Alfred Watson Hands.

Italo-Greek coins of southern Italy online

. (page 9 of 15)
Online LibraryAlfred Watson HandsItalo-Greek coins of southern Italy → online text (page 9 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

culture with readiness, and cultivate friendship with the Greeks of

The men of the third race, the Peucetian, were called Poediculi ;
their language was quite distinct from the Oscan, and more allied to
the Greek, yet sufficiently different to show it was not a mere
corruption of that language. They probably came from the opposite
coast of the Adriatic.

From Strabo we learn that in the earliest times the Daunians and
Peucetians each had their own kings, and were friendly with the

No Greek colonies appear to have settled in Apulia, but the
influence of Greek culture which spread as far north as Arpi and
Canusium is evident, not only from the coinage, but also from the
number of bronzes and vases which have been discovered in many
of the Apulian cities.

They are said to vie with the richest finds of Campania, although
they are generally specimens of the period of decadence in Art.
The intercourse of the Apulians with Rome began about the time
of the Second Samnite War, circa 326 B.C., when Livy informs us
the Apulians made an alliance with Rome (Mil 25.), which, however,
they very soon afterwards appear to have broken.

In 338 B.C. when Alexander the Molossian came to help the

— 102 —

Tarentines he united under his banner contingents of the Poediculi
from round Rubi who sought his protection from the Sabellians ;
accordingly Alexander subdued the Daunians round Sipontum and
the Messapians in the eastern peninsula ; he then commanded the
land from the western sea to the Adriatic^ and began to arrange
with the Romans to attack the Samnites in their native hills, but
his project for uniting the Greeks of Magna Gr^ecia failed on account
of the jealousy of the Tarentines, and he fell at Poseidonia in
332 B.C., thus releasing the Samnites to face Rome with all their
might. The Apulians, the ancient and bitter antagonists of the
Sabellians, thus became the natural allies of the Romans.

There seems to have been no combination of the various tribes
or cities, each city acting on its own authority, some taking the side
of the Romans, others that of the Samnites.

In 317 B-C. all Apulia was brought into subjection to Rome
(Livy, VIII, 37 ;IX. 12, 13, 16, 20)."

In 297 B.C. Livy mentions a slight defection to the side of the
Samnites, but Apulia had rest until the arrival of Pyrrhus, in
279 B.C., when he carried the war into Apulia, and took several
cities ; the others remained loyal to Rome, and helped the Romans
in the battle of Ausculum (Zonaras, VIII, 5 ; Dionysius, XX).

During the Second Punic war the Carthaginians ravaged Apulia,
and after the defeat of the Romans at Cannae many cities opened
their gates to Hannibal. The revolted cities were afterwards severely
punished by the Romans, and from that time the prosperity ot
Apulia gradually faded.

Before the Apulians came into contact with Rome, during the
period of the supremacy of Tarentum, the coins of that city were
used throughout Apulia, and when some of the principal cities,
such as Arpi, Caelia and Rubi, began to coin silver, the type of the
Tarentine diobol, the hero Heracles strangling the lion, was adopted.
The didrachms and drachms of Teate were also imitations of those
of Tarentum.

Arpi 2 dr. no grs. ^ i^r. 28 grs. Nummus 17 grs. ^ Nummus 9 grs.

Caelia — - — —

Canusium — — — —

Rubi _ _ _ _

Teate — drachm — —

The JEs grave of Apulia appears also to have been based on the
Tarentine nummus of 22 grs. for the proportion of value between
silver and bronze was as i : 250 and the weight of the bronze was
about 5000 grains, 22X.250 = 5500. In Apulia the weight of
the As was greater than on the western side of the Apennines.

D'' Head says in his Historia Numormn that the Tarentine coins

— 103 —

were replaced by the Apulian coinage about the year 300 B.C.,
when didrachms, halt drachms, diobols and obols were issued at
Arpi and other cities. The didrachms were assimilated in weight
to those of Campania, but the lesser coins seem to be of 1 aren-
tine origin.

