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Author Topic: Numerical notations on Ptolemy I Soterís gold staters  (Read 2778 times)
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« Reply #100 on: October 17, 2020, 02:54:48 pm »

Do you have doubts that the monograms on Massalia's coins are numbers? Then look what's on this other Massalia drachm..
on the right bottom, the sign interpreted like the letter  Greek_Pi_3  by Depeyrot and like  Greek_Tau Greek_Lambda
by Charra. But this sign is none other than a symbol, widely certified in ancient papyri, of the
talentís monetary unit, corresponding 6,000 drachms. Practically, rather than indicating in figures
the first group of 6,000 drachms to mint in the new issue, it is preferred to introduce the astute
variation to indicate the symbol of the talent, which corresponds to 6,000 drachms.
To be sure that the talent symbol is correctly interpreted on the reverse of the coin no.1,
fig.no.31, the expression Greek_Tau Greek_Alpha Greek_Lambda is shown that, for once, is not a number but the initial part of the
word   Greek_TauGreek_Alpha Greek_Lambda Greek_Alpha Greek_Nu Greek_Tau Greek_Omicron Greek_Nu, ďtalentĒ, that is an alternative way to reaffirm the amount 6,000 drachms which
the mint was working on at the moment: more clearly than thatÖ

But a tranche of only 6000 coins sounds unlikely - it would hardly be worth the trouble of accounting for it separately. It seems you need to throw in at least one of those ever useful factors of ten.

Where else by the way can I find the "talent' symbol on the obverse?

Ross G.

What sounds strange to us does not necessarily sound strange to them too.
The numerical notations noted on the coin did not follow rigid rules and varied from mint to mint and, within the same mint, from issue to issue. They were conceived with a situational criterion, dictated by the needs of the moment. In the issue studied in my article posted at the beginning of this topic, for example, we have a tranche ranging from 90,000 to 150,000 states marked by a symbol that certainly appears to be numerical. From an abstract logical point of view it would have been better to write "100,000 to 150,000 staters" but in this way, evidently, the 10,000 staters missing to 90,000 to reach the 100,000 staters of our abstract ideal indication remained unaccounted for.
In the case of Massalia's coin from the previous post, the symbol of talent perhaps distinguished the initial part of the issue.
So far I haven't found any other Talent symbols on any other coins.

I'm not familiar with this "talent" symbol, so where else (other than on coins) can I find it?

Ross G.
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« Reply #101 on: October 17, 2020, 03:39:17 pm »

The numerical notations noted on the coin did not follow rigid rules and varied from mint to mint and, within the same mint, from issue to issue. They were conceived with a situational criterion, dictated by the needs of the moment. In the issue studied in my article posted at the beginning of this topic, for example, we have a tranche ranging from 90,000 to 150,000 states marked by a symbol that certainly appears to be numerical. From an abstract logical point of view it would have been better to write "100,000 to 150,000 staters" but in this way, evidently, the 10,000 staters missing to 90,000 to reach the 100,000 staters of our abstract ideal indication remained unaccounted for.
In the case of Massalia's coin from the previous post, the symbol of talent perhaps distinguished the initial part of the issue.
So far I haven't found any other Talent symbols on any other coins.

That's a very complex proposition, yet all rather convenient for the the numeric hypothesis for it leads to a ligature of Greek letters being interpreted as a decimal (not sexaguesimal) arithmetic multiplication using differing numeric (Attic and Ionic) identifiers in the one ligature, subject to the whim of the proponent within no guiding framework, beyond the fact that the ligatures must be interpreted as numbers, at times Attic, other times Ionic and other times a mixture of the two all within the same context (mint).  As a mint control process, or even an accounting process, this would be an abject failure, subject to all sorts of interpretive manipulation and thus malfeasance.

