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Autonomi



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AUTONOMI - (autonomoi) - Autonomous - The name given to certain coins, minted by such Greek and other cities as were governed by their own laws. The right of coinage, as the criterion of an independent state, free from subjection to any foreign power, caused this appellation to be given generally to coins of such peoples and cities as possessed the character. That the monetal privelege was cherished with a high degree of appreciation and pride by those cities to whom it was granted, is sufficiently evident from the fact of its being recorded on their coins - as for example on the coinage of Antioch and Halicarnassus, which after their own names as cities, bear the autonomous designation. - According as different countries (says M. Henin), then in a state of civilisation, were conquered by the Romans, or yielded themselves to the dominion of that people, the authorities at Rome, in reconstituting those states under an apparently independent form, left to them nearly the whole of their political rights. The privilge of striking money was continued to those cities which had previously enjoyed it. But soon, when Rome became Imperial, the reek cities, whether out of adulation, or whether in consequence of ordinances formally made, adopted the custom of placing on their money the portraits not only of the masters of the world, but also of their relations.

Autonomous coins were no longer fabricated. Rome also took away, from almost all the Greek cities, the right of issuing silver money, and confined the permission to exercise that right to a small number of the more important cities, such as Alexandria in Egypt, Antioch in Syria, Caesarea in Cappadocia, Tarsus, &c. All coins minted by different cities and peoples, with Imperial Roman effigies, take the generic name of Imperial Greek or Greek Imperials. The Roman colonies obtained the privilege of striking money, sometimes with their own local legends and types; but usually they placed on them imperial portraits, and inscribed the permission of the Emperor, or of the Pro-consul. These pieces take the name of Colonial coinage, and are divided into Colonial autonomes, and Colonial Imperial coins. - See Manuel de Numismatique Ancienne, vol i. pp. 26-27. - See also Coloniae Romanae.

 [It will not, it is presumed, be deemed irrelevant, in a work dedicated solely to Roman coins, that the two preceding articles should appear, in brief explanation of what is meant by autonomous mintages. For the word is perpetually used by Mionnet and others; and there are Latin as well as Greek autonomes.]



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