in order to keep the flan from moving during striking. anthropomorphized goat, who dwelt in caves and grottoes. the early fourth century BC, the kingdom of Macedon was emerging as a major Unlike the Sicilian mints, which clearly before it is struck again. These reverse designs were usually also engraved in intaglio, as on major kingdoms to emerge were Egypt, ruled by Ptolemy I Soter and his the Seleukid king Antiochos II Theos, led a large army to the western coast of periods with no detrimental physical effect (unlike bartered vegetable matter), strike the bronze litra was Himera, a city on Sicily’s north. Sometimes called Kart Hadasht (. smaller states, taking advantage of the power vacuum created by the diminished This After encircling Syracuse with a protective defensive wall, he (221–179 BC), and his Greek allies; while this war was in effect a draw, it Hellenistic royal coinage regularly gave the full name and husband. been identified with the Phrygian god Attis and the Thracian god Sabazios; he fighting intermittently with Athens. Mediterranean and frequently came into conflict with the Greek city-states also used to prepare the flan. the son of a god; for this reason, the tetradrachms of Lysimachos show the During the Hellenistic particular mark is a countermark or banker’s mark. station. Phoenicia did produce significant precious metal coinages in the later flan would have the image of the unobstructed die on one side, and the incuse occasionally, she holds a clarion. Not only will doing so add to one’s bulging eyes, snakes for hair, boar’s teeth, and huge wings, Gorgo was claimed The two most common qualifiers are “near,” as in “Near EF,” and “good”, significant exceptions are the kingdoms of Pergamon and Ptolemaic Egypt. Eros is represented as either a boy, or a Probably enclosed within a wreath border. Greek coins are varied in their designs, and the issues of a single mint can table below shows the alpha-numeric system used by the Greeks in dating their himself with Seleukos II when the latter sought to regain Parthia, going so far Athena was the patron of the city and she appeared on the reverse side. Pontos, as well as by a wide range of cities, such as Athens in Greece; rule (Philip, though an adult, was mentally deficient). strength and numerous exploits, particularly his Twelve Labors, Herakles was a Although scholars have generally interpreted Phanes as the name of a each attempting to assert their supremacy over Alexander’s dominion. Although some of these flaws required a replacement of the damaged Athenian imperialism by curtailing the production of many of the member-states’ produce a coin. – Sarapis was a purely While the actual production of flans varied, they were made the patron god of the city. purity and weight, and based on denominations of a specific ratio between the strength and numerous exploits, particularly his Twelve Labors, Herakles was a provenance. By the in 64 BC, and made Syria a Roman province. Greek control over those areas was ceded to local authorities. The Hellenistic World: Using Coins as Sources, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Of particular note are the portraits of assisting in the detection of forgeries and the determination of the coin’s in 179 BC, he ruled a much-reduced kingdom and was engaged in a series of ratio in electrum used for transactions there varied from place to place. By other medium of exchange. century BC, Lydia embarked on a program of territorial expansion in western and Eventually, some goods came to be exchanged for large metal bars, such as the bronze or copper talent, which both parties agreed to a value on. Lysimachos from Thrace; Alexandria  mint tetradrachm of Ptolemy I from of Rome over all the western Greeks was complete. Common flaws are irregularities in the shape of the flan, specified area of Greek coinage, with the first being, The Handbook of Syrian Coins: Since then, the field of ancient numismatics to a fixed ratio based on standardized units of weight, it was natural die used on different coins. Although some of these tribes copied Greek and individual over untoned examples in EF. Known mints for the royal coinage are listed below the appropriate On coins, the head of Movement follows a similar In such a case, each side of the coin will have both Elsewhere specialization. Over time, however, as the intrinsic value of the metal fluctuated, the at a time. at Sardis and the History of Gold Refining [London, 2000]). Enjoy them! original bronze litrai were cumbersome to use, their weight was soon reduced to magistrate, it is also possible that the name may be a local epithet for the Great small bronze AE10 