The Bronze coins of the Roman Colonies Luceria and Venusia
were reduced to correspond with the reduction at Rome, but the
other Apulian cities continued to issue bronze coins without marks
of value and with Greek legends.

By degrees these Greek bronze coins were superseded by the
Roman sextantal and uncial systems with marks of value.

The marks of value being Nil = double nummus.

N = the nummus. The five dots 00000 ^= the Quincunx.

0000 = the Triens, 000= the Quadrans.

00= the Sextans OS = the Sescuncia.

O = the Uncia and Z = the Semuncia.


Arpi, one of the oldest and most important of the Apulian cities,
was situated in the midst of the great northern plain on a branch
of the river Candelaro flowing into the Adriatic, near Sipontum,
which was about 20 miles distant from Arpi. The nearest city ot
importance was Luceria, about thirteen miles to the west. The few
remains of the city still existing are to be seen about five miles
north of the modern town of Foggia. Ptolemy called it "Ap-:i,
Pliny Arpanus, and Livy Arpinus.

The Greek legend of its foundation by Diomedes was the origin
of the Greek name Arg}Tippa by which it w'as called by Strabo
(M . Casaub 283, c. Ill, §9): " It was originally called Argos
Hippium, then Argyrippa, and then again Arpi ". But we have no
other evidence that the natives ever called their city Argyrippa, and
their coins all bear the name "Ap-av^t; moreover the city was not
a Greek colony, and is not mentioned in the list of such colonies
made by Scylax or Scymnus Chius.

Bockh (explicat. ad Pind. Nem. X, p. 463) conjectured that
Diomed is an ancient name of a Pelasgian divinity, afterwards con-
founded with the Greek hero of that name, who is said to have
come to Italy after the siege of Troy, and to have died in Daunia.
The legend agrees with the fact that very early Greek settlements
were made in Italy.

The names of two magistrates of Arpi, Dasius and Pullus, are
found upon the coins. Dasius seems to have been a not uncommon
name. The Dasius of Salapia mentioned by Livy (XXVI, 38) who
was killed in a massacre of the Punic garrison bv Blattius is however

— 104 —

probably the same ruler of Arpi. Besides the Attinius Blasius of Arpi
Livy mentions a Dasius who was in command of the garrison at
Clastidium in 213 B.C. The name may perhaps mean " the irritable
one ", or "the biter ", from boazM, the first letter being omitted, as
in the adverb ca; for oo:z;. In the year 213 B.C. Fabius the Consul
came into Apulia, and Altinius Dasius came into his camp from
Arpi by night attended by three slaves and offered to betray Arpi to
him for a reward. As Dasius had deserted from the Romans after the
defeat at Cannae and drawn Arpi into revolt, some of the officers
thought he should be scourged and slain as a deserter, but Fabius,
the father of the Consul, suggested that he should be bound and
kept at Cales.

When Hannibal found out what had happened he summoned
the wife and children of Dasius to his camp, and having burnt
them alive, seized all the property of the wealthy traitor (Livy,
XXIV, 45).

The legends TOYAAI, or PYAAOY, or nVAAY, represent the
Roman name Pullus. In 249 B.C. L. Junius Pullus was Consul
with P. Claudius Pulcher in the first Punic War. As this name
(Pullus) does not seem to be at all common — the only other
known as bearing this cognomen being Q. Numitorius Pullus of
Fregellae, who betrayed his native town to Opimius in 125 B.C.
— it seems probable that Junius Pullus may have been the Roman
governor of Arpi at the time when these coins were issued. He is
chiefly known by his naval misfortunes, which were attributed to
his neglect of the auspices.

