The Bronze issue of the Athenian general Timotheus

evaluating the evidence of Polyaenus's Stratagemata

Kenneth Sheedy, Damian B. Gore, Matthew Ponting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper considers two accounts (Stratagemata 3.10.1; 3.14.1) provided by Polyaenus of an emergency bronze coinage minted by Timotheus during his siege of Olynthus 364–362 bc. It compares a third passage, 4.10.2, in which Perdiccas III is said to have minted a coinage of tin and copper. A program of analyses by ED-XRF and ICP AES demonstrated the presence of tin enrichment on the surface of some of the known coins of Timotheus and a typical bronze composition beneath this layer. It is proposed that the coins of Timotheus (almost certainly considered to be tokens by the Athenian state) were offered as a substitute for good silver. The recurring involvement of both Timotheus and his ally Perdiccas in these stories told by Polyaenus suggests that acceptance of the coins by local merchants was dependent on the authority of the Macedonian king.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-28
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican journal of numismatics
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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