The Coinage of the Ptolemies

Catharine C. Lorber

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 Ptolemies

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Egyptology



The coinage of the Ptolemies stands apart from other royal Hellenistic currencies in interesting respects, including the prominence of gold and bronze coins vis-à-vis silver and the role of coin types in promoting royal cult. The Ptolemies have also been credited with a policy of controlling monetary supply to maintain price stability in the chôra (countryside). The reforms of Ptolemies by definition expanded the monetary supply. While the immediate purpose of the first weight reduction was to finance particular royal objectives, ultimately the reforms served to support the growth of the court, the administration, and Greek-style capitalism. The vast library of surviving papyri and ostraka includes many financial documents that shed light on an evolving and unusually complex currency system, and on its role in the Egyptian economy.

Keywords: Ptolemies; Hellenistic currencies; coin; monetary supply; economy

Article.  8569 words. 

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

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