LEADEN TOKEN-COINAGE OF EGYPT UNDER THE ROMANS
1900 I contributed a chapter to Messrs. Grenfell, Hunt, and
Hogarth's volume on "Fayum Towns and their Papyri,"
dealing, among other questions relating to the coins found in
the excavations, with the leaden pieces from various sites,
which were taken to represent a token-money for low values.
Some of the specimens from the first season's work at Behnesa,
the ancient Oxyrhynchus, were therein described. As, however,
the explorations resumed by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt for the
Egypt Exploration Fund on this site, and continued during the
winters of 1903-1907, have produced a large number of additional
examples of these leaden pieces, it seems desirable to give
a fuller account of the types found there, and to discuss them
further, with the addition of such information as can be gathered
from a study of other collections.
types that are described in the following list are all that
I have been able to identify among the specimens found. A number
of the pieces were quite illegible, and not only was the general
average of preservation poor, but many examples were of such
barbarous execution as to obscure the meaning of the figures
Obv.—Bust of Athene r., wearing crested helmet
and draped: rough oval border of thick line.
advancing l., wearing long chiton with diplois, holding out
wreath in r. hand, in l. palm over shoulder: in field to l.,
: rough oval border of thick line. [Pl.
specimens. Usually struck on a thick and fairly round flan of
20-25 mm. diameter. The execution is rough, especially on the
reverse, where the letters in the field often appear as a large
pellet with a wavy line descending from it. On some examples
Nike seems to be standing on a globe; but this may be only an
exaggeration of her feet.
Obv.—As last, without border, or with a faint
border of dots.
last, without letters in field: border usually absent.
specimens, all smaller and thinner than the last, and of more
irregular shape; diameter, 16-20 mm. The work is very poor.
1, but Nike r., and no letters in field.
specimens. Very similar to 1 in size, shape, and execution;
diameter, 23-24 mm.
Obv.—Bust of Athene as 1: in front, spear upright:
circular border of dots.
as 1: letters in field absent, or represented by irregular marks:
circular border of dots. [Pl.
specimens. Very varied, being struck on flans of different sizes
and thicknesses, from 15 to 24 mm. in diameter; the work is
in a few instances passable, but usually rude, and sometimes
Obv.—As last, with bipennis instead of spear.
last: in field to l., [Pl.
specimens. Of very rough execution, struck on thin flans; diameter,
Obv.—As 1: circular border of dots.
specimens. General style fair; flans thick and well-rounded;
diameter, 20-21 mm.
Obv.—Athene advancing r., wearing crested helmet,
chiton, and peplos, with small shield on l. arm and spear raised
in r. hand, attacking serpent erect l. in front of her: border
as 1: in field to l.,
: border of dots. [Pl.
specimens. Usually struck on thick but rather badly shaped flans;
diameter 17-23 mm. The work is always rough.
last, but Nike r.
specimens. This type may be classed with the last in style;
diameter, 19-26 mm.
seated l. on throne, with himation over legs, holding out Nike
flying r. with wreath on his r. hand, resting l. on sceptre:
to r., altar: border of dots. [Pl.
specimens. On the whole fairly excuted; flan large but thin;
diameter, 23-28 mm.
Obv.—Athene standing l., wearing helmet and long
chiton, holding out Nike on r. hand and resting l. on spear:
double border of thick line.
advancing r. with wreath and palm: double line border.
specimen. Very poor work; diameter, 23 mm.
Obv.—As last, with altar on l.: border of single
standing l. (? Eusebeia), wearing long chiton, with r. hand
over altar; cornucopiae on l. arm: thick line border. [Pl.
specimen. This piece is in poor condition, but seems to be fairly
excuted; flan thick and round; diameter, 21 mm.
Obv.—Distyle portico, with angular pediment,
in which is a disk: within, statue of Athene standing l., wearing
crested helmet and long chiton, holding out Nike r. with wreath
on r. hand, resting l. on spear: line border.
as 1: in field to l.,
: line border. [Pl.
specimens. Usually struck on thick, rather irregular flans;
diameter, 20-26 mm. The work is very rough.
Obv.—Athene seated l., wearing helmet (?), chiton,
and peplos: beside throne, shield.
specimens. Both in very poor condition; diameter, 25-26 mm.
