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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: A Forum for the Follis 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: A Forum for the Follis  (Read 14697 times)
roscoedaisy
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« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2005, 02:46:41 pm »

Follibus!

So great to read this topic.  I too am an avid collector of Folles from this time period.  I concentrate mostly on the coins surrounding the reign of Constantius I and his fellows Caesars and Augusti as appropriate.  I am especially fond of the various fractions during this time period and have a growing collection of the 'quarter folles', a decent set of the VOT X and VOT XX of Carthage and Rome fractions, and a few of the ones that just don't seem to fit the mold.  I was wondering if you collected many fractions.

Anyway, here is my pride and joy - a silvered follis of Constantius I in my gallery:

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?p=19

RD
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« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2005, 04:04:52 pm »

Wow!

Great coin Roscoe!! It looks... new!! just out of the hamer!

The portrait is perfect but strangely the letters seems a bit worn, how do you explain that? an old die? a used coin or a weak strick?  

I'm also a great fan of the tetrachic "VOT" fractions!! I collect them (Carthage of course but also othe italian mint...) They all have a great similarity. And the fact that the bore no mint mark is quite strange... Even if I'm certain the come from Carthage, I know that some people, think the "FK" vota may come from Rome.
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2005, 04:42:41 pm »

AN UNUSUAL LEGEND

Goody [Latin, gloria; Italian, gioia].

The mail today brought me the first coin I ever bought over the net.  It's a Constantius I, Rome mint, c 300-301, described thusly:

Bust, laur., r.  CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES.  Rev.  The godess Money stands facing, but looking left.  Scales, cornucopia.  SACRA MON VRB AVGG ET CAESS ....In ex.. T and club.

This is RIC 102a, which normally has TT, but the notes on the
side say T and club, Ox.  It rates a rarity C.

The Failmezner book, page 154, translates the rev.  "The sacred money of city of our Augusti and Caesars."  I'd be inclined to render that:  either:  "The holy money at the City of our Emperors and Caesars"

My Latin dictionary says that "moneta" can also mean the mint, the place where the money was coined so how about:
"The sacred city mint of our Emperors and Caesars" or even consider an ablative or locative case for MONETA.  In that case it reads:  [Struck] "At the sacred City Mint of our Emperors and Caesars."

Never be without a hefty Latin dictionary -- one that gives all meanings of a word and which quotes examples of use.
The VRB, read urb, can mean urbs, a city or the city of Rome, or [in Virgil] the dwellers in a city.  If it stands for urbanus, an adjetive, it can urban or of the city.  If it is the adjetive used as a plural noun, urbani --orum, the inhabitants of the city.  So we can even get:  "[Struck] at the sacred mint of our Emperors and Caesars for the inhabitants of the City."

It might have meant all of the above.  Any comments?

Also, see my comments on the book, "Constantine and Eusebius," on my latest reply in the Medieval section , under Papal Election Coins.  If anyone would like a review of the book, they have only to ask.

Cheers

Follibus Fanaticus
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« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2005, 03:31:56 am »

Is this legend variant with 'VRB' used anywhere apart from Rome? I'm decidedly no expert on these, but if it's specific to the Rome mint that would suggest that it's a reference to Rome.
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« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2005, 08:34:44 am »

I think the legend describes the typeMoneta Urbica means mint of Rome, so the legend is "the revered Mint of Rome of our Emperors and Caesars".
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« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2005, 01:33:10 pm »

DIGAMMA, SIX LOST IN TIME

As the alphabet spread across Ancient Greece in the mid 700’s B.C., each fiercely
independent city-state picked and chose letters and forms of letters.  The version coin collectors, scholars and fraternity pledges today know and love is the Attic version, as used at Athens.  Most Greek literature arrived at Athens and was copied in the Attic version of the alphabet.  Copies spread from Athens to other places, notably Alexandria, Egypt.  The alphabet from Attica prevailed.

