Metrological Notes on the Ancient Electrum Coins Struck Between the Lelantian Wars and the Accession of Darius

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B. Quaritch, 1875 - Coins, Greek - 53 pages
 

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Page 272 - Their ships covered the seas and carried the native copper ore of Euboea, for which Chalcis was so famous and from which its name was derived, to the coasts of Asia, of Thrace, of Italy, and of Sicily, bringing back in exchange the products of every land. The precious metals in particular flowed plentifully into the island of...
Page 255 - ... use of one set of weights and a decimal system easy of comprehension and simple in practice. On this account electrum was weighed according to the silver standard, and the talent, the mina, and the stater of electrum were consequently equivalent to ten talents, ten minae, or ten staters of silver of the same weight. The weight of the electrum stater in each town or district thus depended upon the standard which happened to be in use there for silver bullion or silver bar-money, the practice of...
Page 247 - The lighter talent is known by the name of the Babylonian, and although both may have been in use in Nineveh, the lighter form would seem to have been more generally accepted in Babylon.1 The system according to which these talents were subdivided was the sexagesimal, the talent being composed of 60 minae, and the mina of 60 shekels, the shekel being again divided into 30 parts. This sexagesimal system which pervaded the whole of the Assyrian weights and measures, both of space, of material, and...
Page 271 - ... respectively. Arguing from analogy, we might expect to find that the Euboic silver stater of 130 grains as first issued in Chalcis and Eretria, had also been preceded by an electrum coinage of like weight ; and that such a coinage actually existed, not only in Euboea but on the opposite coasts of the ^Egean, is I am inclined to think capable of proof. Before describing the electrum coins of this standard, it may be perhaps of use to remind my readers of the important position occupied by Chalcis...
Page 253 - Jilginetic standard to be merely a reduced or lighter form of the Phoenician, and the fact that some of the earlier staters of jEgina weigh as much as 212 grains, of which Brandis does not seem to have been aware, is in favour of this standard being the result of a gradual reduction. ponnesus, in the Chalcidian colonies of Italy and Sicily, in Crete, on the Cyclades, especially Ceos, Naxos, and Siphnos, and even in certain towns in Asia Minor, among which Teos, and perhaps Cyme, may be mentioned,...
Page 251 - Greeks therefore understood a silver standard, the stater of which weighed 170 grains, while by the Euboic talent they understood a standard used either for silver or for gold, the stater of which weighed 130 grains. At the commencement of the seventh century BC, or in other words about the time when the Greeks of Asia Minor or the Lydians first hit upon the idea of stamping the bars of metal with official marks as guarantees of their weight and value, the following were therefore the weights generally...
Page 283 - Croesus was able to impose his new Lydian coinage upon all the Greek coast towns. It has been generally supposed that the Phocaic coinage was contemporary with the Milesian, and that Miletus contemporaneously with her electrum of 220 grains struck gold on the Phocaic standard of 250 grains (Brandis, p. 395) ; and the stater attributed to that city, with the type of the lion's head described above, has even been considered by Burgon to be the oldest of all Greek coins. In my judgment both the Milesian...
Page 255 - ... the new invention of coining could not be long delayed. As the standards according to which bullion silver was weighed were various in different localities, having been developed, as we have seen above, by different methods out of the sixtieth parts of the heavy and the light Babylonian gold minae, so also were the earliest electrum staters of different weights, depending everywhere upon silver and not upon gold. Consequently, as might have been expected, we meet with electrum coins of the Phoenician,...
Page 252 - Brandis ingeniously develops the ^Iginetic silver standard out of the electrum stater of 220 grains in the following manner. In the first place, he supposes the electrum stater to contain about one-third of silver, he then takes what remains of pure gold, viz., about 146 grains, the silver equivalent of which, according to the recognised proportionate value of the two metals, is 1,941 grains of silver, or just ten jEginetic silver staters of 194 grains.
Page 282 - Phocaic stater weighing 256 grains maximum, which is, allowing for a slight percentage of alloy, just double the value of the staters of Croesus. This is a coincidence which leads me to infer that the cities which took part with Phocaea in the issue of this new coinage intended their money to circulate as gold and not as electrum, and that, therefore, although they retained the globular form of coin with which the Asiatic Greeks had been so...

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