The history of Ancient Greek coinage can be divided into four periods, the Archaic, the Classical, the Hellenistic and the Roman. The Archaic period extends from the introduction of coinage to the Greek world during the 7th century BC until the Persian Wars in about 480 BC, the Greek cities continued to produce their own coins for several more centuries under Roman rule. The coins produced during this period are called Roman provincial coins or Greek Imperial Coins, the word drachm means a handful, literally a grasp. Drachmae were divided into six obols, and six spits made a handful and this suggests that before coinage came to be used in Greece, spits in prehistoric times were used as measures in daily transactions. Because of this aspect, Spartan legislation famously forbade issuance of Spartan coin, and enforced the continued use of iron spits so as to discourage avarice. In addition to its meaning, the word obol was retained as a Greek word for coins of small value. The obol was further subdivided into tetartemorioi which represented 1/4 of an obol and this coin is mentioned by Aristotle as the smallest silver coin.
Various multiples of this denomination were struck, including the trihemitetartemorion valued at 3/8 of an obol and these coins were made of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver that was highly prized and abundant in that area. By the middle of the 6th century BC, technology had advanced, making the production of pure gold, King Croesus introduced a bi-metallic standard that allowed for coins of pure gold and pure silver to be struck and traded in the marketplace. The Greek world was divided more than two thousand self-governing city-states, and more than half of them issued their own coins. As such coins circulated widely, other cities began to mint coins to this Aeginetan weight standard of. Athenian coins, were struck on the Attic standard, over time, Athens plentiful supply of silver from the mines at Laurion and its increasing dominance in trade made this the pre-eminent standard. These coins, known as owls because of their central design feature, were minted to an extremely tight standard of purity.
This contributed to their success as the premier trade coin of their era, tetradrachms on this weight standard continued to be a widely used coin through the classical period. By the time of Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors, the Classical period saw Greek coinage reach a high level of technical and aesthetic quality. Larger cities now produced a range of silver and gold coins, most bearing a portrait of their patron god or goddess or a legendary hero on one side. Some coins employed a visual pun, some coins from Rhodes featured a rose, the use of inscriptions on coins began, usually the name of the issuing city. The wealthy cities of Sicily produced some especially fine coins, the large silver decadrachm coin from Syracuse is regarded by many collectors as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, perhaps ever
The cistophorus was a coin of ancient Pergamum. It was introduced sometime in the years 175-160 BC at that city to provide the Attalid kingdom with a substitute for Seleucid coins and it was used by a number of other cities that were under Attalid control. It continued to be minted and circulated down to the time of Hadrian and it owes its name to a figure, on the obverse, of the sacred chest of Dionysus. It was tariffed at four drachmas, but weighed only as much as three Attic drachmas,12.75 grams, in addition, the evidence of hoards suggests that it did not travel outside the area which Pergamum controlled. It is therefore suspected that it was overvalued in this area, article in Smiths Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities
The coinage of the Seleucid Empire is based on the coins of Alexander the Great, which in turn were based on Athenian coinage of the Attic weight. Many mints and different issues are defined, with mainly base, the symbol of Seleucid power was the anchor, which was placed on the obverse of coins depicting Alexander posthumously but prior to the issue of coins portraying Seleukos I around 306 BCE. Bronze coinage was issued in five denominations, the weight and size varies greatly and most likely no effort was made to conform to a set standard,1 Obol and Bow and Quiver. 2 Diobol and Quiver 3 Hemidrachm,6 Drachm, Anchor 24 Tetradrachm, Elephant walking Coins with the head of Zeus on the reverse and these coins are of a lighter Phoenician standard, which were circulated in India prior to Alexander the Greats conquest. Starting from Seleukos I, these mints were most likely a continuation from before his reign, Ecbatana, Apamaea mint, Babylon, Aï Khanoum, Seleucia in Pieria, Bactria, Cyzicus, Abydus.
Coins of the Selucid Empire had many images including the King with a head dress, or Zeus on a throne with a sceptre. Bronze coins usually didnt feature the Kings image, and usually had a god or goddess or in some cases a charging bull, under Seleukos I Nicator, the first Selucid king, the coinage varieties are similar to Alexander the Greats with the kings head wearing a lion skin. After 300 BCE the head of this King is portrayed in a style to other Greek coinage. Obverses 1, Seleucos or Dionysos in helmet covered with a panther skin & adorned with bulls ears & horns,2, Head of Herakles wearing lions skin headdress. 3, Head of Apollo facing right 4, Young Heracles,5, A naked male figure seated facing left on a rock, holding an ankh in his right hand. 6, Dioskouros 7, Athena wearing an Attic helmet,8, Winged head of Medusa facing right. Reverses 1, Zeus enthroned left, holding eagle and sceptre 2, Athena advancing right, brandishing a spear & holding a shield 3, on bronze coins 4, Athena over elephant.
