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Author Topic: Cicerokid's review of 2013  (Read 1332 times)

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Offline cicerokid

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Cicerokid's review of 2013
« on: December 22, 2013, 10:13:26 am »
Collecting coins can be a drug but I am not an addictive personality: the soulless activity of yet another one has an empty ring about it. The fact there was a brilliant book, “The New Style silver coinage of Athens”, Margaret Thompson, ANS 10 1961, that described a single series of many coin types plus the great big flans and financial in-reach sums needed to buy examples naturally attracted me to the beautiful Athenian New Style tetradrachm.

I quickly discovered the brilliant book had flaws and had raised quite heated discussions: now this is a drug.

I discovered I had a fascination for the early monogram types: can I find out if they are really single year issues? Sadly I quickly found that apparently all the very early examples are rare in the market and thus expensive and thus not a likely fruitful area.

Still I collected them fascinated by the non-seamless way they moved to month controls added a somewhat mysterious second control swapped their positions or forgot about one or the other or both, until a consensus was eventually reached.

This naturally gave rise to examining the chronology. I could find no upto date list so I set about collecting references and compiling a modern list incorporating them into one. I uncovered various arguments and unanswered questions and wondered if I could contribute and not just be an on-looker.

Post Sullan examples are essentially like the very early specimens, rarer than hen’s teeth, so other than trying to bag one for forms sake that was also a closed avenue.

More reading of papers uncovered the work by de Callatay and echoed by Meadows on the “over-represented” New Styles of the mid-120’s BC.
What was needed was an obverse die match between the issues but my searches could not find one: anyway Andrew Meadows seems to have re-ordered those types without a vital obverse die match in a most satisfactory way.

I collected one example of each and that is that.

It was obviously pointless in trying to collect all the Athenian New Styles but I collected ones that appealed to me: reverses rather than obverses. I could look for new magistrate and control combinations, maybe with a different obverse and most rare of all, any new obverses and a die-link between types.

This is just filling in the record. Interesting and instructive but still somehow somewhat soulless-I needed a focus.


This occurred with my penultimate purchase of 2012. A New StyleRomatetradrachm: my 16th tetradrachm and 15th New Style for that year.

I had known of the controversies about the Thompson “high” dating and the Lewis “low” were summed up in a paper by Otto Morkholm, “ The chronology of the New Style coinage of Athens”,  ANSMN 29 1984 .

The arguments for the low chronology centred on the king Mithradates issue and he had produced a list that had footnotes about restored coins and a moved issue both with question marks. He wrote about the politics and historical sense and frequency tables and the like. It looked interesting, full of references and controversies.

I couldn’t read German and I couldn’t read the reference (and I have still never read  Boehringer 1972), but I knew quickly that “Kernos” was wrong-it didn’t look right, Morkholm wasn’t convinced that is why he put a question mark by it.

Just a year earlier than Boehringer, Mattingly had published 2 papers with lists based on the low chronology that advocated a year’s issue gap: one caused by a slave revolt and the other due to anarchia.

I decided to investigate and collect the coins where available.

I read about Athenion and Aristion, Rome, Athens and Mithradates and focused on Mithradates and the Mithradatic wars.

The coins studies yielded controversies about the symbols and the identities of the magistrates, and it is with the symbol that I made the first breakthrough.

In buying the “Roma” coin and in reading reviews of Margaret Thompson’s work I found that R Holloway had queried the identity of the symbol. Without this base then the die linked coin “Roma & Nike’s” identity would also be doubtful.

I found that Thompson also had written of an imitation of the Athenian original with a similar yet different symbol which she identified with possibly being Aetolia.

Co-incidentally there came up for auction an example, mis-attributed, (to my joy), of this very type which I acquired.

I came to the conclusion that this coin was a mocking of the original. Using this model it then means that the original symbol and thus the allegiances of the magistrates are politically defined.

My only post-Sullan owl, (originally to my angst, now to my joy), I also found amongst Margaret Thompson’s imitations. This lead to my second breakthrough.

The “Ares” imitation is one of three different reverses paired with a single obverse of quite clear non-Athenian origin. The three reverses consist of one pre-Sullan reverse and two post Sullan ones. Thus the mint must be in the Roman camp and using the argument of the RomaAetolia model then the symbol of the reverses must be politically acceptable and thus defines the politics of the “Headdress of Isis” magistrates.

The “Headdress of Isis” symbol I investigated for political affixations , ("Headdress of Isis:who wears the crown? on my academia.edu page below),and found that I could make a case that after the epiphany of Isis at the siege of Rhodes the symbol could only reasonably be used by pro-Roman supporters.  This conclusion re-enforces the case above.

Andrew Meadows had in a review of Delian coin hoards noted two anomalies; the absence of “Kernos” and the position of “Hermes/No Symbol”.

I also did a chart of coin types present in Delian hoards and confirmed Meadows’s conclusion about "Kernos"and my own original doubts:I had thought it just a place-filler anyway.

“Kernos” is now removed.  Now like the other researchers I am left with a gap to deal with.

I had forgot about Mattingly’s 1971 article, (“Some third magistrates in the Athenian New Style coinage”, J. Hell. Studies 1971), and found the anarchia as a no coinage year an excellent solution.
I had discounted an earlier gap due to a slave revolt, (confusingly it was supported by Mattingly in “Some problems in second century Attic prosopography” ZAG  also in 1971),  due to lack of convincing evidence in the coinage and on reading “Athens in 100 BC” by S.V.Tracy, (Harvard studies in classical philology vol. 83, 1979).

