The earliest treatments

The earliest treatments1 of the coins that were tentatively attributed to Cyprus were published before the Cypriote-syllabic script was studied and deciphered by Brandis in 1873,2 and also before the exact meanings of the letters of the Phoenician alphabet were well known.3

In 1836, Borrell4 noted Cypriote coins with legends in Greek alphabetic script. All of these are 4th century BC coins which he attributed to Salamis and Paphos, though some of them are in fact from Soloi. His review was based on the names of the kings that were then known through literary texts, but his attribution of coins to each of the kings was precarious due to the repetition of royal names - among other things - such as that of Evagoras at Salamis. In 1852, de Luynes5 included in his account coins bearing Cypriote syllabic characters – though much later it became clear that some of these characters are actually Carian.6 Without a complete understanding of the script, many of his mint identifications and attributions were erroneous. Thus, the 5th century BC coins bearing a recumbent ram, characteristic for Salamis, were at that time attributed to Amathous [Fig. 1]; those of Amathous depicting a lion, to Paphos; and those of Paphos showing a bull, to Salamis. De Luynes attributed to Salamis 4th century BC coins of Marion, and to Marion he attributed some coins that were struck at Mallοs in Cilicia. At that time, the coins were illustrated with a drawing and not yet with a photograph.

Yet it was also de Luynes who, in 1846,7 attributed for the first time coins with Phoenician inscriptions to Cyprus, notably to Kition, instead of Phoenicia, Syria or Cilicia. De Vogüé’s study in 1867 improved upon de Luynes’ by including - among other arguments - discussion of the places where coins had been found and of their weight system. In this way he distinguished the coins of Oziba’al, king of Kition, from those of another Oziba’al, king of Byblos (Phoenicia).

The first systematic treatise on the coins struck in Cyprus during the period of the kingdoms must be ascribed to Blau,8 in an article of 25 pages published in 1875. With a much better reading of the Cypriote-Syllabic legends and also of the Phoenician characters, Blau identified the coins more accurately than was possible for de Luynes in 1852.

Further adjustments were soon made thanks to increasing knowledge of the scripts and the establishment of royal genealogies in Salamis and Kition with the help of literary texts and inscriptions. Regarding Kition in particular, epigraphic publications relating to the dedicatory inscriptions of Idalion and Kition refer to the succession of its kings. The kings of the 4th century BC were discussed in the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum, 1881,9 and those of the 5th century BC in an article of E. Berger of 1887.10 In 1883, J.P. Six published a systematic repertory of coins by mint, describing the types and inscriptions.11 Many parts of his work are still valid, as are also the catalogues of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France published by E. Babelon in 1893,12 the British Museum Catalogue written in 1904 by G.F. Hill,13 and the treatise of E. Babelon published in 1907 and 1910.14


The 20th century: specialised studies

In the 20th century numerous details of the coins have been studied and corrected. These new proposals have been published in numerous articles15 and some of them have been included in general numismatic treatises, such as those of Kraay16 and Nicolet-Pierre.17

Specialised studies have reconsidered the attributions and the dates of several coins. For many, the mint has been correctly identified through the proper reading of the legends on better preserved coins (e.g. Lapethos,18 [Fig. 2] Marion19) and through the knowledge of the find-spots of the coins (e.g. Amathous,20 Kition,21 Kourion [Fig. 3],22 Marion,23 Soloi24). The understanding of the dates of some coins has improved through the study of overstruck coins (e.g. Salamis25) and through the establishment of coin sequences by die-studies (e.g. Paphos,26 Salamis,27 the gold coins of all of the kings of Cyprus28).

