Tuesday, November 6, 2007

ANCIENT GREEK COINS

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Nowadays, a good part of bills and coins have a pattern that shows whether the profile or bust of a certain ruler on their obverse. In its turn the reverse of today's coins and paper money includes the image of a great civic symbol, this can be a building or an animal. The history of this tradition started in ancient Greece.

Starting with the 8th century B.C. Greece was mainly represented by the polis and the city-state. This also refers to the period when the Greek world was soaked up into several kingdoms Alexander the Great , as well as his successors.

The composition of each polis included a city along with its surrounding countryside. It is interesting to note that each polis also had its own form of government, as well as own patron deities and heroes. Taking into consideration all the above mentioned it is quite obvious that each polis had its own economy, different from other poleis.

Although poleis were often under control of tyrants or ruled by Hellenistic kings, they were fiercely independent. Their coins represent a proof of their autonomy.

After Greek coins appeared for the first time, they included a combination of figures, symbols, and inscriptions, which illustrated the independence of the poleis. The first Greek coins represented poleis' main deities and heroes, as well as products, and visual puns on the names of their cities.

Ancient Greek coins, with their historical portraits, represent an important contribution to the art history. The illustrations of the old Greek coins include a lot of sacred buildings and temples, allowing people to appreciate their high importance.

Since their appearance the Greek coins were more than just simple pieces of metal, that were used in trade, they were important tools meant to express the religious devotion along with a civic pride.

The pre-Numismatic Age

For improving trade and business transaction, metallics , which were different in weight and shape, were the ones used in the world which, at that time, was called pre-numismatic age. The objects used in the pre-numismatic age received such names as: "Tripodes", "axes" and "skewers".

Some of the earliest coins are considered to have appeared in the late 7th century B.C. in two places at once. One of such places was China and the other one was western Asia Minor. No one knows for sure whether the first coins were developed by the Ionian Greeks or by the Lydians , their neighbors. However, specialists believe that the Greeks were the ones who spread the art of coinage throughout the Mediterranean. The Greeks introduced coinage to many peoples who came in contact with them.

The first Greek coins had designs stamped on them. Such designs numismatics call "types". These were stamped on the front or obverse. The reverse of Greek coins had a punch impression, which was utilized for stamping metal into the obverse die.

A die for the reverse of the Greek coin was included in the punch by the end of the 6th century. After that the majority of Greek coins had stamped designs on both sides. Numismatics cannot always give a clear answer on what dictated the design of the Greek coins. However, it is known that soon such practice became almost universal. The practice of leaving types and inscriptions on coins became more and more popular as they showed the polis issuing the coins.

For improving trade and business transaction, metallics , which were different in weight and shape, were the ones used in the world which, at that time, was called pre-numismatic age. The objects used in the pre-numismatic age received such names as: "Tripodes", "axes" and "skewers".

Some of the earliest coins are considered to have appeared in the late 7th century B.C. in two places at once. One of such places was China and the other one was western Asia Minor. No one knows for sure whether the first coins were developed by the Ionian Greeks or by the Lydians , their neighbors. However, specialists believe that the Greeks were the ones who spread the art of coinage throughout the Mediterranean. The Greeks introduced coinage to many peoples who came in contact with them.

The first Greek coins had designs stamped on them. Such designs numismatics call "types". These were stamped on the front or obverse. The reverse of Greek coins had a punch impression, which was utilized for stamping metal into the obverse die.

A die for the reverse of the Greek coin was included in the punch by the end of the 6th century. After that the majority of Greek coins had stamped designs on both sides. Numismatics cannot always give a clear answer on what dictated the design of the Greek coins. However, it is known that soon such practice became almost universal. The practice of leaving types and inscriptions on coins became more and more popular as they showed the polis issuing the coins.

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