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About 40 Tetradrachms & 800 years in under 60 seconds. (A Fun Lazy Susan Video.)

Curtis JJ

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The video shows about 40 “tetradrachms” from my collection of Greek and Roman Provincials, from about 485 BCE to about 295 CE. Even though we call all those coins “tetradrachms,” it’s our modern label, and these coins may have been mostly unrelated to one another, and understood quite differently in their various times, places, and monetary and political circumstances. [Note 1]

At least in my collection, it’s the broadest denomination label: it represents the widest variety in time, geography, metal content, size, “fabric,” and artistic traditions. It becomes clear that this isn’t so much an illustration of how much “the Tetradrachm” changed over time, but how many different kinds of coins we refer to as “Tetradrachm” today.

Sorry -- some of the captions go by kinda quick! Oh -- and Sulla isn't the last owl as I've learned since. I was using Thompson's chronology, which is since significantly revised. A couple other minor errors in there.



I wish I could remake the video today to include a few new favorites, but I rarely take more than a couple out of the safety deposit box at one time (and then put them back right away).

Most of my left-out Tets, or my new ones (mostly Roman Alexandrian), would only make an aesthetic difference, but I’d like to have included these ones:


CARIA, SATRAPS. Hidrieus, c. 351-344 BCE (22mm, 14.75g, 12h). SNG LOCKETT 2909 = SNG vA 8046 = Weber 6604, et al.


CILICIA, AEGEAE. Hadrian, Dated Year 177 = 130/1 CE (25mm, 11.99g, 12h). L&M 117 = Haymann Pl. 37 O6/R12.


EGYPT, ALEXANDRIA. Severus Alexander, Dated Year 7 = 227/8 CE (24mm, 12.44g, 12h. RPC VI (Temp), 10362 = DS 12335.


EGYPT, ALEXANDRIA. Philip I, Dated Year 3 = 245/6 CE (25mm, 13.80g, 12h). RPC VIII (Temp), 2976.38 (JSW, SA Evensen).

And maybe one of my ugly Alexandrian Nero’s or Claudius’ for continuity.

If I had the chance, I might or might not include the following coin of Vima Takto, c. 80-113 C.E. (AKA “Soter Megas,” his most-humble Holyness, the “King of Kings, Great Saviour”). I consider it an AE Didrachm (20mm, 8.55 g). But it’s sometimes (usually?) called a Tetradrachm.


BAKTRIA, KUSHAN. Soter Megas (Vima Takto), 80-113 CE (20mm, 8.55g). (Ex Clain-Stefanelli)


NOTE 1: For a comparison, consider the first century of electrum coinage in Asia Minor. We call all those coins “Staters,” “Trites,” “Hektes,” etc., but even within that narrow window, all those denomination terms meant something slightly different across several contemporary regional standards: Lydo-Milesian; Phokaian; Persic; Aeginetan; Euboic; presumably others. Multiply the interval by eight and stretch the geography across Europe, North Africa, and the Ancient Near East, and the variety multiplies exponentially.

Edited by Curtis JJ
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