Coins of Roman Egypt
Greek Dates




The most convenient order in which the Imperial coins of Egypt can be catalogued seems to be the following.

The coinage is first separated into two classes, the Alexandrian coins and those of Nomes and Cities. Although the money of the second class was struck at one mint, that mint being Alexandria, its types are local, and therefore it is well to keep it separate.

The Alexandrian coinage consists of billon coins and bronze coins of four denominations. It is catalogued under each Emperor, the first division being of coins which bear on the reverse a second imperial portrait, followed by the second, of various other types of reverse arranged in the order explained in the section Types, p. xxxix. sqq. The portrait reverses are in the earlier billon coinage placed first on account of their importance. For instance, there would be no billon of Tiberius if, according to the usual custom, the billon money with the head of Augustus were placed under the reign of Augustus. He would then only have bronze money, and what was his billon money would thus precede the far less important bronze. Under each division, that of portrait reverses and that of various reverses, the billon precedes the bronze. The order of the coins is not chronological, nor according to sizes, in the case of the bronze, but according to types. The chronological indications are explained first by the Table of Contents, and second by notices in the Introduction, to which there are references in Index II. of the Catalogue. The reason for the abandonment of the strict chronological system is, that it has the effect of separating recurrent types and making it impossible to describe them accurately without elaborate reference, and in the case of varieties without probable confusion. It is obviously best to place all the types of, for instance Nilus, of one Emperor together, so that there is no need of reference; the varieties, as recumbent or seated, &c, being grouped together, and their description not divided by the chronological order. A glance at the tables will justify this method.

The Nome-series is arranged first geographically and then chronologically. It is most important to keep under each nome the coins struck for it, in order to give their evidence upon its local mythology.*


Bronze of Augustus.

On the subjugation of Egypt Augustus seems to have made no change in the coinage, which was of bronze only. His first coins are identical in the reverse types, the mint-letters, and the two denominations, with those of Cleopatra VII. (Comp. Pl. xxv. 1, and p. 1, no. 3, with Cat. Ptol., Pl. xxx. 7, 8.) Subsequently Augustus issued one or two lower denominations. Whether this bronze coinage had any relation to that of Rome has not been determined.

Billon Tetradrachms begins under Tiberius, A.D. 19

The long series of billon coins begins with Tiberius. He reissued the tetradrachms of the Ptolemies, the latest of which, those of Ptolemy XIII. Auletes, are of base metal, the latest base metal coin being the drachm of Cleopatra, year 6, B.C. 47. (Cat. Ptol. p. 122, no. 1.) The earliest date of these coins under Tiberius is of year 7, which began AD 19.* The aureus was equal to 25 tetradrachms; the tetradrachm, though in weight equal to 4 denarii, was in silver contents only equal to 1. But in legal value the Alexandrian drachm was estimated as an obolus, thus one-sixth of the denarius, which makes the tetradrachm equal in legal value to two-thirds. This billon coinage falls in purity, and in the time of Commodus is almost copper, washed with silver.* Thus concurrently with the depreciation of the Roman coinage, though more rapidly, the Alexandrian billon decreases in purity and also in volume, until the small tetradrachms of Claudius II Gothicus contain only .38 of pure silver and those of Diocletian, in whose reign the series closes, 18.*

Later Bronze.

Largest bronze introduced by Vespasian.

The bronze coinage continues and is of three denominations, until a fourth is added, corresponding to the Roman sestertius in size. The first examples of the largest size occur under Vespasian. Then and subsequently we find four denominations, until the reign of Commodus, when all regular issue of bronze ceases, (as the baseness of billon made it unnecessary,) only to be occasionally resumed, chiefly for chronological commemorative purposes.

No attempt is here made to determine the relation of the bronze to the imperial gold or the provincial billon, as the materials for the inquiry have not yet been collected.*


All the imperial coins of Egypt, whether the so-called Alexandrian or those of Nomes or cities, were struck at one place. The subjects of the "Alexandrian" are local of that city, referring to its edifices, its mythology, and to the city itself, or else imperial, and there is no reference to the Nome worship except as connected with that of Alexandria. The money is legally imperial, never being autonomous or local, as Mommsen has conclusively shown.* Thus the term Alexandrian is numismatically good, though not legally. This term is therefore here retained inasmuch as the relation of a coin to its place of minting is the essential matter to remember in considering its value in evidence for history; mythology, and art. The Nome-coins are on the other hand struck for the Nomes at Alexandria.

