FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board

Resources => Identification Help => Topic started by: archivum on March 01, 2008, 10:38:25 am

Title: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: archivum on March 01, 2008, 10:38:25 am
Isegrim Really Works / Really Working with Isegrim: A Short User's Guide to a Great Ancients Database

    I was invited to write up this guide as an article for the Articles and Resources department on the main Forum website, but for somewhat mysterious reasons it has never been formally posted there; I know this set of ground-rules has always worked really well for me, and I hope other members will now find them useful as well. Isegrim is an excellent fully searchable union-archive of numismatic sources for ancient Asia Minor (*), one of the richest and most diverse regions in ancient numismatics (even if your coin isn't from Asia Minor, this resource can help you confirm that, and thus save you time); Isegrim is unfortunately also a terrible tease, to the point that at times you can't find it online, and at times it appears you can't use it to find anything like the entries you want.  I propose to fix all that, with demos:

Difficulty #1 Logging On ---

    If you want to use Isegrim in English, you do NOT want the old, now-dead link or its variants at

you DO want the new anomymous index-login at


to reach which you may need to "Refresh" what looks like a dead link; once you've actually arrived at a functional Login page, simply click on "anonymous, english," and then choose option "Search Asia Minor,"  and so off you go. (**)

Difficulty #2 Search-Frustrations (Not Enough or Too Much) ---

"Important: Misspelled descriptors (undistinct legend or other mistakes) cannot be processed. To get the best results it is recommended to enter less, but accurate information, in order to define a coin."

--- The Conclusion of Isegrim's Kurzanleitung in English (

    Isegrim has a powerful but non-user-friendly search-engine that often acts less like a guide than a bouncer, shutting you out completely and ruthlessly; it demands exact input in order to rule out irrelevant entries, but there's quite often clearly an arbitrary side to what form the exact input takes (more on this in Reply #1).  You can thwart the exactness-requirement with an open or wildcard extender (= ".*") at either end of any Isegrim input, but too much of this means that you'll probably end up with far too many entries for comfort.  Fortunately once you obtain any relevant entries at all (Use just one or two key specifiers to start with, and always the simpler the better, once you get the knack), you can learn as you work, the way I did, and so after just one more quick note on the basics we can get down to cases and prove the point.

Isegrim Formats (Output and Input) ---

    Every useful specifier or "descriptor" in an Isegrim entry is distinguished with a two- or three-letter prefix; you can use most of these as search-inputs as well, for example one or more of the following (although here, too, the simpler the better for starters):

vs:.*antwn.* vt:caracalla va:beard rt:zeus m:ae zit:.*3099.* po:saitta pro:lydia

[ vs = obverse legend, in this case a mere fragment supplemented with two wildcard extenders .* .* (note the great Partial-Legend Search-Resource this also presents); vt = obverse type; va = obverse attribute; rs = reverse legend; rt = reverse type; m = metal; zit = collection or auction reference; vgl = compare reference; vg or rg = obverse or reverse countermark (= German "Gegenstempel"), where present; po = issuing city; pro = issuing province, the latter two classes of terms typically Latinized in Isegrim; emperors' names are moreover quite often peculiarly shortened, for instance ant. pius, marc aurel, or sept. severus, so that you may do better with a wildcard-extender and a still shorter form, for instance .*pius ]. Other specifiers in Isegrim entries are equally worth knowing but need further tweaking to work as search-inputs (more on this in Reply #1), for example gew -- weight (German "Gewicht") and gr -- size (German "Grösse").  Some of Isegrim's transliterations of Greek legends are surprising: Theta or :Greek_Theta_2: -> T', Upsilon or :Greek_Upsilon_2: -> Y, Phi or :Greek_Phi: -> P', Chi or :Greek_Chi: -> C', Psi or :Greek_Psi: -> P'' (two apostrophes, not one quotation-mark). Once you've caught an array of results (open-wildcard extenders will make doing this a lot easier, but with too many wildcards your catch will max out at 500!), you can easily search the array on your screen just by keying [Control-F] in Firefox or Explorer. Isegrim as it currently stands is a text-only resource, but with its standard catalog-references searchable both in actual imprints and on other sites, you'll be able to access a huge range of plate-coins both online and off, a coin super-resource on your desktop.

Demo #1 (see first photo) -- Weeding Entries With Isegrim (Re: "Tiberius and Livia")

--- The inscriptions or legends on this coin certainly aren't that legible, though what's left on the flip-side (t'ea sebas ...) does help clinch the ID with the RPC entry (RPC I 4049, actually not Tiberius but Augustus) that I noted in that earlier posting, backed up with a scan.   Here's how I ended up there:

Isegrim search #1: vt:tiberius rt:livia -- The Mytilene coin this search turns up lacks a feature the question-coin has (inconspicuously radiate male portrait).  So I thought I would search a more basic distinction of our question-coin = a left-facing male portrait (obverse) and a right-facing female (reverse).  Search #1 showed how Isegrim wants these described (***), and so on to Isegrim search #2:  vt:portrait man l rt:portrait woman r.  This turned up just nine types, and just one had a matching (radiate) male portrait along with a matching reverse legend.

