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Naucratis. The style is that of the fourth century B.C. The two or three extant specimens have all been found on the site of the famous Greek emporium.
|Female head r., wreathed; beneath, ΝΑΥ. [NC 1886, Pl. I. 9; 1902, Pl. XVII. 10.]||Beardless head r., wreathed; short, flying hair; beneath, ΑΛΕ. Æ .6|
The long series of the coins of the Ptolemies is generally admitted
to be the most difficult to classify in the whole range of Greek numismatics. In spite of the enormous number of issues, the types present
comparatively little variety. The inscriptions are mostly conventional
and, although dates are frequent, the era of reckoning is not always
certain. Again, while some mint-marks—notably those of Phoenician,
Palestinian, and Cyprian cities—are easily recognized, there are many
coins that bear either no mint-mark at all or one of doubtful significance.
Finally, our information as to finds is anything but adequate. This
last circumstance is much to be regretted. A knowledge of the manner
in which the coins are normally associated in hoards, and of the localities
whence particular varieties come, would be of immense service in
dealing with the problem of arrangement. As yet a final solution is
hardly within sight. The late Dr. R. S. Poole laid the foundations
of a scientific study of the subject, and his classification was for many
years universally accepted as trustworthy. The publication of the mass
of material brought together by Dr. J. N. Svoronos has shown that not
a few of Poole’s conclusions are untenable. Whether the alternative
attributions proposed by Svoronos are in all cases sound, is a question
regarding which there is room for considerable difference of opinion; cf.
Regling’s exhaustive criticism in Z. f. N., xxv.  But in any event his
book marks a most substantial advance, and it will necessarily form the
ground work of the brief outline which is all that can be given within
the limits of this manual.
1 Svoronos has reprinted this extremely useful article in Νομ. Πτολ., iv, pp. 455 ff.
We have seen that the oldest Egyptian coins were Attic staters and
tetradrachms having the name and types of Alexander. Modifications
were soon introduced, but the weight at first remained unaltered.
Presently, however, after a period of transition, during which Rhodian
tetradrachms and smaller AR make a fitful appearance, the Attic standard
was definitely superseded by the Phoenician. The change took place
shortly after B.C. 305. Probably it was not unconnected with the
difficulty that must have been experienced in combining the Attic with
the native Egyptian system, and particularly in adjusting the relations
between coins of gold and silver on the one hand and coins of copper on
the other. The papyri furnish striking testimony to the exceptional
position occupied by the last-named metal in Egypt. Down to the end
of the third century B.C. accounts are always stated on the basis of
a silver standard, the values being expressed in drachm, obols, and
chalkoi. From the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes onwards the standard
of reckoning is a copper one, the unit of value being the δραχμη χαλκου,
which exchanged with the δραχμη αργυριου at rates varying from 350:1
to 500:1. Thus much is clear. But behind lie questions at once
intricate and obscure, for which see the luminous discussion by Grenfell
and his colleagues in Tebtunis Papyri, i, pp. 580-603, where it is shown that there is no ground for the common belief that the ratio of Æ to AR in
Ptolemaic Egypt was something like 120:1. A more correct approximation would be 30:1. Further, the Æ drachma was not of the same
weight as the AR drachma. Indeed, it is probable that the Æ drachma
was not a coin at all, but a mere unit of account. Sums stated in AE drachm in the papyri are practically always multiples of five, from
which it may be inferred that the smallest denomination struck was
a five drachms piece.  These conclusions conflict markedly with the
views previously in vogue among metrologists and subsequently reiterated by Hultsch and Svoronos, Nομ. Πτολ., vol. iv. Nevertheless
they seem to be required by the evidence. And, failing fresh light from
the papyri, it is hardly likely that we shall get much beyond them until
the careful observation of finds enables the chronological succession of
the coins to be more confidently determined; see J. G. Milne in Annals
of Archaeology and Anthropology, 1908, pp. 30 ff.
