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Aetolia_map.jpg  Ancient_Greek_Northern_regions.png

Ancient coins from Aetolia in the Forum Ancient Coins shop

Bloesch, H. Griechische Münzen In Winterthur. (Winterthur, 1987).
De Laix, R.A. "The Silver Coinage of the Aetolian League" in California Studies in Classical Antiquity 6 (1974), pp. 47 - 75.
Gardner, P. British Museum Catalogue of Greek Coins, Thessaly to Aetolia. (London, 1883).
Imhoof-Blumer, F. Monnaies Grecques. (Amsterdam, 1883).
Liampi, K. "E Nomismatike paragoge tes Potidanias" in Essays Oeconomides.
Liampi, K. "On the Chronology of the Bronze Coinages of the Aetolian League and its Members (Spearhead and Jawbone Types)" in ARCAIOGNWSIA 9 (1995-1996), pp. 83 ff.
Grose, S. W. Catalogue of the McClean Collection of Greek Coins, Fizwilliam Museum, Volume II: The Greek mainland, the Aegaean islands, Crete. (Cambridge, 1926).
Münzen & Medaillen (Deutschland). Sammlung B: Akarnanien und Aetolien. Auction 23 (18 October 2007, Stuttgart).
Naville Co. Monnaies grecques antiques S. Pozzi. Auction 1 (4 April 1921, Geneva).
Sear, D. Greek Coins and Their Values, Volume 1: Europe. (London, 1978).
Scheu, F. "The Coinage Systems of Aetolia" in NC 1960, pp. 37 - 52. 
Scholten, J.B. Aetolian Foreign Relations during the Era of Expansion, ca. 300-217 B.C. Dissertation. (Berkeley, 1987-1988).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 3: Greece: Thessaly to Aegean Islands. (West Milford, NJ, 1982).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, France, Bibliothèque National, Collection Jean et Marie Delepierre. (Paris, 1983).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain III, R.C. Lockett Collection, Part 3: Macedonia - Aegina (gold and silver). (London, 1942).
Robinson, E. S. G. & G. K. Jenkins. A Catalogue of the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection of Greek Coins, Vol. II: Greece to East. (Lisboa, 1989).
Thompson, Margaret. The Agrinion Hoard. ANSNNM 159 (1968).
Tsangari, D.I. Corpus des monnaies d 'or, d 'argent et de bronze de la confédération étolienne. (Athens, 2007).

The Aetolians, notwithstanding their ancient heroic fame, were in historical times the most turbulent and uncivilized people of Hellas. Before the age of Alexander there is no trace of Aetolian money, nor was it until after the consolidation of the Aetolian League, brought about by the invasions of Aetolia by the Macedonians (B.C. 314-311) and by the Gauls (B.C. 279), that the Federal coinage began. This is proved by the reverse type of the tetradrachm, which contains a distinct allusion to the repulse both of Macedonians and Gauls by the Aetolians, circa B.C. 279 - 168. The Aetolian League was a confederation of tribal communities and cities centered in central Greece, probably established to oppose Macedon and the Achaean League. Other Greeks considered Aetolians to be semi-barbaric, but their league had an effective political and administrative structure and a powerful army. By the end of the 3rd century B.C., it controlled the whole of central Greece outside Attica. At its height, the league included Locris, Malis, Dolopes, part of Thessaly, Phocis, and Acarnania. Some Mediterranean city-states, such as Kydonia on Crete, joined. As the first Greek ally of the Roman Republic, the league helped defeat Philip V of Macedon. Roman meddling in Greek affairs shifted opinion and a few years later the league sided with Antiochus III, the anti-Roman Seleucid king. Antiochus ' defeat in 189 B.C. forced the league to sign a treaty that allowed it to exist but made it an feeble pawn of the Roman Republic.