Demo #2 (see second photo) ---

Searching only what's clear even if not especially distinctive on this uneven off-center coin

vs:.*ney.* va:beard.* rt:eagle rt:bird fr [= bird front, or bird facing]

we arrive at a few very similar specimens, all of them from Apameia in Phrygia.

Demo #3 (see third photo) --- [message now scrubbed, but along with third photo below see, "AE 30mm from Anazarbus in Cilicia," types Ziegler,  Kaiser 269, and SNG Pfalz 6.150-51, as cited in Isegrim]

A very worn coin, but with one crucial uncommon feature:

rt:temple-front of 10 columns rs:.*kai.*

This gives us a few very similar entries, some of them with reverse legend etoys bs ("The Year BS" = 183-84 AD, also found on the coin we're researching [third photo below]), and that date in that form is specific for Commodus / Anazarbus.

Demo #4 (see fourth photo) -- Info request: Severus Alex from Tarsus

A very rare reverse; just two specimens cited in Isegrim (arrived at via search-string vt:.*alexander rt:nike po:tars.*); a quick visit to "Search Bibliography" (see below) and then a second quick visit to Google for "Cox 'Numismatic Notes and Monographs' 92" supplies us the full reference for the second specimen = "Dorothy H. Cox, 'A Tarsus Coin Collection in the Adana Museum,' Numismatic Notes and Monographs 92, 197" -- not too bad for a couple of minutes at the keyboard!


       (*) For simple Isegrim searches (without most of the features detailed in Reply #1) now see also Ed Snible's fine entry (in progress 2017) at There is a 1999-vintage online description with very brief bibliography for Isegrim (Informations System zur Erfassung GRIechischer Münzen) at

and H. Laabs' working English introduction at

I have not found an itemized union-bibliography for Isegrim online, though the site collates virtually all noteworthy sources through 1985 and a few other substantive imprints through 2003 (more on this in Reply #1); a good sense of the range of the sources included may be gleaned from the plethora of entries forthcoming for any broad search, for example vt:herakles rt:lion.  The database ranges from the earliest of Asia Minor coins (excluding Cyprus) to the latest provincials, but excludes Alexander the Great, for whose coinage see esp. the Price-keyed Wildwinds entries at

and the more general online pictorial resources (esp.,,, RPC for the Antonine emperors, the British SNG, the Recueil Général, Imhoof-Blumer online, and the Weber Collection) at;

at this stage it bears noting that Isegrim's place-names may need to be de-Latinized if you want to access corresponding materials elsewhere online: Cius -> Kios, Cyme -> Kyme, Cos -> Kos, Coracesium -> Korakesion, and so on.  Here and elsewhere, the same rule in general applies even if you use Isegrim in German.

       (**) If you are indeed here to search Asia Minor coin-types (at this point you could also choose Isegrim's "Search Bibliography," which unpacks cryptic abbreviations), **The Easest Way To Get Started With Isegrim Searches** is to cut-and-paste one of the search-strings (in bold) I include in this thread, starting vs, rt, or vt; once you get any relevant entries at all, you can fine-tune your search along lines I explore in the demos.  

       (***) If these were non-historical figures -- mythic persons or personified abstractions -- the inputs would read instead vt:head man r rt:head woman r, where as always in Isegrim searches the multiple inputs involve an invisible "and" (really = "both ... and"); more on classification-distinctions like "head" vs. "portrait" at the end of Reply #1.

Title: Really Working with Isegrim: Some Refinements and Caveats
Post by: archivum on March 16, 2008, 08:36:17 am
Here's a bulletin-board which I'll update at need for my earlier posting on Isegrim:

--- There is after all a way to search by weight (gew) or size (gr) as well as by minting-dates (pz) in Isegrim: along with other relevant descriptors, for weights enter a lesser and greater value -- gew1:3.72 gew2:3.82, for example -- which are processed as lower and upper weight-limits and give you everything in between.  (If any specimen in a particular entry has a weight that's within your weight-range, it will show up as part of your search results.) Something similar holds for gr1 / gr2 inputs (see new demo) as well as for minting-dates (pz1 / pz2); from the updated English introduction at

followed up with a trial-run or two, I've concluded that this is the gist of it: you can input one year, e.g. pz:18, in the hopes that it corresponds closely with the date of the entry you're seeking, or else you can enter an earliest and latest, e.g. pz1:10 pz2:60, and get everything that was probably minted in that range for the other descriptors in your search-string.  MAJOR CAUTION: Being copied from a great variety of sources, not all Isegrim entries include weight, size, and minting-date specs (though they generally do give at least one or two), so a targeted search with particular weight, size, or minting-date specs may miss coins that are actually in Isegrim. By a similar token, you may miss coins included in Isegrim if your input includes legend-inputs that do not allow for any variants or faults in the legends recorded in Isegrim. HELPFUL HINT: Subject to the potential exclusions that I just now mentioned, you can also employ bounded searches of these various sorts to cut down a broad yield of results to a manageable size; while a very broad search, for example vt:.*os, yields too many results to display, vt:.*os gr1:22 gr2:24 yields 470 results, just below the 500 truncation-point.