Sorry to say, but in my opinion the numeric hypothesis dismally fails the test of Occam's razor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor
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« Reply #102 on: October 17, 2020, 03:48:26 pm »

Do you have doubts that the monograms on Massalia's coins are numbers? Then look what's on this other Massalia drachm..
on the right bottom, the sign interpreted like the letter  Greek_Pi_3  by Depeyrot and like  Greek_Tau Greek_Lambda
by Charra. But this sign is none other than a symbol, widely certified in ancient papyri, of the
talentís monetary unit, corresponding 6,000 drachms. Practically, rather than indicating in figures
the first group of 6,000 drachms to mint in the new issue, it is preferred to introduce the astute
variation to indicate the symbol of the talent, which corresponds to 6,000 drachms.
To be sure that the talent symbol is correctly interpreted on the reverse of the coin no.1,
fig.no.31, the expression Greek_Tau Greek_Alpha Greek_Lambda is shown that, for once, is not a number but the initial part of the
word   Greek_TauGreek_Alpha Greek_Lambda Greek_Alpha Greek_Nu Greek_Tau Greek_Omicron Greek_Nu, ďtalentĒ, that is an alternative way to reaffirm the amount 6,000 drachms which
the mint was working on at the moment: more clearly than thatÖ

But a tranche of only 6000 coins sounds unlikely - it would hardly be worth the trouble of accounting for it separately. It seems you need to throw in at least one of those ever useful factors of ten.

Where else by the way can I find the "talent' symbol on the obverse?

Ross G.

What sounds strange to us does not necessarily sound strange to them too.
The numerical notations noted on the coin did not follow rigid rules and varied from mint to mint and, within the same mint, from issue to issue. They were conceived with a situational criterion, dictated by the needs of the moment. In the issue studied in my article posted at the beginning of this topic, for example, we have a tranche ranging from 90,000 to 150,000 states marked by a symbol that certainly appears to be numerical. From an abstract logical point of view it would have been better to write "100,000 to 150,000 staters" but in this way, evidently, the 10,000 staters missing to 90,000 to reach the 100,000 staters of our abstract ideal indication remained unaccounted for.
In the case of Massalia's coin from the previous post, the symbol of talent perhaps distinguished the initial part of the issue.
So far I haven't found any other Talent symbols on any other coins.

I'm not familiar with this "talent" symbol, so where else (other than on coins) can I find it?

Ross G.

Source:
https://www.academia.edu/36962445/F_De_Luca_Monograms_on_Kibyra_s_coins_names_or_numbers_Revue_Numismatique_OMNI_no_12_6_2018_pp_54_84


* 1.jpg (229.22 KB, 1104x638 - viewed 6 times.)

* 23.jpg (236.23 KB, 1104x638 - viewed 6 times.)

* 444.jpg (13.26 KB, 151x72 - viewed 43 times.)

* 2.jpg (428.17 KB, 979x803 - viewed 8 times.)
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« Reply #103 on: October 17, 2020, 04:04:25 pm »

The numerical notations noted on the coin did not follow rigid rules and varied from mint to mint and, within the same mint, from issue to issue. They were conceived with a situational criterion, dictated by the needs of the moment. In the issue studied in my article posted at the beginning of this topic, for example, we have a tranche ranging from 90,000 to 150,000 states marked by a symbol that certainly appears to be numerical. From an abstract logical point of view it would have been better to write "100,000 to 150,000 staters" but in this way, evidently, the 10,000 staters missing to 90,000 to reach the 100,000 staters of our abstract ideal indication remained unaccounted for.
In the case of Massalia's coin from the previous post, the symbol of talent perhaps distinguished the initial part of the issue.
So far I haven't found any other Talent symbols on any other coins.

That's a very complex proposition, yet all rather convenient for the the numeric hypothesis for it leads to a ligature of Greek letters being interpreted as a decimal (not sexaguesimal) arithmetic multiplication using differing numeric (Attic and Ionic) identifiers in the one ligature, subject to the whim of the proponent within no guiding framework, beyond the fact that the ligatures must be interpreted as numbers, at times Attic, other times Ionic and other times a mixture of the two all within the same context (mint).  As a mint control process, or even an accounting process, this would be an abject failure, subject to all sorts of interpretive manipulation and thus malfeasance.