Obv.—Eusebeia standing l., wearing long chiton
and peplos, holding in r. hand patera over altar, in l. cornucopiae:
border of dots.
as 1: border of dots.
specimens. Some examples show fair work, but the majority are
poor, and struck on badly shaped flans; diameter, 16-19 mm.
Obv.—Figure standing l., radiate, wearing short
chiton and cothurni, holding out on r. hand Nike flying r. with
wreath, resting l. on spear: border of dots.
Rev.—Nike as 1: border of dots.
specimens. Generally in fair style, and struck on round flans;
diameter, 18-22 mm.
16. Obv.—As last.
r.: otherwise as last. [Pl.
specimens. Diameter, 18-20 mm.
Obv.—Emperor r. on horseback, carrying aquila
over shoulder: border of dots.
as 1: border of dots. [Pl.
specimens. Similar work to last two types; diameters 15-20 mm.
Obv.—Two heads facing: border of dots.
as 1: border of dots.
specimen. In poor condition; diameter, 20 mm.
Obv.—Three quarter length figure of Nilus reclining
l., crowned with lotus, himation over legs and l. arm: r. hand
outstretched, cornucopiae on l. arm.
of Athene r., wearing crested helmet, chiton, and aegis: in
front, L ΚΕ. [Pl.
specimen. This piece, though broken at the edges, is otherwise
well-preserved, and shows good workmanship; diameter, 19 mm.
Obv.—Nilus reclining l., crowned with lotus,
himation over legs and l. arm: in r. hand reed, on l. arm cornucopiae:
below, crocodile r.: border of dots.
ears of corn bound together: in field, L Δ
: border of dots.
specimens. Both much worn, but apparently fairly good work;
diameter, 20-22 mm.
reclining l., crowned with corn, wearing long chiton, holding
ears of corn (?) in r. hand and cornucopiae on l. arm: in front,
a genius (?): in ex, LΙΒ: border
specimens. Both in poor condition, but apparently of fair work;
diameter, 18-19 mm.
on horseback galloping r.: in ex., LΙΔ:
border of dots.
specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 19 mm.
fishes, upwards: between them, Lς: border of dots.
specimen. Fair work; diameter, 17 mm.
Obv.—As 20, but without crocodile below: double
border of dots.
r., wearing pointed cap, with sickle in r. hand, cutting three
stalks of corn: in field, L [?]: double border of dots.
specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 18 mm.
Obv.—As 20, but in place of crocodile below,
line of dots.
standing l., crowned with corn, wearing long chiton: r. hand
raised, cornucopiae on l. arm: border of dots.
specimen. Fair work; diameter, 20 mm.
Obv. —Three-quarter length figure of Nilus reclining
l., crowned with lotus, himation over legs, holding out on r.
hand mummiform figure of Osiris to front, on l. arm cornucopiae:
border of dots.
with head of Osiris r., facing Canopus with head of Isis l.,
both on bases: on r., figure of Harpokrates l., with r. hand
to mouth and sceptre in l.: in ex., L [?]: border of dots.
specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 17 mm.
Obv.—As last (apparently): double border of dots.
of Sarapis r., wearing modius and himation: in field, L Ι:
double border of
specimen. Much worn, but seemingly fair work: diameter, 17 mm.
Obv.—As 26 (apparently).
seated to front on high-backed throne, wearing modius and himation,
r. hand raised, l. resting on sceptre: at his feet, Kerberos
seated: in field, [L] Η: border of
specimen. Worn and pierced, but apparently of fair work; diameter,
Obv.—As 26 (?).
Horus advancing r., head turned to front, holding up in each
hand a serpent: border of dots.
specimen. Much worn, diameter, 17 mm.
Obv.—Bust of Nilus r.: in front, cornucopiae:
border of dots.
specimen. Fair work; diameter, 18 mm.
Obv.—Bust of Sarapis r., wearing modius and himation:
border of dots.
of Hermanubis l., wearing modius with petal in front: to l.,
palm upright: border of dots. [Pl.
specimens. Fair work, on thin flans; diameter 24-25 mm.
Obv.—As last, but type l.
Rev.—As last, but type r.
