What Did Ancient Greece Use for Money?

Ancient Greece is known for its rich cultural heritage and history. One of the fascinating aspects of ancient Greece is its monetary system. Unlike modern times, the Greeks used a variety of mediums for transactions, such as bartering, trading with goods, and using precious metals as a unit of exchange.

Precious Metals Used as Currency:

The Greeks used precious metals such as gold, silver, and bronze as currency. The most common coins were made from silver and were called Drachmas.

The Athenian Owl was one of the most popular designs on these coins. These coins were widely circulated around the Greek world.

Bartering System:

Apart from using precious metals, the Greeks also used a bartering system where goods were exchanged without any currency involved. This system was widely prevalent in rural areas where people exchanged goods like grains, livestock, or clothes for other necessities.

Trade with Goods:

The Greeks also traded goods like wine, olive oil, pottery, and textiles with other countries in exchange for their produce. This practice helped them to get access to rare resources that they could not find in their own country.

The Lydian Influence:

The Greeks were influenced by the Lydians who introduced coinage in ancient Greece at around 600 BCE. The Lydians had started using gold coins with lion’s heads stamped on them which inspired the Greeks to create their own currency.

The Evolution of Greek Currency

As time passed by, Greek currency evolved into different forms depending on the region and time period. The Athenian Tetradrachm became popular during the 5th century BCE which was worth four Drachmas in value.

During Alexander the Great’s reign (336 BCE – 323 BCE), his face started appearing on coins which became widely circulated across his empire. The Hellenistic Period (323 BCE – 31 BCE) saw numerous changes in Greek currency, with the introduction of royal portraits on coins.

The Legacy of Greek Currency

The Greeks made significant contributions to the world of currency which can still be seen today. The concept of coinage has been passed down through history and is still used worldwide. The designs on the coins also had an impact on modern currency as well, with many countries featuring famous figures or landmarks on their money.

In conclusion, ancient Greeks used a variety of mediums for transactions, including precious metals as currency, bartering systems for goods exchange, and trade with other countries. The influence of Lydian culture played a significant role in introducing coinage to ancient Greece. Greek currency evolved over time and left a lasting legacy on the world’s monetary system.