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Italo-Greek coins of southern Italy online

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bronze, are very similar to those of Suessa and Teanum, which is
fifteen miles distant westward, and similar to those ot Cales, which
was about ten miles distant in the same direction. They bear on
the Obv. the head of Apollo laureate, and on the Rev. the
man-headed bull with the head facing, crowned by a flying Victory.
They belong to a series of coins which indicate a monetary con-
vention between the cities using this type, copied from the coins of
Neapolis. Perhaps the river Volturnus was used as a highway for
the commerce of the district. In size the coins are f inch in
diameter; perhaps thev were Litrae.

The legends are mVHl on the Obv. On many
specimens the letters 11 are seen below the bull. The following
letters are found behind the head of Apollo O, V, >l.

- 38 -


This city, named both Nola and Hj^ria, was situated in the
midst of the phim lying to the east of Mount Vesuvius, between
that mountain and the range of the Apennines, twenty-one miles
south of Capua, and sixteen north of Nuceria.

It is thought to have been originally a city of the Ausones, one
of the earliest tribes dwelling in Campania. The Etruscans influenced
its early history, and then the Samnites took possession of the site.

Inscriptions in the Oscan language have been found there
recording a treaty between Nola and Abella. Nola became the
centre of a confederation of the Samnites and Oscans ruling Cam-
pania, and it grew in wealth and prosperity through its commerce
with Athens, which was carried on through the port of Pompei.
Evidence of this commerce is seen in the large number of beautiful
terra cotta vases, and other objects of Greek art, found in the exca-
vations made on this site. Dionysius Hal. noticed the attachment
of the citizens of Nola to the Greeks. The name Nola is said to be
the same as the Italic Novla and Nova and we may compare this
with the name Neapolis given to the new city arising near the old
Paleopolis. Nova or Nola in a similar way probably was the name
given to a new city arising round the old Hyria. Stephanus of
Byzantium, the grammarian wdio wrote at Constantinople soon after
the time of Arcadius, quotes Hecateus of Miletus, a writer of the
beginning of the VI cent. B.C., making mention of Nola aslloXtc
A'jusvwv, but perhaps the passage is an interpolation; if it is genuine
it is the earliest mention of this city. Among Latin authors Cato
(ap. Veil. Paterculus, lib. I, c. 7), Justinus (XX, i) and Silius
Italicus (XII, 161) all mention this city. Cato tells us it was
founded by the Tyrrhenians, Justin and Silius speak of it as a
Chalcidian colony. Mommsen considers the name Nola to be the

same as Novla (NYVLV on the cippus Abellanus). Garrucci thinks
the city was originally Italian, afterwards occupied by a Greek
colony. The citizens resisted the advance of the Romans, and we
have seen in the chapter on Neapolis how they sent two thousand
men thereto assist the citizens against the Romans in 328 B.C.
The story is told by Livy (in Book VIII, 23, 25, 26), and the fall of

— 39 —

Nolais very briefly related by him (IX, 28). After its fall in 313 B.C.
it became practically a Roman colony. Virgil appears to have had
some land nearNola, for Aulus Gellius {Noel. Al.,VU, xx) preserves
the story of a request made by the poet to the citizens of Nola to
allow some water to flow on to his land, and on their refusal the
poet determined to punish them by taking the name of their city
out of his poem (Georg., II, 225). Virgil had described a good rich
soil, and then proceeded : " Such a soil rich Capua tills, and Nola
near mount Vesuvius, and the Clanius unfavourable to Acerrx- ".
The lines now read in all copies. " Talem dives arat Capua, et
vicina Vesevo ora jugo, et vacuis Clanius non a;quus Acerrio " here
the ''Nola jugo" is altered to "ora jugo " ''the lands near mount
Vesuvius ". In the fifth century A.D. Nola was celebrated as the
home of St Paulinus of Nola, and as the place in which bells were
first used in Churches, the word Campanile being derived from Cam-
pania and Nola.

The style of the Nolean coinage is very varied; a great number
of the coins exhibit an attempt to form a new style, modelled indeed
upon that of the Greeks, but the relief of the modelling is more
accentuated, and the style is capricious, and sometimes very pleasing.
Those heads of Dia-Hebe which most markedly shew the native
style are very rarely badly designed and are seldom without a cer-
tain quaint charm. The types of Neapolis were copied probably to
give a wider circulation to the coinage.

The head of Pallas was introduced on the coins of Nola about
360 B.C. M. A. Sambon says " the first example of this type in
Italy is seen on the coins of Velia". D' Head ascribes the introduc-
tion of this type at Velia to about the year 400 B . C . M . A . Sambon
ascribes a unique coin of Neapolis in the collection ofD' A. Evans
to 450 B.C., and the general use of this type in Neapolis to about
430 B. C . Confer the notes on " The Head cf Pallas " in the chapter
on the coins of Neapolis.

The head of Pallas had been introduced at Nola by the mint-
masters who used the legend HVPIETE^ about 400 B.C.


Many silver coins bearing the name Hyria with types similar,
and sometimes the same as those bearing the name Nola, are found
in small collections. From an examination of the deposits we
learn that the coins bearing this name were in circulation
throughout Campania, and even in Apulia and Lucania. These
coins of Hyria were, we know, minted in the city called also Nola.

Cavedoni {Bull. Inst., 1850, p. 199) proposed to explain the

— 40 —

fact of the city having issued coins with two names by suggesting
that the city was inhabited by two tribes or peoples.

