The ancient coins of the Spanish peninsula are of the following classes: Greek, Phoenician, Hispano-Carthaginian , Romano-Iberian, and Roman.
Uncertain mints. The earliest coins struck in Spain consist of small divisions of the Phocaic drachm, Thirds, Sixths, Twelfths, and Twenty-fourths, weighing respectively about 18, 9, 4½, and 2¼ grains. These coins are of the class which appears to have been current in various Greek colonies along the north-western coasts of Italy, and in those of Liguria. The varieties found in Spain are, however, less archaic in style than those discovered in 1867 in Auriol in the Department of the Boches-du-Rhône, and at Volterra in Tuscany (Babelon, Traité des mon. gr. et rom., II. i. 1572 sqq.). For the most part these little coins have archaic heads on the obverse and incuse reverses.
Emporiae was founded by the Phocaeans of Massalia in the first half of the forth century B.C. It was situated near the north-eastern extremity of Spain, and it soon rose to be one of the chief ports in the western basin of the Mediterranean, supplanting the neighbouring town of Rhoda.
1 Hispano-Carthaginian Coinage. On the evidence of finds, a certain number of coins of purely Carthaginian types have been assigned by Zobel to Spain. Although they were doubtless struck out of Spanish metal, it is not proven that they were issued from a Spanish mint, and they are therefore best retained among the series of Carthage (q. v.).
Among the uncertain coins of Spanish origin mentioned above are some with types on both sides and the legends Ε, ΕΜ, or ΕΜΠ. They bear on the obverse either a head of Persephone or a head of Athena, and on the reverse a cock, one or two ivy-leaves, three astragali, a cuttle-fish, a two-handled vase, a bull’s head facing, a wolf’s head, an owl, a man-headed bull, or a goat standing. The later varieties show sometimes a female head facing with flowing hair or a head of Persephone in profile, and on the reverse a horseman with flying chlamys, a bird, three birds, a female head, a rushing bull, two dolphins, or last, a flying Pegasos, whose head is sometimes fancifully formed like a little winged genius seated in a stooping posture and stretching out his hands towards his feet. These last-mentioned obols of the Pegasos type are contemporary with the better-known drachms of Emporiae, of which the chief varieties are the following:—
|ΕΝΠΟΡΙΤΩΝ Head of Persephone copied from Siculo-Punic coins.||Horse standing, crowned by flying Nike. (Heiss, Mon. ant. de l'Espagne, Pl. I. 1)
|Similar head surrounded by dolphins.||ΕΝΠΟΡΙΤΩΝ Pegasos flying r. (Heiss, Pl. I. 2)
|Id.||ΕΝΠΟΡΙΤΩΝ Pegasos r., his head formed like a sitting genius. (Heiss, Pl. I. 3-7)
|Head of Artemis r.; in front, dolphins.|| „ Id. (Heiss, Pl. I. 8)
The drachms of this period struck at and in the vicinity of Emporiae frequently bear Iberian inscriptions and are clearly imitated from the purely Greek coins above described. They continued to be struck at least down to the time of the formation of the Roman Province in B.C. 206; the later issues having been already reduced to the ordinary weight of the older Roman denarii of 1/72 lb., somewhat less than 70 grs.
The remaining coins of Emporiae are bronze of the Romano-Iberian class (see below, pp. 4 f.).
Rhoda was an ancient foundation from the island of Rhodes. It stood in the bay at the foot of the Pyrenaean promontory. Its coinage is contemporary with the earliest drachms of Emporiae, by which it was superseded after being current for a short time only.
|ΡΟΔΗΤΩΝ Head of Persephone.||Rose in full bloom to front. (Heiss, Pl. I. 1-3).|
AR Drachm 78-70 grs.
Of these coins, which are all of good style, there are great numbers of Iberian and Gaulish imitations, many of them extremely barbarous and belonging, for the most port, to a more recent period. The reverse-type of the coins of this city, the Rose, contains an allusion to the name of the town. Cf. the same type on the coins of Rhodes.
Gades (Cadiz), the extreme western emporium of the ancient world, was established by the Phoenicians long before the beginning of classical history. Its silver coinage cannot, however, have commence much before the middle of the third century B.C., and it comes to and and in B.C. 206 when the town submitted to the Romans. The types of its coins refer to the cultus of the Tyrian Herakles (Melkart) and to the fisheries for which Gades was famous. (Athen. vii. 315; Pollux, vi. 49; Hesych. s.v. Gadeira).
|Head of the Tyrian Herakles (Melkart) in lion-skin. (Heiss, Pl. LI. 1-4).||Tunny fish and Phoenician inscrr.; above מבעל or מהלס; beneath אגדר or אגדר
The denomination known as the drachm, 78 grs., half-drachm, 39 grs., together with Sixths, Twelfths, and Twenty-fourths of the drachm, the last three being uninscribed. The standard to which these coins belong is either indigenous or of Carthaginian origin, and appears to be the same as that of the money of Emporiae and Rhoda. Bronze coins with analogous types and inscriptions have been assigned to the period before the erection of the Roman province.
Coins with Phoenician inscriptions (bronze of the second and first centuries B.C.) were also issued by cities in the district of Malaca (Abdera, Sexi, Malaca, &c.)