Influence of Historical Events on coinage.

The changes and fluctuations in the coinage of Alexandria deserve a slight notice here, as they may be traced to historical causes, and thus there may be indicated a line of inquiry likely to be more fruitful in the future.

No Coins of “Caligula.”

The first gap in the series is the whole of the short reign of "Caligula," AD 37-41. This may be explained by the disturbed state of Alexandria, shown by the Prefect's persecution of the Jewish citizens.

Coinage Enlarged by Vespasian

The coinage gained true importance by the issue under Vespasian of large coins of bronze. It is evident that he had a special regard for the city which first asserted his pretensions.*

Types developed by Domitian.

Under Domitian there was a great development of coin-types, the interesting series of large bronze with a variety of types distinct from those of the lower bronze then having its true beginning, a series to continue, only interrupted in the short reign of Nerva, until the accession of Commodus.

First issue of Nome-coins.

In the same reign began the issue of local Egyptian coinages for the Nomes, a privilege afterwards extended to a few cities, such coinages being struck at Alexandria. This was a large concession to the native Egyptians, as distinguished from the citizens of Alexandria. It was destined to influence the Alexandrian coinage by introducing into its types Egyptian subjects suggested by the local types, and so to render the coinage of the capital more Egyptian in character. At the same time the local coinage felt the influence of the Alexandrian, inasmuch as the subjects were not usually presented in a purely Egyptian form, but were Hellenized.


The Coins of Trajan witness to the prosperity of the empire and to that policy of beautifying the provincial cities which was carried further by Hadrian. The Nome coinage was issued more largely, and it is clear that, as just mentioned, it had its influence on the central issues in which the same subjects occur. The first coin struck for a city occurs in this reign. It may be noted that Trajan’s coinage is the most Egyptian in the series.


Hadrian departs somewhat from the Egyptianizing tendency seen on the money of his predecessor. Though the Nome-coinage continues, it has less importance, being of the third instead of the largest size, the types do not reappear on the central coinage, and Greek subjects, edifices, and what may be termed imperial types are frequent.


Under Antoninus Pius the coinage, otherwise similar to that of Hadrian, took a new departure in consequence of a very important chronological event, the beginning of a Sothiac Cycle AD 139, in the 3rd Alexandrian year of the Emperor. The effect is first the issue, in the 6th year, of a commemorative type, the Phoenix in billon, with the inscription ΑΙωΝ, and then that of a large number of mythological types of an astrological character in the large bronze series. These appear in the Emperor's 8th year, AD 144-145. In the same year Nome-coins of the largest bronze were issued with the heads of the Emperor and Aurelius Caesar. No explanation has been offered of the strange postponement of the commemoration of the Cycle.

M. Aurelius.

Under Marcus Aurelius there is a remarkable decline of the coinage. This was undoubtedly due to the disturbed state of the province. The Bucolic War shows a wide-spread discontent among the native Egyptians, and the difficulty of its suppression shows their strength. Avidius Cassius having put down the revolt, rebelled and maintained himself for three months in AD 175.* We cannot wonder at the cessation in this reign of the Nome-coinage and the decrease of that of Alexandria. Aurelius could not restore the unity of Egypt. Henceforth, the types are Alexandrian and Roman: the splendid series of large bronze virtually ceases.


The decline of the coinage is marked under Commodus and the family of Severus. With the oriental Elagabalus, there is a distinct revival, due no doubt to his liking for the Alexandrian forms of worship. This is maintained in the issues of Severus Alexander. The coinage, as it becomes more and more debased, loses its interest. Under the military Emperors, Roman military types increase, until the leading subjects are aquilae with or without vexilla. It is the money not of Egypt nor of Alexandria, but of the Roman garrison of Egypt. Thus the adoption of the purely Roman coinage of the Monetary Reform, with its Latin inscriptions, was no sudden innovation: it was only the last step in the Romanization of the province.

The Art of Egyptian Coins under the Romans.

Early Greek Influence.

Naukratis founded.

To discover the source of the Art of the Egyptian coins under the Roman rule we must go back more than six centuries before the subjugation of the country by Augustus, to the days of Psammetichus I, who became sole ruler of Egypt in the middle of the seventh century before our era. He encouraged the Greeks to settle in Egypt, not only as mercenaries but also as craftsmen and merchants. To this policy was due the foundation in his reign of the great emporium of Naukratis and the military settlement of Daphnae, which ultimately became commercial also.