Sorry to say, but in my opinion the numeric hypothesis dismally fails the test of Occam's razor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor



The relativity of your criticism is contained ... in your own criticism. Let me explain. You could have written that my explanation does not convince you because it does not respect the principle of economics and instead you said that it does not convince you because it "fails the test of Occam's razor". In other words: you said the same thing but using a convention, a reference. Well, the Greeks with monograms on the coins did the same thing, they made a sort of conventional sign, vaguely numerical, known only to them that served a purpose known to them. Paradoxically, instead of a number it could also be a sign, a little drawing or sign (like the ones we do today on a bunch of banknotes just counted) because, I repeat it to the point of boredom, the monogram had only the function of making the coins obtained from the minting that bore that symbol recognizable and therefore distinguishable.The groups of coins easily distinguishable from each other were more easily accounted. Separate groups of coins were made, based on the monogram that characterized them and then counted. The monograms distinguished the groups: this was the only purpose they served and it was not necessary that like a good child they did all their homework properly. Instead of properly writing "ONE MILLION DRACHMS" they could also just write "1 ML" or "ONE MILL" or "ONE", etc., etc, etc.

But then what do we want to do, in the name of an abstract principle (the principle of economics or Occam's razor) we decide not to see the dozens of evidence that I am submitting to your attention? It would be like proposing to modern medicine to return to Aristotelian medicine built on abstract principles...
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« Reply #104 on: October 17, 2020, 04:30:51 pm »

My proposal to explain the meaning of monograms presupposes that the coins immediately after their minting were separated into homogeneous groups characterized by the same monogram or set of monograms and counted group by group until the pre-established limit of the issue was reached. Some may argue that there would have been no need because they knew how much precious metal was made available to be transformed into coins. But this objection does not take into account the thefts of precious metal that could have occurred during the minting phase. The numerical notations also served this purpose, that is to make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins (as well as allowing to keep the count of the coins gradually minted).
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« Reply #105 on: October 17, 2020, 08:01:10 pm »

Thanks for the Talent symbol reference Ė Bagnall and Bogaert (1975) Papyrus No. 7 (p.84) has a nice (transcript of) an example of the symbol in use.

Ultimately the reference seems to be Bilabel "Siglae" RE 1923 col. 2307. See here:

http://ia800706.us.archive.org/27/items/PWRE51/Pauly-Wissowa_II_A,2,_2307.png

(near the top).

Ross G.
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« Reply #106 on: October 18, 2020, 12:07:57 am »


I repeat it to the point of boredom, the monogram had only the function of making the coins obtained from the minting that bore that symbol recognizable and therefore distinguishable.The groups of coins easily distinguishable from each other were more easily accounted. Separate groups of coins were made, based on the monogram that characterized them and then counted. The monograms distinguished the groups: this was the only purpose they served and it was not necessary that like a good child they did all their homework properly. Instead of properly writing "ONE MILLION DRACHMS" they could also just write "1 ML" or "ONE MILL" or "ONE", etc., etc, etc.

 and from the next post ...

My proposal to explain the meaning of monograms presupposes that the coins immediately after their minting were separated into homogeneous groups characterized by the same monogram or set of monograms and counted group by group until the pre-established limit of the issue was reached. Some may argue that there would have been no need because they knew how much precious metal was made available to be transformed into coins. But this objection does not take into account the thefts of precious metal that could have occurred during the minting phase. The numerical notations also served this purpose, that is to make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins (as well as allowing to keep the count of the coins gradually minted)


Again I repeat this is overly complex and unnecessary solution to a simple problem, that of the identification of an issue (group in your terminology) of coins.

No interpretation of a numerical and mathematical convolution in a Greek ligature is necessary to identify the separate "groups" of coins.

It is simply done by a, monogram, letter, or symbol (or combination of any of these) that is unique to the "group" in question. The coins with the requisite "group" identifier can then be separated from others and counted in your hypothesis, although weighing the "group" of coins in total is a far simpler solution to counting and this weight can be far more readily and easily compared/reconciled to the weight of bullion specified for the issue i.e. everything is quality controlled by reference to weight (talents) which has to accord to the King's instruction for the volume of the mintage.