I then proposed a new Rome-Pontic times Athenian New Style chronology based on Morkholm but with the kernos removed and a no coinage year in 88/7 BC.

Another change I have pioneered is based on the symbol drinking pegasos. Is this really a Pontic symbol and Aristion the first magistrate the Aristion the later tyrant? Doubts had been raised but it is too much of a coincidence. Had Aristion influenced king Mithradates in the choice of the pegasos symbol I deemed unlikely but was an argument raised in a review of Thompson’s work by G K Jenkins.

To give this symbol time to percolate into the Athenian’s political consciousness  from its introduction into Pontic and Pontic influenced coinage from 97/6 BC, I found I could swap the positioning of the die linked pairings “Winged Agon” and “Coiled Serpent” with “ Gorgon Head” and “Pegasos” to no obvious objection.

“Hermes/No Symbol” I left in place between the pairings but it could precede it and bring them into juxtaposition. I await Andrew Meadow’s conclusions on this.

Francois de Callatay’s work, " L’histoire des guerres Mithradatiques vue par les monnaies ", Louvain le Neuve 1997 proposed that " Roma"  and  "Roma & Nike"  should be conflated. I did not find his arguments convincing and came up with counter–precedents to his evidence. ( see:"Roma" & "Roma & Nike":a one years wonder?, my academia article below).

Another problem I found in his plates was of a “Star and 2 Crescents” king Mithradates and Aristion example. I published my views on academia.edu titled “Mithradates in Paris and London” and this piles more evidence that my model of the attribution of the symbols especially of the “Headdress of Isis” is correct.

Now I have published my chronology my work on the New Styles have come to a conclusion unless others comment on my conclusions that overturn my views. I shall continue to collect and look for patterns in the hoards that are sold piecemeal in auctions un-provenanced from which I obtained an example of the very first New Style with an unknown reverse.

My last coin was a fitting end to my Rome-Pontic work; a drinking pegasos tetradrachm of King Mithradates with a realistic portrait dated to the beginning of the fateful Mithradatic wars: Bithynian-Pontic year 209= 89/88 BC.


John Nisbet
3rd January 2014
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Offline carthago

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 02:19:16 pm »
Collecting coins can be a drug but I am not an addictive personality...

I don't know, Cic, but it seems to me you are in need of a serious 12 step program.  Not that I'm throwing stones because clearly I have a major addiction myself.  I think there are actually good addictions.   8)

Offline Carausius

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2013, 06:26:15 pm »
I would say that's a productive year's work! I'd like to thank you for these New Style posts over the past year. They've given me an appreciation and understanding of the intricacies of this series that I lacked before. In fact, I purchased my first New Style tet and a set of Thompson this year.

Offline cicerokid

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 09:58:27 am »

Thank you Michael.

A copy of Thompson, how very posh!

My copy was via the British lending library and somehow an impression of most of it ended up on my hard drive.

Where is your gallery? Have I seen your New Style?

Please point the way.

Regards

Cic
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Offline Carausius

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 12:52:24 pm »
I have not set up a gallery.  Not really sure how to go about it. It's probably a miracle that I am able to post messages!

Offline Meepzorp

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2013, 12:23:26 am »
Quote from: Carausius on December 23, 2013, 12:52:24 pm
I have not set up a gallery.  Not really sure how to go about it. It's probably a miracle that I am able to post messages!

Hi Cara,

I agree 100%. I have the same problem. And it compounded by the fact that my coins are all in mylar plastic flips. I'd have to take them out to take photos. I don't think Joe permits photos of coins in flips.

Meepzorp

Offline cicerokid

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2013, 04:26:52 am »

Hi Michael,

Describe it to me.

Diameter.

Weight

Symbol   if any

1st magistrate  if any

2nd magistrate  if any             

3rd magistrate  if any

Amphora letter   if any

2nd control   if any

That should do!

cic
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Offline Carausius

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 12:17:27 pm »
Cic:

Sorry for the delay - I just saw your reply.  Information requested is below:

Diameter: 31 mm

Weight: 16.92

Symbol: Club draped in lion skin over bow in case

1st magistrate: HPA

2nd magistrate: ΑΡΙ-ΣTΟΦ   

3rd magistrate:  ΕΠΙΣΤP

Amphora letter:  :Greek_Lambda:

2nd control:  :Greek_Pi_2: :Greek_Lambda:

Same obverse die as Svoronos Plate 45, No. 11; Thompson 339c-e

Happy New Year!

Offline djmacdo

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 01:56:00 pm »
Cicero kid,

Congratulations on a most productive year.  I am still trying to absorb, understand, and test your recent work, and I am not finding it easy, but I continue to work on it.  So far, I have no good grounds to disagree with you on anything, though on one or two points I am still vague about whether there is enough proof to substantiate them.  I am filled with admiration about your insights and industry.

Cordially,

Mac


Offline cicerokid

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 02:00:28 pm »


Just seen the replies,

Thank you Michael and Mac: Anything I can help with?

Happy New year and good hunting!

Cic

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Offline Carausius

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 03:10:48 pm »
Thanks. I'll need "good hunting." It seems I'm always late to the numismatic party. Prices of New Style tets have really gone through the roof. They were cheaper BEFORE I got interested.

Offline cicerokid

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Re: Cicerokid's review of 2013
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 05:47:51 pm »

I have noted that too, luckily for me I am almost at the end! ( just about 9 to go- don't ask).


Cic
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