The story is told by Valerius Maximus (I, 4, § 3) : "P. Claudius
in the first Punic War, being ready to join battle, on seeking to
know the signs after the old custom, when he that kept the
birds told him that the chickens would not come out of their pens,
commanded them to be cast into the sea, saying : ' If they will not
eat, let them drink'"

The same legend PYAAOY occurs on coins of Salapia. In the
year 214 B.C. Hannibal was at Arpi with his main army, watched
by Tiberius Gracchus, who confronted him with four legions using
Luceria as their base. The Roman generals, Q. Fabius and
M. Marcellus, were besieging Capua. In the following year the
Romans recovered Arpi, whose citizens helped the Roman soldiers
against the Carthaginian garrison. Hannibal had gone to endeavour
to raise the siege of Capua, and from thence down to Tarentum.
In 207 B.C. Hannibal was encamped first at Canusium, then at
Venusia, about forty-two miles south of Arpi, followed by Nero.
It was to this last camp that the head of Hasdrubal was brought,
after the defeat of his army, after which Hannibal retreated to
Bruttium, leaving Apulia in peace.

— 105 —



I. Size .9. Weight 1 10.8 (specimen in Brit. Mus.).

Obv. APPANON. Head of Persephone to left, bound with wreath

of barley, wearing earring and necklace ; behind, an ear of barley
with two leaves : a border of dots.

Rev. A horse prancing to left, above, a star of eight rays :
beneath, AAIOY.

II. Obv. Types the same as No. i but behind the head an
amphora as symbol.

Rev. Same type as No. i but beneath legend a helmet with crest
and cheek-pieces.


III. Size .35 or I inch. Weight 10.8 grs.

Obv. A horse prancing to right, bridled; above. A: border of

Rev. A hook with round handle; in held to right A- : border ot
dots. The reaping hook may refer to the wheat fields belonging to
the city.

IV. Size .5 or :i inch. Weight 15.6.

Obv. Head of Pallas to right, wearing crested helmet with a
winged sea-horse on the helm.

Rev. A horse prancing to left. In the field above AHSA.
A specimen has been added to the Brit. Mus. since the Catalogue
was published.

— io6 —


I. Size -9. Obv. APDANnH. Head of Persephone to left.
Rev. Horse prancing to left; above, a star of eight rays.

II. Size .9. Obv. Head of Zeus to left, laureate, in front AAIoY ;
behind, thunderbolt : border of dots.

Rev. Calydonian boar running to right ; above, a spear-head
pointing to right; APnANfiN in exergue.

III. Size 7. Obv. Head of Mars to left, bearded, hel meted.
Rev. Three ears of barley joined at stalk in centre

IV. Size .9. Obv. Head of Apollo to left.
Rev. Lion to right. In exergue APflANOY.

V. Size "6. Obv. Head of Pallas to right wearing crested Corinth-
ian helmet.

Rev. A bunch of grapes; APPA on right, HOY on left : border
of dots.

VI. Size "8. Obv. A bull butting to right with near fore-leg
raised; beneath, POYAAI.

Rev. APPA, above, NOY below, horse prancing to right. On
some the horse ma}' be described as galloping, and the
letter E beneath end of legend. On some the Obverse legend is

PYAAO, on others it is PYVYV with the Reverse legend ATRA


with same type.



This city vas situated about six miles north of the river Aufidus,
the southern boundary of the great northern plains of Apulia, and
was about nine miles distant from Herdonia. Plutarch spelt the
name "Aay.Xcv, and Appian Asculanus ; but on the coins it is spelt
in Oscan letters Aiihuskli AYhYlKA and in later coins AYCKAA,
the AY was transliterated Os by some, as by Festus " Osculana
pupa" (p. 197).

The modern city called Ascoli is built upon the old site on the
low hills which rise from the edge of the plain until they join the

The remains of the ancient city still to be seen outside the walls
of Ascoli show that Ausculum flourished during the Empire, and as
late as the reign of Valentinian, and from the absence of any mention
of the city in the works of Strabo or Pliny we are led to regard the
growth of its importance as due to the Romans rather than to the

The most fiimous event connected with the city is the battle
\\hich was fought in the plain near its walls between the Romans
and Pyrrhus in the year 279 B.C. Florus gives an interesting
account of the battle (I, xviii) and describes the confusion wrought
by the elephants in the army of Pyrrhus.

