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Le Péloponnèse d’Épaminondas à Hadrien

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Catherine Grandjean

Première partie. Du Péloponnèse “macédonien” à la province d’Achaïe

The framework of the Achaian Koinon

Jennifer Warren

Texte intégral

1Federalism is such an appealing concept but unhappily is not always easy to implement. A group of constituents of different sizes, different agendas, and varying commitments to an ideal of federalism is liable to have an element of instability. A listing of constituent members by size is presupposed for proportional representation in the federal assembly and for other purposes, and thus will have formed the framework or structure of a federation.

  • 1 Larsen 1968, 221.
  • 2 Corsten 1999, 174-177.
  • 3 Gschnitzer 1985. For a second catalogue of nomographoi, found at Aigion, see Rizakis 2003.

2As regards the framework of the Achaian federation, I do not propose to discuss the vexed question of synteleia in the Achaian Koinon, the grouping together of members for the payment of taxes. The historic synteleia of Patrai is well known1, but others that have been suggested are more speculative2. But I do wish to suggest that the federal catalogue of nomographoi from Epidauros (IG, IV2 1, 73), in which as Gschnitzer has convincingly argued, the numbers of nomographoi from different poleis are based upon representation in proportion to population3, may be compared with the Achaian federal bronze coinage of the second century a.C. This coinage likewise appears to presuppose a listing by the number of citizens of the member poleis.

  • 4 Head 1911, 417-418.
  • 5 See Warren 2007.

3In Head’s Historia Numorum4, the 41 poleis then known to have struck the federal bronze coinage are listed with their date of accession to the Koinon as when known. The number is now increased to 45 (or possibly 46)5.

  • 6 See op. cit. “Chronological bibliography and survey of interest in the bronze coinage of the Achai (...)

4The first significant collections of these coins, in Venice, were surely the fruit of the Venetian occupation of the Morea, 1684-1715, and visits to it by Venetians6; and I believe, though I have not been able to substantiate this, that the collecting was on an informed, knowledgeable basis: the Venetian collectors had read their Polybius and other ancient authors, and were looking for new varieties struck by different federal members.

  • 7 Notably: Sopra le Medaglie antiche relative alla Confederazione degli Achei dissertazione di Domen (...)
  • 8 Warren forthcoming: “Catalogue. Part III. Ghost mints. ‘Thelpousa’”.

5At the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th the indefatigable Domenico Sestini inspected and recorded these Venetian collections7. Sestini had often to struggle to read the indistinct legends on unica that were heavily worn or had some letters off the flan. Unfortunately his misreadings have been repeated by his successors, so that it has been necessary to trace back individual coins to when they were first recorded. (Indeed the initial misreading by Sestini of one of the commonest coins in the entire series has resulted in the mistaken belief, innocently repeated to date by a sucession of 16 scholars, that Thelpousa struck the federal bronze coinage8. As yet there is no evidence that it did.)

  • 9 E.g. Tracy 1990.

6When the canon of the coinage was established, certain remarkable features became apparent. Similarly to the experience of the epigrapher S. V. Tracy who realised that the same hands had cut different inscriptions9, it became clear that the same engraver could be seen to have cut dies at different mints, in one case up to as many as 6 different mints, and it has been possible to identify some 27 different hands that engraved obverse or reverse dies. Secondly in some 36 or more cases out of the 45 it is clear or at least arguable that the coinage of each polis was struck as a single episode, either because there was only one variety; or because all the varieties carry the name of the same man; or the varieties are clearly linked by the work of a single hand. For the remaining 9 mints coining, a single episode is not proven, but though it cannot definitely be excluded that a few mints struck coins on different occasions from the rest, we can plausibly suppose that the entire bronze coinage was struck as a single episode, although in view of the number of dies used, an extended one, not one, for example, in response to a single occasion.

7A third notable feature of the coinage is that there was clearly a standard disposition of the legend. Most of the coins show on the reverse the names in the genitive of the two authorities jointly responsible for issuing the coin, the Koinon itself and the polis – thus for example ΑΧΑΙΩΝ ΚΛΕΩΝΑΙΩΝ, – and on the obverse the name of the responsible official, e.g. ΑΓΑΙΟΣ. However of the 45 poleis 4 of the larger poleis struck coins with some, though not all, of their coins with no obverse legend: Megalopolis, Argos, Megara and then Tegea. But coming to realise that there was inadequate space on the reverses of their issues for the name of the official as well as of the two minting authorities, they decided to transfer the official’s name to the obverse, so that that became the standard form thereafter.

