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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Greek Coins ▸ Geographic - All Periods ▸ Greece ▸ IllyriaView Options:  |  |  | 

Illyria, Greece

Illyria, in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, was divided into small hereditary kingdoms, none ruling the entire region, and some with only a single town. Numerous Greek colonies were also established in Illyria. Epidamnos was found in 627 B.C. and Apollonia founded in 588 B.C., both by colonists from Corinth and Corfu. The most notable Illyrian kingdoms and dynasties were those of Bardyllis of the Dardani, and of Agron of the Ardiaei. Agron extended rule to other tribes and created the last and best-known Illyrian kingdom. Rome defeated Gentius, the last independent king of Illyria, at Scodra (in present-day Albania) in 168 B.C. Four client-republics were set up, which were in fact ruled by Rome. Later, the region was governed as a province, with Scodra as its capital. In 10 A.D., after crushing a revolt, Rome dissolved the province of Illyricum and divided it between the new provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia. Illyricum was made a Roman prefecture during the 4th century, and was abolished, re-established and divided several times during the late Roman and Byzantine periods.Map of Ancient Greek colonies on the northern coast of the Black Sea


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

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Durrs, one of the oldest cities in Albania, was founded as Epidamnos in 627 B.C. by colonists from Corinth and Corcyra. Located around a rocky harbor, surrounded by inland swamps and high cliffs, the city was difficult to attack from land or sea. After its defeat to Rome in 229 B.C., the new rulers renamed the city Dyrrachium. Epidamnos is similar to the Latin damnum, meaning "loss." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," likely referring to the nearby cliffs. Dyrrachium prospered under Rome and was made a naval and military base. Pompey made a stand there in 48 B.C. before fleeing south to Greece. Augustus made the city a colony for veterans of his legions following the Battle of Actium, proclaiming it a civitas libera (free town).
GS12075. Silver drachm, Ceka 374; BMC Thessaly p. 73, 118; SNG Munchen 433; SNG Cop -, VF, obverse slightly off center, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Dyrrhachium (Durrs, Albania) mint, 229 - 100 B.C.; obverse ΠEPIΓENHΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, head of Isis right above, grain over cluster of grapes right; reverse ∆YP − ΦA−NIΣ−KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square; rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, c. 340 - 280 B.C.

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Dyrrhachion is today Durrs, the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km west of the capital Tirana. Founded in the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 2,700 years.

According to Wikipedia, "the Romans renamed the city Dyrrachium (Greek: Dyrrhachion). They considered the name Epidamnos to be inauspicious because of its wholly coincidental similarities with the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm". The meaning of Dyrrachium ("bad spine" or "difficult ridge" in Greek) is unclear, but it has been suggested that it refers to the imposing cliffs near the city." This type with the ethnic ∆YP, indicates the city was renamed before Roman rule in 229 B.C. Either Wikipedia is incorrect or numismatists have dated this type too early.
SH63946. Silver stater, Maier p. 17, 1; BMC Thessaly p. 65, 1; SNG Cop 423, aVF, weight 10.626 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 90o, Dyrrhachium (Durrs, Albania) mint, c. 340 - 280 B.C.; obverse cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; reverse ∆YP, double stellate pattern, divided by line, in double linear square border; club left below; all within linear circle border; SOLD


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, c. 340 - 280 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Dyrrhachion is today Durrs, the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km west of the capital Tirana. Founded in the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 2,700 years.

According to Wikipedia, "the Romans renamed the city Dyrrachium (Greek: Dyrrhachion). They considered the name Epidamnos to be inauspicious because of its wholly coincidental similarities with the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm". The meaning of Dyrrachium ("bad spine" or "difficult ridge" in Greek) is unclear, but it has been suggested that it refers to the imposing cliffs near the city." This type with the ethnic ∆YP, indicates the city was renamed before Roman rule in 229 B.C. Either Wikipedia is incorrect or numismatists have dated this type too early.
SH68907. Silver stater, Maier p. 17, 2; BMC Thessaly p. 65, 6; SNG Cop 423 corr. (inscription not described as retrograde), VF, weight 10.713 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 315o, Dyrrhachium (Durrs, Albania) mint, c. 340 - 280 B.C.; obverse cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; reverse double linear bordered square divided into two compartments with a stellate pattern in each, retrograde ∆−Y−P and club around, all within a linear circle; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Brunsmid, J. Die Inschriften und Mnzen der griechischen Stdte Dalmatiens. (Vienna, 1898).
Calciati, R. Pegasi, Volume II: Colonies of Corinth and related issues. (Mortara, 1990).
Ceka, H. Questions de numismatique illyrienne. (State University, Tirana, 1972).
Gardner, P. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Corinth, Colonies of Corinth, Etc. (London, 1889).
Imhoof, F. Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1884, pp. 246 ff.
Maier, A. "Die Silberprgung von Apollonia und Dyrrhachion" in NZ 41 (1908), pp. 1 - 33.
Patsch, C. Congres de Num., 1900, p. 104 ff.
Prokopov, I. Coin Collections and Coin Hoards From Bulgaria, Vol. I, Numismatic Collections of the Historical Museum Lovech & the Historical Museum Razgrad. (Sofia, 2007).
Schlosser, J. von. Beschreibung der Altgreichischen Mnzen I: Thessalien, Illyrien, Dalmatien und die Inseln des Adriatischen Meeres, Epeiros. (Vienna, 1893).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Mnchen Staatlische Mnzsammlung, Part 12: Thessalien - Illyrien - Epirus - Korkyra. (Berlin, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Grce, Collection Rna H. Evelpidis, Part 2: Macdoine - Thessalie - Illyrie - Epire - Corcyre. (Athens, 1975).
Vison, P. "Greek-Illyrian Coins in Trade, 1904-2005" in SNR 84 (2005).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
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Illyria