Back in 2015, the ANS launched PELLA (numismatics.org/pella) as our first foray into creating dedicated online tools with a focus on ancient Greek numismatics, modeled on those we had already created for Roman coinage such as Online Coins of the Roman Empire. More recently, after we were awarded a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2017 for the Hellenistic Royal Coinages (HRC) project. PELLA was incorporated into HRC as one of its several components. Even as we’ve continued to build out the other components of HRC, including Seleucid Coins Online and Ptolemaic Coins Online, we’ve been working on adding new features to PELLA as well. Just this week, in fact, we finished adding to PELLA a catalogue and typology for the gold and silver coinage of Philip II.
From the beginning our intention has been to make PELLA an innovative research tool aiming, among other things, to provide a comprehensive typology and catalog of the coinages struck by the Macedonian kings of the Argead dynasty (c. 700–310 BCE), arguably the most influential coinages of the ancient Greek world. Fueled first by indigenous precious metal mines in their native Macedonia, and later by the spoils of their conquests, including the rich treasures of the Persian Empire, the Argeads’ numismatic output was monumental. For centuries after their deaths, coins in the name of Philip II (ruled 359–336 BCE) and Alexander the Great (ruled 336–323 BCE) continued to be produced by successor kings, civic mints, and imitators from Central Asia to Central Europe. The coinage of the Argeads themselves and that produced in their names has been extensively studied, but to date no comprehensive, easily accessible catalog of all their coinages exists. We’ve designed PELLA to fill that gap. Our goal has been to catalogue the individual coin types of the Argead kings from Alexander I (ruled 498–454 BCE), the first of the Macedonian kings to strike coins, down to Philip III Arrhidaeus (ruled 323–317 BCE), the last of the titular kings to do so, including as well the numerous posthumous civic and successor coinages struck in the names of the kings.
The updated version of PELLA we launched this week now includes the coinage (in the name of) Philip II organized using George Le Rider’s Le monnayage d’argent et d’or de Philippe II frappé en Macédoine de 359 a 294, 1977. This material joins the existing catalogue and typology of the coinage (in the name) of Alexander III and Philip III, which is organized using reference numbers from Martin Price’s The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus, London 1991. The updated version of PELLA now provides 4,995 individual coin type pages with links to over 20,000 examples of the coinage (in the name) of Philip II, the coinage (in the name) of Alexander the Great, and the coinage of Philip III Arrhidaeus that are present in 19 collections located in the United States and Europe.
For those interested in some of the more technical aspects of how we build out these sites, and more specifically on the addition of the Philip II material to PELLA, check out the blog of our Director of Data Science, Ethan Gruber.