The Ancient Greek Coins of the Hagaman Memorial Library ...

The Ancient Greek Coins of the Hagaman Memorial Library ...

The Ancient WORLD AND THE Greek Coins of the Hagaman Memorial Library Collection Athens Naples Locri Epizephyrii The Ancient Coin : I Prior to the modern era coins were struck by hand. Coin dies were made by an artisan called an Engraver and struck

by another called a Celator. Each coin is unique (no two are exactly the same). Throughout ancient history the level of skill and artistry varied from place to place and from time to time. Traditionally the commission of Ancient coins were a highly regulated and guarded function authorized by the governing authority of the region. Often under the penalty of death. The historical record yields little information in terms of the

inner workings of the mint offices. In the beginning: Money? Whats That? Coins came into use in the mid 7th century BC, in central Asia Minor (Modern Turkey) most likely around Sardis, Lydia. The earliest coins were made of a naturally occurring metal called Electrum which was a composite of Gold

and Silver. Within a generation the process of heating the electrum with an introduction of table salt caused the gold to separate from the silver and thus the purity of Gold was standardized. Upon the defeat and capture of Croesus by the Persians the use of coin would spread throughout the ancient world.

The Ancient Coin Part II: How It Was Done Denominations The Archaic Period 680-480 BC

A period of about 200 years. Accurate interpretation of perspective and anatomy lagged behind sculpture and other forms of art akin to the period.

Coin imagery and execution was very crude as compared to later specimens. We must admire that for the first time man walked where none had tread before. The coins of this time feature only an obverse image and a crude reverse punch designed solely to apply pressure and force the metal into the obverse die.

Denominations Denominations in the Ancient Greek World were divided among the two standards. The Attic Standard, based on one Drachm 4.3 grams and the Corinthian Standard Stater weighing 8.6 grams, divided into 3 drachms of 2.9 grams of Silver. The term Drachm literally means a handful A Drachm was divided into 6 obols and is thought

to date to the pre-numismatic period. An obol was the name given to a length of Iron used to making tools which was traded as a type of bullion. A term which means a split thus 6 splits equated to a handful. The names and values of many denominations are unknown. THE ARCHAIC COINS: II

When Pigs Fly! THE ARCHAIC COINS: II Ionia- A small Island and site of some of earliest coins c. 600 BC This coin represents one of the earliest types of coins made from pure silver. Many people still bartered for essentials as

they had for untold thousands of years before. Surely man would only adopt these coins for payment when Pigs Fly. That will cost you a turtle? THE ARCHAIC COINS: III AEGINA- 500 BC. An island nation where the first coins of European Greece were made.

The Invention of the Logo. Having long been an economic power in the Greek speaking world. Like anyone wanting to draw attention to their business; they chose a logo. The Turtle. So all handing the coin near and far would know of Aegina. In later times when Aegina seceded its naval power the turtle was replaced with a tortoise. THE ARCHAIC COINS: III

THE ATTIC STANDARD THE PERIOD OF TRANSITIONAL ART:480-415 BC In this time we see a continued advancement in numismatic art. Where art, science and imagination coalesce. The first attempts at capturing musculature and motion come into being. Large silver coins are produced throughout the ancient Mediterranean.

Hundreds of thousands of coins are produced on the Attic or Corinthian Standards. Corinthian Standard c.4th century BC THE PERIOD OF THE MASTERs: 415336BC During this period, artistic execution had reached its height, never again to be reproduced, even in the

modern era. Photo realism and the use of bronze dies yield the finest interpretations of perspective and form. Many of the best pieces were signed by the engraver and you know they were proud of their work. THE HELLENSITIC PERIOD: 336 -146 BC This period commonly referred to as the Age of the Greeks.

Coins produced during this period continue with same understanding of perspective and startling realism found in the previous. With the ultimate defeat of the Persian Empire came the expansion of Greek language, art, theology, and culture to far reaches of the earth. Africa, Western Europe, Asian and India. THE HELLENSITIC PERIOD: II

Up until this period the face of living man on a coin was unheard of and the thought of which was taboo. With the conquest of Persia by Alexander III of Macedon. The Attic standard made its way to the across the known world. An Icon of this period is the Tetradrachm of Alexander (The Great), which is believed to bare the face of Alexander deified as Heracles, wearing a lion skin headdress. This coinage type would circulated for several centuries

following Alexanders death in Babylon in 323 BC. ALEXANDER THE GREAT THE LOST ancient TREASURE OF THE LIBRARY: specimen A: SPECIMEN A: THE COIN

This coin struck in bronze (a composite alloy of copper and tin) was minted sometime between 160 -57 BC. This would have been a small denomination called a diobol or 2 obols. During this period bronze has been in use for nearly 250 years to supplement the silver coinage of the time. Silver was in continuing short supply. The artistic execution of the coin is certainly in decline from previous specimens displayed. Many elements indicative of the location are present.

