A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars, pounds sterling, Australian dollars, European euros, Russian rubles and Indian Rupees are examples of currency; these various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, each type has limited boundaries of acceptance. Other definitions of the term "currency" are discussed in their respective synonymous articles banknote and money; the latter definition, pertaining to the currency systems of nations, is the topic of this article. Currencies can be classified into two monetary systems: fiat money and commodity money, depending on what guarantees the currency's value.
Some currencies are legal tender in certain political jurisdictions. Others are traded for their economic value. Digital currency has arisen with the popularity of the Internet. Money was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in ancient Mesopotamia and in Ancient Egypt. In this first stage of currency, metals were used as symbols to represent value stored in the form of commodities; this formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place, safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that store. A trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a series of treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern Mediterranean, spreading from Minoan Crete and Mycenae in the northwest to Elam and Bahrain in the southeast.
It is not known what was used as a currency for these exchanges, but it is thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus, may have functioned as a currency. It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Bronze Age collapse produced by the Peoples of the Sea, brought the trading system of oxhide ingots to an end, it was only the recovery of Phoenician trade in the 10th and 9th centuries BC that led to a return to prosperity, the appearance of real coinage first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and Persians. In Africa, many forms of value store have been used, including beads, ivory, various forms of weapons, the manilla currency, ochre and other earth oxides; the manilla rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to sell slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, in many places, various forms of barter still apply; these factors led to the metal itself being the store of value: first silver both silver and gold, at one point bronze.
Now we have other non-precious metals as coins. Metals were mined and stamped into coins; this was to assure the individual accepting the coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but the existence of standard coins created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking. Archimedes' principle provided the next link: coins could now be tested for their fine weight of metal, thus the value of a coin could be determined if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with. Most major economies using coinage had several tiers of coins of different values, made of copper and gold. Gold coins were the most valuable and were used for large purchases, payment of the military and backing of state activities. Units of account were defined as the value of a particular type of gold coin. Silver coins were used for midsized transactions, sometimes defined a unit of account, while coins of copper or silver, or some mixture of them, might be used for everyday transactions.
This system had been used in ancient India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. The exact ratios between the values of the three metals varied between different eras and places. However, the rarity of gold made it more valuable than silver, silver was worth more than copper. In premodern China, the need for credit and for a medium of exchange, less physically cumbersome than large numbers of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, i.e. banknotes. Their introduction was a gradual process which lasted from the late Tang dynasty into the Song dynasty, it began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes by wholesalers' shops. These notes were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song dynasty government began to circulate these notes amongst the traders in its monopolized salt industry; the Song government granted several shops the right to issue banknotes, in the early 12th century the government took over these shops to produce state-issued currency.
Yet the banknotes issued w
Smyrna was a Greek city dating back to antiquity located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Since 1930, the modern city located there has been known as İzmir, in Turkey, the Turkish rendering of the same name. Due to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defense and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. Two sites of the ancient city are today within the boundaries of İzmir; the first site founded by indigenous peoples, rose to prominence during the Archaic Period as one of the principal ancient Greek settlements in western Anatolia. The second, whose foundation is associated with Alexander the Great, reached metropolitan proportions during the period of the Roman Empire. Most of the present-day remains of the ancient city date from the Roman era, the majority from after a 2nd-century AD earthquake. In practical terms, a distinction is made between these. Old Smyrna was the initial settlement founded around the 11th century BC, first as an Aeolian settlement, taken over and developed during the Archaic Period by the Ionians.
Smyrna proper was the new city which residents moved to as of the 4th century BC and whose foundation was inspired by Alexander the Great. Old Smyrna was located on a small peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus at the northeastern corner of the inner Gulf of İzmir, at the edge of a fertile plain and at the foot of Mount Yamanlar; this Anatolian settlement commanded the gulf. Today, the archeological site, named Bayraklı Höyüğü, is 700 metres inland, in the Tepekule neighbourhood of Bayraklı at 38°27′51″N 27°10′13″E. New Smyrna developed on the slopes of the Mount Pagos and alongside the coastal strait below where a small bay existed until the 18th century; the core of the late Hellenistic and early Roman Smyrna is preserved in the large area of İzmir Agora Open Air Museum at this site. Research is being pursued at the sites of both the new cities; this has been conducted since 1997 for Old Smyrna and since 2002 for the Classical Period city, in collaboration between the İzmir Archaeology Museum and the Metropolitan Municipality of İzmir.