Saïte Renaissance.

The presence of skilled Greek workmen in Egypt could not fail to affect Egyptian art, which having fallen very low, was under the rule of the Saïte house of Psammetichus revived with all the conditions of the oldest monumental civilization of the country.

Its Art.

Similar movement in Assyria.

That the characteristics of the art of this renaissance were due to the influence of the Greek settlers needs some evidence. This is supplied first by the circumstance that a like movement in the same direction, assignable to the same cause, is seen in the latest Assyrian sculptures, which are of the age of the King Asshur-ban-habal, against whom Psammetichus I rebelled. Secondly, the Egyptian and the Assyrian sculptures of this time show a freedom and a delicacy never, so far as we know, attained in earlier times, while the Egyptian are marked by a naturalism which had long disappeared. It may be objected that we here antedate the movement of Greek art, that the works executed in Greek countries in the seventh century BC are far behind those just cited from Egypt and Assyria, and no doubt this is true. In Egypt and in Assyria, however, the craftsmen had, if they worked for foreign masters, not to invent but to modify. The hypothesis is merely that men of flexible and original power took in hand the old subjects, which thus revived. It must also be remembered that the wars with the Lydians and the Persians and the fall of the tyrants, involving a complete political change, with the transfer of the patronage of art from the few to the many, may have had the same effect in retarding the onward movement of Greek art, which was produced in the middle ages on the Renaissance in the East by the Crusades, and in the West by the political failure of the Emperor Frederick II.

Greek influence on Egyptian Architecture from BC 358.

Whether this view be true or not, there can be no doubt that the great development of Egyptian architecture in the forms of the capital can only have been due to the Greeks: in the first place, it bloomed in the time when art had otherwise declined very low;* in the second, it was accompanied or followed, both ultimately existing together, by a strong Greek influence on the meaning of the temple itself, the whole plan of which was changed by the theories of Platonism. *

The foundation of Alexandria introduced the Greek art of the age, ruled by the style of Lysippus and by that of contemporary masters in all branches. The special qualities of this style may be seen in the portrait of Ptolemy I on his own coins and those of his son. The native art continued beside this purely Greek art, even at Alexandria, and between the two there grew up a mixed style, not unlike the "archaistic" Graeco-Roman.

Art under the Ptolemies.

It might have been supposed that the wealth and magnificence of the first two Ptolemies and their delight in shows, like the Pomp of Philadelphos, would have greatly developed art, and that the love of allegory which then prevailed would have given it a special direction. There was, however, a strong counteracting influence in the rule of science at the Museum. Moreover, the later Ptolemies were rather Egyptians than Greeks. Thus Alexandrian art was limited to the capital and stunted in its growth. On the other hand, the rule of Platonism which succeeded to that of science, introduced another Greek influence, as already mentioned, and gave to the temple an orderly arrangement with a view to Platonic exposition. Egyptian art, left undisturbed, pursued its natural development from the Greek principle which had been earlier implanted. The mixed art is seen in some well-known types, such for instance, as those of Isis and possibly her priestesses. It resembles all uncertain and merely imitative art. Its works show want of knowledge and want of confidence.

Art under the Romans as seen on Coins.

It is reasonable to think that there was a Greek revival under Cleopatra, but if so, it can have had no powerful effect. At the Roman subjugation of Egypt her art had fallen far below the general level of the Greek world. Henceforward Egyptian art is lifeless. Whatever changes it experiences are due to the changes of Graeco-Roman and Roman art. The coins afford at once its best examples and its clearest history. The three divisions of art are maintained. There are Greek types, Egyptian, and mixed, characterized in their treatment by certain qualities, showing that there had been the three styles. The chief movements are the renaissance under Trajan and Hadrian, which is part of the history of all imperial coinage, the decline under Aurelius, as evident in the quality as in the variety of the coins, this due to political causes, the revival under Elagabalus, quasipolitical, the decline after Severus Alexander, owing to the weakening of imperial power, this being a specially imperial coinage, and the final debasement at the close of the three centuries. The Reform of Diocletian made the Alexandrian money in all respects Roman, and mechanical as it is it shows a superiority to what it supplanted.

The artistic interest of the coins lies in what they tell us of the sources from which they took their subjects and in their manner of representation.

Subjects of Coins.

The subjects of coins, besides the portraits of imperial personages, are statues, reliefs, the coin-types as the original reliefs, animals, and various architectural objects. The range is extraordinarily wide and the variety great.