Friedlander and Mommsen regarded the name Hyria as that of
the first inhabitants, and Nola as that of later settlers, and with
this opinion D' B.V. Head agrees, attributing the coins signed
Nola to the period 430-268 B.C. D' Head quotes Mommsen as
saying : " This town Hyria is supposed to have been the Palaeopolis
of Nola ".

The influence of this city among the Samnites in Campania must
have been great because the abundance of their coinage shews that
their wealth was greater than that of any other Samnite city.

Their earliest coins shew an aff'ectation of archaism which pre-
vailed a little earlier than the year 400 B.C. The same hammer
was used to strike the Obv. types of coins bearing the legend
NOAAinN, and of others bearing VDINAI on the Rev.; this fact
aftords evidence that the coins were issued from one mint, at one
time, with the tv/o names of one city.

The Samnites often changed the names of their cities, or at least
substituted their patronymic for the city name, on their coins. For
examples, confer the Mamertines at Messana, Alaesa, EntellaNacona.
The Samnites placed the legend KAM PIANOS on their coins issued
from Naples or Cumas, and so the Hyrietes placed their name on
their coins issued in Nola.

Friedlander has shown that the coins of Hyria may be classified
in three periods.

1. The coins of the Hyrietes, 400-380 B.C.

2. Those of the Hyrietes and Nolaeans, 380 to 335 B.C.

3. Those of the men of Nola, 335-327 B.C.

From the artist's point of view these coins are very interesting,
and many are beautiful.

If the men who wrought these dies were really of Samnite
birth their work shews how quickly they were able to learn from
the Greeks, and that they were capable of forming a good style of
their own.

The highest development of this style may be seen on some of
thecoins with the legend NOAAIHl-

These mint-masters cared not only for the appearance of the
types, but also for the weight and general technique. Some speci-
mens bear as a border on the obv. a raised rim which protected the
type from being rubbed or worn ; the types of these are all fine.

M. A. Sambon on p. 297 of his Les Monnaies antiques de I'llalie,
speaking of the coins of Hyria, says : " il y en a de fort belles qui
ont un caractere particulier et sont bien I'oeuvre d'artistes italiques
ou de Mixto barbari, et I'art des Mixto barbari en Campanie n'est
point a dedaigner. Cet art est ne de la fusion d'elements etrusques,
italiotes etosques ".

— 41 —

When however the coins of Hyria and Nola are compared with
those of NeapoHs the resemblance between them is so great that it
would be very difficult to say in what points any signs of Etruscan
or Oscan art can be shown.

The ideas expressed by M. Sambon seem to be derived from the
expectations which arise from the knowledge of the history of the
city rather than from a study of the coins from an artist's point of
view, if we may judge from the coins seen in England.

The influence oi Athens upon the citizens of Hyria may be seen
not only in the great number of Greek vases and other articles
discovered on the site of the old city, but also in the adoption of
the head of Pallas with the owl on the Athenian helmet, as their
Obv. type; but the native cults were not left without representa-
tion, for on the corns bearing the legend AHISY we find the head
of the goddess Hera Lacinia, and on the coins of Nola, that ofDia-

A celebrated temple of the Hera of Southern Italy existed near
Poseidonia. Strabo begins his sixth book with a mention of this
temple, saying : " After the mouth of the Silaro is Lucania, and the
temple of the Argive Hera, founded by Jason ; near to this within
fifty stadia is Poseidonia ". The Greek name " "Hpa " is probably the
same as the Latin Hera and signified " Mistress ", the masculine
form Herus was also used for Master.

Her festivals were called Heraea (Livy 27, 30, 9). The head of
Hera Lacinia was placed on the coins of Croton between 420 and
390 B.C., probably a little earlier than the date of their issue in
Hyria. For further notes on this Italian cult confer the chapter on
the coins of Croton and Pandosia, and for notes on the Dia-Hebe
confer the chapter on the coins of Neapolis.

On p. 295 of M. A. Sambon's work Les Moniiaies ayitiques de
ritalie a misprint occurs which might mislead and is therefore
worth mentioning here : " The most beautiful coins of Hyria are
copied from those of Crotona and Poseidonia" (sic^ but the printer
should have printed Pandosia for Poseidonia.

— 42 —



The earliest didrachms of H3Tia issued a little before 400 B.C.
may be distinguished at once by the legend on the Rev.

1. Obv. Head of Pallas to right wearing crested Athenian helmet
decorated with wreath of olive.

Rev. Man-headed bull running to right, the head in profile and
slightly lowered, the left, or otf foreleg raised as in running.

Above, HVPIETE$; below ^S-l. M. A. Sambon considers this
last letter 4, to be no letter, but a harpoon, and D' Imhoof-Blumer
a plant. The letters AS are also found on didrachms of Neapolis.

2. Obv. Head of Pallns similar to no r. but differing in the
addition of an owl on the helmet above the wreath. The heads are
generally to left but are also found to right. They are generally of
good Greek style but some are barbarous.

Rev. Man-headed bull walking to right with head in profile not

In the field above bull the legend varies in detail as follows



The legends on the coins of barbarous style are

There is in the Cabinet at Florence a fine didrachm evidently
copied from that signed of Thurium with the little bird alighting
under the bull with the legend Rl/IKV.

Some coins of poor style bear the varied legend RME

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