Nothing need be read by way of numbers, or complex mathematical gymnastics to the specific "group" identifier to achieve this outcome.

You have come up with a complex and contradictory interpretation/solution looking for a problem that does not exist.

A mint mark, or collection of mint marks (a monogram consisting of a ligature of Greek letters in your examples) simply serves to identify an issue of coinage struck at a specific time (group of coins in your terminology) and that is the conventional numismatic interpretation of the mint marks.

Thank you for the numeric hypothesis, but I'll stick with the test of Occam's Razor on this matter and go for the conventional interpretation of mint marks as being used to identify for control and oversight purposes in the mint the various time specific strikings of coinage (i.e. issues) in the mint for the purpose of reconciling input (weight of bullion) with output (weight of coinage) and in so doing to mitigate the risk of malfeasance through the unequivocal identification of those involved in a specific mintage struck under the instruction of the king.

The whole purpose of a mint control process was to prevent the very pilferage that you say could have occurred.


Counting coins struck imprecisely and imperfectly to a weight standard is not the way of doing this. Just look at the distribution of coin weights in any metrological study to see the problem. Rather, it is the total weight of the issue (or group as you call it) that identifies any losses, be it by pilferage or minor process losses in the striking process, not the number of coins!

An example

To drive this point home I use the example that mint workers (in the absence of tight process control of the sort described) could readily and deliberately strike 6,000 drachms at 5% under the Attic weight standard weight standard of 4.3 gms/drachm. That 6,000 coins so struck would then account for 0.95 talents of bullion leaving the mint workers free to walk away with 1.3 kg of bullion!  Yet you would have 6,000 coins! Counting the coins would not reveal this malfeasance. Weighing the total volume of coins would expose it immediately!

No, the number of coins was not important in the process control and could never be used to identify pilferage.

It was weight (talents) of struck coinage that counted and this was immediately reconcilable to the input weight of bullion to the striking process.


P.S. Ever wonder why there were 6,000 Attic weight standard coins in an Attic talent?  Hint: a sexaguesimal counting system underpins the wight system. Similarly, you may have wondered why there 6 obols in a drachm?
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« Reply #107 on: October 18, 2020, 02:05:58 am »

I agree with n.igma Ė I donít see how labelling tranches of coins with the number of coins helps much with accounting.

And even if it did you wouldnít do it in the obscure, varying and inconsistent manner assumed by Federico Ė you would surely mark the first 10,000 coins (or more likely the first talent weight of coins) as A, the second as B, and so on, plus maybe the symbol for 10,000 or whatever.

Or at least something simple and straightforward like that.

Ross G.
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« Reply #108 on: October 18, 2020, 02:42:23 am »

... The numerical notations noted on the coin did not follow rigid rules and varied from mint to mint and, within the same mint, from issue to issue. They were conceived with a situational criterion, dictated by the needs of the moment. ...
This assumption gives you the freedom to claim everything you want and to resolve contradictions whatsoever with the explanation that "the needs of the moment" in this case have been different ones.
This makes your theory arbitrary and thus, at least in my eyes, useless  Sad.

... The whole purpose of a mint control process was to prevent the very pilferage that you say could have occurred. ...
This sounds very reasonable, but: Do we really know what all the objectives of a mint control process in hellenistic times have been? What exactly the requisites of the king concerning a mint have looked like?
As far as I know we don't have any contemporary description of the organisation of a hellenistic mint, all we have are the coins themselves. So everything we are thinking about it comes from our assumptions (as reasonable as they might be) and our deductions and thus is all theory  Undecided.

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« Reply #109 on: October 18, 2020, 04:18:59 am »


As far as I know we don't have any contemporary description of the organisation of a hellenistic mint, all we have are the coins themselves. So everything we are thinking about it comes from our assumptions (as reasonable as they might be) and our deductions and thus is all theory  Undecided.

Regards

Altamura


[/quote]

Very fair observation. We are talking about the observation of coins. I look forward to reading a more convincing proposal than mine in this regard ...
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« Reply #110 on: October 18, 2020, 04:21:53 am »


This assumption gives you the freedom to claim everything you want and to resolve contradictions whatsoever with the explanation that "the needs of the moment" in this case have been different ones.
This makes your theory arbitrary and thus, at least in my eyes, useless  Sad.

