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Encyclopedia > Ancient Greek coinage
Numismatics
Terminology
Currency
Coins, Banknotes,
Forgery

Circulating currencies
Community currencies Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2816 × 2112 pixel, file size: 2. ... Numismatics is the scientific study of currency and its history in all its varied forms. ... This article is an attempt to combine and condense Numismatic and coin collecting terms into concise, informative explainations for the beginner or professional. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... A £20 Bank of England banknote. ... This list of circulating currencies contains the 194 current official or de facto currencies of the 192 United Nations member states, one UN observer state, three partially recognized sovereign states, six unrecognized countries, and 33 dependencies. ... In economics, a local currency, in its common usage, is a currency not backed by a national government (and not legal tender), and intended to trade only in a small area. ...

Company scrip, LETS,
Time dollars

Fictional currencies Company scrip is currency issued in certain industries to pay workers. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Ithaca Hour is an example of time-based currency. ... Fictional currency is currency in works of fiction. ...

Ancient currencies
Greek, Roman,
Byzantine

Medieval currencies
Modern currencies

Africa, The Americas,
Europe, Asia, Oceania
Production
Mint, Designers
Exonumia

Notaphily A mint is a facility which manufactures coins for currency. ... Coining is a form of precision stamping. ... The term milled coinage is used to describe coins which are produced by some form of machine, rather than by manually hammering coin blanks between two dies (hammered coinage) or casting coins from dies. ... Hammered coinage describes the commonest form of coins produced since the invention of coins in the first millennium BC until the early modern period of ca. ... Exonumia is the study of coin-like objects such as token coins and medals, and other items used in place of legal currency or for commemoration. ... Credit cards A credit card is a system of payment named after the small plastic card issued to users of the system. ... A Medal is a word used for various types of compact objects: a wearable medal awarded by an authority government for services redered, especially to a country (such as Armed force service); strictly speaking this only refers to a medal of coin-like appearance, but informally the word also refers... A rare and historic Bechuanaland Border Police canteen token. ... Notaphily is the study of paper money or banknotes. ...

Scripophily A £20 Bank of England banknote. ... Scripophily is the study and collection of stocks and Bonds. ...

The history of Ancient Greek coinage can be divided (along with most other Greek art forms), into three periods, the Archaic, the Classical and the Hellenistic. The Archaic period extends from the introduction of coinage to the Greek world in about 600 BCE until the Persian Wars in about 480 BCE. The Classical period then began, and lasted until the conquests of Alexander the Great in about 330 BC, which began the Hellenistic period, extending until the Roman absorption of the Greek world in the 1st century BCE. The Greeks cities continued to produce their own coins for several more centuries under Roman rule, called Roman provincial coins. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In finance, a bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and is obliged to repay the principal and interest (the coupon) at a later date, termed maturity. ... The Temple of Athena, the Parthenon Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around nine hundred years. ... The Hellenistic period of Greek history was the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the Greek peninsula and islands by Rome in 146 BC. Although the establishment of Roman rule did not break the continuity of Hellenistic society and culture, which... Centuries: 8th century BC - 7th century BC - 6th century BC Decades: 650s BC 640s BC 630s BC 620s BC 610s BC - 600s BC - 590s BC 580s BC 570s BC 560s BC 550s BC Events and Trends Fall of the Assyrian Empire and Rise of Babylon 609 BC _ King Josiah... The Greco-Persian Wars or Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Greek world and the Persian Empire that started about 500 BC and lasted until 448 BC. The term can also refer to the continual warfare of the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire against the Parthians and... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 530s BC 520s BC 510s BC 500s BC 490s BC - 480s BC - 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC Years: 485 BC 484 BC 483 BC 482 BC 481 BC _ 480 BC _ 479 BC... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders in history. ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC - 330s BC - 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 335 BC 334 BC 333 BC 332 BC 331 BC - 330 BC - 329 BC 328 BC 327... Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... Area of issue Roman Provincial coins are coins that were minted in the Roman Empire by civic authorities rather than by Imperial authorities. ...

