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CROESEIDS AND DARICS
GREECE
by Mariangela Piziali

The first coins of pure gold minted in antiquity are the so-called "Croeseids". This is suggested by Herodotus in a passage (I, 94, I) in which he claims that the Lydians were the first to mint gold and silver coins. The name - "Croeseids" - comes from that of the last king of Lydia, Croesus (560-546 B.C.), to whom they are attributed. A large number of Croeseids - struck in two series based upon a stater of about 10.7 and 8.05 grams respectively - were found in the area around Sardis (the capital of Lydia) and are distinguished by a single type, i.e. two protomes of a lion and a bull facing each other. Gold fractions of the stater also were coined (the third, the sixth, the sixteenth) as well as silver staters. It seems that Croeseids were also minted by the Persians when Cyrus II conquered the kingdom of Lydia in 547/6 B.C.

Darius I (522-486 B.C.) introduced new royal coins in gold and silver called darics and sigloi respectiveley. Darics weigh 8.35-8.40 grams and bear the image of the Persian king, full-figured, armed with bow, arrows and spear. Persian coinage continued to be struck until Alexander the Great conquered the Achaemenid Empire in 330 B.C.


Click on the images of the coins to enlarge them

Creseide
Creseide
1/6 di statere
1/6 di statere
Darico
Darico

 
Daric. The Achaemenid Currency, by M. Alram (courtesy of)

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