New demo for size-searches (scan posted below)

The coin pictured below is a badly misidentified Caracalla AE25 -- "Artemis and Apollo from Seleucia [!]" -- that I recently purchased on Xbax.  Searching Isegrim with the search-string vt:caracalla rt:heads 2 rt:head man l gr1:24 gr2:26 (vt -- obverse type; rt -- reverse type; gr1 -- boundary-size #1; gr2 -- boundary-size #2) we get Hygieia and Asklepios from Eirenopolis, Cilicia, which the legend confirms is correct.

--- Isegrim includes virtually all Asia Minor listings from RPC I and from Lindgren III ("SLG LINDGREN III"), so its coverage extends down through 1992 and 1993, when those volumes were printed, and somewhat beyond (just two listings from SNG München (Munich) 20 [1995] and only intermittent listings from RPC II, printed 1999; I have noted one listing corrected in 2001, a single auction referenced from 2002 [AUKT GORNY 118 1720], and one study repeatedly cited from 2003 [ZIEGLER AMS 2003]); many hundreds of entries from SNG PFALZ 6 = PfPS 6, also published in 2001; you can test other SNG coverage by searching zit:.*SNG X.* where X stands for the rest of an SNG title, for which now see the SNG titles below in Reply #9).   With the search-entry zit: or vgl: (for "Compare") and a catalogue-entry in form "RPC I 2417.*," for example, you can summon up virtually everything else that's included in a given printed entry from RPC I; Isegrim is thus also a digital RPC I for Asia Minor, and a digital version of whatever else Isegrim incorporates, though its uptake of RPC I seems especially thorough and painstaking.  Isegrim includes some coins not others for marginal figures and mints, for example, "Rhoemetalces" or "Cyprus"; here you're definitely better off using alternative sources, not mainly relying on Isegrim.

--- Field-insignia (VF, RF) and countermarks (VG, RG) can be very useful in worn-coin ID's, but the Isegrim entries for all these descriptors have quirks of their own; a good way to explore them is to run open searches with each of the pertinent descriptors (VF, RF, VG, or RG:.*), and then see what you get.  Letter-content appears with a prefix intended to sort letters, values, and dates ("LET AS," "VALUE I," "YEAR GXR" = 163); letter-content in VF or RF will also appear in VS or RS, but without the fresh prefix (thus RF: YEAR GXR but RS: P'LAYIOPOLEITWN ET GXR). Here is a more or less typical output for an obverse countermark arrangment; note that each of the terms constitutes a good input in its own right:


"Round," "oval," and "angular" are often but not always used to distinguish the shape of a countermark-strike; in this case repetition of "round" means we actually two obverse countermarks on the same coin, with "head man l" and "emperor" both referring to the second round countermark's subject or content.  These descriptions can vary even for the same countermark; thus these all seem to be the same countermark on coins from Lydia ad Sipylum, Magnesia:


Numbers in parentheses found in some of these entries indicate which specimens out of several described display which field-insignia or which countermarks; these distinctions are not always clear and not always complete, but still often help fix a coin's provenance.  Isegrim reports some but not all of the Howgego numbers for cited Greek Imperial countermarks; Howgego can thus complement Isegrim and vice versa, since Howgego does not report pre-Imperial coins which quite often share countermarks with later issues.

--- If you are searching particular divinities' names it's important to follow the name with a wildcard-extender, for example "zeus.*; without that, the search won't include special cult-aspects of Zeus, for example Zeus Kelaeneus or Zeus Lydios (other random examples: Artemis Ephesia or Hekate Triformis, and remarkably also Zeus Sarapis; note that some cultic names like "Kelaeneus" are oddly half-Latinized).  Generally speaking you shouldn't give up on a name-search without trying a few wildcard-extenders, since there are some erroneous name-entries in Isegrim (*) and since the formats and spellings of Romanized Greek names will vary more often than not.  (Transcribed Greek forms are favored for Greek personal names -- but not place-names -- in Isegrim, e.g. Nikias, Herakles, Dionysos, Asklepios, but again this is not altogether consistent, as witness half-Latinized "Hephaestos.")  Similarly, if it's not absolutely clear who is depicted on either the obverse or reverse of your coin-type, you will need to review all the plausible candidates till you actually find a clear match; not all beards make a Zeus or a Herakles.  If you are not sure whether a left- or a right-facing portrait is historical or quasi-mythical, you should probably search vt:.* man l or vt:.* man r, since Isegrim reserves the term "portrait" for portraits of historical subjects; even a coin-profile of the personified Senate is classed as a "head" not a "portrait."  In connection with two-portrait coins where there's room for debate about which side is "heads" Isegrim sometimes wavers or duplicates entries; in those cases you should always search twice, switching entries for obverse (vt: / vs:) and reverse (rt: / rs:).