Quality of Art.

The quality of Alexandrian art is inferior in delicacy to that of Asia Minor at the time, and even to Roman. It is not wanting in vigour and in a certain picturesqueness that is almost original. It also has an element of fancy or caricature which is true to ancient Egyptian art and to the Alexandrian character. As instances, the representations of Nilus may be cited in which the little Cubits are introduced in playful attitudes (Pl. xxi. 1577, 1587, 1672), and the subject of Isis with Harpokrates on her knee, while a second Harpokrates endeavours to climb up her leg (no. 1127, not engr.). The portraits are generally rough, but not always without character and force.


Probable Sources.

The Iconography of the Alexandrian coins is of inferior interest. This is due to the circumstance that the Emperors were at too great a distance to be seen, except in the rare cases of those who visited Egypt, and these did not in all cases do so early in their reigns, when the type of portrait might more readily be modified. Probably, in the case of the more powerful of the earlier Emperors, a bust, not in most cases an original, was sent to the province; usually, however, the only authority would be the Roman coinage.

Retention of earlier portraits.

As a consequence of the want of accurate information when the portrait was first put on the coin-die at the beginning of the reign, there being a desire to strike money of the first year, however few weeks it contained, there are instances of the retention of the portrait of the portrait of the previous Emperor. Thus Vespasian in his 1st year almost always, and in his 2nd year sometimes, has a similarity to Vitellius. It will be remembered that he was proclaimed at Alexandria very near the close of the Egyptian year, so that the coins with the earlier portrait may have been struck within a short interval, which is the more likely from the appearance of the later portrait in the 1st year.* Similarly, the earlier portrait of Hadrian is not characteristic of him, and has a general resemblance to that of Trajan. Of his 1st year there are no coins known, which is not surprising, as it began only three weeks before the beginning of the Egyptian year.* The change to the regular portrait cannot be fixed to any year. It occurred in the course of years 2-10, after which the old portrait disappears.

Inscriptions of Coins.

Obverse and reverse inscriptions independent.

The Alexandrian coins as a rule follow the usual custom of Greek Imperial money in having independent obverse and reverse inscriptions. The coins of Aelius Caesar are an exception: on them the inscription begins on the obverse, and is completed on the reverse, the obverse giving the Caesar's style, and the reverse his offices, according to an occasional use of Roman Imperial coins, thus: obverse, Λ ΑΙΑΙΟC ΚΑΙCΑΡ; reverse, ΔΗΜ ΕΞΟΥC ΥΠΑΤ Β (Pl. x. 921, 923). Cf. Commodus, no. 1369.

Titles, COS. TR. P. IMP. “occasional” not given.

Imperator, Αυτοκρατωρ.

The Alexandrian coins similarly conform to the general usage of the Greek Imperial class, and do not give, except again those of Aelius, the consulship, tribunican power, and "occasional" imperatorship. The imperatorship, which is here termed occasional, is the last office on Roman Imperial coins, and is numbered I, II, III, &c., the first occurrence being implied in the title IMP. as conveying the perpetual command, which usually begins the inscription. The Greek Αυτοκρατωρ is the equivalent. On the Alexandrian coins Titus alone, as Caesar, bears the title Imperator, exactly as Vespasian on the same coins, at the head of the inscription, but probably he only takes it as general (Pl. xxxii. 225, cf. nos. 226—8). It is regularly taken by the Augusti in the sense of perpetual command.

AUGUSTUS, Σεβαστος.

The title Augustus, Σεβαστος, is limited to the Emperors with four exceptions. Phillip II Caesar, Saloninus Caesar, Carinus Caesar (sometimes), and Numerianus Caesar, bear the titles Καισαρ Σεβαστος. The only possible explanation that suggests itself for this extraordinary deviation from usage is that these Caesars may have thus been especially designated as successors.*

Inscription obverse.

The inscriptions of both obverse and reverse are, as a rule, in the nominative. Exceptionally however the inscription is sometimes given in the genitive: thus we find, in the coins of Augustus, the inscriptions ΣΕΒΑΣΤ• ΚΑΙΣΑΡ•Σ and ΣΕΒΑΣΤ•Σ ΚΑΙΣΑΡ, showing indifference as to the use. Of the accusative there is an example in the money of Aemilian, the legitimate Emperor, who is, to judge from the coins in the Museum always styled ΑΙΜΙΛΙΑΝΟΝ.