The ordinary method of dating is by regnal years. From c. B.C. 200 onwards the numeral is regularly preceded by the symbol L, which is also of common occurrence in Ptolemaic papyri. This was formerly supposed to be an Egyptian sign, perhaps of demotic origin, but it may be no more than a fragmentary survival of the initial Ε of ΕΤΟVΣ (J. H. S., 1902, pp. 149 ff). Apart from regnal years, Poole noted on one group of coins a series of dates running beyond 100, and therefore obviously calculated on a different principle (BMC Ptolemies, pp. lxxiv ff. and 101 ff.). Svoronos has made out a good case for believing that Poole’s ‘uncertain era’ was reckoned from B.C. 311, when the death of Alexander IV relieved Ptolemy from even nominal dependence on a suzerain (Rev. Belge, 1901, pp. 413 ff.). His arguments for such an ‘era of Soter’, though in themselves not quite conclusive, receive strong support from the circumstance that the dating of a Tyrian inscription had already suggested a similar inference to Strack (Dyn. der Ptol., pp. 149 ff.). Less convincing is his assumption of another era commencing with the death or, rather, the deification of Arsinoë II in B.C. 270 (Νομ. Πτολ., i, pp. ρμη-ρξβ, and iv, pp. 83-95). The grounds of conjecture here are more slender, and the resulting arrangement of coins has yet to be confirmed by other evidence. Still, the hypothesis is ingenious. It accounts for some curious coincidences. And it has therefore established a claim to at least provisional acceptance. The same may perhaps be said of his theory of χρυσα δεκαετηριδων, according to which certain AV pieces of a medallic character were issued in various reigns in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the royal marriage. They are chiefly octadrachms, and may be thus described; obv. Head of queen, with Κ [= 10] behind; rev. ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ, Double cornucopias. Many of the Ptolemaic coins bear magistrates’ monograms or initials. Surmises as to the actual names which these represent should be received with great caution.
1 It is also significant that a πενταδραχμον νομισμα was the coin employed to set in motion the automatic machines that supplied the devout with lustral water at the doors of certain temples in Alexandreia (Heron, Πνευματικα, i. 21)Ptolemy I (Soter), B.C. 323-285, ruled Egypt until B.C. 311 as the satrap Of Philip Aridaeus and of Alexander IV; thereafter, independently. Although the form of the inscription on the coins can no longer be accepted as a guide to their classification, his assumption of the title βασιλευς (B.C. 305) remains a convenient landmark.
Period I (B.C. 323-305). Ptolemy’s earliest money was struck in the names of his successive suzerains, the types being those of Alexander the Great. Before long, however,—perhaps on the death of Philip in B.C. 316—the familiar head of Herakles on the tetradrachms was replaced by a head of Alexander the Great in elephant-skin (Fig. 373). The normal weight is Attic, and the usual inscription ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ (Svoronos, Nos. 18-24). A set of rare anonymous pieces (Svor., Nos. 25 f.), with the same obv. but with rev. Prow (AV staters) or Eagle (AR ½ obols), may have been issued when Alexander IV died (B.C. 311). If so, anonymity did not suit the public taste, for ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ reappears on a much larger group (Svoronos, Nos. 33-58) that must fall between B.C. 311 and 305. This contains AV with Alexandrine types (N. C., 1892, Pl. II. 9) and also Æ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. I. 4, 7). Its chief feature, however, is AR distinguished by a novel rev. type and by the introduction of the Rhodian standard:—
|Head of Alexander the Great in elephant-skin. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. I. 2.]||Archaistic figure of Athena Promachos, hurling fulmen; in field, eagle.
AR Attic Tetradrachms.
|Id. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. I. 3.]||Id. |
AR Rhodian Drachms. and ½ Drachms.
The transition to the next period is marked by a tetradrachm of Rhodian weight with the types just described but with inscription ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ (N. C., 1900, Pl. I. 15). Another, still of Attic weight, reads ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΕΙΟΝ  (Svoronos, No. 32). Presumably the whole of the foregoing were minted in Egypt. For AV issued in Cyprus by Ptolemy’s brother Menelaus and by his son-in-law Eunostus see supra, pp. 744 f. A series of Æ, probably Cyprian but slightly later (Svoronos, Nos. 74-82), has: obv. Head of Aphrodite; rev. ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, Eagle on fulmen (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. I. 9). In the Cyrenaïca, side by side with autonomous AR, for which see infra, there were struck AV staters and ½ staters (Svoronos, Nos. 59-64) with ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ, ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΩ (or ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ) ΚΥΡΑΝΑΙΟΝ, etc. (N. C., 1894, Pl. VIII. 5), and also Æ with ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ (Svoronos, Nos. 65-71).
1 That is, ‘coin of Alexander, struck by Ptolemy.’ Svoronos (i, p. νη, and iv, p. 11) renders ‘coin of Alexandreia, struck by Ptolemy’, citing as analogies ΝΙΚΟΚΛΕΟΥΣ ΠΑΦΙΟΝ and ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΩ (or ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ) ΚΥΡΑΝΑΙΟΝ. But, in the absence of any local coinage of Alexandreia, there is no warrant for departing from the ordinary meaning of Αλεξανδρειον (Pollux, Onom., ix. 84), particularly when it gives an excellent sense.
