse, there is a large H in a deep incuse square (Pl. 1 No. b.). The H is the value mark of the coins, which was described by Head as a hemiobol belonging to the same issue as the diobols with Δ in the incuse square. In the comparison of these two coins with No. 9 of the hoard, one cannot escape noticing that all the reverses have a strong likeness. The large heavy T is placed in the same deep incuse square. On the obverses all three coins have a small ♀. They certainly belong to the same mint, and if Δ stands for diobol and H for hemiobol, it must be that T is also a mark of value and, one standing for the trihemiobol.

The small denominations are seldom of the same weight either because the blanks were not carefully weighed, or because the wear and the loss of weight by oxidization are proportionally more than for large coins. These coins, however, can scarcely be anything else than trihemiobols, as the weight of 0.56 grm. is above that of an obol and below that of a diobol.

The shape of the Corinthian helmet on the obverse is the exact reproduction of that of the Athena helmet of No. 5 of the hoard.

The obvious conclusion is that these coins with the helmet are really trihemiobols of Corinth, and belong to the same issue as the obols with the delta. That the hoard was composed of coins from Corinth only and was found in Corinth argues further in favor of this attribution.

Because of the similar preservation of the staters and trihemiobols, it would seem that they were almost contemporary. Therefore, it might be inferred that these denominations with mark of value belong to the issues with the Athena's head. In the British Museum 1 (Pl. 1, a) there is an interesting coin with the same Pegasos' head as on the diobols with the delta, but whose reverse is the same as Nos. 1 and 2 of the find. This mule is a link between the issues with the incuse reverses and those with the mark of value on the reverse, and confirms our suggestion that the deformation of the swastika C is the last of the incuse reverses of the Corinthian issues.

It is remarkable that although some examples of small denominations with incuse reverses were in the find, none with the Gorgon's head were present. Is it not very likely, then, that these trihemiobols belong to a later issue and not to Head's period II? 1

To fix the approximate date of the burial of this small hoard is very difficult. Head dates his second period (Athena head) from 500 to 431 B. C. 2 Prof. Gardner thinks this period should begin at 550 B. C. Although I cannot agree with his statement that there has been an increase of weight between his second and third class, 3 I think he is right. The date of the beginning of the issue is, however, of no importance in dating the burial. It is rather the date of the end which is of interest. In my study on the Ambracian pegasi, 4 I placed the end of this period at 456 B. C. If I am correct, then, the date of burial would probably be about 470–460 B. C.

End Notes

1 The Hoard of Tarentum, Revue Numismatique 1912, is perhaps the only one which contained several very early staters.
1 P. 200, n. 9, pl. XXXVII n. 8.
1 Hist. Num. p. 454.
2 Traité, p. 654, n. 575.
3 The McClean Greek Coins II v. N. 7012.
4 Griechische Münzen p. 769, n. 799.
6 Cat. B. M. Cor. n. 112.
1 Cat. B. M. Cor. n. 47.
1 Cat. B. M. Cor. XXI.
2 Cat. B. M. Cor. XX.
3 A History of Anc. Coinage, p. 136. From the specimens we have collected (practically all private and public collections) we can say there is no difference in the standard between his 2nd and 3rd class. The only fact we have noticed is that the average preservation of the staters with the incuse reverses, is generally very poor. Only a few specimens exist in very fine preservation, and these do not show any difference of weight with the following issue.
4 Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 37, p. 87.


In the summer of 1929 the writer had the opportunity of securing a parcel of Corinthian coins from a man who had brought them from Greece. He declared that they had been found in an earthen pot near the river at Arta (Ambracia), and that only a part of the small denominations had been sold in Athens to a dealer. The find was composed mostly of the very latest issues of Corinthian pegasi. Considerable interest attaches to the lot through the presence of a large number of tetrobols of Philip II. The importance of this fact is obvious. If we could be sure that these coins had actually been found with the pegasi, the hoard would give us an approximate date for the end of the autonomous coinage of Corinth. Therefore, the writer made inquiries in Athens and was fortunate enought to trace the remainder of the find as well as to ascertain that the first information given was correct (and that the man who sold the coins was trustworthy). The coins seen in Athens were chiefly tetrobols of Philip II with the tripod symbol and some drachms of Corinth.

