The Coinage of Lydia and Persia


Book Details

Author  Barclay Vincent Head
Publisher  Forgotten Books
Publication Date   July 14, 2012
Pages  76

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In a work like the Ntjmismata Orientalia, which is designed to embrace the whole field of Oriental Numismatics, the coinage of the great Persian Empire holds of necessity an avowedly leading position. The famous Persian Darics, the archers, so frequently alluded to in the history of Greece and of which the influence was often so detrimental to the morality of the Hellenes, form the connecting link between the coinage of the Empire of Croesus on the one hand and that of Alexander the Great on the other. We are thus led to commence with the consideration of the coinage of the kingdom of Lydia, a thorough comprehension of which is primarily desirable for those who would attain to a fuller knowledge of Persian numismatics than is to be gained by a mere contemplation of the types of the coins. The Persian daric is the legitimate successor of the gold stater of Crcesus, to whose administrative genius must be ascribed the earliest idea of a double currency based upon the relative values of gold and silver. We are therefore called upon to examine, first of all, the origin of the system of weights in use throughout the East in remote times, and to trace back to their source on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris the germs of the weights adopted in Lydia by the ancestors of Crcesus, according to which the precious metals were then estimated, and passed from hand to hand as recognised measures of the exchangeable value of all other commodities. These primitive weight-systems were the basis of the future coinage, not only of A sia, but of European Greece; and Lydia is the border-land, the intermediate territory and link between the East and the West. For this reason I have prefixed to my description of the Lydian coinage an introductory survey of the weightsystems in use throughout the East before the invention of the art of coining. These preliminary remarks are,
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