One specimen. Work inferior to last; diameter, 20 mm.
33. Obv.—Bust of Sarapis r., wearing taenia,
modius, and himation: to l., indeterminate object: border of
One specimen. Poor work, on thick flan; diameter, 20 mm.
34 Obv.—Reaper r., wearing high cap with tassel
and short chiton, cutting corn with a sickle: to l., bird perched
on sheaf: border of dots.
Rev.—Ploughman l, wearing conical cap and short
chiton, driving two oxen, guiding plough with r. hand and raising
goad in l.: border of dots.
One specimen. Fair work; diameter, 18 mm.<
35. Obv.—Pegasos galloping l.: below, CΕ:
thick line border.
Rev.—Androsphinx standing l., with r. fore-paw
on wheel: thick line border. [Pl.
One specimen. Fair work, on thick round flan; diameter, 25 mm.
36. Obv.—Figure (Harpokrates ?) riding r. on
elephant, with r. hand raised: border of dots.
Rev.—Hermanubis standing l., with indeterminate
object in r. hand, caduceus in l.: at his feet, dog l., looking
back: border of dots. [Pl.
One specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 20 mm.
37. Obv.—Indeterminate object.
One specimen. Diameter, 26 mm.
Of the foregoing types, a few have been described by Signor
Dattari, in his Numi Augustorum Alexandrini: No. 7 bears the
same types as his No. 6539; No. 15 as No. 6540; No. 20 as No.
6456; No. 21 possibly as No. 6471; and No. 34 as No. 6546.
The majority of these pieces may be ranged in two groups, the
first with types relating to Athene on the obverse, the second
with types of Nilus. There is a general distinction of style
between the groups; and for this and for other reasons which
will appear later, it will be convenient to discuss them separately
in the first instance, and consider those examples which do
not bear obverse types of either class subsequently.
The first group comprising Nos. 1 to 13, includes nearly all
those most commonly found at Behnesa. As regards style, the
general average in this group is distinctly low, and the smaller
examples are as a rule the worst in execution; in some instances
they can only be described as barbarous. It is true that the
poor preservation of many of the specimens would make it difficult
to distinguish the finer lines of the work, if any had ever
existed; but from comparison of those in the best state, it
would appear that the engraver of the dies did little more than
cut out a rough figure with hardly any detail. The obverse types
include the helmeted bust of Athene, sometimes with a spear
or bipennis; Athene attacking a serpent; Athene standing holding
Nike; a similar figure in a portico; and Athene seated. All
these, except the bust with bipennis and the figure of Athene
attacking a serpent, may be paralleled on the imperial coins
of Alexandria; but there is no close resemblance to any particular
Alexandrian issues, nor would it be possible to say more than
that the unskillful engraver may have had an Alexandrian type
in his mind, or even before him, which he was trying to reproduce
The usual reverse type of this group—a figure of Nike
with wreath and palm—shows more affinity to a familiar
Alexandrian type, though the execution is as rough as on the
obverse; but this is differentiated from the imperial coinage
by the addition, on most of the larger specimens, of the letters
ΟΞ placed vertically, which
appear in various stages of degradation; occasionally they are
fairly clear, but more commonly they have become a large pellet
with a zigzag line descending from it. The flans on which these
pieces are struck are rough; the larger ones are thick and lumpy,
especially in Nos. 1, 6, and 12, the smaller thin and of irregular
In my discussion of these pieces in "Fayum Towns,"
I argued that this group was probably struck locally at Oxyrhynchus,
basing this concussion on the grounds of the appearance, on
the reverse, of the first two letters of the name of the town
and, on the obverse, of Athene, the Graeco-Egyptian equivalent
of the local deity Thoeris.*
This appears to be supported by the further evidence which has
been obtained from subsequent finds; out of 270 leaden pieces
from Behnesa which I have examined, 184 belong to this group,
and 56 of the remainder to two other types, while the other
30 represent 22 different types. I am not aware that any examples
of the types of this group have come from other sites. Signor
Dattari, as already noted, has a specimen of No. 7, and there
are specimens of Nos. 1 and 4 in the Alexandria Museum; but
in none of these cases is there any record as to provenance.