All the coins examined had the same appearance, being coated with a very slight grayish oxide partially covered with an earthlike reddish crust. They all came, without any doubt, from the same hoard.

The coins examined follow:


1. Pegasos with pointed wing flying l. (♀ completely obliterated).

Rev. Head of Athena l. wearing Corinthian helmet bound with olive-wreath, over large neck-guard; under chin, A; under neck, P; to right, Athena Promachos.

B. M. Cat., No. 256.

Stater, grm. 8.05. Much worn. The olive-wreath is completely obliterated; very slight traces are visible on the edges of the helmet to show that it existed.

2. Pegasos as above; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena l., wearing plain Corinthian helmet over neck-guard; under chin I; to r., quiver and bow.

B. M. Cat., No. 354.

Stater, grm. 8.40, somewhat worn.

3. Pegasos as above; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena l., wearing Corinthian helmet bound with olive-wreath. Two rows of heavy locks, some of which cover neck-guard. To r., Nike flying left, carrying fillet (?). 1

B. M. Cat.— —.

Stater. Two specimens, one worn and the other fine. grm. 8.10 and 8.45.

4. Pegasos as above; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Large Athena's head l., wearing plain Corinthian helmet. Hair, as previous, over neck- guard; to r., image and Nike flying to left, carrying fillet (?).

B. M. Cat., No. 412.

Stater, grm. 8.70, very fine.

5. Pegasos flying l., two feathers of second wing visible; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena to r. The locks do not go over neck-guard; to l., Nike (possibly Apteros), carrying fillet (?), between the Nike and the neck-guard, deformation of the previous monogram.

B. M. Cat.— —.

Stater, grm. 8.20, very fine.

6. Same die.

Rev. Sketchy barbaric copy of previous reverse. The Nike is hardly recognizable and the monogram is reduced to a nondescript little crosslike sign.

B. M. Cat.— —.

Stater, grm. 8.70, very fine.

7. Pegasos with large wing flying l., one feather of second wing visible; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena l., two rows of locks, one over neck-guard ; to r. image and eagle to r. Very bad style.

B. M. Cat., No. 396.

Stater, grm. 6.90, very fine.

8. Pegasos very fat, with small head, flying l., one wing visible ; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Athena's head l., wearing helmet and necklace of beads; hair coming out from under neck-guard in only one row; to r., tiny figure of a herm, full-face, holding a palm, and wearing a pointed cap.

B. M. Cat.— —.

Stater, grm. 7.60, very fine.

9. Pegasos flying/1.; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena l., wearing necklace of beads and helmet, hair in two rows, one very curly over neck-guard ; to r. prow ; over helmet, large A.

B. M. Cat.— —. Oman No. 20. 1

Stater, grm. 8.20, exceedingly fine.

10. Large heavy Pegasos flying l. Wing curled upwards; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Large head of Athena l., hair in long locks over neck-guard ; to r. image and mast with yard (stylis).

B. M. Cat., No. 371.

Stater, grm. 8.10, exceedingly fine.

11. Pegasos flying 1.; beneath; ♀.

Rev. Head of Athena to l., wearing Corinthian helmet bound with olive-wreath, and necklace of beads; to r., image and ithyphallic term to r. ; hair as previous.

B. M. Cat., No. 405.

Stater grm. 8.35, very fine.

12. Very similar to previous.

Rev. Athena's head l., wearing plain Corinthian helmet and necklace of beads; hair over neckguard; to r., image and term to r. ; to l., under chin, B.

B. M. Cat., No. 404.

Stater, six specimens from different dies, all very fine to exceedingly fine, from grm. 8.10 to 8.45.

13. Pegasos with pointed wing flying l.; beneath, ♀.

Rev. Head of Nymph Peirene, wearing saccos, to l. B. M. Cat., No. 184.

