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THE

AMERICAN

NUMISMATIC

MUSEUM

SOCIETY

NOTES
20

THE

AMERICAN

NUMISMATIC
NEW

SOCIETY

YORK
1975

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THE
(Plates

PTOLEMAIC
COINS AND CHRONOLOGY:
DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA
Otto Morkholm

II-VI)
INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this paper is to presenta surveyof the dated silver


coinage of Alexandriaand, especially,to assess the contributionof this
materialto our knowledgeof Ptolemaic chronologyin the 2nd and 1st
centuriesb.c.1 It willbe demonstrated
that in somecases the numismatic
which
has
never
been
evidence,
systematically
applied to a chronological
is
able
to
the
investigation,
supplement
literary and documentary
sourcesand also to correctsome inferencesdrawn fromthat material.
In orderto understandthe chronologicalproblems,it willbe necessary
to deal brieflywiththe Egyptian use of the regnalyear. In our period
the Macedoniancalendarhad been completelyassimilatedto the Egyptian, in whichthe new year began on Thoth 1. As the Egyptian year
had 365 days,insteadof the Julian365 1]A,the newyear moved forward
one day everyfourthyear when expressed in Julian dates. Thus year
27 ofPtolemyVI began on Oct. 1, 155,whileyear22 ofCleopatrastarted
on Aug. 31, 31, the new year having moved forwarda littlemorethan
a monthin 125 years. When countingthe regnalyears,the time from
the accessionto the firstnew year'sday thereafter
was reckonedas year
1, whileyear 2 began withthis new year. The firstfullyear of a reign
thus becomes year 2. The lengthof year 1 will vary accordingto the
date of accession and may sometimeshave comprisedonly a few days.2
1 Alldatesin thispaperareb.c.
2 ForEgyptian
in general
seetheintroductions
to thefollowing
three
chronology
works:T. C. Skeat,TheReignsofthePtolemies
zurPapyrus, Mnchener
Beitrge
undantiken
39 (Munich,
forschung
Rechtsgeschichte
1954);A. E. Samuel,Ptolemaic
Mnchener
zurPapyrusforschung
undantiken
Chronology
Beitrge
Rechtsgeschichte
43(Munich,
lestextes
1962);P. W.Pestman,
Chronologie
gyptienne
d'aprs
dmotiques
Bataua15 (Leiden,1967).
(332 av. J.-C.- 453 ap. J.-C.),Papyrologica
Lugduno7

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OTTO M0RKHOLM

It should also be noted that we are dealing withthe coinage of Alexandria. While most dates frompapyriand ostraka derivefromvarious
parts of the countryand are quite unevenlydistributed,the chronofromthe coinsconcernsthe capital. This is important
logicalinformation
because otherevidencefromAlexandriais very sparse. Moreover,this
means that we do not have to take any considerabletime lag into account betweena changeof rulerand a new seriesof regnalyears. With
fromthe ignoranceof scribes
the papyri,posthumousdatingsderiving,
in remotevilllagesoftenhave to be considered.3
1ST PERIOD.

155/4-135/4

The coinage we are dealing with consistsof silver tetradrachmsof


ordinaryPtolemaic types (head of Ptolemy I/Eagle on thunderbolt)
inscribed TTTOAEMAIOY BAZIAEQI and dated by a numeral in
Greekprecededby the Egyptian sign foryear (L) indicatingthe regnal
year. The dated series from Alexandria begins in year 27 (155/4) of
PtolemyVI Philometor(Plate II, 1). At this time coins dated by the
years of the reigningking had been issued fromthe Cypriotmintsof
Salamis, Citiumand Paphos forabout 35 years. A curious,and as yet
unexplained, phenomenonis the occurrenceon the dated coins of
Alexandriaof the lettersTA in the rightfieldof the reverse,in exactly
the same place wherethe mintof Paphos placed its initialsin the usual
Cypriotfashion. Althoughthe TA continueson the Ptolemaic silver
of both Paphos and Alexandriarightto the end of productionat the
that it is normallyquite
two mints,the styleof the coins is so different
this fundamental
issues.4
their
to
However,
respective
easy
separate
distinctionwas not made by Svoronos,who,in his standardworkon the
Ptolemaic coinages,ascribed a numberof the coins actually struckat
3 Skeatp. 4; Samuelpp. 7-8.
4 See E. T. Newell,Standard
Ptolemaic
Silver(NewYork,1941),p. 7. The disandPaphoswillbe dealtwithmorethorthecoinsofAlexandria
tinction
between
ofthelargePaphoshoard( IGCH 1477)by
publication
oughlyin theforthcoming
Ino Nicolaouand OttoMorkholm.

