The Tale of Pharos Told by Greek Coins

Total Croatia News

Pharos, modern-day Stari Grad town on Hvar Island, founded as their colony in 384 B.C. by Greek settlers from Paros Island in the Aegean Sea, then had its own coin mint, a reflection of sovereignty

The first coins from the time were discovered in 1835 near Stari Grad, which enticed further numismatic research still ongoing, with a new dimension in the work of Josip Brunšmid, the first archaeology professor at the University of Zagreb, whose work from the end of the 19th century is basis for all later study of the Pharos coins.

And the coins tell their own story of Pharos: in the beginning it was a Greek colony with typical motives of Greek colonies at the time, with portrayals of Zeus, Demeter, Persephone… All in several types. However, in the layer dated to 3 centuries B.C. there are coins of the Illyrian King Balej, which leads to a conclusion that Pharos was already then a Greek-Illyrian settlement, while later findings can confirm the onset of Rome already in the republican era. Besides the coins from the Pharos mint, found in Stari Grad were also coins from Syracuse, Heraclius and Durres, speaking of the circulation of money and trade at the time.

All of the above was unveiled at the presentation of the book “Pharos, Greek, Greek-Illyrian and Roman Money,” co-authored by Jasna Jeličić Radonić, Hermine Goericke-Lukić and Ivan Mirnik. The title is the 99th publication by Mediterranean Books. Prof.dr. Jasna Jeličić Radonić worked on exploring localities in Stari Grad from 1979 to 2015, and this book is the crown of all those years. Some of the coins from Stari Grad are now in Osijek, where it arrived through auctions in the 19th century.

Translated from Slobodna Dalmacija.


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