Drachm, two specimens (others in Athens) from different dies; one worn, one good, grm. 2.40–2.45.

End Notes
1 It is more like a bow than a fillet.
1 Sir Ch. Oman, Some Problems of the Later Coinage of Corinth, Num. Chr. 1926, pl. IV, 20. The A on this specimen is off-flan.


14. Pegasos with pointed wing flying r.; beneath, image

Rev. Head of Athena wearing Corinthian helmet to l.; to l. amphora, over which is bunch of grapes and A.

B. M. Cat., No. 91.

Stater grm. 8.25, worn.

15. Pegasos flying l.; beneath, image

Rev. Head of Athena l., wearing Corinthian helmet, hair over neck-guard; to r., API and anchor. B. M. Cat., No. 103.

Stater grm. 8.45, worn.


16. Pegasos with pointed wing, flying r.; beneath, image

Rev. Head of Athena r., wearing Corinthian helmet; to l., tripod in laurel-wreath and image

B. M. Cat., No. 37.

Stater, grm. 8.50, much worn.


17. Pegasos with pointed wing slightly curled upwards, flying l.; beneath, image

Rev. Head of Athena l., wearing Corinthian helmet, hair over neck-guard; to r., vine-branch with grapes.

B. M. Cat., No. 1.

Stater, Three specimens, grm. 8.30 to 8.40, fine and very fine.

18. Head of man-headed bull (Achelous) r., beardless; to l., ..ΚΟϒΡΓΟΣ downwards.

Rev. Apollo Actius naked, seated 1. on throne, holding bow; to r. downwards, ΑΚΑΡΝΑΝΩΝ; to l., image

B. M. Cat., Thessaly, No. 10.

Hemistater, grm. 5.15, exceedingly fine.


19. Head of Apollo r. bound with plain taenia; dotted border.

Rev. ΦΙΛΙΓΓΟϒ, naked horseman, prancing r.; beneath, bearded head of Achelous r.

Müller, No. 206.

Tetrobol, two specimens from different dies, both very fine; grm. 2.45.

20. Similar Apollo's head.

Rev. ΦΙΛΙΓΓΟϒ, same horseman prancing r.; beneath, aplustre. An exactly similar symbol is found on a late Corinthian Pegasos (Cf. B. M. Cat., Pl. V, No. 5).

Müller — —.

Tetrobol, grm. 2.45, very fine.

21. Head of Apollo laureated to r.; dotted border.

Rev. ΦΙΛΙΓΓΟϒ, naked horseman prancing r.; beneath, tripod.

Müller 68-69.

Tetrobol, About 30 specimens, from several dies, from fine to very fine, grm. 2.35-2.45.

Coin No. 1 of the hoard shows the poorest preservation. It is so much worn that the olive-wreath of Athena's helmet and the koppa beneath the Pegasos are completely obliterated. This coin belongs to the series with the initials A-P coupled with various symbols. Prof. Oman dates these coins 336-323 B. C., and suggests, although only interrogatively, that the olive wreath is to be explained as referring to Alexander's victories. He supposes that the nine coins with A-P, are the only ones of all the series of Corinthian Pegasi, invariably having a helmet bound with a wreath ; 1 but these are not the only wreathed coins. Several other Corinthian pegasi, belonging to quite different periods also display a wreath. For example, the early coin in Berlin, illustrated in Oman's "The Fifth Century Coins of Corinth," 2 shows an unmistakable olive-wreath on the helmet, while other coins known to the author have obverses from the same die coupled with reverses presenting Athena's helmet wreathless. Our own two late coins Nos. 3 and 11 and B. M. Cat. No. 138, Pl. III, No. 13, show the wreath. Furthermore, the staters with A-P do not invariably have the wreathed helmet. The fairly common coin with a triton is generally found without a wreath (Bement, No. 1211), although the writer has noted a die with the wreath in the Museum of the Hague. In the writer's collection there is a specimen with the eagle symbol without the wreath. The two coins of the present hoard previously referred to, No. 3 and 11, are certainly contemporary with Nos. 4 and 12. They have the same symbols, and Nos. 11 and 12 the same monogram. Yet, some of these have a plain helmet and others a wreathed one. The Hunterian coin (PL XXXVI, No. 17), as already noted by Mr. Newell, 1 belongs to the same issue and shows a helmet decorated with an oak wreath. In Berlin there is a stater having its reverse from the same die as the above mentioned coin in the B. M. (No. 138), and its obverse from a different die. From this same obverse die the writer has noted seven other coins with reverses from as many different dies. 2 It is obvious that these eight coins were issued at about the same time, but why has only one reverse a wreathed helmet? If we consider the olive wreath as an allusion to some victory, it would not be easy to understand why in the same set of coins, all issued at about the same time, some have it and others do not. Besides, there are some very rare pegasi with Athena's helmet decorated in different ways. For instance, there is one in the Vienna Museum with a palmette on the bowl of the helmet, and in Berlin another with a coiled serpent as on some gold staters of Alexander.