Not all coins came from Athens.  For example, coins of Corinth sometimes exhibit a small circle with a straight tail, a koppa.  The letter more or less was sounded like an English Q, so the Corinthians called their town "Quorinth," but the Athenians said "Korinth."  Citizens of each city derided those of the other as bumpkins who spoke barbaric Greek.  They understood each other’s speech perfectly; they hated each other’s
politics and way of life intensely.

The biggest event in the alphabet’s early history was the writing down at Athens of a definitive version of the Iliad in the between the 540’s and the 530/20’s B.C.  Homer composed in Ionian Greek about 750 B.C.  He pronounced a letter called the digamma, and pre-500 B.C. non-Athenian manuscripts probably wrote the digamma, which resembled an F and was pronounced like an English W.  Athenians hated the sound W, reviled the digamma, and they omitted all digammas from their-all important manuscript, which became the gold standard.  Immense problems arose.  Homer’s word for the city Troy, Ilium, began with a digamma, so he said "Wilium," and if he had a name for his poem it was the "Wiliad."  That changed when the Athenians created the definitive written version, The Iliad.

Digamma survived, despite all.  It was the sixth letter of an original Greek alphabet.  It stood for the number six.  It would be used as number 6, but how people wrote it would change.

Next:  Digamma: The Ancient Greek Number 6: From the second year of the 77th Olympiad to the third year of the 271th Olympiad, known to the Romans as MAXENTIUS, COS, ET ROMULUS, COS, around Rome; DIOCLETIANUS, COS X, ET GALERIUS, COS VII, most other places in the Roman Empire




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« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2005, 02:26:03 pm »

THE DIGAMMA ON COINS:  A QUICK LOOK

[Read Response No. 30  first]

Look at the first coin issued at  Elis, a town in Greece’s Peloponnesos, from c. 471 – 452 B.C.  I find this on page 264, Volume One, of my two volume "Greek Coins and Their Values" by David R. Sear [1978 edition].  There it goes by the nom de plume S [for Sear] No. 2859.  This stater is also known as Seltman [Temple Coins of Olympia] No. 2 or BMC [vol.] 10, [No.] 3.  To the Eleans, the first year of issue was the second year of the 77th Olympiad.  The Elans, and other ancients, never heard of years BC [much less of the verbose BCE].  The individual nicknamed Christ [Greek for "the anointed"] would not appear for about 468 years.

The Elean stater [S 2859] has a reverse that shows Zeus’ thunderbolt between the letters: F/A.  The F is not the F we know, sixth letter of our alphabet.  It’s a dilemma, the sixth letter of a Greek alphabet used at many Greek cities, but not at Athens.  [See Response  ]
 
The Eleans were kind enough to spell out the F-word on Sear 2867, It reads: FA:Greek_Lambda:EI, pronounced:  Walei, waly, or walaye depending upon which part of ancient Greece the speaker came from.  You can not say it in the Attic [Athenian] Greek of the time, because the Athenians hated the F, digamma, or W-sound.  They did not use it; you can definitely say: Athenians of the Golden Age hated F-words.

WA:Greek_Lambda:EI means "people."  F/A  means "[Coin issued by] The People of Elis."  Notice they spell Elis with an A, alpha.  Looks like those Peloponniteans did not agree with Athenians on anything.

Digamma survived, because it stood for 6, six, in the Greek number system. BUT IT CHANGED.  Let’s fast forward to the sole rule of Gallienus, 260-268.  My specimen of RIC 194a [FORTUNA REDUX, on the reverse, in ex., exhibits a strange retrograde question mark [?].

At the time the Rome mint used control marks, and they used letters, placed all over the reverses.  They used P, for prima –first; S, for secunda—second; T, for tertia –third; and Q  for quartus –fourth.  Fifth is quintus.  Confession might enter.  The celators used good old Roman numeral V for fifth, and they used VI for sixth.  Why?  Sextus means sixth, and it would have been confused with Secundus, for second officina.

