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Coins from ancient Thebes

Silver coins from ancient Thebes

Why are Thebes’s coins different?

Each Greek city-state minted their own kind of coin, just like countries mint their own coins today. Coins help to show that you are a community. And the pictures on the coins provide a way to show what is important to your community. Thebes made coins in gold, silver, and bronze, but these are silver ones.

What is a city-state?
Coins of Athens and Corinth
A project with Greek coins
What’s a numismatist?
The Greek economy
All our ancient Greece articles

What did Thebes put on their coins?

These two coins from Thebes show the kind of shield that Thebans carried in battle, and on the other side one has a trident and a fish, for Poseidon, and the other has a drinking cup.

Who was Poseidon?
Classical Greek pottery
History of silver

(Notice how both of the coins are struck a little off-center, because the striker was not being careful enough. Cheaters used to take advantage of that to clip off a little silver around the edges, and keep it for themselves.).

Learn by doing: making coins
More about the Greek economy

Bibliography and further reading about Greek coins:

Eyewitness: Money (Eyewitness Books) (2000).

Sold!: The Origins of Money and Trade (Buried Worlds) (1994). School Library Journal says, “Grade 6-10-Covering primarily the ancient Mediterranean civilizations, this well-written, beautifully illustrated account describes early forms of money, how the first coins were made, and what they reveal to archaeologists about the people who used them.”

Ancient History from Coins, by C. J. Howgego (1995). Not so easy to read, but a good introduction to what we can learn about history from coins.

Greek Coins, by Ian Carradice (1995). This handbook for beginners shows some of the different types of Greek coins, with a little historical background. About a page per century.

Athenian coins
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