Coins of Roman Egypt
Greek Dates




In 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.

The 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 upon them.

1. Obv.—Bust of Athene r., wearing crested helmet and draped: rough oval border of thick line.

Rev.—Nike 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. XXII. 1.]

Forty 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.

2. Obv.—As last, without border, or with a faint border of dots.

Rev.—As last, without letters in field: border usually absent.

Forty-nine specimens, all smaller and thinner than the last, and of more irregular shape; diameter, 16-20 mm. The work is very poor.

3. Obv.—As 1.

Rev.—As 1, but Nike r., and no letters in field.

Two specimens. Very similar to 1 in size, shape, and execution; diameter, 23-24 mm.

4. Obv.—Bust of Athene as 1: in front, spear upright: circular border of dots.

Rev.—Nike as 1: letters in field absent, or represented by irregular marks: circular border of dots. [Pl. XXII. 2.]

Forty 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 barbarous.

5. Obv.—As last, with bipennis instead of spear.

Rev.—As last: in field to l.,  [Pl. XXII. 3.]

Three specimens. Of very rough execution, struck on thin flans; diameter, 20-21 mm.

6. Obv.—As 1: circular border of dots.

Rev.—Laurel wreath.

Six specimens. General style fair; flans thick and well-rounded; diameter, 20-21 mm.

7. 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 of dots.

Rev.—Nike as 1: in field to l., : border of dots. [Pl. XXII. 4.]

Seventeen specimens. Usually struck on thick but rather badly shaped flans; diameter 17-23 mm. The work is always rough.

8. Obv.—As last.

Rev.—As last, but Nike r.

Three specimens. This type may be classed with the last in style; diameter, 19-26 mm.

9. Obv.—As last.

Rev.—Zeus 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. XXII. 5.]

Seven specimens. On the whole fairly excuted; flan large but thin; diameter, 23-28 mm.

10. 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.

Rev.—Nike advancing r. with wreath and palm: double line border.

One specimen. Very poor work; diameter, 23 mm.

11. Obv.—As last, with altar on l.: border of single thick line.

Rev.—Figure standing l. (? Eusebeia), wearing long chiton, with r. hand over altar; cornucopiae on l. arm: thick line border. [Pl. XXII. 6.]

One specimen. This piece is in poor condition, but seems to be fairly excuted; flan thick and round; diameter, 21 mm.

12. 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.

Rev.—Nike as 1: in field to l., : line border. [Pl. XXII. 7.]

Fifteen specimens. Usually struck on thick, rather irregular flans; diameter, 20-26 mm. The work is very rough.

13. Obv.—Athene seated l., wearing helmet (?), chiton, and peplos: beside throne, shield.

Rev.—Nike as 1.

Two specimens. Both in very poor condition; diameter, 25-26 mm.

14. Obv.—Eusebeia standing l., wearing long chiton and peplos, holding in r. hand patera over altar, in l. cornucopiae: border of dots.

Rev.—Nike as 1: border of dots.

Forty-four specimens. Some examples show fair work, but the majority are poor, and struck on badly shaped flans; diameter, 16-19 mm.

15. 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.

Twelve specimens. Generally in fair style, and struck on round flans; diameter, 18-22 mm.

16. Obv.—As last.

Rev.—Nike r.: otherwise as last. [Pl. XXII. 8.]

Two specimens. Diameter, 18-20 mm.

17. Obv.—Emperor r. on horseback, carrying aquila over shoulder: border of dots.

Rev.—Nike as 1: border of dots. [Pl. XXII. 9.]

Three specimens. Similar work to last two types; diameters 15-20 mm.

18. Obv.—Two heads facing: border of dots.

Rev.—Nike as 1: border of dots.

One specimen. In poor condition; diameter, 20 mm.

19. 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.

Rev.—Bust of Athene r., wearing crested helmet, chiton, and aegis: in front, L ΚΕ. [Pl. XXII. 10.]

One specimen. This piece, though broken at the edges, is otherwise well-preserved, and shows good workmanship; diameter, 19 mm.

20. 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.

Rev.—Three ears of corn bound together: in field, L Δ : border of dots.

Two specimens. Both much worn, but apparently fairly good work; diameter, 20-22 mm.

21. Obv.—As last.

Rev.—Euthenia 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 of dots.

