Koson (coin)

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The golden denarius minted with the legend ΚΟΣΩΝ.

The Kosons are the only gold coins that have been minted by the Dacians, named after the Greek alphabet inscription "ΚΟΣΩΝ" on them.[1]


The coins contain Roman iconography: on the obverse, there is an eagle standing on a scepter and holding a wreath in their claw (inspired by the silver denarii issued by Pomponius Rufus); the reverse contains three men dressed in togas, two of them holding an axe on the shoulder (possibly inspired by the silver denarii issued by Junius Brutus in 54 BC).[1]


The controversy regarding the name of this king was prompted after the discovery of golden coins inscribed with the word KOSON in Greek characters. Such coins were discovered in great numbers in Transylvania and the discovery captured the attention of writers starting the 16th century. Thus, there are comments from Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1520[2] and Stephanus Zamosius (István Szamosközy) in 1593.[3]

Coins inscribed KOSON were discovered in several large stashes in Transylvania. The first group was discovered in 1543, and contained several thousands coins and objects made of gold. It was rumored that this stash was revealed in a bolted chamber under the river Strei, identified as the river Sargetia, and also mentioned by Dio Cassius. Further research disproved this, and placed the treasure in one of the Dacian castles in the Orăştie mountains, probably in Sarmisegetusa.


  1. ^ a b Bogdan Constantinescu et al, "Archaeometallurgical Characterization Of Ancient Gold Artifacts From Romanian Museums Using XRF, Micro-pixe And Micro-SR-XRF Methods", in Proceedings Of The Romanian Academy" Series A, Volume 13, Number 1/2012, pp. 19–26
  2. ^ Erasmus,, trans. R.A.B. Mynors (1988). Collected Works of Erasmus Volume 8: Letters 1122 to 1251, 1520 to 1521. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 37. 
  3. ^ Zamosius, Stephanus (1593). Analecta lapidum vetustorum et nonnullarum in Dacia antiquitatum. pp. 101–2. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Koson at Wikimedia Commons