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA

Alexandria to Paphos and thus to a considerableextent confusedthe


chronologicalevidence affordedby the coins.5
During his year 36 (146/5), presumablyin spring 145, Philometor
placed a son, PtolemyVII Neos Philopator,on the thronewithhimself.
A systemof double dating,year 36 of Philometor= year 1 of his son,
was also introducedand is knownbothfrompapyriand froma fewcoins
issued in Alexandria. The dating formula on the coins reads LAC
KAI A (Plate II, 4). Five specimensof this issue are known to me,
all struckfromthe same obversedie, whichwas also used forcoinsfrom
the same year dated by Philometoralone (Plate II, 5). This was duly
noticedby Newell in his publicationof the Keneh hoard,6but a closer
inspectionof the two coins shows that the specimendated by Philometoralone was struckafterthespecimenwithdoubledate,as theobverse
die, when used with the former,shows obvious tracesof greaterwear.
We must conclude that the coins with double date, for which onlya
singleobversedie was used,formeda specialissue,presumablyproduced
to celebrate or proclaim the participationof Neos Philopator in the
royalpower. ApparentlyPtolemyVI soon returnedto the normalcoinage dated by his own regnal year. Five obverse dies are at present
known fromthis year, includingthe one also used for the issue with
double date. Anotherof the fiveobversedies had alreadybeen used in
year 35 (Plate II, 2-3).
In late summer145 Philometordied duringa campaignin Syria,and
his brother,PtolemyVIII Euergetes II, quicklyseized the opportunity
to removethe youngNeos Philopatorand place himselfon the Egyptian
throne. At an earlierdate, in 170/69,he had been appointedco-regent
togetherwith Philometorand their sister,Cleopatra II. He reckoned
his years of reignfromthis date and consequently,on gainingthe power
in Alexandria,he startedoffwithyear25, corresponding
to the Egyptian
146
His
145.
accession
must
have
taken place
29,
27,
year Sept.
Sept.
5 J. Svoronos,
T vo/ua/uara.
rov xgarovgrvlToKejiaiojv
II (Athens,
1904),
nos.1437-51
(Ptolemy
VI) andnos.1501-32(Ptolemy
VIII).
6 E. T. Newell,TwoRecentEgyptian
Hoards,ANSNNM 33 (1927),pp. 25-6.
In thispublication
Newellthought
thatthecoinswerefromPaphos,butlaterhe
changedhis mind.[A.E. Samuel,"Year27= 30 and 88 b.c.," Chronique
gypte
themto theGypriot
mint.
(Brussels,
1965),p. 397stillascribes

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10

OTTO M0RKHOLM

beforeSept. 19, 145 accordingto the documents,but as his Alexandrian


coinage of year 25 (Plate II, 6) was struckfromat least five different
obversedies this event should be placed as early as possible,that is to
say, in late July or early August 145, leaving one and a half to two
months of the year for this rather intensive coin production. Consequently,the latest known date by Philometorand Neos Philopator,
August 21, 145, is in all likelihoodto be regardedas posthumous.7
During this firstperiod we thus have two coin series: Philometor's,
dated fromyear 27 to year 36 (155/4-146/5),and Euergetes',running
fromyear 25 (146/5)onward. As theyare separatedby only 11 yearsit
based on stylisticconsiderations
becomes evidentthat a differentiation
alone is a ratherhazardous affair. It seems betterto admit that up to
year 36 of PtolemyVIII (135/4)the list of issues in our tabular survey
(below p. 19) representsonly the most probable arrangementand may
be subject to changes.8
2ND PERIOD.

134/3-123/2

With the coins dated year 37 and later we are on certain ground
because onlythe reignof PtolemyVIII will accommodatecoins of these
dates. In 132/1the sisterand wifeof PtolemyVIII, CleopatraII, raised
a revolt against her brotherand appears as sole ruler for a couple of
years. Documents fromthe Thebas are dated by her 1st and 2nd
years which correspondto years 39 and 40 of Ptolemy VIII (132/1of the events it is generallyassumedthat
131/0).9 In the reconstruction
the revolt startedin Alexandria and that Ptolemy VIII had to leave
7 Fortheeventsof146/5see WalterOtto,"ZurGeschichte
derZeitdes6. Ptoleder Wissenschaften
Akademie
derBayerischen
, Philos.-hist.
mers,"Abhandlungen
Abt.NewSeriesNo. 11 (Munich,
1934),pp. 128ff.andWalterOttoandHermann
des Ptolemerr
des Niederganges
"ZurGeschichte
elches,"Abhandlungen
Bengtson,
derWissenschaften
Akademie
derBayerischen
Abt.,NewSeriesNo. 17
, Philos.-hist.
See also Skeatpp. 34-5;Samuel
1938),pp. 24-8.(citedOtto-Bengtson).
(Munich,
54-6.
Pestman
144-5;
pp.
pp.
8 Thisappliesespecially
diestudy
tothecoinsdatedtothe30's. Onlya complete
willenableus to arriveat a finalsolution.
9 See Otto-Bengtson
; Samuelp. 146.
pp. 47 ff.

