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Seleucid Coins - Part I.

Price £195

Seleucid Coins - Part I.

Houghton, A., Lorber, C. & Hoover, O. Seleucid Coins. A Comprehensive Catalogue. Part I. Seleucus I through Antiochus III. Volume I. Introduction, Maps, and Catalogue. Volume II. Appendices, Indices, and Plates. 2002. 488 + 300 pages, 101 plates. Casebound, jacket.

The Coinage of the Seleucid kings, from Seleucus I to Antiochus III, received its first comprehensive study in Edward T. Newell’s Eastern Seleucid Mints (1938) and Western Seleucid Mints (1941).

These books stand among the monuments of twentieth century numismatic literature, but over time they have become increasingly dated. The accumulation of new coin varieties, new hoards and coin finds in archaeological excavations, new methods of analysis, and two generations of scholarship has created a massive secondary literature scattered over many books and journals.

Seleucid Coins, Part I, again gathers the coinage of the early Seleucid kings in a single work of reference. It incorporates the new material that has come to light in the last half century. Both Newell’s reasoning and the contribution of later scholars are critically reappraised. The authors have also conducted their own inquiries, using all available evidence, to arrive at many new attributions.

Their findings indicate that the major coin series identified by Newell were supplemented by numerous lesser coinages, typically confined to a single reign, often elicited by military needs and mainly from mints that can be located only approximately. A few discoveries redraw the map of Seleucid numismatics.

Seleucid Coins Part 1, includes historical background and expands the scope of Newell’s commentary. It is organised by reign rather than by mint, with an historical introduction for each reign, followed by an overview of the coinage and a discussion of the king’s mint policies and iconographic program. The front matter offers yet broader overviews: a chronological table, a stemma of Seleucid genealogy, and general observations on mint function and administration. Special topics are treated in depth in the appendices, including bronze denominations and metrology, countermarks, and an inventory of Seleucid coin hoards.

Two additional appendices survey the monetary output of the early Seleucid kings by reign and by region. Seleucid Coins is first and foremost a practical resource for identification and attribution. It is designed to be accessible to beginners, to numismatists who do not specialise in the Seleucids, and even to those with only a peripheral interest in numismatics (such as archaeologists, historians, art historians). To this end it includes four indices that enable searches by control marks, remarkable types, remarkable legends, and countermarks.

The plates illustrate representative examples of virtually every coin type and denomination from every mint. Precious metal coins and bronze coins are segregated on separate sets of plates to facilitate the process of coin identification.