Professor Petrie also showed me a specimen of No. 1 bought at
Ahnas; but he agreed that this might have been found at Behnesa
and brought down. There appears, therefore, to be strong reason
in favour of the opinion that this group represents the local
issues of Oxyrhynchus.
The second group comprises Nos. 19 to 30, most of which are
represented by one example only. These pieces are greatly superior
to those of the first group in style; the flans are usually
round and well-shaped, and in many instances the execution is
quite equal to that of the imperial Alexandrian coinage. The
types are rather interesting in their relation to that coinage.
Many of them have close parallels on the Alexandrian coins,
but the treatment of the design, is often varied in some small
particular; for example, the usual obverse type of Nilus reclining
is very similar to the common representation of him on Alexandrian
issues except that on the leaden pieces his figure is shortened
to a three-quarter length one, instead of being shown in full;
but the introduction on No. 26 of a small mummiform Osiris on
the right hand of Nilus is a distinct variation not found in
any Alexandrian type, the nearest analogy to it being the small
genius issuing from a cornucopiae held by Nilus, which sometimes
and on the reverse of the same piece the small figure of Harpokrates
is a novel addition to the type of two facing Canopi. The reaper
of the reverse of No. 24 is evidently a reproduction of the
reverse types of some large bronze coins of the fifth year of
but does not agree exactly with any of the four varieties published.
The impression which I have formed from a comparison of this
group with the imperial coinage is that the engraver of the
dies from which the leaden pieces were struck intentionally
alteredthe treatment of details, while following the general
lines of the Alexandrian types; the differences are certainly
not due to want of skill on the part of the workmen. Another
point in which the group is distinguished from the first is
that in most cases the specimens belonging to it show a date
on the reverse—possibly this may be a general rule, as
the only examples on which no date can be deciphered are much
worn. None of the other types here described are dated; and
the connection between the Nilus obverse and the dated reverse
thus shown is supported by the evidence of other collections.
In Signor Dattari's catalogue, out of 30 leaden pieces bearing
dates, 24 have representations of Nilus or of his spouse Euthenia;
in the account of the leaden pieces of the Bibliotheque Nationale
by MM. Rostovtsew and Prou,*
there are five dated examples, all with Nilus types; and in
the Museo Numismatico Lavy*
there are described six dated specimens, likewise all with Nilus
types, out of a total of 61 examples.
The fact that the pieces belonging to this group only occur
sporadically at Behnesa—not more than two examples of
any of the types included in it having been found—would
suggest that they were not locally struck. The Nilus type is,
of course, one which might occur anywhere in Egypt, and it is
used, in a style very similar to that of the specimens now under
discussion, on leaden pieces which bear the name of Memphis.
Of the half dozen leaden pieces from the excavations in the
Fayum described in my previous article,*
four have Nilus types. It would appear that this type was the
one most favoured generally in the striking of leaden issues
in Egypt, as, out of 137 examples catalogued by Signor Dattari,
68 bear figures of Nilus. In the absence of any evidence that
examples of this group have been found with special frequency
at any particular site, it would seem unsafe to formulate any
conclusions as to where they were struck; but, looking to the
superiority of the execution and the touch of official style
given by the use of a date, I am inclined to ascribe them to
Of the specimens which cannot be classified in one or other
of the foregoing groups by their obverse types, those which
come under Nos. 14 to 18 have a point in common with several
of the first group in their reverse type of Nike. In style,
however, No. 14 is the only variety which can be ranked with
those regarded above as Oxyrhynchite: it is executed in the
same rough and sometimes barbarous fashion, and struck on irregular
flans. It is also of common occurrence, and is very probably
to be taken as a local issue. No. 15 is not uncommon, but shows
much better workmanship in almost all the examples found, approximating
in this respect to the second group; and the same may be said
of No. 16 and No. 17. The latter has another point of resemblance
to the second group in the shape of the flans. All these three
are distinctly superior to any in the first group, and should
apparently be classified as not Oxyrhynchite. The one example
of No. 18 is too worn for any definite judgment to be formed
as to its style. Nos. 31 and 32 are very distinct in appearance
from any of the other varieties found; the execution is fairly
good, much better than in the first group, while it is broader
than in the second, where the work rather tends to detail; the
flans are larger than those of the latter group, but, while
oomparatively thin, are well-shaped. Nos. 34 and 36 are in every
respect of workmanship closely similar to the second group;
and the types of No. 34 are, like the reverse type of No. 24,
borrowed from the large bronze coins of the fifth year of Antoninus
Pius, with minor variations. No. 35 is of distinct style, and,
like Nos. 31 and 32, must be placed in a separate class; the
work is broad and vigorous, and the flan, though thick, is well-rounded.