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA

11

his capital and withdrawto Cyprus during his 39th year of reign.10
Againstthisit shouldbe pointedout that we have coinsfromAlexandria
not only fromyear 39 (Plate II, 7) but also a few specimensfroma
singleobversedie dated year 40 (Plate III, 1). As Cleopatra II introduced her own new dating,these coins can only have been struckby
PtolemyVIII. They show beyondany possibledoubt that he was still
recognizedin AlexandriaafterSept. 25, 131,and that his flightto Cyprus
mustbe placed afterthat date. It is also of some importanceto be able
to show that the revoltof Cleopatra II startedin the countryand that
she gained controlof the capital only at a later date.u
In 131/0PtolemyVIII was already attempting,fromCyprus,to recoverhis kingdom.Alexandria,however,stood firmagainsthis attacks.
No coinsfromits mintshowthe dates 41 and 42. The coinageofPtolemy
VIII was resumedonlyin year 43, Sept. 24, 128 - Sept. 23, 127 (Plate
III, 2), duringwhich the king must have recoveredhis capital.12 A
fewcoins of year 44 are known,13
but then the mintapparentlylay idle
45^48.
throughoutyears
3RD PERIOD.

122/1-89/8

In year49 (122/1)a continuousand extensivemintingbegan,running


throughthe remainingyears of Ptolemy VIII until year 54 (117/6)
(Plate III, 3) and on into the next reign.
Afterthe death of Ptolemy VIII on June 28, 11614the coinage of
Alexandria continuedwith a seriesdated year 1 (Plate III, 4) to year
10 (Plate III, 5). During the same year 116, the death of Cleopatra
11 leftthe royal powerwith her daughterand rival, CleopatraIII, who
10Otto-Bengtson
pp. 56-7.
11Samuelp. 147hasthecorrect
orderoftheevents,
butcannotberightin dating
thereturn
ofEuergetes
II to Alexandria
before
is
15,130. Thesituation
January
further
revoltofan indigenous
bythecontemporary
complicated
ruler,Harsiesis.
See Pestman
pp. 58-62.
12Otto-Bengtson
pp. 95-9.
13The forthcoming
workby Nicolaouand Merkholm,
will publishthemas
Alexandrian
coinsnos.33-5.
14Forthedatesee Otto-Bengtson
pp. 113-4.

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12

OTTO M0RKHOLM

had accepted her own elder son by Ptolemy VIII, Ptolemy IX Soter,
as co-regent.15The relationshipbetween motherand son soon deteriorated and on two occasions,in 110/9and again in 109/8,the son was
temporarilydeprivedof his rightsand replacedby his youngerbrother,
PtolemyX AlexanderI.16 These eventsmade no impacton the coinage.
In 107 Soter II was finallyexpelled fromAlexandriaand had to take
refugein Cyprus,while his youngerbrothertook his place as co-regent
withthe dominantmother.17The changein governmentwas advertised
by a series of coins with double dates runningfromyear 11=8, 107/6
18
(Plate III, 6) to year 16=13, 102/1(Plate III, 7), thehighernumeral
representingthe regnal year of Cleopatra III, the lower one that of
AlexanderI, who reckonedhis reignfrom114/3when he took the title
of kingin Cyprusand struckcoins theredated by his own regnalyears.
Thus we are not dealing with a retroactivedating, as some scholars
have assumed.19We have neithercoins dated to year 11 alone, nor any
carryingthe double date year 10=7. The conclusionmust be that the
changingof co-regentswas effectedvery close to the beginningof the
EgyptianNew Year, Sept. 19, 107, when Cleopatra III moved fromher
10thto her 11thyear of reign.20
Duringthe joint rule of Cleopatra III and AlexanderI, a singleyear,
14=11 (104/3),saw no coinageat all. We knowof no politicalreasonsfor
thisgap in the coinageand may presumeeconomicand financialfactors.
A simpleexplanationmightbe that the coin productionof the preceding
yearswas so extensivethat fora singleyear no new coinagewas actually
needed. In 102/1Cleopatra III was murderedby AlexanderI, who was
unwillingto remainforeverunderthe strictauthorityof his impetuous
16Forthecircumstances
in117/6
seeOtto-Bengtson
ofthechange
ofreign
pp.112ff.
and
his
both
his
VIII
had
married
niece,
II,
sister,
Cleopatra
Cleopatra
Ptolemy
II.
VI andCleopatra
ofPtolemy
III, daughter
16See Otto-Bengtson
pp. 162-5,174-5.
17Otto-Bengtson
pp. 178ff.
18Svoronos
nos.1727-31.
19Otto-Bengtson
willbe set outin detailby
evidence
p. 172. The numismatic
ofthePaphoshoard.Cf.
in theforthcoming
Nicolaouand Morkholm
publication
II B, (Berlin,
Historiker
dergriechischen
Die Fragmente
alsoPorphyry
in F. Jacoby,
1929),no. 260,F 2 (8).
20Otto-Bengtson
p. 180;Samuelp. 151.