Contents

Archaic period

Coins were invented in the Kingdom of Lydia, in what is now western Turkey in about 650-600 BCE (they were independently invented in China and India in about 600 BCE). An important source of the metal used in these coins was the river Pactolus close to Sardis where there were alluvial deposits of gold mixed with as much as 40% silver and some copper; such a gold-silver mix is called (electrum). The earliest coins were made of electrum with a standardized 55% gold, 45 silver and 1-2% copper concentration and had either no design or a some apparently random surface striations on one side and a punch impression on the other. Electrum coinage spread to the independent city states of Ionia on the Aegean coast within a few decades. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Lydia (Greek ) is a historic region of western Anatolia, congruent with Turkeys modern provinces of İzmir and Manisa. ... Centuries: 8th century BC - 7th century BC - 6th century BC Decades: 650s BC 640s BC 630s BC 620s BC 610s BC - 600s BC - 590s BC 580s BC 570s BC 560s BC 550s BC Events and Trends Fall of the Assyrian Empire and Rise of Babylon 609 BC _ King Josiah... Pactolus is a river, now in modern Turkey. ... A recent view of the ceremonial court of the thermae–gymnasium complex in Sardis, dated to 211—212 AD Sardis, also Sardes (Lydian: Sfard, Greek: Σάρδεις, Persian: Sparda), modern Sart in the Manisa province of Turkey, was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, the seat of a proconsul under... Electrum coin of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus. ... Location of Ionia Ionia (Greek Ιωνία; see also list of traditional Greek place names) was an ancient region of southwestern coastal Anatolia (in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir,) on the Aegean Sea. ... Look up Aegean Sea in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The first bimetallic currency of pure gold and silver coins was introduced during the reign of King Croesus in Sardis (561-547 BCE) using a design of a lion or a lion and bull on one side; the other side remained a punch mark. By this time, coinage had spread to Greece proper and to the many Greek colonies spread from the Black Sea to Sicily and southern Italy (Magna Graecia). Croesus Croesus (IPA pronunciation: , CREE-sus) was the king of Lydia from 560/561 BC until his defeat by the Persians in about 547 BC. The English name Croesus come from the Latin transliteration of the Greek , in Arabic and Persian قارون, Qârun. ... A recent view of the ceremonial court of the thermae–gymnasium complex in Sardis, dated to 211—212 AD Sardis, also Sardes (Lydian: Sfard, Greek: Σάρδεις, Persian: Sparda), modern Sart in the Manisa province of Turkey, was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, the seat of a proconsul under... NASA satellite image of the Black Sea Map of the Black Sea The Black Sea is an inland sea between southeastern Europe and Anatolia that is actually a distant arm of the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Mediterranean Sea. ... Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... Magna Graecia around 280 b. ...


In the "Archaic period" coins were fairly crude by later standards. They were mostly small disk-shaped lumps of gold, silver, or bronze, stamped with a geometric design or symbol to indicate its city of origin. As coining techniques improved, coins became more standardized as flat circular objects and the convention of putting a representation of the patron deity of the issuing city became established. Animal symbols such as the bees (sacred to Artemis) of Ephesus, turtles of Aegina, or the owl (sacred to Athena) of Athens were also widely used. General Name, Symbol, Number gold, Au, 79 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 6, d Appearance metallic yellow Standard atomic weight 196. ... General Name, Symbol, Number silver, Ag, 47 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 5, d Appearance lustrous white metal Standard atomic weight 107. ... Assorted ancient Bronze castings found as part of a cache, probably intended for recycling. ... The Diana of Versailles, a Roman copy of a sculpture by Leochares (Louvre Museum) In Greek mythology, Artemis (Greek: (nominative) , (genitive) ) was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo. ... Historical Map of Ephesus, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888 Ephesus (Greek: , Turkish: ), was one of the cities of Ionia in Asia Minor, located in Lydia where the Cayster River (Küçük Menderes) flows into the Aegean Sea. ... Aegina (Greek: Αίγινα (Egina)) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, 31 miles (50 km) from Athens. ... Helmeted Athena, of the Velletri type. ... Athens (Ancient Greek: αἱ Ἀθῆναι (plural), evolving into the modern Αθήναι in Greek until recently, and Αθήνα nowadays (IPA ); is both the largest and the capital city of Greece, located in the Attica periphery. ...


