Cyzicenes in the Collection of the State Historical Museum (Moscow)

Frolova N. A.

This article is devoted to Cyzicene coins and includes descriptions of twelve cyzicenes from the collection of the State Historical Museum, and fifty-six coins of Cyzicus kept in the State Hermitage. The name of Cyzicenes is applied to coins issued in electrum from the last decade of the 7th century ВС to 330 ВС in the town of Cyzicus (the region of Propontis). The cyzicenes are represented in stater fractions: hekte, hemihekte, mismihekte, i.e., 1/6, 1/12 and 1/24, respectively. The analysis of metal contents of the cyzicenes' alloy (T.N. Smekalova and Yu. L. Dukov, 1999 and 2000) enables us to confirm the following: 1.. High contents of gold in the cyzicenes alloy is typical of the initial period of their circulation (ВС 600-500); 2.. Coins were manufactured of natural alluvial 'white' gold, i.e. electrum, only during the initial period; 3.. From the beginning of the 5th century ВС on the cyzicenes were made of artificial alloys (this conclusion is based upon the results of research concerning 56 coins from the State Hermitage made by T. Smekalova who applied the methods of X-ray and fluorescent analysis). At the same time the data provided by S.A. Bulatovitch reveal an insignificant reduction of gold contents in the cyzicenes i regardng the approbation of 71 coins from the Orlovka hoard. The data acquired by S. Bulatovitch show that for the period of almost two centuries (ВС 550-330) the decrease in gold percentage of the alloy did not exceed 1.2 %. Thus, we can assume that cyzicenes always held high nominal value, being reliable means of payment from the 6th century ВС till the 4th century ВС.