For further information on etymology of the city's name, see İzmir#Names and etymology. Several explanations have been offered for its name. A Greek myth derived the name from an eponymous Amazon named "Σμύρνα", the name of a quarter of Ephesus; this is the basis of a city of Aeolis. In inscriptions and coins, the name was written as "Ζμύρνα", "Ζμυρναῖος", "of Smyrna"; the name Smyrna may have been taken from the ancient Greek word for myrrh, "smyrna", the chief export of the city in ancient times. The region was settled at least as of the beginning of the third millennium BC, or earlier, as the recent finds in Yeşilova Höyük suggests, it could have been a city of the autochthonous Leleges before the Greek colonists started to settle along the coast of Asia Minor as of the beginning of the first millennium BC. Throughout antiquity Smyrna was a leading city-state of Ionia, with influence over the Aegean shores and islands. Smyrna was among the cities that claimed Homer as a resident; the early Aeolian Greek settlers of Lesbos and Cyme, expanding eastwards, occupied the valley of Smyrna.
It was one of the confederacy of Aeolian city-states, marking the Aeolian frontier with the Ionian colonies. Strangers or refugees from the Ionian city of Colophon settled in the city. During an uprising in 688 BC, they took control of the city, making it the thirteenth of the Ionian city-states. Revised mythologies said. In 688 BC, the Ionian boxer Onomastus of Smyrna won the prize at Olympia, but the coup was then a recent event; the Colophonian conquest is mentioned by Mimnermus, who counts himself of Colophon and of Smyrna. The Aeolic form of the name was retained in the Attic dialect, the epithet "Aeolian Smyrna" remained current long after the conquest. Smyrna was located at the mouth of the small river Hermus and at the head of a deep arm of the sea that reached far inland; this enabled Greek trading ships to sail into the heart of Lydia, making the city part of an essential trade route between Anatolia and the Aegean. During the 7th century BC, Smyrna rose to splendor. One of the great trade routes which cross Anatolia descends the Hermus valley past Sardis, diverging from the valley, passes south of Mount Sipylus and crosses a low pass into the little valley where Smyrna lies between the mountains and the sea.
Miletus and Ephesus were situated at the sea end of the other great trade route across Anatolia. The Meles River, which flowed by Smyrna, was worshiped in the valley. A common and consistent tradition connects Homer with the valley of Smyrna and the banks of the Meles; the epithet Melesigenes was applied to him. The steady equable flow of the Meles, alike in summer and winter, its short course and ending near the city, are celebrated by Aristides and Himerius; the stream rises from abundant springs east of the city and flows into the southeast extremity of the gulf. The archaic city contained a temple of Athena from the 7th century BC; when the Mermnad kings raised the Lydian power and aggressiveness, Smyr
The Pythia was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi who served as the oracle known as the Oracle of Delphi. The name Pythia is derived from Pytho. In etymology, the Greeks derived this place name from the verb, πύθειν "to rot", which refers to the sickly sweet smell of the decomposition of the body of the monstrous Python after she was slain by Apollo; the Pythia was established at the latest in the 8th century BC, was credited for her prophecies inspired by being filled by the spirit of the god, in this case Apollo. The Pythian priestess emerged pre-eminent by the end of 7th century BC and would continue to be consulted until the 4th century AD. During this period the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the Greeks, she was without doubt the most powerful woman of the classical world; the oracle is one of the best-documented religious institutions of the classical Greeks. Authors who mention the oracle include Aeschylus, Clement of Alexandria, Diogenes, Herodotus, Justin, Lucan, Ovid, Pindar, Plutarch, Strabo and Xenophon.
Details of how the Pythia operated are missing as authors from the classical period treat the process as common knowledge with no need to explain. Those who discussed the oracle in any detail are from 1st century BC to 4th century AD and give conflicting stories. One of the main stories claimed that the Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapours rising from a chasm in the rock, that she spoke gibberish which priests interpreted as the enigmatic prophecies and turned them into poetic dactylic hexameters preserved in Greek literature; this idea, has been challenged by scholars such as Joseph Fontenrose and Lisa Maurizio, who argue that the ancient sources uniformly represent the Pythia speaking intelligibly, giving prophecies in her own voice. Herodotus, writing in the fifth century BC describes the Pythia speaking in dactylic hexameters; the Delphic oracle may have been present in some form from 1400 BC, in the middle period of Mycenaean Greece. There is evidence that Apollo took over the shrine with the arrival of priests from Delos in the 8th century, from an earlier dedication to Gaia.
