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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Geographic - All Periods| ▸ |Greece| ▸ |Illyria||View Options:  |  |  | 

Illyria, Greece

Illyria, in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, was divided into small hereditary kingdoms, none ruling the entire region, and some with only a single town. Numerous Greek colonies were also established in Illyria. Epidamnos was found in 627 B.C. and Apollonia founded in 588 B.C., both by colonists from Corinth and Corfu. The most notable Illyrian kingdoms and dynasties were those of Bardyllis of the Dardani, and of Agron of the Ardiaei. Agron extended rule to other tribes and created the last and best-known Illyrian kingdom. Rome defeated Gentius, the last independent king of Illyria, at Scodra (in present-day Albania) in 168 B.C. Four client-republics were set up, which were in fact ruled by Rome. Later, the region was governed as a province, with Scodra as its capital. In 10 A.D., after crushing a revolt, Rome dissolved the province of Illyricum and divided it between the new provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia. Illyricum was made a Roman prefecture during the 4th century, and was abolished, re-established and divided several times during the late Roman and Byzantine periods.Map of Ancient Greek colonies on the northern coast of the Black Sea

Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 229 - 80 B.C.

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The cities of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium (Epidamnus) were established in the Archaic period by Corcyra and her mother city Corinth on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the Illyrian lands to the north of Epirus. When the Illyrian and Macedonian kingdoms threatened their prosperity in the last third of the 3rd century BC, they turned to the Romans for military support and subsequently assumed the privileged status of a Roman protectorate (Polybius 2.12.2, Appian, Ill. 7 – 8). As early as 228 BC, these two Adriatic cities concluded an alliance with the Roman Republic. They served as Adriatic naval bases for the Republic, and soon became centers of Roman operations in the interior of the Balkans. Essentially, the late drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium were Roman controlled issues (Ujes-Morgan 2012). -- Illyrian Coinage From Thrace by Brendan Mac Gonagle.
GS92997. Silver drachm, Maier 31; BMC Thessaly p. 57, 11; SNG Cop 380; HGC 3.1 4 (S), VF, light marks, light toning, tight flan, obverse off center, tiny edge crack, weight 3.297 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 270o, Apollonia mint, magistrates Niken & Autoboulos, c. 229 - 80 B.C.; obverse NIKHN, cow left, head turned back toward suckling calf right; reverse AΠOΛ - AYTO-BOY-ΛOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; ex Quadriga Ancients; $60.00 (€52.80)

Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, 229 - 30 B.C.

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After the decisive defeat of the Illyrians to Rome in 229 B.C., the new Roman rulers renamed the city. The original name, Epidamnos, was similar to the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," probably referring to imposing cliffs near the city. This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii.
MA93696. Silver drachm, Ceka 320; BMC Thessaly p. 69, 62, weight 2.178 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, 229 - 30 B.C.; obverse MENIΣKOΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, raven above; reverse ∆YP − ∆IO−NY−ΣIOY, around, double stellate pattern within double linear square; $3.99 (€3.51)

Dyrrhachion, Illyria, c. 340 - 280 B.C.

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Dyrrhachion is today Durrës, the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km west of the capital Tirana. Founded in the 7th century B.C. by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corcyra under the name Epidamnos, it has been continuously inhabited for 2,700 years.

According to Wikipedia, "the Romans renamed the city Dyrrachium (Greek: Dyrrhachion). They considered the name Epidamnos to be inauspicious because of its wholly coincidental similarities with the Latin word damnum, meaning "loss" or "harm". The meaning of Dyrrachium ("bad spine" or "difficult ridge" in Greek) is unclear, but it has been suggested that it refers to the imposing cliffs near the city." This type with the ethnic ∆YP, indicates the city was renamed before Roman rule in 229 B.C. Either Wikipedia is incorrect or numismatists have dated this type too early.
SH63946. Silver stater, Maier p. 17, 1; BMC Thessaly p. 65, 1; SNG Cop 423, aVF, weight 10.626 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 90o, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, c. 340 - 280 B.C.; obverse cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; reverse ∆YP, double stellate pattern, divided by line, in double linear square border; club left below; all within linear circle border; SOLD


Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
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Calciati, R. Pegasi, Volume II: Colonies of Corinth and related issues. (Mortara, 1990).
Ceka, H. Questions de numismatique illyrienne. (State University, Tirana, 1972).
Gardner, P. A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
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Imhoof, F. Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1884, pp. 246 ff.
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Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
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