[
Altamura


[/quote]

You have centered exactly the problem: the great "numerical" freedom on the coins only that, unfortunately, I am not responsible for this but the ancient Greeks themselves and the crime is not the interpretation of these numbers (crime for which I could answer) but their creation, for which only the ancient Greeks are responsible
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« Reply #111 on: October 18, 2020, 04:37:32 am »

But you're the one proposing that coin counting via mathematical gymnastics to identify "groups" of coins "make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins."

But as shown by the example, it does no such thing!

It is weight of the total striikng not numbers of coins that affords such an opportunity of verification.
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« Reply #112 on: October 18, 2020, 04:40:59 am »

A mint mark, or collection of mint marks (a monogram consisting of a ligature of Greek letters in your examples) simply serves to identify an issue of coinage struck at a specific time (group of coins in your terminology) and that is the conventional numismatic interpretation of the mint marks.


[/quote]

The problem lies precisely here that all of us moderns are convinced that mint marks throughout the history of the world worked as they did in the nineteenth century: a letter indicating the city where the mint was located and the year of minting. You can't get out of this mental pattern ...
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« Reply #113 on: October 18, 2020, 04:45:04 am »

But you're the one proposing that coin counting via mathematical gymnastics to identify "groups" of coins "make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins."

But as shown by the example, it does no such thing!

It is weight of the total striikng not numbers of coins that affords such an opportunity of verification.


but in fact I have never ruled out checks on the weight of the coins too, which is one of the main functions of the monetary magistrates. Monograms intended as numbers facilitated them in this task because thanks to the division of the issue into groups identified by different monograms they immediately had an eye on the control of the completed issue and in this way they could devote themselves better to weight checks, perhaps with random checks carried out in front of the authority to which they delivered the completed issue
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« Reply #114 on: October 18, 2020, 04:45:30 am »

... The whole purpose of a mint control process was to prevent the very pilferage that you say could have occurred. ...
This sounds very reasonable, but: Do we really know what all the objectives of a mint control process in hellenistic times have been? What exactly the requisites of the king concerning a mint have looked like?
As far as I know we don't have any contemporary description of the organisation of a hellenistic mint, all we have are the coins themselves. So everything we are thinking about it comes from our assumptions (as reasonable as they might be) and our deductions and thus is all theory  Undecided.


True, but the basic motivating emotions of of human behavior that have not changed since we walked out of Africa, fear, greed and glory determine that there is a high probability that when surrounded by bullion it would be necessary to counter the propensity for human greed by fear of discovery and its consequences and thus the primary purpose of the mint  to deliver the coinage required by the king to the requisite standard in the most economically efficient way (i.e. with minimal loss in the process) would require a mint control process directed to such delivery. i.e. Don't  try to screw with the king and his bullion otherwise risk painful and protracted death.

Callatay (2012) 40-41 ... The only clear glimpse we do possess is the famous letter of Demetrios, the presumed master of the Alexandrian Mint, to the dioecetes Apollonios, dated 258 BC about reminting coins (P. Cair. Zen. i 59021). What we are informed of in this letter fits with what we know from pseudo- Aristotle in his Oeconomica , i.e. the decision to strike coinage (when and of what nature) belongs solely to the king. And coinage is, in fact, one of his main responsibilities (Van Groningen 1933, pp. 3 and 31-32).
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« Reply #115 on: October 18, 2020, 04:46:56 am »

But you're the one proposing that coin counting via mathematical gymnastics to identify "groups" of coins "make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins."

But as shown by the example, it does no such thing!

It is weight of the total striikng not numbers of coins that affords such an opportunity of verification.


but in fact I have never ruled out checks on the weight of the coins too, which is one of the main functions of the monetary magistrates. Monograms intended as numbers facilitated them in this task because thanks to the division of the issue into groups identified by different monograms they immediately had an eye on the control of the completed issue and in this way they could devote themselves better to weight checks, perhaps with random checks carried out in front of the authority to which they delivered the completed issue


Now seek to move the goal posts as well!