Entirely new coins with hitherto unknown types and legends have been discovered in excavations, numismatic collections, and sale catalogues. This new material has filled in several lacunae in numismatic data and historical information about the island in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Some important facts about the kings of the Cypriote kingdoms, who are poorly documented in ancient sources, are provided only by numismatic evidence, as in the case of King Wroikos of Amathous,29 Kings Baalzakor and Demonikos of Lapethos,30 King Sasmâs of Marion,31 Kings Mineus, Zowalios, and Pnytos of Paphos,32 and King Phausis of Salamis.33 The iconography on the coins has been a fruitful area for research (the flower-like motif on Idalion coins,34 the war-like types on Marion coins [Fig. 4]35 and the earring on 4th century Salamis coins36 [Fig. 5]).


Recent developments: expansion of research fields

More recently, the topics of Cypriote numismatic research have paralleled those applied to the coins of other regions. Fields of research have expanded: much more attention is now paid to coinage in metals other than silver and gold. Coinage in bronze has been studied at Kition37 [Fig. 6], Marion,38 Paphos,39 and Soloi.40 Some coins have been submitted to metal analyses (especially gold coins from different mints).41 Progress has been made in the understanding of weight systems and denominations of the coins.42  Attention is also paid to the circulation of the coins of Cypriote kingdoms in Cyprus and abroad, not only of those found in hoards but also of isolated coins, especially relevant to the island itself.43 The Kyprios Character website will ensure that research in Cypriote numismatics expands further.

Published: June 8, 2015 Updated at: June 8, 2015 Submitted in: English
Edited by: Bourogiannis, Giorgos, Panagiotopoulou, Chryssa
Editing Assistant: Psilakakou, Vasia
Final editing: Markou, Evangeline

List of illustrations

Fig. 1: de Luynes 1852, pl. I.2: siglos of Evanthes, king of Salamis, attributed to Amathous. Collection of the Museum in Vienna.

Fig. 2: Lapethos, siglos of Demonikos. Collection of the British Museum (Robinson 1948, pl. V.2).

Fig. 3: Kourion, bronze coin of Pasikrates. Private collection (Iosephides 2002 [2004], 32).

Fig. 4: Marion, bronze coin of Stasioikos II (I?). Private collection (Destrooper-Georgiades 2007, pl. VII.81).

Fig. 5: Salamis, gold stater of King Pnytagoras. Collection of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, inv. 1988-05-01.

Fig 6: Kition, bronze coin of Pumayaton. Private collection (Destrooper-Georgiades 2014, 332, fig. 3).


1 This contribution is an updated version of the 2007 introductory text compiled for the Cyprus Numismatic Project. The text was initially accompanied by a complete bibliography about the ancient Cypriote numismatics. The latter is also updated and has been included in the SilCoinCy website, in the section Bibliography.

2 Brandis 1873.

3 de Vogüé 1867.

4 Borrell 1836.

5 de Luynes 1852.

6 Troxell 1984.

7 de Luynes 1852.

8 Blau 1873 (1875).

9 Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum I, 10-11 (= K A1, K A2), and I, 92, Paris, 1881.

10 Berger 1887. For the application of these results in numismatics, see the contributions of Six (1888, 123-132; reprinted in NRCyprus XV-XXI, 1984-1990, 66-77) and Babelon (1892).

11 Six 1883.

12 Babelon 1893, CXIV-CLIII, 83-122, pl. XVI-XXI; 1898.

13 Hill 1904.

14 Babelon 1907, col. 569-620, pl. XXVI-XXVII; 1910, col. 691-842, pl. CXXVIII-CXXXVI.

15 For many significant results in the study of Cypriote numismatics since 1904, see Destrooper-Georgiades 2007.

16 Kraay 1976, 299-312; reprinted in NRCyprus XV-XXI, 1984-1990, 13-27.

17 Nicolet-Pierre 2002, 158-159, 202-203.

18 Robinson 1948.

19 Robinson 1932.

20 Picard 1991, 171-173.

21 Uninscribed bronzes, now attributed to Pumayaton: Callot 1992.

22 Cox 1959, 3, 87-89, nos 2-5; the date and the issuing authorities have now been reconsidered: Destrooper-Georgiades 2000a, 706-709.

