From Carthage to the Holy Land: the 'Palm Tree' Nummus

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From Carthage to the Holy Land: the 'Palm Tree' Nummus
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  Israel Numismatic Research  Published by the Israel Numismatic Society  Volume 6 2011 Contents  3 J arosław B odzek  : Tiarate Heads on Samarian Coins21 H aim G itler  : The Earliest Coin of Judah35 a lla k  usHnir  -s tein : Inscribed Hellenistic Weights of Palestine61 d onald t. a riel and o liver  d. H oover  : A New Coin of the Mint of Marisa79 r  osa m. m otta : Zeus on Dora’s Coins93 d avid H endin , C raiG l undstrom , z aCHary w Hite   and n atHan w. B ower  :Preliminary Sequencing of Herod I’s Undated Coins Based on AlloyChanges over Time 105 J ean -P HiliPPe F ontanille : Herod Philip: The First Jewish Portrait 121 a  ndrew m. B urnett : Wife, Sister, or Daughter? 127 k  ennetH m iller  : A First Jewish Revolt  Prutah Overstrike 133 s Hai H endler    and l ionel H olland : Three Small Coins ( minimi ) fromCaesarea Maritima 135 r  ami a rav   and C arl s avaGe : A Rare  Aureus of Antoninus Pius at Bethsaida 139  n atHan t. e lkins : A Mid-Fourth Century Purse Hoard from the RomanAuxiliary Fort at Yotvata 147 e rmanno a. a rslan : The L812 Trench Deposit inside the Synagogue andthe Isolated Finds of Coins in Capernaum, Israel: A Comparison of the TwoGroups 163 G aBriela B iJovsky : From Carthage to the Holy Land: The ‘Palm Tree’  Nummus  175  n itzan a mitai -P reiss   and l. a lexander  w olFe : Amuletic Bronze Ringsfrom the Arab-Byzantine Transitional Period 187 y oav F arHi : A Fāṭimid Coin Die from Israel  191 REVIEW: Oliver D. Hoover, Andrew Meadows and Ute Wartenberg-Kagan(eds.), Coin Hoards. Vol. X. Greek Hoards . New York, 2010. ( François deCallataÿ )  197 Abbreviations  163  INR 6 (2011): 163–173 From Carthage to the Holy Land:The ‘Palm Tree’  Nummus G aBriela B iJovsky Israel Antiquities Authority gabriela@israntique.org.il  Abstract  Tiny, ill-struck copper coins depicting a palm tree are the most common type of coins fromCarthage discovered in excavations and hoards from Israel. This article studies their typologyand chronology within the framework of other  nummi types minted in that city during theByzantine period. INTRODUCTION Vandalic and Justinianic copper  nummi minted in Carthage appear throughout theMediterranean basin. In Israel they are integral components of many contemporary hoards (e.g., Gush Ḥalav; Bijovsky 1998) and isolated nds from excavations (e.g., Caesarea, excavations near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). 1  During the years 429–533 CE, Carthage was under Vandalic rule and issued aseries of silver and copper coinages that included regnal, municipal and anonymoustypes. With the return of the mint to Byzantine control in 534 after Carthage wasrecaptured by commander Belisarius, a new series of imperial nummi was issued by Justinian I following, to a certain extent, the Vandalic tradition. In addition,there are two groups of anonymous coins commonly attributed to sixth-centuryCarthage; one of them is the palm tree nummus discussed here (Table 1).   The rst difculty that numismatists face when dealing with these coins istheir proper denition (Bijovsky 1998:81 and n. 2). The signed coins issued by some of the Vandal kings (regnal issues) are not the problem; rather, the challengeis presented by the more extensive series of anonymous nummi , some of them anepigraphic and others so illegible that their dating and srcin are not denitivelyattributed. In many excavation reports these coins are conventionally classied under the title “uncertain Vandalic,” following Wroth (  BMCV  ) who based thisattribution on the North African provenance of most of the specimens. Indeed, evidence from excavations in Carthage seems to conrm their African srcin.However, the signicant number of similar coin types discovered throughout 1 In 1998 I rst attempted to classify this numismatic group based on coin nds from Israel (Bijovsky 1998). The present paper is based on my Ph.D. dissertation where thissubject is discussed in greater detail (Bijovsky 2011).  