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Two Eagles on Ptolemaic Coins as Representations of Co-Regency

Review of denominations of Ptolemy VI

It has been shown in Part 1a that denominational marking was not used in the reign of Ptolemy III (246-221 BC).  The evidence from hoards presented in Part 1b showed that Ptolemy II's two-eagle coins circulated with Ptolemy III's one-eagle coins of the same denomination;  it is therefore very unlikely that the two eagles represented a different denomination.  Ptolemy IV (221 - 204 BC) did not issue any two-eagle coins and neither did Ptolemy V (204-180 BC).  Ptolemy VI reintroduced two eagles early in his reign together with Cleopatra I (180-164 BC);  the table below shows examples of his two-eagle coins.

39.0g, 35mm;  Svoronos 1423 36.4g, 32mm;  Svoronos 1424 19.5g, 26mm;  Svoronos 1424-5 8.4g, 20mm;  Svoronos 1426 6.6g, 16mm;  Svoronos 1427
39.0g, 35mm;  Svoronos 1423 36.4g, 32mm;  Svoronos 1424 19.5g, 26mm;  Svoronos 1424-5 8.4g, 20mm;  Svoronos 1426 6.6g, 16mm;  Svoronos 1427

Obverses: Ammon head;    Reverses: two eagles facing left, cornucopia left Largest coin of series does not have a cornucopia

Since all these coins show two-eagle reverses no single denomination is indicated by the presence of two eagles.  The two eagles on all of these denominations (that vary greatly in weight and size) also show that the double eagles do not indicate a double denomination.  As with Ptolemies II, III, IV and V, denominational marking was not used.

This set of coins apparently consists of six denominations (possibly more) that vary in weight from c.40g to c.3g.Number of different denominations not known  Although all of these denominations may not have been in circulation at the same time throughout the reign of Ptolemy VI (180-164 BC),  hoard evidenceHoard evidence shows Sv1423 and Sv1424 circulated together c. 180-170 BC shows that the heaviest coins (Sv1423 and Sv1424) circulated together early in the reign (small coins were usually not hoarded).  The heaviest coins are relatively scarce while coins such as these of weights c.25g to c.8g are some of the most common of Ptolemaic coins and were probably produced over a long period.

It should be mentioned here that M. Price, in his presentation of the Saqqra hoard,Origin of the idea that double eagles represent a double denomination suggested that the two eagles on coins Sv1423 and Sv1424 of Ptolemy VI indicated an equivalent denomination (i.e., same value) in spite of circulating together and showing considerable differences in weight/size.  Evidence contrary to his assumptions is presented in a subdivision of this page;  click New Data to see that Price′s assumptions are incorrect.

It should also be noted that in 2001, coins Sv1423 and Sv1424 were wrongly reattributed to Ptolemy IV and to Ptolemy V, respectively, rather than remain with Ptolemy VI.(Incorrect) Attributions to Ptolemy IV and Ptolemy V  Ironically, although the reattributions are incorrect,  they give additional evidence that the two-eagle type does not indicate a double denomination (see Part 2b - Additional Evidence).  Details of the correction to the reattributions are given in a separate division of the www.ptolemaic.net website; click www.ptolemaic.net/coinex to go to the introductory page of that site.

  go to 1b - Review of hoard data regarding denominations of Ptolemies II, III and IV go to 1d - Errors in literature (Part 1 index)

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