The Ancient Library
 

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On this page: Coinage (continued)

147

COINAGE.

lie Head (Persephone or Quadi iga and armour (prizes of Arethusa). victory).

(6) DECADRACHHON OF SYRACUSE.

(about «0 b.c.)

grdvl) bore the image of Janus ; the coins representing its fractions were all stamped on the reverse side with the figure of a

the latter for his silver money (fig. 5). For even after Alexander's death this standard held its ground in the kingdoms of the

Head of Heracles. Zeua.

(5) TETRADHACHMON OF ALFXANDKR THE GREAT.

Macedonian empire, except in Egypt, where the Ptolemies maintained the old coinage of the country. Macedonian influence ex­tended the Attic currency into many other states, e.g. Epirus, the coasts of the Black Sea, and even Parthia. The largest Greek gold coin is the 20-stater piece of the Grteco-Bactrian king Eucratides, now preserved in Paris: the largest silver coins are the 10-drachma pieces of Athens, Syracuse (fig. 6) and Alexander the Great.

Hellenic coins are important as giving a grand and complete idea of the development of plastic art among the Greeks. In the Greek cities of Italy and Sicily, in par­ticular, the art of stamping coins had attained considerable importance as early as the 5th century B.C., and in the 4th century with its life-like cliaracterisa-

(2) Roman. As in Greece, so in Rome, oxen and sheep were originally the medium of exchange. The oldest pecuniary fines were exacted in cattle, and the Latin word for money, pScuma, is derived from picus. In later times unwrought copper (<ks rUde) given in pieces according to weight, took the place of oxen. Bars of cast copper marked on both sides with some figure (as of an ox, pig, or fowl) are said to have been introduced by king Servius Tullius, when he took in hand the regulation of weights and measures. The first demon­strable example of a coin is from the age of the decemvirs (about 450 b.c.). The unit of coinage was the as of cast copper, carry­ing the nominal weight of the Roman pound (libra = 12 uncice, see fig. 7). The as (ces

Head of Janus. Prow of Ship. (7) HUMAN AS OF CAST COPPER.

tions, and with the rich variety and noble perfection of its forms, it reached the highest degree of finish.

ship's prow. These were, semis, with the head of Jupiter = £ as or 6 unciae ; triens with the head of Minerva, ^ of an as —

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