Ebusus. The island of Ebusus (Iviza) was inhabited by a Phoenician population. It was always closely allied with Carthage, whence the standard of its coins was derived. The silver money of Ebusus is probably contemporary with that of Emporiae, but it cannot extend much beyond the third century, since, in the second century, the Balearic island submitted to Rome.
|Squatting Kabeiros facing, holding hammer and serpent.||Bull walking. (Heiss, Pl. LXIII. 1, 2)
Didrachm 154 grs., Hemidrachm 39 grs., and Quarter-drachm. The bronze coins of Ebusus, some of which probably belong to the second century B.C., have usually on the obverse the figure of a Kabeiros with hammer and serpent, and on the reverse an inscription in Phoenician characters, אבשם, containing the name of the island. The soil of Ebusus was supposed to possess the property of destroying venomous reptiles: ‘Ebusi terra serpentes fugat’ (Plin. H. N. iii. 5. 11). Hence perhaps the type.
Romano-Iberian and Latin currency. This extensive group of coins owes its origin to the introduction of Roman money into Spain, and to the organization of a native currency by permission of the Roman gover-
The Romano-Iberian coinage is classed by Señor Zobel under the following geographical headings :—
I. Eastern Region.
1. District of Emporiae.
2. „ „ Tarraco.
3. „ „ Ilerda.
4. „ „ Seguntim.
II. Northern Division.
5. District of Osca.
6. „ „ Pompaelo.
7. „ „ Turiaso.
8. „ „ Calagurris.
III. Central Region.
9. District of Numantia.
10. „ „ Bilbilis.
11. „ „ Segobriga.
IV. Southern Region.
12. District District of Carthago Nova.
13. „ „ Acci.
14. „ „ Castulo.
I. Eastern Region.
1. District of Obulco [Corduba].
2. „ „ Illiberis.
II. Southern Region.
3. District of Malaca.
4. „ „ Asido.
5. „ „ Gades.
III. Western Region.
6. District of Carmo [Hispalis].
7. „ „ Myrtilis [Emerita].
8. „ „ Salacia [Ebora].
It may be laid down as a general rule that the Iberian inscriptions on the reverses of the coins furnish the names of the tribes for whom, or by whom, the coins were issued. These names are in many cases identical with those of the chief towns of the district, but this is by no means always the case; and it is remarkable that one the money of the most important towns the name of the tribe takes the place of that of the city. Thus, for example, the Iberian coins
of Emporiae are struck in the name of the Indigetes.
„ Tarraco „ „ Cessetani.
„ Osca „ „ Celsitani.
„ Numantia „ „ Aregoradenses.
„ Saguntum „ „ Arsenses.
„ Carthago Nova „ „ Sethitani.
„ Acci „ „ Igloetes.
The difficulty of attributing the coins with Iberian legends to the various localities is considerable, for it must be borne in mind that a great many of these ancient names were exchanged during the period of the Roman dominion for Latin names, and in such cases the attributions must of necessity be more or less conjectural.
2 The names in brackets are those of the chief minting-places of the Latin and later Imperial coins in the Ulterior province.
|I. 226-214.||Victoriati of Saguntum, 1st series, wt. 3 scruples. (Wt. 52½ grs.) Emporitan drachms reduced to the older standard of the denarius of 1/72 lb. (Wt. 70 grs).|
Oldest coins with Latin legends in the Ulterior Province with Iberian inscriptions.
|218.||The Romans begin to strike bronze coins in the Citerior Province with Iberian inscriptions.|
|[217.]||[Reduction of the Roman denarius to the weight of 1/84 lb. (Wt. 60 grs.)]|
|II. 214-204.||New issue of Victoriati of Saguntum on the reduce standard (wt. 45 grs.)|
|III. 204-154||Largest issues of Romano-Iberian money.|
B.C. 195. Emporiae and Saguntum cease to strike silver.
B.C. 171 Foundation of the colony of Carteia.
Carteia strikes the divisions of the As in bronze.
|IV. 154-133||B.C. 154. Lusitano-Celtiberian War [of Viriatus or Numantia].|
B.C. 138 Foundation of the colony of Valencia.
Valencia strikes uncial bronze with Latin Legends.
B.C. 133 Fall of Numantia.
All coinage prohibited in the Citerior except the bronze of Emporiae and Saguntum.
The provincial reforms of B.C. 133 put an end to the coinage of money with Iberian inscriptions, although the war of Sertorius, B.C. 80-72, brought about a temporary revival for a few years of bronze money with bilingual (Iberian and Latin) inscriptions.
|49-45.||Civil war in Spain.|
Renewal in some towns of the Citerior Province of a bronze coinage with Latin Inscriptions.
|29-A.D. 41.||Imperial Coinage.|
B.C. 27. Augustus. Bronze and brass coinage in the three new provinces, Tarraconesis, Baetica, and Lusiania; continued under Tiberius, A.D. 14-37, and Caligula, A.D. 37-41; but under the last only in Tarraconesis.
Under the Empire a large number of towns struck coins with the title Minicipium preceding their names, as MVN. ERCAVICA, MVNICIP. CASCANTVM. Of these may be mentioned Bilbilis (MVN. AVGVSTA BILBILIS), Calagurris (MVN. CAL. IVLIA), Cascantum, Emporiae, ILERCAVONIA. DERT.), Ilerd, Italica, Osicerda, Turiaso. Occassionally the title VRBS occurs, as at Carthago Nova; VR(bs) I(ulia) N(ova) K(arthago); Osca: VRB(s) VICT(rix) OSCA. The most important cities, however, were erected into colonies; Acci; COLON. ACCI or COL. IVL(ia) GEM(ella) ACCI or C.I.G.; Caesaragusta: C.C.A.; Carthago Nova: C(olonia) V(ictrix) I(ulia) N(ova) C(arthago); Celsa: COL. VIC(trix) IVL(ia) LEP(ida) or COL. V. I. CEL(sa); Corduba: COL.