Period II (B.C. 305-285). The appearance of βασιλευς fixes the date of an important group (Svoronos, Nos. 101-80), the various members of which are proved by monograms, etc., to be intimately connected, differences of inscription notwithstanding:—
|Head of Ptolemy I, diademed and wearing aegis. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. II. 10 f.]||ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Alexander, as son of
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ Ammon, in quadriga
of elephants. |
AV 110 grs. Phoenician. Stater.
|Head of Alexander the Great in elephant-skin (Fig. 374).||ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ Archaistic figure of
Athena Promachos, hurling fulmen;
in field, eagle on fulmen.
AR Rhodian Tetradrachm.
|Head of Alexander the Great, horned; hair long. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. II. 1.]||ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ (sometimes with ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ) Eagle on fulmen. |
The use of the Phoenician standard for the AV should be noted. The weight of the AR tetradrachms possibly indicates that they were intended for foreign commerce. The majority, however, were certainly minted in Egypt itself; some of them have on the obv. a microscopic Δ, probably an engraver’s signature, and this recurs frequently on the larger denominations of what must be regarded as the true regal coinage of Ptolemy I, struck in Egypt for Egyptian needs (Svoronos, Nos. 181-303). The standard of the latter is Phoenician for AV and AR alike, and the types in these metals are those generally adhered to afterwards down to the Roman occupation:—
|Head of Ptolemy I, diademed and wearing aegis (Fig. 375).||ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Eagle on
fulmen; in field, monogram.
AR Phonetician Tetradrachm.
The AV comprised pentadrachms and triobols, the eagle’s wings on the latter being open (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. III. 5), while the AR included not only tetradrachms, but also octadrachms (Z. f. N., xxi. Pl. VI. 8). The contemporary Æ had: obv. Head of Soter, of Zeus, or of Alexander; rev. Ptolemaic eagle (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. III. 3 f., 6 f.). The Cyrenaïca during this period produced AV, AR, and Æ with obv. Head of Soter (Svoronos, Nos. 304-13 and 322-31), as well as AR and Æ with obv. Head of Berenice I (Svoronos, Nos. 316-21). Some bear the monogram of the governor Magas, son of Berenice and stepson of Soter (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXI. 1; BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIII. 7 f.).
Ptolemy II (Philadelphus), B.C. 285-246, is said by Appian (Praef. x)
to have been και πορισαι δεινοτατος βασιλεων και δαπανησαι λαμπροτατος
και κατασκευοσαι μεγαλουργοτατος, a description aptly illustrated by the
profusion and almost barbaric magnificence of his coinage. He became
king two years before his father’s death, Soter having voluntarily
abdicated in order to ensure that he should be succeeded by the son
of his choice rather than by the impetuous Keraunos. At first the
types remained unaltered (Svoronos, Nos. 338-87). Indeed, it is doubtful
whether the pieces struck by father and son respectively can now be
distinguished (Z. f. N., xxv, p. 353), although Svoronos assigns all the
AV triobols and AR octadrachms to Soter, while crediting Philadelphus
with the introduction of the AR drachm (Rev. Eagle with open wings) and
also with certain innovations in the Æ, notably the adoption of the head
of Arsinoë II as an obv. type (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIII. 10).  He believes that
this coinage lasted till B.C. 271, the only other contemporary issue being
a set of AR tetradrachms (Svoronos, Nos. 388-407) with the usual types but
with inscription ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. X. 3 f., and XIV. 8).
1 It is in this period that we first find the central hole which is so characteristic a feature of Ptolemaic Æ coins.
The deification of Arsinoë II, on her death in B.C. 270, was a master-stroke of financial policy (Strack, Rhein. Mus., 1900, pp. 164 ff.). Involving as it did the diversion into the royal treasury of a rich stream of temple dues, it seems to have led to a complete reorganization of the coinage (Svoronos, Nos. 408-519):—
|Head of Arsinoë II, veiled and wearing stephane. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VIII. 4.]||ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ Double cornucopia, filleted. |
|Id. [Ward Coll., Pl. XXII. 888.]||Id. |
|Id. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VIII. 3.]||ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ Eagle on fulmen.|
|Head of Ptolemy I, diademed and wearing aegis. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. X. 5.]||ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ Id.|
The weight is Phoenician. On nearly all there appears behind the head a numeral letter or letters, interpreted by Svoronos as dates reckoned from the ‘Era of Arsinoë’ (see supra, p. 847). Corresponding letters occur on the rev. of eight denominations of associated Æ, some of which are of exceptional size and weight: obv. Head of Ammon, or of Alexander; rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Eagle, or Two eagles, on fulmen (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. V. 7-9, VI. 4, X. 2, 6 f.). A few AV octadrachms with types and inscription as above, but with no numeral letter, bear mint-marks of Cyprian cities (Svoronos, Nos. 520-3). Other series (Svoronos, Nos. 524-602), some of which may be Cyprian, show beside the Ptolemaic eagle on the rev., either singly or in combination, the monogram and a shield blazoned with a fulmen; inscribed ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ. The denominations most usually met with are AV pentadrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. IV. 2) and AR tetradrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. IV. 1, VI. 3, IX. 1 f., etc.); but there are also AR drachms as well as Æ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. IV. 3, and IX. 3). Many specimens have numeral letters, which are probably regnal dates. The fact that the engraver Δ is still occasionally active confirms the attribution to Ptolemy II, particularly when taken in conjunction with the shield, for this symbol is found on a remarkable series (Svoronos, Nos. 603-25) which can hardly belong to any one else:—
|ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ Heads of Ptolemy II and Arsinoë II, jugate; behind, shield blazoned with fulmen (Fig. 376.)||ΘΕΩΝ Heads of Ptolemy I and Berenice I, jugate. |
The inscription. refers to the cult of Soter and his consort as θεοι αδελφοι. There are similar pieces of later style (cf. BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VII), which must have been struck by subsequent kings. Besides AV octadrachms, the series contained AV tetradrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VII. 1 and 3), didrachms, and drachms, as well as AR didrachms and ½ drachms—all very much alike, except that the ½ drachm had no inscription. (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXI. 17). The AR tetradrachms, which are very rare, were of the ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ class, while the types of the Æ were ordinary (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. IV. 4, 6). Sporadic letters are taken by Svoronos to be dates of the ‘Arsinoë era’, and the whole of the ΘΕΩΝ ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ coins are believed by him to have been minted in the Cyrenaïca (Νομ. Πτολ., i, p. ση, and iv, p. 133). This is quite doubtful. On the other hand, a group of AE (Svoronos, Nos. 854-74) with rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Head of Libya (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VI. 9 f.) was certainly struck there, either before or after B.C. 283-271, during which years the province was in revolt under Magas.
A long series (Svoronos, Nos. 626-838), many of them bearing regnal dates which must be those of Philadelphus, display the mint-marks of Tyre, Sidon, Ptolemaïs, Joppa, and Gaza. They are chiefly AR tetradrachms of conventional types, reading ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ or (later) ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. V. 1-6). But there are also AV pentadrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. II. 2, III. 2) and, towards the end of the reign, very rare ‘Arsinoë’ octadrachms, as well as Æ. If Svoronos' view regarding Poole’s ‘uncertain era’ be correct (see supra, p. 847), then the AR ‘Soter’ tetradrachms dated 42-50 (Svoronos, Nos. 848-52) must have been struck B.C. 269-261. Their style (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXV. 1 f.) suggests a later date, but possibly its peculiarities are local. During this reign and the next Egypt had command of the sea, and her empire embraced many of the maritime districts of Asia Minor, even extending across the Aegean into Thrace. Hence the appearance of Egyptian influence at
Ptolemy III (Euergetes), B.C. 246-221, brought the Cyrenaïca once again into close union with Egypt through his accession. According to Svoronos (Nos. 937-61), he continued the dated ‘Arsinoë’ series inaugurated by his father, limiting it, however, to AR decadrachms, which were issued annually till the close of his reign (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VIII. 5). Possibly, too, he was responsible for some of the AV octadrachms of the ΘΕΩΝ ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ class (Svoronos, No. 934). A quarrel with Seleucus II led him to invade the latter’s Eastern dominions in person, leaving Berenice to govern Egypt and control the operations of the fleet. It may be to his prolonged absence that we owe a notable set of coins (Svoronos, Nos. 962-82, 986-94), which are doubtless the Βερενικεια νομισματα of Pollux (Onom., ix. 84). The weight is Attic,  perhaps an indication that they were called for by the exigencies of the war in Asia Minor, and the types are: obv. Head of Berenice II; rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΒΕΡΕΝΙΚΗΣ Cornucopia, with two stars on AV and two pilei on AR (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIII. 4-6). The following denominations are known—AV decadrachms, pentadrachms, 2½drachms, , ½ drachms, and ¼ drachms; AR dodecadrachms. (?), pentadrachms, 2½ drachms. Along with these go eight denominations of Æ of the usual Ptolemaic types and with inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, but having generally a cornucopia on the rev., either in front of the eagle or over its wing.
1 It has been generally supposed to be Phoenician. The larger denominations might be so explained, but not the drachms and ½ drachms. It should be observed that this departure from the normal standard was only temporary. All the other coins of Euergetes are of Phoenician weight.The close of the struggle is perhaps marked by Βερενικεια νομισματα of Phoenician weight (Svoronos, Nos. 983 f. and 1113-16)—AV octadrachms. (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXII. 13) and ½ drachms, AR decadrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIII. 3), and tetradrachms. (Imhoof MG., Pl. J. 12). These pieces have some affinity with rare AV drachms, AR tetradrachms., and Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 995-1000), all presenting a diademed or laureate portrait of Ptolemy III (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XII. 2). The king appears again on an interesting group of AV (Svor., Nos. 1117-19 and 1184), where he figures in the triple guise of Zeus, Helios, and Poseidon:—
|Bust of Ptolemy III, radiate, wearing aegis, and carrying trident combined with scepter (Fig. 378).||ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Cornucopia, filleted and radiate.