At other mints we find Athena's helmet decorated in a similar way. At Thurium, for instance, we meet; very often the early olive wreath, replaced on later issues by ivy leaves, a griffin, a sphinx, and a Scylla. At Pharsalos the olive wreath is very rarely met, but there is a great variety of similar helmet decorations as Scylla, a winged serpent, a Sphinx, etc. Why should we suppose a special meaning for the olive wreath at Corinth and not at the other mints. It seems more logical to believe that, as in Pharsalos and Thurium, so also in Corinth, the olive, laurel and oak wreaths were adopted, just as the coiled serpent or palmette, simply for decorative purposes.

We do not know that Corinth's elation over the victories of Alexander was sufficient to cause her to refer to them on her currency but, in the writer's opinion, we may safely discard the old interpretation of the olive wreath.

If the olive wreath is no more than an ornament on the helmet, there is no reason to attribute the series with A-P to 336–323 B. C. The wear on the very poor specimen with the Athena Promachos found in the hoard suggests that this series might have been issued even before Philip II. This is important because it indicates that almost all the hitherto accepted dates for the issues of Corinthian pegasi must be moved back. For the time, this remark must suffice; as it is beyond the scope of this paper, no attempt to date this issue will be made at this time. The correct dating of Corinthian issues can be decided only when the die-sequences of the Corinthian coinage has been well established, and at present too much evidence is still unavailable.

The presence of so proportionately large a number of tetrobols of Philip II in this small hoard seems to indicate they were more common (probably in Ambracia) than the pegasi at the time of its concealment. On the other hand, the bulk of the pegasi are of the very last issues of the autonomous coinage of Corinth. As the pegasi are in about the same state of preservation as the coins of Philip II, we have through this hoard evidence that practically all of these coins were contemporaneous. Consequently, if we are able to establish the date of issue of the tetrobols, we should be able to deduce an approximate date for the end of the autonomous coinage of Corinth.

Mr. E. T. Newell with whom I communicated about the present hoard, kindly responded that he thinks the tetrobols with the Achelous head perhaps contemporaneous with Philip II, but more probably posthumous; that those with the tripod are certainly posthumous, coming after 316 B. C. and possibly as late as circa 295 B. C. or slightly later. If this is correct, and Mr. Newell's authority on the subject is such that we may take for granted that he is right, almost all present accepted datings for the latest issue of Corinthian pegasi are too late.

It is generally believed that Corinth continued to strike her own currency under the Macedonian rulers, and stopped only when in 243 B. C. she was delivered by Aratus and joined the Achaean League. 1 Prof. Oman, in his previously mentioned study, goes even further. He thinks that Corinth continued coining her own pegasi down to 223 B. C.

It has always been difficult for me to share Prof. Oman's belief that the Macedonians permitted Corinth to continue striking her own currency. I have tried in vain to find support for this theory and have been unable to discover textual or other evidence to justify it. Is this no more than an hypothesis suggested long ago and since taken for granted by everyone?