The Greek world was divided into at least a hundred self-governing cities and towns (in Greek, poleis), and most of these issued their own coins. Some coins circulated widely beyond their polis, indicating that they were being used in inter-city trade; the first example appears to have been the silver drachm of Aegina. As such coins circulated more widely, coins of other cities came increasingly to be minted to the same weight standard (the weight standard of the Aeginetan drachma was 6.1 g) although marked with the symbols of the issuing city. This is rather like today's Euro coins, which are recognisably from a particular country, but usable all over the Euro zone. Drachma, pl. ... Drachma, pl. ... “EUR” redirects here. ... The Eurozone (also called Euro-area or Euroland) is the subset of European Union member states which have adopted the Euro (€) currency, creating a currency union. ...


Different weight standards co-existed; these may well have indicated different trade alliances. In about 510 BC Athens began producing a fine silver tetradrachm (four drachm) coin. As Athens and Aegina were hostile, this was minted to a different weight standard, the "Attic" standard drachm of 4.3 g. Over time, Athens' plentiful supply of silver from the mines at Laurion and its increasing dominance in trade made this the pre-eminent standard. Tetradrachms on this weight standard continued to be a widely used coin (often the most widely used) through the classical period, by Alexander, and by the Hellenistic monarchs. Centuries: 7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC Decades: 560s BC - 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC - 470s BC - 460s BC Events and Trends Establishment of the Roman Republic March 12, 515 BC - Construction is completed on the... ISO 4217 Code GRD User(s) Greece Inflation 3. ... Laurium or Laurion (Λαύριον, Thoricum before early 1000s BC, Ergastiri throughout the medieval times and the mid to late 1000s, Ergastiri is Greek for Workplace) is a town in southeastern part of Attica, Greece and is one of the southernmost and the seat of...


The word drachm means "a handful". Drachmae could be divided into six obols (from the Greek word for a spit of iron). Drachma, pl. ... The obolus (or obol) is a Greek silver coin worth a sixth of a drachma. ...


Classical period

Tetradrachm of Athens, fifth century BCE. On the obverse, a portrait of Athena, patron goddess of the city. On the reverse, the owl of Athens

The "Classical period" saw Greek coinage reach a high level of technical and aesthetic quality. Larger cities now produced a range of fine silver and gold coins, most bearing a portrait of their patron god or goddess, or a legendary hero, on one side, and a symbol of the city on the other. Some coins employed a visual pun: coins from Rhodes featured a rose, since the Greek word for rose is rhodon. The use of inscriptions on coins also began, usually the name of the issuing city. The wealthy cities of Sicily produced some especially fine coins. The large silver decadrachm (ten drachm) coin from Syracuse is regarded by many collectors as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, perhaps ever. This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Helmeted Athena, of the Velletri type. ... Deer statues in Mandraki harbor, where the Colossus of Rhodes once stood This article is about the Greek island of Rhodes. ... Syracuse (Italian, Siracusa, ancient Syracusa - see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a city on the eastern coast of Sicily and the capital of the province of Syracuse, Italy. ...