Methinks you are seeking to defend the indefensible hypothesis.
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« Reply #116 on: October 18, 2020, 04:49:39 am »


 Similarly, you may have wondered why there 6 obols in a drachm?


According to Plutarch they were originally spits of copper or bronze traded by weight, while six obols make a drachma or a handful, since that was as many as the hand could grasp ( Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Lysander, para. 17)
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« Reply #117 on: October 18, 2020, 04:53:36 am »


Thank you for the numeric hypothesis, but I'll stick with the test of Occam's Razor on this matter and go for the conventional interpretation of mint marks as being used to identify for control and oversight purposes in the mint the various time specific strikings of coinage (i.e. issues) in the mint for the purpose of reconciling input (weight of bullion) with output (weight of coinage) and in so doing to mitigate the risk of malfeasance through the unequivocal identification of those involved in a specific mintage struck under the instruction of the king.

[/quote]

You are free to believe what you want. But I'd like to know how you explain the succession of many monograms within the same issue if not the simple chaos
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« Reply #118 on: October 18, 2020, 04:54:44 am »


 Similarly, you may have wondered why there 6 obols in a drachm?


According to Plutarch they were originally spits of copper or bronze traded by weight, while six obols make a drachma or a handful, since that was as many as the hand could grasp ( Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Lysander, para. 17)

The typical silver obol is about 8mm in diameter. Pretty small hand that could only hold 6 of these. Plutarch wrote in the first century BC so his observations on this matter may well be inaccurate and hardly reflect on why there are 6 obols to the drachm which reflects the underlying sexaguesimal base system of counting, just as today we have 100 cents in the dollar  in a decimal system of counting.
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« Reply #119 on: October 18, 2020, 04:56:14 am »

... The whole purpose of a mint control process was to prevent the very pilferage that you say could have occurred. ...
This sounds very reasonable, but: Do we really know what all the objectives of a mint control process in hellenistic times have been? What exactly the requisites of the king concerning a mint have looked like?
As far as I know we don't have any contemporary description of the organisation of a hellenistic mint, all we have are the coins themselves. So everything we are thinking about it comes from our assumptions (as reasonable as they might be) and our deductions and thus is all theory  Undecided.


True, but the basic motivating emotions of of human behavior that have not changed since we walked out of Africa, fear, greed and glory determine that there is a high probability that when surrounded by bullion it would be necessary to counter the propensity for human greed by fear of discovery and its consequences and thus the primary purpose of the mint  to deliver the coinage required by the king to the requisite standard in the most economically efficient way (i.e. with minimal loss in the process) would require a mint control process directed to such delivery. i.e. Don't  try to screw with the king and his bullion otherwise risk painful and protracted death.

Callatay (2012) 40-41 ... The only clear glimpse we do possess is the famous letter of Demetrios, the presumed master of the Alexandrian Mint, to the dioecetes Apollonios, dated 258 BC about reminting coins (P. Cair. Zen. i 59021). What we are informed of in this letter fits with what we know from pseudo- Aristotle in his Oeconomica , i.e. the decision to strike coinage (when and of what nature) belongs solely to the king. And coinage is, in fact, one of his main responsibilities (Van Groningen 1933, pp. 3 and 31-32).


I understand, but to what extent does this help us understand the meaning of monograms?
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« Reply #120 on: October 18, 2020, 04:57:36 am »


 Similarly, you may have wondered why there 6 obols in a drachm?


According to Plutarch they were originally spits of copper or bronze traded by weight, while six obols make a drachma or a handful, since that was as many as the hand could grasp ( Plutarch, Parallel Lives, The Life of Lysander, para. 17)

The typical silver obol is about 8mm in diameter. Pretty small hand that could only hold 6 of these. Plutarch wrote in the first century BC so his observations on this matter may well be inaccurate and hardly reflect on why there are 6 obols to the drachm which reflects the underlying sexaguesimal base system of counting, just as today we have 100 cents in the dollar  in a decimal system of counting.



