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KINGS of ILLYRIA. Monounios. Circa 305/0-280/75 BC. AR Stater (23mm, 10.58 g, 2h). Dyrrhachion mint. Cow standing right, looking back at suckling calf standing left below; above, jawbone of boar right / Double stellate pattern, divided by line, in double linear square border; d above, Ur below, ∫Å15¬EW1 Âo@oU@5oU to either side; all within linear circle border. Gjongecaj Emission 3, 170–5; Paškvan 2c; Maier 88; Meadows, CH (forthcoming) 203 (this coin); SNG Copenhagen 528 var. (position of ethnic); BMC 2 var. (same). Good VF. Very rare.

Monounios, an Illyrian king in the late 4th – early 3rd centuries BC, was the first Illyrian king to issue coins in his own name. The Illyrians consisted of a number of tribes whose habitation extended from the coast to the mountainous inland area bordering on Paeonia. These tribes were not politically unified, but it seems that they were connected by a common culture and language, and were governed by hereditary kings and queens. Little of their language is known, and it was extinct by the 5th century AD, but enough fragments are attested to classify it as Indo-European. Although little is known of Monounios’ reign, his issue of coinage took place only after he had extended his influence to Dyrrhachion, and the coinage may have been connected with his intervention in Macedonian affairs. In 280 or 279, it is reported that Monounios unsuccessfully aided Ptolemy I Epigone, son of Lysimachos, against Ptolemy Keraunos. A bronze helmet has been found in Lake Ohrid, on the border between modern-day Macedon and Albania, with the Greek inscription ‘Of King Monounios’, apparently confirming the presence of his army in this conflict of Macedonian succession. Pompeius Trogus (24,4) describes a “Dardanian prince” who offered Ptolemy Keraunos help against the invading Celts in 279. It seems likely that this prince was Monounios, and either Monounios had Dardanian heritage (references to which are not preserved elsewhere), or the distinction between Illyrian and Dardanian was unclear to the author.