Jennifer Cargill Thompson née Warren (1931-2016)

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by Richard Ashton

March 10, 2016 – Jennifer Cargill Thompson née Warren, who passed away on 16 January this year, was a numismatist of rare distinction, whose output, published under her maiden name, greatly advanced our knowledge of the Classical and Hellenistic Greek coinages of, above all, the Peloponnese.
After receiving her BA in her native New Zealand and MA from the University of Oxford, she worked as a research assistant to Professor A.D. Momigliano at University College, London (1957-58) and then (1958-65) as research assistant to Stanley Robinson, one of the most renowned Greek numismatists of his day.
In 1966 she married the eminent church historian W.D.J. Cargill Thompson, with whom she had two sons, Edmund and Alexander. Widowed in 1978, she became a part-time Special Assistant in the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum (1978-94). She was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society in 2010, and awarded a Doctorate of Letters by the University of Oxford in 2012.

Jennifer Warren’s crowning academic achievement was the publication in 2007 of “The Bronze Coinage of the Achaian Koinon. The Currency of a Federal Ideal.” RNS SP 42 (London). With characteristic thoroughness, meticulous attention to detail and penetrating insights, she disentangled and explained this notoriously complex and poorly recorded mid-second century BC coinage, and in the process illuminated many aspects of the League’s administration, finances and political history.

Her methods had been foreshadowed in four lengthy articles on the pre-Roman bronze coinage of Sikyon (Numismatic Chronicle 1983, 1984 and 1985; Studies Price), papers which set new standards both in the richness of their catalogues of this prolific coinage and in the historical, archaeological and numismatic commentaries which accompanied them. They are indispensable tools alike for numismatists, historians and archaeologists working in southern Greece. Her life’s work on the abundant silver coinage of this mint was summarised in three further authoritative articles.

In the 1990s Jennifer Warren turned her attention to the dating of the final phase of the Achaian League’s silver coinage, and in a series of five articles vigorously defended the view, first propounded in the 1980s by Christof Boehringer, that this coinage did not precede 146 BC, but was struck in the 1st century BC. Thanks in good measure to her advocacy this thesis is now the orthodoxy. Other areas to which she made contributions of lasting value in her 21 published articles include the early triobols of Megalopolis, the trihemidrachms of Corinth, and various Arcadian coinages.

Jennifer Warren will be greatly missed by her many friends and colleagues, some of whom will retain fond memories of the legendary soirées which she held at the Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.

Publications (as J. Warren) 

