Jump to content

What could you buy with every coin denomination in ancient Greece ?


Recommended Posts

Can it be said so simply? Is there "one" ancient Greek coin? Especially at what time? There were so many epochs, so many small states, so many nominals. I don't think you can make a general statement - can you?

These are just a few of many examples (in German, but you can have them translated into English in your browser).




And here is an interesting publication that you can download for free:


Here are just the most important classifications, not to mention all the pentonkion, hemilitra and so on. In the publication you can see quite well what masses of nominals and units were in circulation. And then you would have to define: when? where? 


  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cynic texts contain numerous references to obols. They often use them as signs or metaphors for something almost humiliatingly cheap or of very low quality. Here are only a few examples, often cited in sources of later date than the alleged speakers.

ANTISTHENES (c. 446-366 B.C.)
"...that things of great value were often sold for nothing, and vice versa. Accordingly, that a statue would fetch three thousand drachmas, and a bushel of meal only two obols;"

"Set aside ten minas for a chef, a drachma for the doctor. Five talents for a flatterer, for council-smoke. A talent for a whore, three obols for a philosopher."

"Take Aphrodite that walks the market-place, she brings not repentance. She's there whenever you like, whenever you want her, nothing to fear or fret over. For an obol you may lie with her, and think yourself son-in-law to Tyndarus."

Diogenes (c. 412 - 323 B.C.)
"Diogenes, ' he took him away and gave him a cheese to carry, which cost half an obol. The other declined; whereupon he remarked, 'The friendship between you and me is broken by a little cheese worth half an obol.'”

"Diogenes distracted his audience by producing some salt fish. This annoyed the lecturer, and Diogenes said, 'An obol’s worth of salt fish has broken up Anaximenes’ lecture-class.'”

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...