Next, some genius [of the Roman People] used the Greek alphabet to number officina.  All went well with A, B, [Gamma], [Delta], E, and then what’s that?  The Roman celators probably never heard of a digamma, but they did know the letter six in Greek.  They introduced on coins our drunken question mark to mean six, then continued with Z, seventh, and H, eighth.

The tidy Diocletian led the first Tetrarchy.  The drunken question mark went.  It was replaced by an upright question mark.  It’s still a digamma, meant to signify six or sixth.  An S replaced the question mark.   That’s still a digamma, because it still means six or sixth.

It is absolutely not a Greek S, or sigma, written <sum>.  Look on page xxxvi of your Sear Greek coin book.  <sum> means 200.  Did any ancient mint have 200 officina?  Sear also ignores the digamma; he only gives S to mean 6.  Could he not find a single digamma that means 6 in all the Greek coins in his two volumes? 

So, for the follis, lets call the marking  "S" a digamma, a Roman digamma, a Roman botched digamma, wherever it means 6.  Where S means 2, lets call it an S.  But, unless you find a coin from the very large mints, Glockamora and Shangra-la, do not call it a sigma, meaning 200.

Cheers,
 Follibus Fanaticus
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« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2005, 03:12:32 pm »

Hi Follibus Fanaticus!

I am reading your fascinating posts, thank you! But now I have a question. What's the matter with the Greek STIGMA as symbol for 6? It looks like the minuscle of SIGMA and should be developed from the ligated SIGMA-TAU. I have never seen a Greek DIGAMMA on a coin as a number.

Curious
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« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2005, 03:31:54 pm »

So the Athenians said "Elis", while the Eleans themselves said "Walis". The A/E- switch marks the difference between Doric (A) and Ionian (E) Greek. For example, "mother" is "meter" (with the e's pronounced about as in French "maitre") in Ionian Greek, Attic and the Macedonian Koiné which we learn in school as Ancient Greek, and "matar" (a's pronounced like in "father") in Doric dialects, like for example in Sparta. I'm not good enough at ancient Greek to tell whether the omission of W is also a Ionian speciality, or whether it just came with time, like the omission of H at the beginning of a word in all Romanic languages.

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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2005, 11:31:36 pm »

Two Old but Interesting Letters

Victor:

Here's a response I sent to Jim.

Follibus
----------
From: [Follibus Fanaticus]
Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002 20:34:35 -0500
To: James Stevenson <jstevenson@rossperry.com>
Subject: Re: Roman Bronze Coins by Failmegzer

Dear Mr. Stevenson:

I have been using extracts from Victor's book as a collecting tool and have been very pleased with them.  Naturally, I have not bothered to tell my dealer friends that such a book is in the making.  I have placed many coins hailed as rare, rarity 2, and even a rarity 4 into my collection.  The twoor three volumes of Roman Imperial Coins [RIC], if you can find them, are
now very expensive, and most dealers do not own them.  I own them, and Iknow that Victor's book will update and add to Roman coin collecting.

For example, a highly respected dealer, this Saturday, sold me a coin RIC rates as rare, the sly British way of saying 20 examples known, for $X, while he had a C3, meaning very common, priced at $2X.

The book will fill a need -- especially when it summarizes and updates two to three RIC's that go for $3X and up each.

For World Coin News I would propose an article that says the book covers an almost unknown area of a major coinage -- and a coinage that contains many attractive coins.  World Coin News appeals to collectors of foreign, medieval and ancient coins.

Coin World, with its much larger circulation, can be called the coin newspaper for "middle America."  I stopped reading it years ago, because it harps on endless tiny varieties of US coins, such as the number of leaves in a wreath, the position of the letters US on a reverse, or the angle of a drapery on a seated Liberty half dollar.

This audience has one interest that fits the book's context perfectly --religion.  The period of Victor's book covers the era that Christianity first became legal and then became the main religion of the Roman Empire.  Coins reflect this and those coins are in Victor's book.

I think the book could sell with good marketing.


