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Despre contramarcarea oraşelor vest-pontice dobrogene în epocă autonomă / On the Countermarking of the West-Pontic Greek Issues From Dobrudja During the Autonomous Epoch

  • Numismatică Antică şi Bizantină (Ancient and Byzantine Numismatics)  Articolele semnate de autor
Limba de redactare română
Excerpt The author brings new data, together with the already known ones, concerning the tabs of the West-Pontic Dobrodjan currencies, the ones from Histria, Tomis and Callatis in autonomous epoch. Having a new consistent group of currencies discovered in different occasions in Dobrudja the author identifies new information of real interest for the discussed domain. The author wished to capitalize the endeavours and contributions not only of some researchers, but also the extremely valuable information, sometimes with unique pieces in discoveries, of certain passionate amateurs, various collectors in the country, offered with great generosity, who we thank this way for the significant aid they have provided. Ali three cities have known, within their monetary workshops, the use of the process of countermarking. While Histria has a more timid presence in this respect, Callatis and Tomis possess a genuine variety of countermarks. In the case of the earliest colony and also the main monetary workshop, Histria, countermarking was used on the bronze coins but much less than we would have expected. The ones that exist have been applied, mostly, on coins of large dimensions, of the types Apollo, Demeter and Apollo on omphalos, but also on the small ones, of the type Istros. To these, we add the presence of the countermarks "from Histria", on emissions from other emitter centres. Callatis, in its turn, has got countermarks applied on autonomous bronze emissions, considered to be some of the most beautiful of Greek numismatics, through its remarkable artistic quality, on its own monetary types Demeter, Dionysus, Heracles and Apollo, but also on emissions from other centres. Tomis fits into the category of the most prolific Greek cities from the Pontic basin, in what concerns the countermarking process. Tomis' issuing of a representative number of coins of large dimensions allowed for their countermarked utilization, frequently, during the 2nd-1st centuries BC. In terms of monetary types subject to the process of countermarking, we can mention the ones of the types Apollo, the Great God, the Dioscuri, Demeter and Zeus. The heads of numerous divinities from the Greek pantheon are represented in an overwhelming proportion, from the profile, oriented towards the right, adapted to the circular shape of the coin, and the detail is handled, especially in its first part, with great care (the same deities also appear on coins issued by the three west Pontic colonies from Dobrudja during the autonomous period and not only), and to them we can add a lyre, or the emblem of the city of Histria. These divinities are Apollo, Helios, Demeter, Hermes, Athena, Artemis, etc. For each and every workshop, the most common countermarks are: in Histria, the ones with Helios, Hermes and Demeter. In Callatis, the ones with Hermes, Artemis, Demeter and Athena. In Tomis, the ones with Hermes, Athena, Apollo, Demeter and the four-spoked wheel. What can be observed, in general, is the tendency of countermarking the pieces of large dimensions, the destruction of the reverse in some pieces-a fact which is due, as a rule, to the technical procedure, etc. It would be possible to identify two periods of countermarking, for which the enunciation of the different chronological sequences is difficult to make. We notice a first category of countermarks with a large diameter, almost as large as the entire pill of the coin and a second one, with countermarks of average and small size, one or more on one single face, sometimes overlapping. In general, the types of countermarks of the three workshops are limited, as their applying. We must also point out the possibility of countermarking some pieces (outside the local coinage), only to be accepted on the internal market. Nonetheless, the use of this procedure, probably during the 2nd-1st centuries BC, reveals the fact that the cities were not capable any longer to procure, locally or from imports, metal resources for the striking of other coins, necessary in the economic and commercial process, and this constituted a very important stake for the continuation in a positive sense of the respective process. In this respect, it is difficult to say if we are talking of a general crisis in the Greek world or only of a local-zonal one. Countermarks appear singularly, sometimes in groups of two, three or even four, offering the possibility of formulating some hypotheses regarding the repetition of this procedure several times in a row, in our case, on the same coins, or on the same side. Also, it has been suggested, for a long time, at the hypothetical level, that some successive financial reforms might have existed in the case of this workshop. But, may a time, the same countermark on the same type of coin has not been placed on the same spot, and this varied rather often. Also, the same model of countermark can have variable dimensions. The differences in diameter of the same type of countermark could also indicate a chronological distance of imprinting. We are certain of the fact that a type of countermark can be imprinted several times, from a chronological point of view, within the same city. It is likely these time differences are not very great, but they can stretch even on a decade. We also do not believe in the concordance between a certain monetary magistrate present on a coin and a certain countermark. The eventual situations can be unquestionably considered exceptions and anomalies in the general process of countermarking on the three colonies' own coins. Perhaps we should talk, in general, even of a monotony of the types, depending on the characteristic and the origin of each city, although there are details of rendering, especially iconographic ones, which have variations and significant differentiations, probably also owing to slight occasional modifications. The portraits on the countermarks have been made by engravers or skilled artists who, nevertheless, will remain forever unknown.
At the same time, we must state that the iconographic and, implicitly, the die differences, sometimes just pertaining to detail, present from one countermark of the same type to another, makes us think of the partitioning of the issuer's origin. Naturally, where a certain monetary type is issued by one city only, the countermarks with the face of the same deity surely belong, first and foremost, to the respective monetary centre. It is also true that certain countermarks, as a type, belong to several centres, since they appear on coins of a different issuer. In other words, we would attribute some countermarks on the basis of monetary tradition, but we believe it is still too little in order to obtain certainties, lacking diversified arguments. From our point of view, this problem continues to be subject to investigation, depending also on the enriching of the data base, of the existing information. We must also identify, on the coins issued by the three west-Pontic colonies from Dobrudja, the presence of some countermarks which belonged to other centres.
The use of the tabbing probably in the 2nd-1st centuries B.C. reveals that the discussed fortresses weren't capable no more of securing, locally or from imports, metal resources for another issues, necessary for the economic and commercial process. It is difficult to specify if this was about a general crisis in the Greek world, or just a local one. It is certain that there has been a mechanical procedure for these issues, and as evidence we have the presence of the numismatic document.
The Romanian (and not only) numismatic research was appealing, owing to the problems and complexity that characterize it, to the multitude of aspects that have still not been elucidated in an acceptable manner, more so as it refers to an extremely important period for the evolution of the monetary process in Dobrudja and beyond its "frontiers", north of the Danube, through monetary circulation. The problems of the numismatics of the west-Pontic colonies from Dobrudja remain just as interesting, now more than ever before, and it is still capable of offering us pleasant and fascinating surprises.
Paginaţia 155-188
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  • Cercetări Numismatice: CN; XIV; anul 2008