AV Octadrachms, Tetradrachms, and Drachms
Five denominations of Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 1005-9) with rev. Cultus-statue of Aphrodite (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XI. 1 f.) may have been struck in Cyprus or in Rhodes (Νομ. Πτολ., i, pp. σοδ ff., and iv, pp. 199 f.; Z. f. N., xxv, p. 366). In Phoenicia and Palestine Euergetes continued, for the first six years of his reign, the issue of dated AV ‘Arsinoë’ octadrachms and AR ‘Soter’ tetradrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VIII. 2, X. 1) which Philadelphus had begun; see Svoronos, Nos. 1011-45. Svoronos (Nos. 1047-57) attributes to the same district Æ with obv. ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΒΕΡΕΝΙΚΗΣ, Bust of Berenice, and rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, Eagle or Cornucopia. There are other ‘Soter’ tetradrachms (Svoronos, Nos. 1001 and 1089-1112) which probably belong to this king, particularly those dated from the ‘Era of Soter’ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXV. 3-7).
Ptolemy IV (Philopator), B.C. 221-204, a weak and dissolute ruler, was largely in the hands of favorites. Extant inscriptions (Strack, Dyn. der Ptol., pp. 237 ff., Nos. 55-8, 66) point to his having been closely associated with the worship of Sarapis and Isis. Svoronos may therefore well be right (Nos. 1123 f. and 1136) in ascribing to him the following:—
|Heads of Sarapis and Isis, jugate. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XVIII. 8.]||ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Eagle
on fulmen; cornucopia on wing.
Some of these tetradrachms have ΔΙ on the rev. The AV ‘Arsinoë’ octadrachm (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXII. 14) and AR and Æ of ordinary types, also with ΔΙ, may possibly be contemporary (Svor., Nos. 1120-2, 1125-30). Svor., No. 1139, has the king’s own portrait:—
|Bust of Ptolemy IV, diademed, wearing chlamys (Fig. 379).||ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ
Eagle on fulmen. |
Attached to the preceding is a group of Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 1140-52) with various types (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXII. 18 f.; BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XVIII. 5). Another interesting class, which may be Cyprian (Svor., Nos. 1159-62), presents a portrait of the queen:—
|Bust of Arsinoë III, wearing stephane; scepter over shoulder (Fig. 380).||ΑΡΣΙΝΟΗΣ ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ Cornucopia filleted; above, star.
The Æ with like types read ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ. Rare AV ‘ Arsinoë’ octadrachms which Svoronos places here (Nos. 1163-5), believing them to have been struck on the occasion of Philopator's marriage, show stylistic divergences which render his hypothesis difficult to accept (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXIII. 2 f.). A remarkable class, some of which bear mint-marks (Tyre, Sidon, Ascalon, and Ptolemaïs), others regnal dates (= B.C. 219 and 218), is characterized by the presence of ΣΩ, probably indicating Sosibius, Philopator’s chief minister (Svoronos, Nos. 1177-95). Besides AV octadrachms similar to Fig. 379 (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXIII. 5 f.) and Æ of ordinary types, it contains several varieties of AR tetradrachms—(α) Obv. Bust of Ptolemy IV, Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ or ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΦΙΛΟΠΑΤΟΡΟΣ, Eagle on fulmen (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIV. 9 f.); (β) Obv. Head of Ptolemy I, Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ or ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ, Similar; (γ) Obv. Heads of Sarapis and Isis, jugate, Rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ, Similar. The series of ‘Soter’ tetradrachms with ‘Soter’ dates was reinforced by didrachms in B.C. 221 (Svoronos, Nos. 1205-14), and after B.C. 210 only the didrachms seem to have been issued (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXV. 8 f.). Another innovation, perhaps due to Philopator, is a series of AR, chiefly didrachms, of Cyprian fabric and Dionysiac character (Svoronos, Nos. 1785-1812). This extended over several reigns, but the coins cannot be distributed with any confidence between the different kings (see Z. f. N., xxv, pp. 391 ff.). The types are:—
|Bust of king as Dionysos, wearing diadem and ivy-wreath; over shoulder, thyrsos. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIV. 6 f.]||ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Eagle on fulmen; wings open.|