SPECIMEN A: The LocalE Attica, Athens, known as the cradle of western civilization, named for its patron goddess Athena. This area has been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic. Athens made famous in the modern era for its Parthenon a large temple completed in 438 BC and dedicated to the goddess Athenasits atop the Acropolis. It was constructed under the authority of Pericles.

Exists today as the capitol city of modern Greece and the name is a household name. SPECIMEN A: the history This coin was minted in the final years of Athens as an autonomous city. Following the Battle of Corinth the defeat of the Corinthians and subsequent defeat of the Macedonians (146 BC). Athens no longer had the military support or

economic capacity to repel the Roman legions. For the next 60 years continuous and sustained warfare would devastate the land and ultimately (88 BC)Greece Proper would become an Eastern province of the Roman Empire (27BC). SPECIMEN A: the MAP THE LOST ancient TREASURE OF THE

LIBRARY: specimen B: SPECIMEN B: The coin Autonomous city coinage minted 290-270 BC. The coin was minted in Locri Epizephyrii. The coin features a style reminiscent of the early large bronze coinage of Sicily (Syracuse). Which it turn are reminiscent of even earlier coinage from Corinth. The coin features the head of Athena wearing a

Corinthian helmet, the reverse has an eagle standing atop the thunderbolt of Zeus. This motif is common to the area of southern Italy and North Africa, widely used by the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt and the Levant. SPECIMEN B: The LocalE The coin was minted in Locri Epizephyrii, on the sight of a legendary tomb of the Siren that is said to have sung a beautiful song that would lead sailors to

their deaths on rocky shores. The name comes from a harbor that protected ships from a powerful westerly wind called a Zephyrus. Locri is located near the toe of the boot and borders the ancient nations of Bruttium and Calabria. SPECIMEN b: the history The coin dates to a tumultuous time just before what we refer today as the Pyrrhic War (280-275 BC).

Fiercely independent Greek cities and numerous Italic tribes battled for supremacy over the peninsula, all while stemming Romes Southern advance. Locri had a strategic port sought after by the powerful Greeks in Syracuse and the Romans to North. Locri would change alliances many times. SPECIMEN b: the history: II Locri would seek support from Eprius in defense against

the Romans southern advance. Calling upon Pyrrhus of Epirus, a powerful king and competent commander to deal with the threat. After several major victories(280 BC) Italic support for the Greeks dwindled and Pyrrhus would return to Greece Proper to deal with a Macedonian threat. He would succeed in his capture of Macedon but would meet his end in the narrow streets of Argos. Support never returned for Locri and the city fell (275 BC).

SPECIMEN b: the history: III The Roman historian Plutarch would coin the term a Pyrrhic Victory. The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one more such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he

found the confederates in Italy backward. On the other hand, as from a fountain continually flowing out of the city, the Roman camp was quickly and plentifully filled up with fresh men, not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war. SPECIMEN b: the MAP THE LOST ancient TREASURE OF THE

LIBRARY: specimen c: SPECIMEN C: The COIN Also Struck in Bronze circa, 250-225 BC We have a heavily corroded AE 18 from the Greek city Neapolis. The coin features the head of Apollo Left and the reverse is Nike crowning a man-faced bull (local

river god) with a wreath of olive leaves. Due to the current state of preservation I was able to find an example from the British Museum. SPECIMEN C: The COIN II SPECIMEN c: The LocalE Neapolis (New City) was a city settled in the 2nd

millennium BC by Doric Greeks. It has been inhabited by Italic tribes since the Neolithic. It sits near the shin of the boot of Italy. Today the city is still inhabited and referred too as Napoli or Naples. It is also one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world. SPECIMEN c: the history

Largely influenced by the powerful Greek city state Syracuse, both in culture and in coinage. Neapolis became a major trading hub between the cities of Greater Greece and the cities of the Ionian sea. The city was captured approx. 290 BC by the Samnites, but was recaptured by the Romans and made a Roman Colony. The city supported Rome against Carthage over the course of 3 wars and its walls would be made famous for repelling the Carthaginian invasion of Italy during the Second Punic


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