It is not easy to follow a classification criterion for the Greek currencies: poleis was numerosísimas, and almost all, for commercial reasonsand by national pride, they were organized to coin its own currencies. There was no uniformity in the systems of weight, and many citiesthey adopted symbols such or they had identical distinguishing letters. Finally, they lack the dates. In order to distinguish more than thirty active mints in the Greek peninsula and the islands (to which there are to add the mints of Africa, of Asiaand, naturally, of the Magna Greece), diverse parameters can be adopted.

Criteria of classification

Many of the credited specialists more in the Greek monetary classification have relied on a simple geographic distinction, that it assignsto each polis the description of the diverse attributed types to her. Others prefer to classify according to the diverse emitting authorities, distinguishing between emissions of independent cities, emissions under sovereigns and tyrants (like for Macedonian, Siracusa, Syria, Egypt orPersia), colonial emissions of citizen currencies (under the Roman domination) and currencies. A very interesting classification is the cradle inthe stylistic analysis, that assigns to the currency the artistic dignity, that mainly to the Greek currencies corresponds to them yet straight. The metals characteristic of the Greek production were the gold, the silver and the bronze (more rarely electro, used mainly in AsiaMinor). As much the gold (in fact used rather behind schedule, by the end of century V BC, and always in unusual events) like the silver (metal that truely distinguishes the Greek accusations) always used in pure state. The weight settled down with great attention andseriousness. The true stumbling block to define the Greek currency is indeed in the multiplicity of the systems you weighed with whichthe calculations must become: the Persian or microAsian system, spread in Smaller Asia (adopted by Creso and the Persians, but also usedin the itálica peninsula: Reggio, Cumas, Sicily and Etruria); the Phoenician system, extended between the Phoenicians in Africa, some regions of the Magna Greece and in Macedonian beforeof the coming of Alexander Magno; the system attic, employee, with some variants, in Athens and Corinto and soon adopted in the empireMacedonian and in the Magna Greece, and finally the eginético system. As for the archaic period, already we have referred

lechuzas athenian

During long time, Athens, that had to concern the silver and whose commerce was prevented by the opulent Egina, located opposite, it hadto be contented with rather modest a mercantile position. When in the century I BC was discovered the rich mine of the Laurio, the situationit improved much, maintained by an increasing desire of expansion of the athenians and, mainly, by a new social order that, given hismodernísima conception, could not let favor the economic and social progress. The reform of Clístenes (aims of the century I BC) tookto the town to participate in the exercise of the power, for the first time in the history of the humanity, by means of a system of direct democracy. Another revolutionary innovation: the property to the diverse classes was not based already on the agrarian rent, since it had settled down in timesof Solón, but in relation to the money in cash. In this way, the economic power was accessible also, and mainly, to the craftsmen andto the retailers. A so important change of articles of incorporation in a moment lead to Athens to become crossroads of ideological and commercial ferments of greatimportance: the diffusion of the new athenian currency of silver, tetradracma, that was worth four dracmas, revolutionized the balancescommercial of the Greek world in damage of Egina and of the other currencies until then easily accepted in the diverse markets (they have found currencies of Athens in Spain and the inner regions of Asia). After the most important victories obtained on the Persians (we remember Maratón in the 490 year and Salamina in 480 year BC), Athensit arranges to become the hegemonic city of Greece, a supremacy that sometimes it will apply rather of prepotent way and it does violence to, like when it commanded to suppress very hated turtles, in year 456, exemplary decision to demonstrate its political and commercial predominance. Observing the iconography of the currencies of Athens, is evident an archaic style that it finds his parallel in the contemporary art: beautiful profile of Athenian reproduced in tetradracmas presents/displays the ready eye frontally, like in certain paintings of glasses; in addition, enigmatic smile of the goddess imitates the attitude of the famous kuros or curos of the century I BC, in which the effort is manifest byto idealizar the human figure without representing passions, they are these of joy or pain. The presence of the human figure, a subject privileged in the Greek art, occurs for the first time and with a iconográfico selection veryinnovator, indeed in the currencies of Athens. As for the variants of this iconográfico scheme, they can be observeddiverse hairdos of the goddess. Immediately after the overwhelming victory of the 480 on the Persians, Athenian imagines it with onelaurel crown. Separate this one and other smaller changes, the currencies of Athenian remained almost invariable about 200 years, that is until the year250 BC The explanation of similar conservadurismo is necessary to indeed look for it in the immense success that this currency had between alltowns that maintained commercial interchanges with the Greeks. Probably a substantial modification of the iconography was afraid thatdistrust between the possessors woke up, and had been able to insinuate the idea of a political change in polis, whenstability was an element fundamental to define a good currency.


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