Ptolemy V (Epiphanes), B.C. 204-181, came to the throne a mere child. His reign was disastrous; all foreign possessions were lost except Cyprus and the Cyrenaïca, Phoenicia and Palestine being annexed by Antiochus III, whose daughter, Cleopatra, Ptolemy subsequently married. His coins betray no trace of the great monetary change to which the contemporary papyri bear witness (see supra, p. 846). For the first decade the issue of ‘Soter’ didrachms with dates (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXV. 10) appears to have been continued (Svoronos, Nos. 1215-28). Svoronos further attributes to this king (Nos. 1230 f.) AR octadrachms (Z. f. N., xxi, Pl. VI. 9) and tetradrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXIV. 7) with the types of Ptolemy I, and likewise small AR uninscribed (No. 1232) with obv. Head of Isis, and AE (Nos. 1233-40) with obv. Head of Isis (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXII. 5 f.) or of Alexander (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXIII. 10), while it is to the tenth anniversary of the marriage of Epiphanes and Cleopatra that he would assign (Nos. 1241 f.) the earliest of the ‘χρυσα δεκαετηριδων‘ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VIII. 8). These attributions are all more or less conjectural. On the other hand, AV octadrachms of the ΘΕΩΝ ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ class (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VII. 5 f.) and AR ‘Soter’ tetradrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XVII. 3), both bearing a spear-head as symbol and also a monogram which not improbably represents the name of Aristomenes, the king’s guardian, were certainly struck by Epiphanes (Svoronos, Nos. 1247 f., 1250), for symbol and monogram recur together on rare AR tetradrachms (Svoronos No. 1249) with obv. Bust of Ptolemy V, rev. ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ Winged fulmen (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXXII. 7). Ordinary Æ with the same monogram (Svoronos, Nos. 1251-3) are probably contemporary. Monograms also link together the members of another group (Svoronos, Nos. 1254-66) which, in addition to tetradrachms with the head of Soter and very rare Æ, includes
|Bust of Ptolemy V, radiate; spear over shoulder. [BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XVII. 1 f.]||ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Cornucopia, radiate, between stars.
|Bust of Ptolemy V, diademed.|
[‘Late Collector,’ Sale-Cat., 1900, Pl. X. 478.]
|ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ Eagle on fulmen.|
A very similar series (Svoronos, Nos. 1269-84), with regnal dates (to B.C. 195) and ΝΙ between the eagle’s legs, shows that Epiphanes did not at once discard the types of his parents. Besides AV octadrachms and AR tetradrachms with the bust of Ptolemy V (Fig. 381), it contains AR
Ptolemy VI (Philometor), B.C. 181-146, was at first under the guardianship of his mother Cleopatra. To the period of her regency (B.C. 181-174) Svoronos assigns, besides Cyprian AR (Nos. 1388-93), a group of AE of the usual types (Nos. 1375-9), having Κ between the eagle’s legs (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXIII. 15; BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XVI. 10, XVIII. 3, XXVI. 3), and also another (Nos. 1380- 2) with ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΚΛΕΟΠΑΤΡΑΣ on obv. and ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ on rev. (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVI. 7, XXIII. 3, XVIII. 7). To the latter he attaches, in virtue of a monogram, yet a third group (Nos. 1383-7), on which the name of the queen does not occur (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXI. 3, XVI. 3). The fore going were distributed by Poole over three different reigns, a proceeding for which strong stylistic arguments might be adduced.
On Cleopatra’s death the regency passed into the hands of Eulaeus, whose name (ΕΥΛ) is found on the rev. of five denominations of Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 1395-1402). He and his colleague Lenaeus conceived the ambitious design of recovering Phoenicia and Palestine for Egypt. The result was an invasion of the Nile delta by Antiochus IV, who assumed the ‘protection’ of his young nephew, countermarking many of the ΕΥΛ coins with the Seleucid anchor (BMC Ptolemies, p. 81, Nos. 20 ff.), and even issuing an Egyptian currency (AR and AE) in his own name (see supra, p. 763). The populace declined to submit to Syrian domination, and promptly transferred the crown (B.C. 170) to the younger son of Epiphanes, afterwards Ptolemy VIII. A reconciliation between the brothers followed, and in the end Roman intervention compelled Antiochus to withdraw. For a few years the two Ptolemies reigned jointly, but in B.C. 164 the Cyrenaïca was definitely handed over to the younger as his special sphere. Svoronos may be right (Nos. 1423-8) in attributing to the joint-reign six denominations of Æ with rev. Two eagles (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVI. 8 f., 12),
1 In his text (Νομ. Πτολ., i, p. τνθ, and iv, p. 274) Svoronos attributes to Cyprus a tetradrachm with the head of Epiphanes, which in his Catalogue (No. 1291) he had given to Ptolemaïs or Joppa. Otherwise the head of Ptolemy I is universal on the AR tetradrachms of this series, although his interpretation of the type as a symbol of divided sovereignty seems fanciful, seeing that it occurs not infrequently at other times.