The use of coins for propaganda purposes was a Greek invention. Coins are valuable, durable and pass through many hands. In an age without newspapers or other mass media, they were an ideal way of disseminating a political message. The first such coin was a commemorative decadrachm issued by Athens following the Greek victory in the Persian Wars. On these coins the owl of Athens was depicted facing the viewer with wings outstretched, holding a spray of olive leaves. The message was that Athens was powerful and victorious, but peace-loving. Soviet Propaganda Poster during the World War II. The text reads Red Army Fighter, SAVE US! Chinese propaganda poster from during the Cultural Revolution. ...


Hellenistic period

Gold 20-stater of Eucratides I, the largest gold coin ever minted in Antiquity.
Gold 20-stater of Eucratides I, the largest gold coin ever minted in Antiquity.

The Hellenistic period was characterised by the spread of Greek culture across a large part of the known world. Greek-speaking kingdoms were established in Egypt and Syria, and for a time also in Iran and as far east as what is now Afghanistan and northwestern India. Greek traders spread Greek coins across this vast area, and the new kingdoms soon began to produce their own coins. Because these kingdoms were much larger and wealthier than the Greek city states of the classical period, their coins tended to be more mass-produced, as well as larger, and more frequently in gold. They often lacked the aesthetic delicacy of coins of the earlier period. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (705x683, 890 KB) Gold 20-stater of Eucratides. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (705x683, 890 KB) Gold 20-stater of Eucratides. ... The stater was an ancient coin of Greek or Lydian origin which circulated from about 500 BC to 50 AD. It was also heavily used by Celtic tribes. ... King Eucratides (171-145 BC) Obv: Bust of Eucratides. ...

Double decadrachm of the Indo-Greek ruler Amyntas (ruled 95-90 BCE): the largest silver coin of Antiquity.

Still, some of the Greco-Bactrian coins, and those of their successors in India, the Indo-Greeks, are considered the finest examples of Greek numismatic art with "a nice blend of realism and idealization", including the largest coins to be minted in the Hellenistic world: the largest gold coin was minted by Eucratides (reigned 171145 BCE), the largest silver coin by the Indo-Greek king Amyntas (reigned c. 9590 BCE). The portraits "show a degree of individuality never matched by the often bland depictions of their royal contemporaries further West" (Roger Ling, "Greece and the Hellish World"). Download high resolution version (1113x539, 111 KB)Coin of Amyntas. ... Download high resolution version (1113x539, 111 KB)Coin of Amyntas. ... Maximum extent of Indo-Greek territory circa 175 BCE. The Indo-Greeks (or sometimes Greco-Indians) designate a series of Greek kings, who invaded and controlled parts of northwest and northern India from 180 BCE to around 10 BCE. They are the continuation of the Greco-Bactrian dynasty of Greek... Double decadrachm of Amyntas. ... Approximate extent of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom circa 220 BCE. The Greco-Bactrians were a dynasty of Greek kings who controlled Bactria and Sogdiana, an area comprising todays northern Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia, the easternmost area of the Hellenistic world, from 250 to 125 BCE. Their expansion... Maximum extent of Indo-Greek territory circa 175 BCE. The Indo-Greeks (or sometimes Greco-Indians) designate a series of Greek kings, who invaded and controlled parts of northwest and northern India from 180 BCE to around 10 BCE. They are the continuation of the Greco-Bactrian dynasty of Greek... The ancient coins of Greece represent the highest form of the coiners art. ... King Eucratides (171-145 BC) Obv: Bust of Eucratides. ... (Redirected from 171 BCE) Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 220s BC 210s BC 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC - 170s BC - 150s BC140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC Years: 176 BC 175 BC 174 BC 173 BC 172 BC - 171 BC - 170... (Redirected from 145 BCE) Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC 150s BC - 140s BC - 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC 90s BC Years: 150 BC 149 BC 148 BC 147 BC 146 BC - 145 BC... Double decadrachm of Amyntas. ... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC - 90s BC - 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC Years: 100 BC 99 BC 98 BC 97 BC 96 BC - 95 BC - 94 BC 93 BC 92... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC 100s BC - 90s BC - 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC 40s BC Years: 95 BC 94 BC 93 BC 92 BC 91 BC - 90 BC - 89 BC 88 BC 87...