The pegasi of our find, Nos. 4 to 12, are of the very last issues in Corinth. Their preservation, very-fine to extremely fine, is about the same as that of the tetrobols of Philip II included in the hoard. They must therefore be contemporary. A peculiarity of these pegasi is their extreme ugliness; some are so markedly bad that they look like barbaric imitations. No. 6, for example, which has its obverse from the same die as No. 5 and is therefore certainly an official issue, is not only of bad style, but its reverse die seems to have been cut by a very unskilled worker. The eye of the goddess is reduced to a simple pellet, the Nike is like a faint shadow, scarcely perceptible, and the monogram is reduced to a nondescript cross-like sign. The coin is not worn as one would suppose from the plate, but is very fine, not showing the slightest trace of wear. Another striking peculiarity, is that the weights of some of these coins seem most erratic.

No. 5 and the above mentioned coin are both very well preserved. They weigh respectively grm. 8.20 and 8.70 and the more ugly of the two is the heavier. Coin No. 7, likewise of fine preservation, weighs only grm. 6.90. This exceptionally low weight caused the author to suspect the coin of being plated, but a test proved that such is not the case. No. 8, also in fine condition, weighs 7.60.

Study of these coins produces the feeling that they were made by engravers "de fortune." Perhaps they were issued after the regular staff of the Argyrokopeion of Corinth had already been dispersed and the mint had been idle for some time. If the mint of Corinth had been closed—as we suppose—like the mint of Ambracia under the Macedonian Oligarchy and reopened under special circumstances for but a short time, the above mentioned peculiarities would be readily explained. Possibly, when in 319 B. C. Polysperchon promulgated his Decree of Liberty giving to Greek towns their autonomy, Corinth thought herself authorized to revert to her autonomous currency. We know the famous edict was a mere political move against Cassander rather than a real wish to restore the liberties of the Greek towns. Hence, it is probable that such a restoration of the Corinthian mint would not have lasted long, and that the mint would again have been closed by Polysperchon in his war in the Peloponnesus against Cassander.

The interruption of the issues of Corinthian pegasi would, therefore, have extended from 338 to 319 B. C. The above mentioned series of late pegasi may have been issued between 319 and about 315310 B. C.

Prof. Sir Charles Oman in his study dates the last staters of Corinth to 243-223 B. C. Our hoard, however, since it can hardly have been buried later than 280 B. C., supplies us with new evidence showing that these dates are far too late. 1

The two coins Nos. 9 and 10 show peculiarities worth noticing. The first has a large A over Athena's helmet which is too conspicuous to be a magistrate's initial, and which is strikingly similar to the large A often found in the same postition on several Ambracian pegasi. As the symbol, a prow, is also Ambracian, this coin seems to be a poor copy of the Ambracian stater, B. M. Cat., pl. XXIX, No. 1. Though it may be a mere coincidence, the fact that the coin was found in Arta, the very place where Ambracia stood, may indicate that the A stands for Ambracia.

The other coin, No. 10, has a reverse which is copied from a very common coin of Leucas. 1 There is the same small A behind the Athena head and the same mast with a yard (stylis) as a symbol. The likeness is so striking that Head noticed it when he described the coin in the British Museum. 2 Naturally only as an hypothesis, it is quite possible to suppose that when the Corinthian mint began to strike pegasi again, by a special agreement with Ambracia and Leucas, she struck these coins, which were considered a local currency, either in Corinth or in her old colonies just as the alliance coins of former time.

The three specimens of the rare stater with the monogram image under the Pegasos are of about the same preservation as the tetrobols.