  • 10 Berlin (Imhoof-Blumer).
  • 11 BMC Peloponnesus 14, no 166, pl. III. 10.

8That that is what occurred is by good fortune shown by a coin of Megara10 which has the name ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙ partially erased on the reverse die, but clear on the obverse die. And at Megalopolis a similarly transitional coin in the British Museum11 was struck from a new obverse die with the official’s name in full – ΠΑΝΤΙΣΘΕΝΗΣ – and an old reverse die with the abbreviated name which had formerly been used with anepigraphic obverses. Thus we can postulate a federal decree which ordained the original format, which was implemented by Megalopolis, Argos and Megara, and soon Tegea. But later, as this was found to be unsatisfactory, with reference to the nomographoi, or the damiourgoi, or even at the next synodos, the decree was emended to ordain what then became the standard form.

9Three footnotes to the account of this event. It had become standard practice in Greek coinage generally to place the legend on the reverse, especially the official’s name, because of course officials change so new reverse dies would have to be cut, but an obverse die could continue in use. But the Achaian federal bronze coinage faced a particular difficulty, in having names of two authorities to accommodate (in addition to that of the official). Megalopolis having two unusually long words to fit in, ΜΕΓΑΛΟΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ and ΠΑΝΤΙΣΘΕΝΗΣ, may have been especially aware of the problem, and may even have been responsible for initiating the change.

10Secondly, four poleis with small outputs but with at least one anepigraphic obverse, may simply have failed to hear of the change. Thirdly, when the change came, Argos went its own way, ignoring the new format and arrogantly placing its own ethnic ΑΡΓΕΙΩΝ on the obverse of its subsequent issues. Within Argos’ sphere of influence Epidauros and Hermione irregularly placed ΑΧΑΙΩΝ on the obverse, as also did Orchomenos. But all other poleis used the now standard form with the official’s name on the obverse.

  • 12 See Warren forthcoming: “The dating of the bronze coinage: I”.

11So, given that the federal bronze coinage was, surely, struck as a single episode with a network of engravers (and possibly travelling mints) moving round the Peloponnese, when was it struck? Certainly after 191 a.C. when Elis and Messene joined the Koinon, not between 183-182 BC when Messene was in revolt, and probably not between 182 and 180 when she was exempted from federal taxation. Since Corinth struck the coinage, 146 a.C. is the terminal date, but examination of the wear of the coins found in the Corinth excavations12 suggests that the terminus ante quem should be a good deal earlier.

  • 13 Oreus (IGCH 232; CH 9.235); Thebes (IGCH 233; CH 9.243); Vonitsa (CH 8.431).
  • 14 Vonitsa (CH 8.431, pl. LII. 19, 24-26. Late Group: Thompson 1968.
  • 15 Thompson 1968, 117.
  • 16 See Warren forthcoming: “The dating of the bronze coinage: I”.
  • 17 Boehringer 1991, 163-70; Warren 1999.

12A terminus post quem for the coinage is also less than precise. Achaian silver triobols have been found in three hoards datable to the Third Macedonian War13, though in these only four Achaian triobols were from the so-called Late Group14. I believe that it is unlikely that the federal bronze coinage was struck between the Early and Late groups of the silver coinage: it seems most improbable that the number of mints would have expanded from eleven for the Early silver Group, then forty-five mints striking bronze coins, and finally back to fifteen15. There may possibly be a tenuous connection between two issues placed by Margaret Thompson at the end of the Late silver Group, and the bronze coinage. At Pellene ΑΘ appears on the silver, and ΑΘΑΝΙΠΠΟΣ on the bronze, and the monogram of mu and epsilon at Sikyon on both silver and bronze16. (The Final Group of silver coinage is now generally accepted – after Professor Boehringer’s brilliant observation, – to have been moved down to the 1st century a.C.17).

  • 18 Tsangari & Alexopoulou 2003.

13A recently discovered double hoard from Patrai18 gives a little more help. Two groups of coins in adjacent rooms contained 14 bronze coins of Antigonos Gonatas, 40 AE of Ptolemy III of the type Svoronos 1000, 1 drachm of Chalkis, and 6 Achaian silver triobols, all from the Early Group and all fresh. If this was as Tsangari and Alexopoulou suggest, a single hoard, the fact that it contained both silver and bronze coins, and the absence of Achaian bronze coins, suggest that they were certainly later than the Early Achaian silver Group and as suggested above, later than the Late silver Group also.

