Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title The Representation of Tyche on Late Roman and Byzantine Coins after the Death of Constantine the Great († 337): The Fate of Ancient Personifications in the Byzantine Iconography
Author email
About author Gkantzios Drapelova, Pavla — Ph. D., post doc. The Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Valentinská 1, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic.ORCID: 0000-0003-0198-5537
In the section Byzantine and Eastern Christian Art DOI10.18688/aa2111-02-18
Year 2021 Volume 11 Pages 216231
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.032 (37); 7.033.2; 7.033.12 Index BBK 85.103(3)

The paper analyses the cases of Tyche’s representation on coins and multiples struck after the death of Constantine the Great († 337). The focus is given to the images of local Tychai that could be identified with a particular city, in which the coins were struck. The figures of Roma and Constantinopolis were omitted from the study because they are generally associated with the promotion of imperial power and not with the self-identification and self-representation of a particular place.

The analysis has demonstrated that the images of local Tychai were rather rare in the period under study. They were predominantly limited to specific places and did not belong to a general image repertoire but appeared only a few times and for a relatively short time. The sites that produced coins or multiples with such images were Antioch, Ravenna, Mediolanum and Carthage; and  Aquilea under the usurper Magnentius. Only once, in the second half of the 4th century an unspecified figure of a Tyche (a female wearing a turreted crown) appeared on coins and multiples across the Mediterranean.

The study observes a significant difference in the way the local Tyche was represented in the 4th and later, in the 5th and 6th centuries. All the fourth century, local Tyche is depicted alongside the emperor indicating that the personification was incorporated in the imperial propaganda, while in the rare cases from the 5th and 6th centuries, the female personification stands alone. Such cases were evidently related exclusively to the place representation. Moreover, the images from the 5th and 6th centuries tended to follow older iconographic models; similar images are found on issues struck in the 3rd century and earlier, while the coins images of Tychai in the 4th century are rather prototypes. This research shows that there existed a huge development in the use of figures of local personifications between the 4th and 6th centuries and that the cities of Antioch, Ravenna and Carthage in some moments returned to older iconographic models to emphasize their identity and tradition. In addition, a role of barbarians as transmitters is obvious in the case of the Western Mediterranean.

Reference Gkantzios Drapelova, Pavla. The Representation of Tyche on Late Roman and Byzantine Coins after the Death of Constantine the Great († 337): The Fate of Ancient Personifications in the Byzantine Iconography. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 11. Eds A. V. Zakharova, S. V. Maltseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova. — St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Univ. Press, 2021, pp. 216–231. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
  • Amory P. People and Identity in Ostrogothic Italy, 489–554. Cambridge, ‎Cambridge University Press Publ., 1997. 548 p.
  • Bastien P. Monnaie et donativa au Bas-Empire. Wetteren, Editions Numismatique Romaine Publ., 1988. 138 p. (in French).
  • Bastien P.; Metzger C. Le trésor de Beaurains (dit d’Arras). Wetteren, Editions Numismatique Romaine Publ., 1977. 258 p.
  • Bendall S. Some Comments on the Anonymous Silver Coinage of the Fourth to Sixth Centuries A.D. Revue numismatique, 2002, vol. 158, pp. 139–159.
  • Berndt G. M. Strategies of Representation: Minting the Vandal Regnum. Solway S. (ed.). Medieval Coins and Seals: Constructing Identity, Signifying Power. Turnhout, Brepols Publ., 2015, pp. 83–108.
  • Broucke P. Tyche and the Fortune of Cities in the Greek and Roman World. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (An Obsession with Fortune: Tyche in Greek and Roman Art), 1994, pp. 34–49.
  • Bühl G. Constantinopolis und Roma: Stadtpersonifikationen der Spätantike. Zurich, Akanthus Publ., 1995. 334 p. (in German).
  • Butcher K. Coinage in Roman Syria. Northern Syria 64 BC – 253 AD. London, Spink Books Publ., 2004. 534 p.