The 8th-century reformulation of the Oracle at Delphi as a shrine to Apollo seems associated with the rise in importance of the city of Corinth and the importance of sites in the Corinthian Gulf. The earliest account of the origin of the Delphic oracle is provided in the Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo, which recent scholarship dates within a narrow range, c. 580–570 BC. It describes in detail how Apollo chose his first priests, whom he selected in their "swift ship", but Apollo, who had Delphinios as one of his cult epithets, leapt into the ship in the form of a dolphin. Dolphin-Apollo revealed himself to the terrified Cretans, bade them follow him up to the "place where you will have rich offerings"; the Cretans "danced in time and followed, singing Iē Paiēon, like the paeans of the Cretans in whose breasts the divine Muse has placed "honey-voiced singing". "Paean" seems to have been the name. G. L. Huxley observes, "If the hymn to Apollo conveys a historical message, it is above all that there were once Cretan priests at Delphi."
Robin Lane Fox notes that Cretan bronzes are found at Delphi from the eighth century onwards, Cretan sculptures are dedicated as late as ca 620–600 BC: "Dedications at the site cannot establish the identity of its priesthood," he observes, "but for once we have an explicit text to set beside the archaeological evidence." An early visitor to these "dells of Parnassus", at the end of the eighth century, was Hesiod, shown the omphalos. There are many stories of the origins of the Delphic Oracle. One late explanation, first related by the 1st century BC writer, Diodorus Siculus, tells of a goat herder named Coretas, who noticed one day that one of his goats, who fell into a crack in the earth, was behaving strangely. On entering the chasm, he found himself filled with a divine presence and could see outside of the present into the past and the future. Excited by his discovery he shared it with nearby villagers. Many started visiting the site to experience the convulsions and inspirational trances, though some were said to disappear into the cleft due to their frenzied state.
A shrine was erected at the site, where people began worshiping in the late Bronze Age, by 1600 BC. After the deaths of a number of men, the villagers chose a single young woman as the liaison for the divine inspirations, she spoke on behalf of gods. According to earlier myths, the office of the oracle was possessed by the goddesses Themis and Phoebe, the site was sacred to Gaia. Subsequently, it was believed to be sacred to the "Earth-shaker" god of earthquakes. During the Greek Dark Age, from the 11th to the 9th century BC, a new god of prophecy, Apollo seized the temple and expelled the twin guardian serpents of Gaia, whose bodies he wrapped around the caduceus. Myths stated that Phoebe or Themis had "given" the site to Apollo, rationalizing its seizure by priests of the new god, but having to retain the priestesses of the original oracle because of the long tradition. Poseidon was mollified by the gift of a new site in Troizen. Diodorus explained how the Pythia was an appropriately clad young virgin, for great
Media is a region of north-western Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Medes. During the Achaemenid period, it comprised present-day Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan and western Tabaristan; as a satrapy under Achaemenid rule, it would encompass a wider region, stretching to southern Dagestan in the north. However, after the wars of Alexander the Great, the northern parts were separated due to the Partition of Babylon and became known as Atropatene, while the remaining region became known as Lesser Media. In 678 BC, Deioces made the first Iranian empire, his grandson Cyaxares managed to unite all Iranian tribes of Ancient Iran and made his empire a major power. When Cyaxares died he was succeeded by his son, the last king of the Median empire. In 553 BC, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, rebelled against his grandfather, the Median King, Astyages son of Cyaxares. After Cyrus's victory against Astyages, the Medes were subjected to the Persians. In the new empire they retained a prominent position.
At the beginning the Greek historians referred to the Achaemenid Empire as a Median empire. After the assassination of the usurper Smerdis, a Mede Fravartish, claiming to be a scion of Cyaxares, tried to restore the Mede kingdom, but was defeated by the Persian generals and executed in Ecbatana. Another rebellion, in 409 BC, against Darius II was of short duration, but the Iranian tribes to the north the Cadusii, were always troublesome. Under Persian rule, the country was divided into two satrapies: the south, with Ecbatana and Rhagae, Media proper, or Greater Media, as it is called, formed in Darius I the Great's organization the eleventh satrapy, together with the Paricanians and Orthocorybantians. Caucasian Albania was incorporated by the Achaemenid Persians and were under the command of the satrapy of Media in the period; when the Persian empire decayed and the Cadusii and other mountainous tribes made themselves independent, eastern Armenia became a special satrapy, while Assyria seems to have been united with Media.