The exceedingly fine specimen of the rare half stater of the Acarnanian League with the Achelous head presents a possibility of ascertaining with close approximation the date of issue of these coins. This issue has been dated quite variously, from 283 to 168 B. C. Prof. Gardner places the coinage of Acarnania between 300 and 229 B. C., and believes that the issue with the Achelous head began about 229 B. C. He thinks them contemporary with the coinage of the Epirote Republic under Roman rule. 1 Head is of the opinion that these federal coins took the place of the pegasi about 220 B. C. 2 Having noticed that the style of the Apollo on these coins is very similar to that of the Apollo seated on the prow on tetradrachms of Antigonus Gonatas, Imhoof-Blumer first attributed them to 283-239 B. C. 3 Later, after attributing the tetradrachms to 265 B. C. after the naval victory of Antigonus Gonatas over the Egyptian fleet, near the island of Cos, 4 he proposed the same date for the coins of the League.

Although these dates differ, they are all based on Imhoof-Blumer's suggestion. Both Gardner's and Head's dates are based on the belief that the tetradrachm, with the naval type were of Antigonus Doson. 5 Head afterwards agreed with Imhoof-Blumer's attribution to Antigonus Gonatas, 6 but did not change the dates of the coins of the Acarnanian League. Imhoof-Blumer's dating was prompted entirely by the above mentioned similarity of style. Such an argument may be used when no better data are forthcoming but usually further confirmation is required. Judging from the preservation of the above specimen, it could not have been issued much after 300. We have seen that the Philip tetrobols can hardly be later than 280 and if this date is assigned for the burial of the hoard it would follow that Imhoof-Blumer's suggestion of style-connection between these earliest of the issues of the Acarnanian League and those of Antigonus Gonatas may prove untenable. It seems likely that the coins with the Achelous head were issued just after the pegasi of the League. It would be interesting to know why a standard that had nothing in common with the one in use at either Corinth or Macedonia was adopted.

It is very interesting to note that the tetrobols of Philip II weigh exactly the same as the Corinthian drachms (grm. 2.40-2.45). It is, therefore, quite natural to have such a large percentage of them in a hoard of pegasi of a transitional period when both Macedonian and Corinthian standards were in use in Corinth. The tetrobols must have been considered as Corinthian drachms and equated to them.

Despite the many elements of uncertainty in regard to the dating of some of the pieces found in this hoard, its importance for the coinages of both Corinth and Acarnania is very considerable. It is to be hoped that additional material may some day come to light which will permit more definite answers to the questions discussed herein.

End Notes
1 Prof. Sir Ch. Oman. Some Problems of the Later Coinage of Corinth, Num. Chr. 1926, p. 27. The author speaks of nine different symbols, but he really only mentions eight : Chimaera, Palladium, Cornucopia, Eagle, Boar, Ivy-leaf, Plough, Aegis. There are two more symbols coupled with the same letters: Helmet and Triton, the first very rare, the second fairly common.
2 Num. Chr. 1909.
1 Alexander Hoards, N. N. & M. No. 39, p. 26.
2 Hirsch XXV, N. 1089 with image Vienna 39, dog, Vienna 102, snake, Pozzi 1669, snake, Ratto 1927, snake, Ravel, trident and snake.
1 Head, Hist. Num. p. 403.
1 Cf. E. T. Newell, Alexander hoards, Num. Notes & Mon. No. 39, p. 26. The author too thinks that Prof. Oman's dates are too late. He says : It seems to the present writer that he places some, if not all, of his Corinthian staters too late. It should be noted that the Hunterian variety (pl. XXXVI, 17) of his pl. IV, 18, bears an unmistakable oak-wreath on Athena's helmet, hence this coin might fall more naturally in the age of Pyrrhus than in 243-223 B. C.
1 B. M. Cat. Corinth n. 97 to 102.
2 B. M. Cat. Corinth p. 44, n. 371.
1 Cat. B. M. Thessaly, p. lii.
2 Hist. Num. p. 328.
3 Die Münzen Akarnaniens p. 39.
4 Monnaies Grecques p. 128.
5 B. M. Guide of Select Coins p. 76.
6 Hist. Num. p. 232

End Notes

1 A. Zograph, Pegasos staters from a Sicilian hoard found in the past century. Num. Chr. 1928, p. 115.












Numismatic Notes and Monographs

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