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Dyrrhachium - Epidamnos, Illyria

The ancient Greek city of Epidamnos or Epidamnus, later the Roman Dyrrhachium (modern Durrës, Albania, c. 30 km W of Tirana) was founded in 627 BC in Illyria by a group of colonists from Corinth and Corcyra (modern Corfu). Aristotle's Politics several times draws for examples on the internal government of Epidamnos, which was run as a tight oligarchy that appointed a ruling magistrate; tradesmen and craftsmen were excluded from power, until internal strife produced a more democratic government. The exiled oligarchs appealed to Corcyra while the democrats enlisted the help of Corinth, initiating a struggle between the two mother cities described by Thucydides as a cause of the Peloponnesian War. Individual trading with the local Illyrians was forbidden at Epidamnos: all traffic was through the authorized city agent or poletes. In the fourth century BC the city-state was part of the kingdoms of Cassander and Pyrrhus. The general vicinity of Epidamnus was called Epidamnia.

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."

Coins of Illyria for sale in the Forum Ancient Coins shop.

Numismatic 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). ONLINE
Imhoof, F. Numismatische Zeitschrift, 1884, pp. 246 ff.
Maier, A. "Die Silberprägung von Apollonia und Dyrrhachion" in NZ 41 (1908), pp. 1 - 33. ONLINE
Mirnik, I. "A Contribution to the Study of the Circulation of the Drachms of Apollonia and Dyrrhachium in Southern Pannonian Plain" in Annotazioni Numismatiche 24 (Dec. 1996), p. 526. ONLINE
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).

Websites

Petrányi, G. Coinage of the two Greek-Illyrian city states Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, website: http://asklapiadas.ancients.info/index.html
Wikipedia, Epidamnos-Dyrrhachium (Illyria), website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidamnos
Wildwinds Dyrrhachium Drachms - Cow and Calf Types - http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/greece/illyria/dyrrhachium/_schinkel_dyrrhachium.html


Historia Numorum

Dyrrhachium (Dyrrhachii. Epidamnus) the capital of the Dyrrhachians, was a colony of Corcyra of considerable importance. The money of this city down to about B.C. 100, when it comes to an end, falls into the same periods as that of Apollonia. The coins bear the name of the people and not of their chief town.

(i) B.C. 450-350. Silver staters of the Corcyrean standard, c. 11.02g.

Cow suckling calf.
[BMC Thessaly, Pl. XIII. 10.]
ΔΥΡ Double stellate square.
AR Staters.

(ii) Circ. B.C. 350-229. Staters, etc., of Corinthian types and weight (see Colonies of Corinth) (BMC Corinth, Pl. XXVI).

(iii) B.C. 229-100. New series of Dyrrhachian coins.

Cow suckling calf. ΔΥΡ Double stellate square [Brit. Mus. Guide, Pl. LXV. 12].
AR 3.43g
Forepart of cow. „ Id. [BMC Thessaly, Pl. XIV. 3]
AR 1.68g

These coins are of the weight of the Roman Victoriatus and ½ Victoriatus, and bear the names of two magistrates, probably that of the eponymous annual magistrate in the genitive on the reverse, and that of the superintendent of the mint in the nominative on the obverse. (See note 1, p. 314.) The adjunct symbol on the obverse changes with the name on the reverse, and therefore belongs properly to it. The bronze coins, also with magistrates’ names, bear types relating to the worship of the Dodonaean Zeus, Herakles, Helios, Asklepios, etc.