  • Review of D. Schwartz and L. Mildenberg, Aus eine Sammlung griechischer Münzen, NC 1961, 241.
  • Two notes on Thessalian coins, NC 1961, 1-8.
  • A neglected hoard of Elean coins, NC 1962, 413-5.
  • Review of E. Schönert, Griechisches Münzwerk. Die Münzprägung von Perinthos, NC 1965, 265-6.
  • The Trihemidrahms of Corinth, in Essays in Greek Coinage presented to Stanley Robinson, C.M. Kraay and G.K. Jenkins (eds), 1968, 125-44.
  • Review of C.M. Kraay and M. Hirmer, Greek Coins, in Journal of Hellenic Studies 1968, 243-4.
  • Review of R.T. Williams, The confederate coinage of the Arcadians in the fifth century BC, in Journal of Hellenic Studies 1968, 245-6.
  • The earliest triobols of Megalopolis, American Numismatic Society Numismatic Notes 15 (1969), 31-40.
  • Review of R.T. Williams, The silver coinage of the Phocians, in NC 1976, 275-6.
  • Mainland Greece. From Macedonia and Epirus to the Peloponnese, in A survey of numismatic research 1972-1977, R. Carson, P. Berghaus and N. Lowick (eds), 1979, 29-35. 
  • The autonomous bronze coinage of Sicyon, NC 1983, 23-56; NC 1984, 1-24; NC 1985, 45-66.
  • Review of N.K. Rutter, Greek Coinage, in NC 1985, 272-3.
  • From Macedonia and Epirus to the Peloponnese, with the Sporades, Cyclades and Crete, in A survey of numismatic research 1978-1984, Vol. 1, M. Price et al. (eds), 1986, 117-35. 
  • Review of SNG France, Collection Delepierre, in NC 1986, 261-2. 
  • Review of T.R. Martin, Sovereignty and coinage in Classical Greece, in Journal of Hellenic Studies 1987, 256-7. 
  • Review of J. Melville. Jones, A dictionary of ancient Greek coins, in NC 1988, 225-6.
  • The 1980 Kato Klitoria hoard, in Numismatic Studies in memory of C.M. Kraay and O.Mørkholm, G. Le Rider et al. (eds), 1989, 291-300.
  • Paper to the First International Symposium on Achaia and Elis in Antiquity, Athens, 1989: The bronze coinage of the Achaian League: the mints of Achaia and Elis. Published in Achaia und Elis in der Antike, A.D. Rizakis (ed.), Meletemata 13 (Athens / Paris, 1991), 151-4.
  • Review, with J. Morcom, of H.C. Lindgren, Ancient Greek bronze coins: European mints, in NC 1991, 230-2.
  • Towards a resolution of the Achaean League controversy: some observations on methodology, in Essays in honour of Robert Carson and Kenneth Jenkins (London, 1993), M. Price, A. Burnett, R. Bland (eds), 87-99.
  • The Vonitsa, Acarnania (1993) hoard, note in Coin Hoards VIII, U. Wartenberg et al. (eds), (London 1994), 83. 
  • Paper to Numismatic Archaeology / Archaeological Numismatics, International conference held to honour Dr. Mando Oeconomides, Athens, 1995: Thisoa by Mount Lykaion: further light on an Arcadian problem. Published in Numismatic Archaeology / Archaeological Numismatics, K.A. Sheedy and Ch. Papageorgiadou-Banis (eds), Oxbow Monograph 75, (Oxford 1997), 96-104.
  • Paper to Journée d’études, Lille, 6-7 December 1996, De la drachme au denier: les états Grecs et la monnaie de la fin de l’époque Hellénistique au debut du principat: After the Boehringer revolution: the ‘new landscape’ in the coinage of the Peloponnese. Published in Topoi 7/1 1997, 109-114.
  • Contributor to Lexicon of Greek Personal Names Vol. IIIB, P. Fraser and E. Matthews (eds), (Oxford, 2000).
  • The Achaian League, Sparta, Lucullus: some late Hellenistic coinages, in CHARAKTER. Afieroma sti Manto Oikonomidou, V. Penna et al. (eds) (Athens, 1997), 96-104. 
  • Unpublished paper on the coinage of the Thessalian Koinon used by D.A.O. Klose as the basis of Zur Chronologie der thessalischen Koinonprägungen im 2. und 1. Jh. v. Chr.: Ein weiterer Schatzfund aus Südthessalien, in Griechisches M?nzwerk. Stephanos nomismatikos: Edith Schonert-Geiss zum 65. Geburtsag, U. Peter (ed), (Berlin, 1998), 333-350.
  • Updating (and downdating) the autonomous bronze coinage of Sikyon, in Studies in Greek Numismatics in memory of Martin Jessop Price, R.Ashton and S. Hurter (eds), (London, 1998), 347-61.
  • With R.H.J. Ashton, A hoard of Western Greek and Pseudo-Rhodian silver, Revue Belge de Numismatique 1998, 5-16.
  • More on the ‘new landscape’ in the late Hellenistic coinage in the Peloponnese, in Travaux de numismatique grecs offerts à Georges le Rider, M. Amandry, S. Hurter, D. Bérend (eds) (Paris, 1999), 375-93.
  • The Achaian League silver coinage controversy resolved: a summary, NC 1999, 99-109, pl. 16. 
  • The silver coins of Sikyon in Leiden: analyses and some comments on the coinage, in pour denyse. Divertisements Numismatiques, S. Mani Hurter and C. Arnold-Biucchi (eds) (Bern, 2000), 201-10, pl. 23. 24.
  • Financing the Peloponnesian War: the Peloponnesian perspective: paper to the XIII International Numismatic Congress, Madrid. Proceedings I, XIII Congresso Internacional de Numismatica, Madrid 2003, C. Alfaro at al. (Madrid, 2005), 317-20.
  • The Framework of the Achaian Koinon, paper to Colloque International, Université François Rabelais, Tours, 6-7 October 2005, Le Péloponnèse à l’époque hellénistique et sous le Haut-Empire. Published in the Proceedings of that Colloquium, Le Péloponnèse d’Épaminondas à Hadrien, C. Grandjean (ed.). Ausonius Editions Études 21 , Pessac, 2008, 91-9.
  • The Bronze Coinage of the Achaian Koinon. The Currency of a Federal Ideal. RNS SP 42 (London, 2007). 
  • Review of C. Grandjean, Les Messéniens de 370/369 au 1er siècle de notre ère. Monnayages et histoire, SNR 86, 2007, 201-204.
  • Sikyon: a case-study in the adoption of coinage by a polis in the fifth century BC, NC 2009, 1-13.