• sulla80

Illyrian Drachms

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Here are three silver drachms from Illyria, one from Apollonia (AΠOΛ on reverse) and two from Dyrrhachion (ΔYP on reverse or straight edges). Two relatively recent articles are useful for dating these coins, both from Gyula Petranyi (2007) & (2010). The author also has an excellent website. There are around 600 cow-calf type drachma emissions in total.

Illyria, Apollonia, 53-48 BC, ΤΙΜΗN (Timen) and ΔΑΜΟΦΩΝTOΣ (Damophontos), magistrates, AR drachm

Obv: TIMHN, cow standing left with suckling calf, monogram below

Rev: [AΠOΛ] ΔAMOΦΩNTOΣ, double stellate pattern

Ref: BMC 14


Using the articles references above, we can confirm the type and date range:

The next drachm, from Dyrrhachion, has a lot of items on the obverse: cow, calf, owl, Helios.

Illyria, Dyrrhachion AR Drachm, 92-60 BC, Exephron and Zopuro, magistrates. Obv: Cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; head of Helios right and EXEΦΠΩN above, owl before Rev: Double stellate pattern within slightly curved double linear square; ΔYP ZΩΠYPOY around

Dyrrhachium (cow always to right) Class 4. Various obverse names with the same reverse,multiple symbols on the obverse​


With thanks to the author of these papers, I can share that this Ehefron-Zopyrou type can be found in many catalogues: Ceka 196; BMC 70*, SNG Copenhagen 468*, SNG Tubingen 1404*, Pozzi 2931*; and others with the asterisk highlighting those with photo,. This coin is found mainly in Romanian hoards and is -25 in the relative chronology (72 BC) of Gyula Petranyi. Other known obverse names in the Zopyrou issue are : Falakros, Lysen, Zoilos, Mahatas, Filotas.


The reverse, is more common with bent sides as with my example above, however, some exist with straight double sided borders of the stellate pattern (e.g. SNG Munchen 414*).


This coin was minted close to the period of unrest in Rome between Sulla and Marius, the period that has been an important focus of my collection.

"In the spring of 87 BC Sulla landed at Dyrrachium, in Illyria. Asia was occupied by the forces of Mithridates under the command of Archelaus. Sulla’s first target was Athens, ruled by a Mithridatic puppet; the tyrant Aristion." -Wikipedia, Sulla


And the most recent coins from 54 BC or Dyrrhachium


D1. Abbreviated obverse name (Not my coin)

a. Abstract style

b. Classic style D2. Name in full, no symbols (Not my coin)

D3. Symbol in the exergue (Not my coin)

D4. Multiple symbols & many obverse names with same reverse name (Not my coin)

D5. One (exceptionally two) obverse name each year ((Yes, my coin)

Obverse: ΜΕΝΙΣΚΟΣ Meniskos + raven

Reverse: ΔΙΟΝΥΣΙΟΥ Dionysiou

This coin from the time when coins of Dyrrhachion were being used in Dacia as a substitute for the Roman denarius, and Burebista was unifying Dacia and expanding Dacian borders. He allied himself with Pompey causing Julius Caesar to plan a campaign against Dacia, which didn't get off the ground with the assassination in 44 BC.

Illyria, Dyrrhachion, circa 51 BC, AR drachm, Meniskos and Dionysios, magistrates.

Obv: Cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; above, raven standing right above MENIΣΚΟΣ

Rev: Double stellate pattern; ΔYP-ΔΙΟ-ΝΥ-ΣΟΥ around; all within linear circle border

Ref: SNG Copenhagen 467


Based on hoard evidence from the North-east Balkan territories it appears that llyrian drachms filled the role of the Roman republican denarii with fewer denarii produced between 70 – 50 BC.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All