Following Alexander's invasion of the satrapy of Media in the summer of 330 BC, he appointed as satrap a former general of Darius III the Great named Atropates in 328 BC, according to Arrian. In the partition of his empire, southern Media was given to the Macedonian Peithon. While southern Media, with Ecbatana, passed to the rule of Antigonus, afterwards to Seleucus I, Atropates maintained himself in his own satrapy and succeeded in founding an independent kingdom, thus the partition of the country, that Persia had introduced, became lasting. The capital of Atropatene was Gazaca in the central plain, the castle Phraaspa, discovered on the Araz river by archaeologists in April 2005. Atropatene is that country of western Asia, least of all other countries influenced by Hellenism. Southern Media remained a province of the Seleucid Empire for a century and a half, Hellenism was introduced everywhere. Media was surrounded everywhere by Greek towns, in pursuance of Alexander's plan to protect it from neighboring barbarians, according to Polybius.
Only Ecbatana retained its old character. But Rhagae became the Greek town Europus. Most of them were founded by Seleucus I and his son Antiochus I. In 221 BC, the satrap Molon tried to make himself independent, together with his brother Alexander, satrap of Persis, but they were defeated and killed by Antiochus the Great. In the same way, the Mede satrap Timarchus conquered Babylonia, but with Demetrius I, the dissolution of the Seleucid Empire began, brought about chiefly by the intrigues of the Romans, shortly afterwards, in about 150, the Parthian king Mithradates I conquered Media. From this time Media remained subject to the Arsacids or Parthians, who changed the name of Rhagae, or Europus, into Arsacia, divided the country into five small provinces. From the Parthians, it passed in 226 to the Sassanids, together with Atropatene; the Medes spoke Median, a Northwestern Iranian language
Electrum is a occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. It has been produced artificially, is known as green gold; the ancient Greeks called it'gold' or'white gold', as opposed to'refined gold'. Its colour ranges depending on the proportions of gold and silver; the gold content of occurring electrum in modern Western Anatolia ranges from 70% to 90%, in contrast to the 45–55% of gold in electrum used in ancient Lydian coinage of the same geographical area. This suggests that one reason for the invention of coinage in that area was to increase the profits from seigniorage by issuing currency with a lower gold content than the circulating metal. Electrum was used as early as the third millennium BCE in Old Kingdom of Egypt, sometimes as an exterior coating to the pyramidions atop ancient Egyptian pyramids and obelisks, it was used in the making of ancient drinking vessels. The first metal coins made were of electrum and date back to the end of the 7th century or the beginning of the 6th century BCE.
For several decades, the medals awarded with the Nobel Prize have been made of gold-plated green gold. The name "electrum" is the Latinized form of the Greek word ἤλεκτρον, mentioned in the Odyssey referring to a metallic substance consisting of gold alloyed with silver; the same word was used for the substance amber because of the pale yellow colour of certain varieties. It is from amber's electrostatic properties that the modern English words "electron" and "electricity" are derived. Electrum was referred to as "white gold" in ancient times, but could be more described as "pale gold", as it is pale yellow or yellowish-white in colour; the modern use of the term white gold concerns gold alloyed with any one or a combination of nickel, silver and palladium to produce a silver-coloured gold. Electrum consists of gold and silver but is sometimes found with traces of platinum and other metals; the name is applied informally to compositions between about 20–80% gold and 20–80% silver atoms, but these are called gold or silver depending on the dominant element.
Analysis of the composition of electrum in ancient Greek coinage dating from about 600 BCE shows that the gold content was about 55.5% in the coinage issued by Phocaea. In the early classical period, the gold content of electrum ranged from 46% in Phokaia to 43% in Mytilene. In coinage from these areas, dating to 326 BCE, the gold content averaged 40% to 41%. In the Hellenistic period, electrum coins with a decreasing proportion of gold were issued by the Carthaginians. In the Eastern Roman Empire controlled from Constantinople, the purity of the gold coinage was reduced, an alloy that can be called electrum began to be used. Electrum is mentioned in an account of an expedition sent by Pharaoh Sahure of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, it is discussed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. Electrum is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, whose prophet Ezekiel is said to have had a vision of Jehovah on a celestial chariot; the earliest known electrum coins and East Greek coins found under the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, are dated to the last quarter of the 7th century BCE.
Electrum is believed to have been used in coins c.600 BCE in Lydia during the reign of Alyattes. Electrum was much better for coinage than gold because it was harder and more durable, but because techniques for refining gold were not widespread at the time; the discrepancy between gold content of electrum from modern Western Anatolia and ancient Lydian coinage suggests that the Lydians had solved the refining technology for silver and were adding refined silver to the local native electrum some decades before introducing the pure silver coins cited below. In Lydia, electrum was minted into coins weighing 4.7 grams, each valued at 1/3 stater. Three of these coins—with a weight of about 14.1 grams )—totalled one stater, about one month's pay for a soldier. To complement the stater, fractions were made: the trite, the hekte, so forth, including 1/24 of a stater, down to 1/48 and 1/96 of a stater; the 1/96 stater was only about 0.14 grams to 0.15 grams. Larger denominations, such as a one stater coin, were minted as well.
