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

Epiros, Greece

Epirus, in the western Balkans, was bordered by the Aetolian League to the south, Thessaly and Macedonia to the east, and Illyrian tribes to the north. Epirus had a far greater religious significance than might have been expected given its geographical remoteness, due to the shrine and oracle at Dodona - regarded as second only to the more famous oracle at Delphi. For a brief period, 280 - 275 B.C., the Epirote leader Pyrrhus managed to make Epirus the most powerful state in the Greek world, and his armies marched against Rome during an unsuccessful campaign in Italy. In 232 B.C. the tribes formed the Epirote League transforming the kingdom into a Republic. Over the next half century it was caught between the warring powers, Rome and Macedonia. In the Third Macedonian War, the Molossians split with the rest of Epirus and sided with the Macedonians. The outcome was disastrous; Molossia fell to Rome in 167 B.C., 150,000 of its inhabitants were enslaved and the region was so thoroughly plundered that it took 500 years to fully recover. Under Rome, the coastal regions of Epirus grew wealthy from trade routes, and construction of the Via Egnatia provided a further boost to prosperity.


Ambrakia, Epeiros, Late 2nd Century B.C.

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During the struggle of the Aetolians against Rome, Ambracia stood a stubborn siege, including the first known use of poison gas against the Romans' siege tunnels. Ambracia was captured and plundered by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior in 189 B.C., after which it was declared by Rome a "free city" and gradually fell into insignificance. The foundation by Augustus of Nicopolis, into which the remaining inhabitants were drafted, left the site desolate. In Byzantine times a new settlement took its place under the name of Arta. Some fragmentary walls of large, well-dressed blocks near this latter town indicate the early prosperity of Ambracia.
GB79836. Bronze AE 20, SNG Cop 30; BMC Thessaly p. 95, 16, VF, weight 7.058 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ambrakia (Arta, Greece) mint, Late 2nd Century B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse Apollo Aktios seated left on a throne, bow in right hand, A-M/B-P across field; very rare; $175.00 (€155.75)
 


Die Antiken Münzen von Epirus, Band I

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The Ancient coins of Epirus, volume I: city states, tribes and Epirus Confederation Until 27 B.C.
BK10487. Die Antiken Münzen von Epirus, Band I Band I. Poleis, Stämme und Epirotischer Bund Bis 27 v. Chr. Katalog und Untersuchungen, by Peter Robert Franke, 1961, in German, blue cloth hardback and matching folder for loose card stock plates, 344 pages, 67 plates; $170.00 (€151.30)
 


Ambrakia, Epeiros, 238 - 168 B.C.

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Dione in Greek mythology seems to be the equivalent of Gaia the Earth Mother and is Aphrodite's mother. Her name is really less a name than simply a title: the "Goddess", etymologically a female form of Zeus. After the Iliad, Aphrodite herself was sometimes referred to as "Dionaea" and even "Dione," just "the goddess." Roman "Diana" has a similar etymology but is not otherwise connected with Dione.
GB90141. Bronze AE 18, SNG München 520 (also with B and P reversed); BMC Thessaly p. 94, 9; SNG Evelpidis 1769; SNG Cop 23 var. (Dione right), aVF, weight 6.450 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 135o, Ambrakia (Arta, Greece) mint, 238 - 168 B.C.; obverse laureate and veiled head of Dione left; reverse obelisk of Apollo, A-M/B-P (letters B and P reversed) in two divided lines across field, all withing laurel wreath; rare with head left; $95.00 (€84.55)
 


Ambrakia, Epiros, Greece, 238 - 168 B.C.

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Dione in Greek mythology seems to be the equivalent of Gaia the Earth Mother and is Aphrodite's mother. Her name is really less a name than simply a title: the "Goddess", etymologically a female form of Zeus. After the Iliad, Aphrodite herself was sometimes referred to as "Dionaea" and even "Dione," just "the goddess." Roman "Diana" has a similar etymology but is not otherwise connected with Dione.
GB90096. Bronze AE 19, SNG Cop 23; SNG München 525; SNG Evelpidis 1770; BMC Thessaly p. 94, 5, F, weight 4.171 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Ambrakia (Arta, Greece) mint, 238 - 168 B.C.; obverse laureate and veiled head of Dione right; reverse obelisk of Apollo, A-M/B-P flanking in two lines, all within laurel wreath; ex Munzhandlung Ritter; scarce; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Epirote League, Epeiros, Greece, Under Rome, c. 148 - 50 B.C.

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In the Third Macedonian War, the Molossians split with the rest of Epirus and sided with the Macedonians. The outcome was disastrous; Molossia fell to Rome in 167 B.C., 150,000 of its inhabitants were enslaved and the region was so thoroughly plundered that it took 500 years to fully recover. Epirus was soon made a Roman Province. Under Rome, the coastal regions of Epirus grew wealthy from trade routes, and construction of the Via Egnatia provided a further boost to prosperity.
GB90175. Bronze AE 20, Franke p. 226, 1 ff.; SNG Cop 128; BMC Thessaly p. 91, 46; SGCV I 1999, F, weight 8.800 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 90o, Phoenice mint, c. 148 - 50 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus left; reverse thunderbolt, AΠEI/PΩTAN above and below in two lines, all inside oak wreath; $55.00 (€48.95)
 







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REFERENCES

Babelon, E. Traité des Monnaies Grecques et Romaines. (Paris, 1901-1932).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (London, 1992 - )
Calciati, R. Pegasi II. (Mortara, 1990).
Forrer, L. Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Greek Coins formed by Sir Hermann Weber. (1922 - 1929).
Franke, P. R. Die antiken Münzen von Epirus. (Wiesbaden, 1961).
Gardner, P.A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
Grose, S. W. Catalogue of the McClean Collection of Greek Coins, Fizwilliam Museum, Volume II - The Greek mainland, the Aegaean islands, Crete. (Cambridge, 1926).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Corinth, Colonies of Corinth, Etc. (London, 1889).
Hoover, O.D. Handbook of Coins of the Islands: Adriatic, Ionian, Thracian, Aegean, and Carpathian Seas (Excluding Crete and Cyprus), Sixth to First Centuries BC. (Lancaster, 2010).
Mildenberg, L. & S. Hurter, eds. The Dewing Collection of Greek Coins. ACNAC 6. (New York, 1985).
Numismatik Lanz. Münzen von Korinth: Sammlung BCD, Auction 105. (Munich, 26 November 2001).
Ravel, O. E. Les "Poulains" de Corinthe, I - II. (Basel, 1936; London, 1948).
Schlosser, J. von. Beschreibung der Altgreichischen Münzen 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, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 12: Thessalien-Illyrien-Epirus-Korkyra. (Berlin, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 1, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis, Part 2: Macédoine - Thessalie - Illyrie - Epire - Corcyre. (Athens, 1975).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 6, The Alpha Bank Numismatic Collection, From Thessaly to Euboea. (Athens, 2011).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, January 24, 2017.
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Epiros