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA

13

mother. The exact date of Cleopatra's death has been disputed,but


the existenceof a coin dated to year 13 of Alexander I alone (Plate
III, 8) shows that Cleopatra had died beforethe end of her 16th year
(correspondingto Alexander's 13th), i.e. before Sept. 16, 101.21 The
singleostrakondated year 17=14 must be posthumous.22
PtolemyX AlexanderI continuedhis reignin Alexandria,and issued
a continousseriesof dated coins fromyear 13 (102/1)to year 26 (89/8).
With the issues of the last two years,25 and 26, we arriveat numerals,
whichhad already been used by PtolemyVIII at the beginningof his
sole reign. But by now the distancein time,ca. 55 years,has broughtso
obvious stylisticchanges that the two series cannot be confused.
A few years ago the events surroundingthe disappearanceof Alexander I fromthe Egyptian throneand the reinstatementof his elder
brother,Soter II, in Alexandria were examined.23However, the contributionof the Alexandriancoinage to the complicatedchronological
problemwas not taken into account, althoughit is quite decisive. The
numismaticmaterialat disposal is listed here:24
PtolemyX AlexanderI LKE (year 25 = 90/89)
1. Al - PI
2. A2-P2
3. A3 - P3

14.45 gm. BritishMuseum(Plate IV, 1).


13.67 gm. ANS (Plate IV, 3).
13.61 gm. Paris, acq. 1967 (Plate IV, 6).

PtolemyX AlexanderI LKC (year 26 = 89/88)


4. Al - P4
5. A2 - P5

14.26 gm. Paris ex Dattari (Plate IV, 2).


13.95 gm. Copenhagen,acq. 1974 (Plate IV, 4).

PtolemyIX Soter II LK0 (year 29 = 89/88)


6. A2 - P6
7. A3 - P7

14.17 gm. ANS (Plate IV, 5).


13.60 gm. Osnabrck:Svoronos 1687 y (Plate IV, 7).

21Otto-Bengtson
p. 134,note3; Skeatp. 36; Samuelp. 152.
22Pestmanp. 71.
23A. E. Samuel,Chronique
1965,pp. 376-85.
d'gypte
M In thelistthediesarenumbered
A standing
foranvilor obverse
separately,
whohave
die,P forpunchor reversedie. My thanksare dueto the curators
intheircharge.
meto publishcoinsfrom
collections
kindly
permitted

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14
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

OTTO M0RKHOLM
A3-P8
A3-P9
A4 - PIO
A4-P11
A5 - P12
A6-P13

14.23 gm.
13.65 gm.
13.31 gm.
13.83 gm.
14.39 gm.
14.22 gm.

ANS.
ANS.
Paris ex Dattari: Svoronos 1687 .
Athens: Svoronos 1687 cc, pl. lvii, 31.
ANS (Plate IV, 8).
British Museum: BMC p. 114, no. 70, pl.
xxviii,8; Svoronos1687 .

The importanceof the numismaticevidencelies in the fact that two


obversedies (A2 and A3) wereused in both year 25 (of PtolemyX) and
year29 (ofPtolemyIX), and one ofthem(A2) also in year26 (ofPtolemy
X). It is thus quite certainthat Ptolemy IX Soter II was reigningin
Alexandriabeforethe end of 89/88or in Julian termsbeforeSept. 13,
88. The use of five different
obverse dies forthe issue of year 29 indicates that the reinstatementof Soter II took place well beforethis
date. The evidenceof the papyrimust be considerednext. A papyrus
in Cairo showsthat on May 29, 88 an Egyptianscribein the countryside
dated by both year 26 of AlexanderI and year 29 of Soter II.25 In the
Thebas a papyrus of Sept. 6, 88 is dated by Alexander alone, while
anotherof Oct. 4, 88 is dated by both kings,year 27 = year 30. Immediatelyafterward,on Oct. 5, 88, a scribe in the same regiondated
by Soter II alone.26 Our documentaryinformationis, of course,both
intermittent
and haphazard, but as it stands at presentit shows that
ratherearly in 89/88 Soter II took Alexandria. The two double dates
show that afterwardsome confusionexisted among the scribes as to
who was king. In the Thebas Alexander I was recognizeduntil late
in 89/8,and the uncertaintyherein thisdistantregionwas onlydispelled
early in the followingyear,88/7. The conclusionis that, afterleaving
Alexandria,Alexander I (whetherpersonallyor throughhis loyal supporterswe cannot tell) was able to maintainhis controlof part of the
countryand that this situationlasted until the beginningof 88/7.
The earlierreconstruction
of the events,that Alexanderremainedin
possessionof Alexandriauntilwell into his 27th year (late 88) and then
25Pestman
Die Demotischen
Denkmler
pp. 74-6= W. Spiegelberg,
II, Catalogue
desantiquits
du musedu Caire(Cairo,1906-8),30, 614,6.
gnral
gyptiennes
26A. E. Samuel,Chronique
1965,pp. 381-2. Samueldoesnotmention
d'gypte
theCairopapyrus
referred
to in thepreceding
note.

