Ancient

Drachma

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Greek coinage has existed since at least the seventh century B.C.E. Many scholars and numismatists consider the Classical period of Greek art to be the pinnacle of achievement for coins. This drachma coin was minted under the rule of Alexander the Great, the last of the Classical rulers. Classical Greek art was characterized by its [...]

Spade Money

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Chinese spade money is an interesting look at how important agriculture was to the kingdoms that minted this currency. Spade money evolved from weeding tools used during the Zhou Dynasty, and early types included a hollow area for a handle. Eventually the hollow areas became flat and easy to stack. Different states minted their own [...]

Knife Money

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Knife money evolved in China along with spade money during the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty. There is no consensus on the origin of knife money, but there are a few legends. In one of the stories a prince who was running low on money to pay his troops allowed them to use [...]

Jersey Coin

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Celtic coins began as stylistic copies of Greek coins. As coinage moved throughout the rest of Gaul from Greek outposts on the Mediterranean, the styles abstracted to fit the current Celtic aesthetic. The Gauls were Celtic groups living in France before Roman conquest, and had social and governmental systems in place that were just as [...]

Coin

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This coin, featuring Persephone on the obverse and Nike on the reverse, was minted in Syracuse, Sicily. Syracuse started as a Greek colony and served as an important outpost of Greek culture in the central Mediterranean. For some time, it was even the most powerful Greek city in the Mediterranean. This power, however, meant that [...]

Coin

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Carthage was a powerful city-state in North Africa near what is today Tunis, Tunisia. This powerful seafaring kingdom was allegedly founded by Phoenician Princess Dido to facilitate trade from the Phoenician capital at Tyre. On the obverse of the coin Carthaginian goddess Tanit is featured. On the reverse, there is a horse in front of [...]

Coin with Bust of Hadrian

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Roman coinage has existed about as long as Rome. Even emperors whose reigns did not last long often minted one or two coins in their image. Hadrian was Emperor of Rome between 117-138 C.E. The Roman Empire at that time was huge, and Hadrian halted outward expansion of the borders.  As Roman Emperor, Hadrian was [...]

Black-Figure Krater

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Black-figure and red-figure pottery techniques were used between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE in Athens to decorate fine pottery. The potter would use a wheel to shape the clay into a recognizable vessel. In some cases the neck and body were thrown separately and attached later using a slip that would harden in the firing process. [...]

Black-Figure Amphora

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Black-figure and red-figure pottery techniques were used between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE in Athens to decorate fine pottery. The potter would use a wheel to shape the clay into a recognizable vessel. In some cases the neck and body were thrown separately and attached later using a slip that would harden in the firing process. In [...]