Sincerely,


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« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2005, 12:17:54 am »

ANCIENT GREEK LETTERS

Dear CURIOUS:

The Greek sigma large, medium or small always means the number 200, and never 6.   The form S is a digamma, never a sigma.  As far as we know [get that catch all], the ANCIENT Greeks always used the a capital sigma.

It was the booby Roman mint masters who came up with S to mean digamma.

Now for the small Greek sigma, written as an o with a string hanging out the top in the beginning and the middle of a word, and as a small s-like thing at the ends of words.  You will not find it on any ANCIENT Greek inscription, nor do the few surviving Ancient Greek manuscripts ever use it.

Why?

The ANCIENT Greeks used all what-we-call capital letters.  Small Greek letters do not arise till the Byzantine Empire.  Their manuscripts contain almost all small letters, which they invented.  Look at Ancient Greek and Greek Imperial coins.  Not a small Greek letter in sight.  There are, true, some mangled monstrosities on later Ancient coins in Greek, but no system of small letters.

The Byzantines also invented the dreaded breathing marks and accent marks, probably to aid students who studied Ancient Greek works.  The most bizarre Byzantine invention stands as the iota subscript, which means placing an iota under a long vowel.  Get photographs of ANCIENT Greek inscriptions.  You will find no iota subscripts there or on coins.  The ancients wrote: AI, HI, and Omega+I.  I’ve seen all three on coins, where a Byzantine would have tucked the I under the long vowel.

I think the posting on the Forvm site is a good starter on the Greek alphabet; however, coins rank as an advanced study.  Someone needs to tackle: THE GREEK ALPHABET ON ANCIENT GREEK COINS.   Someone needs to tackle: THE GREEK ALPHABET ON BYZANTINE COINS.  That someone ain’t’a gonna be me.

Cheers,

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« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2005, 01:00:21 am »

ERIC WINS THE GOLDEN QUACKSIE AWARD

The Board of Governors of The Golden Quacksie Association for the Arts and Sciences today bestowed its highest award, the Golden Quacksie to the writers, editors and proofreaders for the new Encyclopedia of Roman Imperial Coins [ERIC].

Follibus Fanatics, board member, expressed highest delight, because the award involved a follis of Maximian Herculus, resembling RICVI; Ticinum 68b or 69.  The illustrated coin, however, has a dot in the upper right [shorthand ;- /. /T T] indicating an issue in about December 306, rather than one of autumn 306, that commemorated the emperor’s first retirement.

A High Official of the United States Government founded the Quacksie Award, a reward to a subordinate for something so incredibly stupid that it deserved officewide recognition.  The Golden Quacksie was a 2-foot high,  loud yellow, plastic statue of a duck on wheels.  It stayed on the awardee’s desk until another subordinate did something even more stupid.  Then Quacksie had a new home.

ERIC’s Quacksie achievement may be read on page xiii, under the heading, "Identifying Roman Coins."  The follis reverse shows two female figures, goddesses or female geniuses, standing and facing each other.  It reads: PROVIDENTIA DEORUM QUIES AUGG [English uppers].

ERIC translates that: "By the providence of the Gods there is peace."  We congratulate the authors of ERIC for neither looking at the [huge, color] illustration nor possessing a good Latin to English dictionary.  It looks like the "Dirty Old Books" publishing company of Asheville, North Carolina, threw all their dirty [dusty] old Latin dictionaries in the trash. 

Had they retained their books, they would have seen that QUIES has the meaning "RETIREMENT."  Had they looked at the coin and a short history or two, they might have noticed that Mr. Diocles and Mr. Maxo Herco, father of another Max plus Fausta, retired from power about the time the coin was issued.

So let’s look at the huge, color photo again and translate it: FORESIGHT OF THE GODS – RETIREMENT OF THE EMPERORS; which label tags the two ladies on the coin as genii of the same names.

The ERIC folks will retain Golden Quacksie for a good long time.  I hear they are being seriously considered for the Alice Wonderland Award for the Understanding of Ancient Culture.   