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA

15

marchedout to fightSoter II in the country,wherethe latterhad succeeded in establishinghimself,27


must be turnedexactly the otherway
around. Soter II undoubtedlyfirstrecoveredAlexandria ratherearly
in 88 and thenfoughtAlexanderI in the countryside.The wronginterpretation derives from an excessive confidencein Porphyry's short
account of the events. Accordingto this, Soter II was recalled by the
citizens of Alexandria at a time when Alexander I had already been
drivenout ofEgypt.28Porphyry'schronologyofthe reignsofthe various
kings is generallyreliable, but his historicalcommentson the exact
sequence of the events cannot be accepted in the face of contradictory
evidencefromcontemporary
documentsand coins.
4TH PERIOD.

82/1-58/7

Afterhis recoveryof the Egyptian thronein 89/8 Soter II ruled undisturbeduntil his death in year 37,81/0,presumablyabout the beginningof March80. From this period only a single coin is known,dated
year 36, 82/1(Plate V, 1). Afterthe break of six fullyears a new portrait style was introducedwhich was carriedover into the next series
of coins with dates fromyear 1 (Plate V, 2) to years 23 (Plate V, 3)
or 24 (Plate V, 4). This seriesbelongsto PtolemyXII Neos Dionysos,
nicknamedAuletes,except that the coins of year 1, which are not uncommon,may as well have been struck by Cleopatra Berenice who
reignedfora littlemorethan six monthsafterthe death of PtolemyIX.
of the documentary
Accordingto the generallyaccepted interpretation
evidencethe Egyptianyear 81/0was almostcompletelyoccupiedby the
reignsof Soter II and CleopatraBerenice.29If the firstyear of Auletes
was of very shortduration,possiblyonly a fewdays, most of the coins
fromyear 1 will actually have been struckby Cleopatra Berenice.
The whole seriesunderdiscussionherewas attributedby Svoronosto
Cleopatra VII, but this is definitelywrong. The series is continuous
except foryear 11 and goes on until at least year 23. Two coins, one
27A. E. Samuel,Chronique
1965,pp.384-5.
d'gypte
28Jacoby,
Die Fragmente
derGriechischen
Historiker
II B (Berlin,1929),no.260,
F 2 (9).
29On theyear81/0see Skeatpp. 36-7;Samuelpp. 153-5;Pestmanpp. 74-7.

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16

OTTO M0RKHOLM

in Athens(Svoronos 1869 a, pl. A, 21) and one in the AmericanNumismatic Society (Plate V, 4) show a date which has been read as L K A
but, followingSvoronos,the last letterof the Athens coin may also be
read as a ratherbadly formedB whilethe coi in New York most probably reads L KA. However this may be, the reign of Cleopatra VII
came to an end withher22nd year and cannot possiblyaccommodatea
seriesof coins continuinguntilyear 23. As pointed out by Regling,the
seriesin questionmust be attributedto PtolemyXII and representshis
coinage in Alexandriadownto 59/8or perhaps58/7.30
5TH PERIOD.

55/4-31/0

Duringyear 24 (58/7)Auleteshad to leave Egypt and forabout three


years the kingdomwas ruled by his daughter,Berenice IV, firstin association with her sister, Cleopatra Tryphaena, later with a certain
Archelaus. This reignhas leftno coinageas faras we know.31With the
assistance of Aulus Gabinius,Roman proconsulof Syria, PtolemyXII
was able to returnto Alexandria early in 55, duringhis 26th year.
Coinage,however,was firstresumedin the followingyear,27 (Plate V,
5). Afterthe incrediblylow artisticstandard of the precedingseriesa
new portraitwith a certain flashyelegance and characterizedby an
above the
elaboratehairstylemakes a refreshing
change. The hairstyling
diadem consistsof several sharplyseparated rows of locks arrangedalternatelyand placed in tiers one above the other (see fig. 1). The
coinage seems to continueuntilyear 30, 52/1,the last year of Ptolemy
XII Auletes (Plate V, 7). However,this type of coin was also used
by his successor,the great CleopatraVII, withno changesat all except
30Svoronos
in a reviewofSvoronos,
ZNum
nos.1847-52,1854-70.See Regling,
thatSvoronos
nos.1815-35must
IV col.508). It follows
1906,p. 394(= Svoronos
to Cleopatra
VII andthisis confirmed
be attributed
byhoardssuchas IGCH 1722
and1732.
31 Thereis a slightpossibility
to Ptolemy
thatsomeofthecoinshereascribed
die
IV. Onlya complete
havebeenstruck
XII, years1-3mayactually
byBerenice
oftheseyearsseeSkeat
studywillbe abletosolvethisquestion.Forthechronology
of
circumstances
pp. 37-9; Samuelpp. 155-6;Pestmanpp. 80-1. The historical
von116
aredealtwithbyE. Olshausen,
Romundgypten
Auletes'
andreturn
flight
bis51 v. Chr.(Diss.Erlangen/Nuremberg,
1963),pp. 45-63.