I repeat myself, but to what extent does this help us understand the meaning of monograms?
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« Reply #121 on: October 18, 2020, 04:59:27 am »

But you're the one proposing that coin counting via mathematical gymnastics to identify "groups" of coins "make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins."

But as shown by the example, it does no such thing!

It is weight of the total striikng not numbers of coins that affords such an opportunity of verification.


but in fact I have never ruled out checks on the weight of the coins too, which is one of the main functions of the monetary magistrates. Monograms intended as numbers facilitated them in this task because thanks to the division of the issue into groups identified by different monograms they immediately had an eye on the control of the completed issue and in this way they could devote themselves better to weight checks, perhaps with random checks carried out in front of the authority to which they delivered the completed issue


Now seek to move the goal posts as well!

Methinks you are seeking to defend the indefensible hypothesis.


If you had bothered to read the article posted at the beginning of this torment of discussion you would have noticed that it is not as you say
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n.igma
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« Reply #122 on: October 18, 2020, 05:05:29 am »


Thank you for the numeric hypothesis, but I'll stick with the test of Occam's Razor on this matter and go for the conventional interpretation of mint marks as being used to identify for control and oversight purposes in the mint the various time specific strikings of coinage (i.e. issues) in the mint for the purpose of reconciling input (weight of bullion) with output (weight of coinage) and in so doing to mitigate the risk of malfeasance through the unequivocal identification of those involved in a specific mintage struck under the instruction of the king.


You are free to believe what you want. But I'd like to know how you explain the succession of many monograms within the same issue if not the simple chaos
[/quote]

Readily done. The succession of monograms defines eaither (a) a succession of time specific issues or (b) a succession of synchronous issues struck on different lines of production (anvils). Which applies is determined by whether the mint was undertaking (a) low volume striking or (b) high volume mintage. The determination of which mode of operation was a direct consequence of the demands of the king for coinage. Typically low volume in routine peaceful periods and high volume in times of war (a very expensive enterprise indeed).

Thus diifferent assemblages of monograms = different issues struck either at (a) separate times or (b) synchronously by different striking teams under different with the output of each striking line defined by a different assemblage of controls so as to identify the specific line of production from which it originated.

This all accords with the conventional numismatic definition of an issue. No mathematical gymnastics or added complexity required.
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FEDERICO D
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« Reply #123 on: October 18, 2020, 05:11:49 am »


I repeat it to the point of boredom, the monogram had only the function of making the coins obtained from the minting that bore that symbol recognizable and therefore distinguishable.The groups of coins easily distinguishable from each other were more easily accounted. Separate groups of coins were made, based on the monogram that characterized them and then counted. The monograms distinguished the groups: this was the only purpose they served and it was not necessary that like a good child they did all their homework properly. Instead of properly writing "ONE MILLION DRACHMS" they could also just write "1 ML" or "ONE MILL" or "ONE", etc., etc, etc.

 and from the next post ...

My proposal to explain the meaning of monograms presupposes that the coins immediately after their minting were separated into homogeneous groups characterized by the same monogram or set of monograms and counted group by group until the pre-established limit of the issue was reached. Some may argue that there would have been no need because they knew how much precious metal was made available to be transformed into coins. But this objection does not take into account the thefts of precious metal that could have occurred during the minting phase. The numerical notations also served this purpose, that is to make it possible to verify that the entire quantity of precious metal received at the beginning of the minting of the issue was transformed into coins (as well as allowing to keep the count of the coins gradually minted)


Again I repeat this is overly complex and unnecessary solution to a simple problem, that of the identification of an issue (group in your terminology) of coins.

No interpretation of a numerical and mathematical convolution in a Greek ligature is necessary to identify the separate "groups" of coins.

It is simply done by a, monogram, letter, or symbol (or combination of any of these) that is unique to the "group" in question. The coins with the requisite "group" identifier can then be separated from others and counted in your hypothesis, although weighing the "group" of coins in total is a far simpler solution to counting and this weight can be far more readily and easily compared/reconciled to the weight of bullion specified for the issue i.e. everything is quality controlled by reference to weight (talents) which has to accord to the King's instruction for the volume of the mintage.