The condition of the one example of No. 33 does not allow of
its classification; and No. 37 affords no points of comparison
with the other varieties.
To revert once more to the conclusions of my earlier article
on these leaden pieces in "Fayum Towns," I there assigned
them to the second and third centuries A.D. on grounds of style.
The additional evidence which has now been obtained tends to
support this dating in general, but makes it possible to fix
the limits more closely. The dates which occur on the Nilus
group are presumably regnal years; but as the year alone is
given without any indication as to the name of the Emperor,
they are for the most part of no value as guides for the present
purpose, being low dates, which might refer to any one of many
reigns. One example, however—No. 19—bears a date
which can only belong either to Commodus or Caracalla, as no
other Roman Emperor after Augustus entered on a twenty-fifth
year according to the Alexandrian system of dating. The types
also point to the same period. As noted above, Nos. 24 and 34
show groups which are closely related to those on bronze coins
of the fifth year of Antoninus Pius, and must either have been
borrowed from the latter or derived from the same source. The
treatment of the designs on the bronze coins of this series
distinctly suggests that the die-engravers of the Alexandrian
mint worked out their types freely in preference to giving exact
copies of extant statues or paintings, and, if this be granted,
the types of the leaden pieces must have been borrowed from
the imperial coinage. This fixes the upper limit of date for
these examples; and the lower limit is probably not very much
later, as the wear of the second-century bronze coinage in Egypt
was so great that it would have been difficult for a copyist
to find a coin many years old on which the design was sufficiently
clear to be followed.*
Internal evidence would thus point to the latter part of the
second century and the early years of the third as the period
of issue of these leaden pieces, at any rate of the Nilus group.
Unfortunately no external evidence can be obtained from the
situations in which they were found: for, as Dr. Grenfell explained
to me, and I satisfied myself at a visit to the site, the stratification
of the rubbish-mounds of Behnesa is so extraordinary that objects
of a later date may be found below those of an earlier; and,
after all, dust-heaps are not exactly places where an orderly
arrangement is likely to be preserved.
In my previous article I argued that these pieces represented
a local token-currency for low values, on the grounds that they
were shown by the names upon them to have been struck for certain
localities, that they had in some cases a stated denomination,
and that they follow for the most part recognized coin-types;
and that further, in the period to which they appear to belong—the
latter part of the second and the third centuries—hardly
any coins of lower value than tetradrachms were issued by the
imperial mint of Alexandria, though payments in obols and chalci
frequently occur in documents of the time, and something must
have been used for these denominations, as there is no hint
or trace of payment in kind. All the further evidence supports
these conclusions. In addition to types bearing the names of
Memphis, Oxyrhynchus, and the Arsinoite nome, there are now
known pieces with the legends ΑΘΡ
(perhaps Sethroite or Sebennyte nome).*
With the examples previously specified, which are marked ΟΒΟΛΟΙ
Β and ΤΡΙΩΒΟ,
may be classified No. 37 of this collection, the device on which
should certainly be read ΔΙΟΒ(ΟΛΟΝ).
The relationship to the coin-types has already been set forth.
The strongest evidence as to their use, however, may be drawn
from a classification of the finds at Behnesa; and this also
throws some light on their date. I have examined the coins from
the excavations of five seasons; and those of the Alexandrian
series which are in sufficently good condition for the reign
in which they were struck to be identified are shown in the
Aurelius & Verus
Carinus & Numerian
Diocletian & Maximian
lt will be observed that this list shows very few coins of the reigns
between Marcus Aurelius and Gallienus. The fact is even more striking
if the coins
are grouped in periods of about forty years, as follows:—
It must be remembered that those coins have all been found
singly in the rubbish-heaps of the ancient town, and represent,
the casual losses of daily life. Unless, therefore, the inhabitants
of Oxyrhynchus ceased to drop their money in the streets about
and resumed the
habit with greater frequency about 260 A.D.—which seems on
the face of it unlikely—some
other explanation of the absence of coins of the intervening period
must be sought; and it is most reasonable to suppose that the leaden
pieces here described, which
would date to about this time, were in circulation as tokens in
Oxyrhynchus, and took
the place in daily life, as they do in the rubbish-mounds, of the
bronze coinage of earlier years.