--- As I noted in the original posting, in Isegrim there is often an arbitrary side to what form an "exact" input takes (even place-names include some anomalies, e. g. "Trajanopolis" for "Traianopolis"); there are too many instances for me to note here, so you will want to note them for yourselves, for example, "pricecrown" for a prize-crown or urn, "temple-front of 4 columns" for the (four-columned) face of a temple, "stern decoration" for aplustre, "branch laurel"  or "wreath laurel" for a laurel branch or laurel wreath, and so on.  The most singular case I have noted: on coins picturing the Rape of Persephone, she is listed as Attribute rather than Type (a mere Attribute at her own rape?), and called "kore" instead of "persephone," thus rt:hades ra:kore, probably just because Hades is holding her.   Deployed various ways, there are other motifs that can show up as "types" or as "attributes," infants, animals, or birds, to name several; since there are a few verbs used to modify "animal" in Isegrim, i.e., fighting, jumping, sitting, or standing, you may do well to follow "animal" (and indeed other substantives, "wreath" or "branch" for example) with a wildcard-extender (= .*).  "Infant" oddly may call for a leading or preceding wildcard-extender ("vt:.* INFANT" or "rt:.* INFANT") to gain access to any tagged variants, for instance "HORUS INFANT" or "PLUTUS INFANT."

   (*) Some stealth-errors in the way names are entered in Isegrim produce entries that look right but actually aren't; I discuss one example at

If a type ought to show up in Isegrim, it generally will, but it may take a few variations on your search-parameters.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Isegrim Extended
Post by: archivum on April 20, 2008, 01:43:38 pm
For a  census of coin-types that ought to be noted in Isegrim, but aren't, now see Isegrim Extended at

Title: Isegrim Challenge: Julia Domna "AE24" 9.31g
Post by: archivum on May 15, 2008, 03:40:18 pm
Not an easy example, and not very common (I've tracked down just three catalogued specimens of the type), with enough wear to help to explain the extreme misdescription on Xbax ("Pautalia -- Roma std. l. with Nike"); nonetheless with an Isegrim search you can get to a positive ID, complete with an image, searching only what's clear from the scan I've provided along with the details supplied in the heading (*) and the online materials they point you to.   If you're confident you've found the coin, please PM your ideas; at the start of next week I'll sum up how the entries unfold and post names of whoever's correct, unless you'd rather just stay anonymous.  Happy hunting for this one!

   (*) AE24 is the seller's description; the average diameter is 26mm.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working with Isegrim
Post by: curtislclay on May 15, 2008, 03:59:01 pm
I recognized the coin and was the underbidder; did you acquire it?  BM 66, but I won't say of what city!

The attributions of this major seller have been appalling for years now.  Quite often the only things right are the emperor and the metal; that info was used to call up some totally incorrect attribution from their substantial database, which was simply duplicated, the weight and diameter perhaps being corrected.

Title: Isegrim Challenge Julia Domna Demo
Post by: archivum on May 15, 2008, 05:05:38 pm
No surprise here, my friends -- Curtis is first! (Yes, I did buy the coin, but would yield in the interests of science.)  In defense of the seller's occasional misdescriptions, they are frequently our opportunities; that's the beauty of cross-checks like Isegrim.

Title: Isegrim Challenge Julia Domna Demo
Post by: archivum on May 19, 2008, 06:26:55 am
So now the solution according to Isegrim: Julia Domna / Homonoia std. l. on rock with patera and scepter, O[MONOIA NIKAIE]WN, AE26 9.31g, from Nicaea, Bithynia --- no takers but Curtis, who recognized the coin-type to start with.  Still worth noting the power of a database-search; without any special savvy, one could pin down an entry for this very uncommon issue in more ways than one:

vt:.*domna rt:woman sitting l rt:rock gew1:9 gew2:10, or

vt:.*domna rt:woman sitting l rt:rock gr1:25 gr2:28, or

vt:.*domna rt:woman sitting l vg:nike.*

(.* -- wildcard extender; vt -- obverse type; rt -- reverse type; gew1 & 2 -- boundary weights 1 & 2; gr1 & 2 -- boundary diameters 1 & 2; vg -- obverse countermark)

The first search yields just one of the catalogued specimens, since the others have no weights reported in Isegrim; by re-running the search as

vt:.*domna rt:woman sitting l po:nicaea

we come up with a much fuller roster:

ZIT:SNG AUL 587(1)

[further entry, for multiple specimens:]

M  :AE
GR :27.94(1) / 29(1) / 33(2)
ZIT:WADD RG S446,382(1-2) / BMC 11 S162,66(1) [ -> Pl. xxxiii.3 ]

Although SNG AUL (= SNG von Aulock) is at present a print-only resource, and though BMC 11 (= the British Museum's Catalogue of Greek Coins for Bithynia,,M1) pictures only the seated reverse of the BMC specimen, the main reference here, WADD RG, points us straight to a positive ID for the worn coin in question.  Choosing "Back to main menu" in Isegrim and then "Search bibliography" we can enter WADD RG in the bar labeled "Bib."; this points us to a source that is now fully accessible online, the Recueil Général, (p. 446, 382) (pl. lxxvi, 32),

for a virtual twin of the challenge-coin (with a bonus -- and better -- example from cng coins

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working with Isegrim
Post by: rick fox on May 28, 2008, 07:45:20 pm
Has anyone really got this to work?  I tried for about an hour and found that I nearly had to type in the whole obverse before I got anything.

