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History of Ancient Greek Coins
The history of ancient Greek coinage can be divided (along with most other Greek art forms) 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 Classical period then began and lasted until the conquests of Alexander the Great in about 330 BC, which began the Hellenistic period, extending until the Roman absorption of the Greek world in the 1st century 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 three most important standards of the ancient Greek monetary system were the Attic standard, based on the Athenian drachma of 4.3 grams (2.8 pennyweights) of silver, the Corinthian standard based on the stater of 8.6 g of silver, which was subdivided into three silver drachmas of 2.9 g, and the Aeginetan stater or didrachm of 12.2 g, based on a drachma of 6.1 g. The word drachm(a) means “a handful”, literally “a grasp”. Drachmae were divided into six obols (from the Greek word for a spit), and six spits made a “handful”.
Among the most valuable coins are the Decadrachms, Tetradrachms, Staters, Obol.