5, Boeotian shield between Nike & trophy 6, Forepart of a horse facing right with an anchor above. Antiochus I Soter Coins Designs are much the same as the ruler, in featuring the many Greek gods and the Kings head. Syria The Seleucid Kings SELEUCID KINGDOM - COINS Seleucos I Antiochos 1 Zeno. ru
4. Attic talent
The Attic talent, known as the Athenian talent or Greek talent, is an ancient unit of mass equal to 26 kg, as well as a unit of value equal to this amount of pure silver. A talent was originally intended to be the mass of water required to fill an amphora At the 2012 price of $1001/kg and it was equivalent to 60 minae,6,000 drachmae or 36,000 oboloi. During the Peloponnesian War, a crew of 200 rowers was paid a talent for a months worth of work, one drachma. According to wage rates from 377 BC, a talent was the value of nine man-years of skilled work and this corresponds to 2340 work days or 11.1 grams of silver per worker per workday. A modern carpenter gets about $25, 060/year or $226,000 for nine years of work, in 1800, a building craftsman in urban Europe got an average wage of 11.9 grams of silver a day, or about $0.49 a day. Adjusted for inflation, this corresponds to $6 a day in 2007 money, assuming a European worker in 1800 to be as productive as a worker in ancient Greece, the purchasing power of a talent in ancient times was about $20,000 of early 21st century money.
The plausibility of this calculation is confirmed by the fact that a talent of silver was worth $1081 in 1800, equivalent to $13,000 after adjusting for inflation
Tyche was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. She is the daughter of Aphrodite and Zeus or Hermes, in literature, she might be given various genealogies, as a daughter of Hermes and Aphrodite, or considered as one of the Oceanids, daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, or of Zeus. She was connected with Nemesis and Agathos Daimon, increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities venerated their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown. Tyche had temples at Caesarea Maritima, Antioch and Constantinople, in Alexandria the Tychaeon, the temple of Tyche, was described by Libanius as one of the most magnificent of the entire Hellenistic world. She was uniquely venerated at Itanos in Crete, as Tyche Protogeneia, linked with the Athenian Protogeneia, daughter of Erechtheus, Tyche appears on many coins of the Hellenistic period in the three centuries before the Christian era, especially from cities in the Aegean. Unpredictable turns of fortune drive the complicated plotlines of Hellenistic romances, such as Leucippe and Clitophon or Daphnis, the effectiveness of her capricious power even achieved respectability in philosophical circles during that generation, though among poets it was a commonplace to revile her for a fickle harlot.
In medieval art, she was depicted as carrying a cornucopia, a ships rudder. The constellation of Virgo is sometimes identified as the figure of Tyche, as well as other goddesses such as Demeter. Tyche of Constantinople Media related to Tyche at Wikimedia Commons
Philippeioi, called Alexanders, were the gold coins used in the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedonia. They had the value of one gold stater each, in the first issuing, Apollo was depicted with long hair, but after that the design was altered permanently to one in which Apollos hair was shorter. The coins were intended primarily for large purchases outside of Macedonia, the vast majority of these were actually struck by Philips successor, Alexander the Great. The philippeioi issued by Alexander after Philips death continued to use that name officially, considered the most famous coins to be struck by king Philip II, the philippeioi continued to be highly influential even after they were no longer in circulation. Their design was widely mimicked or replicated by currencies outside of Greece, the Gaulish gold staters, whose design closely mimicked that of the philippeioi, continued to be minted up until the end of the Gallic Wars three centuries later. The coins were so widespread that in many ancient Roman texts, ancient Macedonian coins, Numismatic Museum of Athens
In the coinage of the North Indian and Central Asian Kushan Empire the main coins issued were gold, weighing 7. 9g. and base metal issues of various weights between 12g and 1. 5g. Little silver coinage was issued, but in periods the gold used was debased with silver. The coin designs usually follow the styles of the preceding Greco-Bactrian rulers in using Hellenistic styles of image, with a deity on one side. Kings may be shown as a head, a standing figure, typically officiating at a fire altar in Zoroastrian style. The artistry of the dies is generally lower than the high standards of the best coins of Greco-Bactrian rulers. Iranian influence, especially in the figures and the pantheon of deities used, is even stronger. Under Kanishka the royal title of King of kings changed from the Greek ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ to the Persian form ϷAONANOϷAO, much of what little information we have of Kushan political history derives from coins. The language of inscriptions is typically the Bactrian language, written in a derived from Greek.
Many coins show the tamga symbols as a kind of monogram for the ruler, there were several regional mints, and the evidence from coins suggests that much of the empire was semi-independent. Greek deities, with Greek names are represented on early coins, during Kanishkas reign, the language of the coinage changes to Bactrian. After Huvishka, only two appear on the coins and Oesho. Representation of entities from Greek mythology and Hellenistic syncretism are, Ηλιος, Ηφαηστος, Σαληνη, the coins of Huvishka portray the demi-god erakilo Heracles, and the Egyptian god sarapo Sarapis. This is typically a depiction of Rudra, but in the case of two coins is generally assumed to represent Shiva. The northern area, Bactria which had the largest sized coins of 12g and 1. 5g, Gandhara whose coinage weighed 9-10g for large and 2g for small, and the Indian area, where coins are 4g each. MacDowell proposed a reduction of all three issues starting with Huvishka, while Chattopadhyay proposes a rapid devaluation of the issue by Kanishka.
It seems that there were two reductions based on the coinage of the rulers just named, issues were unified into a central coinage system of weights. Vima Kadphises issued three denominations of for this metal, a two of 15.75 grammes, a one of 7.8 grammes and a quarter piece of 1.95 grammes. MacDowell, David W. Mithra, Mithras Planetary Setting in the Coinage of the Great Kushans, in Études Mithriaques, Actes Du 2e Congrès International, Téhéran, Du 1er Au 8 Septembre,1975, ed