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA

17

forthe dates. It now happensthat at thistimethe distinctionbetween


A and A in the coin inscriptionswas practicallynon-existent.Both in
the royaltitle, BASI AE2Z, and in the initials TTAwe findmany cases
where A is used instead of A. The rather regrettableresult of this
carelessnessis that when we meet with coins dated LA we cannot be
surewhetherit standsforyear 30 or year 1. In this case, of course,it is
the same Egyptianyear and that is certainlyprovidedwith a coinage,
but here the numismaticmaterialoffersno information
concerningthe
ruler.32
of
change

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

During years 5-7 therewas a cessation of the normalproductionof


associated
mostprobablya signofthe financialdifficulties
tetradrachms,
withtheAlexandrineWar. In year6 an issueofdrachmswiththeportrait
of Cleopatra on the obverse announced her secure position afterthe
interventionof Julius Caesar on her behalf. The tetradrachmcoinage
was resumedin year 8. In year 12 (41/0) a new hairstyleappears on
the obverseheads (Plate VI, 3). The hair above the diadem is now
treated as a single cap formed by long undulating locks radiating
froma centralpoint at the top of the skull (see fig.2). This new style
continuesto the end of the reign. We thus have a neat distinction
between the "tier-hairstyle"used on the coins up to and including
used fromyear 12
year 11 (Plate VI, 2) and the "central-hairstyle"
and throughoutthe remainingyears of the reign.
32ThedeathofPtolemy
XII is generally
51,inwhichcase
placedaboutFebruary
ofyear1.
to
a
at
least
six
months
had
have
VII
would
coinage
produce
Cleopatra
See Skeatpp. 40-1; Samuelpp. 156-8;Pestmanp. 80.

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18

OTTO M0RKHOLM

To the clear distinctionhere establishedthere are a few exceptions.


Coins of the second (central-hairstyle)
style, dated to year 1 and
year 7 are known (Plate VI, 5 and 7). It seems quite unreasonable
that the clear patterndeveloped above should be brokenin only two
years. With several die cuttersworkingsimultaneouslyat a mint,differentstylesmightoccurin the same period. But we shouldexpectsuch
a stylisticdiversityto make itselffeltthroughoutthe periodand not to
be concentratedin two years. Fortunatelyan explanationcan be found.
In year 16 of Cleopatra VII (37/6) Caesarion,her son by Caesar, was
apparentlyappointed joint king. We know fromthe Egyptian documents a seriesof double dates whichbeginswith "year 17 and 2" and
continuesto the end of Cleopatra's reignwith "year 22 and 7." It is
hardlylikelythat the Egyptian documentsreferin any way to Cleopatra's acquisitionof various territoriesin Syria,etc.,whichshe received
fromMark Antony in 36, although Porphyryclearly states that this
was the occasion for the introductionof a new separate dating.33A
new dating alludingto the reignof Cleopatra in a quite different
geographical area which was received as a giftfromher Roman consort
would hardlybe thoughtappropriatein the old homelandof the Ptolemies. The theoryof a coregencywith Caesarionis clearlypreferableas
an explanationof the double dates in Egypt. This allows us to ascribe
the stylisticallyexceptionalcoins of year 1 and year 7 to the youngcoregent. The coins, being contemporarywith year 16 and year 22 of
Cleopatra,now fall into the serieswith the most completeaccordance
(Plate VI, 4-7). We may even understandwhy preciselycoins of year
1 and year 7 are known. The firstissue was intendedto celebratethe
establishmentof the co-regency,while the coins of year 7 fall in the
decisiveyear 31/0. They wereproducedafterthe battle ofActium(September31) at the timewhen Cleopatrawas back in Egypt and awaiting
the arrivalof Octavian. We know that duringthese monthsof trouble
and anguish Cleopatra retained the hope of leaving her kingdomto
38Porphyry
Die Fragmente
II B (Berlin,
in F. Jacoby,
derGriechischen
Historiker
and
ofCleopatra
1929),no.260,F 2 (17). SeealsoA. E. Samuel"TheJointRegency
ofSamuel
tudesdePapyrologie
Caesarion,"
(Cairo,1971),pp.73-9. Thearguments
havenotbeenaccepted
byPestman
pp.82-4,butarenowstrengthened
bytheabove
ofthecoindates.
interpretation

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19

DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA

The ratherpoor issues of


her son, a hope that was not to be fulfilled.34
Cleopatra,year 22, and Caesarion,year 7, thus become patheticmonumentsto the politicalendeavorsand aspirationsofthe last rulerof the
last independentHellenistickingdom.

