Monede de bronz pe care este reprezentat portretul regelui scit Ateas, bătute la Dioysopolis / Bronze Coins with the Representation of the Scythian King Ateas
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|Excerpt||In the last two decades the researchers working on the coinage of antique towns have considerably broadened the limits of their scientific investigations based on streamlined methods and approach. To a great extent it holds true about the coinage of Dionysopolis and the publication of a large number of new monetary types minted in the town is an indisputable fact. However, the interpretation of certain varieties as well as the chronology of separate issues belonging to the Hellenistic period remains vastly a matter of controversy.
Among the most debatable subjects is the question about the initiation of the Dionysopolis coinage. It's a well-known and substantiated fact that the antique settlement buried in the layers beneath the present-day town of Balcik was originally called Krounoi and was only later renamed Dionysopolis. All coins of the town bear inscriptions containing the name of Dionysopolis pointing to the fact that they were minted in the period only after the moment Krounoi received its new name.
Until quite recently it was generally assumed that the change of the settlement's name took place in the second half or the end of 3rd c. B.C. Unfortunately, the evidence coming from antique sources do not make clear precisely when Krounoi was renamed into Dionysopolis and the gratuitous dating of the event to 3rd c. B.C. appears rather arbitrary. Contrary to the previous conception and judging by an epigraphic monument (IGBulg. 12, No 13 bis.*) bearing the name of Dionysopolis and securely dated to 4th - 3rd c. B.C., it is rather likely that the renaming occurred in 4th c. B.C.
The lack of accurate data that could safely be referred makes it impossible assign a terminus post quem to the beginning of the Dionysopolis coin striking and presses the necessity to search for a different approach to the clarification of the matter.
The majority of autonomous Dionysopolitan coins could be subdivided into typological groups related in a chronological order by a common magistrate or bearing a common countermark. Their dating can be traced back to the middle of the 3rd c. B.C. to the middle of the 1st c. B.C. Among these stand out two monetary types distinguished from the rest both by the subject of iconography and the aspect of chronology. These are the coins of the types "head of a bearded elderly man with long straight hair and moustache, to the left / ΔΙ grape-luster", "ΔΙ head of Dionysos to the right / horseman with his hand raised in a gesture of greeting, to the left". The analysis of their iconography and juxtaposition with other rulers and urban coins confirms the conclusion that they represent the image of the Scythian ruler Ateios (the beginning of 4th c. B.C. - 339 B.C.) and his depiction as a horse-rider.
Plenty of coins of the type "ΔΙ head of Dionysos, to the right / the ruler Ateios as a horseman with his hand raised in a greeting gesture" bear evidence of re-marking and were proven to have been countermarked twice.
That the re-countermarking of the coins should have been accomplished in Dionysopolis is supported by the application of seal imprints precisely coinciding with the depictions on the Dionysopolis coins of the type "cantharos / grape-cluster on a twig". My supposition is that a substantial number of these coins (about 50%), although struck and ready for use, were still out of circulation when king Ateios had unexpectedly perished in combat. If we take this for granted assuming that his coins were not in circulation at that time, then one (and quite probably both) Dionysospolis emissions with the image of the Scythian ruler can easily be dated with a fairly high degree of precision. Since it's an established and well-known fact that Ateios perished in the spring of 339 B.C., the striking, countermarking and re-countermarking of the coins bearing his image should also be sought in the 1st half of 339 B.C.
The so far carried examinations and the formulated arguments draw the inference that the Greek polis of Krounoi was renamed into Dionysopolis not later than the first half of 4th c. B.C. Along with that they bring out the conclusion that the coinage of the city was initiated toward the mid-4th c. B.C. either with two bronze issues of the Scythian ruler Ateios, or a single autonomous issue without any inscriptions. As earliest autonomous coins of Dionysopolis should be defined the coins of the type "cantharos / grape-cluster on a twig". Whether they preceded the monetary types "head of a bearded elderly man with long straight hair and moustache (a representation of king Ateios), to the left / ΔΙ grape-cluster on a twig" and "ΔΙ head of Dionysos, to the right / (king Ateios as a) horseman with his hand raised in a gesture of greeting, to the left", so far is not explicitly determined and it is not possible to draw any conclusions.
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