  • Butcher K. Information, Legitimation, or Self–legitimation? Popular and Elite Designs on the Coin Types of Syria. Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces. Howgego Ch.; Heuchert V.; Burnett A. (eds.). Oxford, Oxford University Press Publ., 2005, pp. 143–156.
  • Carson R.; Sutherland H.; Kent J. (eds.). The Roman Imperial Coinage, vol. 8, The Family of Constantine I, A.D. 337–364. London, Spink & Son Publ., 1981. 605 p.
  • Clover F. M. Felix Karthago. Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 1940, vol. 40, pp. 1–16.
  • Dembski G. Die Goldmedaillone aus dem Schatzfun von Szilágysomlyó. Seipel W. (ed.). Barbarenschmuck und Römergold. Der Schatz von Szilágysomlyó. Wien, Kunsthistorisches Museum Publ., 1999, pp. 31–37 (in German).
  • Dohrn T. Die Tyche von Antiochia. Berlin, Gebr. Mann Publ., 1960. 61 p. (in German).
  • Gebhardt A. Imperiale Politik und provinziale Entwicklung (Series: KLIO. Beihefte. Neue Folge 4). Berlin, Akademie Verlag Publ., 2002. 413 p. (in German).
  • Gkantzios Drapelova P. Early Byzantine Coins: Ancient Influences and Traditions in the Early Middle Ages. Maltseva S.; Stanyukovich-Denisova E.; Zakharova A. (eds.). Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of Articles, vol. 5. St. Petersburg, NP-Print Publ., 2015, pp. 230–237. DOI: 10.18688/aa155-2-23 (in Russian).
  • Gkantzios-Drápelová P. The Figure of Tyche on Coins of Antioch in Early Byzantium (337– ca 530). Byzantinoslavica (in press).
  • Gods on Coins: Ancient Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Exhibition Catalogue. St. Petersburg, The State Hermitage Publ., 2007. 301 p. (in Russian).
  • Grig L.; Kelly G. Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity. New York, Oxford University Press Publ., 2012. 496 p.
  • Hahn W. Money of the Incipient Byzantine Empire Continued. Justin II – Revolt of the Heraclii, 565–610. Vienna, Österreichische Forschungsgesellschaft für Numismatik Publ., 2009. 214 p.
  • Hahn W.; Metlich M. A. Money of the Insipient Byzantine Empire. Anastasius I – Justinian I, 491–565. Vienna, Österreichische Forschungsgesellschaft für Numismatik Publ., 2000. 178 p.
  • Harhoiu R. Die Medaillone aus dem Schatzfund von Şimleul Silvaniei. Dacia, 1993, vol. 37, pp. 221–236. (in German).
  • Hernandez M. S. As imitações das moedas de bronze do século IV d.C. na Península Ibérica. Lisboa, Instituto Português de Arqueologia Publ., 2000. 195 p. (in Portuguese).
  • Herrin J. Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2020. 576 p.
  • Hostein A.; Mairat J. (eds.). The Roman Provincial Coinage, vol. 9, From Trajan Decius to Uranius Antoninus (AD 249–254). London; Paris, British Museum Press, Bibliothèque nationale de France Publ., 2016. 656 p.
  • Houghton A.; Lorber C. Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalogue, part 1, Seleucus I to Antiochus III (320–187 BC). New York, N.Y., American Numismatic Society Publ., 2002.
  • Houghton A.; Lorber C.; Hoover O. D. (eds.). Seleucid Coins: A Comprehensive Catalogue, part 2, Seleucus IV through Antiochus XIII. New York, American Numismatic Society; Lancaster, in Association with the Classical Numismatic Group Publ., 2008. 714 p.
  • Huskinson J. Rivers of Roman Antioch. Stafford E.; Herrin J. (eds.). Personification in the Greek World. From Antiquity to Byzantium. Burlington, Ashgate Publ., 2005, pp. 247–264.