The Dated Silver Coinage of Alexandria


Tabular Survey
Regnal Year

Ruler
PtolemyVI

PtolemyVII
PtolemyVIII

Dates

27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35

1ST PERIOD
Oct. 1, 155 - Sept. 30, 154
Oct. 1, 154 - Sept. 29, 153
Sept. 30, 153 - Sept. 29, 152
Sept. 30, 152 - Sept. 29, 151
Sept. 30, 151 - Sept. 29, 150
Sept. 30, 150 - Sept. 28, 149
Sept. 29, 149 - Sept. 28, 148
Sept. 29, 148 - Sept. 28, 147
Sept. 29, 147 - Sept. 28, 146

36]
1

Sept. 29, 146 - Sept. 27, 145

25j
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36

Sept. 28, 145 - Sept. 27, 144


Sept. 28, 144 - Sept. 27, 143
Sept. 28, 143 - Sept. 27, 142
Sept. 28, 142 - Sept. 26, 141
Sept. 27, 141 - Sept. 26, 140
Sept. 27, 140 - Sept. 26, 139
Sept. 27, 139 - Sept. 26, 1381 (also portrait
Sept. 27, 138 - Sept. 25, 137 coins)
Sept. 26, 137 - Sept. 25, 136
Sept. 26, 136 - Sept. 25, 135 (no coinage)
Sept. 26, 135 - Sept. 25, 134J

(no coinage)

(no coinage)

34Cambridge
10 (NewYork/Cambridge,
Ancient
1934),pp. 106-11.
History

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20

OTTO M0RKHOLM

Ruler

Regnal Year

Dates

37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45-48

2ND PERIOD
Sept. 26, 134 - Sept. 24, 133
Sept. 25, 133 - Sept. 24, 132
Sept. 25, 132 - Sept. 24, 131
Sept. 25, 131 - Sept. 24, 130
Sept. 25, 130 - Sept. 23, 129 (no coinage)
Sept. 24, 129 - Sept. 23, 128J
Sept. 24, 128 - Sept. 23, 127
Sept. 24, 127 - Sept. 23, 126
Sept. 24, 126 - Sept. 22, 122 (no coinage)

PtolemyVIII

49
50
51
52
53
54

Cleopatra III &


PtolemyIX

3RD PERIOD
Sept. 23, 122 - Sept. 21, 121
Sept. 22, 121 - Sept. 21, 120
Sept. 22, 120 - Sept. 21, 119
Sept. 22, 119 - Sept. 21, 118
Sept. 22, 118 - Sept. 20, 117
Sept. 21, 117 - Sept. 20, 116

lj
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11 =
12 =
13 =
14 =
15 =
16 =
13

PtolemyVIII

Cleopatra III &


PtolemyX

PtolemyX

8
9
10
11
12
13

Sept. 21, 116 - Sept. 20, 115


Sept. 21, 115 - Sept. 20, 114
Sept. 21, 114 -Sept. 19, 113
Sept. 20, 113 - Sept. 19, 112
Sept. 20, 112 - Sept. 19, 111
Sept. 20, 111 -Sept. 19, 110
Sept. 20, 110 - Sept. 18, 109
Sept. 19, 109 - Sept. 18, 108
Sept. 19, 108 - Sept. 18, 107
Sept. 19, 107 - Sept. 18, 106
Sept. 19, 106 - Sept. 17, 105
Sept. 18, 105 - Sept. 17, 104
Sept. 18, 104 - Sept. 17, 103
Sept. 18, 103 - Sept. 17, 102
Sept. 18, 102 - Sept. 16, 101

(no coinage)

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA


Ruler

Regnal Year

PtolemyIX

PtolemyIX

Dates

14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26

Sept. 17, 101 - Sept. 16, 100


Sept. 17, 100 - Sept. 16, 99
Sept. 17, 99 - Sept. 16, 98
Sept. 17, 98 - Sept. 15, 97
Sept. 16, 97 - Sept. 15, 96
Sept. 16, 96 - Sept. 15, 95
Sept. 16, 95 - Sept. 15, 94
Sept. 16, 94 - Sept. 14, 93
Sept. 15, 93 - Sept. 14, 92
Sept. 15, 92 - Sept. 14, 91
Sept. 15, 91 - Sept. 14, 90
Sept. 15, 90 - Sept. 13, 89
Sept. 14, 89 - Sept. 13, 88

29J
30-35

Sept. 14, 88 - Sept. 12, 82

36
37
Berenice
1
Cleop.
XII
1
Ptolemy
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

21

(no coinage)

4TH PERIOD
Sept. 13, 82 - Sept. 11, 81
Sept. 12, 81 - Sept. 11, 80
Sept. 12,
Sept. 12,
Sept. 12,
Sept. 11,
Sept. 11,
Sept. 11,
Sept. 11,
Sept. 10,
Sept. 10,
Sept. 10,
Sept. 10,
Sept. 9,
Sept. 9,
Sept. 9,

80 - Sept. 11,
79 - Sept. 11,
78 - Sept. 10,
77 - Sept. 10,
76 - Sept. 10,
75 -Sept. 10,
74 - Sept. 9,
73 - Sept. 9,
72 - Sept. 9,
71 - Sept. 9,
70 - Sept. 8,
69 - Sept. 8,
68 - Sept. 8,
67 - Sept. 8,

79
78
77
76
75
74
73
72
71
70
69
68
67
66

(no coinage)

(no coinage)

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22

OTTO M0RKHOLM

Ruler

Regnal Year
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25-26

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

Dates
9,
8,
8,
8,
8,
7,
7,
7,
7,
6,

66 - Sept.
65 - Sept.
64 - Sept.
63 - Sept.
62 - Sept.
61 - Sept.
60 - Sept.
59 - Sept.
58 -Sept.
57 - Sept.