Anything less and it gave me an error that it couldn't return more than 500 results... (At least I think that is what the error was)

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working with Isegrim
Post by: archivum on May 29, 2008, 05:17:59 am
Hello Rick; if you copy your actual search-strings or search-terms and then post them here,  just to help get you started I will definitely be happy to trouble-shoot.  Generally speaking, you can limit results just by keying in more than one input; all the search-strings I mention above (now in bold) really do get results economically.

Title: Re: Isegrim and its Coverage: an SNG Checklist
Post by: archivum on June 13, 2008, 05:53:17 am
As I note in reply #1, though prodigiously rich, Isegrim is a child of its time, in the sense that its coverage is spotty at best for some valuable imprints post-1998, and indeed a few printed before that date.  Of course making allowances for the different styles of shortened citations, you can now check its coverage yourself (Isegrim-searching zit: or vgl: plus the author or title in question) from the fine bibliography at, taking this SNG list-in-progress (*) as a case in point:

SNG Alpha Bank     Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece II. The Alpha Bank Collection. Macedonia I: Alexander I - Perseus. Athens. 2000.
SNG ANS    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, American Numismatic Society. New York. 1969-present [not cited as such in Isegrim, which instead cites the constituent collections SLG ANS and SLG Dewing (SLG -- short for "Sylloge," the Greek for "Collection"])].
SNG Ashmolean    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume V, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. London. 1962-69.
SNG Berry    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Burton Y. Berry Collection. New York. 1961-1962 [-> SNG ANS].
SNG BM Black Sea    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IX, British Museum, Part 1: The Black Sea. London. 1993.
SNG BM Spain    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IX, British Museum, Part 2: Spain. London. 2002.
SNG Christomanos    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece III. Collection Antoine Christomanos. Athens. 2004.
SNG Copenhagen    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Danish National Museum. Copenhagen. 1942-1979.
SNG Copenhagen Supp.    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Danish National Museum. Supplement, Acquisitions 1942-1996. Copenhagen. 2002.
SNG Delepierre    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Bibliothèque National. Paris. 1983.
SNG Evelpidis    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis, Athènes. Louvain. 1970-1975
SNG Fabricius    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Aarhus University II, The Fabricius collection. Copenhagen 1987.
SNG Fitzwilliam    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume IV, Fitzwilliam Museum, Leake and General Collections. London. 1940-1958.
SNG Forbat    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Sweden I. The collection of His Late Majesty King Gustaf VI Adolf and the Fred Forbat collection. Stockholm, 1974, pp. 16-45.
SNG France    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothéque Nationale. Paris. 1993-2001.
SNG Kayhan    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Turkey 1: The Muharrem Kayhan Collection. Istanbul. 2002.
SNG Keckman    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Finland; The Erkki Keckman Collection. Helsinki. 1994.
SNG Leipzig    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland: Sammlung der Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig. Münich. 1993.
SNG Levante    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Switzerland; E Levante - Cilicia. Bern. 1986.
SNG Levante Supp.    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Switzerland; E Levante - Cilicia: Supplement I. Zurich. 1993.
SNG Lewis     Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume VI, The Lewis Collection in Corpus Christi College Cambridge. London. 1972.
SNG Lloyd    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume II, Lloyd Collection. London. 1933-1937.
SNG Lockett    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume III, Lockett Collection. London. 1938-1949.
SNG Manchester    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume VII, Manchester University Museum. London. 1986.
SNG Morcom    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume X, John Morcom Collection. Oxford. 1995.
SNG München    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, München Staatlische Münzsammlung. Berlin. 1968-present.
SNG Newham Davis    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Newham Davis Coins in the Marischal College Aberdeen. London. 1936.
SNG Pfalz or SNG PfPS  Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland: Pfälzer Privatsammlungen, J. Nollé, IV. Pamphylien, V. Pisidien und Lykaonien, R. Ziegler, VI. Isaurien und Kilikien. Munich, 1992, 1999, 2001.
SNG Righetti    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Schweiz II. Bern. 1993.
SNG Salting    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume I, Part I. The Salting Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London. 1931.
SNG Saroglos    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Greece 4. Numismatic Museum, Athens. The Petros Saroglos Collection. Volume I: Macedonia. Athens. 2005.
SNG Spaer    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Israel I, The Arnold Spaer Collection of Seleucid Coins. Jerusalem. 1998.
SNG Spencer    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume I, Part I. The Collection of Capt. E.G. Spencer-Churchill, M.C., of Northwick Park. London. 1931.
SNG Stancomb    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region. Oxford. 2000.
SNG Stockholm    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, The Collection of the Royal Coin Cabinet. Stockholm. 1976.
SNG Tübingen    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Münzsammlung Universität Tübingen. Berlin. 1981-.
SNG von Aulock    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Sammlung Hans Von Aulock. Berlin. 1957-1968.
SNG von Post    Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Sweden: Sammlung Eric von Post. Stockholm. 1995.

