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Two Eagles on Ptolemaic Coins as Representations of Co-Regency

Apparent origin of the idea that two eagles cannot represent co-regency

Ptolemy VI; Svoronos 1423, 39.0g, 35mm; Click to enlarge
Ptolemy VI; Svoronos 1424, 30.0g, 31mm; Click to enlarge

There is currently a view that different obverse and reverse types on Ptolemaic bronze coins were designed to represent various denominations.  For example,  the image of two eagles, such as shown above on two types of coins (click on the coins to enlarge), have been taken to indicate a double denomination.Erroneous treatment of two-eagle reverse types as a denomination mark

That such a view is unsustainable is reviewed in the summary of Part 2.   Yet, there seems to be an unsupported conventional wisdom that two eagles represent a denomination and even that a wide variety of features on Ptolemaic bronze coins were designed to indicate denomination.Believe in doubling by two eagles as a denomination mark

  The other possibility, namely that two-eagle reverse types represent co-regencies, is an idea that originated in the 19th century.Original two-eagle co-regent idea  This possibility was later reviewed (in 1897) by an eminent Ptolemaic scholar, Max Strack.  He concluded,  from the attributions of that time (now known to be erroneous -see below),  that co-regency was not a possible explanation for two-eagle coinage.Strack's conclusion based on incorrect data

Since 1897, this negative view of the two-eagle/co-regent hypothesis has been adopted by several well-known scholars and questioned only by one.Later views of the two-eagle co-regent idea  More recently,  the possibility that the two-eagle type indicates a co-regency has not even been considered when treating new evidence from hoards that contained the two types of two-eagle coins shown above.Erroneous treatment of two-eagle reverse types as a denomination mark

However,  it is now known that Strack's view was based on incorrect attributions.Hoard data confirms attributions that support the two-eagle co-regent idea  If he had been aware of the now well established attributions, he would have found that they support, rather than contradict, the two-eagle/co-regent hypothesis (see Part 2a ).  The conventional wisdom regarding two-eagle symbolism apparently arose and was perpetuated because of Strack's conclusions from incorrect data.  

A further description of the background concerning the origin of this conventional wisdom is contained on pages 9-11 of the manuscript.

Click  Manuscript  to download and read more about early views of the two-eagle hypothesis.


  go to 2b - Additional evidence for the two-eagle co-regent correlation go to 4 - Summary of website and conclusions obtained for two different hypotheses

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