23 Destrooper, Symeonides 1998.

24 Uninscribed bronzes now attributed to Soloi: Destrooper-Georgiades 1992.

25 Destrooper-Georgiades 2013, 13, no. 23 (21, no. 23), 36, fig. 13.

26 Destrooper-Georgiades 2000b.

27 McGregor 1999.

28 Markou 2011.

29 Masson 1982.

30 Amandry 1994; Robinson 1948.

31 Robinson 1932.

32 Schwabacher 1947, 85-87, 101-102, nos 224-243 and Masson 1994, 812-815.

33 Kagan, McGregor 1995.

34 Lee 1999, 24-26.

35 Destrooper, Symeonides 1998, 117-120.

36 Markou 2006.

37 Callot 1992; Destrooper-Georgiades 2014.

38 Destrooper, Symeonides 1998.

39 Destrooper-Georgiades 2005.

40 Destrooper-Georgiades 1992 , confirmed in Destrooper-Georgiades 2008.

41 Markou 2011, 210-220.

42 Markou 2011, 191-209; Markou 2012.

43 Destrooper-Georgiades 2015 (Kyprios Character - in preparation).


Amandry, M. 1994 : "Les monnaies", in Art antique de Chypre du Bronze moyen à l’époque byzantine au Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 76, no. 58.

Babelon, E. 1892: "La chronologie des rois de Citium. Étude sur quelques points de l’histoire de Chypre sous la domination des Perses achéménides", Le Muséon 11, 220-238, 289-306 = id., Mélanges Numismatiques, 2nd series, Paris, 1893, 49-84.

Babelon, E. 1893: Catalogue des monnaies grecques de la Bibliothèque Nationale: Les Perses Achéménides, les satrapes et les dynastes tributaires de leur empire: Cypre et la Phénicie, Paris.

Babelon, E. 1898: "Inventaire de la Collection Waddington", RN 4th series, 2, 202-206, nos. 4802-4843.

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Blau, O. 1873 (1875): "Zur kypriotischen Münzkunde", NumZ 5, 1-25.

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Cox, D.H. 1959: Coins from the Excavations at Curium 1932-1953, (ANSNNM 145), New York.

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Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 1992 : "Les bronzes chypriotes représentant une tête féminine et une croix ansée dans une couronne laurée", in Florilegium Numismaticum, Studia in Honorem Ulla Westermark Edita, Stockholm, 365-376. 

Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2000a: "Classical coins recently found in Cyprus. The coin circulation in the island at the end of the archaic and during the classical periods", in G.K. Ioannides and St. Ach. Hadjistyllis (eds), Proceedings of the Third International Congress of Cypriote Studies, Nicosia, 16-20 April 1996, Nicosia, 703-716.

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Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2005: "Le monnayage de Paphos au IVe siècle, nouvelles perspectives", in C. Alfaro et al. (eds), Acts of the Thirteenth International Congress of Numismatics in Madrid, 15-20 September 2003, Madrid, 245-252.

Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2007: "Le monnayage des cités-royaumes de Chypre: quelques aspects et problèmes", AIIN 53, 9-63, pl. I-IX.

Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2008: "La circulation monétaire dans la Mésaoria à l’époque achéménide", in Actes du VIIe Colloque international sur La Transeuphratène à l’époque perse : frontières et courants d’échanges culturels, Paris, 22-24 mars 2007, Trans 35, 83-95.

Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2013: "Monnaies chypriotes surfrappées", in D. Michaelides (ed.), Acts of the international colloquium in honour of Dr. Ino Nicolaou: epigraphy, numismatics, prosopography and history of Ancient Cyprus, Nicosia, 24-25 November 2007, (SIMA PB 179), Uppsala, 9-41.

Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2014: "Un plomb aux types de grands bronzes de Pumayyaton, roi de Kition (Chypre) entre 362 et 312 av. J.-C.", in A. Lemaire (ed.), Hommage à Josette Elayi: Phéniciens d'Orient et d'Occident, Paris, 319-334.

