Tony Goodwin and Rika Gyselen, Arab Byzantine Coins from the Irbid Hoard. Including a New Introduction to the Series and a Study of the Pseudo-Damascus Mint. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication no. 53. London, 2015. Pp. ix, 297 including 51 plates. ISBN 09014054487 £60.00
The book summarises the latest research on Arab-Byzantine coins and then examines two enigmatic series: ‘Pseudo-Damascus’ and ʿal–wafā lillāh. The name ‘Pseudo-Damascus’ derives from the fact that many of the coins have a mint mark which indicates they were minted at Damascus though the evidence is clear that they were struck elsewhere. They are unique in the Arab-Byzantine series for their extraordinary variety of designs. As well as analysing the typology Goodwin publishes a complete die corpus. The name ʿal–wafā lillāh derives from the enigmatic phrase written in the exergue of the reverse and, sometimes, also on the obverse of the coins. Although similar in overall style to pseudo-Damascus the design of the ʿal–wafā lillāh is by contrast very standardised. The typology is exhaustively analysed by Gyselen. These two types predominated in the Irbid hoard. Found in Jordan in the 1960s, this is the only substantial hoard of Arab Byzantine coins. The book catalogues and illustrates 658 coins from the Ibid hoard, 501 of which are now in the Cabinet des Medailles in Paris. The historical context of the issues and their suggested attributions are also discussed. They both come from mints located in present day Israel or North Jordan and circulated together at the time of the war between the Umayyads and the Zubayrids. On the basis of our present knowledge they are most likely issues of separate tribal authorities.
Jacqueline Morineau Humphris and Diana Delbridge, The Coinage of the Opountian Lokrians. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication no. 50. London 2014. vii + 254 pages, 61 plates. £60 + p&p from Spink Ltd.
This publication deals with the entire coinage, silver and bronze, of the Opountian Lokrians in Central Greece from the early fourth century BC to the later first century AD. Introductory chapters deal with the history and mythology of the region and the various forms of ethnic found on the coins and in literary and epigraphic sources. They are followed by full die-studies of all series in both metals and discussion of their dates and significance. The silver, belonging mostly if not entirely to the fourth century BC, comprises an abundant series of staters of high artistic quality, drachms, triobols, and smaller fractions in several denominations. The bronze is divided into 42 groups, ranging in date from the mid-4th century BC to AD c.68/69.
Robert Bennett, Local Elites and Local Coinage: Elite Self-Representation on the Provincial Coinage of Asia 31 BC – AD 275. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication no. 51. London 2014. xxiv + 178 pages, 31 plates. £50 + p&p from Spink Ltd.
In this book the author examines the role and representation of the provincial elites in the production and distribution of the abundant local coinages of the Province of Asia in the Roman Imperial period. It includes discussion of local magistracies in general, their antecedents, the various formulae whereby eponyms signed their coinages, and the relationship of iconography to eponyms, denomination and ‘monumentality’. A wealth of case-studies includes detailed discussion of the important mints of Thyateria and Laodikeia on the Lykos, and full type-catalogues of their Roman Provincial output.