Head of Athena in Corinthian helmet.
[Brit. Mus. Guide, Pl. XLII. 14.]
ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Aetolia [1] wearing kausia, short chiton, chlamys, and endromides, with sword and spear, seated on pile of shields, her left breast bare; she holds Nike.
AV Stater.
Head of young Herakles in lion-skin. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Id. [Brit. Mus. Guide, Pl. XLII. 15].
AV ½ Stater.
Head of Aetolos in kausia.
[Hunter, Pl. XXXII. 13.]
ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Kalydonian boar; in exergue, spear-head.
AV ½ Stater.

It seems absolutely certain that the first of the Aetolian gold staters, which is of much more elegant and refined workmanship than the rest, was, like those of Pyrrhus, designed, engraved, and struck at the Syracusan mint. Cf. BMC Thessaly, Pl. XX. 7 (Pyrrhus) with Pl. XXX. 3 (Aetolia); the two are almost identical on the obverses, and bear the same adjunct symbol, an owl, behind the head of Athena.

FIG. 189.

1 Concerning the old attribution of this figure to Atalanta and of that of Aetolos to Meleager, see Imhoof (Mon. gr., p. 145).


Head of young Herakles in lion-skin. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Aetolia seated as above, but without Nike (Fig. 189).
AR Attic tetradrachm
Bust of Artemis laureate, with bow and quiver at her shoulder. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Id.
AR Attic tetradrachm
Young male head, wearing wreath intertwined with diadem.
[Brit. Mus. Guide, Pl. XLII. 17.]
  „   Naked warrior (Aetolos) with kausia hanging at his back and sword under his arm, standing resting on spear with one foot on rock.
AR 158 grs.

The head on the coins of the last series has been conjecturally identified by Gardner (N. C., I 878, p. 97) with that of Antiochus III, who, during his invasion of Greece, B.C. 192-191, was elected αυτοκρατωρ στρατηγος of the Aetolian League; see, however, N. C. 1894, pp. 297 ff., where J. P. Six suggests that it is more likely to be a portrait of Demetrius, son of Antigonus Gonatas, surnamed 'Aetolicus '.

Head of Artemis laureate, with bow and quiver at her shoulder. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Aetolia seated on shields [Brit. Mus. Guide, Pl. XLII. 18]
AR 82 grs.
Head of Athena in Corinthian helmet. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Boar and spear-head [Imhoof MG, Pl. D. 18]
AR 87 grs.
Head of Aetolia wearing kausia. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Kalydonian boar; in exergue, spear-head [BMC Thessaly Pl. XXX. 8].
AR 41 grs.
Head of Aetolos, hair short, wearing kausia. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Id.
AR 38 grs.
Head of Aetolia. ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Id.
Æ .7
Id.   „   Spear-head.
Æ .7-.6
Young male head, Aetolos (?), laureate.   „   Trophy [BMC Thessaly Pl. XXX. 11].
Æ .7
Æ .45
Id. [BMC Thessaly Pl. XXX. 12.]   „  Spear-head and jaw-bone of Kalydonian boar.
Æ .7
Head of Athena.
[BMC Thessaly Pl. XXX. 13.]
ΑΙΤΩΛΩΝ Herakles standing.
Æ .75

The seated figure of Aetolia on some of the above coins is certainly a copy of the statue of that heroine dedicated by the Aetolians at Delphi, γυναικοσ αγαλμα ωπλισμενης, η Αιτωλια δηθεν (Paus. x. 18. 7), in memory of their victory over the Gauls. Beneath her feet on the tetradrachms is a Gaulish trumpet (carnyx) ending in the head of a wolf or dragon, and some of the shields on which she is seated are of the Gaulish and others of the Macedonian pattern, the former sometimes inscribed Α, the initial of the Gaulish leader Acichorius, and the latter ΛΥ, perhaps standing for Lyciscus, the Macedonian general (BMC Thessaly p. lvii).

None of the Aetolian towns issued autonomous coins. The few bronze pieces with Aetolian types were probably struck by cities in alliance with the Aetolians outside the boundaries of Aetolia proper, or not actual members of the Confederacy, such as Oeta in Thessaly, Amphissa, and Oeantheia in Locri Ozolae, Thronium in Locri Epicnemidii, and Apollonia near Naupactus. (Cf. also Hunter Cat., II. 30.)


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