The most striking new feature of Hellenistic coins was the use of portraits of living people, namely of the kings themselves. This practice had begun in Sicily, but was disapproved of by other Greeks as showing hubris (pride). But the kings of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria had no such scruples, and issued magnificent gold coins adorned with their own portraits, with the symbols of their state on the reverse. The names of the kings were frequently inscribed on the coin as well. This established a pattern for coins which has persisted ever since: a portrait of the king, usually in profile and striking a heroic pose, on the obverse, with his name beside him, and a coat of arms or other symbol of state on the reverse. Hubris or hybris (Greek ), according to its modern usage, is exaggerated self pride or self-confidence (overbearing pride), often resulting in fatal retribution. ... The Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt began following Alexander the Greats conquest in 332 BC and ended with the death of Cleopatra VII and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. It was founded when Ptolemy I Soter declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt, creating a powerful Hellenistic state from southern Syria...


Minting

All Greek coins were hand-made, rather than milled as modern coins are. The design for the obverse was carved (in reverse) into a block of stone or iron. The design of the reverse was carved into another. The blank gold or silver disk, heated to make it soft, was then placed between these two blocks and the upper block struck hard with a hammer, "punching" the design onto both sides of the coin.


This is a fairly crude technique and produces a high failure rate, so the high technical standards achieved by the best Greek coins - perfect centering of the image on the disk, even relief all over the coin, sharpness of edges - is a remarkable testament to Greek perfectionism.


Ancient Greek coins today

The best Greek coins are rare and expensive, and many can only be seen in museums, of which the National Numismatic Museum in Athens, the British Museum and the American Numismatic Society are among the finest. An active market in both high quality and common ancient Greek coins exists, dominated by on-line auction houses in the United States and Europe. Moreover, hoards of Greek coins are still being found in Europe and the Middle East, and many of the coins in these hoards find their way onto the market, often via the Internet. Coins are the only art form from the Ancient world which are common enough and durable enough to be within the reach of ordinary collectors. The British Museum in London, England is one of the worlds greatest museums of human history and culture. ... The American Numismatic Society is a New York City-based organization dedicated to the study of coins and medals. ...


See also

Numismatics Portal

Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (910x910, 596 KB)Media:Example. ... The Charioteer of Delphi, Delphi Archaeological Museum. ... The coinage of the Seleucid Empire is based on the coins of Alexander the Great which in turn was based on Athenian coinage of the Attic weight. ... The history of Indian coinage stretches back at least 2600 years. ...

Further reading

  • Head, Barclay V. (1911), Historia Numorum; A Manual of Greek Numismatics,Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Jenkins, H.K. (1990), Ancient Greek Coins, Seaby, ISBN 1-85264-014-6
  • Kayhan, Muharram & Konuk, Koray (2003), From Kroisos to Karia; Early Anatolian Coins from the Muharrem Kayhan Collection, ISBN 975-8070-61-4
  • Kraay, Colin M. (1976), Archaic and Classical Greek Coins, New York: Sanford J. Durst, ISBN 0-915262-75-4.
  • Ramage, Andrew and Craddock, Paul (2000), King Croesus' Gold; Excavations at Sardis and the History of Gold Refining, Trustees of the British Museum, ISBN 0-7141-0888-X.
  • Rutter N. K, Burnett A. M., Crawford M. H., Johnston A. E.M., Jessop Price M (2001), Historia Numorum Italy, London: The British Museum Press, ISBN 0-7141-1801-X.
  • Seltman, Charles (1933), Greek Coins, London: Methuen & Co., Ltd.
  • Thompson M., Mørkholm O., Kray C. M. (eds): An Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards, (IGCH). New York, 1973
  • Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum:
    • American Numismatic Society: The Collection of the American Numismatic Society, New York

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