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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89000810

Thessalian League (after 197 BC)

Triton XV, Lot: 810. Estimate $100.
Sold for $100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

THESSALY, Thessalian League. Second half 2nd century BC. Æ Trichalkon (18mm, 5.94 g, 6h). Laureate head of Apollo right / ΘEΣΣA/ΛΩ[N], Athena Itonia striding right, hurling spear held in her right hand, shield on her left arm; monogram in inner right field. Rogers 9. VF, very attractive pale blue-green patina.

Following the Roman Republic’s defeat of Macedon at Kynoskephalai in 197 BC, T. Quinctius Flamininus, the victorious general, headed a senatorial commission set up to establish a protectorate in Greece. As a diplomatic gesture, he pronounced at the Isthmian Games in July of the following year that those Greek areas (including Thessaly) which were formerly under Macedonian control were now free (Polyb.18.46.5). Flamininus then revived an independent Thessalian League, which had been under the control of the Macedonian king since the time of Philip II. Reorganized along the pre-Macedonian, Archaic period model, this new version was relatively autonomous and now included neighboring Thessalian districts as members. Achaia Phthiotis joined the League in 196 BC, Malis in 189 BC, Perrhaibia in 146 BC, and Ainis, Dolopia, and Oitaia sometime after 30 BC. During the crisis of 146 BC, when the rest of Greece was reduced to the status of a Roman province, the Thessalian League continued to exist as an ally of Rome. Although the Thessalian League appeared to exist in some form or other throughout the Roman Empire, it had become a purely ceremonial body that provided positions for the local elite and its subsequent history became intertwined with that of Thessaly proper. Sometime after 30 BC, Thessaly (and with it the League) was incorporated into the province of Achaia. Under Nero, it was became part of the province of Macedonia. In AD 300, Thessaly became the the province of Thessalia, one of the eleven provinces making up the new Diocese of the Moesias, which itself was part of the Prefecture of Illyricum. Under Constantine I (AD 307-337), this diocese was split into two, and Thessaly became part of the new Diocese of Macedonia.

Under this later incarnation of the Thessalian League, the office of archon tagos (ἄρχων ταγός) was replaced by that of of an annual strategos (στρατηγός). Each strategos could be re-elected. In addition to the other administrative roles of the strategos, all documents were dated by his period of rule and his name inscribed on that year’s silver staters. Eusebius (FrGrHist. 260, F31.8) lists the strategoi for the first seventeen years of the reconstituted League. What is known of the remaining strategoi comes from the coinage. For a detailed study of the strategoi of the reconstituted Thessalian League, and its coinage during the Imperial period, please consult the following books:

H. Kramolisch. Die Strategen des thessalischen Bundes vom Jahr 196 v. Chr. bis zum Ausgang der römischen Republik (Bonn, 1978).

F. Burrer. Münzprägung und Geschichte des thessalischen Bundes in der römischen Kaiserzeit bis auf Hadrian (31 v. Chr. – 138 n. Chr.) (Saarbrücken, 1993).