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Phalanna (IACP 468)

There is considerable controversy over where Phalanna actually is: there seem to be several sites that look promising with large numbers of classical sherds. In any event it is probably near modern Tyrnavos (perhaps at Damasi). The city’s coinage was, however, quite extensive and indicates that Phalanna had considerable economic importance. Drachms, hemidrachms, trihemiobols, and obols were produced in the mid 4th century, as were literally enormous numbers of bronzes, some of which seem to have circulated all over Thessaly – and beyond. The city's bronze coinage included some issues that were clearly intended only to circulate locally. The extensive issues of bronze coins that were produced by Phalanna, as well as by other cities (Krannon and Sikyon to mention just two examples), must have been designed for export use, especially to cities that either did not have their own small denomination coinage, or only produced very small issues for prestige reasons. The profit on such issues would have been considerable since once gone from the issuing mint’s territory, they might never be returned for redemption.

Placing the Phalanna bronzes in some sort of chronological order is a daunting task and anyone attempting it, even after acquiring the necessary in-depth knowledge of the series, is bound to come up against insurmountable problems. As usual, the archaeological information available, such as grave deposits and the few hoards of coins that include Phalanna bronzes, can be manipulated to suit the ideas of the researcher. The safest way would be to proceed by die linking but even then there is no guarantee that the various groups will link between them. Finally, trying to work out the chronology of the Phalanna bronzes based on stylistic criteria would be, in the opinion of this writer, like walking in a minefield. In this catalogue, no attempt to refine the usual generic dates has been made; if anything, they have been rounded to whole centuries, and the order of cataloguing is simply the personal opinion of the writer.

THESSALY, Phalanna. 4th century BC. Æ Trichalkon (20.5mm, 8.11 g, 7h). Youthful male head r., behind, A, border of dots / Φ-AΛA-NNAIΩN from below l., upwards and to r., circular, head of nymph r., wearing triple pendant earring and necklace of pearls; her hair bound in a sakkos tied at the back. Papaevangelou-Genakos 5; Rogers 446, fig. 243; see also Nomos 4, 1254 (same hand). VF, green patina with bronze highlights; a well struck and centred coin.