The Cyprian issues which commenced under Epiphanes were doubtless continued under Philometor. But it is impossible to be sure that the precise coins of this series ascribed to him by Svoronos (Nos. 1388-93, 1431-85)—whether AV octadrachms (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXXIII. 18) or AR tetradrachms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIX. 1, 5-7)—are really his. The dates would also suit his brother, who was at once his contemporary and his successor. There are other pieces of even more doubtful attribution, such as the ‘χρυσα δεκαετηριδος‘ (Svoronos, No. 1498). Against these may be set a highly interesting AR tetradrachm (Svoronos, No. 1486), regarding which there is no possibility of question. It was struck at Ptolemaïs c. B.C. 148, when Philometor intervened in the struggle between Alexander Bala and Demetrius II:—
|Head of Ptolemy VI, diademed.
[BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXXII. 8.]
|ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΘΕΟΥ ΦΙΛΟΜΗΤΟΡΟΣ Eagle on fulmen; on wing, stalk of corn.|
Ptolemy VII (Eupator), B.C. 146, was murdered at his uncle’s instigation almost immediately upon his accession. Although he seems to have left no coins of his own, an AR Cyprian tetradrachm dated LΑϚ ΚΑΙ Α (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXXII. 9) is perhaps a relic of the brief period during which he was associated with his father in the kingdom, the thirty-sixth year of Philometor being the first of Eupator. 
Ptolemy VIII (Euergetes II), B.C. 170-116, surnamed Physcon, did not really become monarch until B.C. 146, when he returned from Cyrene and succeeded his murdered nephew. But he always reckoned his regnal years from his first proclamation by the Egyptians. Among the coins of the ordinary Cyprian series which are given to him by Svoronos (Nos. 1501-1620), those with dates between 37 (LΛΖ) and 54 (LΝΔ) must certainly be his (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXI. 10 f., XXII. 4, XXIII. 1 f., 4-7), for no other among the later kings reigned for more than thirty-six years. As regards the rest, it is not possible to discriminate accurately between his issues and those of his brother, except in the case of Very scarce didrachms of the year 33 (Svoronos, No. 1507). These bear a radiate head which is clearly not that of Philometor, and therefore presumably represents Physcon. Another attribution that is scarcely doubtful is the dated Æ (Nos. 1621-32) with a lotus-flower in the field of the rev. (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XX. 4 f.). Similar Æ undated (Svoronos, Nos. 1636-9) may well be his also (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XIX. 3). Both the last-mentioned seem to have been minted in Cyprus, and it is possibly from the same island that there come several denominations of Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 1640-56) with rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ Double cornucopia (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXIV. 1) or Eagle (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXII. 7-9). Svoronos' attribution (Nos. 1499 f.) of ‘χρυσα δεκαετηριδος‘ to B.C. 134 (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. VIII. 10) is only a surmise. On the other hand, two denominations of Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 1657 f) with rev. Head of Libya must belong to
1 This view is, however, rejected by Svoronos (No. 1509) who explains the legend differently (Νομ. Πτολ., i. p. τ-β, and iv, pp. 305 f.).Physcon, if the monogram they bear is to be resolved into ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ. They are obviously Cyrenaean, and Regling suggests that they may have been struck B.C. 164-146, while Ptolemy VIII was still merely regent of the Cyrenaïca (Z. f. N., xxv, p. 385).
Ptolemy IX (Neos Philopator), B.C. 121-117, has left no coins. He predeceased his father, after having been co-regent for a year or two.