Inscriptions reverse.

The reverse may bear two inscriptions, the name of the type and the date, and it must bear the date, unless it is on the obverse. If it bear the date alone the name of the type is understood. The date may be written with the symbol of the year and the numeral, or either or both may be written in words complete or abbreviated.


Obverse type.

The obverse type of the Alexandrian coins is, with insignificant exceptions, an imperial portrait. As a rule the Augusti are laureate and the Caesars are always bare-headed. Augustus and Tiberius are bareheaded in their earlier years. The radiate diadem is worn by Augustus as deified on coins of Tiberius. Afterwards it is very unusual. Nero, the first after Augustus who wears it, and the first who does so (and frequently) in his lifetime, may do so in imitation of Ptolemy III Euergetes, or V, Epiphanes. (Cat Ptol. Pl. xii. 3, 4, 5; xvii. 1, 2). Domitian occasionally wears a corn-wreath and this may be in imitation of Ptolemy V. (Cat. Ptol. Pl. xvii. 5).

Reverse type.

The reverse type is rarely an imperial portrait, second in importance to that on the obverse; usually, the reverse type is a subject. The subjects are generally taken from Greek and Egyptian mythology or represent cities, &c., personified, animals, the Egyptian sacred animals, or those in relation to Greek divinities, Imperial persons and acts, buildings of Alexandria, and various objects.

List of types.

It is useful here to notice the most important and interesting types of reverse— Greek mythology.


For Kronos, planet, see Zodiac, Saturn.


Of Zeus the only remarkable type is the figure carried by the eagle (Pl. i. 397, 1015). When Zeus, standing or seated is accompanied by the eagle, the bird stands at his feet, looking back at him, the old type of Zeus Aetophoros having fallen into disuse. The local forms are Zeus Olympios (Pl. i. 127), Zeus Nemeios, who is crowned with the Nemean parsley-wreath, and strangely wears the aegis (Pl. i. 130), and Zeus Kapitolios.* These types are in the series issued by Nero, no doubt in commemoration of local games in imitation of the great contests and others. For Zeus, planet, see Zodiac Jupiter.

Zeus Ammon.

Zeus Ammon is not to be regarded as a local form of Zeus, but as a foreign divinity identified with the Greek Zeus and the Libyan Ammon. This characteristic is the ram's horn (Pl. i. 677 sqq.), and the ram is sacred to him. Thus, Zeus Ammon drives a biga of rams (405), and the ram is constantly associated with him. For pantheistic Zeus Ammon, see p. lxii.


The only types of Hera which we can certainly identify are the bust of Hera Argeia (Pl. i. 133); and a standing figure (Pl. i. no. 1470). It is possible that types attributed to Demeter in the Catalogue may in some cases be of Hera, though Demeter as identified with Isis would be a more favourite goddess at Alexandria.


Poseidon, as a sea-god, was worshipped at Alexandria. The absence of any Egyptian divinity with whom he could be identified must have limited his cultus to the Greek inhabitants. For pantheistic Poseidon see Sarapis, p. lxii.


Hades was identified with Sarapis worshipped by the Egyptians, and thus, as an unpopular divinity, identified with one of great popularity, he almost disappears from inscriptions and wholly from art. Even Kerberos was transferred to Sarapis, and constantly accompanies him. The only subject connected directly with Hades is that of the Rape of Persephone, which rather belongs to the myth of Persephone, on whose account it was no doubt introduced as a coin-type.


Demeter frequently occurs on the coins of Alexandria. No identification with Isis is traced in these representations, unless it may be that when Euthenia, assimilated to Isis, and Demeter occur together in the same type there is an intention to signify a double form of the same divinity, Isis, in the Egyptian fashion (see Euthonia, p. lxxix, lxxx.) The worship of Demeter seems to have been introduced, like that of Euthenia, in relation to the corn-production of Egypt. It was, therefore, the material part of her myth which is represented on the coins of Alexandria, the story of Triptolemos and the corn-modius being most important.


Persephone, as might be inferred from what has been noticed above, scarcely appears on the Alexandrian coins. There are none of these types which occur on Greek autonomous coins of the ages of the finest art and of decline, in which there may be doubt whether a head represents Demeter or Persephone.

Rape of Persephone.