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« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2005, 03:17:32 am »

I have next to no connection with ERIC (never ever seen it) or it's author other than a common shared membership to this board and other lists (also shared btw by Mr Fanaticus).   

I do however find this last post pretty obnoxious - if this is an attempt at humour it fails.   Intended or not it does come across like you have an axe to grind.

I don't have nor intend to purchase the book, but I am at least aware that an errata forum for it has been set up here:
http://eric.commonbronze.com/
Why not bring it to their attention, preferably with a greater degree of graciousness.

Steve


 
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« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2005, 04:03:03 am »

Dear Steve:

I must say

1.  I bought the book, and I would buy it again.

2.  I enjoyed the book, especially foir its light style.

3.  I find the collector slant that the book has most helpful.  It will say this coin is to be seen quite often, but is still expensive -- a way of saying overpriced.  That a coin is rare but modestly priced  --  most of the coins are ugly.  it also gives auction results on rare, rare coins.

4.  If you do not own all of RIC, buy it immediately.

5.  If you do own RIC, it's still a big help.

6.  The photos are great and in color.

7.  If you don't intend to buy or look at the book, what's your objection.

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« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2005, 04:08:46 am »

Not that it is relevant, but I own all of RIC. (one of the reasons I have little interest in ERIC, I am simply not the target market)

My objection is simply to the tone of your previous post.

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« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2005, 04:53:38 am »

Dear Steve:



The tone is one of humor, a dangerous but rewarding device. It brings out response, which is the virtue that overrides all its faults.

The form is one of a press release, and it sounds uncomfortably like the stuff you see in the paper or hear over the tube.

This is a classical mode of writing.  Really give Cicero a good read.  His jokes and sly innuendoes got him in plenty of trouble with many people we collect on coins.  One great exchange was with Pompey in front of all the "best men," after Caesar had chased them out of Italy.

Pompey screamed at Cicero, "Where is your son-in-law?" referring to a supporter of CaesarCicero shot back "Where’s your father-in-law?"  We all, and everybody in that tent, knew that Pompey’s father-in-law was Caesar himself.  Cato, the Younger, Caesar’s worst enemy, nearly choked himself to death laughing at that one.

Pompey’s name originally had only two words, Gnaeus Pompeius.  He could not use his father’s third name, Strabo [cross-eyes], because Pompey’s  father was cross-eyed and the Pompey was not.  Later in life, he took the name Magnus [great].  When a Roman became friends with someone, they called each other by their third name.  To get buddy-buddy Pompey would have to day:  "Call me Magnus."  Cicero really had fun with that one.

We collect classical coins.  Why not develop a classical sense of humor?

Lastly, there’s the Dirty Old Books publishing house.  Under the modern credo, "There’s no such thing as bad publicity," I suspect they may profit from their prize

Cheers,

Follibus Fanaticus
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« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2005, 09:04:51 am »

Hello
I found this coin recently,I tought it was Denarius becouse head was too convex.But after i wash them I saw it is Licinius and I found in catalogue that it is follis.I am interested is it Ae,but fully silvered or Silver coin.He is still uncleaned,and I dont want to take off silver from coin.How can i clean them?
Best Regards
ps.sorry about my bad english
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« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2005, 10:34:25 am »

That looks pretty clean already, nice coin btw.  The black may be oxidized silvering so dont scrub it off.
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« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2005, 05:25:48 pm »

RESPONSE TO REPLY NO. 41

Dear Marcus:

The photo in reply 41 presents, to me at least, a prime argument that a photo is not enough -- especially for some bronze coins  -- like the follis.  It would be extremely helpful to have the legends, mint mark, and officina marks typed out.

Two other items would help, size and weight.  I just bought a scale.  I am finding that some of my folles fall above and below the weights given by RIC.  I am now inclined to express this with words to the effect:  "RIC suggests a weight between x and y," when I find a coin that is x minus something or y plus something.

