Small Denomination Bronzes in Phoenicia during the Persian period


The following was written by John Wilson Betlyon´s in his publication “The Coinage and Mints of Phoenicia – The Pre-Alexandrine Period;

A series of small denominations were developed to supplement the larger coins. Being a period when great liberties were taken by the Phoenician mints and when commercial development reached new and greater heights, ample supplies of small change, minted in both silver and bronze, were required in the market place. 

Betlyon is referring to the bronze coinage he categorised has “The Fourth Aradian Series” dated ca. 380-350 B.C and numbered 24-25 [1]. Depicted on the obverse is a figure of marine deity with a fish-like lower body, holding a wreath in his right hand and a fish or dolphin in his left. On the reverse we see a galley with two waves below, figurehead on prow and a curved ornament on the poop deck.  To date, these are the only bronze coins of the Aradian Persian era to be recognised as an official mint. Although extremely rare, they do occasionally turn up for sale in auctions.

OB 2.jpg

The following type of Aradian bronze have never been documented before and are extremely rare, to my knowledge only two survive to date [2]. In my humble opinion, i believe it to be yet another defiant attempt by the Aradians to supply the market place with further types of bronze denominations [3]. The first is in my collection (a) and second belongs to the Bibliothèque nationale de France (b). Both have a weight equivalent to that of 1/6 staters and date from between 348-338 B.C. I have split them into two distinctive groups, although similar, they do not share the same dies. The iconography of this type still have archaic style busts, but have started to show early signs of Greek influence. There isn’t any trace of silver, these coins were struck purely in bronze.

[1] For further reference, this type can also be found on page 12 in BMC Phoenicia dated 350-332 B.C and numbered 83-85 or in HGC10 on page 16, numbered 55-56.

[2] Please drop me a line if you know the whereabouts of matching coins.

[3] We know from history that the Aradians attempted to abandon the Persic standard in favour of the attic standard, this attempt was short lived due to the massive military intervention by the Persian King against the revolting Satrap. Even in defeat, the Aradians remained rebellious.


QN 2.jpg

QN 4.jpg


BNF btv1b8535740m 1.69 gr-C 2.jpg

Please follow provided link for my coins attribution;

By Coins Of The Southern Levant Posted in Arados

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s