Evaluation of Spartan Coins in History


Abstract


For a long time, king Areus I has been described as the monarch who followed the Hellenistic model of ruling by scholars. Being the only one of the two Spartan kings mentioned by name at the Chremonidean Decree, he issued Sparta’s first silver coins, which were inscripted with his name. These changes are implemented during the time when Sparta is nowhere near its former glorious self. This thesis will argue that during the early Hellenistic period, which is an era of primary political, cultural and social changes, the past is used as an outstanding political tool more than ever. The status quo of the city-states of Classical Greece is transformed as updated structures of power and political organisation come into being. The past always plays a specific role in the history of the polis throughout the Archaic and Classical periods, as civic identity was authenticated by more or less exclusive local myths. However, from the point of view of the present, the past is imminently needed to be rewritten as it owns the potential to rebuild modern-day worldviews. Areus I initiatives brought Sparta again at the forefront of the Hellenistic world and were the result of the mentality of Hegemony built in Sparta through a long history of hegemonial presence both in Peloponnesos and Greece. This thesis aims (a) to evaluate the use of the past during the reign of Areus I of Sparta (r. 309–265) and (b) to emphasize the dynamics of the active manipulation of the past, during which time the iconographic choices were evaluated as a political tool on the first example of Spartan silver coinage.


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