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Coins of Aegina

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The island of Aegina was the first state in Ancient Greece to mint coins, and is believed to be one of the, if not the first entity to produce these objects, being minted as early as 700 BC.

CoinsEdit

Aegina coin

An early Aeginetic coin.

At some point, the Aegina Mint was built by Pheidon of Argos on the authority of Ephorus. Produced at the mint were several coins composed of silver, and in one known instance, electrum. These coins became locally known as the Aeginetic drachm. The coins from Aegina were uniform of type, similar to the Athenian coins, characterizing that the coins were not a local currency, but used throughout Ancient Greece. Based on the weights of exceptionally heavy specimens, it is hypothesized that the original Aeginetic stater weighed over 200 grams. As well as staters, drachms, obols, and tetartemorions were also produced on Aegina.

BMC 193

A coin from after 404 BC.

The early Aeginetic coins depicted a sea turtle (Chelone caouana) with a plain shell, and later with dots, on the obverse. The reverse of these early coins typically showed an incuse square divided into hollowed-out triangles. This was later changed to having three triskeles consisting of human legs with a boss in the center. Around 404 BC, for some reason, the sea turtle was replaced by a tortoise (Testudo graeca), sometimes accompanied with an "A" to the left and "I" to the right on the larger denominations. The reverse of these new coins featured a square divided into four parts, with one, in turn, being divided into two triangles. Typically, across the top two squares, it would read "ΑΙΓ" or "ΑΙΓI", an abbreviation for "AEGINA" ("ΑΙΓINA"), while one of the bottom squares depicted a dolphin. Displayed on the obverse of the lower denominations, which became composed of bronze, were dolphins with an "A" in the midst.

In the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, both sides of the coins were altered drastically, and many different coin designs were introduced. On the obverse of one of the coins was a legend reading, "ΑΙΓINA", and a prow of a galley, while the reverse depicted a ram's head. Another depicted a bucranium and "A I" on the obverse, with a dolphin and "A I" on the reverse. After this came another coin, which depicted a head of Zeus on the obverse, with Apollo holding a bow and branch, and a legend reading, "ΑΙ ΓΙ ΝΙ" on the reverse.

During the reign of Septimius Severus over the Roman Empire from 193 to 211, a number of Aeginetic coins were minted. All of these featured Severus on the obverse, though the reverse varied. One coin depicted Hermes carrying a ram, while others showed the port of Aegina, a draped Aphrodite holding a branch and apple, a god standing by Zeus, Zeus holding an eagle and fulmen, seated Aeacus, etc.

Kydonia on Crete minted coins by over-striking Aegenitian coins.

ReferencesEdit

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