Follibus Fanaticus

Weighing folles -- only Fanaticus Maximus would do that!
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« Reply #44 on: April 22, 2005, 06:18:48 pm »

Hi Marcus Aurelius,

Move your post under a new topic to unclean coin discussion.

Or otherwise Admin please do this.

Levon
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« Reply #45 on: April 23, 2005, 02:49:23 pm »

Jochen asks What's the matter with the Greek STIGMA as symbol for 6? It looks like the minuscle of SIGMA and should be developed from the ligated SIGMA-TAU.

Dr. Buttrey explains (original posting from Moneta-L 14.05.2003):

(1) The digamma was the 6th letter of the archaic Greek alphabet,
representing our sound "w", and named "wau" (wow!).  After it fell
out of speech, and out of the alphabet, it was named "digamma" by later
generations who didn't know it directly -- the new name describes its
shape, looking like one gamma on top of another.  The shape survived and
was taken up into the Latin alphabet in the same position but with a
different sound (unknown in classical Greek) -- it is our F (same shape,
same position).
    The Greeks did not have a separate system of symbols to represent
numbers, as we have with our so-called Arabic numerals.  Among several
systems they developed alphabetic numeration, which I believe is not
attested before the 3rd cent. BC.  Anyhow the digamma (F), no longer used
in written Greek, was retained for the number 6.  (In the same way the
qoppa, which had been abandoned because kappa served perfectly well, was
retained for numeration, in its original position in the alphabet, as it
is in ours, between P and R; and represented the number 90.)
    Even in antiquity the digamma was taking on a cursive form, which came
to look somthing like a square C with a little tail.

(2) There is no such thing as an ancient numeral stigma.  This is an
illusion, based on a modern misunderstanding, and is something that still
needs to be corrected in Unicode.  The ancient word "stigma" means a mark,
a scar, a tattoo, and has nothing to do with the digamma or with
numeration.
   With the invention of printing in the 15th cent. the new Greek fonts
copied manuscript hands, and included not just individual letters but all
kinds of fancy abbreviations and ligatures.  One ligature was the
combination sigma-tau, ST, which got the name of "stigma", I suppose
modelled on "sigma", that is as "sigma" = S, so "stigma" = ST.
   Meanwhile the digamma had gone on being used in alphabetic numeration
for "6", in manuscript Greek, and then in the earliest printed Greek --
and indeed is so used to this day.  Unfortunately, a close similarity
developed between the shape of the ST ligature and that of the developed,
cursive digamma.  As a result the name "stigma" came to be applied
mistakenly to both of them.  It is still so used, or rather misued even
today.  For example, alphabetic numeration is found in the paragraphs and
subparagraphs of legislation; and in modern Greek dictionaries under
"stigma" you find one meaning as the number 6.
   This is all a misunderstanding that goes back several centuries, and is
now fixed permanently in the language.
   What is yet more annoying, the ligatures of the earliest printed Greek
have by now all been resolved into their separate letters, so the
combination once described by the term "stigma" is just printed as regular
sigma tau, and the typographic term "stigma" has gone completely out of
use.  Yet the word survives, wrongly, in alphabetic numeration for the
character still used for "6" -- which is really the good old wau/digamma
in cursive form, misunderstood.
   It survives, I should say, in dictionaries, but not I think in speech.
Hardly any modern Greek alphabetic fonts include a symbol for it.  So when
they have to use letters numerically they are as follows:  [I can't
provide Greek letters here: imagine them] --

  1=A' alpha    2=B' beta    3=G' gamma    4=D' delta    5=E' epsilon
  6=ST' "stigma"  ...and so on.  That is, they mis-name the digamma
"stigma", and then don't have a character to print it, so they print
"sigma tau" instead as an abbreviation.  And so pronounce it too: I've
tried it on a modern unversity-educated Greek, who read it off as "sigma
tau", not as "stigma", and actually did not know that term.