  • 19 Larsen 1938.
  • 20 Liv. 45.18.3-4, 29.11; Diod. 31.8.7.

14We are left then, not with a crisply certain date for the coinage, but the probability of its being somewhere about the time of the Third Macedonian War or soon afterwards. Let us hope for more hoards. This point in time would be particularly appropriate for a bronze coinage; a huge amount of silver had been removed to Rome as booty19, and the Macedonian silver mines were shut from 167 to 158 a.C.20

  • 21 Larsen 1968, 233.
  • 22 See Polybius’ observation that at the time of the Achaian war there was a lack of funds ἐν τος κοι (...)

15One can perhaps go further. It is possible that new mints will still turn up, but in view of the fact that only four new mints have been found since Head’s listing in 1911, it seems fairly improbable. Yet certainly there are a significant number of Peloponnesian poleis known to have been active in the first half of the second century which did not strike the coinage. All but one of these were either quite small or very small. Why then did they not strike the federal bronze coinage? The answer surely is that it was a decision of each individual polis to strike it or not. Each polis was expected, as Larsen has pointed out21, to pay taxes to the federal treasury when required to do so, and those that did not strike the federal bronze coinage obviously would have used whatever funds they had in their treasuries, as before22. On the other hand there was an intrinsic advantage in striking the coinage if your neighbours also did so, because of the unique facility of exchange of the federal coins.

  • 23 Thompson 1968, 48-49, pl. XXXVIII, 468.
  • 24 Cartledge & Spawforth 2002, 85.
  • 25 Ibid. 86.

16Notably however there was one large polis which did not strike the bronze coinage: Sparta. Sparta of course, historically averse to money, had desisted from striking until the 3rd century coinage of Areus, though she had struck a few of the federal triobols of the Early Period23. However that Honorary Spartan Paul Cartledge, who, if anyone, has his finger on the pulse of Sparta, pointed out that while the removal of more than one thousand leading Achaians to Italy was “an unjust punishment for Achaea. But no less was it an undeserved bonus for Sparta, who, having done nothing for Rome, found herself rid at a stroke of all her principal Achaean enemies”24. “Encouraged no doubt by Rome’s hard line with Achaea in 167, Sparta in about 164 sought to re-open at Rome the question of her northen frontier with Megalopolis, and perhaps also, if Pausanias (7.11.1-3) is not merely confused, her north-eastern border with Argos”25. The absence of federal bronze coins of Sparta would be particularly well explained at this juncture.

  • 26 Grandjean 2000, 315-36.
  • 27 Pleuron had evidently belonged to the Koinon since 168 until the visit of Gallus in 164/163 (Gruen (...)
  • 28 Pol. 33.16.
  • 29 Liampi 2000, 220-225.

17In the much quoted honorary inscription of c. 130-120 a.C. for Menas from Sestos (OGIS, 339) two reasons are given for striking a bronze coinage: publicity for the city’s emblem, and that the people should gain the profit from the source of revenue. We cannot be sure that these were both universally the motives for striking a bronze coinage, though the profit motive surely was always to the fore. But in the case of the Achaian federal bronze coinage they would seem to apply. Undoubtedly the federal bronze coinage being a fiduciary coinage will have been a significant source of profit, and though there is not time now to pursue this matter in detail, I would suggest that, pace Professor Grandjean26, the intention was to stockpile money in the treasury of each polis for military purposes, as would be required by the federal treasury for eisphora. Remember that it was between 167 and 146 BC, the period for which sadly we have so little information, that the Koinon occupied Pleuron and Heraklea27, and in 154/153 a.C. both Rhodes and Crete asked the Koinon for assistance28. And note the important article by Professor Liampi in which she analyses 10,000 Macedonian bronze coins found in Thessaly, of the same denomination, hemiobol, as the Achaian federal bronze coins, and imputes them to the garrisoning of Thessalian towns by the Macedonian soldiers29.

  • 30 Cartledge & Spawforth 2002, 85.

18But as for the other motive in the Sestos decree, publicity for the city’s emblem, it seems not impossible that even after the traumatic national experience of losing more than one thousand leading Achaians, including Polybius himself, to Italy30 this could be an undaunted assertion of national identity. The potency of coinage in the ancient world as a political symbol should not be underestimated.

