The Coinage of the Persian Empire

Michael Alram

in The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195305746
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Coinage of the Persian Empire

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology


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The Lydian coinage system completely changed with an ingenious coin reform. With Alyattes's electrum coinage, the recipient had no way of judging the gold or silver content. Therefore, Croesus replaced the electrum coins with pure gold and silver, and changed the lion head design to that of the confronted foreparts of a lion and a bull. The Croesus stater was one of the most popular coins among the Greeks, since they did not strike any gold and because, due to its high value, it was chosen in particular for public and private savings. Darius's introduction of a Persian imperial coinage in Asia Minor was a pathbreaking financial reorganization and an important contribution to the further consolidation of the Achaemenid Empire in the west. Money supply and circulation within the Persian Empire reached an enormous level under Artaxerxes III, indicating an extraordinary prosperity-based economy and trade in the empire.

Keywords: coinage; Persian Empire; stater; economy; coins

Article.  11403 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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