The only subject which relates to the myth of Persephone is a remarkable reverse type of Trajan, which is apparently a reminiscence of a picture like other such subjects which do not suggest sculpture or relief. Hades is represented in a quadriga drawn by galloping horses: he holds Persephone, who is naked to the waist and seems to have fainted; the horses are led by Hermes Psychopompos; beneath the chariot are seen the maiden's overturned basket and scattered flowers and corn. The presence of Hermes shows that the myth is taken in a mystic sense (Pl. ii. 407).


While Demeter remains purely Greek, not withstanding the possible idea that she was equivalent to lsis, Triptolemos appears in a singularly mixed form. His myth was evidently accepted by the Alexandrians as a form of that of Osiris.* Thus we see his type to be Greek Egyptianized. The only form of the type shows Triptolemos scattering seed in a car drawn by two serpents. He usually wears the elephant's skin on his head, and the serpents are generally winged, and whether winged or wingless mostly wear the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, the skhent: they are therefore Agathodaemones (Pl. ii. 408, 582, 1332). The myth was no doubt popularized through the influence of the idea of the colonization of Athens from Saïs (Athena, p. xliv.). The type is a modification of the well-known Greek types of Triptolemos in the winged serpent-car. The elephant's skin headdress connects the subject with Alexandria, as if Triptolemos were specially Alexandrian. This would agree with the types which connect Alexandria herself with the corn-produce of Egypt (Alexandria, p. lxxxiii, lxxxiv).

Apollo Philesios. Statue by Kanachos.

The most remarkable types of Apollo are those which represent the statue of Apollo Philesios by Kanachos, at the temple of Branchidæ near Miletus. They occur in the series of Antoninus Pius. The first, on a billon coin, presents the usual type, holding stag and bow, though in a somewhat late style, as if from a Graeco-Roman copy, and there is a tripod behind the statue, denoting the famous oracle (Pl. iii. 936). The second type is also on a billon coin (937). It is, unfortunately, in bad condition. The statue is represented facing and showing the archaic style of the original; in the right hand is what looks like a patera and can scarcely be the stag; in the left is the bow. Although variation in the subject is the rule in the best period of Greek art in the coin types, which give not copies but varied recollections of famous works of sculpture, it is the exception in the later ages, when the direct copy is the rule, yet the resemblance in this representation to the others, those now to be noticed, of the type of Kanachos, justify its being classed to that type which the bronze coins of Antoninus present. There Apollo stands facing between two Nemeses, both looking towards him (1028) with, in one coin, the tripod on the left, the proper right, of the central statue (1031). This type recalls that of the "Homonoia" coin of Miletus and Smyrna, which shows the same Apollo facing to the left of the two Nemeses, looking towards each other. It is of the same Emperor, Antoninus Pius, as the coins of Alexandria.*

It would be very interesting if we could trace the appearance of the Apollo of Branchidæ to the influence of Naukratis. It is well known that there was at this city a special cultus of the Milesian Apollo,* whose great temple was at Branchidæ. It is evident that the influence of Saïs was felt by the Alexandrian coinage. (In the instance of Athena, p. xliv. sqq.) But that the same was the case as to Naukratis may be doubted, inasmuch as we have the parallel coin of Miletus with the two Nemeses of Smyrna, to compare with the bronzes of Alexandria of the same Emperor: thus the billon coins with the Apollo alone are of no value in evidence of Milesian influence through Naukratis: it was rather direct.

Apollo Pythios, Aktios.

Among other types of Apollo, may be mentioned these which occur in the billon series of Nero connected with the Games, ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ ΠΥΘΙΟΣ (ΠΥΘΕΕΙΟΣ, Pl. iii. 141), and ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ ΑΚΤΙΟΣ (Pl. iii. 144). Both have the ordinary laureate bust, but there is this difference, that the Pythian Apollo has a quiver on his shoulder, the Aktian has a trident.


Helios is distinguished by the radiate diadem. He remains a Greek divinity without taking any of the characteristics of any Egyptian divinity, though in pantheistic types Egyptian divinities borrow his radiate diadem. Considering the importance of the sun god in Egypt as occupying the basis of the whole system of worship, and extending with its development, this is most remarkable, and is sufficient to establish an axiom, that greek types are not affected by Egyptian, but Egyptian by Greek. When a type shows a double origin we find that the Egyptian form is Hellenized, and not the converse. For pantheistic types see Sarapis, Anubis.


Artemis is a purely Greek divinity. The Asiatic types do not occur, nor is there any assimilation with Egyptian divinities.


