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Title: Philology versus Numismatics
Subtitle: Two Different Points of View regarding Livy's Reports of cistophori
Author(s): MELVILLE JONES, John R.
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 81    Issue: 4   Date: 2022   
Pages: 819-833
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.81.4.3291517

Abstract :
A sentence in Livy’s history (34.52.6) which suggests that Attic tetrachma weighed only three denarii has caused problems, because the Attic-weight tetradrachm weighed approximately four, not three, denarii. It was the cistophorus, issued first by Pergamum, then by its dependencies, that was of this approximate weight. After reviewing earlier suggestions, it is claimed that none is satisfactory, and that the correct solution to the difficulty is that the word cistophori, followed by a number, has fallen out of the manuscripts of Livy’s work at an early stage of transmission. This means that Pergamum’s cistophoric coinage must have begun by 197 BC. But these coins have not yet been discovered in hoards before the 160s. A solution is offered: that the citizens of Pergamum were paid by their government in cistophori, but that payments were demanded from them in heavier Attic-weight tetradrachms, which were naturally preferred for hoarding.

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