164 GABRIELA BIJOVSKY Table 1. Copper coin types from the mint of Carthage duringthe Byzantine period Period/ RulerDateTypeVandalic Anonymous (5th c.) c . 439/442–484  Domino Nostro series c . 439–455 CARTAGINE, DOMINO NOSTRO (vars.) Proto-Vandalic series (prole obverse bust) c . 455–484 D in wreath c . 455–484 â in wreath c . 455–484 Ý in linear border  c . 455–484  in wreath455–475Victory advancing left Vandal kings/ Regnal types484–533 Gunthamund 484–496Victory l. (No coins found in Israel) in wreath (No coins found in Israel) Thrasamund496–523Victory l.Monogram(?)Hilderic 523–530Cross in wreathGelimer 530–534Monogram Autonomous/Municipal c . 484–533 XLII   (No coins found in Israel) XXI   (No coins found in Israel) XII   (No coins found in Israel) N/IIII ‘Vandalic’ Anonymous (6th c.) (prole obverse bust) c . 523–533Victory l. c . 534–565 Byzantine imperial (533/534 reconquest of Carthage ) Justinian I (527–565)(frontal obverse bust)533/534–539538–542539/40 VOT XIII 540/1 VOT XIIII 542–552,552–565551–565 Ý in wreath552–565   G aBriela B iJovsky  165 FROM CARTHAGE TO THE HOLY LAND the Mediterranean basin, such as at excavations in Corinth, Curium and theAthenian Agora (Edwards 1933:11; Cox 1959:118; Thompson 1954:3, 101–102;Adelson and Kustas 1964:164–165) establishes that these ‘barbaric’ coins   arenot exclusively found in Carthage and that they might not all have been mintedthere. Discerning between local imitations and Vandalic anonymous coin typesoften becomes fairly subjective. Only in cases where these uncertain issuesappear together with regnal Vandalic or Justinianic nummi from Carthage cantheir attribution to this mint be more likely (Buttrey 1976:163). The chronological classication of the so-called Vandalic coins has beendiscussed widely. Despite problems with attribution and identication of types, Wroth’s  BMCV  still constitutes the prime reference work for Vandalic coins. Inmost cases, however, I have adopted the dates given in Morrisson’s 2003 study onthe mint of Carthage and the diffusion of its coinage in Africa from 439 to 695 CE. Anonymous nummi from Carthage can bear either a prole or a frontal bust on the obverse. This feature can be used with some reservations as a parameter for dating, since the frontal bust was only introduced during the reign of Justinian I in 538. On the other hand, the prole bust continues to be used on small denominations after this date as well (Morrisson 1988:426).Ever since numismatists in Israel became aware of the existence of Vandaliccoins in excavations here, more and more minimi have been classied as such.As stated before, this attribution is not always well dened; it depends on theexperience and previous knowledge of the scholar making the identications.Relatively speaking, however, in Israel, fth-century Vandalic coins have been found in very small numbers. Moreover, they are completely absent from hoards deposited up to the mid-fth century (e.g., Bet She’an, Sturman Street Hoard 2 ). The gures change in the sixth century, with the signicant inux of regnal, anonymous and Justinianic nummi from Carthage. THE ‘PALM TREE’  NUMMUS  As stated, two anonymous coin types circulated during the rst half of the sixth century in Carthage. Both types bear obverses with a bust to the right and no legend. The reverse of the rst type depicts a Victory advancing left holding wreath (Morrisson 1980); the reverse of the second shows a palm tree   (  BMCV  :26, Nos. 68–72). According to our classication, the Victory type is the earlier and pre- Justinianic, while the palm tree is later and circulated together with the imperialCarthaginian nummi of Justinian I. The geographical distribution of both types 2 This hoard, found in courtyard 154 on Sturman Street and noted by Ẓori (1953:265), is unpublished (IAA Nos. 289, 2682–2684, 35419–35521).
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