MACEDON, as Roman Protectorate
AR Tetradrachm. 16.92g, 30.7mm
MINTED: MACEDON, as Roman Protectorate, First Meris, Amphipolis mint, circa 167–149 BC
REF: SNG Copenhagen 1310-1; Prokopov 208-11; HGC 3, 1103
OBVERSE: Diademed and draped bust of Artemis right, bow and quiver over shoulder, in the center of a Macedonian shield.
REVERSE: Club; monogram and MAKEΔONΩN above, ΠPΩTHΣ below; all within oak wreath, thunderbolt to left.
Very Fine. Lightly toned. LARGE 30mm silver coin with a lovely portrait style. An excellent example of this distinctive type.
This silver tetradrachm, struck soon after in the newly-created Roman protectorate of Macedon, is a tangible artifact of the short, seminal chapter of history that follows the end of that war. According to the historian Livy, the Roman Senate proclaimed that Macedonian citizens were to retain their liberty, "so that it might be clear to all the world that the arms of Rome did not carry slavery to the free, but on the contrary freedom to the enslaved." To that end, even as the royal portrait was replaced with a bust of the goddess Artemis, the new coins would betray no other trace of Roman dominion over the erstwhile kingdom. Employed on the obverse was a traditional Macedonian shield design used in the past by several kings of the Antigonid dynasty, with the reverse legend declaring that the coin was "of the First (Meris, or district) of the Macedonians". These coins - Greek beauties struck under Roman authority - would exemplify the relationship between the ostensibly autonomous Macedonian republics and their foreign 'protector'.
Despite the fact that enormous quantities of these First Meris tetradrachms were struck, it is interesting to note that the production was never haphazard, and the series was amongst the most well-made of all ancient coins. While one can imagine how an off-center strike would greatly detract from the aesthetic effect of the Macedonian shield design on the obverse, one would be hard-pressed to find actual examples of such shoddy manufacture.
MACEDON, as Roman Protectorate, First Meris . 167-149 BC . Tetradrachm . Artemis
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