19So I am inclined to suggest that a plausible time for striking the coinage might be between 167 and 164 BC, though this is not a crisp certainty. Perhaps new hoards will throw light on the question. But we can perhaps be more certain that there existed at the time a listing of the members of the Koinon by their approximate sizes. This would have been necessary to state and cap the volume of bronze coinage that each polis was permitted to strike. If there were not, the entitlement of each polis to strike its own federal bronze coins would have been a licence to print money.

  • 31 See below.

20Now as can be seen from the table that shows the data for each mint31, it is not possible to divide the outputs of the mints neatly by size. But, leaving the exceptional case of Megalopolis on one side, in general terms the larger poleis had greater outputs, the smaller lesser outputs.

  • 32 Warren forthcoming: “The size of the coinage and the men involved in its production”.
  • 33 Ibid.
  • 34 Bellinger 1930, viii.
  • 35 Svoronos 1904, ii, 155, n. 1000; iii, pl. XXX. 8.
  • 36 Warren forthcoming: “The size of the coinage and the men involved in its production”.
  • 37 Mørkholm 1991, 19.
  • 38 See Amandry 1988; Howgego 1989, 199.

21However it does appear to be the case that only a small proportion of the Achaian federal bronze coinage has survived32, with the strong implication that after 146 a.C. this fiduciary bronze coinage was demonetized (though not the federal silver coinage which could be hoarded, as in the Agrinion hoard33). As long ago as 1930 Bellinger expressed his puzzlement that so few of these bronze coins had been found at Corinth34. In fact at several Peloponnesian excavation sites significantly more bronze coins of Ptolemy III (of the type Svoronos 100035) have been found, although that coinage can be historically quantified, and can be shown to have been far smaller than the Achaian federal bronze coinage, which was, in toto, huge36. The size of a coinage can be roughly quantified by counting the number of obverse dies, and it has been shown that it is necessary to have at least 7 coins from the same obverse die to ensure that a full record of a coinage has been found37. The Corinthian duoviral coinage38, as presented by Michel Amandry, has an average of approximately 6 coins survivng for each obverse die, whereas for the Achaian federal bronze coinage there is an average of only 1 1/2 coins per obverse.

  • 39 Plut., Philopoimen, 13.5. See Errington 1969, 91.

22To return to Megalopolis, which as we saw was one of the initiating mints of the series. Its comparatively small output may be explained by the number of Arkadian poleis which had their own mints, having earlier been detached from Megalopolis by Philopoimen39.

  • 40 Walbank 1957, 232: (Pellene) “pursued a separatist course in the fifth and fourth centuries. She j (...)
  • 41 If, hypothetically, Pellene was fined, and if the coinage is to be dated to the period suggested a (...)

23But what is extraordinary in the table of statistics is that it is Pellene that has the by far the largest number of coins and of obverse dies recorded. In terms of the size or even the political status of Pellene in the Koinon this is unaccountable. It would appear that the maverick Pellene decided ‘to buck the trend’, and for the sake of profit, exceeded her permitted allocation of coin production. It is fascinating that both Walbank and Larsen have stressed that it was characteristic of Pellene to go her own way40. Further, it can be shown that the coinage decree that we have postulated will have specified the weight of the federal bronze coins, but not their diameters, which differed slightly from mint to mint, and may have been due to differing methods of flan production. Pellene had somewhat small flans so that the ethnic ΠΕΛΑΑΝΕΩΝ was often entirely or in part off the flan. One may even suspect that a deliberate deception was perhaps being practised. If so, unfortunately we do not know if Pellene was fined for her misdemeanour41.

  • 42 See above p. 91 n. 3.

24To turn finally to the catalogue of nomographoi from Epidauros, and dated c. 210-207 a.C. in which Argos and Megalopolis had three nomographoi each, Sikyon, Dyme and Aigion two each, and others one each. Gschnitzer has surely explained the differing number of nomographoi that each polis was allowed as due to proportional representation. Thus though the nomographoi inscriptions from Epidauros and Aigion42 and the federal bronze coinage are of different dates, all three must imply, something that was hardly surprising, a federal listing of poleis by sizes, the catalogues recording the entitlement of the number of nomographoi, and the bronze coinage – through not the silver coinage – the permitted ceiling of output for each polis.

The bronze coinage of the Achaian Koinon: minting statistics

The bronze coinage of the Achaian Koinon: minting statistics

N. B. Uncertain die-links have been counted as though certain. The number of dies may therefore be greater than stated.
* As calculated using the technique of Carter 1983.