  Using bounded-search options (Reply #2) to cut down a broad yield of results to a manageable size, you can also construct a downloadable-text list of Asia Minor holdings -- in essence a digital transcript -- from each of the SNG volumes that has been fully referenced in Isegrim.

  (*) For a non-shortened SNG roster considerably fuller than this one see; for text-searches of ANS holdings now see  To see how Isegrim cites a particular SNG volume enter SNG.* as a "Bib." query on the "Search Bibliography" page; do the same with BMC.* to translate BMC volume-numbers by province in Isegrim, and see Ed Snible's 's excellent links-page for BMC volumes digitized and online at

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working with Isegrim
Post by: JRoME on April 21, 2009, 07:52:15 am
This is great!  Thanks for sharing your expertise.  I have been experimenting with it and  can see how helpful this can be.

Is there a list of all of the characters and their corresponding Roman text?  I see that you listed a few such as P' = Chi.  I am looking for  :reversedN: and  :Greek_Pi: at the moment.  I read your post several times and did not see a reference to a full table of characters but I apologize if I missed it.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working with Isegrim
Post by: archivum on April 21, 2009, 11:04:16 am
Hi and thanks for your comments (by the way, C' = Chi!); for all other Greek characters besides :Greek_Theta_2:, :Greek_Upsilon:, :Greek_Phi:, :Greek_Chi:, and :Greek_Psi: the transliterations of obverse and reverse legends in Isegrim are traditional and fairly predictable, based on either the look (:Greek_Eta: = H,  :Greek_omega_small: = W) or the sound (:Greek_Xi: = X, :Greek_Pi_3: = P, :Greek_Rho: = R).  Take for instance the full name of Severus Alexander rendered as a Greek legend = :GreeK_Sigma::Greek_epsilon::Greek_Upsilon_2::Greek_Eta::Greek_Rho::Greek_Omicron::GreeK_Sigma: :Greek_Alpha::Greek_Lambda::Greek_epsilon::Greek_Xi::Greek_Alpha::Greek_Nu::Greek_Delta::Greek_Rho::Greek_Omicron::GreeK_Sigma:; this long-form obverse legend corresponds to the Isegrim entry VS: SEYHROS ALEXANDROS, though of course other less complete search-strings with wildcard-extenders (.*) will lead you to that legend along with many variant or shorter ones.  It should be noted that Greek script includes multiple forms for a few of the letters, so that  :Greek_Theta: and :Greek_Theta_2: are both Theta (= T' in Isegrim),  :GreeK_Sigma: and  :C: are both Sigma (= S in Isegrim),  :Greek_Upsilon: and  :Greek_Upsilon_2: are both Upsilon (= Y in Isegrim), and  :Greek_Omega: and  :Greek_omega_small: are both Omega (= W in Isegrim).

Title: Isegrim Next At Risk -- Forum-Users to the Rescue!
Post by: archivum on May 11, 2009, 07:15:53 pm
Thanks to Thilo *, we now know that the Isegrim Asia Minor database at Duesseldorf U. may be pulled offline permanently soon, since it can't be maintained altogether up-to-date -- that's a little like saying we that we might as well throw away Eckhel and Mionnet both, since they haven't updated their reading-lists!  If you missed WildWinds, think how you'd miss Isegrim gone forever; it is certainly worth writing a letter or two, and recruiting new sponsors if necessary.


Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Joe Sermarini on June 07, 2009, 10:08:36 am
If they do pull it offline, perhaps they can put it on CDs or DVDs and send it to Forum.  We might be able to host it. 

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: areich on June 07, 2009, 10:40:20 am
It would be wonderful if someone could host it and maybe allow users to add coins.
If it could then be made a little more user-friendly, which I can't imagine to be too difficult for
someone who knows web-programming etc. it would be even better.

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Bacchus on June 07, 2009, 03:21:12 pm
Isegrim may seem like a difficult search engine to use (and it's not the easiest) but it does contain a wealth of information.  In a previous life (about 15 years ago) I worked in a museum and part of the job was cataloguing coins and putting them into the system (just gold pistoles, hordes of denarii and the odd aureus - nothing too exciting!).

The software used was practically the same as the Isegrim interrogation engine suggests is used here -- museum software designed for academic use.  There is probably the mother of all relational databases behind it but pictures and point click - it ain't. 