Two specimens. Both in poor condition, but apparently of fair work; diameter, 18-19 mm.

22. Obv.—As 20.

Rev.—Figure on horseback galloping r.: in ex., LΙΔ: border of dots.

One specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 19 mm.

23. Obv.—As 20.

Rev.—Two fishes, upwards: between them, Lς: border of dots.

One specimen. Fair work; diameter, 17 mm.

24. Obv.—As 20, but without crocodile below: double border of dots.

Rev.—Reaper r., wearing pointed cap, with sickle in r. hand, cutting three stalks of corn: in field, L [?]: double border of dots.

One specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 18 mm.

25. Obv.—As 20, but in place of crocodile below, line of dots.

Rev.—Euthenia standing l., crowned with corn, wearing long chiton: r. hand raised, cornucopiae on l. arm: border of dots.

One specimen. Fair work; diameter, 20 mm.

26. 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.

Rev.—Canopus 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.

One specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 17 mm.

27. Obv.—As last (apparently): double border of dots.

Rev.—Bust of Sarapis r., wearing modius and himation: in field, L Ι: double border of
dots. [
Pl. XXII. 11.]

One specimen. Much worn, but seemingly fair work: diameter, 17 mm.

28. Obv.—As 26 (apparently).

Rev.—Sarapis 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 dots.

One specimen. Worn and pierced, but apparently of fair work; diameter, 17 mm.

29. Obv.—As 26 (?).

Rev.—Youthful Horus advancing r., head turned to front, holding up in each hand a serpent: border of dots.

One specimen. Much worn, diameter, 17 mm.

30. Obv.—Bust of Nilus r.: in front, cornucopiae: border of dots.


One specimen. Fair work; diameter, 18 mm.

31. Obv.—Bust of Sarapis r., wearing modius and himation: border of dots.

Rev.—Bust of Hermanubis l., wearing modius with petal in front: to l., palm upright: border of dots. [Pl. XXII. 12.]

Four specimens. Fair work, on thin flans; diameter 24-25 mm.

32. 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 dots.

Rev.—Apparently blank.

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. XXII. 13.]

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. XXII. 14.]

One specimen. Fairly good work; diameter, 20 mm.

37. Obv.—Indeterminate object.

Rev.— in wreath.

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 shape.

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 occurs;* 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 Antoninus Pius,* 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 Alexandria.

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 (Athribis),* ΝΥΝΦΟV,* and CΕ (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 following table:—

Antoninus Pius
Aurelius & Verus
Severus Alexander
Gordian III
Treb. Gallus
Claudius Gothicus
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:—

Total Coins

It must be remembered that those coins have all been found singly in the rubbish-heaps of the ancient town, and represent, not hoards of any particular period, but the casual losses of daily life. Unless, therefore, the inhabitants of Oxyrhynchus ceased to drop their money in the streets about 180 A.D., 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 internal evidence 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 mint. Comparatively few 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, the only issues of bronze were in the tenth year of Severus Alexander, the fifth and sixth of Philip, and the twelfth of Gallienus. These latter issues were apparently of a commemorative character, and intended as medals rather than coins; and it may be noted in connection with this that the examples of these issues found at Behnesa show very little 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 it is necessary to 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 pieces, which could take the place. It has been suggested* that the imperial coinage of Rome was imported; but Roman silver or bronze coins of before 260 A.D. hardy ever occur in Egypt. From Behnesa only three have come, two sestertii of Severus Alexander and one of Philip, which are probably chance importations, like sundry other coins found 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 current for some time after 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 good grounds for supposing 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 have been 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. And this again may be 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 thirty years which followed till the abolition of the local Egyptian coinage under Diocletian, their diameter decreased by a fifth, and their weight 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 are those 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 circulation 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 tetradrachms.

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 are obviously not attempts to counterfeit any known coinage, and could hardly have deceived even 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 other Roman 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 Memphite token in 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 rare (there 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 attribution may be guessed. There 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 a disk 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 at Constantine, and several in the Trau Collection at Vienna;* there are also fourteen specimens in the Alexandria 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 right and on the reverse a bust of Athene to right: the Lavy catalogue has five examples of this,* and it appears 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. His other types are 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 Egypt, but so far no specimens 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.



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