Notes

1 Larsen 1968, 221.

2 Corsten 1999, 174-177.

3 Gschnitzer 1985. For a second catalogue of nomographoi, found at Aigion, see Rizakis 2003.

4 Head 1911, 417-418.

5 See Warren 2007.

6 See op. cit. “Chronological bibliography and survey of interest in the bronze coinage of the Achaian Koinon”.

7 Notably: Sopra le Medaglie antiche relative alla Confederazione degli Achei dissertazione di Domenico Sestini, Milan, 1817.

8 Warren forthcoming: “Catalogue. Part III. Ghost mints. ‘Thelpousa’”.

9 E.g. Tracy 1990.

10 Berlin (Imhoof-Blumer).

11 BMC Peloponnesus 14, no 166, pl. III. 10.

12 See Warren forthcoming: “The dating of the bronze coinage: I”.

13 Oreus (IGCH 232; CH 9.235); Thebes (IGCH 233; CH 9.243); Vonitsa (CH 8.431).

14 Vonitsa (CH 8.431, pl. LII. 19, 24-26. Late Group: Thompson 1968.

15 Thompson 1968, 117.

16 See Warren forthcoming: “The dating of the bronze coinage: I”.

17 Boehringer 1991, 163-70; Warren 1999.

18 Tsangari & Alexopoulou 2003.

19 Larsen 1938.

20 Liv. 45.18.3-4, 29.11; Diod. 31.8.7.

21 Larsen 1968, 233.

22 See Polybius’ observation that at the time of the Achaian war there was a lack of funds ἐν τος κοινοĩς (Pol. 38.15.6).

23 Thompson 1968, 48-49, pl. XXXVIII, 468.

24 Cartledge & Spawforth 2002, 85.

25 Ibid. 86.

26 Grandjean 2000, 315-36.

27 Pleuron had evidently belonged to the Koinon since 168 until the visit of Gallus in 164/163 (Gruen, E. JHS 1976, 51; Walbank 1957, III. 465). Heraklea in Trachis had joined the Achaian Koinon sometime after 167, but revolted in 146 a.C. (Walbank 1957, III. 709).

28 Pol. 33.16.

29 Liampi 2000, 220-225.

30 Cartledge & Spawforth 2002, 85.

31 See below.

32 Warren forthcoming: “The size of the coinage and the men involved in its production”.

33 Ibid.

34 Bellinger 1930, viii.

35 Svoronos 1904, ii, 155, n. 1000; iii, pl. XXX. 8.

36 Warren forthcoming: “The size of the coinage and the men involved in its production”.

37 Mørkholm 1991, 19.

38 See Amandry 1988; Howgego 1989, 199.

39 Plut., Philopoimen, 13.5. See Errington 1969, 91.

40 Walbank 1957, 232: (Pellene) “pursued a separatist course in the fifth and fourth centuries. She joined Sparta independently at the outset of the Peloponnesian War (Thc. 2.9.2), in 418 she was the only Peloponnesian state to send her help (The. 5.58.4, 59.3, 60.3), and in 413 she again acted separately. (Thc. 8.3.2). In 394 the men of Pellene fought beside the other Achaeans as Spartan allies (Xen., Hell., 4.2.18, 2.20), but were not necessarily in the League. After Leuctra they supported Sparta enthusiastically for longer than the other Achaeans (Xen., Hell., 6.5.29, 7.2.2), had gone over to Thebes by 369 (Xen., Hell., 7.1.18, 2.11ff.), but later expelled the democrats and rejoined Sparta (Xen., Hell., 7.4.18). In 345/344 Pellene treated separately with Athens (IG, II-III2, 220; SEG, 3, 83); and in 331 she was the only Achaean state not to support Agis (Aeschin., Ctes., 165), perhaps under the tyrant Chaeron (41.6). This separatism is not apparent in the third century”. Larsen 1968, 7: “In the Achaean Confederacy Pellene had a tendency to go its own way”. Ibid., 128: “....at the begining of the Peloponnesian War, only the easternmost city, Pellene, which often went its own way, was a firm ally of Sparta”.

41 If, hypothetically, Pellene was fined, and if the coinage is to be dated to the period suggested above, the fine could have been imposed during the period for which Polybius’ text is missing.

42 See above p. 91 n. 3.

Table des illustrations

Titre The bronze coinage of the Achaian Koinon: minting statistics
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Fichier image/jpeg, 106k
Légende N. B. Uncertain die-links have been counted as though certain. The number of dies may therefore be greater than stated.* As calculated using the technique of Carter 1983.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ausonius/docannexe/image/1365/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 243k

Auteur

Society for Hellenic Studies

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