Because of variation in the composition of electrum, it was difficult to determine the exact worth of each coin. Widespread trading was hampered by this problem, as the intrinsic value of each electrum coin could not be determined; these difficulties were eliminated circa 570 BCE when the Croeseids, coins of pure gold and silver were introduced. However, electrum currency remained common until 350 BCE; the simplest reason for this was that, because of the gold content, one 14.1 gram stater was worth as much as ten 14.1 gram silver pieces. Corinthian bronze – a prized alloy in antiquity, which may have contained electrum Hepatizon List of alloys Orichalcum – another distinct metal or alloy mentioned in texts from classical antiquity used to refer to brass Panchaloha Shakudō – a Japanese billon of gold and copper with a dark blue-purple patina Shibuichi – another Japanese alloy known for its patina Thokcha – an alloy of meteoric iron or "thunderbolt iron" used in Tibet Tumbaga – a similar material, originating in Pre-Columbian America Electrum lion coins of the ancient Lydians An image of the obverse of a Lydian coin made of electrum
Cyaxares was the third and most capable king of Media, according to Herodotus, with a far greater military reputation than his father Phraortes or grandfather Deioces. He was the first to divide his troops into separate sections of spearmen and horsemen. By uniting most of the Iranian tribes of ancient Iran and conquering neighbouring territories, Cyaxares transformed the Median Empire into a regional power, he facilitated the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, according to Herodotus repelled the Scythians from Media. Cyaxares was born in the Median capital of Ecbatana, his father Phraortes was killed in a battle against the Assyrians, led by Ashurbanipal, the king of Assyria. After Phraortes' demise, the Scythians overran Media. Cyaxares, seeking revenge, proclaimed himself King of Medes. After throwing off the Scythians, he prepared for war against Assyria. Cyaxares reorganized the Median army allied himself with King Nabopolassar of Babylonia, a mutual enemy of Assyria; this alliance was formalized through the marriage of Cyaxares' daughter, Amytis, to Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar II.
These allies overthrew the Assyrian Empire and destroyed Nineveh in 612 BC. After the victory in Assyria, the Medes conquered Northern Mesopotamia and the parts of Asia Minor east of the Halys River, the border established with Lydia after a decisive battle between Lydia and Media, the Battle of Halys ended with an eclipse on May 28, 585 BC; the conflict between Lydia and the Medes was reported by Herodotus as follows: "A horde of the nomad Scythians at feud with the rest withdrew and sought refuge in the land of the Medes: and at this time the ruler of the Medes was Cyaxares the son of Phraortes, the son of Deïokes, who at first dealt well with these Scythians, being suppliants for his protection. Time went by, the Scythians used to go out continually to the chase and always brought back something, and they, when they had received this treatment from Cyaxares, considering that they had suffered indignity, planned to kill and to cut up one of the boys who were being instructed among them, having dressed his flesh as they had been wont to dress the wild animals, to bear it to Cyaxares and give it to him, pretending that it was game taken in hunting.
This was done. After this, since Alyattes would not give up the Scythians when Cyaxares demanded them, there had arisen war between the Lydians and the Medes lasting five years, and this change of the day Thales the Milesian had foretold to the Ionians laying down as a limit this year in which the change took place. The Lydians however and the Medes, when they saw that it had become night instead of day, ceased from their fighting and were much more eager both of them that peace should be made between them, and they who brought about the peace between them were Syennesis the Kilikian and Labynetos the Babylonian: these were they who urged the taking of the oath by them, they brought about an interchange of marriages. Cyaxares died shortly after the battle and was succeeded by his son, the maternal grandfather of Cyrus the Great through his daughter Mandane of Media. Qyzqapan is a tomb located in the Iraqi mountains in Sulaymaniyah; the Russian historian Igor Diakonov believes that it is a royal tomb and that if it is royal it is the tomb of Cyaxares.
In accounts of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, this was remembered as Nebuchadrezzar's present for his wife Amytis Cyaxares's daughter, to help with her homesickness for the mountainous country of her birth. After Darius I seized the Iranshahr, rebellions erupted claiming Uvaxštra's legacy. After these were defeated, the shah noted two in the Behistun Inscription: "Another was Phraortes, the Mede, he made Media to revolt. Another was the Sagartian, he made Sagartia to revolt." History of Iran Iranian Peoples Cyaxares II Medes Eclipse of Thales Diakonoff, I. M.. "CYAXARES". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VI, Fasc. 5. Pp. 478–479. Livius.org: Cyaxares