What a waste to lose it though.  I'd be very sorry if it went off line.


Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Joe Sermarini on June 07, 2009, 03:30:59 pm
I am sure that if we had the data, we could put it up and probably make searching easier. 

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: areich on June 07, 2009, 03:31:17 pm
BUt can't you put some software on top of it, like boxes for 'obverse inscription' etc.?
Even as it is it's something that must be preserved and I hope a solution can be found.

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Jochen on June 07, 2009, 03:47:22 pm
I dropped an e-mail in the moment.

Best regards

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Ryan C on June 07, 2009, 07:23:10 pm
It's all Greek to me.

Title: Isegrim Ready-Reference
Post by: archivum on June 08, 2009, 04:27:08 am
Isegrim does comprise its own language,  an odd one at that, but complete with the world's most adaptable phrasebook, summed up in Note ** of my opening message:

"**The Easiest Way To Get Started With Isegrim Searches** is to cut-and-paste one of the search-strings (in bold) I include in this thread, starting vs, rt, or vt; once you get any relevant entries at all, you can fine-tune your search [substitute your own inputs] along lines I explore in the demos."

-- That really should do it!

Title: Leo Anson's Numismata Graeca -- A Pictorial Partner for Isegrim
Post by: archivum on June 19, 2009, 12:51:28 pm
Thanks to newly-launched Digital Library Numis I have just learned that now boasts a downloadable and word-searchable digitized version of Leo Anson's odd but opulent coin-type archive with full guides and plates, the Numismata graeca: Greek coin-types, classified for immediate identification, pub. ca. 1910:

Part I Industry [Vessels, Tools, Furniture] -- Introduction [word-search "Introduction"] Guide to Plates 153 Plates 159

Part II War -- Guide to Plates 123 Plates 131

Part III Agricultural [Botanical] -- Guide to Plates 163 Plates 171

Part IV Religion -- Guide to Plates 111 Plates 118

Part V Architecture / Naval and Marine -- Guide to Plates 157 Plates 167

Part VI Science and the Arts -- Multilingual Numismatic Dictionary 119 Guide to Plates 149 Plates 155 General Guide-Index 203

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Joe Sermarini on June 20, 2009, 02:37:43 pm
Thanks to newly-launched Digital Library Numis I have just learned that now boasts a downloadable and word-searchable digitized version of Leo Anson's lavish coin-type archive with full guides and plates, the Numismata graeca: Greek coin-types, classified for immediate identification, pub. ca. 1910:

Hmm, that was on my to-do list for Forum's resources. 

Title: Isegrim Is Offline Today
Post by: archivum on June 23, 2009, 11:48:27 am
Isegrim is offline today -- any more information available?

Title: Re: Isegrim Now At Risk -- See Reply #12, and Write Letters!
Post by: Jochen on June 23, 2009, 11:58:00 am
What's the matter with the proposed DVD?

Title: Isegrim Back Online Today -- Here's the New Website
Post by: archivum on July 01, 2009, 05:55:49 am
-- Many thanks to Catyanda at

for relaying the good news that Isegrim is working again, via this new address:

I do not know the details, but we doubtless now owe Harald Laabs a big round of thanks too; he was a principal spokesman for Isegrim in 2001, and he still signs its search-page in Isegrim's new Web-domain.  Great to get back this excellent website, which undoubtedly merits a few -- at least -- Forum Awards (none at all to its name so far!).  Here's the Forum Awards nominations-page:

Title: Re: Isegrim Back Online Today (Resp. #25) -- Here's the New Website
Post by: Tom Mullally on July 01, 2009, 05:52:33 pm
I'm not sure it's working properly.  I tried to enter both Bithynia and Nicaea (in English and German) and had zero results.


Title: Isegrim At Its New Website -- Some Visual Assists
Post by: archivum on July 01, 2009, 07:42:37 pm
You may need to adjust your specifier- or "descriptor"-prefix, for Bithynia, PRO:BITHYNIA, and for Nicaea, PO:NICAEA (lower-case will work, too).  Both of those worked for me just this morning.   Edit 07/10/09: All commands for the database now work as sketched in the user's guide starting this thread (and remember, the simpler the better when you launch a search!); with this brief user's guide and the Isegrim window itself, you may want a third browser-window open to search image-resources like wildwinds,, or the digitized volumes now linked via and

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: aragon6 on September 22, 2009, 10:34:32 am
Was stuck initially but you are right...................the less said the better.  I just put in VT:FAUSTINA PRO:PHYRGIA and it gave me exactly what I wanted ;D

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: archivum on September 22, 2009, 03:08:52 pm
Right you are; the simpler the better when you launch a search; if you find yourself swamped with unhelpful results, you can then add another "descriptor" when there's a real need.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: esnible on January 17, 2017, 06:34:33 pm
I realize this thread is eight years old.

On another forum someone was saying they don't use ISEGRIM because it is too difficult to learn.