This would agree with the history of the issues from the Alexandrian
bronze coins were struck there in the reign of Commodus, and fewer
still in those of
his successors down to Caracalla; while afterwards, except for
some very rare pieces of Elagabalus, Julia Maesa, and Severus Alexander,
bronze were in the tenth year of Severus Alexander, the fifth and
sixth of Philip, and the twelfth of Gallienus. These latter issues
of a commemorative
character, and intended as medals rather than coins; and it may
noted in connection with this that the examples of these issues
found at Behnesa
sign of wear, herein contrasting markedly with the extremely rubbed
condition in which nearly all the earlier bronze coins are found,
and that an unusually
large proportion of those specimens which have come under my observation
from all sources are pierced. But while the only regular coinage
from 180 to 260
consisted of billon tetradrachms, the papyri and ostraca, which
are fairly plentifuI for
most of this period, show no change from earlier times in the use
of obols and chalci in statements of accounts and payments: and
discover what represented these obols and chalci. There is not
the least evidence that
payment in kind or by barter was brought into use; and I know of
nothing which has been found in Egypt, other than these leaden
place. It has been suggested* that the imperial coinage of Rome
was imported; but Roman silver or bronze coins of before 260 A.D.
in Egypt. From Behnesa only three have come, two sestertii of Severus
one of Philip, which are probably chance importations, like sundry
there—one bronze coin of Cos of the first century B.C., one
Cypriote of Caracalla, and one colonial of Antioch of Philip.
The upper limit for the issue and use of these leaden tokens may
be put with a reasonable probability at about 180 A.D. No
doubt the bronze coins of the Alexandrian mint continued to be
for some time
this; but the numbers struck appear to have fallen off rapidly
during the reign of
Marcus Aurelius, and his seventeenth year saw the last appearance
of the regular coinage of large bronze. Signor Dattari has advanced
that a reform of the monetary system was contemplated at this time
in Egypt;* and, as a marked debasement of the billon tetradrachms
certainly took place,
which would disturb the old relations with bronze, it may well
due to this that the issue of leaden tokens was found convenient.
The lower limit appears to fall in the reign of Gallienus, in view
of the facts set forth above as to the finds of coins at Behnesa.
connected with a change in the character of the Alexandrian billon
issues. After the death
of Commodus, the tetradrachms of Alexandria varied little in size,
weight, or fineness till towards the end of the reign of Gallienus;
but in the
which followed till the abolition of the local Egyptian coinage
under Diocletian, their diameter decreased by a fifth, and their
by nearly a half,
while the percentage of silver in them, which had been about ten,
was reduced to
about two. Unfortunately, there are hardly any records on papyri
or ostraca of this
period, and so we have no means of ascertaining how business adjusted
itself to these circumstances. But, if we may argue from the fact
that the coins
of earlier periods usually found in the rubbish-heaps of Oxyrhynchus
of the lower values—bronze till about 180 A.D., and afterwards,
on the theory set forth above, leaden tokens—it may be concluded
that nothing of lower value than the debased tetradrachms was in
It is true that Roman
Imperial bronze coins are rather more frequent than before—two
of Gallienus, two of Aurelian, six of Probus, and two of Numerian
have been found—but
these are insignificant when compared with the great number of
In the foregoing paragraphs I have left out of consideration the
possibility of these leaden tokens being intended as false coins.
There were doubtless
many spurious pieces in circulation in Egypt. M. Dutilh has collected
a number of
instances of plated coins of the Ptolemaic period found at Alexandria.