Anyhow, the ancient number 6 was represented by wau/digamma, and there's
an end of it.  Forget stigma: it didn't exist as a numerical notion;
that's just a relatively modern mistake.

Ted Buttrey

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virtvsprobi
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« Reply #46 on: April 23, 2005, 03:00:27 pm »

Another quote from Dr. Buttrey, also from Moneta-L:

[...] Nonetheless this has nothing to do with the reality of the Greek letter
wau/digamma, and its use in antiquity to represent "6".  Forget stigma in
antiquity -- there was no such character, there was no such Greek letter.
There has never been such a Greek letter, ever: it represents the medieval
(manuscript) and modern (15th-19th cent. printing) ligature of two
letters, S + T.  No ancient would have understood "stigma" to mean a
number, or would have taken the character in coin dates to have been
anything but a digamma.

In that regard, the names for the Greek numbers are attested plentifully
in the ancient literature.  "Stigma" too is attested, but not as a number:
mark, scar, tattoo; from the same stem as the verb stizo, to make a mark
on something.  It has no other meaning even into medieval times: See
Sophocles' (not the dramatist) Lexicon of Byzantine Greek, which engages
late antique Greek up to 1000 AD: there is not a trace of "stigma" as
either a ligature or a number-- that came later.

TB
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Follibus Fanaticus
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« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2005, 05:44:24 pm »

Numismatists:

We're coin collectors.  I look at my Sear "Greek Coins and Their Values" under Elis and see [mostly] the letters F - A, and retrograde letters [not often] A - backwards F on photos of coins dating from 471 BC to "after 191 BC.  That's a digamma [wau] and an alpha.

That means that the digamma was still written, at least on coins of Elis, quite late.  In 452-432 [See Sear 2867] the mintmasters at Elis were kind enough to spell the word out FA lambda EI, or WALEI.

In future coin books might it not be a good idea to say: "Coins of Elis are often marked F - A, digamma - alpha, meaning [for] the People of Elis.  The digamma, or wau, was a Greek letter that fell out of the manuscript tradition in about..... Some think it began to fall out when it was not included in a manuscript of the Iliad prepared for festival use at Athens in about 530 [?] BC."

Notice that "began to fall out" business.  We know from coins that it was "in" at Elis for at least 300 more years.

The use as "6" is routine, because F, digamma, was the 6th letter of the alphabet.  The changes that overcame the F form of digamma should send collectors running to their Roman and Roman Imperial coins.  The reborn digamma is there.  Wow, I mean wau!  It still means 6.

At first it resembles a question mark of sorts [?]; then a question mark that fell down.  Next, some genius at the mint reduplicated the curve in the question mark, making it look like Roman S.

Follis collectors look at your coin.  Is that "S" a Greek digamma, meaning six, or a Roman S, as in semis, which often means Secundus; two, or second.  At the Rome mint, which uses the Greek and Roman alphabets to number officina, this can be critical for dating a coin.  Other mints also use both alphabets.

Follibus Fanaticus
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« Reply #48 on: April 23, 2005, 06:15:34 pm »

A rule that must be learned by anyone intending to study the coins they collect is that one can not study only the individual coin but must observe also how that coin fits into the scheme of things at the mint.  If a coin exists with an S, we need to see if the same mint/time also produced coins with A, B etc. or P, T etc.  If the former, the S (probably with a weaker lower half) is the numeral 6.  If the latter, it must be a 2.  Every mint played by their own rules at least to a degree and what you think you know about one, as often as not, will lead you astray when applied elsewhere.

FolFan:  As a person I would never get into a trivia contest against, you must be able to name the Greek city that retained the qoppa (other archaic letter mentioned as a part of the numeral system) long after it dropped from use in general.   Another:  Do the math problem and answer in Greek  EOX plus TKA equals____?
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« Reply #49 on: April 23, 2005, 10:26:53 pm »

Hello Follibus!

Maybe you missed the follis I submitted for for you folllicial enjoyment.. A rarity, and sporting a retrograde digamma as well!

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=18507.0

Ben

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