Pyrrhus was beaten " and retreated carried off by his guards, on
his own shield " w^ith a wound iu' his shoulder. Plutarch in his life
of Pyrrhus (21) describes two days' fighting, the first favourable to
the Romans, the second to Pyrrhus, and says that when Pyrrhus
was congratulated on his victory he replied : " Such another victory
and we are undone". Pyrrhus was much enfeebled by the losses he
sustained, but the Romans easily made good their great loss of men.
From Ausculum Pyrrhus returned to Tarentum and left Italy for


I. Size 75. Obv. AYhYIKAl. A horse's head to left, bridled.
Rev. AYhYIKAl. An ear of barley with leaf on left. (Brit. jMus.
Cat. No. I, 2 and 3.)

— io8 —

II. Size |. Obv. AYI-Y2KA. A greyhound running to right on a
round shield.

Rev. Similar to Xo. i.
(Carelli, Plate LXIII, 2),


III. Size "8 >IDYA in exergue.

Calydonian boar, running to right ; above a spear-head to right.
Rev. Same as No. i.

IV. Size g. Obv. A hound running to right.
Rev. Ear of barley with leaf on right.

V. Size '7). Obv. Head of young Heracles to left, wearing lion's
skin ; behind neck, a club : border of dots.

Rev. AYCKAA. Nike to right holding wreath by fillet, and palm :
border of dots.

(Brit. Mus. Cat., Nos. 5 and 6.)

109 —


Two cities, Arctium iind Butuntum, art; genenilly classed by
numismatists as belonging to Calabria, but nevertheless are
acknowledged to belong to Apulia. This may be accounted for by
the uncertainty of the way in which the boundaries of these districts
were regarded by the ancients.

Tliere appears to be no natural boundary such as a river or a chain
of hills between these regions. From Strabo we can learn of no exact
geographical boundary; he says: " above these (the Calabrians)
towards the North lie the Peucetii, and those who are called Daunii
in the Greek language, but the inhabitants call the whole region
beyond the Calabri, Apulia ". " Messapia forms a peninsula : the
isthmus extending from Brentesium to Tarentum which bounds it,
being three hundred-and-ten stadia across.

Under Vespasian the boundar}^ of Calabria was extended farther
to the North (liber Colon, p. 261).

The distance from Tarentum to the West coast is about 30 miles
across the isthmus.

From Pliny's third book we know that in his time, that is,23-79
A . D . several of the cities in Southern Apulia were accounted to be
Calabrian. Hence the doubt in which region Azetium and Butun-
tum should be reckoned.


In the Catalogues of the British and Berlin Museums the coins of
Azetium are placed under Calabria, but there are two references to a
town spelt somewhat differently, which have been thought to refer to
the city from which the coins bearing AIETINflN were issued.
The one is Ehetium in the Tabula Peutinger, in which the site is
marked as twelve miles south-east of Bari, at a village now called
Rutigliano; the other reference is that of Pliny to the Aegetini
which he places among the " Calabrorum Mediterranei ", and
probably it was from this reference that the coins were placed under
Calabria in the Brit. Mus. Catalogue. In Murray's Handy Classical
Atlas Azetium is marked as in Apulia, about fifty-three miles north
of Brundusium, and about thirty-five miles north of the border line
between Apulia and Calabria. It was situated about five miles trom
the sea, on the fertile plain which stretches along that coast.

I 10 —

In Pauly's Real Emydopadie Azt^imm is called " Stadt in Apulien ".
He does not add any further information to that here given.

The coins are all of bronze bearing legends in Greek characters
and types copied from those of Tarentum and Metapontum.

Between 281 and 272 B.C. the drachms of Tarentum bore the
head of Pallas, and an owl and olive-branch on the Reverse, and
between 272-235 on the Reverse of drachms we find the owl
seated on an Ionic capital, just as on the bronze coins of Azetium.