In the Museum of Alexandria there are some leaden reproductions
of coins, doubtless
intended for fraudulent purposes—one copy of a hemidrachm
of Sicyon, two of Rhodian drachms, and ten of small Ptolemaic copper;
and the Lavy
catalogue includes Egyptian forgeries in lead of coins of Epirus,
Ithaca, Melos, Heracleia
in Bithynia, Hidrieus, Ephesus, Rhodes, and Canatha in the Decapolis* But the examples from Behnesa and elsewhere which have been described
attempts to counterfeit any known coinage, and could hardly have
the most ignorant.
There still remains to be discussed the question how far the use
of those leaden tokens extended through Egypt; and this can hardly
he answered till
sites have been excavated with the same care as that of Oxyrhynchus.
The number of these pieces which come into the market is considerable,
but no reliable
information can be obtained from the dealers as to where they were
found. The sites of Euhemeria,
Theadelphia, and Philoteris in the Fayum, each yielded examples;
and I learn from Mr. J. E. Quibell that he got a specimen of the
ruins of the Graeco-Roman Serapeum at Saqqara. I have not heard
of any similar discoveries
in other excavations: and unfortunately the tokens themselves give
little indication of where they were struck. Names of towns are
are only the six
which have already been quoted), and the types are generally such
as might be adopted
almost anywhere in Egypt: Nilus, Sarapis, and Isis are the most
usual, and are quite indistinctive. In a few instances a local
may be guessed.
is a fairly common token with the head of Zeus Ammon to right on
the obverse, and on the reverse a baboon squatting to right with
on its head,
forepaws resting on hind-legs, and an altar in front, of which
MM. Rostovtsew and
Prou note six examples in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris,
three at Athens, three at Turin, four in the collection of M. Vital
Constantine, and several
Trau Collection at Vienna;* there are also fourteen specimens in
Museum. This type might be ascribed with some probability to Hermopolis
Magna; and the frequency with which it occurs in collections, some
formed many years
ago, suggests that the examples have been found at a site which
has been extensively
plundered for a long period—a condition which is satisfied
in the case of the mounds of Ashmunen, the modern representative
of Hermopolis. Another token, of which there are eight specimens
in the Alexandria Museum, bears on the obverse a head of Zeus to
on the reverse
a bust of Athene to right: the Lavy catalogue has five examples
of this,* and
to be of the same type as two pieces in MM. Rostovtsew and Prou's
description of the collection in the Bibliotheque Nationale.* This
type has not
occurred at Behnesa, and may possibly belong to the other great
centre of worship
of the Egyptian equivalent of Athene—Sais, which, like Hermopolis,
has been extensively plundered for many years. These conjectures
as to local attributions, however,
are not of definite value in the absence of information as to find-spots.
Signor Dattari has also collected a number of types which recur
on the coins of the
nomes; and it is worthy of notice that, in several instances,
the obverse and reverse bear types of different nomes—thus
Arsinoite and Heliopolite, Bubastite and Herakleopolite, Bubastite
and Panopolite, and Hermopolite and Herakleopolite
types are conjoined—which may point to some understanding
between the authorities of the nomes or towns issuing the tokens.
of the MeneIaite
and Sethroite nomes, and Pelusium. These instances seem to show
that the use of such tokens was spread over the Delta and Middle
but so far
have been found which can be ascribed to any town south of Panopolis.
In conclusion, I have to thank the Committee of the Egypt Exploration
Fund for the opportunity of studying and publishing the Behnesa
tokens; Signor Dattari, for allowing me freely to inspect his unrivaled
collection in Cairo; and Signor
Breccia, for granting
me special facilities for examining the leaden pieces in the Alexandria Museum.
Postscript.—The foregoing article was in the printer's hands
before the second volume of Dr. Otto's Prieste und Tempel im Hellenistischen Aegypten appeared. He suggests on p. 131, note 4, that the Egyptian leaden pieces were
συμβολα in the sense of tickets entitling the holder to an allowance in
kind. If this were the case, however, I should expect to find examples of these
tickets of Ptolemaic and early Roman times, since the evidence for the allowances
goes back to the second century B.C.; but I know of no leaden pieces from Egypt,
except direct copies of Ptolemaic bronze coins, which could reasonably be dated
before the reign of Antoninus Pius. Nor does the general character of the pieces
suggest such a purpose as that ascribed to them by Dr. Otto.