the money struck for Alexandria, the Imperial Coinage of
Egypt comprises bronze pieces struck for the Nomes and a
very few cities, a class usually called the Coinage of the
Nomes. It will be necessary to discuss the main features
of the series. A full examination is as yet impossible.
No cabinet contains a good representative series, nor can
such a series be made of the specimens of different cabinets.
The difficulties of description are very great, since we
are frequently uncertain as to the personage represented.
This is explained by the fact that the selection is Alexandrian,
dates borne by this coinage are Domitian, year 11; Trajan,
years 12, 13, 14, 15; Hadrian, year 11; Antoninus Pius,
year 8; and Marcus Aurelius Caesar, the same date. The coins
of Domitian are extremely rare, and those of Marcus Aurelius
are rare. The dates on the coins do not seem to have any
special significance, either as connected with an Egyptian
cycle, or with the reigns of the Emperors.
short examination of these coins is enough to show that
all of the regular series were struck at Alexandria. There
are a few pieces of what may he called token-money, such
as the leaden coins of Memphis, and the late bronze coin
The series presents specimens of the four chief denominations
of Egyptian provincial money. Domitian struck of the second
size, Trajan of the first, Hadrian of the third and fourth,
Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius Caesar of the first.
It is thus obvious that each series was independent of the
next following it.
obverse inscriptions are the same as those on the coins
of Alexandria. As on that series such inscriptions are wanting
on the smallest size. The reverse inscriptions present the
name of the Nome or City for which a coin was struck, and
the date. On the largest coins the name is written in full,
and in very rare instances of Nome coins is preceded or
followed by the word ΝΟΜΟC: this use
is found on the coins of Domitian (infra, p. 354, no. 56;
Berliner Blätter, iv. 29, seqq.; pl. xviii. 1, 2, 3).
The smaller coins of Hadrian present the name of the Nome
in an abbreviated form, which could sometimes be that of
the capital. Even when there are no other coins giving the
full inscription, the great rarity of such coins as are
undoubtedly civic, justifies our classing the pieces just
mentioned as Nome-coins, except those of Naukratis, which
intervene with the short inscription between those with
the full inscription of the city name.
is a general similarity between the coins of the Nomes and
those of Alexandria, and at the same time there are essential
differences. The similarity is principally seen in the relation
of the types to the sizes of the coins.
differences are seen in the exact character of this relation,
in the usual definiteness of the types and in the omission
in the fourth size of the types of the larger coins. This
omission may be excluded from consideration as due to the
issue under Hadrian of small coins only. The difference
in the character of the types is that the large Nome coins
show the type of the smallest held in the hand of the divinity,
whereas this is not the case in the Alexandrian series,
in which there is no distinct connection in type between
the larger and the smaller coins.
important question now arises, are the Nome coins of any
authority? In other words, was the selection by Alexandria
of the weight that the selection by local capitals would
have had? A striking instance seems sufficient of itself
to decide the question on the negative side. In subjects
relating to Alexandrian worship, or struck for Nomes near
Alexandria, we have a right to expect accurate selection
of types. And we must expect that the sacred animals are
correct. But in remote parts of Egypt we may well doubt
whether this was the case. The coins of the Thinite Nome,
unconnected in their types with the worship of Alexandria
and far distant, we find a remarkable selection of type.
These coins present a figure of Elpis or Spes, hold by the
Nome divinity in the large bronze, and as the sole type
in the smallest size. M. Jacques de Rouge is naturally unwilling
to admit the presence of a Greek type in a Graeco-Roman
form, and proposes an Egyptian attribution, (Rev. Num. N.
S. xv. pp. 15-17.) The type is however perfectly clear.
It is directly repugnant to Egyptian local worship. It belongs
to a class of Alexandrian types due to Graeco-Roman association.
This suggests that the local types emanating from Alexandria
were really Alexandrian and are not necessarily of any local
value. This view is confirmed by the examination of other
Nome coins not connected with the Alexandrian Triad, and
of Nomes remote from Alexandria. If we do this we find instances
where the type changes, and also where it is not to be connected
with the leading Nome divinity. For example, the coinage
of the Diopolite Nome presents a figure of Amon, and another
of Helios. These instances cover both characteristics. It
would thus seem certain that the Nome types were not only
selected at Alexandria, but that the selection was independent
of local worship unconnected with Alexandria. Consequently
the study of the Nome series illustrates rather the worship
of the capital and its local varieties, than the worship
of the Nomes unconnected with Alexandria. Thus the series
loses much of its interest as its mythological value is
small and uncertain. The Egyptian subjects of the Alexandrian
cycle belong to the best known section of Graeco-Egyptian
mythology, the cycle of Sarapis. So far as this cycle touches
the cycles of the Nomes, that is to say in the cases of
Sarapis, Isis, and Harpocrates, identification is easy,
for the Alexandrian notion is applicable to the Nomes. When,
however, we find types having no traceable relation to this
cycle it is safest to attempt no identification. Consequently
I have adopted an entirely different system in the Alexandrian
Coins and those struck for the Nomes. I have not attempted
a full treatment of the subject which would have greatly
increased the volume without presenting any definite result.