Selene appears with or without Helios, and is likewise Hellenic only.


The Greek Hephaistos does not occur. For the Egyptian see Phtha.


Athena occurs in various forms on the Alexandrian coins, and her types are frequent, although she does not seem to have been specially worshipped in the city. The cause of her prominence on the money seems to "have been the popularity of the idea that Athens was a colony of Sais. This idea was so fully accepted by the Egyptians that Athena appears as the Nome goddess on the large and third sized bronze coins, thus corresponding to the Egyptian Nit or "Neith."

Athena of Saïs.

Her type at Saïs, the characteristic of which is that she usually holds the owl on her extended right hand, recurs at Alexandria (Comp. iv. 942 with Langlois, Nomes, Pl iv. 3). In the Scholia on Aristophanes this type is described as Athena Archegetis. (της' Αρχηγετιδος ' Αθηνας το αγαλμα γλαυκα ειχευ τη χειρι Schol. Av. v. 515). The Scholiast or some author with whom he was acquainted must have known of a statue of the Saïte type called Athena Archegetis. The coins of Athens show that there was such a statue in the city about Hadrian's time (Cat. Attica, p. 84, no. 585, and note +, p. 93, Pl. xv. 3; xvi. 2). The epithet Archegetis designates the leader of a colony, either the human leader or the divinity under whose auspices the enterprise was undertaken. Obviously the statue would be dedicated at the colony. There were two ideas of the origin of the Athenians, the one that they and the whole population of Attica were autochthons, the other that Athens was colonized from Saïs in Egypt. The last is no doubt a late idea, yet earlier than the appearance on coins of the Saïte type of Athena. It must be remembered that the Greek city of Naukratis was in the Saïte Nome,* although evidently enjoying a kind of quasi-independence under the Roman Emperors. To Naukratis was no doubt due the Hellenic type of Saïs, and that this type had been long naturalized in Egypt is evident from the occurrence of a peculiar local form of Athena on the coins of the Oxyrhynchite Nome, in which the goddess of Oxyrhynchus is no doubt assimilated to Nit of Saïs under the form of Athena. In a purely Egyptian part of the country, such a type would not appear under the empire, had not Greek influence long before made the identification of Nit and Athena widely popular. It seems, therefore, that we may describe the type of Athena carrying the owl as Athena Archegetis at Alexandria and Saïs, though it by no means follows that the type should be so described elsewhere.

Athena Stathmia.

Another noticeable type of Athena is that in which she appears wearing helmet aegis and chiton, holding the scales and cornucopiae of Dikaiosyne. This remarkable type must be the Athena Stathmia of Hesychius, who, it should be remembered, was an Alexandrian. (Lex. Σταθμια επιθετου' Αθηυ.) No doubt she was worshipped as guardian of equity in commerce. The A. Agoraia, whose temple appears to have stood in the Agora at Sparta, takes her epithet from the locality.*

The other types of Athena on the Alexandrian coins cannot as yet be specially designated: no doubt they represent local statues, one or more of which may be of forms special to the city.

The occurrence together of Athena and Ares (Pl. v. 418), is unexpected, but it is justified by the description of the shield of Achilles.*


Ares, while retaining his type in Graeco-Roman art, is assimilated to an Egyptian divinity, the warrior Horus of Sebennyfus. (Comp. Pl. iv. 1037, 1494 with Langlois iii. 12. Here, as in the case of Athena, the Egyptian type assumes the foreign form. This is the usual representation of Ares. For the Roman, see Pl. iv. 1040. It is important to discriminate between the Emperor in military attire and Ares: the rule seems to be that the Emperor in these circumstances is bareheaded Alexander is possibly represented like the Emperor, on the coinage of the District of Alexandria, as the divinity of the district, but the type may be of Ares, for a like figure appears on the coins of the Leontopolite Nome. (Cf. Langlois, Pl. iv. 10, with infra p. 344, 14.) So far as I have ascertained Alexander never appears on the coins of the city which he founded and named after himself. This is remarkable, considering the importance of the head of Alexander in the earlier coinage of the Ptolemies. (Cat. Ptol. p. xvi, sqq.) The representation of the founder seems to have been lost in that of the city, in the form wearing the elephant's skin, common in the imperial coinage.

Aphroditie, Eros.

