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Epeiros, Epirote Republic AR Didrachm. Circa 234-168 BC. Jugate heads right of Zeus Dodonaeus, wearing a wreath of oak leaves, and Dione, diademed and draped; monogram ΑΥΤΚ to left, monogram of ΑΥΡΚ below / Bull charging to right, ΑΠΕΙ above, ΡΩΤΑΝ below; all within oak wreath. Franke 21; SNG Copenhagen 107; Weber 3024. 9.88g, 26mm, 9h.

Good Very Fine. Very Rare.

From a private German collection.

While the coinage of the Epirote Republic is quite frequently encountered, the issues of didrachms are very rare. The obverse type of the jugate heads of Zeus and Dione is a civic emblem representative of the great shrine at Dodona in Epeiros, that was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle and second only in prestige to the great oracle of Delphi.

In 233 BC the murder of Deidamia, last surviving member of the Aeacid royal house that claimed its descent from Achilles, brought the Epirote monarchy to an abrupt extinction and a federal republic was set up, though with diminished territory. Western Akarnania had asserted its independence, and the Aitolians had seized Ambrakia, Amphilochia, and the remaining land north of the Ambrakian Gulf. The new Epirote capital was therefore established at Phoenike, the political centre of the Chaonians. Epeiros did however remain a powerful entity, unified under the auspices of the Epirote League as a federal state with its own synedrion, or parliament.

In the following years, Epeiros faced the growing threat of the expansionist Roman Republic, which fought a series of wars with Macedon. The League remained neutral in the first two Macedonian Wars but split in the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC), with the Molossians siding with the Macedonians and the Chaonians and Thesprotians siding with Rome. The outcome was disastrous for Epeiros; Molossia fell to Rome in 167 BC and 150,000 of its inhabitants were enslaved.

Epeiros, Epirote Republic AR Didrachm. (rxv75)

Price: £5,128.00

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  • (Rates for 24/04/2018)
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