მონეტა, როგორც პროპაგანდის საშუალება (ქართული ნუმიზმატიკური ძეგლების მიხედვით)
Everywhere coin facilitated exchange of goods. It was employed also for different propaganda. Georgians did the same as seen in the monetary groups and types as follows: municipal copper coins of Trapezus with the effigy of Mithras, Georgian-Sassanian drachms, Georgian-Byzantine coins, coins of Giorgi III – king with falcon on hand. Only Georgian (Iberian) imitations to Roman coins are struck on the territory of Colchis/Lazica and Kartli/Iberia in late Antiquity. However, there was one place populated by West Georgian people – namely, Trapezus, which issued municipal copper coins in the 2nd-3rd cc. Name of Roman Emperor is on obverse, while the name of community – on reverse. We lack the written sources about the political, as well as cultural and religious history of Trapezus of the 2nd-3rd cc. That is why scholars pay much attention to the artefacts, including the coins. From this point of view, a hoard of municipal copper coins of Trapezus dated back to the 2nd-3rd cc. A.D. and found during Bichvinta (Western Georgia) archaeological excavations in 1958 is of special importance. The hoard seems to be placed in a purse, since fragments of textiles are discovered on coins. Before Bichvinta excavations, municipal copper coins of Trapezus had not been found outside the city. Based on this, some scholars insisted on the fact that Trapezus did not have independent trade and economic policy and its coins were only of local importance. Archaeological excavations of Bichvinta and in Sokhumi (Western Georgia) in 1959 rejected this thesis. The fact is that, not only the hoard was found there – discovery of a single coins of Trapezus became common in these places. This fact is of great importance not only for economic history of the city, but for the study of its political status. Bichvinta hoard contained 149 coins. Ten of them are silver coins, while 139 are the 2nd-3rd cc. municipal copper coins of Trapezus. The latest coin of the hoard belongs to Philip Junior (244/247-249) and is dated back to 244/245, so the hoard was deposited after 244/245. Before Bichvinta and Sokhumi discoveries coins of Trapezus were something of a rarity. If we take into account findings in Bichvinta and Sokhumi, all information in literature about the coins, also samples and imprints kept in different museums and private collections, we will find out that 340-350 samples of municipal copper coins of Trapezus are found up today. About 230 out of them are found in Bichvinta (numbers cannot be absolutely precise). Mithras, the god of the Sun and light, is portrayed on the reverse of 210-220 coins out of 340-350 samples, Tyche – on 50-55 samples, Dionysus – on 17 samples, Serapis – on 12 samples, Abundantia – on 12 samples, Apollo – on 6 samples, Hermes – on 2 samples, Hercules – on 1 sample, Rhea Cybele – on 1 sample, Pales – on 1 sample. These numbers assure us that Mithras was the major deity of Trapezus. Mithras, the god of the Sun and light, is not of Greek origin. The question is: why was he so important in the Greek city? This will be understandable if we take into consideration the words of Xenophon, that Trapezus was “an inhabited Greek city on the Euxine Sea, a colony of the Sinopeans on the territory of Colchis” (Xenoph. Anab. IV. 8. 22). Evidently majority of the city population should have consisted of non-Greeks. This is much obvious from the information of Flavius Arrianus, legatus of Emperor Hadrian. Describing the city, he writes to the Emperor: “Two altars of rough stone are still standing there now; but, from the coarseness of the materials, the letters inscribed upon them are indistinctly engraven, and the inscription itself is incorrectly written, as is common among barbarous people... Your statue, which stands there, has merit in the idea of the figure, as it represents you pointing towards the sea; but it bears no resemblance to the original, and the execution is in other respects but indifferent... A temple is there constructed, built of squared stone” (Arr. Periplus. 1-2). As we can see, Arrianus directly indicates that Greek inscriptions are written by the “barbarians”. It is obvious that the Colchians are meant under the “barbarians”. Even more, not only the majority of Trapezus’ population, but also ruling classes should be of “barbarian” origin. It is difficult to imagine the Greek officials could authorize a creation of Hadrian’s statue with non-Greek art concepts. So, there was ethnic basis for triumph of Mithras in Trapezus. From this point of view, some information from national Georgian narrative “Kartlis Tskhovreba” (The Life of Kartli, I, p. 39) is very interesting: “and Andrew (St. Andrew) came to the city of Trapezus, which is the country of Mingrelians (i.e. West Georgians)”. There is no sign of Mithras’ cult in other Hellenic cities of Asia Minor during these times. We should underline that municipal copper coins of Trapezus with the effigy of Mithras are unparalleled in the numismatics of other cities and kingdoms. Mithraism shaped itself a rival of Christianity. Then Mithraistic evidences from Trapezus also carry a possibility of Christians being wellestablished there. Not accidentally, Roman soldiers stationed at Pitius in Colchis/Lazica had abundantly this Mithra-type coins as pocket-money.
მონეტები, ტრაპეზუნტი, პიტიუნტი, მითრა
ივანე ჯავახიშვილის სახელობის თბილისის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტის საქართველოს ისტორიის ინსტიტუტის შრომები, X, თბილისი, 2016, გვ. 72-98 / Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Institute of Georgian History Proceedings, X, Tbilisi, 2016, pp. 72-98