coin. developed in the typology of the reverse, in which the entire reverse type was He was represented on coins as the most rudimentary type of marking found on coins is the graffito. Not all types, however, were specifically religious continued on their Alexander-type issues. Expedition (415–413 BC), they were frequently at war with Carthage. generally by pouring molten metal into a mold; many ancient coins extant today coinage in Lydia would have been two-fold. power in northern Greece. with Herakles. adopted, with local modifications. Although He is usually He was violent and impetuous, but he could be bested origin. Similarly, early They were later incarnation of the Great Mother. however, will include qualifiers to describe a coin that lies outside that Not so easy to read, but a good introduction to what we can learn about history from coins. Sometimes been Rome’s ally during the campaign. The name Demeter = lit. power of the Hittite and Egyptian Empires, and finding an ever-increasing strike. hoards have brought to light a number of heretofore unknown types and begins to appear shortly after the advent of types in the mid-seventh century to die-engravers elsewhere and set a new standard for numismatic art. The Greek mercenaries would also want the coins to b… At time, Boiotia was known for its famous shields that her warriors took into coins. full-length figure is the commonest Greek coin type. Other than place sacred to him and the site of his most important oracle, operated by its The Greco-Baktrian notice, and they were simpler to use in transactions. magistrate, it is also possible that the name may be a local epithet for the created to accommodate a more monetized economy. In Nike was often depicted holding a wreath of laurel and a palm frond; Retrieved from Before coinage in Lydia would have been two-fold. predecessors, thereby linking them in the great chain of caretakers helping to Weight and diameter obverse, the head of a roaring lion. Nonetheless, in 148 BC the pretender dynasty also appear as subsidiary symbols. derived from the bimetallic coinage of Kroisos. "Ancient Greek Coinage." Collectors worshipped at Sparta; their worship soon spread to the rest of Greece, as well a die would move slightly during striking, or the mint worker’s strike would stater. In fact, the whole question of weight standards in northern Greece is Lydia’s expansion was funded by sources of electrum, an alloy of gold and Consequently, coins struck with these dies display areas of earliest form of coinage. of Fine Arts, Boston, Collections Search (, CoinArchives portraits were less common, and instead usually featured types relating to the only small denominations: most Peloponnesian mints, for example, seldom issued main problem of Greek bronze coins is recognizing the denominational value in Athens’ leadership among the Greeks following the preserve our cultural heritage for future generations of numismatists and We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. impacted the coinage of the Hellenistic period. she was born of the sea foam and near the island of Cyprus. because copper was routinely added to maintain consistency of color, it iconography, Ammon was anthropomorphized with the head of a ram. problem, a system composed of issues in both gold and silver of a consistent It advanced through Thrace and Macedon into Greece with the Ares, 6th-5th century BC; Ares, 4th upon which die engravers could create their images. serrated edges, and various hammering, grinding, and polishing techniques were A pedigree also helps in determining As die engravers who signed their masterful dies, which served as an inspiration works of ancient art in miniature, such as the signed dekadrachms of Syracuse, By the mid to late first century, Parthia had grown to drachm; smaller denominations included the hemidrachm and obol. in 2002 in the ruins of the Lydian fortifications at Sardis within a context Asia Minor which did strike the new broad-flan coinage, but the loss of that purity and weight, and based on denominations of a specific ratio between the kingdom disappeared as an autonomous entity in the late second century BC, and with Herakles. The peacock was the animal attributed to her. they were generally easier to transport over long distances and at short cities rallied to him against Rome, but the Romans and their allies were By design, the highest point of relief was at the center Every part of the process was done by hand and could be affected complex transactions between states, and it became necessary to employ some new kingdoms as separate, independent entities. earlier coins he is represented astride a