Among the bronze coins of Metapontum we find one type similar
to that on another coin of Azetium ; on the Obverse, an eagle to
left with wings extended, on the Reverse an ear of barley and
fulmen; this latter symbol is omitted on the similar coin of Azetium
(confer p. 80, Coins of Magna Graecia, n° 17).

We may therefore ascribe the coins with the legena AIETI-
NflN to the period between 270 and 230 B.C. Their types like
those of most of the Apulian cities bear witness to the influence 01
the Greek Colonists of the southern coast.


I. Size .65.

Obv. An eagle to right, with wings extended, seated on a

Rev. AIET, in field to left, an ear of barley with lear on right
side : plain border.

Rude, but clear and bold in execution.

II. Size -8.

Obv. Head of Pallas to right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet,
earring and necklace; on the helmet, a star of eight rays.

Rev. AIETINflN. An owl to right, on top of an Ionic column;
in front of owl an olive-branch : plain border.

— Ill


The founder of the ancient city called Barium was probably one
of Peucetian or Pelasgic origin who had emigrated from Arcadia. The
site chosen was on the coast of the Adriatic about thirty-five miles
south of the river Aufidus, and about seventy-five north of Brun-

The ancient legend is found in the 41=*' of the Fables of Antoni-
nus Liberalis.

But few remains ot Barium remain to our day; only a few Roman
inscriptions, some painted Greek vases and a few copper coins are
left, but these are sujfficient to show how freely the ancient citizens
received the culture of the Greeks of Tarentum, which lies nearly
sixty miles distant almost due south of Barium.

Ancient writers do not often refer to this city ; Livy merely
mentions that the left wing of the fleet kept the coast up to Barium
in 181 B.C. (XL, 18.), and Horace relates his journey in his
Satires (lib. I, v, 96) : " Next day the weather was better, the road
worse, even to the very walls of Barium that abounds in fish ".

Tacitus mentions that Silanus was exiled " to a municipium of
Apulia called Barium " (Ann. XVI, 9).

Strabo merely mentions Barium without giving any information
about the place ; he says : " Egnatia was the general place to stop
at for those travelling to Barium as well by land as by sea. The run
is made when the wind blows from the south. The territory of
the Peucetii extends as for as this along the coast... The distance
from Brentesium to Bariuni is about 700 stadia ". Pliny (//. N.,
Ill, xi) just mentions this city. The towns of the Paediculi are
Rhudia, Egnatia, Barium. Its position as a sea port on the great
Roman road afterwards called the Via Trajana gave it some impor-
tance, and it was only 40 miles from Canusium.


End of the third century.

I. Size .8. Obv . Head of Zeus to right laureated, behind, two
stars, one above the other : border of dots.

112 —

Rev. BAP INHN above and to right.

A Prow to right upon which Eros leans forward to right draw-
ing his bow, beneath, a dolphin to right : plain border.
Style various, sometimes fair, at others rude.

II. Size .6. Same types, the only difference being that only one
star appears on the Obverse, and no dolphin on the Reverse.

The stars are marks of value perhaps of one and two libellas.

III. Size . 5 . Obv. same as II, but a dot for the star, and the
Rev. shews only the prow to right, without the figure of Eros or
the dolphin, and BAPI N in the field above.

There is only one type known of the coins of Barium, and with
slight modifications it appears on the double libella:;, the libelk^, and
the sembelliE.

— m —


Butuntum is one of the Daunian towns of Pelasgic origin
situated on the phiins near the sea, in the southern part of Apulia.
It hiy on the road afterwards called Via Trajana, halfway between
Rubi on the West and Barium on the East, about ten miles from
each ; about thirty miles south of Canusium and fiftv miles north of

The city is not mentioned by Livy or Strabo, nor indeed by any
ancient author except Pliny, who if he means this citv by his refe-
rence to the " Butuntinentes" as among the cities of Calabria, must
have made a mistake (III, xi).

The site is correctly given however in the ancient Itineraries. We
may perhaps be allowed to hope that as the city appears to have no
history, its happiness and prosperity was such as its plentiful supply
of bronze coins would lead us to imagine it enjoyed.