  • Kent J. P. C., Carson R. A. G. (eds.). The Roman Imperial Coinage, vol. 10, The Divided Empire and the Fall of the Western Parts 395–491. London, Spink & Son Publ., 1994. 856 p.
  • Kubitschek W. Ein Goldmedaillon in Berlin und der Schatzfund von Szilágy–Sómlzó. Mitteilungen der Numismatischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 1928, vol. 16, pp. 55–59 (in German).
  • Le Rider G. Monnaies grecques récemment acquises par le Cabinet de Paris. Revue Numismatique. 1969, no. 11, pp. 7–27 (in French).
  • Matheson S. B. The Goddess Tyche. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (An Obsession with Fortune: Tyche in Greek and Roman Art), 1994, pp. 18–33.
  • Mattingly H.; Sydenham E. A. (eds.). The Roman Imperial Coinage, vol. 2, Vespasian to Hadrian. London, Spink & Son Publ., 1968. 568 p.
  • McAlee R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. Lancaster, Classical Numismatic Group Publ., 2007. 406 p.
  • Meyer M. Die Personifikation der stadt Antiocheia. Ein Neues Bild für eine neue Gottheit. Berlin, De Gruyter Publ., 2006. 557 p. (in German).
  • Morrisson C. Imperial Generosity and Its Monetary Expression: The Rise and Decline of the “Largesses”. Spieser J.-M.; Yota E. (eds.). Donation et donateurs dans le monde byzantin, Actes du colloque international de l’Université de Fribourg, 13–15 mars 2008. Paris, Desclee de Brouwer Publ., 2012, pp. 25–46.
  • Pearce J. W. E. The Roman Imperial Coinage, vol. 9, Valentinian I — Theodosius I. London, Spink & Son Publ., 1972. 334 p.
  • Poulsen B. City Personifications in Late Antiquity. Birk S.; Kristensen T. M.; Poulsen B. (eds.). Using Images in Late Antiquity. Oxford, Oxbow Books Publ., 2014, pp. 209–226.
  • Saliou C. Statues d’Antioche de Syrie dans la Chronographie de Malalas. Augusta-Boularot S.; Beaucamp J.; Bernardi A.-M.; Caire E. (eds.). Recherches sur la Chronique de Jean Malalas II (Series : Monographies du Centre de Recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance–Collège de France). Paris, Association des Amis du Centre d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance Publ., 2006, pp. 69–95 (in French).
  • Stansbury-O’Donnell M. D. Reflections of the Tyche of Antioch in Literary Sources and on Coins. Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (An Obsession with Fortune. Tyche in Greek and Roman Art), 1994, pp. 50–63.
  • Toynbee J. M. C. Roma and Constantinopolis in Late Antique Art from 312 to 365. The Journal of Roman Studies, 1947, vol. 37, pp. 135–144.
  • Toynbee J. M. C. Roma and Constantinopolis in Late Antique Art from 365 to Justin II. Mylonas G.; Raymond D. (eds.). Studies Presented to D. M. Robinson on His 70th Birthday. Saint Louis, Washington University Publ., 1953, pp. 261–277.
  • Van Heesch J. The Last Civic Coinages and the Religious Policy of Maximinus Daza (AD 312). Numismatic Chronicle, 1993, vol. 153, pp. 65–75.
  • Wroth W. (ed.). Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea and Trebizond in the British Museum. London, British Museum Publ., 1911. 344 p.
  • Wroth W. (ed.). Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum, vol. 1. London, British Museum Publ., 1908. 504 p.
  • Ziegler K.; Sontheimer W.; Gärtner H. (eds.). Der Kleine Pauly. Lexikon der Antike. Auf Grundlage von Pauly’s Realenzyklopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft unter Mitwirkung zahlreicher Fachgelehrter herausgegeben, vol. 5. München, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag Publ., 1975. (in German).