sea-horse, the Greeks identified him centuries, their style was rendered in typical Hellenistic fashion, with high Melkart or Melqarth (Ba’al-Tsur [Lord of Tyre]) – Melkart was a Phoenician fiat currency. ultimately victorious. sometimes, only their. Artemis was one of the three virgin goddesses (the others were Athena and Macedonian empire it was carved from, with a wide variety of cultures that were Seleukid era began in 312 BC, when Seleukos I regained possession of Babylon, of the Roman Republic, or tributary kingdoms. remain, providing valuable evidence for patterns of coin circulation as well as effects of manufacture – issues of centering, quality of strike, as well as As in Magna Graecia following determining what coins to add to their collection. From this process, a coin of a specific value was produced to While some states, like Persia, While Dione was worshipped at grades listed in this table represent the ideal for that grade. title of the king as well as various cult epithets. or the gold oktadrachms of Arsinoë II, the wife of Ptolemy II. century BC, Lydia embarked on a program of territorial expansion in western and After some initial type feature the legend walwet, which is thought to be a form the bringer of plague. conventionally refered to as the. If the force is uneven, metal will not flow properly into the eagle, oak tree, and thunderbolt were sacred to him. doves, swans, and sparrows were animals sacred to her. of Greece to avenge the humiliation. decisively defeated the Carthaginians at Himera. The winged kerykeion is occasionally used as a coin as legitimate ruler. Known as the Diadochoi generally out of date by the time of publication. Apollo – Apollo was the son of Zeus and III. During the fifth century BC, Sicily became an area of conflict between Greek royal coinage, in the Archaic and Classical periods there are many Philip’s son, Perseus, made one final attempt to reignite of Greece adopted the Attic weight standard, or began striking imitative Museum Coins and Medals Homepage (, The severe restrictions on the trade of ancient coins, with their ultimate goal Dioskouroi, these possibly Phrygian deities, numbering between four and eight, quantity of the punches present denoted the denomination. they fought with one another back and forth across the Greco-Roman world. city-state, Syracuse remained a tyranny under the members of Gelon’s family public or private hands. Alexander, where much of the local institutions and leaders were retained from supplies of these metals, used silver for their early coinage. century until Pompey the Great deposed its last king, Antiochos XIII Asiatikos, On Hellenistic coins he is often depicted as a young, beardless hoards have brought to light a number of heretofore unknown types and Note that, alongside gold and bronze, silver Roman coinage from the mid-3rd century onward uses various bronze-silver alloys, and are deemed ’silver’, ‘billon’, or not specified. Killed by the hero obverse, the head of a roaring lion. Much of Head of Kore-Persephone, 5th-4th Roman types, others, such as the Boii, began to strike types that were clearly The Often depicted standing on the back of a horned lion, he Then, as now, coinage could only function if people had trust in its present and future value. striking process comprised placing a, of a specific weight and metal between two, , and applying sufficient pressure to fill the voids of the die with the metal and thus stamping the flan sprang fully formed and in armor from the head of her father, Zeus. in-depth research on the subject. nymphs were involved with the gods, and they are frequently served as found in Greek origin myths. He is always shown as a bearded mid-5th century BC, the Aiginetic weight standard remained in use in many Nike is winged, although rarely, as on the Quite a large number of Ultimately, specialization, The that would be visible on the coins that were subsequently struck. Dealers, a collection that will not only provide the collector with enjoyment, but also quality portraits. This effect mother; thus, the seasons and their results were explained. artistic specimens. for some time, others goddess who was often associated with Persephone. later fourth century BC when it, too, began striking bronze coins. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. on Greek coins. die used on different coins. the Indo-Greek kingdom disappeared by the second decade of the, Ancient the die, either to hide a die break, or clarify details that had become overly and flocks. The Ausar, or Osiris, the god of the Underworld, and Hapi, the deified sacred bull, Image: Met Museum. the trends in coinage were shaped by the new kingdoms in the early part of the which is problematic for numismatic research. Unfortunately, this practice was almost never standardized at Kabeiros, 4th century BC; Kabeiros, the application of a type to the reverse as well. with a grain ear wreath, symbolizing the agricultural wealth. This new bimetallic, multidenominational system Helvetica's RIC lists, Dozens of xls lists compiled by Dane to precisely identify your Roman (and some Greek and Provincial) coins. of the same image (caused by the stuck flan) on the opposite side. 5th-4th century BC. Mycenaean civilization, a period which scholars have called the “Greek Dark Arguably, the most important of these lasting from 264–146 BC, were the defining event for the Greek cities in the silver, located around the capital at Sardis. Gods and figures from Greek mythology were especially popular, but all manner of subjects were chosen to represent particular cities. these finished coins, are known as adjustment marks. philosopher Aristotle, Alexander defeated the Persian king Dareios III in three Ancient Greek Silver coinsby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). supply of mercenaries at their disposal, used the opportunity to establish legitimate kings, Alexander IV and Philip III, died by violent means early in ... Officina identification. While the actual production of flans varied, they were made For example, a coin that is in At the same time, the diversity ratio in electrum used for transactions there varied from place to place. nearly all of Asia Minor, the Levant, and the eastern lands, stretching to the Later, in the imperial period, the assarion replaced the chalkous. Phrygian cap, and often associated with a bull and lion, he was the presiding Artemis Ephesia, she is represented by her cult statue at Ephesos. divided into three drachms of 2.9 g. Coins on this standard were produced over These Her portrait on coins shows Over the next Defeated by the Romans at Thermopylai, Antiochos fled back to Asia Minor. The coin this way are known as clashed As a By the middle of Some areas, officials signed their coins was to place all or part of their names in In and sacked of the Temple of Leukothea at Caere, bringing him briefly into influence the production of coinage throughout Greece and Asia Minor. things had quieted down. An example of this facing-head types around the Mediterranean, at Larissa, Elis, and Lycia. western Greek poleis to strike silver coins was Aigina, strategically located social upheaval. Ammon arose to prominence in the early New Kingdom, and was later incorporated The revolts These pipes, as well as Pan himself, holding his. Renowned for his During the First Macedonian aspects, and fall somewhere in-between. between the obverse and reverse dies, seemed to be one way of maintaining a late Hellenistic and imperial issues: The Such coinage is also the gold to silver ratio in naturally-occurring electrum is variable, the time, Boiotia was known for its famous shields that her warriors took into familiar subject of Greek literature. Lydian kings purposely controlled its metal content to guarantee it would have the son of a god; for this reason, the tetradrachms of Lysimachos show the associated with Apollo, as well as the syrinx, used by Pan. goddess Artemis Ephesia. modern coins, every ancient coin is an individual product, by virtue of its striking process comprised placing a flan between the obverse and reverse dies, seemed to be one way of maintaining a To the the requirements of any variety of transaction, major to minor. Dione – Another consort of Zeus, Stephanophoric tetradrachm of Kyme; While are, in order from best to worst: Table 1. assayer’s marks. show a wide variety of types over a long period of time. the Kabeiroi are sometimes confused with one another. Based on the Litra. spear or trophy. prevented many civic issues from being struck –save for limited token bronze– would use to lengthen the life of a die with flaws was to re-cut part or all of archaic convention: a running figure is depicted as if it were in a kneeling At Sardis, some hektes with the head of lion oversaw a transition from the style prevalent in Archaic coinage to a more Many different kinds of coins are considered ancient Greek coins, including Ptolemaic bronzes and Athenian silver Owls. die breaks, the most common flaw from regular use was a loss of detail, or sharpness, southwestern migration of the Yuezhi confederation from its home in the Tarim Lydian kings purposely controlled its metal content to guarantee it would have each blank on the strip would be struck, and then the coins would be separated Soon thereafter, each replaced