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XXI

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Thurium

Also Thourioi, Thurioi, or Thurii.


Historia Numorum

This important colony was founded (B.C. 443) at a spot not far removed from the site of the deserted Sybaris, where there was a fountain named Thuria. It was called at first Sybaris, under which name it probably struck its earliest coins (see supra). Its rapid rise, after the expulsion of the old Sybarites and its change of name from Sybaris to Thurium, was doubtless in part due to the same local advantages which must have contributed so largely to the commercial prosperity of the ancient Sybaris, and in part also, perhaps, to a large influx of new colonists from Athens (Busolt, Gr. Gesch., III. i. p. 526 note). It must not be inferred from the advanced style of art exhibited by the earlier Thurian coins, or from the presence of the Ω in the inscription, that the Thurian mint was not active during the latter half of the fifth century (see Jrgensen in Corolla Num., p. 166), for it must be borne in mind that there was a predominant Ionic element in the population of Thurium, and there is no reason why the Ionic alphabet should not have been in use there from its first foundation (cf. the archaic coins of the Ionic Velia with ΥΕΛΗΤΩΝ struck certainly before B.C. 450).

The coins of Thurium which fall into the period of the greatest prosperity of the city, circ. B.C. 425-400, take rank among the finest


86

specimens of numismatic art. For purity of style and delicacy of execution nothing can excel the specimens with the letter Φ, which is of frequent occurrence also on coins of Heraclea, Neapolis (?), Velia, Terina, Tarentum, Metapontum, and Pandosia. [B. M. Guide, Pl. XV. 3, 7, 13, and Pl. XXV. 22.] [1]


FIG. 45.

Head of Athena in helmet bound with olive (Fig. 45). In field, Φ.ΘΟΥΡΙΩΝ Bull walking with head lowered, or rushing; beneath the bull is a little bird. In the exergue is a fish.
Stater or nomos, c. 120 grs.

Thirds, Sixths, and Twelfths, of the stater are also met with during this period and a few rare double-staters (c. 240 grs.) are known.

In B.C. 390 the Thurii suffered a severe defeat from the Lucanians (Diod. xiv. 101), but the city did not begin materially to decline before the middle of the fourth century, when the rise of the Bruttian power deprived it of its inland sources of wealth.

The coinage of this period, B.C. 400 to 350, reaches the highest point of excellence in respect of execution, without perhaps losing much of the severe delicacy of style which is so remarkable on the coins of the earlier time.

Circ. B.C. 400-350.


FIG. 46.

Head of Athena, her helmet richly adorned, generally with a figure of Skylla (Fig. 46), or occasionally with a hippocamp or a griffin. (Cf. Imhoof MG, p. 7.)ΘΟΥΡΙΩΝ Rushing bull; in ex. usually a fish; other symbols, however, occur, and various letters, abbreviated names, and several signatures at full length, e.g. ΙΣΤΟΡΟΣ, ΜΟΛΟΣΣΟΣ, and ΝΙΚΑΝΔΡΟ, on the base be- neath the bull. Some of these may represent engravers (see A. J. Evans, N. C., 1896, p. 135 sq.)
AR Distater, Stater, and Sixth.
Head of Hera Lakinia full face, wearing stephanos. (See p. 106.) [Corolla Num., Pl. IX. 33].Similar.
AR Stater.

1 McClean (N. C., 1907, 107) argues that the letter Φ on all these coins is not an artist's signature but a mark of value. See also von Fritze and Gaebler in Nomisma, I. p. 22.


87

The head of Athena on these coins is probably that of Athena Skyletria, a sea-goddess whose worship appears to have prevailed at the town of Skylletion (of which, however, we have no coins) as well as on the rocky Iapygian promontory, [1] at Heraclea, and perhaps at other dangerous points on the Bruttian coasts. [2] With regard to the meaning of the bull on the reverse of the coins of Thurium there has been much difference of opinion. Some take it to be a symbol of Dionysos, others to be the Βους θουριος or rushing bull indicative of the fountain Θουρια from which the city took its name, while others again, and perhaps with better reason, look upon it as symbolizing the river Krathis, and as merely an artistic outcome or development of the bull which was the constant type of the archaic coins of Sybaris.

Circ. B.C. 350-281.

In this period the names of magistrates occur with greater frequency, and a marked deterioration is noticeable both in the style and execution of the pieces (B. M. Guide, Pl. XXXIV. 22). The Sixths are of common occurrence, their types being the same as those of the larger coins. Regling (Klio, vi. pp. 517 and 522) has drawn attention to the noteworthy fact that there was a very remarkable increase in the weight of the Thurian staters, up to c. 128 grs., just before their reduction to the Roman six-scruple standard (c. 105 grs.).

Circ. B.C. 281-268 or later.

This attempt to restore the stater to its original weight failed, and about B.C. 281 the weight fans from 128 to 105 grs. max. This reduc- tion corresponds with a similar reduction at Tarentum and Heraclea, and marks the final adoption of the Roman six-scruple standard.

Head of Apollo, laureate.WΟΥΡΙΩΝ Rushing bull; magistrates names ΑΛΕ, API, ΖΩΙ, &c. [B. M. Guide, Pl. XLV. 18]
Stater 100 grs.
Head of Athena in Corinthian helmet.Similar type; above, owl.
Stater 100 grs.
Veiled female head; sceptre behind.WΟΥΡΙΩΝ Rushing bull.
AR 23 grs.

After B.C. 268 the coinage of silver ceases at Thurium, and is replaced by that of the Bruttii.

BRONZE. Circ. B.C. 400-300 and later.

The bronze coins of Thurium begin about B.C. 400. Their types, until about B.C. 300, resemble those of the silver coins, Obv. Head of Athena; Rev. Bull. Towards the middle of the fourth century a sudden and remarkable increase in their size and weight takes place. A similar rise is noticeable at the same time in the weight of the bronze money in Sicily.

1 Probably the three headlands to the north of the Skylletic Gulf. Strab. vi. 261. 2 Lycophron, l. 853. Lenormant, Gr. Grce, ii. p. 338.


88

After B.C. 300 types referring to the worship of Apollo and Artemis replace the head of Athena and the bull. This new coinage was not of long duration.

Head of Apollo.Tripod.
Size .7
        Lyre.
.6
        Artemis huntress.
.9
Head of Artemis.Apollo standing, holding lyre.
.6

Head of Apollo.

Head of Zeus r., laureate
[Garrucci, Pl. CVII. 3.]

Cornucopia.
.5
 
ΘΟΥΡΙΩΝ Eagle l. on fulmen [Brit. Mus.].
1.1

Copia. Not until the dispatch of the Roman colony, B.C. 194, in Thurinum agrum (Livy xxxiv. 53), does the coinage recommence, under a new name, Copia, and it is then restricted to small bronze coins struck according to the semuncial weight which was prevalent in Southern Italy before its legalization at Rome (Mommsen-Blacas, iii. p. 194). Cf. the coins of Paestum, Brundisium, Uxentum, and Valentia.

B.C. 194-89.

BRONZE, with marks of value. Semuncial weight.

As. Head of Janus.CΟΠΙΑ Cornucopia.
Semis. Head of City veiled S        
Triens. Head of Athena         
Quadrans. Head of Herakles        
    Head of Hermes.        

The Lex Plautia Papiria, B.C. 89, in legalizing the As of semuncial weight at Rome itself, put an end at the same time to all local issues, and enjoined upon the whole of Italy the exclusive use of the Roman money, all Italians being thenceforward admitted to the rights of Roman citizens.