What Was Gold Called in Ancient Greece?

Gold has been a valuable and precious metal since ancient times. It was highly valued by many civilizations not just for its rarity but also for its beauty and durability.

Ancient Greece was no different, and gold played a significant role in their culture and economy. However, what was gold called in ancient Greece? Let’s find out.

In ancient Greece, gold was known as “χρυσός” (chrysós), which means “golden” or “yellow.” The word chrysós comes from the Indo-European root word “*ghel”, which means “yellow or green.” This is where we get the English words “yellow” and “gold.”

The Greeks produced a considerable amount of gold from various sources, including mines in Thrace, Macedonia, and Mount Pangaion. They also obtained gold from trade with other civilizations such as Persia and Egypt.

The ancient Greeks used gold for various purposes such as jewelry, coins, and religious objects. Gold jewelry was popular among both men and women, with intricate designs featuring animals, gods, and mythical creatures. The Greeks believed that wearing gold jewelry would bring them good luck.

Gold coins were another important use of this precious metal in ancient Greece. The first coins were minted in the 6th century BC in Lydia (present-day Turkey) but were quickly adopted by the Greeks. The coins were typically made of electrum (a natural alloy of gold and silver) or pure silver but later included pure gold coins as well.

Religious objects were perhaps the most significant use of gold in ancient Greece. Temples were adorned with golden statues of gods and goddesses such as Athena Parthenos at the Parthenon in Athens. These statues were often covered in thin sheets of gold leaf to give them a brilliant shine.

In conclusion, gold was known as “χρυσός” (chrysós) in ancient Greece and played an important role in their culture and economy. It was used for many purposes, including jewelry, coins, and religious objects. The Greeks valued gold for its rarity, beauty, and durability, and it continues to be a highly prized metal today.