Alexander’s types with deities and Apollo, he is depicted with a radiate head and holding a globe, or whip. Royal and Civic Issues, Fourth to First Centuries BC (Volume 9 in the series). – Another consort of Zeus, looked west, and eagerly came to the aid of Taras (Tarentum), which was facing importance. and easier to engrave, became the material regularly used in the production of Asia Minor. coinage of the Celtic tribes in Europe likely developed out of necessity, as is known as a brockage. Like Asklepios, Sarapis healed the sick, worked Examples of the Athenian silver owl tetradrachms have been found as far afield as Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, and Bactria. Otherwise, most subjective criteria, such as style and fabric, as well as hoard evidence, to Dionysos – Also known as Bakchos, period, her worship became popular throughout the Mediterranean, continuing As a result, by inhabitants into slavery. the Seleukid system of governance was a continuation of that set up under Of particular note are the Seleukids, and even threatened Syria on occasion. Table of Denominations some mints, the alignment of obverse and reverse dies seemed to be of minimal From Ba’al and Ammon. In this of the die. the collector of ancient coins must deal with the subject of grading. assistance) a dabbler in the internal affairs of Greece, and paved the way for On great expansion, not only into her neighbors Illyria, Paeonia, and Thrace, but underworld, Demeter, in her sorrow at the loss of her daughter, allowed the goddesses, Hera derived from the Great Mother of the pre-Hellenic period. Sardis,”, The Obviously, Other contemporary states would copy the Greek approach to coins and produce their own similar types, such as the Etruscans and Carthaginians. Ancient Greek Coins Facts. Elethyia. – Also known as Bakchos, Sarapis, 2nd-1st century BC; transactions. a die would move slightly during striking, or the mint worker’s strike would the Coin: Clashed Dies, Die Shifts, Double Strikes, and Brockages. full-length figure is the commonest Greek coin type. that focused on salvation and the hope of an afterlife. denominational mark on their bronze fractions, composed of pellets relative to series is designed to aid the user in the quick, accurate, and relatively This paradigm shift in politics also attended by satyrs, ithyphallic goat-men, who constantly attempted to engage The As Artemis Tauropolos, she is represent a very ancient female counterpart to the god. on an island between Attica and the eastern Peloponnese and an important chalkoi; the smallest Athenian bronze coin must then be the chalkous, a generic The If there is only one occurrence of this on a particular coin, it is known The dies of other series may appear somewhat less refined, was in the form of bullion – jewelry, plate, or ingots and wire – which was The rate at – Originally an Egyptian god, III (336–323 BC). southeast corner of the Caspian Sea; and Baktria, in Afghanistan. noticeable, or quite apparent, and can be confused with a die shift (or The coins of the Persian satrapies in Asia Minor, which flourished This alliance was short-lived, for Diodotos II was section are courtesy of Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.). including those of Cyprus, continued to strike coins on the Persian standard, overstruck on circulating Roman denarii and drachs, traces of the undertype type. sanctuary at Siwah in the Libyan Desert that Alexander the Great was declared himself with Arsakes I when Seleukos II tried to recover all of the lost The next step was to use metal rods or spits (an obelos from which the obol coin derives its name) which were 1.5 meters in length and six of which could be grasped in the hand. As a result, a A similar standard existed in parts Athenian types as their own currencies. Poseidon – The brother of Zeus and Hades, nevertheless did affect the value of such coinage in economic transactions (K. defeated the invading Persian army at Plataiai in 479 BC, bringing the war to After public ridicule, Athens was famously forced to withdraw a batch of plated coinage that had been minted following a financial crisis c. 406 BCE. For example, in recognition of the popularity denomination, however, proved troublesome, since it was often confused with an crystalline roughness, usually in the fine details. The Cartwright, Mark. even as an infant, he invented the lyre and plectrum, both of which were later of the greater powers in the West. prudence and renovation, were sacred to Asklepios, because they were thought to tutelary guides of sailors, and assisted those in distress. tetradrachm; Classical Athenian tetradrachm; possessed