7,
7,
7,
7,
6,
6,
6,
6,
5,
5,

65
64
63
62
61
60
59
58
57
55

(?)
(no coinage)

5TH PERIOD
PtolemyXII

27
28
29
30

CleopatraVII

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

6,
6,
5,
5,

55 - Sept.
54 - Sept.
53 - Sept.
52 -Sept.

5,
4,
4,
4,

lj
2
3
4
5
6

54
53 (also portrait
52Jdrachms)
51 .
( '

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

5,
5,
4,
4,
4,

51 - Sept.
50 - Sept.
49 - Sept.
48 - Sept.
47 - Sept.

4,
3,
3,
3,
3,

50
49
48
47
46

7
8
9
10
11

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

4,
3,
3,
3,
3,

46 - Sept.
45 - Sept.
44 - Sept.
43 -Sept.
42 - Sept.

2,
2,
2,
2,
1,

12
13
14
15
16

Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.
Sept.

2,
2,
2,
2,
1,

41 - Sept. 1,
40 -Sept. 1,
39 - Sept. 1,
38 - Aug. 31,
37 - Aug. 31,

45
44
43
42
41 (also portrait
drachms)
40
39
38
37
36

CleopatraVII

Caesarion

(no coinage)
(portrait
drachms)
(no coinage)

1J

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DATED SILVER COINAGE OF ALEXANDRIA


Regnal Y aer

Ruler
CleopatraVII

Caesarion

17
18
19
20
21
22

23

Dates

Sept. 1,
Sept. 1,
Sept. 1,
Aug. 31
Aug. 31,
Aug. 31,

36 - Aug. 31,
35 - Aug. 31,
34 - Aug. 30,
33 - Aug. 30,
32 - Aug. 30,
31 - Aug. 30,

35
34
33
32
31
30

(no coinage)

7J

Key to the Plates


(all the coins are silvertetradrachmsof Alexandria)
Plate
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

II

PtolemyVI, year 27 (155/4); Paris, 14.23 gm.


PtolemyVI, year 35 (147/6); Paris, 14.07 gm.
PtolemyVI, year 36 (146/5); ANS, 14.09 gm.
PtolemyVI and PtolemyVII, year 36 and 1 (146/5); ANS, 14.27gm.
PtolemyVI, year 36 (146/5);ANS, 13.61 gm.
PtolemyVIII, year 25 (146/5); ANS, 14.27 gm.
PtolemyVIII, year 39 (132/1);BritishMuseum,14.36 gm.
Plate

III

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7

PtolemyVIII, year 40 (131/0);Brussels,13.45 gm.


PtolemyVIII, year 43 (128/7);Berlin,14.26 gm.
PtolemyVIII, year 54 (117/6); ANS, 13.95 gm.
CleopatraIII and PtolemyIX, year 1 (117/6);Copenhagen,13.37 gm.
Cleopatra III and PtolemyIX, year 10 (108/7);Berlin,14.50 gm.
Cleopatra III and PtolemyX, year11 and 8 (107/6); Berlin,13.50gm.
Cleopatra III and PtolemyX, year 16 and 13 (102/1); Copenhagen,
13.77 gm.
8. PtolemyX, year 13 (102/1); ANS, 12.16 gm.

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24

OTTO M0RKHOLM
Plate

IV

See above pp. 13-4.


Plate V
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

PtolemyIX, year 36 (82/1); Athens,14.02 gm.


CleopatraBereniceor PtolemyXII, year 1 (81/0); ANS, 14.16 gm.
PtolemyXII, year 23 (59/8); ANS, 12.87 gm.
PtolemyXII, year 24? (58/7); ANS, 13.42 gm.
Ptolemy XII, year 27 (55/4); Berlin, 12.35 gm.
PtolemyXII, year 28 (54/3); Copenhagen,12.85 gm.
PtolemyXII, year 30 (52/1); Copenhagen,9.23 gm.
Plate VI

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

CleopatraVII, year 2 (51/0); ANS, 13.30 gm.


CleopatraVII, year 11 (42/1);Berlin,13.56 gm.
CleopatraVII, year 12 (41/0); ANS, 13.86 gm.
CleopatraVII, year 16 (37/6);Berlin,13.17 gm.
Caesarion,year 1 (37/6); ANS, 13.88 gm.
CleopatraVII, year 22 (31/0); Copenhagen,12.51 gm.
Caesarion,year 7 (31/0);Berlin,13.65 gm.

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II

DATED

SILVER

OF ALEXANDRIA

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III

DATED

SILVER

OF ALEXANDRIA

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IV

DATED

SILVER

OF ALEXANDRIA

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DATED

SILVER

OF ALEXANDRIA

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VI

'^H^ES^^BMK^^B
UUEHKQPH

DATED

^kSwB^Ep^^^Kh
Mllfcv^^^KH^^v
HH^H

SILVER

OF ALEXANDRIA

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