Destrooper-Georgiades, A. 2015 (forthcoming): "The circulation of Cypriot coins during the Archaic and Classical periods", in the website: Kyprios Character. History, Archaeology & Numismatics of Ancient Cyprus.

Destrooper, A., Symeonides, A. 1998: "Classical coins in the Symeonides collection.  The coin circulation in Marion/Polis during the Vth. and IVth. centuries", RDAC, 111-125.

de Vogüé, M. 1867: "Monnaies des rois phéniciens de Citium", RN, nouvelle série, 12, 364-381 = id., Mélanges d’archéologie orientale, Paris, 1868, Appendix, 3-20; reprinted in NRCyprus XV-XXI, 1984-1990, 97-115.

Hill, G.F. 1904: BMC Cyprus, A Catalogue of the Greek Coins in the British Museum, Cyprus, London.

Iosephides, D. 2002 (2004): "Ενα αδημοσίευτο νόμισμα του Κουρίου και η ερμηνεία του  οπισθότυπού του με βάση ένα Αρκαδικό μύθο", Kupriakai Spoudai 66, 25-31.

Kagan, J.H., McGregor K. 1995: "The coinage of king Phausis of Salamis", CCEC 23, 3-9.

Kraay, C.M. 1976: Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, London.

Lee, I. 1999: "The flower of Adonis at Eryx", NC 159, 1-31.

Markou, E. 2006: "Problèmes iconographiques du monnayage d’or des derniers rois de Salamine au IVe siècle avant J.-C.", in S. Fourrier and G. Grivaud (eds), Actes du Congrès International: Identités  croisées en un milieu méditerranéen: le cas de Chypre (Antiquité-Moyen Âge), tenu à l’Université de Rouen du 11 au 13 mars 2004, Rouen, 135-151.

Markou, E. 2011: L’or des rois de Chypre. Numismatique et histoire à l’époque classique (Μελετήματα 64), Athens.

Markou, E. 2012: "Gold and Silver weight standards in fourth-century Cyprus", in N. Holmes (ed), Proceedings of the XIVth International Numismatic Congress, Glasgow 31 août-4 sept 2009, Glasgow, 280-284.

Masson, O. 1982: "Variétés chypriotes III. Une nouvelle monnaie d’Amathonte au nom du roi Wroikos", RDAC 150.

Masson, O. 1994: "Nouveaux rois chypriotes à Paphos et à Salamine", BSFN, 49th year, no. 5, 812-818.

McGregor, K. 1999: The Coinage of Salamis from the Sixth to the Fourth Century B.C., (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London).

Nicolet-Pierre, H. 2002: Numismatique grecque, Paris, 158-159, 202-203.

Picard, O. 1991: "Les monnaies archaïques et classiques", in V. Karageorghis et al. (eds), La nécropole d’Amathonte. Tombes 110-385, vol. V., Nicosia, 171-175.

Robinson, E.S.G. 1932: "Greek coins acquired by the British Museum-British Museum acquisitions for the years 1930-1931", NC, 5th series, 12, 209-212 no.10.

Robinson, E.S.G. 1948: "Greek coins acquired by the British Museum, 1938-1948. Appendix: Kings of Lapethus", NC, 6th series, 8, 60-65; reprinted in NRCyprus IV 1973, 55-59.

Schwabacher, W. 1947: "The coins of the Vouni treasure reconsidered", NNÅ 67-104; reprinted in NRCyprus XII, 1981, 11-51.

Six, J.P. 1883: "Du classement des séries chypriotes", RN 3rd series, 1, 279-374.

Six, J.P. 1888: "Monnaies grecques, inédites et incertaines", NC 3rd series, 8, 97-137.

Troxell, H.A. 1984: "Carians in miniature", in A. Houghton et al. (eds), Studies in Honor of Leo Mildenberg, Wetteren, 249-255.