Comparison of Demetrios I and Alexander I

Founded 6-Feb-2005
Last update 6-Feb-2005

 

Table 1 shows a comparison of the Antioch issues of Demetrios I and Alexander I. The numbers of coins, the numbers of obverse dies and the estimations of the original numbers of obverse dies are taken from the analysis of Demetrios I (Tables 3, 4 and 8) and from the analysis of Alexander I (Tables 3, 4 and 7). The ratios ‘Coins per Year’ and ‘Dies per Year’ are computed as the number of coins (dies) in the given time period divided by the length in years of the period. The lengths of the periods were considered as follows:

  • Demetrios I, undated issues, 151 - 157 SE: 6.50 years
  • Demetrios I, dated issues, 158 - 162 SE: 4.50 years
  • Alexander I, undated and dated issues together,162 - 167 SE: 4.55 years (one-half of the year 162 SE plus 4 years 163 - 166 SE plus 0.05 of the year 167 SE)

The undated and the dated issues of Alexander I are examined together because some obverse dies were used both for the undated and for the dated issues (the initial undated coinage started sometime in the year 162 SE and it was soon followed by the dated coinage in 163 SE).

King Year Observed Numbers of Coins Observed Numbers of Dies Estimated Original Numbers of Dies
SE BC Coins Coins per Year Dies Dies per Year Coins per Die Dies Dies per Year Coins per Die
D. I 151 162/1 492 75.7 119 18.3 4.1 152 23.4 3.2
152 161/0
153 160/9
154 159/8
155 158/7
156 157/6
157 156/5
158 155/4 461 90 102.4 56 15 12.4 8.2 59 13.1 7.8
159 154/3 70 9
160 153/2 75 11
161 152/1 123 21
162 151/0 103 12
A. I 162 151/0 372 110 81.8 59 18 13.0 6.3 82 18.0 4.5
163 150/9 45 5
164 149/8 88 16
165 148/7 59 5
166 147/6 67 21
167 146/5 3 2

Tab. 1: Basic comparison of Demetrios I and Alexander I

The numbers of observed coins vary in time. It can be caused both by events of that time and by contemporary factors influencing the data (for example, by coins from large hoards). In any case, it seems that there was a massive coinage both of Demetrios I and of Alexander I in the years 161 - 162 SE. Military payments are one potential cause. Demetrios probably minted large quantities of tetradrachms to finance the campaign against Alexander. Then, after Demetrios’ defeat, Alexander probably needed money to pay his allies and mercenaries. However, there could be other even more important reasons for this increased coinage.

Table 2 shows a comparison of the observed numbers of coins in more peaceful years 158 - 160 SE and 163 - 165 SE only. The figures in the column ‘Mean Value’ are equal to the number of observed coin in the given 3-years period divided by 3, i.e. they reflect the mean annual number of coins in the examined 3-years period.

King Year Observed Numbers of Coins
SE BC Coins Mean Value
D. I 158 155/4 235 90 78.3
159 154/3 70
160 153/2 75
A. I 163 150/9 192 45 64.0
164 149/8 88
165 148/7 59

Tab. 2: Comparison of Demetrios I and Alexander I in “quiet” years

The estimated original number of dies of Alexander I divided by the length of his reign in Antioch (Table 1, about 18.0 dies per year) do not indicate a decrease of the activity of Antioch mint during his reign, although the numbers of observed coins issued by him are somewhat lower in comparison with Demetrios I (Table 2). Nevertheless, these ratios and quantities should be taken with great caution, because the estimations of the original number of dies are not exact, the real lengths of the examinated time periods are approximate and the numbers of examined coins in our samples depend on many other factors.