Silver coins from Poseidonia with the legends Fiis and Megyl have been the focus of recent influential studies, in the light of new archaeological and historical studies. These inscriptions have been usually interpreted as the names of two oikists: Is of Helike, founder of Sybaris, and Megyllos or Megyllis possibly a founder of Poseidonia (though never mentioned in textual sources). However, this hypothesis appears debatable at best if one considers these coins in the context of the output of Poseidonia’s mint and, more broadly, of the general contemporary numismatic production. The inscription Fiis is usually found on coins dated to the last decades of the 6th century BC, together with an image of Poseidon. Therefore, rather than a personal name, Fiis seems to be a reference to the nature of the city’s eponymous god. The legend thus would refer to a “Poseidon Is” and liken the god to a raging river. The etymolo- gy of Fiis is related to strength. Thus, this word could have been behind the origin of the name of the strong and courageous founder of Sybaris and that of the river Is, that was told by Lycopthron running through the Paestan territory. The interpretation of Megyl - originally read as Seila and connected with the mouth of the river Sele - as a possible oikist of Posedonia is also debatable. Megyl is not the only anthroponym on coins. On a slightly older coin series the first two letters of a name Ai[ appear on both obverse and reverse of the coin. This paper argues that the Ai[ and Megyl[ inscriptions refer, instead, to either mintmasters or to town officials. Such inscriptions could be evidence of the strengthening of the magistrates’ power in Poseidonia after the important political transformations in the first half of the 5th century BC, which culminated in the construction of the ekklesiasterion around 470 BC.

Considerazioni sui presunti nomi di ecisti sulle monete di Poseidonia

CANTILENA, Renata
2017

Abstract

Silver coins from Poseidonia with the legends Fiis and Megyl have been the focus of recent influential studies, in the light of new archaeological and historical studies. These inscriptions have been usually interpreted as the names of two oikists: Is of Helike, founder of Sybaris, and Megyllos or Megyllis possibly a founder of Poseidonia (though never mentioned in textual sources). However, this hypothesis appears debatable at best if one considers these coins in the context of the output of Poseidonia’s mint and, more broadly, of the general contemporary numismatic production. The inscription Fiis is usually found on coins dated to the last decades of the 6th century BC, together with an image of Poseidon. Therefore, rather than a personal name, Fiis seems to be a reference to the nature of the city’s eponymous god. The legend thus would refer to a “Poseidon Is” and liken the god to a raging river. The etymolo- gy of Fiis is related to strength. Thus, this word could have been behind the origin of the name of the strong and courageous founder of Sybaris and that of the river Is, that was told by Lycopthron running through the Paestan territory. The interpretation of Megyl - originally read as Seila and connected with the mouth of the river Sele - as a possible oikist of Posedonia is also debatable. Megyl is not the only anthroponym on coins. On a slightly older coin series the first two letters of a name Ai[ appear on both obverse and reverse of the coin. This paper argues that the Ai[ and Megyl[ inscriptions refer, instead, to either mintmasters or to town officials. Such inscriptions could be evidence of the strengthening of the magistrates’ power in Poseidonia after the important political transformations in the first half of the 5th century BC, which culminated in the construction of the ekklesiasterion around 470 BC.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4687810
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