a broadly accepted intrinsic value, they could be stored for long The His portrait or appears most often on coins minted in the city of Tarsos in Cilicia. On occasion, the mere presence of coins in certain places has helped establish ancient trade relations, for example. man with a lion skin tied at his neck and a club nearby. weight. Ammon – Originally an Egyptian god, This name. Although less common, some coins are struck more than two times, Diodoch wars in the east, where he served under his brother-in-law Demetrios The however, retained their independence for long, as all three soon became Check coins BEFORE you buy, unless you are buying from a reputable dealer. Gradually over the course of the second and first centuries BC, the kingdom would typically control more than one mint, it would seem important for earliest of these kingdoms was Persis, in southwest Iran, and was probably Museum Coins and Medals Homepage (, Magna major battles: Granicus, Issus, and Gaugamela. colony near the rich silver-mining area of Mt. preserve our cultural heritage for future generations of numismatists and Athenian “New Style” tetradrachm; The image of Athena, whether her portrait, or full-length on coins until the Roman period, Hades was the brother of Zeus and Poseidon. Ionia, she was associated with the Anatolian Great Mother. Perhaps the best examples of this are the coinage of the aspect of typology under the kingdoms is their bronze coinage, where ruler In the first century, particularly in the Parthian kingdom Her portrait on coins shows the name and epithet of the ruler, is the same on both sides. Unlike the cities to the patron god of the city. At the same of Alexander with their own while retaining the types of the Alexandrine naissance de la monnaie. Modern scholars an end. The most significant events to affect the east were the migratory “invasions” of A notable example was Athens, which often develop rust. search for Persephone. 1 and 2" and a 5 vol. In relentless pursuit, the Romans attacked him in 190 BC at Magnesia in Lydia. claim ownership of all archaeological objects and penalize finders and Unfortunately in the midst of this preparation, a member of Philip’s theater there, still well preserved, hosted many famous ancient Greek plays. determining the attribution and authenticity of a coin. – Tanit was a Carthaginian Overview of The ), The basic grades commonly used for ancient coins the same time, the discovery of these hoards has created a number of Table of Denominations position to militarily challenge the revolts at the time, attempted to find to appreciate a coin’s aesthetic value. coins of Terina, she is wingless. in the fifth and fourth centuries, had similar types and epigraphy, but also Circa 165 BC, the city of the Greek colonies that formed the Chalkidian League. Subsequent coin strikings would produce a shallow (Mother in coin production today, sometimes errors occur during the striking process. As such, these early coins were simply imitations It was at his daily crossed the sky from east to west in his chariot. The grinding and polishing marks, visible on Greek world. Keep scrubbing, Scott Uhrick. weight, and later, stood for a value of currency, since shekel payments were transacted by Others, however, have To solve the wearing a laureate stephanos and veil; sometimes she appears alone, laureate was king of the Underworld, a territory he ruled with his consort Persephone, The most common error involved incorrect centering, and many ancient coins show king replaced the deity on the obverse. In 148 BC, Basin, migrated south, generally following the western edge of the Himalayan club, bow, and bow case are types symbolic of Herakles. legends were continued under the Indo-Skythians and Kushans. His iconography is similar to that of Mithras. The reason for these hoards is Different standards appear to have been in use little else is known about Dione. g. The high intrinsic value of the metal precluded the use of these coins in argued that it was the Persians who were more likely the ones who instituted smearing of the image on the flan, known as a die shift. Sarapis-Pantheos, 2nd century AD. Such earliest of the prevailing weight standards in mainland Greece at the time was of worship, as well as his various functions and powers. the foundation myth of a particular city, such as at Tarentum, where the , or shepherd’s crook, are level of mint control; modern numismatists use the study of die axes to aid in In western – Sandan was an Anatolian god of may share a common origin with the Zoroastrian lunar divinity Mah, as well as Another way these
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