Aphrodite is scarcely represented on the Alexandrian coinage, although we should have expected types to occur frequently. In the Ptolemaic coinage Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XVI Caesar appear as Aphrodite and Eros (Cat. Ptol. p. 122, Pl. xxx. 6), and the temple of Arsinoe II as Aphrodite at Zephyrium, near Alexandria, was famous. The money of Faustina Marci presents the solitary type of this goddess in the Roman form of Venus Victrix. She stands to the l., clad in talaric chiton and peplos, holding a helmet and a shield inscribed ΔΥΝΑΜΙC which rests on a column. (Pl. v. 1345). On the Roman imperial coinage Venus Victrix is sometimes fully clad, and she may hold a helmet in her r. hand, or a shield in her l., the helmet and shield not commonly occurring in the same type. Occasionally, she leans her l. on a column. The shield has as a device the Wolf and Twins. It is evident that the Alexandrian coin represents the same form of the goddess with the substitution of ΔΥΝΑΜΙC for the Wolf and Twins. Whether the Greek word is a translation of Roma, 'Ρομη, is too long a question to be here discussed.


Hermes is almost wanting in the series except in the compound form Hermanubis. (p. lxviii., ixix.)


Hestia, in the Roman form Vesta, may perhaps be traced in the future among the Roman personifications.


Dionysos, not withstanding on the one hand the identification with Osiris by Greek writers, and on the other, the fame of the Mareotic wine, is scarcely represented on the coins.

Herakles. Labour, &c., of Herakles.

Herakles appears almost exclusively in the reign of Antoninus Pius, and then as performing his labours or going through adventures of the same class of actions. (Pl. vi.) His popularity being thus limited in time, can scarcely have been due to his identification with Harpokrates, one of the three chief Egyptian divinities of Alexandria.* It may rather have been due to an association of the myth of Herakles with solar phenomena,* for the novel types introduced by Antoninus Pius probably had their origin in the commemoration of the recurrence in his reign of the beginning of the great Sothiac Cycle. It may be observed that the coin-types are no doubt taken either from metopes or pictures, more probably, to judge from their style, from pictures.

In the Museum collection only nine-labours are found, and the series does not seem to be complete in known coins. The most interesting types are those which refer to adventures outside the series of labours.* In one Herakles is portrayed striking a giantess with his uplifted club (PL vi. 1053). This has been supposed by Mionnet to be the slaughter of Echidna (VI. p. 251, no. 1708), but there is no warrant in the myth of Herakles. Two rare subjects, for the identification of which I am indebted to my colleague Mr. Murray, are Herakles destroying the vines of Syleus (Pl. vi. 1056), and Herakles entertained by the Centaur Pholos (1057).


The Dioskuri as sea-gods were specially worshipped at Alexandria This must be regarded as a Greek cultus, there being no analogues in Egyptian mythology. A bronze coin of Trajan has the type of the Dioskuri standing on either side of a goddess of Egyptian type who can only be Isis (no. 451). Considering that Isis Pharia was the protector of the Pharos, the Dioskuri, as gods of navigation, might well be associated with her at Alexandria. The inscription of the Pharos according to Strabo was this:—τουτου δ'αυεθηκε Σωστρατος Κυιδιος, Φιλος τωυ βασιλεωυ, της τωυ πλωιζομευωυ σωτηριας χαριυ, ως Φησιυ η επιγραΦη, xvii. i. 6. This is evidently a loose quotation as we should say the inscription tells how, &c., adding the substance. In Codex C the following words are added in the margin:— επυγραμμα. Σωστρατος Κυιδος. This second form has the characteristics of a Greek dedicatory inscription. It evidently had no place in the text, but was added by some one who knew it.* Clearly, therefore, the Pharos bore the architect's dedication to the Dioskuri, as θεοι σωτηρες.* Hence, the type of the Dioskuri on either side of Isis, here Isis Pharia. Another reference is found in the παρασημον of the Alexandrian ship in which St. Paul left Melita, Acts xxviii. 11.*


The only Asiatic divinity whose figure occurs in the series is Kybele, whose worship, or at least type, may have been introduced from Rome. There is no trace of the Artemis of Ephesus.

Asklepios, Hygieia.

The types of Asklepios and Hygieia are not infrequent in consequence of the importance of healing in the Alexandrian philosophic development of religion. There are no specially interesting forms except the combination of Asklepios with a pantheistic Sarapis. See Sarapis.


One subject occurs which relates to the myth of Orpheus, in which he is represented playing his lyre, surrounded by the listening animals (Pl. xi. 1373). This must have been taken from a picture.





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