I created a proof-of-concept for searching ISEGRIM using forms.  My experimental site is at .  If you already know ISEGRIM this site still gives one advantage because it alters search responses to the BMC Greek catalogs to be hyperlinks.  So if you are in the United States you can just click.

I sent an email to the ISEGRIM contact address but got no response.  It is possible they will ask me to take it down.  Or maybe they will let me contribute it to their site.  So the URL is temporary.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: archivum on January 25, 2017, 07:22:20 am
Looks great, Ed; probably still worth importing remarks about quirks in accepted - "standard" Isegrim formatting (Latinized place-names, non-Latinized persons,etc.). Also, the wildcard * still appears to need work (Isegrim wildcard .* works at virtually all points); when I enter obverse-legend *domna I get 72 hits, but get no hits at all entering *domna*.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: esnible on January 26, 2017, 11:00:50 am
Also, the wildcard * still appears to need work (Isegrim wildcard .* works at virtually all points); when I enter obverse-legend *domna I get 72 hits, but get no hits at all entering *domna*.

Thank you for your feedback!

I only know how I use ISEGRIM.  My hope was to make the tool useful to as many people as possible, including folks who use it differently from me.

I have only used wildcards in inscriptions.  Most web apps use * instead of .* for wildcards so I tried to make my version translate * into .*, but only on inscriptions.  Would it help to enable wildcards everywhere?  I tried your example, and got 72 hits for *domna, but for *domna* I got 500 hits, the maximum, not the zero you saw.

I thought the best option for the Latinized place names was the Latin auto-complete.  Can you think of a better way to do it?

I have no clue how to guide people to use "IULIA" instead of "JULIA", any thoughts?

Would it be of value to convert inscription results from the Latin alphabet to Greek?  Would it be of value to accept both Latin and Greek characters in the query form, translating into the Latin characters the search engine actually needs?

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: archivum on January 26, 2017, 08:44:18 pm
I too got 500 this time around with *domna*, so it must have been just a misentry the first time around. (Indeed it would be useful if your "* is wildcard" could apply to all your featured inputs, and then you could state that right up front, to head off any doubts.) As for getting around the descriptor-quirks currently in Isegrim, one good partial fix is to note that a wildcard-ending for personal names (BTW, these are flagged as types rather than inscriptions in Isegrim) may work better than spelling-in-full (e.g., teleph* will get you to Telephus even though Isegrim lists him as "Telephos" and requires at least teleph.* for the search). A full list of counterintuitive Isegrim descriptors would also be helpful but is still quite a big work in progress; for some quick help with that, and a quick introduction, I'd say you might as well just send folks back to, where I've added a link to your frame. Finally, it'd be helpful if the new frame included options for Province-inputs and Citation-inputs (= current PRO and ZIT), with a handy link to Isegrim's own lists of sources and abbreviations (see (:dots2:)), and I'd rather call "Metal" what you call "Composition" at present. But the new frame is clearly all your fine new work, and all yours to revise as you please.

   (:dots2:) See screenshot below [one last minor detail: on your new frame's front page, "manditory" => "mandatory"]:

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: Joe Sermarini on July 04, 2019, 09:09:05 am
I have a confession.  I have never used ISEGRIM.  I am ready to try and I plan to write ISEGRIM instructions for dummies, IF I figure it out.  I will need help.

What do the following known aspects codes mean, and what is the German that is abbreviated??


For the following codes, what is the German that is abbreviated? 
PO - Mint city
PRO - Mint province
PZ1/PZ2 - year
ZIT - collection or reference
VGL - compare with reference

This is probably only the first couple in a long list of questions.  Thanks for the help. 

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: shanxi on July 04, 2019, 09:34:17 am
ERD: Area - Erdteil
PH: Minting authority - Prägeherr
SP: Games - Spiele
BN: Name of magistrate - Beamtenname
BT: Title of magistrate - Beamtentitulatur
TI: Title/ Honorific of the town - Stadttitulatur
SG:  coins from the same die or dies -  stempelgleiche Stücke

PO:  Prägeort
PRO: Provinz
PZ:  Prägezeit
ZIT: Zitat - beschriebenes Stück
VGL: vergleichbare Stücke

To say the truth, I copied these from:  (english) (same in german)

Scroll down to point 5

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: Joe Sermarini on July 04, 2019, 11:09:45 am
Thanks Ralf T.   I did not know that existed.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: Gert on July 04, 2019, 11:51:13 am
Joe, I would advise you start with just PO: PRO: (city and province) and VT: RT: (obv./rev. main type). That way you will get some results you search further with control F. It remains a pain to find out which way you have to spell all these things. Getting no results may mean you misspelled, not that it doesn't exist. You can always master more of these search angles later.

Title: Re: Isegrim Really Works / Really Working With Isegrim
Post by: Joe Sermarini on July 04, 2019, 01:13:04 pm
Thanks Gert. I have some idea of how inflexible it is from just playing around. Severus Alexander does not work but Sev. Alexander does. Interesting.