It is perhaps on account ot the way in w'hich the city was men-
tioned by Pliny that the coins ot Butuntum are arranged among
those of Calabria in the British Museum Catalogue, although the
nearest point on the borders ot Apulia and Calabria is more than
thirty miles from the site ot the city.

The coins of Butuntum which remain are all of bronze, and bear
witness by their types to the influence of Tarentum, for instance
the cockle shell, the figures of Taras riding the dolphin, and the
head of Pallas w^earing a Corinthian helmet.

The coins of Butuntum bearing the ear of barley with two leaves
remind us of those of Metapontum, but they may after all merely
bear witness to the cultivation of barley on the fertile plains around
the city. The type of a crab mentioned by D'' Head {Hist. Num.,


— 114 —

p. 38) is'difficult to explain, for Butuntum was five miles distant
from^^the sea shore, and the city on whose coins the crab is a fami-
liar emblem, is the far off Agrigentum in Sicily.


Circa 300 B.C.
I. Size .7. Obv. a Cockle-shell : border of dots.

Rev. TIN ON ( ' Taras, naked, riding a dolphin to left,

holding Cantharos, and club of Heracles.

II. Size .85. Obv. Head of Pallas to right wearing crested
Corinthian helmet : border of dots.

Kev. 5; J^J; an ear of barley to right with two leaves :

plain border.

III. Size '6. Obv. An owl seated on a branch.
Rev. Fulmen.

IV. Size • 7 . Obv. a crab.
Rev. Inscription, but no type.

Numbers II and IV are not found in the British Museum, but
are described in D"" Head's Hist. Num., p. 38.



There are two ancient cities which bore the name ofCaeha, the
one situated about six miles to the south of Barium, and the other
about twenty-five miles west of Brundusium. on the borders or
Apulia and Calabria. Mommsen and Tomasi {Bull, del Inst.,
1834, P- 54) ^^'^ of opinion that the coins bearing KAIAINflN
belong to the first-named city, near Barium, because they are
frequently found there. This is also the opinion of Millingen (A^/rw.
de V Italic, p. 148).

Strabo just mentions it among the cities on the road from Brun-
dusium to Rome : " Hence there are two ways to Rome ; one, which
is only walked by mules through the Peucetii, who are called
Poedicli, the Daunii, and the Samnites, as far as Beneventum on
which road is the city Egnatia, then Caelia, Netium, Canusium
and Herdonia.

This is confirmed by the Tab. Pent, which places Cc^lia nine
miles from Butuntum on the road to Egnatia. There is still a
village on this site called Ceglie, five miles south of Bari.

Many tombs, vases, coins and other remains have been found
on this site (Romanelli, vol. II, p. 177; Mommsen, Unlcr Ital.
Dialeckte, p. 62).


Circa 300 B.C.

Only obols are found, in size .45, weighing I5.8grs.

Obv. Head of Pallas wearing crested helmet on which is a sea-

Rev. Heracles to right, kneeling and strangling the Nemean
lion; behind, a club; beneath AAxlOY. In the Cat. of Brit. Mus.,
no. I. this legend is described as " uncertain letters " but they
appear clearly enough to make this reading reasonably sure.

— ii6 —


Circa 268 B.C.

I. tf) Sextans. Size .8. Head of Pallas to right, wearing crested
Corinthian helmet, on which is a figure of a serpent, and in her
ear an earring ; above the helmet O O : border of dots.

Rev. KAIAINHN. Trophy of crested helmet to left, round
shield, lance, sword, and cuirass; on either side, a star of six rays;
in field to left a thunderbolt : plain border.

/;) Size .7. Obv. Same type; but on helmet a griffin.

Rev. KAIAIN HN. Similar trophy, Gorgon's head on shield,
a palm crossing lance; in field to left a club, upwards.

c) Size .85. Obv. Same type, nothing visible on helmet; no

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryAlfred Watson HandsItalo-Greek coins of southern Italy → online text (page 9 of 15)