Of the many traditions inherited from the ancient Greeks, one of the most successful has been the use of coined metal as money. Coins first appeared in the region of Lydia (western Turkey) in the late seventh century B.C. and gradually spread throughout the Greek world. Coin designs show the badges of city-states, the portraits of rulers, Greek gods, myths, and objects of daily life. Carved by Greek craftsmen, some of the designs are works of art, miniature masterpieces of sculpture. Coins were circulated in trade, used as gifts or dedications, and hoarded as valuables. They were part of the fabric of Greek life, and those that now survive provide a physical link between the modern world and the ancient Greeks. Ian Carradice outlines the history of Greek coins from the seventh to the first centuries B.C., showing how they reveal a world that has both wide geographical boundaries and great cultural diversity. He also considers the lasting impact of Greek coins on later civilizations.
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