Ptolemy X (Soter II, Lathyrus), Cleopatra III, and Ptolemy XI (Alexander I), B.C. 116-80, fill a very confused page of Egyptian history (Νομ. Πτολ., i. pp. υζ ff., and iv, pp. 320 ff.; Z. f. N., xxv, pp. 385 ff.). Ptolemy VIII left the regency to his widow Cleopatra III. She would have preferred to have the younger of the princes as a colleague, but was only able to secure for him the governorship of Cyprus, his appointment to which, however, in B.C. 114 he always regarded as the beginning of his reign as Ptolemy XI. His elder brother reckons his regnal years, like Cleopatra, from the death of Physcon. In B.C. 107 Alexander returned to Egypt, forced his brother to withdraw, and established himself in his stead. In B.C. 101 he murdered Cleopatra, with whom he had up till now reigned jointly, and in the same year he acknowledged his brother as king of Cyprus. Lathyrus ruled Cyprus till B.C. 88, when Alexander died. He then came back to Alexandreia, and reigned undisturbed till his death in B.C. 80. The only AR coins of this period that can be attributed with perfect certainty are tetradrachms of the Cyprian class with ΠΑ (Svoronos, Nos. 1727-31), struck between B.C. 106 and 101. They bear double dates that can only represent the regnal years of Cleopatra and of Alexander (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVIII. 1 f.). The remainder of the dated AR falls into three groups: (a) Svoronos, Nos. 1659-88: tetradrachms, and very rare didrachms, drachms and ½ drachms, with ΠΑ and dates from LΑ to LΛC (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVI. 4-6, XXVII. I f., etc.); (β) Svoronos, Nos. 1689-93: tetradrachms., with ΠΑ or ΣΑ and dates from LΙΗ to LΚΖ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVII. 3, XXXII. 10); (γ) Svoronos, Nos. 1734-84: tetradrachms, with ΠΑ, ΣΑ, or ΚΙ and dates from LΑ to LΙ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVI. 2, XXVII. 5-8). On the difficulty of distributing these among the different claimants see Z. f. N., xxv, pp. 386 ff. The task would be simpler if it were certain when ΠΑ ceased to have a purely local significance and came to be placed on coins minted at Alexandreia, as it undoubtedly was later. There are Æ pieces (Svoronos, Nos. 1717-22) with rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ (ΣΩ, ΣΩ ΘΕ) Eagle, Double cornucopia, or Head-dress of Isis (BMC Ptolemies, XXVI. 10 f.), which must have been struck by Ptolemy X. Other Æ (Svoronos, Nos. 1694-1716, and 1724 f.) are more uncertain, as are the ‘χρυσα δεκαετηριδος‘ which Svoronos (No. 1726) believes to have been issued in B.C. 107 on the twentieth anniversary of Cleopatra’s marriage. Ptolemy Apion, a natural son of Physcon, was regent in Cyrene for some part of the period under discussion, but his coins cannot now be identified.
Ptolemy XII (Alexander II), B.C. 80, son of Ptolemy XI, reigned only nineteen days. Svoronos (Nos. 1732 f.) assigns to Alexander I and Cleopatra III the Æ that used to be attributed to Alexander II and Cleopatra Berenice III, or to Ptolemy Apion (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXVIII. 9).Ptolemy XIII (Neos Dionysos), B.C. 80-58 and 55-51, surnamed Auletes, a natural son of Ptolemy XI, had a long but troubled reign. The coins usually given to him are AR tetradrachms of singularly base
Cleopatra VII, B.C. 51-30, daughter of Auletes, was the dominating personality throughout the closing years of the dynasty. Her brothers, Ptolemy XIV and XV, and her son, Ptolemy XVI (Caesarion), were no more than puppets. Svoronos (Nos. 1847-52, 1854-70) ascribes to her a series of AR of the usual types, with dates from LΑ to LΚΓ (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXIX. 4-8), which Feuardent and Poole had given to a younger brother of Auletes, who was at one time king in Cyprus. Regling prefers to assign these to Auletes himself (Z. f. N., xxv, p. 393 f.), substituting them for series (α) described above, which he attributes to Cleopatra, thus making the tetradrachms with the head-dress of Isis a continuous series, divided between two monarchs. A strong argument in favor of this arrangement is the occurrence of the same symbol, also with ΠΑ, on a remarkable drachm (Svoronos, No. 1853), struck in the year B.C. 46, and bearing a portrait of Cleopatra (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXX. 5). Very special interest centers round a group of Æ with obv. Head of Cleopatra, rev. ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΚΛΕΟΠΑΤΡΑΣ, Eagle on fulmen (Svoronos, Nos. 1871 f.). There are two denominations marked Π and Μ respectively (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXX. 7 f.). Regling (Z. f. N., xxiii, pp. 115 f.) has proved conclusively that these letters are numerals (= 80 and 40), denoting the number of copper drachm that each denomination contained (see supra, p. 846). Apparently at this time the copper drachma weighed only 4 or 5 grains. On Æ struck probably in Cyprus (Svoronos, No. 1874) the queen appears as Aphrodite with the infant Caesarion as Eros in her arms (BMC Ptolemies, Pl. XXX. 6). Her union with M. Antonius meant the recovery by Egypt of its lost dominion over Phoenicia and Palestine. Hence the issue at Ascalon (see supra, p. 804) of AR tetradrachms with Cleopatra’s portrait. These represent a revival of the old Phoenician coinage of the Seleucid kings (see supra, p. 765), just as the Æ pieces of Berytus, Tripolis, and Damascus on which her head occurs (Hunter Cat., iii, Pl. LXXV. 1) represent a revival of the municipal coinage originally inaugurated by Antiochus IV (see supra, p. 763). For AR tetradrachms with heads of Cleopatra and M. Antonius see Antiocheia ad Orontem, p. 778.