Nothing need be read by way of numbers, or complex mathematical gymnastics to the specific "group" identifier to achieve this outcome.

You have come up with a complex and contradictory interpretation/solution looking for a problem that does not exist.

A mint mark, or collection of mint marks (a monogram consisting of a ligature of Greek letters in your examples) simply serves to identify an issue of coinage struck at a specific time (group of coins in your terminology) and that is the conventional numismatic interpretation of the mint marks.

Thank you for the numeric hypothesis, but I'll stick with the test of Occam's Razor on this matter and go for the conventional interpretation of mint marks as being used to identify for control and oversight purposes in the mint the various time specific strikings of coinage (i.e. issues) in the mint for the purpose of reconciling input (weight of bullion) with output (weight of coinage) and in so doing to mitigate the risk of malfeasance through the unequivocal identification of those involved in a specific mintage struck under the instruction of the king.

The whole purpose of a mint control process was to prevent the very pilferage that you say could have occurred.


Counting coins struck imprecisely and imperfectly to a weight standard is not the way of doing this. Just look at the distribution of coin weights in any metrological study to see the problem. Rather, it is the total weight of the issue (or group as you call it) that identifies any losses, be it by pilferage or minor process losses in the striking process, not the number of coins!

An example

To drive this point home I use the example that mint workers (in the absence of tight process control of the sort described) could readily and deliberately strike 6,000 drachms at 5% under the Attic weight standard weight standard of 4.35 gms/drachm. That 6,000 coins so struck would then account for 0.95 talents of bullion leaving the mint workers free to walk away with 1.05 kg of bullion!  Yet you would have 6,000 coins! Counting the coins would not reveal this malfeasance. Weighing the total volume of coins would expose it immediately!

No, the number of coins was not important in the process control and could never be used to identify pilferage.

It was weight (talents) of struck coinage that counted and this was immediately reconcilable to the input weight of bullion to the striking process.


P.S. Ever wonder why there were 6,000 Attic weight standard coins in an Attic talent?  Hint: a sexaguesimal counting system underpins the wight system. Similarly, you may have wondered why there 6 obols in a drachm?


Let's do something. I have presented an explanation of the monograms. You do not like? I'm sorry I can't help it. I tried my best to demonstrate what I say as precisely as possible and my absolute good faith in conceiving this theory of mine. I only receive piqued criticisms, not based on any historical data, document or specific currency (in fact, here we are talking about coins).
If my theory does not convince you, I am sorry but I will certainly not make an illness of it because my satisfaction has already consisted in writing it and this topic can be closed here.
You persist in saying that "it would have been better", "it would have been more logical ..."; in short, you want to explain the facts with a mental order longed for in your mind.
I also have the feeling that here I can post the impossible because it is not read so it is perfectly useless for me to continue doing it. You don't agree with my statements?
I'm not asking you to counter point by point, image by image to what I said, but at least post an ancient text, an image, a coin that confirms what you say and I will believe you.


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FEDERICO D
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« Reply #124 on: October 18, 2020, 05:15:29 am »

I agree with n.igma Ė I donít see how labelling tranches of coins with the number of coins helps much with accounting.

And even if it did you wouldnít do it in the obscure, varying and inconsistent manner assumed by Federico Ė you would surely mark the first 10,000 coins (or more likely the first talent weight of coins) as A, the second as B, and so on, plus maybe the symbol for 10,000 or whatever.

Or at least something simple and straightforward like that.

Ross G.



But then can you explain to me what was the point of reporting the symbol of talent on that coin? Please write down a hypothesis ..
Let me understand you see the symbol of talent on the papyrus and believe it is the symbol of talent; you see it on the coin and it is no longer the symbol of talent. But what coherence is it?
And if by chance, in a rush of objectivity, you would like to recognize that on the coin there is precisely the symbol of talent, a mathematical symbol therefore, isn't it a logical consequence to ask ourselves about its meaning, which seems to suggest a numerical solution? Tell me why at this point maybe I think I'm really crazy and draw conclusions at random ...
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