The coinage of Messene
Coins were first struck in the messenian territory shortly after the establishment of autonomous (independent) Messenia in 369 B.C. Messene, being the political and consequently the financial centre of Messenia, played a leading role in coin production throughout the years after 369B.C.; it was the only city that issued a considerable amount of coin series from the 4th to the early 3rd centuries after Christ, with short interrals of stagnation. The rare silver tetradrachms of Messene asa well as the well dated tetradrachms (depicting Heracles and Zeus carrying the eagle) the city struck around 190B.C. in the type and the name of the tetradrachms Alexander the Great's constitute important landmarks in the course of the 3rd and early 2nd c. B.C. The year 193 B.C. is decisive for Messene's fate since the city is forced to enter the Achaean League. It was probably in that year or somewhat earlier that Messene first issued some large bronze coins showing Demeter and Zeus on the obverse and names of coin officials on the reverse beside the monogram of the city. During the first half of the 2nd c. B.C. Messene as a member of the Achaeon League starts to strike silver triobols bearing the common iconographic types of the League (Zeus - Achaean monogram in a wreath) and the monogram (ME) of the city and symbol as the only distinctive sign. During the reign of the first Roman Emperor Augustus (27 B.C. - 14 A.D.)
Messene seems to have issued only one new series of bronze coins carrying head of Heracles and his club, a device not typically messenian. During the 1st c. A.D. some new series appear depicting the head of Tyche with turreted crown on the obverse and Zeus Ithomatas or Asclepius on the reverse, i.e. cities clearly referring to the glorius past of the city despite the fact that the Roman authority left no space for disputes.