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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


Dyrrhachion, Illyria, Greece, Roman Protectorate, c. 229 - 80 B.C.

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Durrës, one of the oldest cities in Albania, was founded as Epidamnos in 627 B.C. by colonists from Corinth and Corcyra. Located around a rocky harbor, surrounded by inland swamps and high cliffs, the city was difficult to attack from land or sea. After its defeat to Rome in 229 B.C., the new rulers renamed the city Dyrrachium. Epidamnos is similar to the Latin damnum, meaning "loss." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," likely referring to the nearby cliffs. Dyrrachium prospered under Rome and was made a naval and military base. Pompey made a stand there in 48 B.C. before fleeing south to Greece. Augustus made the city a colony for veterans of his legions following the Battle of Actium, proclaiming it a civitas libera (free town).
GS91758. Silver drachm, Ceka 325; Maier 278; BMC Thessaly p. 71, 94; SNG Cop 478; Mionnet 122; HGC 3.1 40; SNG München -, gVF, toned, light marks, a little off center, weight 2.727 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 105o, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, magistrates Meniskos & Lykiskon, c. 229 - 80 B.C.; obverse cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, MENIΣKOΣ above, sculpture of female (Isis?) right; reverse ∆YP - ΛY-KIΣ-KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square; scarce; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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

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Durrës, one of the oldest cities in Albania, was founded as Epidamnos in 627 B.C. by colonists from Corinth and Corcyra. Located around a rocky harbor, surrounded by inland swamps and high cliffs, the city was difficult to attack from land or sea. After its defeat to Rome in 229 B.C., the new rulers renamed the city Dyrrachium. Epidamnos is similar to the Latin damnum, meaning "loss." Dyrrhachion is Greek for "bad spine" or "difficult ridge," likely referring to the nearby cliffs. Dyrrachium prospered under Rome and was made a naval and military base. Pompey made a stand there in 48 B.C. before fleeing south to Greece. Augustus made the city a colony for veterans of his legions following the Battle of Actium, proclaiming it a civitas libera (free town).
GS91759. Silver drachm, Ceka 320; BMC Thessaly p. 69, 62; SNG München 365; SNG Tübingen 1396; SNG Cop 467; SNG Leipzig 677, gVF, attractive toning, uneven strike, reverse off center, small edge splits, weight 3.016 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 0o, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, 229 - 100 B.C.; obverse MENIΣKOΣ (magistrate), cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, raven flying right above, grain over cluster of grapes right; reverse ∆YP - ∆IO-NYΣ-IOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


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, c. 229 - 30 B.C.

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This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii. BMC calls the figure on the right side of the obverse a statue. Ceka identifies it as a female. The figure can be identified as Harpokrates by the a hem-hem crown and right index finger up to the lips.
MA93694. Silver drachm, Ceka 325 corr., BMC Thessaly p. 71, 94, weight 2.349 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, obverse MENIΣKOΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left; on right: Harpokrates standing facing wearing hemhem crown, finger to lips; reverse ∆YP − ΛY−KIΣ−KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; $22.00 (€19.36)


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.
MA93693. Silver drachm, cf. Ceka 320; BMC Thessaly p. 69, 62, weight 2.316 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, 229 - 30 B.C.; obverse cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left, MENIΣKOΣ above; reverse ∆YP − ∆IO−NY−ΣIOY, around, double stellate pattern within double linear square; $21.00 (€18.48)


Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 200 - 80 B.C.

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This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii.
MA93682. Silver drachm, BMC Thessaly p. 56, 4, weight 1.954 g, maximum diameter 16.8 mm, Apollonia mint, c. 200 - 80 B.C.; obverse APIΣTΩN (moneyer), cow left, head turned, suckling calf right; reverse AΠOΛ − AI−NE−A (magistrate), double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; $14.00 (€12.32)


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

Click for a larger photo
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.
MA93695. Silver drachm, Ceka 320; BMC Thessaly p. 69, 62, weight 2.103 g, maximum diameter 17.2 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; $.99 (€.87)


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

Click for a larger photo
This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii. BMC calls the figure on the right side of the obverse a statue. Ceka identifies it as a female. The figure can be identified as Harpokrates by the a hem-hem crown and right index finger up to the lips.
MA93699. Silver drachm, Ceka 325 corr., BMC Thessaly p. 71, 94, weight 2.313 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, Dyrrhachium (Durrës, Albania) mint, obverse MENIΣKOΣ, cow right, head turned back toward suckling calf left; on right: Harpokrates standing facing wearing hemhem crown, finger to lips; reverse ∆YP − ΛY−KIΣ−KOY, double stellate pattern within double linear square with sides curved inward; $.99 (€.87)







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REFERENCES|

Burnett, A., M. Amandry, et al. Roman Provincial Coinage. (1992 - ).
Brunsmid, J. Die Inschriften und Münzen der griechischen Städte Dalmatiens. (Vienna, 1898).
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).
Head, B. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, Corinth, Colonies of Corinth, Etc. (London, 1889).
Imhoof, F. Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1884, pp. 246 ff.
Maier, A. "Die Silberprägung von Apollonia und Dyrrhachion" in NZ 41 (1908), pp. 1 - 33.
Patsch, C. Congres de Num., 1900, p. 104 ff.
Prokopov, I. Coin Collections and Coin Hoards From Bulgaria, Vol. I, Numismatic Collections of the Historical Museum Lovech & the Historical Museum Razgrad. (Sofia, 2007).
Schlosser, J. von. Beschreibung der Altgreichischen Münzen I: Thessalien, Illyrien, Dalmatien und die Inseln des Adriatischen Meeres, Epeiros. (Vienna, 1893).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Vol. 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, München Staatlische Münzsammlung, Part 12: Thessalien - Illyrien - Epirus - Korkyra. (Berlin, 2007).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Grèce, Collection Réna H. Evelpidis, Part 2: Macédoine - Thessalie - Illyrie - Epire - Corcyre. (Athens, 1975).
Visonà, P. "Greek-Illyrian Coins in Trade, 1904-2005" in SNR 84 (2005).

Catalog current as of Sunday, September 22, 2019.
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Illyria